Daily Grind

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Daily Grind is a webcomic created by Michael H. Payne in February 2005 as an entry for the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge. It is primarily an action title, and as such, it is quite a bit darker and more philosophical than Payne's other comic, Terebinth.


  • Howlett Creager - Howlett is a very intelligent and level-headed male snake who happens to be the proprietor of the "Daily Grind General Assistance Service," which functions as a detective agency and information service. The cases he gets hired for are invariably of the kind that no one else could hope to solve because of their highly bizarre nature. Howlett is highly competent in his chosen occupation, having many talents. He is also cordial and genial, but very secretive about his own past.
  • Jolene - Jolene is a female squirrel who suffered a very rough childhood on the street and is forced to take medication for rage disorder. Uncommonly strong and nimble, Jolene is a squirrel of action. This not only makes her occasionally reluctant to follow her doctor's orders, but also puts her at odds with Howlett, for whom she has worked so long she tends to think of him (incorrectly) as an equal.
  • Doctor Everard Chalko (Doc) - Doc is a male cat who started out as the best M. D. in the region of Gadsden, where the Daily Grind is located. He lost his ability to speak to a round of bullets intended to snuff out his life. His attacker's intentions nearly succeeded as Doc subsequently plummeted into depression. However, since coming on board Howlett's staff, as well as acquiring a voice synthesizer, he has essentially made peace with his past and recovered his self-confidence.
  • Constance Teasdale - Mrs. Teasdale is a female moth who was born into privilege but had the misfortune of being born with an extremely limited ability to sense pheromones. In insect society, that rendered her essentially deaf and more or less sexually unresponsive. As a result, she and her late husband were caught in an unfortunate family intrigue which led to her husband's death. Tough as nails, but having a kind heart, Mrs. Teasdale runs and supervises a center for troubled children called the Chrysalis House whenever she is not on assignment.
  • D. F. Tharka (Tharka) - Tharka was originally a rabbit named Darius who gave himself over to the service of Satan, whom he calls "Scratch", after the death of his mother drove him to a mad quest for revenge. Tharka, whose long reputation as "the Devil Bunny" inspires awe and fear, is still getting used to the idea of showing mercy and letting evildoers live to see justice. Since leaving the Devil's service (he technically never sold his soul like most) and joining Howlett's operation, he has been trying to rediscover himself. He also has a business on the side with his friend and partner A. Gana Belea (a housefly).


For the most part, the comic has taken the approach of exploring each main character through a story arc featuring that character. The first storyline, Crossing Guard, and the most recent, The Apprentice, deal with Jolene and Tharka, respectively. Occasionally, however, there has been a story in which all the characters work together, and the other characters have been known to make appearances even when the spotlight is on one in particular. This strip has been known to be a bit extreme in violent content, yet it does not seek to glorify violence for its own sake. Romantic interest angles in this strip are somewhat more limited than in Terebinth, for example, but Jolene's secret admiration for Howlett and Tharka's interest in Gana are evident, if not pivotal facts.

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