Looking For Thoughts – On Tim
Once a week, longtime LFG fan and current LFG writer Ryan Costello looks at an element of Looking For Group lore, trivia, or development, and shares insight into why he appreciates it.
In the previous Looking For Thoughts, I encouraged fans to weigh in on what other LFG topics they’d like me to cover. Reader and prolific -some might say legendary- Facebook commenter Jay T Wilkey said “The next topic should be on Tim.”
So I’m doing Tim.
There Are Those Who Call Him… Tim
We first meet Tim way back in Looking For Group 23. If you, like our archives, think of LFG in terms of issues, that makes Tim’s first appearance in issue 1. On their way to assassinate Stoll, the lord of the trolls, for the The gnomes of Mechastone, the group meets Tim and Styx, and a bunch of other nameless troll warriors and shamans.
Personally, I’m surprised Sohmer and Lar called Tim’s species trolls. They feel more like orcs to me, at least by Dungeons & Dragons’ interpretation. The exception being Tim. A giant green warrior of questionable intellect. Our big loveable, lickable goof fit the troll bill better than his brethren.
Sohmer and Lar established a lot of iconic Tim-isms in his debut. He’s the first character after Richard to get a dedicated font and dialogue bubble. He calls Richard “squishy” in his third line, and commits to licking Cale in his fourth. He’s also presented as a terrifying threat and a smiling, drooling oaf all on the same page. We also find out his name.
After Cale reveals the group’s plan to kill the troll lord, Styx and Tim take Cale, Krunch, and Fitch the gnome away. Interesting that Styx brought the members of the group not neutered by the shamans to his boss, who they planned to kill, and only brought one fellow troll. It’s almost like Styx was up to something…
Before we find out what, we get Tim’s other catchphrase.
It also becomes Tim’s first callback.
What’s wild is that the above panels come from three of Tim’s first five appearances, and all three of his first speaking appearances. Up until this point in the comic’s history, secondary characters didn’t live long. Luckily, Sohmer and Lar must have sensed they had a breakout character on their hands, so they kept Tim around.
Return of the Tim
Tim’s return was foreshadowed with, well, his shadow, before dedicating an entire page to his first appearance in… this can’t be right…
Tim really didn’t show up between pages 32 and 159. That’s almost a year and a half. But clearly Sohmer and Lar understood the popularity of the character, based on the spotlight reintroduction.
Going forward, Tim came and went. He’d team with the group when the group’s quests mattered to the trolls. Typically, if Tim showed up, Styx showed up too. There’s a reason for that.
In Tale As Old As Tim, we learn Tim’s rich and complex backstory. When Styx said Tim took too many mace hits to the head, you might infer that this was recent. However, when we meet a young Tim, he’s already slow witted and prone to drooling. If it’s an act, it’s one his adopted fathers believe.
We also discover that Styx is Tim’s brother, also adopted, and in on their fathers’ secret. It seems like Tim’s the only one who isn’t aware of his secret origin. Or is he?
Both arcs end with hints that Tim understands more than it appears. The first arc suggests it when Tim says something ominous, but the second arc is more explicit. Through flashback, we see Tim and Styx at the youngest they’ve ever appeared. Styx is the one struggling with his words, while an amazingly eloquent Tim coddles him.
What does this all mean? Is Styx looking out for his brain damaged big brother, or is Tim looking out for his wily runt little brother? More importantly, as Dan Larson of Toy Galaxy likes to ask…
Some NPC spin-offs line up with the main line LFG stories better than others. In the case of Styx and Tim’s flashback, while some ambiguity allows for it to be Tim’s dream, nothing contradicts the stories that came before or after it.
The two pages in question ask more questions than they answer. Intriguing questions. However, even with this blog highlighting them, Tim’s NPC arcs are fairly obscure corners of LFG lore. If the main line revisits Tim’s backstory, we’ll need to be explicit in how we present it.
Anyway, off to write more LFG scripts…
Now you know,