Shortpacked!

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Pictured top to bottom: Robin, Ethan, Malaya, Mike, Amber, Faz, with Galasso and Leslie off to the side. Not pictured: Ken, Drew, Ultra-Car, Conquest, Ronald Reagan...

Shortpacked! is a webcomic by David Willis and a part of the Walkyverse.

The title refers to the toy store where the main characters work, and the strip starts with Robin -- It's Walky's hyperactive speedster—taking a position there as a saleswoman. Mike has already been working there for some time by then, in spite of... certain factors that may render this unlikely. The cast also includes:

  • Ethan Siegal, a toy-obsessed 30-year-old Unlucky Everydude.
  • Amber O'Malley, a bespectacled, detached Nerd type who has become a lot more confident and outgoing over the course of the comic. Currently engaged to Mike.
  • Faz, an unctuous Smug Snake who only pauses from climbing the corporate ladder to try and get into Amber's pants. Turns out to be Amber's half-brother (much to her horror).
  • Leslie Bean, a self-sacrificing romantic young lesbian who falls for Robin. They're currently exes, and now it's Robin who's pining after her.
  • Jacob, the resident straight man (in both senses), trying to make sense of his coworkers' quirks. He's also a recovering sex addict with an addictive personality.
  • Galasso, the deranged, tyrannical manager of the Shortpacked Toy Store.
  • Ultra-Car, a talking car with robotic arms an an arrogant attitude. He works in the stock room and has been described as a "poor man's Mike."
  • Drew, Ethan's ex-boyfriend.
  • Roz, Robin's selfish, freeloading sister who runs a porn site.
  • Ken, hired to fill the Asian quota. His main gag so far is the fact that people keep forgetting he exists. Also the Dogged Nice Guy to...
  • Malaya, one of Ken's roommates. She started dating Leslie after her breakup with Robin, much to Robin's chagrin. Looks down upon nerds and pretty much everyone else that's not her or Leslie.
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America, capable of singlehandedly fending off armed criminals. With Patriotism. Left the store for parts unknown, though he's cameoed at least twice since.
  • Jeshua, the historical Jesus Christ, brought back to work in the store by the same means Galasso resurrected Reagan.
  • The following appear pretty sporadically these days:
    • Conquest ('Connie'), Galasso's beautiful daughter. Used to really get around to satisfy her father's need for an heir, but has since moved on to be a successful toy-store-chain owner in her own right.
    • Ninja Rick, who is obsessed with all things ninja and is under the delusion that his life is a manga. He doesn't talk much.

The general tone of the comic is lighter and wackier than its predecessors, and though its characters do indulge in angst from time to time, it's more the result of, say, the moral ramifications of keeping your boss prisoner in a storage closet than any realism in the storylines. It's also more pop-culture oriented—jokes regarding Transformers and Batman abound—and more prone to filler than Willis's previous works. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends on how big a fan you are of Transformers and Batman.


Shortpacked provides the page image for:

Shortpacked! is the Trope Namer for:

Tropes used in Shortpacked! include:

Ethan: What else did I miss?
Amber: Iowa okayed gay marriage.
Ethan: I'm serious. What's new?
Amber: The store had a near-orgy.
Ethan: You continue to tell me lies.

    • Mike attempts to give his condolences for the passing of Amber's pet hamster. Her reaction? Rabid, disbelieving laughter. Granted, he may not actually feel sorry for the animal, but is still sincere in wanting her to feel better.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Mike gets to play a hero and rescue Amazi-Girl like this here.
  • Catch Phrase:

Batman: "I'm Batman."

Dude, you are going to be a husband an' a father. Try harder.

Ethan: May you live forever, sir.

  • Death Is Cheap: Not only does Mike come back, somehow Galasso also resurrects Ronald Reagan (and later Jesus) to work in his store. It's never explained how or why he can do this.
  • Discontinuity Nod: "Hey, everyone agreed to never mention that 'Second Eaton' crap ever again."
  • Doppelganger Dating: Robin and Jake Manley.
  • Dysfunction Junction: practically all the characters have issues. And let's not even get started on the relationships between them...
  • Everybody Remembers the Stripper: In-universe. Robin's been a congresswoman key in landmark legislation for two terms with active campaigning for a third term, and before that was a decorated war hero. All anybody remembers is that one sex tape.
  • Everyone Is Bi:
    • By this point, everyone but Galasso and Reagan have had some form of romantic encounter with members of both sexes.
    • Even Reagan is rather suspect, as he's still at least technically married to Nancy, and admits himself that he knew Rock Hudson. How well did they know one another?
  • Evil Overlord: Galasso. At least he thinks he is. That his "domain" is just a freakin' toy store doesn't seem to register.
  • Evil Twin: Inverted; there's another store called McAwesome's Parasailing and Chocolate Bakery, which is basically a much-improved version of Shortpacked!. Ethan juuust avoided going to work there because he happened to see Shortpacked! on the other corner.
  • Expy: Galasso, is a mix of Norman Osborne and Ra's Al Ghul.
  • Fan Dumb: Ethan's obsessions with Batman and Transformers is an In-Universe example, which mirror David Willis' own. (Specifically, he's a Fan Hater while being a member of the fandoms he hates.) Things get really surreal when Willis cameos...and gets into a brawl with Ethan over the Transformers Wiki.
  • Fan Service Pack:
  • Flat What: Mike's reaction upon learning that Amber has adopted a pair of hamsters.
  • Foreshadowing: In the strip where Robin persuades Amber to snoop around Mike's room Mike's McAwesome's uniform is somewhat visible in his closet a while before it actually comes up in the story.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Fans note Faz's tendency to speak in the Third Person and are thus continually surprised when he says "I" or "Me", which he has in fact done since his introduction.
  • Fridge Horror: In-universe, Amber seems to suffer from a case of this when she realizes Faz might actually be her half-brother.
  • The Fun in Funeral: A slightly low-key version at Amber's dad's funeral. Mike attends in party attire, complete with little paper hat, noisemaker, and confetti; Amber freely admits to one of the mourners that her father was an abusive asshole; Faz introduces Amber to his new girlfriend and their...disturbing sex life; finally, Amber berates her father's corpse for dying before she got a chance to stand up to him...and then Mike flips off both middle fingers to the corpse while delivering this line:

