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faceroll
2010-11-01, 06:37 AM
http://emcarroll.com/comics/faceallred/01.html

So, what does the play ground think happened?

Weimann
2010-11-01, 07:44 AM
I think someone write a winsome story.

Eldan
2010-11-01, 07:44 AM
Awesome.

As for what happened...

The brother's a vampire? In some versions, vampires could take the shape of wolves.

Jahkaivah
2010-11-01, 08:58 AM
Holy crap this is awesome.

Tengu_temp
2010-11-01, 10:31 AM
That was good. Just what I needed in my state of mind.



As for what happened...

The brother's a vampire? In some versions, vampires could take the shape of wolves.


I don't think if the brother turned into the wolf. I think he killed his brother out of jealousy.

Eldan
2010-11-01, 10:35 AM
Well, yes. But my theory is this:
We have the successful brother and the unsuccessful brother.

The successful brother killed the monster.
The unsuccessful brother killed the successful brother, and threw him in the hole.
I think so far it's pretty obvious.
Now the question is what actually came back. Here I'd say there are two possibilities: the successful brother got bit by whatever monster it was, and was infected.
Or, and that's actually more interesting and I didn't think of it: the hole did something. A hole full of blackness that smelled of lilacs. After coming back, he dug a hole and seemed to sleep in it. There was a lilac bush outside.

Brother Oni
2010-11-01, 01:23 PM
According to wikipedia, the lilac is associated with Easter as it blooms around that time, also the brother came back after 3 days, reinforcing the association. Board policy prevents me from elaborating further.

A little google digging throws up a vignette by August Derleth (best known for his Cthulu mythos stories) called "The Lilac Bush", but I have no idea what it's about.

Prime32
2010-11-01, 01:41 PM
I'm not sure there's meant to be an explanation for it.

Om
2010-11-01, 01:54 PM
I'm not sure there's meant to be an explanation for it.This. The best stories often do not abide by any particular set of mechanics. Just roll with the narrative everybody

Xefas
2010-11-01, 01:57 PM
I'm not sure there's meant to be an explanation for it.

M. Bison and Optimus Prime were never meant to be put in a steel cage match to the death to determine who would win in a fight, but the fact is that if there is even the least amount of uncertainty, geeks will argue. They must know. I must know.

So, the imagery is there. Bro 1 got thrown in a big black pit with a devil in it and came back three days later, much to Bro 2's chagrin, but what the hell does that have to do with everything else? Is Bro 2 humankind?

Morph Bark
2010-11-01, 02:06 PM
M. Bison and Optimus Prime were never meant to be put in a steel cage match to the death to determine who would win in a fight, but the fact is that if there is even the least amount of uncertainty, geeks will argue. They must know. I must know.

...alright, who's gonna make that thread? :smallwink:

faceroll
2010-11-01, 02:08 PM
According to wikipedia, the lilac is associated with Easter as it blooms around that time, also the brother came back after 3 days, reinforcing the association. Board policy prevents me from elaborating further.

A little google digging throws up a vignette by August Derleth (best known for his Cthulu mythos stories) called "The Lilac Bush", but I have no idea what it's about.


In Eastern European folklore, vampire mythology is intertwined closely with that stuff we're not allowed to elaborate on. For instance, the crown of thorns was made of hawthorne, which is what you should make your stakes out of. The successful brother had a lilac and a hawthorne growing near his house.

I'm not sure if anyone came back at all. The unsuccessful brother, after wearing his brother's clothes, so to speak, grew guilty, and returned to the forest to pull his brother out of the hole. How literally are we to interpret the unsuccessful brother's story? The voice of his narration is flat and emotionless, and hints more at cowardice and fear than guilt, shame, or condemnation. I don't think the narrator is trustworthy.

Yora
2010-11-01, 02:19 PM
I think the brother just killed a regular wolf, and mistakenly believed it was the beast. But it wasn't. The beast later found his corpse, and then assumed its form.

Eldan
2010-11-01, 02:20 PM
Ooh. Also a good one.

Prime32
2010-11-01, 02:21 PM
Or maybe it is his brother, and he killed the beast in his brother's form.

