Marten Reed is one of the main characters of Questionable Content. In fact, as the first person to speak in the comic, it could be argued that he is the main character. He is the only other character besides Faye to have appeared in over half the strips in the comic.[1]

He is the human companion of Pintsize, is Faye's apartment-mate in apartment 22[2](or 25),[3] and for a while was in a relationship with Dora Bianchi, but is currently in a relationship with Claire Augustus.

Biography Edit


Marten is originally from northern[4] California.[5] His parents, who divorced when he was ten,[6] are Henry Reed, a gay nightclub owner, and Veronica Reed (stage name Veronica Vance), a fetish model and professional dominatrix. His step-father is Maurice Duplantier. Marten is an only child.[7] His only other known relatives are an aunt named Jane, an unnamed uncle,[8] and an unnamed grandfather.[9]

Marten was bullied in school[10] and was anxious enough as a child to require a Worry hat. He used to play the clarinet.[11] In high school, Marten was club president of the Dungeons and Dragons club.[12] Even now he has only a few friends, judging from his address book.[13]


Marten majored in music history and critical theory.[14]


When the comic started, he was working in an office job which he detested and which paid only slightly more than twenty thousand dollars per year.[15] He now works at Smif College's Williston Library, with Tai as his boss.

He has no interest in following his mother into the family business.[16]

Relationships Edit

Before the comic started, Marten lived in California and moved to Massachusetts to follow his girlfriend Vicky.[5] For the first several years of Questionable Content, Marten and Faye were constantly the subject of a "will they-won't they" backdrop.


One of the first things Marten and Faye did together was visit Irony Cafe.

This sexual tension finally ended - supposedly for good[17] - with Faye explaining her emotional issues regarding the suicide of her father,[18] and Marten dating Dora Bianchi.[19]


Marten and Dora's relationship lasted until strip 1799, when Dora broke up with him.[20]


"—I need pancakes before I can process this."

Martin and Claire Augustus are currently in an established relationship, as of strip 3340.

Current status Edit

Marten is an indie rock fan and a musician, playing and collecting guitars. He is the lead guitarist in the instrumental rock band Deathmøle. His most recently acquired guitar is an Ibanez RG2228[22] 8-string,[23] which wiped out his savings.

He currently lives at 144 Dwight Street, apartment 22[24] with Faye, although his best male friend is Steve.



Marten's religious beliefs have never been mentioned "on screen" but a newspost said "cheerful agnosticism".[25]

Sex and drugs and rock&rollEdit


Marten has so far only been in heterosexual relationships. He is comfortable with and supportive of gay people, and seems free of hangups about gay sex.[26] His tastes are vanilla,[27] but he knows bondage techniques (no doubt due to his mother).[28] He recognizes that Sven has a nice ass.[29]

Despite being surrounded by attractive women, Marten has explained that he does not fantasize about Penelope, Tai or Faye, but does for Raven.[30]

Marten is currently in a relationship with Claire Augustus.


Marten is a regular coffee drinker (his favorite is a large latte)[31] but is no gourmet.[32] Faye accused him of being satisfied with anything hot and brown colored.[33]

Marten is a casual drinker of alcohol, and has been shown drinking beer.[34] He has also been known to binge drink when emotionally stressed, but only rarely.

Marten does not seem to use use any other drugs, neither smoking nor ever having dropped acid.[35][36][37]

Music preferencesEdit

We know some of the concerts he's attended[38] and that Modest Mouse makes him nostalgic, but on the many occasions when he's talked about bands he's not tended to talk about his tastes.

Marten is known to have a Mogwai poster, and on his blog he listed Broken Social Scene as a favorite. He likes David Bowie's Outside or at least admires its depth,[39] and likes The Flaming Lips. He says he appreciates the work of Sir Mix-a-Lot.[40] He has complimented the songwriting of Belle and Sebastian,[41] and is an intense fan of Thurston Moore.[42] He is a fan of American glam metal band Poison.[43] He also appeared knowledgeable of electronic music when speaking with Tai, particularly Ricardo Villalobos' Fizheuer Zieheuer,[44] and has a T-shirt bearing the name of British electronic artist "Gold Panda".[45] He is also a fan of Liars, and possibly William Shatner.[46] He seems to be a fan of "post-post-ironic" music, particularly Deerhoof.[47] His bedroom has a poster for the Texan rock band "Spoon".[48] He has a T-shirt for American rapper Biz Markie and the Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor.[49][50] He is familiar with the music of Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah. He has also met and likes the DJ Ellen Aillen.

