Ctrl Alt Del (webcomic)

The title of this article is incorrect because of technical limitations. The correct title is Ctrl+Alt+Del.
This article is about Ctrl+Alt+Del, the web comic. For the keyboard shortcut, see Control-Alt-Delete.

Ctrl+Alt+Del (CAD) is a gaming-related web comic written by Tim Buckley, known online as Absath. The name refers to computing's most common three-finger salute, which on Windows systems is control-alt-delete. CAD's tagline is "Tragically l337", a nod to The Tragically Hip. It premiered on October 23, 2002, and is currently updated every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The strip features a pair of gamers, Ethan and Lucas, as the main characters, as well as a Linux user, Scott, and a female gamer, Lilah, also Ethan's girlfriend. Most of the humor in the comic concerns video games, but some is also bred of violence, with more still coming from the strip's randomness. There is very little continuity between strips, with Ethan being killed in numerous violent encounters and returning unscathed in the next comic. There are occasional story arcs, but those again have little effect on continuity as a whole.

There are several in-jokes, the most notable concerning arrows. There are several strips in which Ethan is killed (or at least gravely injured) by arrows shot from out of frame. An explanation was finally given in the first collection book (Insert Coin: CAD Volume 1). It's a gag joke taken from a cult classic comedy called The Kentucky Fried Movie. Ironically, the February 28, 2003 strip [1] (http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/?t=archives&date=2003-02-28) turned the tables, with Ethan shooting an arrow at and killing Absath, who was present in the comic to discuss the fact that he had drawn 100 Ctrl+Alt+Del strips.

Ctrl+Alt+Del also features a post-New Year's holiday dubbed Winter-een-mas [2] (http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/?t=archives&date=2003-01-27). Absath has detailed the holiday: the season lasts all of January, much like the Christmas season, but the actual holiday itself is January 25 to January 31. It was created as a holiday for all things concerning gamers or gaming. Little is told about its traditions, however there are several spirits which represent the different genres of gaming (such as fighting or real-time strategy) who fly around the world on Winter-een-mas Eve in a giant ethereal gamepad [3] (http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/?t=archives&date=2004-01-31). Every year at Winter-een-mas, Ethan dons a crown and proclaims himself king. His behavior typically incites anger in his companions.




  • Ethan - A twenty-one year old game fanatic, amateur artist and sometime alcoholic. His antics are the focus of the strip, and have resulted in many a story arc. He is dating Lilah, to the dismay of some others. He also works as a sales clerk at Game Haven.
  • Lucas - Twenty-two years old, Lucas is more level-headed and down to Earth than Ethan. He is something of a slacker, prepared to enjoy a good video game over actual work. Cynical and sarcastic, Lucas is a programmer, and works Customer Service at Compu-World.
  • Lilah - Smart and attractive, Lilah smashed Ethan's preconception that girls (or at least, pretty ones) don't play video games, after which they began dating. Lilah is twenty-one and unemployed. Though calm and responsible, she finds herself strangely drawn to Ethan's character.
  • Scott - A twenty-three year old web designer and Linux user, Scott firmly believes that Microsoft is evil and that Linux will someday come into its glory; this is in stark contrast to Ethan, who worships Microsoft. He is quiet, intelligent, and introspective, and a devout practitioner of meditation. Interestingly, although Lilah has been mentioned several times around him, Scott has never actually met (or been told about) Lilah.
  • Ezekiel - Zeke (for short), formally known as the "X-bot", is a creation of Ethan's, an anthropomorphised Xbox console. It walks, talks, thinks, plays computer games (it was good at Halo until Ethan handicapped its halo skills), and eats bandwidth. It has previously embarked upon a quest for humanity, however it was not successful. After some bad experiences, Zeke decided it didn't want to be human after all. Ethan, in a bout of pity, named the robot "Ezekiel" and informed it that he had installed a humanity program in it, though what he had actually installed was a ball of lint. Recently, Zeke suffered a system crash when he was accidentally hit by a water balloon and short-circuited. The current status of Zeke is unknown.


  • Ted - Ted is a penguin, an homage to the Linux penguin, Tux. He moved in along with Scott. He enjoys fish and the cold. Ethan and Ted have a deep relationship of mutual hatred.
  • Barry - Barry is twenty-six and manages the Game Haven where Ethan works. Though goal-driven, he is very easy-going. He is perpetually in a good mood, because he is living his lifelong dream to run a video game store.
  • Rob - Rob is a nineteen-year-old Counter-Strike enthusiast. Ethan, Lucas and Lilah all despise him because all he does is talk about Counter-Strike, with constant "you-had-to-be-there" tales. Other characters lament that Rob has not realized that he is an annoyance, despite having been told on several occasions.
  • Chef Brian - Chef Brian represents the surreal side of the comic (similar to Twisp & Castby in Penny Arcade). With no backstory, his appearances consist of nonsensical ramblings over separate subjects. Chef Brian was the end result -as Buckley explains in Insert Coin: Ctrl+Alt+Del Volume One, of too much alcohol and a deadline, though some sources state that the character is based on Brian Carroll, author of the webcomic, Instant Classic.
  • Player 1 and Player 2 - A subcomic which focuses on two generic gamers (colored blue and red), and related gamer and gaming ettiquette, often ending with the gruesome demise of one of the Players. Player 3, who is yellow, occasionally appears in their strips.
  • Emma- A former electronics store employee who is currently dating Lucas. Was fired after refusing to help Ethan.
  • Ashley- Dated Lucas after hitting him with her car. Became obsessive and stalked him. Lucas filed a restraining order against her and she hasn't been seen since.
  • Sarah- Dated Ethan in the original strips for an undisclosed amount of time. Dumped Ethan after being neglected for video games

Insert Coin: Ctrl+Alt+Del Volume One

  • In early 2004, Tim announced plans for a collection book of approximately the first year of strips from CAD. The book, along with the strips, features added commentary below every comic, along with several pages of bonus material. The book is currently still available for purchase on the Gamerwarez Ctrl+Alt+Del section. [4] (http://www.gamerwarez.com/index.php?crn=72&rn=264&action=show_detail)
  • Currently, Tim has announced that on July 6th pre-orders will be going on sale to purchase Volumes 1 and 2.
  • The 460 pre-order Collector's Editions Hard Cover Volumes 1 and 2 sold out within 24 hours after technical difficulties with Canada Post.

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