...okay, that doesn't explain why he's digging holes.

Yora
2010-11-01, 02:24 PM
Another one would be, that the brother was killed by the beast in the forest. The beast then assumed the brothers form and was attaked by the narator. But being a monster, it came back 3 days later.
But there's quite some evidence against that later on.

cho_j
2010-11-01, 02:42 PM
OH MAN. This is so amazing! Thanks for introducing it to us all, faceroll!

Now, as for what happened...
I had to reread the end a couple times. Something very important is that the brother's face is not the only corpse face that's all redó look carefully at the wolf here (http://emcarroll.com/comics/faceallred/03.html). Its face is also stained red. So I think, as Yora has suggested, the wolf and the successful brother were both innocents. The unsuccessful brother killed the successful one, and the monster later found his corpse at took that form.

I don't know enough about werewolf, vampire, or not-allowed-on-this-board lore, so I can't take a better guess. But I do think the point about hawthorne and lilac is interesting... not sure how it fits with the Yora theory.

Om
2010-11-01, 02:47 PM
M. Bison and Optimus Prime were never meant to be put in a steel cage match to the death to determine who would win in a fight, but the fact is that if there is even the least amount of uncertainty, geeks will argue. They must know. I must knowWhich to my mind demonstrates a failing of geekdom. Not everything must be so literal or mechanical. Particularly when it comes to fairytales

Mauve Shirt
2010-11-01, 02:52 PM
Wow, I like this story! Thanks faceroll! :smallbiggrin:

Erts
2010-11-01, 03:04 PM
Yeah, faceroll, this is great. Creative, haunting, and very nice art.

Ending is a little predictable, and let me wanting more... But I think that is kinda the point. I think that the brother killed a random wolf, the protagonist killed the brother, and then the monster came out of the woods. And it sleeps in the hole that the brother dug, or the brother was somehow resurrected by the monster.

If I may ask, where did you find it?

Bhu
2010-11-01, 08:13 PM
Traditional vampire lore also contends that the first people a returning vampire visits to torment are his family. That would fit in with several of the theories here.

chiasaur11
2010-11-01, 08:17 PM
Yeah, faceroll, this is great. Creative, haunting, and very nice art.

Ending is a little predictable, and let me wanting more... But I think that is kinda the point. I think that the brother killed a random wolf, the protagonist killed the brother, and then the monster came out of the woods. And it sleeps in the hole that the brother dug, or the brother was somehow resurrected by the monster.

If I may ask, where did you find it?

I saw a link on Tom Francis's twitter. It's one place the link showed up, at least.

Zmflavius
2010-11-01, 09:20 PM
Really good comic, I suppose the ending is kind of hackneyed, but that kind of ending never gets old.

Personally, I think that we can all wonder on how the brother came back, but in my view, this story, like many others, is strong primarily because so many things are left unknown, for us to wonder about.

Like V's gender. Or the species of the Mitd.

cho_j
2010-11-01, 11:25 PM
Really good comic, I suppose the ending is kind of hackneyed, but that kind of ending never gets old.

Personally, I think that we can all wonder on how the brother came back, but in my view, this story, like many others, is strong primarily because so many things are left unknown, for us to wonder about.

Like V's gender. Or the species of the Mitd.

Heh, thanks for the good laugh; my roommate thinks I'm insane, but it was worth it. :)

And I agree with the sentiment that wondering about the brother's reappearance is key to why this story is so good. But at this point, I think so many plausible theories and theory bits have been proposed, that there may actually be a specific, decipherable answer that the author had in mind.

chiasaur11
2010-11-01, 11:26 PM
Heh, thanks for the good laugh; my roommate thinks I'm insane, but it was worth it. :)

And I agree with the sentiment that wondering about the brother's reappearance is key to why this story is so good. But at this point, I think so many plausible theories and theory bits have been proposed, that there may actually be a specific, decipherable answer that the author had in mind.

So, like Inception?

faceroll
2010-11-02, 01:14 AM
I n c e p t i o n (http://www.instantinception.com/)

Fiery Diamond
2010-11-02, 01:53 AM
Creepy, good story.

Here are my thoughts.

