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August 17th, 2016

August 17th, 2016 published on 139 Comments on August 17th, 2016

Vee is basically handing Mal a nuke, here.

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  • Oh, wow. Nothing like the ex-girlfriend showing up in the middle of everything to really put the topper on it.

    • D. Schwartz

      Oh no not an ex. A desired future instead.

    • Mickey on “Dr Who”: “Oh wow. Every bloke’s nightmare – the missus and the ex.”

  • Ghostdanser

    This day just keeps getting better and better…

    • Several people on this page might dispute your choice of adjectives.


    • Some Punk

      I bet they are siblings.

      • John

        Her last name is Cunningham as is her father’s, and Ben’s last name is Thackery so siblings seems unlikely (though not impossible). The guesses of cousins or ex boy-friend/girl-friend seem most likely to me, and I can see either one having great comedic potential.

        • Darastrix

          Vee also seems to have some red on her face there. Whatever their relationship is, I’m betting it’s not familial.

          • Foehn

            She does indeed, but I think those are her glasses.

            • Darastrix

              Oh well! And given what Kate’s said above, it’s looking more like a family connection after all.

          • Sanjay Merchant

            That, or one of them was a bit of a bully to the other as kids. I’ll let you make up your mind which way that might’ve gone. ;-)

          • Could be both familial and romantic: marrying cousins was extremely common up until this last century.

        • JWLM

          Look at the page Kate pointed to above. Ben is Victor Cunningham’s grandson, I’ll bet.

    • I invite you to look at this guy again :P

      • Haven

        Oh wow, I can’t believe I missed the family resemblance.

      • Sanjay Merchant

        You know, you have a real skill for making familial resemblances. You don’t hit people over the head with it, but once we notice or it’s pointed out to us, we sit there wonder “How the heck did I NOT see that before?”

      • szbnahl

        “Grandfather to Verity, amongst others“. How on Earth did I miss that the first time?

  • Also, Sidney’s pet Magpie needs a name. ^_^

    • AJ

      I vote we name him like my uncle’s cat: Some variation upon snitching and snatching von somethingelse, different every time.

      Snitchers von Magpie.
      Snatchums von Snitcherton Magpie the third.
      Snitchie von Snitch

    • Gazza.

      Short for La Gazza Ladra.

      • Euodiachloris

        … There’s another Magpie I can think of by that name… And, no. Gazza may not be a good fit. :/

    • billydaking

      Maggie, of course.

      • JWLM

        Yup, or Meg, or Margot, or any other short form of Marguerite, the name from which it derives originally.

    • Columbine

      Esther Woolfson who wrote a book on Corvids called hers Spike.

      • The Shadow

        Who’s afraid of Esther Woolfson?

        • Columbine

          Whelp definitely not the rook, crow or magpie. Or the cockateil (sp?) come to think of it. Probably some of the pigeons and the canaries.

          Edit: In seriousness I really enjoyed her book and highly recommend it to anyone who likes birds.

          • BeepBeepMeepMeep

            Do you mean cockatiel?

            • Columbine

              I think so? A small crested parrot. Loud, mantra-shouting (this is I think normal parrot behaviour?), also something of a one-woman bird.

              • BeepBeepMeepMeep

                Yes, that would be a cockatiel, though cockatiels sing more than they shout. That’s my experience with them, though. :)

                • Columbine

                  It was her daughter’s bird not hers. I don’t think the bird got on with her. Which I get the impression happens with a lot of birds- they bond strongly with one or two people and arn’t that happy with everyone else. She didn’t complain about the shouting as such, the only bird she didn’t really like voice-wise was a Sun Conure. She described it as having a voice that could ‘like his beak, bisect wood and stone.’

    • Eve

      Filch seems fitting

  • Mr Hats

    WAIT, ARE THEY COUSINS? That is perfect!

    • Mr Hats

      Also, of course it’s a Magpie. Brilliant!

  • How romantic. Mr Thackerey and Ms Cunningham are so obviously made for each other.

