[[quoteright:166:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Kim_Ross_5.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:166:Kimiko.]]

->'''Sokar''': ''I have issues with the Schrödinger's cat experiment. [...] In the period before observing the outcome, [the cat] is said to be in "superposition," a state of both decay and not decay, meaning [it] is both dead and not dead. Observer-dependent physics undermines the gods' decision three thousand years ago to ban cats from straddling the borders of the Netherworld. We won't have it!'' \\
'''Kimiko''': ''I have reservations about reconciling a quantum mechanics thought experiment with Egyptian mythology. More importantly, what possible threat could superpositioned cats pose?'' \\
'''Sokar''': ''Somewhere, Niels Bohr walks among us, unobserved and '''immortal'''''.

''[[http://dresdencodak.com/ Dresden Codak]]'' is a webcomic by Aaron Diaz that has been running at an irregular (and very slow) pace since 2005. It offers whimsical humor focused on physics, philosophy, and transhumanism -- except for the Hob storyline, which, while having the same focus, was much more serious. The current story, [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/06/03/dark-science-01/ Dark Science,]] starts out humorous, but [[CerebusSyndrome this doesn't last long.]]

Dresden Codak is a sometimes [[DadaComics Dada]], sometimes MindScrew comic focusing on the (mis)adventures of several often unrelated characters:

* Kimiko "Thunderbolt" Ross: A misanthropic, cybernetically-enhanced MadScientist.
* Tiny Carl Jung: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Self-explanatory]].
* Dmitri and Alina Tokamak: A parody of the Wonder Twins and Marvel Family. They also have [[WonderTwinPowers similar powers]], except rather than using transformation and...water... they use physics.
* "D.H." Ron Awning: A caricature of the literary-minded artsy intellectual.
* Yvonne "Vonnie" Awning: Ron's sister and a fashionable, trend-focused bureaucrat, fitting, considering she works for the Department of Taste.
* Rupert and Hubert: Two elderly Victorian scientists who live in a castle they built on the moon.

Not to be confused with ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' or the city of Dresden, though its name is a reference to the [[{{Mayincatec}} Dresden Codex]].

The comic also has a number of similarly surreal one-shots, including the page that we adapted into the EssentialThirdActTwists.