We have successful brother and unsuccessful brother. The two go into the woods to slay the monster.

Unsuccessful brother hides; comes back out to find dead wolf and successful brother. The two laugh, but unsuccessful brother kills successful brother out of jealousy. He dumps him in the odd hole after tearing off a piece of his coat. He goes home and tells his lie.

Three days later, "his brother" comes home (with an untorn coat). "His brother" digs at night, claims to have gotten lost, and thanks him for killing "that devil."

Freaked out, unsuccessful brother goes back to look for his brother's corpse in the hole to see if it is still there. It is.

However...in the last two panels, it is not entirely clear what's happening. It looks like the corpse turns its head to reveal its red face, though I'm unsure that this is what is supposed to be being depicted.

Now, we have several issues.

-The most obvious: His brother appears to have come back.
-To add: "His brother" confirms the lie that he told.
-And furthermore: "His brother" refers to the beast as a "devil", even though his brother made a point of saying that it was just a wolf.
-Minor thing: "His brother" has an obsession with digging.
-Minor thing: The hole is rather mysterious in and of itself.
-Major thing: His brother and "his brother" appear to be two different beings, by virtue of one being in the village and one being in a hole in the ground in the woods, and also evidenced by the torn coat/untorn coat.
-Uncertain thing: Corpse moving?

So, we have two possible categories of answers:
-Psychological (the unsuccessful brother is an unreliable narrator and all the things with his brother returning didn't actually happen...think Telltale Heart)
-Supernatural (his brother has become a vampire; a shapeshifter saw the innocent wolf and brother killed and took the dead brother's form--this would mean I misinterpreted the final scene)

Either way, freaky.
Bah. I don't like openended stories.

Om
2010-11-02, 05:34 AM
What alignment do you think the beast is?

Joran
2010-11-02, 05:48 AM
I saw a link on Tom Francis's twitter. It's one place the link showed up, at least.

I got it from Gabe from Penny-Arcade's Twitter feed. Twitter is the shizznit.

Zmflavius
2010-11-02, 06:08 PM
What alignment do you think the beast is?

I'm going with chaotic something.

Cyclone231
2010-11-02, 07:18 PM
The brother outside the hole is a ghost and the brother inside the hole is a zombie. There.

I blame TV Tropes for discussions like this.

J.Gellert
2010-11-02, 07:48 PM
Holy crap, horror story, warning, I shouldn't have read this all alone, this late at night.

Better than any horror film I've seen in recent years... I was expecting a revenant. But it's even scarier because there's no explanation about what the brother is.

Jahkaivah
2010-11-02, 08:08 PM
I blame TV Tropes for discussions like this.

Really? I blame the story that faceroll linked.

Weimann
2010-11-02, 08:41 PM
I agree. Trying to explain and put labels on it would be missing the point.

Deth Muncher
2010-11-02, 08:42 PM
I've had great fun showing this to friends. All of them have had the reaction of "O_o".

chiasaur11
2010-11-03, 01:20 AM
Really? I blame the story that faceroll linked.

I blame society.

It's a good go-to answer.

Eldan
2010-11-03, 03:38 AM
I blame society.

It's a good go-to answer.

Personally, I blame eating too much fast food.

Cespenar
2010-11-03, 08:47 AM
The brothers are actually one person.

Tengu_temp
2010-11-03, 09:23 AM
I blame TV Tropes for discussions like this.

The dead brother is a Time Lord and the other one is Suzumiya Haruhi.

Now we're like TV Tropes!

Fri
2010-11-03, 09:47 AM
The dead brother is a Time Lord and the other one is Suzumiya Haruhi.

Now we're like TV Tropes!

But it makes sense!

Eldan
2010-11-03, 10:44 AM
But it makes sense!

The dead brother is a lost Primarch and everyone is Jesus in Purgatory (my favourite trope title).

Starbuck_II
2010-11-03, 11:54 AM
I got it. "The brother" in the hole was the beast who followed the protagonist and quickly waited for him to arrive.

Now he will likely eat him.

The reason the second version of the brother's coat wasn't torn is it was a illiusion. The 1st brother thought he killed the wolf and was killed by the protagonist. The wolf (demon) wait his time before coming back to the village.

