This is a page about the characters in the comic. It contains a lot of stuff that’s already in the Q&A, but also a lot of stuff that isn’t.
Abby is the one with the long brown hair and glasses, usually portrayed in an orange shirt. Like Norma, she’s a college senior. She’s a bit more nerdy than Norma, with a language obsession and a penchant for making awful puns. She’s usually the one who comes up with bizarre insights about life when the two of them are sitting at their table together.
Abby has Asperger’s Syndrome, like me. It’s a condition that is considered to be on the autism spectrum, but not everyone calls it autism. Her Asperger’s is pretty much like mine: social ineptitude combined with strong academic skills and a gift for thinking outside the box. It’s because of people like her that Asperger’s is called “the nerd syndrome.”
Norma is the one with the shortish blond hair and the red V-neck shirt.
I think of Norma as an autism ally. She’s not diagnosed with anything; maybe she could get diagnosed if she wanted to, or maybe she couldn’t. She’s never had problems severe enough to try for a diagnosis. But she’s definitely a geek, and she’s sympathetic to the concerns of the autism spectrum.
Cathy is the one with the big blond hair and the pink low-necked top. She doesn’t like Abby and Norma, and the feeling is mutual. To Abby’s dismay, she and Cathy both have part-time jobs at the same bookstore.
Cathy is a combination of all the traits I didn’t like seeing in other students when I was in college. She’s obsessed with her appearance, her social life, and looking and acting normal. (Strangely enough, though, she does show the occasional flash of intelligence, and she spends more time talking with Abby and Norma than you’d expect. Maybe, deep down, she’s a closet nerd.)
Sharon and Karen are Abby’s seven-year-old twin cousins. Sharon is the one with the pigtails and the fascination with wordplay. Karen is the one with the bun and the fascination with weird logic. Needless to say, Abby loves hanging out with both of them when they come and visit her at her dorm.
Abby’s mom is essentially an embodiment of all the annoying qualities that are common in parents. Her two greatest regrets in life are that Abby is not normal and that Abby is not planning to give her any grandchildren.
Sharon and Karen’s mom is pretty much the same, except she deals with an earlier phase of motherhood. She makes her daughters live by all the same rules that her mother made her live by, and her mother before that, without ever considering which of those rules actually make any sense. Whenever Sharon and Karen do not behave like the children in “Dick and Jane” books from the 1950’s, she worries that they might have serious mental problems caused by their interaction with their cousin Abby.
Sharon and Karen’s dad is barely present.
Hans is a friend of Abby’s. Like her, he is in college, but unlike her, he is going there against his parents’ will. His parents believe that the only way to save humanity from destroying itself is to eliminate social interaction, and that the only way to do that is to breed humans selectively until they are completely solitary (communicating only for reproductive purposes, and then only to arrange artificial insemination). Hans, the combination of their genes, was their attempt to breed the ultimate antisocial human. They are profoundly disappointed that he turned out to be a chatroom-frequenting, online-roleplaying, semi-social nerd instead of a complete loner.
Ron is a friend of Abby and Norma’s, particularly Norma’s. Little is known about him except that (a) he speaks only in palindromes, and (b) he is somehow surviving college despite this fact.
Chrissy is not quite a friend of Abby’s, but they are acquaintances who share a few interests, such as an interest in avoiding Cathy. Unlike Abby, who dislikes Cathy because Cathy is a conformist and a very mean person, Chrissy dislikes Cathy because Cathy is promiscuous and therefore makes God cry. In fact, the basis for most of Chrissy’s judgments about various aspects of the world is whether or not they make God cry according to the most traditional interpretation of the Bible.
So far, Becky is only mentioned by name in strips where she is not actually present, but I think she is the person in the above picture. She appears to be friends with Cathy, though they have frequent fights. Becky has a tattoo that is extremely amusing to Abby. She resents Abby’s success in academic areas of life, because she believes it makes less academically inclined students look bad to the professors.
Don’t know what to say about Professor Michaelson. He’s one of Abby’s professors, and he reluctantly tolerates a lot of nonsense from her.