    • AJ

      No. No no no no nope nope nope nopers nopety nope nope no.

      • But it will mean there are only 2 unhappy people, rather than 4.

    • JWLM

      They’re cousins, it appears, so perhaps not.

      • Is everyone related in Widdershins? It’s worse than the Fens.

        • Euodiachloris

          Welcome to Yorkshire. :/

        • JWLM

          Well, you know how it is. Widdershins is actually pretty isolated, and it’s unavoidable after one hundred years of solitude.

  • Really Ben, you should know better than to tempt fate in a setting where I’m pretty sure Fate is an actual sentient being of some sort who deliberately and maliciously targets people who say things like “could this day get any worse”

    • Valerie Kaplan

      It didn’t even let him finish SAYING it!

      • MoeLane

        “Look, we’re all kind of BUSY here, what with the magical apocalypse and all. Excuse me for anticipating the guy when he was *clearly* about to say the nominal trigger phrase.” – Fate.

        • Euodiachloris

          “Besides, I’ve got him on special surveillance due to the mileage.”


        • disqus_ealSxkOnJn

          My personal belief is that there are multiple agents of “fate”, and there’s one that really just targets anyone who says that. Cousins with the one who misplaces things like keys when you’re rushing out the door.

          • I bet there’s at least some form that looks like a rain cloud.
            “Well at least things can’t get any worse!”
            kracka-THOOOM! *downpour*

            • 703 Noemi

              Ben is like the Charlie Brown of the Widdershins world.

      • Sanjay Merchant

        Well, V has a good “on the case before it’s even started” thing going. She’s not about to ruin it!

    • Nemesis believes in working long hours in Widdershins, i see.

      “Twenty-four hour service – no waiting.”

      • I must say, it’s rude to drop it on him before he’s finished summoning you.

        • JWLM

          Yeah, well, but the next thing he’s going to say is “Oh, bugger!”

    • Kaunisenkeli

      And only has to change one letter in their name to appear in the comment section. ;D
      I’m not entirely sold on the being’s malevolence (the being’s ability to entertain is, however, not in question).

  • BaronHaynes

    Years of great story payoffs happening just from having the right characters in the same place. Heck yeah.

  • Valerie Kaplan

    Oh, NO.

  • ThisCat

    Oh. My. God. Yes.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    AAaaaaaaah so that’s what :

  • One for sorrow.

  • Benji! And from Verity! I can’t stop laughing. And Sid is so happy to know about his magpie. And, Mal in second panel. And Sid’s “aura-colors”. This is a great page.

    • Oh, I forgot, Sid mistake in second panel is precious too.

  • By the way, did Sid himself make this buggerup when he was a-learning wizardry? Oh, I suppose we’ll have to wait to know this, won’t we.

    • He says he’s “always” had the problem, so if he did create it, it was before he entered university, i assume.

      • billydaking

        And based on his reaction, it’s an amazing and possibly rare thing to have.

    • Basil Sage

      And OMG, what spirit was the buggered-up summon supposed to summon, actually?

    • Sapphire altera


      — Sidney’s “always had it”
      — He apparently has a strong innate talent for wizardry
      — Malforms can result when the caster is “distracted” from the summons ( )

      So, as a young child, Sidney summoned the magpie when he wanted something the adults wouldn’t let him have — probably by accident, which is why he thinks its a “condition” (or he just doesn’t remember doing it intentionally). It’s unlikely he would have known how to make the circle, but maybe he re-used someone else’s… OR he summoned it near an anchor like Voss (that’s the only other example we have of a spirit following around a specific person, too — except Mal, but he’s a special case).

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        There are seven sin spirits, but suddenly I wonder if there are the 7 good counterpart. With the magpie being one (…except it’s stealing ?)

  • John

    So if Sid’s magical kleptomania is caused by a magpie shaped buggerup, and Mal and company send buggerups home for a living, does that mean that Mal and company can cure Sid’s magical kleptomania? If so, does he want them to? If they do, could he go back and finish his degree?