But the second version of the brother was the wolf (demon) with magic to make illusion of brother.

I assume Regeneration meant while the 1st version of the brother had killed it in damage: regeneration meant none was really lethal.

Haruspex_Pariah
2010-11-03, 12:53 PM
That was scarier than any "horror" movie I've seen in a while.

The worst part was the final scene, where it looks to me like

The dead brother, his face all red, turns his head

Goosebumps as I am typing this. Thanks, OP. Not sarcastic there. Nope.

EDIT: WTF, I just realized that in the earlier panel the killer asks, why won't he turn to look on me? Scary! (but I'm easily scared)

drakir_nosslin
2010-11-03, 01:16 PM
Really good story. Thanks!

I think that it's some kind of monster that has literally stolen the successful brother's face, that's why the face is red. There is no skin.

Eldan
2010-11-03, 01:29 PM
EDIT: WTF, I just realized that in the earlier panel the killer asks, why won't he turn to look on me? Scary! (but I'm easily scared)


Actually, I reread it and, unless I'm mistaken, you never see the returned "brother"'s eyes...

Milskidasith
2010-11-03, 01:37 PM
You do see his eyes... in the second panel of the first page. He's still the returned brother at that time.

Mauve Shirt
2010-11-03, 01:37 PM
Actually, I reread it and, unless I'm mistaken, you never see the returned "brother"'s eyes...

Yeah you do, in the first few panels. He's not looking at the main character, but we can see his eyes.

Damned ninja! *shakes fist*

Eldan
2010-11-03, 01:45 PM
Oh. True.
On the later pages, after his return, however, the upper part of his head is always out of the panel. Very deliberately, I think.

Cespenar
2010-11-03, 02:47 PM
Oh. True.
On the later pages, after his return, however, the upper part of his head is always out of the panel. Very deliberately, I think.

Yes. Not showing the face means you can't be sure of what he thinks/feels. Classic fear of the unknown. Animes tend to do it as well. Eyes & faces would be covered by hair, etc.

Seonor
2010-11-08, 08:18 PM
Scott McCloud just posted some information on the author, if anyone is interested. Here (http://scottmccloud.com/2010/11/08/the-evidence-of-emily-carroll/).

Syka
2010-11-09, 11:27 AM
Showed it to Boyfriend and now he wants to make a short film out of it. XD I love his thinking.


Yeah, he pointed out to me at the end that the 'dead' brother actually turns his head and his eyes are open. The head visibly turns. And it's not the fake brother, either, since he is ostensibly at the village. That was a wtf moment.

I definitely loved it, though. The creepiness reminds me of The Enigma of Amigara Fault.

Jahkaivah
2010-11-09, 03:22 PM
I definitely loved it, though. The creepiness reminds me of The Enigma of Amigara Fault.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c226/saxcsa/EnigmaofFaceAllRed.png

Syka
2010-11-09, 03:26 PM
http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c226/saxcsa/EnigmaofFaceAllRed.png

<3 That is awesome!

Psyren
2010-11-10, 08:59 PM
I'm not sure there's meant to be an explanation for it.

Honestly, I see that as a cop-out. Sure it's open to interpretation, so let's interpret.

The ending wasn't satisfying to me but I can see where that might have been intentional.

Cobalt
2010-11-10, 10:00 PM
That was very, very good. Thank you for bringing this up.

Vladislav
2010-11-11, 11:02 PM
I started a campain based on this story. First session was tonight :smallcool:
Very atmospheric, very spooky. Players seem to have enjoyed it. So did I. Looking forward to continuing it.

Innis Cabal
2010-11-11, 11:13 PM
According to wikipedia, the lilac is associated with Easter as it blooms around that time, also the brother came back after 3 days, reinforcing the association. Board policy prevents me from elaborating further.

A little google digging throws up a vignette by August Derleth (best known for his Cthulu mythos stories) called "The Lilac Bush", but I have no idea what it's about.


