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So Vault 77 didn't turn out so good. You've got to remember, though: The Vaults were never meant to save anyone.— Narrator

One Man, and a Crate of Puppets is an official Fallout webcomic written by Jerry Holkins (aka Tycho Brahe) and illustrated by Mike Krahulik (aka John Gabriel), (creators of the video game webcomic Penny Arcade), co-created with Fallout 3 lead designer Emil Pagliarulo. In July 2008, the comic was launched on the official Fallout 3 website, updated weekly.


The comic follows the life of the sole inhabitant of Vault 77 and his crate of hand puppets. The first strip also shows Vault 43 and Vault 69. At the beginning of the comic, the protagonist discovered that he was the only living person in Vault 77, accompanied only by a crate of puppets, as part of the Vault Experiment. During the first months, the Vault Dweller went through the initial panic and depression caused by being locked alone in a Vault. He didn't actually open the puppet crate until one year, three months, and twelve days after the lock-up. After apparently developing a multiple personality disorder (his second personality being in the form of a "talking" Vault Boy puppet), he opened the vault to find himself in front of a radscorpion the size of a Boeing 747 to which he quickly closed the vault.

After taking some time "to sleep on it," the Vault 77 Dweller was successful in leaving the Vault, riding a giant ant he named Mr. Pinch. In regards to the outside world, he was rather positive, noting while it was hot for December he wasn't really a snow person. He has run into a mysterious ghoul that has only one arm and wears a vault suit without a visible number.

He is later captured by slavers. While they debate on whether to enslave him or simply eat him, the vault dweller tries to warn about his puppet, as it's "crazy" and has "killed before." That night, one of the slavers in a panic runs to another group of slavers, telling them "the puppet man" has killed his partner and is coming for them. The final comic shows the Vault 77 Dweller, along with the puppet, standing amongst the pile of dead slavers, covered in blood. The narrator concedes that the vault was a failure, but reminds the reader that "the Vaults were never meant to save anyone."


  • The Puppet Man, the protagonist and only living person in Vault 77, accompanied only by a crate of puppets, as part of the Vault Experiment.
  • Vault Boy puppet, a hand puppet based on the image of the Vault Boy, a mascot of the Vault-Tec Corporation.
  • The King puppet, who became "friends" with the Vault 77 Dweller. He was then "killed" by the Vault Boy puppet when he chopped his head off.
  • Grandma, an old granny puppet found in the puppet crate in Vault 77. She is a 'friend' of the Vault 77 Dweller and once made him pies. She was also a witness to the King puppet's death.
  • Reverend Hound, the sheriff and part-time reverend of Vault 77. When the Vault Boy puppet killed the King puppet, the Vault Dweller feared that Reverend Hound would find out about his role in the crime and fled the vault.
  • A giant radscorpion
  • Mr. Pinch, a friendly giant ant used as a mount by the Puppet Man. The only dialogue seen from Mr. Pinch is after the Puppet Man asks him, "I think we're going to be alright out here, don't you Mr. Pinch" after which Pinch replies with "KAKREEEE."
  • An unnamed one-armed ghoul from a vault, that when the Puppet Man tells about how horrible it was to live alone in a vault full of puppets, the ghoul says that his own vault "coulda been better."
  • Bob, one of the two slavers that captured the Puppet Man. Bob is brutally murdered by the Puppet Man and his homicidal Vault Boy puppet.
  • One-eyed slaver, while Bob is brutally murdered, this slaver escapes the onslaught and runs to the nearest slaver camp to warn the others, but it is too late - the Puppet Man has trailed him to the camp and slaughters everyone there.


  • Vault 77: This vault was constructed in a small cave but it's not known when the construction of Vault 77 began. The purpose of Vault 77 in the vault experiments was to be populated by only one man and a crate full of puppets labeled "P13X U.S. GOVERNMENT ISSUE PUPPET RATION", as a study of the human condition in near-complete isolation, with a crate of puppets modeled after living beings as his sole company. The vault door was designed to close automatically when the only Vault 77 dweller entered, and only to reopen months later.
  • Vault 43: Mentioned only, where the experiment included only 20 men, 10 women, and one panther entering this vault.
  • Vault 69: Mentioned only, where the experiment described as containing 1,000 women and one man.


In the Fallout 3 slaver barracks in Paradise Falls, there is a Vault 77 jumpsuit and a holotape on a shelf hidden behind the stairs. The holotape is recorded by a slaver who mentions the jumpsuit and a stranger with no name that may return, an idea they are fearful of.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

The Right Hand of The King

The two raiders discussing the do's and dont's when engaging with the legendary Puppet Man in The Right Hand of The King.

  • On April 17, 2024, a three-panel follow-up comic titled "The Right Hand of The King" was released on the Penny Arcade website, thereby continuing the mythos of the mysterious character. In the strip, two raiders are seen visiting a makeshift building to seek an audience with the titular Puppet Man, who sits proudly on his throne inside with the Vault Boy puppet taking reign.
    • In the follow-up post, writer Tycho Brahe hinted at the possibility of tricking artist John Gabriel into continuing the Puppet Man legacy, stating that he'd "try [his] hand at [getting him to do more]."[2]
  • As a reference to the comic, real life copies of the Vault Boy puppet were given out at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) 2008. The Puppet Man also appeared on a Fallout 3 poster displayed at PAX 2008, which showed him holding a Vault Boy puppet covered with blood.[3]
  • One of the fan-created perks entered in the Fallout 10th-anniversary contest was "Puppet Master" which reads, "You have a special little friend, who has followed you through thick and thin, and always has an opinion about things. Gain an extra dialogue option."
  • The Puppet Man was portrayed as a card titled "Fraying Sanity" in Magic: the Gathering's "Universes Beyond: Fallout" product, illustrated by Jason Kang. The Grandma and Reverend Hound puppets are on his hands, while the Vault Boy puppet is in the background. The flavor text highlights the Puppet Man's further descent into madness.



  1. Burn this goddamn jumpsuit
  2. "With people talking about Fallout now that would never have previously talked about Fallout, it's a great time to direct you to Bethesda's Vault 77 Page, which catalogs the origins of the entity known in the wasteland as The Puppet Man. There's also a lot of other text on the page, what your fifth grade teacher Mrs. Prang might have called a "primary source," which serves to situate the entire affair in that place and time. Bethesda was fully down to clown; it's a canonical vault, with item and holotape support. Seemed like it might be fun to go back.
    Maybe I can trick Gabe into doing more? I'll try my hand at it. Right now I'm trying to make him finish reading my book but he's obsessed with James Clavell's twelve hundred page, 1975 novel of the late Sengoku period, "Shogun." It's roughly the length of Wikipedia. So I'll check in with him in 2026 or so."
    (The Right Hand of The King strip)
  3. Fallout poster