    • John

      Also, I like the way that Mal is still unsure about the names of colors…

    • AJ

      And WHY does Sid seem so enamoured of the invisible magpie, anyway?

    • Euodiachloris

      From the giddy way Sid is acting, they might need to wrestle him to do it. xD

  • Basil Sage

    1) Between the magpie and “Benji”, this page is entirely amazing.

    2) I’m curious about Sid’s giggly reaction to the idea of a magpie spirit. He’s actually excited about it, and it’s clearly significant. I’d love to learn how his curse originated.

    3) Mal can barely stand the sight of Sid, but has no problem looking at Ben (see previous pages).
    Possible reasons:

    – Ben’s psychedelic effects are less intense
    – Mal is used to looking at Ben/has grown to like him
    – Other. Any ideas?

    • Tikatu

      There’s been some discussion about the differences between Ben and Sid’s magic. Ben seems to be a technician; he does magic by the book. Sid, on the other hand, seems to have more magical intuitiveness and flair. The idea of bargaining with Curiosity, for example–probably not an idea Ben would have come up with. So that might account for Sid’s magic being brighter than Ben’s to Mal.

      I agree that Mal is probably used to Ben’s aura by now, too.

      • Jeff Eppenbach

        That, and the fact that they’ve spent many an hour staring longingly into one another’s eyes.

      • Basil Sage

        Yeah, Ben’s glow in Mal-vision seems neater and less bright. (Also, holy cow has the art evolved since chapter 2, Kate!). Still, his chronic insecurity about it is frustrating to watch: he deserves better from himself.

    • tali

      “3) Mal can barely stand the sight of Sid, but has no problem looking at Ben (see previous pages).”

      Well, that’s certainly a step-up in their relationship.

    • Sanjay Merchant

      Between the text itself and the in-between-chapter commentaries, there’s a strong impression that Sid’s got a much greater innate talent for magic than Ben, something that, unfortunately, all the diligent study and practice in the world can’t entirely overcome. I have a feeling that this means that Sid’s aura is much brighter and more intense than Ben’s.

    • non_canon

      I’d say it has something to do with the development of their friendship. To Mal Sid is just another wizard with a bright shiny aura but Ben and his aura signify someone he knows and can trust. Kinda like how for Mal there’s normal violin playing and then there’s Wolfe’s playing.

  • M. E. Gibbs

    THIS IS MY FAVORITEST PAGE maybe not ever but maybe ever? In a long, long time? It’s certainly competing with Ben’s hair because man, lookatit! Mal’s got a bird and that’s the thieving problem and it’s a MAGPIE and the keys and BENJI and all of my fangirl buttons have been PUSHED SO HARD.

  • Jota

    From panel 5 of :

    “Hrm. Your wrist and this priceless relic just happened to bump into each other?”

    “Well… yes, actually!”

    “After it flew, *bird-like*, from another man’s wrist.”


    Yes indeed, Sid. Yes indeed.

    • Ah! Excellent remark! Thanks.

    • S.K. Ren

      So rereading that story I realize that Harriet’s Pipe is going to be the conduit for greed. Interesting.

    • DEAR GOD…

  • Tikatu

    Ben, you are dealing with the seven deadly sins. Of course this day can get worse–and will!

  • Amy

    … interesting – it’s not just a magpie; it’s a PROPER magpie. Most spirits/buggerups aren’t so clearly shaped like real animals, are they? The malformations are usually exciting mishmashes of creatures, colors and sometimes objects. Sure, some of them look animal-like, but compare the Purple Hippo of Happiness to that magpie and compare how closely they resemble their animal. Perhaps the best formed was Envy, but Voss specifically gave Envy that form based off his name, and even then Envy was green and not, you know, fox colored.

    • r2d2go

      You can see a bit of swirly-ink-things on its tail though. I’d say it’s slightly less animal-like than Envy.

  • Columbine

    Horray for the confused magpie of randomly nicking things!!! HORRAY!

