Comic:Cascade Failure

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Cascade Failure
Artist: Matthew Bett
Writer: Matthew Bett
Characters: Matt, Steve, Kirsty, Stig, Dave(main) Savant, Talvis (Warcraft), Damien, Gemzy and many others.
Updates: Weekly Update, Usually Monday
Began: 11th March, 2002
Art style: Manga Comic strip
Rating: Web-MA
Website Website

Cascade Failure is an off-the-wall comedy oriented comic strip featured around the existance of a group of friends at a Scottish University, studying Computer Games Technology. Continuity is thin on the ground and the format of the strip often takes a step into the surreal and fantastic. Heavily based on the life experiences of the author at University (Strip was started while still in University) but the format of the comic is kept loose so comics can range from continuity style strips based on past events, to more topical subjects. Within the Comic there are two main plotlines, one centered around reality with the main characters, and another which takes place in "The World of warcraft" with two of the main Characters alter ego's. There is also another sub-plot revolving around a characters exploits in Japan.


The plotlines within the comic are thus:


Cascade Failure takes place in the city of Dundee, Scotland and centers around the activities of a group of students studying Computer Games technology at the fictional "Tay" University. The story picks up in the summer break after the second year of Study (4 year Degree) and is currently in the summer break after 3rd year. The story concerns the trials and tribulations of students fighting against the difficulty of the course, the various technical and orgonisational pitfalls of the university itself and struggling against thier desire to go out and drink vast amounts of alchohol. The story is not confinded to the groups university exploits but often features stand alone comics and short story arcs dealing with thier normal lives as troublemaking students up to no good in Dundee. The comic is heavily also game based so a great deal of the jokes revolve around computer games and the ralated subjects. The story has a realistic basis but events often take a trip into the surreal or generally the highly unrealistic. Currently very little strips are used to move the storyline along and it has been a while since an actual university centric comic.

Savant and Talvis

This storyline takes place in the "World of warcraft" online game and centers around the two characters Savant and Talvis. Savant is Matt's warcraft alter ego and Talvis is Steve's though the characters have evolved beyond being "played" and into characters by thier own right. Strips explore the various problems and stereotypical situations that arise in the game almost entirely derived from the Steve and Matt's real experiences in the world of warcraft. The warcraft strips have prooved popular and it is the longest running story thread other than the main comic. The real characters are still played and can be found as "Talvis" and "SavantGuarde" respectively on the "aggramar" realm in europe.

Assasination of Childhood Memories

A set of comics in which Steve and Matt are usually debating some kind of dubious hidden meaning or sinister aspect to a long forgotten (or indeed current and popular) piece of television or film media. The format is usually explained through a panel by panel reinacment of the media itself with the last panel revealing the characters conclusion to the discussion. Former subjects of this assasination include: Thundercats, Inspector Gadget, Centurions, Harry Potter, Halo

Damien in Japan

Damien in Japan is a comic that explores various stereotypes about Japanese culture (Usually from Anime) through Damien (A games tech student) who has taken a years leave of absence from the degree to work in Japan under an exchange program. These strips usually end in Damien being seriously injured in some way due to his misunderstanding the situation or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These comic almost always feature "Gemzy" who is an attractive female character that appears no matter the situation.

Weak Matt Weeks

weak matt weeks were inspired by the "Dead piro day" of megatokyo whereby the author would apologise for not getting the comic done by putting up some kind of filler drawing. "Weak matt weeks" occasionally followed the filler rule but in more recent history it has simply been a body of text with some weak excuse. The most common actual reason for there not being a comic completed on time is the authors immense lazyness.

Recurring themes

  • The Giant Bee: This often causes much confusion with readers. this was added to the comic with the intention of there being a large bee-centric storyline regarding the bee and its origins. It is something of an antagonist in the comic and often terrorises the cast or innocent people. Its appearance is purely random and is characterised as being an abnormally large (approximately 1 foot in length) Bee. It is heavily stylised and not indicative of regular bee anatomy. The bee is derived from the "Numbing poison bug" seen in the anime "Dragon half" which has a paralising sting.

  • The monilith: The monilith from the film "2001" makes several appearances in the comic. It can be found in Steve's flat indicating a night of particularly heavy drinking has taken place. Or it appears where any kind of surreal goings on take place.


Main characters

Name Appearance Bio/description
Matt image Madman
Steve image Pimp
Kirsty image Goddess
Stig image Genius
Dave image Addict

Warcraft characters

Name Appearance Bio/description
Savant image Great gal to have in your corner, so long as the ememy isnt too close.
Talvis image Holy Knight

Minor characters

Character Appearance Bio/description Recurring?
Damien image Punchbag Hibernating
Gemzy image hottie Hibernating
Paul image Annoying Dead!
Vardis image Smoker Not Currently
Big John image Drinker Not Currently
James image Punk



  • The comic is in a fictional University in Dundee, Scotland called "Tay University"
  • The original intention was to have a strict continuity for the comic, since the strips are updated only every week, real time moved much faster than the plot and if the original continuity were to hold true, the characters are still in 2003! Continuity is now effectivly ignored which allows much more creative freedom. Comics may still be based on true events, but not neccecarliy in the right order.
  • The title "Cascade Failure" comes from events in University. Often when programming and everything broke, PC crashed or a similar catasrophy occured, it would be reffered to as a "Cascade Failure". Since the comic was originaly intended to chronicle all the groups University experiences the name seemed appropriate.
  • All the characters that appear in the comic have real-life counterparts.
  • Cascade Failure was an official OPERA (web browser) comic for a period of time and linked directly from the Opera website
  • A Cascade Failure book is in the works to feature all the current strips and behind the scenes material.
  • The art style in the comic was heavily copied from MEGATOKYO initially (As this was the authors main inspiration for creating a webcomic) but the art style evolved considerably over the course of the comic. Other influences changed the comic over the years such as the manga "Love Hina" and the work of Haruhiko Mikimoto more recently.
  • Has twice been the #1 comic on keenspace. The first time after advertising on Megatokyo and other web comics. The second time after the comic was linked on the main World of Warcraft website.

Strips that ACTUALLY happened in reality, or close to it.


Recently a donation button was added to the site and given the popularity of the warcraft strips and a couple of requests Commisions are now available. If you donate £10 or more you may have a portrait of your warcraft character commissioned in the style of the comic (but a little more detailed). The finished portraits are the same width as the comic in width but vary in height due to the differing poses. Also it is possible to do non-warcraft commisions but these should be discussed with the artist before donating. It is also possible to obtian the original art for your portrait sent out to you for the cost of postage.