Mike: Later, jerkhole. I'm fuckin' your daughter.

"GALASSO'S ASSEMBLED AN ARMY OF CANNON-WIELDING HAMSTERS!"
WILL NO ONE FLOOD MY DAUGHTER WITH SPERM?

  • Last Het Romance: Robin for Ethan. She already suspects that he's gay, but was pursuing him anyway. He's not interested. She gets pissed off when he bangs a chick, and when he asks why she shouts he's supposed to be gay. Confronted with this, something goes click in his mind. Cue gayness.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: If you're reading for the first time, avoid the comments section unless you really want to know in the first few strips about every relationship snag and plot twist throughout the whole comic.
  • Living in a Furniture Store: Drew's apartment, in contrast to Ethan's and Played for Drama.
  • Love Chart: Robin's drawn one up to insure things never reach Love Dodecahedron levels. It hasn't really worked.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's implied that Amber and Faz are half-siblings.
    • Seems confirmed now. Robin secretly had their DNA tested.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Well, mad store owner's beautiful daughter, Conquest Galasso. She has a lot of sex, at her father's urging, as he "needs a male heir". What he doesn't know is she's on birth control and has been for quite a while.
    • He wants an heir, and she's a nymphomaniac. "Lots of sex" is the one thing they agree on.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Subverted; Robin's attempts at this usually just wind up annoying the crap out of people.
  • Meganekko: Amber this time - lampshaded repeatedly, subverted at least once.
  • Meta Guy: Robin. She refuses to engage in any political commentary during her time as a Representative, actively charts the comic's Love Dodecahedron, knows that Head Alien II "speaks in orange", and mentions tropes by name. But the real kicker is when she unwittingly becomes the comic's Knight of Cerebus, pulling the Drama Tag when she realizes her new surroundings are lighter, softer, and consequence-free:

Robin: Before I moved here, there was danger. People died. I lived on the edge of my seat. B-but I've been here a year and I got it all figgured out. Nothing happens here. Ever. There's no Love Triangles. Only people nobody ever saw before get fired. Just you watch. Here I am, gone totally bonkers, and this will all end on a joke.

Robin: Hey, it's that guy !
Thad: My name is Thaddeus.
Robin: Thad ? Is your last name "Guy" ?
Thad: No.
Robin: Dang, that would've been convenient.

  • Put on a Bus: After the "end of Shortpacked" storyline, Ronnie quietly announced that he was retiring again.
    • Robin literally put Roz on a bus after her first appearance. It didn't take, apparently.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Amber, when cursing the fact that she can't afford the new 80s Ninja Turtles toys because she's buying stuff for the coming baby instead.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe Discussed with regards to the "Prime killed Animated" school of thought here.
  • Riddle for the Ages: How did Mike come back to life? Yes, Death Is Cheap, but Mike's resurrection is impossible even by the methods present in the Walkyverse. General consensus among readers is that he came back to life through sheer spite.
    • Relatedly, how exactly does Galasso manage to bring back dead people? And why does he have trouble with basic concepts like gender?
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Leslie's new cat looks less like an actual cat and more like a Mew.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Okay, we need to repeat this. Robin shoves Faz up Sarah Palin's ass.

"Faz is the envy of Fox News!"

    • While not reaching that level of ridiculous, we should also point out that Mike tricked Amber's mom into sleeping with their relapsing sex-addict neighbor, recorded the sounds from said sex, and then spliced several of the sounds together to form the message "Amber, will you marry me?".
  • Revenge Before Reason: Sydney Yuss makes some odd plans to get revenge for being fired.
  • Running Gag: Major characters calling minor character Ken by the wrong name: "I knew it was something from Street Fighter!" Picked up quickly by the commenters, where it's become obligatory to call him by a new Street Fighter character name every time he's referred to.
    • Apparently God really wants Star Trek: Enterprise back on the air.
    • Aslan is always waiting for a bus. The one time it showed up, he'd just been called away.
  • Sanity Slippage: Anyone who works at Shortpacked (and quite a few of the customers) will inevitably regress/evolve into or reveal themselves to be a tangled, neurotic mess. Or a jerk. Or both.
  • Shark Pool: Galasso has one installed right under the store.
  • Shout-Out:

S'ARRÊTE!