Except the body is still at the bottom of the hole. So there's no way it's your first theory.

ghost_warlock
2010-11-12, 02:32 AM
http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c226/saxcsa/EnigmaofFaceAllRed.png

http://i461.photobucket.com/albums/qq339/ghost_warlock/winoneinternet.jpg

Anteros
2010-11-12, 03:15 AM
I read this that his brother was the real monster all along. Remember at the very beginning of the story, the brother lost 3 sheep at once at his own house. That information seems deliberate.

My interpretation is that the brother was already a "monster" but was behaving benignly towards his family and the villagers. When the protagonist tried to murder him, it raised his ire. He still seems to act normally with the villagers even after returning, and somehow possesses enough knowledge of the original brother to fool even the wife. It is only the protagonist that he is antagonistic towards.

The only thing I can't explain with this theory is why the second coat isn't torn...although clothing is hardly a difficult thing to repair or replace...especially for a supernatural being.

Athaniar
2010-11-12, 01:18 PM
Very intriguing, let's see if I can come up with a theory...

The first theory that comes to mind is that the beast was a werewolf, and that it bit and infected the brother, but that leaves several plot holes: the coat that is whole again, the lilac, the digging, the non-looking, the end. No, let's try another theory. A vampire? A skinwalker? Gah, it annoys me! Is it even supposed to be anything? Maybe the author is laughing at us for trying to make sense of it?

WalkingTarget
2010-11-12, 01:21 PM
Maybe the author is laughing at us for trying to make sense of it?

That's my take on it, personally. I think it's creepier if there's no ready explanation for what's happening.

Lillith
2010-11-12, 01:24 PM
What if the fake brother is a skin walker/changeling that lived in the pit? The first brother shot the second brother but didn't kill him like he thought. He was just unconscious. Second brother got thrown into the pit but remains alive. The skin walker/changeling has seen everything and takes the skin of the second brother, becoming the fake brother. Maybe having powers to copy the clothes but not noticing the piece of the coat missing, or doing it on purpose.

After a couple of days waiting he leaves the pit, having kept the second brother alive for whatever reason. After a couple of days the first brother goes back to the pit and finds his barely alive, but vengeful, brother still lying there.

bluewind95
2010-11-12, 03:49 PM
My own personal theory is that the "monster" was not a physical thing, but rather a manifestation of the fears and other negative feelings of the villagers. The narrator brother feels jealousy towards his brother... what happens? The brother loses 3 sheep. So on.

When the narrator returns after killing his brother, the monster strikes him. His conscience... he sleeps without dreaming, but at the same time, he fears what he did may be discovered. And thus, the monster takes that form. But it's not enough to come back and disprove what the narrator said. Nope. Instead the monster preys on the narrator's fear by not even making it quite sure what is going on, preys on his guilt by making everyone think he is indeed telling the truth. And he spooks the narrator by providing a reminder of what he left behind in the woods... by digging a hole. Till the narrator snaps and goes back to the forest, to the hole where he left his dead brother.

Mordar
2010-11-12, 07:26 PM
I'm not sure there's meant to be an explanation for it.


This. The best stories often do not abide by any particular set of mechanics. Just roll with the narrative everybody

While I might very well agree that there doesn't have to be *an* explanation, just rolling with the narrative might well avoid the creator's intent which was to engender discussion. Failing to question, speculate and discuss might well do said creator a disservice!

Here's my thought - not necessarily what I think was intended, if anything, but a potential explanation that has not yet been explored:

The narrator has become his brother in virtually every sense following the events in the woods, and the narrator we see in the 'current' timeline does not actually exist. Our vision is the splintered identity projected onto the page...the narrator watching himself across the room. He has taken on his brother's holdings, his position in the town and even, to some degree, his wife. After three days the guilt of what he has done overwhelms the joy he feels at his newfound success and works to erode the life he has stolen.

Not only does his brother never look at him...no one else does either. In every scene that contains both the narrator and the brother following the event in the woods, all eyes are on the brother. Granted, the only time anyone else looked at him in the beginning was to mock him, this remains a potential clue. While the return of the brother would certainly draw attention away from the narrator, the kill should have granted him esteem in their eyes, and he might well be more favorably considered...at least enough to earn the occassional glance or inclusion.