  • Columbine

    I love magpies so damn much.

  • Sapphire363

    Why, so I was correct in my theory that the larger the aura, the more potential a wizard has.

  • Sapphire363

    Did anyone notice the bird has its own aura?

    • John

      I saw it, but didn’t catch the fact that it is significant. However I don’t think that any of the other spirits or malforms that we have seen have their own aura, so the fact that the bird does must be significant. It may be as simple as the fact that this malform has been specifically tied to Sid for years while none of the other malforms we have seen have been specifically tied to anyone. The fact that Sid seems to be a reasonably powerful wizard (as far as his potential goes anyway) may also have something to with it.

      • JWLM

        I’m betting the Sid has the potential to be more than a merely moderately powerful wizard.

    • Tikatu

      Not only does the bird have its own aura, so does the map Sid is carrying!

      • Sapphire363

        Well, ya, its imbued with curiosity.

  • MoeLane
  • Benji?! Isn’t that what Q used to call Benjamin Sisko? As Ms Ashwin listed Deep Space 9 in her #7favtvshows, I don’t think this is a coincidence.

    • Not the angle I was shooting for, but I do utterly adore DS9!

  • Altzbeta Boutelier

    Hahahah, of COURSE it’s a magpie, WONDERFUL. And Ben, you should know better than to say things like that in this town.

  • rainycity1

    …and on a completely different topic, I thought I was pretty familiar with nursery rhymes, but could someone enlighten me as to which rhyme has a magpie, please?
    (Can’t wait to see what’s up with Ben & Verity!)

    • Foehn

      Found it!

      (apparently I have decided to just constantly provide links in the comments. It’s kind of fun?)

      • rainycity1

        So sweet of you! I’d wondered if it was something like this. Over here,

        One for sorrow,
        Two for mirth, Three for a funeral And four for birth
        refers to the number of crows, probably because they’re more common than magpie. I actually only saw a magpie for the first time a few years ago. I had to ask what type of bird it was.

  • I love this! I adore your ability to have every single character experience the most impossible day ever, all differently, and all at once!

    And oh, so very Ben…”Keep the keys, the house burned down anyway.”

  • Sanjay Merchant


    Vee and Ben have a history! Kate, you somehow managed to trump a big reveal about Mal’s condition!

    • John

      You mean Sid’s condition, right?

      • Sanjay Merchant

        OK, I made that mistake like two or three times here, but managed to catch the others before I hit “Post”. I think it’s because Sid’s last name is Malik?

  • If that magpie is a buggerup, it’s one of if not the most clearly and distinctly formed that we’ve seen.

  • Sapphire363

    And magpies are known for taking shiny things, of course

    • Euodiachloris

      They actually don’t. Adult magpies and crows shy away from strange, shiny objects because of the potential risks. Man has taught them that shiny metal = bad news = probably choking or a trap. :P

      Stuff can wind up as structural material in nests, but usually because they get taught by their parents that e.g. wire is safe if woven into a nest carefully. :)

      • Sapphire363

        It’s a stereotype.

  • Margot

    Everything about this page is great.

  • Chris Kotthoff


  • Euodiachloris

    Is it called Yoink? :D

  • I was just typing up a recommendation for “Widdershins” on a forum, and i realised that people who stumble upon the comic for the first time with this page are gonna have five years worth of running gag spoilt for them…

    • Haha, I’m sure they’d forget by the time it became relevant! Thanks for spreading the word, it’s very much appreciated! Easily one of the best ways to support a webcomic.

  • 97 comments and no-one has mentioned the humorous misunderstanding about the use of ‘bird’ in panel 2. Am I correct in thinking this has sailed over the heads of our readers from the Americas?

    • BeepBeepMeepMeep

      Just because some of us are from the Americas doesn’t mean nobody uses “bird” as a term for girls over here, whether for better or for worse. It’s quite common in slightly older literature, or at least the literature I’ve read.