He appears to like Society For Creative Rock Anachronism,[51] and a friend believed he would like an Explosions in the Sky album.[52] He, along with Steve and Faye, are also fans of the band Dune and often have conversations about their style and taste. He also mentioned that the Failure album he downloaded was "Really fucking good" and that he felt he had "missed out on them while they were together".[53] There are a few he has complained about.[54]

When asked by Faye about his favorite Toto song he revealed it was "Rosanna".[55] This seems to conflict with Faye's favorite ("Africa")[56] and is completely disregarded by Dora who hates the band with a passion.[57]

His ringtone is "One More Time"[58] and previously was "I am trying to break your heart".[59]

Marten has an intense dislike of the Sex Pistols, with an apparent specific hatred of "God Save the Queen",[60] as well as Metallica's "St. Anger".[61] He would not complain if someone assassinated the former MTV VJ Lisa "Kennedy" Montgomery.[62] He seems to dislike drum circles.[63]

Relationships with other charactersEdit

He is kind and considerate,[64] but knows when to be snarky.[65] He has a very mild, malleable disposition, to the point of often being a pushover. He is slow to anger,[66] but will react when a friend is mistreated.[67]

Marten may be shy. He is at any rate slow to make friends, if Pintsize is to be believed (hah!). According to Pintsize Marten had lived in Northampton for two years before meeting his first friend there, Steve.[68] Marten now says he has a lot of friends,[69] but his phone address book has only a few entries.[13]

Marten is an underachiever who dreams of a successful band but spends his Saturdays "watching Cartoon Network and moping".[70] On the subject of Marten's apparent aimlessness,[71][72], Jeph Jacques said:

"Marten isn't really sure what his goals ARE. I'm pretty sure I've actually had him say something along these lines in the comic, actually. He'd like to have some, but life can be insidious in how you go day by day and suddenly it's been a year and you're still working at your crappy job and WTF happened to all that time." —Jeph Jacques[73]

At any rate, he knows one thing he doesn't want to do, namely taking over his mother's business.[16] Marten's concept of an ideal life is listening to music and drinking coffee.[74] His favorite drink is a large latte.[31]


Marten is slender, not muscular,[75] and between 5-8" and 5-10".[76] He has black hair and blue eyes. He claims to be incapable of growing facial hair.[77]