Since the new life of the narrator is created from whole cloth, the coat he wears is whole...no one notices because no one else sees that coat. Instead, they simply see the narrator in his new role.

As the narrator begins to unravel, he is frought with guilt and delusions during the night. The delusion of the brother digging the pit...unearthing what the narrator has done, reminding him of his crime? To assuage his splintering psyche, he must visit the hole and learn the truth...is the body who's lifesbreath he stole, and then who's living he stole, still there?

In the darkness he confirms the truth and faces the monster...himself. The staved-in face of his kin reveals the evil within him, and the movement no more than a trick of the light...our Telltale Heart closing.

Okay, YMMV, but it's an option :smallsmile:

- M

TSGames
2010-11-12, 08:25 PM
The narrator has become his brother in virtually every sense following the events in the woods, and the narrator we see in the 'current' timeline does not actually exist. Our vision is the splintered identity projected onto the page...the narrator watching himself across the room. He has taken on his brother's holdings, his position in the town and even, to some degree, his wife. After three days the guilt of what he has done overwhelms the joy he feels at his newfound success and works to erode the life he has stolen.

Not only does his brother never look at him...no one else does either. In every scene that contains both the narrator and the brother following the event in the woods, all eyes are on the brother. Granted, the only time anyone else looked at him in the beginning was to mock him, this remains a potential clue. While the return of the brother would certainly draw attention away from the narrator, the kill should have granted him esteem in their eyes, and he might well be more favorably considered...at least enough to earn the occassional glance or inclusion.

Since the new life of the narrator is created from whole cloth, the coat he wears is whole...no one notices because no one else sees that coat. Instead, they simply see the narrator in his new role.

As the narrator begins to unravel, he is frought with guilt and delusions during the night. The delusion of the brother digging the pit...unearthing what the narrator has done, reminding him of his crime? To assuage his splintering psyche, he must visit the hole and learn the truth...is the body who's lifesbreath he stole, and then who's living he stole, still there?

In the darkness he confirms the truth and faces the monster...himself. The staved-in face of his kin reveals the evil within him, and the movement no more than a trick of the light...our Telltale Heart closing.

Okay, YMMV, but it's an option :smallsmile:

- M
This makes the most sense to me, so far. Very good interpretation, and it was well written. While it would be nice to see this interpretation supported with a little more evidence from the story, I cannot, presently, think of better one.

+1 Props: for coming up with this.

Prime32
2010-11-12, 09:03 PM
The untorn coat suggests that a fake brother came into existence before the murder. Whether the fake brother is the one killed is harder to tell. If the real brother was killed, he was likely "infected" by the lilac entity. In which case the fake brother might be attempting to reproduce.

EDIT: The wolf came too close to the hole in the past and became the LE's host. It then transferred to the brother and started to create a copy of him, before being killed by the narrator. The brother's body still contains the lilac entity, and the fake brother is a semi-independent extension of its will.

Vladislav
2010-11-12, 10:07 PM
Here's what really happened , and what is about to happen.
After the Successful Brother was killed, the Starry Eyed Wife, fearing him dead, prayed, in a moment of weakness, for horrible vengeance on whoever killed him. She didn't of course know the killer was the Unsuccessful Brother, but someone, or something knew.

The prayer was powerful enough to bring forth a Revenant, who assumed SB's shape, and took over his life, unbeknownst by everyone, including SEW. The purpose of the Revenant is to torture UB by his very presence. The strange actions he takes (not looking directly in UB's eyes, digging) are meant deliberately to unnerve UB and bring him to the brink of madness. Also, the fact his coat is not torn is deliberate - it does unnerve UB, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, as UB is slowly going insane, everyone, including SEW, think everything is peachy. But the Revenant's plan is close to frutition now.

When UB goes to the forest at night, the Revenant followed him to the pit and engineered the show we see in the last panel, before killing the guilt-stricken UB in a horrible manner.

Meanwhile, this powerful curse draws the attention of dark powers. The entire village is surrounded by mists and is drawn into the demiplane of Ravenloft. SEW, seeing as it was her prayer that started everything, becomes one of the Lords of Ravenloft. She brings SB back to life, albeit in gruesome zombie form, and they life unhappily every after.