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Penelope Gaines is an assistant manager at Coffee of Doom and former employee of a bookstore.[1] Wil is her boyfriend. They were introduced by Sven Bianchi.



Penelope is the only character whose religious beliefs have been mentioned in the comic (for Hannelore we only know her upbringing,[2] not her current beliefs). She is an atheist and materialist, despite or because of strictly religious parents.[3] Her exposition of her beliefs came in the form of one of her characteristic[4][5] passionate speeches.

Major events[]

  • Starts work at Coffee of Doom after a miserable job at a bookstore[1]
  • First date with Wil[6]
  • Second date with Wil[7]
  • Finding out about Wil's background[8]

Penny was courted by Sven's friend Wil, a poet, but they only had two awkward dates before he decided to find himself on the road.[9] He kept up correspondence with her while he was away.[10] When he returned she discovered to her dismay that he had never had a job before[8] and helped him gain one at the local bar, The Horrible Revelation.

Prior to Wil, her relationships with men were dissatisfying.[11]

Penelope was promoted to assistant manager a Coffee of Doom after Faye was fired.[12]


Dora once called Penny "the bitterest girl on earth".[13]


Penelope likes to read and dreams of becoming a publisher or literary agent.[14]. She has, however, not taken action toward this goal since an internship after college.[15]

Her tastes in reading are varied, including trashy romances and serious literature.[16] but do not extend to Hemingway, whom she despises.[17] Although she does sometimes read romance novels,[18] in general she hates them.[19] Her favorite genre is history.[20] She has a copy of Scientific American in her bedroom, and possibly "Lord of the Flies."[21] She has gotten into edit wars on Wikipedia.[5]

Sex and drugs and rock&roll[]


Penelope is exclusively heterosexual and selective.[22] She would apparently approve of seeing Marten naked, however.[23]


Penelope drinks caffeine but not alcohol.[24]

Music preferences[]

Her tastes in music are largely unknown, but she does own a T-shirt for "The Decemberists", an indie-folk rock band.[25]


She is physically fit.[26]


Penelope is tied for second place in Jeph Jacques's list of his favorite characters,[27] though this may have changed over time.

Memorable quotes[]

  • "And PLEASE stop pronouncing my name like "antelope." I'm not an ungulate."[1]
  • " What if I WAS just re-alphabetizing my bookshelf? Is that activity inherently INFERIOR to going on a date with someone?"[5]
  • "I’m just terrified that it’s gonna turn out I really AM Pizza Girl but I have schizophrenia or something."[29]
  • "I don't mind being oded as long as he keeps it above the neckline. Luscious-fruit and delicate-flower similes are third-date material at best."[30]
  • "I'm sorry to hear about your 'throbbing, desperate tumescence.' Isn't there a cream or something to treat that?"[31]
  • "It's just dumb and irrational! There's no EVIDENCE for any of it! It's all stupid fairy-tales that people use to shield themselves from reality. There ARE no spirits, there IS no afterlife, and there IS no GOD watching over us like some creepy cosmic voyeur."[3]
  • "I shouldn't have to! I'm RIGHT!"[32]
  • "I love it when it's raining and all the cute runner boys have to come in here. Their butt-tectonics really get my seismometer going, if you know what I mean".[33]
  • "Your brain can't ALWAYS work like this. You wouldn't have survived childhood."[34]
  • "Shut up and kiss me, you dolt"[35]


Penny is suspected of having been the superhero Pizza Girl, a former recurring character.

Penelope denies being Pizza Girl but the strip has left open the possibility that she is Pizza Girl without knowing it.[29] Or, perhaps not...[36]

With the introduction of Dale the role of Pizza Girl has been thrown into question. It can be assumed that Jeph has either discontinued her from canon in favor of Dale's character, (as he delivers pizzas) or that Penelope was Pizza Girl and has abandoned her alter ego due to her employment at Coffee Of Doom. Jeph has stated, however, that her likeness to Pizza Girl "will never be explained."[37]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Number 725: For Some Reason A Witty Title Eludes Me
  2. Number 1295: More Theological Discussion
  3. 3.0 3.1 Number 1288: Another Penny-Rant
  4. Number 755: Someone's A Little Bitter
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Number 774: Also Certain Webcomics
  6. Number 1255: Consummate
  7. Number 1284: Suffer For Your Art
  8. 8.0 8.1 Number 1442: Good Thing She Didn't Ask About The Motorcycle
  9. Number 1310: On The Road
  10. Number 1311: A Trustworthy Bunch
  11. Number 1241: The Worst Kind Of BoyNumber 1242: Very, Very Specific
  12. Number 3106: Free Smoothies
  13. Number 970: That's What Friends Are For
  14. Number 1138: Everyone Wants That Gig
  15. Number 1649: Everyone's A Hypocrite
  17. Number 1186: Semi-Altruism
  18. Number 1281: I Love You, Sandra Hill
  19. Number 700: Don't Tell Jimbo
  20. Number 813: Faye Loves Celebrity Gossip
  21. Number 1328: Late At Night
  22. Number 1242: Very, Very Specific
  23. Number 958: 'Stache Rides?
  24. Number 771: Necronomicon 3:16
  25. Number 1590: Banterfail
  26. Number 991: Feel The Burn
  28. Number 1050: Battle Becomes A War
  29. 29.0 29.1 Number 811: Bruce Wayne's Greatest Fear
  30. Number 1142: Odelay
  31. Number 1205: Shouldn't Have Brought That One Along
  32. Number 1289: She Learned It From THEM
  33. Number 998: Stand In A Doorway
  34. Number 849: They Have That In Common With The Marines
  35. Number 1432: Or Born To Be Wild
  36. Number 1932: Mo Chaucer Mo Problems
  37. cast.php