Memorable quotesEdit

  • "Hey, that's not fair! The other day I wanted some soup, and there was none in the apartment. What did I do? I went to the friggin' store and got some soup! If that's not taking charge of a situation I don't know what is."[78]
  • "I need to learn some new profanity, 'cause the old standards just aren't cutting it in this situation."[79]
  • "What the hell ass balls?!"[80]
  • "Pfft. Fuck rent, I'm buying a guitar."[81]
  • "Quick, placate the other patrons with your rosy cookie gases!"[82]
  • "What's the best way to piss off an indie rock snob? Actually enjoy music."[46]
  • "That may be the greatest non-sequitur in human history"[83]
  • "There needs to be a word for those brief moments of clarity where you realize how profoundly weird your life is."[84]
  • "I just... tripped over my gigantic wang. Happens all the time. Damn thing's like a malicious ball python."[85]
  • "The hangover is the worst part of Mistake Whiskey, though. Instead of caffeine and aspirin you need distance and perspective and they don't sell those at the drugstore."[86]
  • "...guh?"[87]
  • "It's not my fault I'm a delicate flower."[88]
  • "Mm. Waffles."[89]
  • "...this will be the most efficient way of blotting out the realization that my computer has a more active love life than me."[90]
  • "Seriously, make sure you get off the train at Orgasm-town. The next five stops are all in Bitter-Recrimination-ville, and that's a really bad neighborhood."[91]
  • "Gah, I can feel your hands through my hoodie! They're freezing! I've fucked corpses warmer than you!"[92]
  • "Who needs flowers and chocolate when you've got Hitler's brain in a jar?"[93]
  • "I should really just clonk you on the head right now, but somehow it feels uncharitable."[94]
  • "I make barely twenty thousand dollars a year. I have thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off, and I can barely afford to pay my rent each month and still buy food. I hate my job, but because of this shitty economy, I can't afford to quit and find a job I actually like."[15]
  • "I just spent the night with a hot chick who can quote Poison lyrics at will. I win so hard."[43]
  • "She's a problem for me like a porch light is a problem for a moth."[95]
  • "Man, I'd be the worst praying mantis ever. 'Oh sure, you can bite my head off without mating with me, I understand. You have ISSUES.'"[96]
  • "You try being used as a human shield by a scimitar-wielding monk and see how your bladder holds up!"[97]
  • "Hmm...nope, too late. I'm fuckin' you in the ear just to make sure." [98]
  • "Science Daddy Science Daddy can't you see/sometimes your research just hypnotizes me"[99]
  • "I gave up around where they introduced Irrational Birthday Integers."[100]
  • "I'll have a double racist-grandma on the rocks."[101]
  • "What do you know about Pokemon?"[102]
  • "Am I the one being hazed?"[103]
  • "Lighten up. Life's short, you gotta stop and smell the first-edition Melvilles along the way.[104]
  • "I have no idea why we're playing dodgeball, just go with it."[105]
  • "My girlfriend is cooing over my boss's vulva like it was a newborn kitten."[106]
  • "My life hasn't stopped being completely fucking bizarre since you said 'hi' that first time."[107]
  • "I have the weirdest friends"[108]
  • "Stop talking and let me be happy for you"[109]
  • "Last night felt totally natural. Kissing you felt totally natural. Sitting here with my arm around you feels totally natural, so I think we can just take it as it comes and we'll talk to each other, and figure out what needs figuring out."


Apartment LayoutEdit


This is a general layout of how Marten and Faye have their apartment set up. The area between the two rooms is the closet for each individual room.


  • Jeph has created Marten's blog about indie music. However, it has not been updated since 2006.


  1. Count of character appearances
  2. 431
  3. 315
  5. 5.0 5.1 253
  6. 433
  7. 2355
  8. 2378
  9. 460
  10. 162
  11. 1989
  12. 134
  13. 13.0 13.1 2062
  14. 276
  15. 15.0 15.1 37
  16. 16.0 16.1 1305
  17. 1807
  18. 500
  19. 564
  20. 1799
  21. Number 2803: Me Too
  23. 2418
  24. 965
  25. 645
  26. 1024
  27. 1796
  28. 1302
  29. 1770
  30. 1361
  31. 31.0 31.1 1805
  32. 1004
  33. 1923
  34. 1964
  35. 465
  36. 1541
  37. 1279
  38. 332
  39. 578
  40. 482
  41. 548
  42. 1530
  43. 43.0 43.1 606
  44. 802
  45. 1891
  46. 46.0 46.1 550
  47. 56
  48. 1199
  49. 2614
  50. 1816
  51. 1173
  52. 479
  53. 72
  54. 27
  55. 1737
  56. 1735
  57. 1739
  58. 2974
  59. 2265
  60. 412
  61. 1107
  62. 401
  63. 2616
  64. 1262
  65. 371
  66. 1743
  67. 1902
  68. 2332
  69. 2288
  70. 11
  71. 1982
  72. 2101
  74. 687
  75. 1313
  77. 76
  78. 610
  79. 212
  80. 646
  81. 52
  82. 73
  83. 1245
  84. 1666
  85. 676
  86. 788
  87. 4
  88. 1589
  89. 510
  90. 292
  91. 1701
  92. 772
  93. 1165
  94. 744
  95. 365
  96. 520
  97. 696
  98. 1572
  99. 2113
  100. 2130
  101. 2136
  102. 2138
  103. 2205
  104. 2207
  105. 2212
  106. 1249
  107. 534
  108. 1419
  109. 2707