      • Oh right. I tend to think of it as a British term from the 60s and 70s that you don’t hear much nowadays. And it’s still the best line on a great page. Probably a good job Ms Harriet wasn’t around to hear it in person, otherwise O’Malley might not have got the chance to explain before he got his nose broken again.

        • JWLM

          And I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s actually one of the reasons those of us from the English-speaking parts of North America kind of let it go: ‘bird’ as a term for a young woman is kind of derogatory in our dialect. My response was a sort of “OK, well, clever pun but I wouldn’t make it” kind of thing.

          • BeepBeepMeepMeep

            Yes! I’ve always heard it as an insult, so I thought the same thing. :)

  • JWLM

    Is it a magpie because Sid summoned it (accidentally) while trying to do a stage magic trick? That would explain its relatively benign aspect — that aura isn’t associated with any of the deadlies — and would also explain why it sticks with Sid.

  • Chris Galo

    so i just read through the entire archive in about a day and i love that you knew where this story was going 5 years ago. i cant wait to see where it goes now my only problem is now i have to wait for each page.

  • disqus_p5U5lrkfew

    Don’t know if you ever check up on the old Darken site, but there’s missing comics now, starting in the Blood Bond chapter. I don’t have time to get into other chapters just now, but…
    And apparently one of those was a chapter change because I’m up to Beast.

    • Oh dear :( I need to make a stripped-down version of that site, just a simple php gallery instead of the wordpress install it currently has, but all the comics gallery installs are too fancy :|

      • disqus_p5U5lrkfew

        Another in chapter 7…

        Chapter 13

        So 1-4, 6, 8-12, and 14 don’t have any issues. I’ve got a long day that starts early so I need a nap but I’ll resume checking ASAP.

        ETA: So far halfway through 18 and no problems since 13!

        ETA2: So absolutely NOTHING past 13 is missing anything. Only 8 comics all in all. Not too bad. :)

      • disqus_p5U5lrkfew

        Also – *nose boop.* LTNS.

  • Dane 72

    “I swear officer! I didn’t steal that thing, it was the bird!”

  • robert袋蟻食skitch

    I need to go back and read everything just so I can imagine the magpie being there stealing things. ^_^

  • SaberRoy

    So I’m completely new at commenting, but I was doing a re-read, both on comic and comments, and I noted that in this panel ( there was a discussion on whether it was Vee or Sidney’s gift that took the part. A lot of people figured it couldn’t be Sidney’s curse because the door opens and a curse wouldn’t have to open the door to get to the part. except now we know that Sidney’s curse is actually a buggerup and buggerups are corporal, which means the Magpie would have to had opened the back of the robot to steal the part, which makes it really awesome and subtle foreshadowing.

    • SaberRoy

      Also on a completely different topic, the lady knitting outside of Mt. Everest here: , I would bet good money is Mt. Everest’s witch, her comment about having great emotion in his heart takes on extra meaning if she has the sight like Mal, and if she is the Witch and has the sight, the two meeting would be very interesting.

  • Sid is way too happy about this.

  • rainycity1

    Oh my. Reading the GoComics site as well:
    Kate, you are amazing. <3

  • Chris the Blue

    Ooooo my gosh, Sid’s had a Stand this whole time!

  • Been catching up and just realized this came out on my birthday! Between the magpie and “Benji”, I’d say this makes a magnificent birthday treat. :)

  • Sarah W

    Two giant things revealed on this page! “Bird” (it had barely even occurred to me to *wonder* about Sid’s curse …) and then “Benji!”. After reading, I fell into an approximately six-second silence and found my head had tilted almost entirely sideways …

    … then clapped. And laughed – with my voice box – with siblings in the house and it’s just fortuition (that’s a word, right?) that they didn’t hear me.

  • Graham Garrett


  • non_canon

    Something that got lost in all the awesome going on in this page is that Mal apparently watched Ben’s keys get taken and did absolutely nothing to stop it or even mention it to him, which is highly amusing to me.

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