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!!Provides examples of:
* TheAlcoholic: Father Abaddon. Apparently he found the [[http://media.tumblr.com/40a870531852a06ef326ec946f751113/tumblr_inline_n9hwxiBVge1qc9wc7.jpg best facial expressions in the comic]] at the bottom of a glass.
* AllOfThem: As seen at the end of [[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/02/15/dark-science-16/ this strip]]
* AlliterativeName: Kim's dad (Kaito Kusanagi) and Kim herself as a child, before she had her surname changed.
* AnachronismStew: Kimiko knew that a group of people were time travelers because they were dressed in a mismash of styles from all eras and segments of the 20th century, in a similar fashion to how other centuries are portrayed in modern media.
* ArcSymbol: the "rising sun" half-circle, aka [[spoiler:the mark of Dark Science]].
* ArcWords: The poem from [[http://dresdencodak.com/2006/03/02/zhuangzi/ Zhuangzi]] appears again years later, on the 24th page of ''[[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/12/24/dark-science-24/ Dark Science]]'':
--> At twilight's end, the shadow's crossed,
--> a new world birthed, the elder lost.
--> Yet on the morn we wake to find
--> that mem'ry left so far behind.
--> To deafened ears we ask, unseen,
--> ''"Which is life and which the dream?"''
* ArtEvolution: The art quality increases immensely as the comic progressed. For full effect, compare [[http://dresdencodak.com/2005/06/08/the-tomorrow-man/ this first strip]] to [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/07/the-sleepwalkers/ this more recent strip]] and [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/07/10/dark-science-03/ this even more recent strip]]. The art is actually starting to get kind of ridiculously detailed. Perhaps not coincidentally, author Aaron Diaz considers Creator/{{Moebius}} to be his most important artistic influence.
* ArtificialLimbs: Kimiko, post-Hob.
* AuthorAppeal: Among Diaz's four majors was Anthropology. It shows.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Tons. Kimiko Sarai Kusanagi (Kim's birth name), Alina and Dmitri Tokamak, Mathias Melchior, Kaito Kusanagi.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: Be warned. The author doesn't like religious types, especially [[http://dresdencodak.com/2006/12/03/dungeons-and-discourse/ Evangelical,]] [[http://dresdencodak.com/2005/11/29/secular-heaven/ fundamentalist]] [[http://dresdencodak.com/2005/12/07/oldman-man-returns/ Christians.]]
* {{Bifauxnen}}: Kim starts rocking this look after abandoning the way-too-big dress given to her in ''Dark Science.''
* BigEater: Kimiko's prostheses run on [[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/02/15/dark-science-16/ glucose]] , which requires her to eat huge amounts of sweet stuff.
* BookDumb: Kimiko got very poor grades in school. According to WordOfGod, this is because she generally [[BrilliantButLazy didn't bother]] to do her schoolwork in the first place.
* BrickJoke: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2007/05/06/after-many-a-summer-dies-the-swan/ Alina jokes]] that a group of time travelers can't get in because they don't know how to use the doorknob. After a lengthy diversion about axolotls, the time travelers open the door, and make a comment implying that they had been arguing about how to work a doorknob.
* CastOfSnowflakes: Aaron Diaz [[http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/3583964949/figures-they-speak-for-themselves-mildly-nsfw makes a point to do design characters this way]] (mildly NSFW).
* CastFromHitPoints: Kimiko gained a streak of grey after blasting away an enemy with a fire beam
* CerebusSyndrome: The comic started out as lighthearted and whimsical. Characters talked to Egyptian gods, Niels Bohr is apparently a cat, and everybody was all happy-happy-joy-joy-let's-go-to-the-moon-and/or-play-tabletop-[=RPGs=]. Then [[http://dresdencodak.com/cartoons/dc_045.html this]] came along. And then [[http://dresdencodak.com/cartoons/dc_059.html this]], which seems to swing right back to comedy again.
* ChangedMyJumper: The time travelers in the Hob storyline who look like mashups of several pop culture characters.
* CharacterBlog: Kimiko, D.H. Ron, and Tiny Carl Jung have their own Twitter accounts.
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler:tiny Hob]]
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Dimitri and Alina are pretty much gone from the series from Dark Science onwards. WordOfGod puts this down to them [[http://tmblr.co/ZhC7FyNurCcS being kind of boring]]. As for Tiny Carl Jung, who knows?
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Kimiko herself, if [[http://twitter.com/KimikoRoss her Twitter account]] is anything to go by.
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: Possibly averted in that [[spoiler: Kimiko seems no more or less human after losing her arm and legs in the Hob storyline]].
** Considering that Diaz is an avowed transhumanist, it's pretty clear that the comic is a complete aversion.
*** If anything she's ''more'' human now.
** Believed by the time travelers from the future. When talking about the mediators, they said "There were, however, those who had sacrificed their humanity to merge directly with technology." Of course they're generally depicted as Luddites and the mediator they dealt with was the somewhat misanthropic to start with [[spoiler: Kimiko]] so they were probably wrong.
* DeepImmersionGaming: Whenever the characters engage in a tabletop roleplaying session.
* DisappearedDad: Kimiko's father who was always away doing his job. He appears [[http://dresdencodak.com/2008/10/02/epilogue-2/ briefly]] at the end of the Hob storyline, and Kimiko's [[FlippingTheBird reaction to his presence]] says a lot.
* ElectronicEye: As of the Dark Science storyline, Kimiko has one brown and one (artificial) blue eye.
* EvilutionaryBiologist: [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Some readers see Kimiko as this]].
* ExpressiveMask: Leviathan in the "Dark Science" arc.
* {{Fanservice}}: Surprisingly gratuitous amounts are present. Special mention goes to Kimiko [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/07/the-sleepwalkers/ naked]] (Mildly {{NSFW}}), and Kimiko in a [[http://dresdencodak.com/2008/01/25/future-memories/ loose dressing gown]].
* FloatingContinent: Nephilopolis
* ForScience: Kimiko's entire purpose in life.
* FunSize: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Tiny Carl Jung.]]
* FunWithAcronyms: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/03/11/mademoiselle/ M.A.D.E.M.O.I.S.E.L.L.E.]]
* FutureImperfect: See the ChangedMyJumper point above.
* GadgeteerGenius: Kimiko.
* GratuitousFrench and GratuitousGerman: The AprilFoolsDay movies ''[[http://vimeo.com/10593465 En Deuil]]'' and ''[[http://vimeo.com/39131013 A Work in Progress]]'' respectively.
* HerCodenameWasMarySue: Kimiko's attempts at writing fan fiction.
** [[ViewersAreGeniuses Alternate]] [[ShownTheirWork prehistory]] [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/07/the-sleepwalkers/ fan fiction]] involving her [[WishFulfillment making out with the T.A. from her physics class]].
* HotBloodedSideburns: Kaito Kusanagi
* HumansArePsychicInTheFuture: In the first strip.
* ImpracticallyFancyOutfit: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/09/26/dark-science-21/ Kimiko borrowing a party dress from Yvonne]] is a rather humorous example, as the latter is taller and much... ahem, [[BigBraToFill bigger]] than the former. Also, Vonnie's preference for AbsoluteCleavage leaves Kim with some "severe structural questions" (namely how one holds up the front without using their hands).
* InfiniteCanvas
* InsaneTrollLogic: The Department of Inquisition in Nephilopolis believes that science is about finding the most credible explanation, so therefore the explanation of the one with the best credibility score has to be correct. That this results in them concluding a very real human standing right in front of them is really a weather balloon is neither here nor there.
--->'''Kimiko''': If I may - \\
[TrapDoor]\\
'''Department Head''': You may not.
* InNameOnly: Ronnie's "adaptations." Kimiko sponsors them in order to harvest the energy of their original creators spinning in their graves.
* IronicHell: Hell is apparently reserved strictly for [[ChurchMilitant religious]] types. This comic also has an ironic heaven, namely, Secular Heaven, a parody of FluffyCloudHeaven
* LaResistance: The Department of Opposition.
* LeFilmArtistique: [[http://www.vimeo.com/10593465 This video]], which took over the ''DresdenCodak'' website on AprilFoolsDay 2010.
** And [[http://vimeo.com/39131013 the sequel]] from AprilFoolsDay 2012. ''And'' the [[ShowWithinAShow Film Within This Film]]!
* LightningGun: Leviathan can fly, and has a staff that shoots lightning. Rather than be terrified, Kim seems more interested in finding out how the hell any of that is possible.
* LiteralSplitPersonality: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2006/05/17/anagoge-starring-tiny-carl-jung/ Extrovert Kimiko]].
* KickTheDog: Dark Science has Mathias Melchior, Director of the Department of Opposition, who in his first appearance trips a scientist/bureaucrat carrying a huge stack of paper and tosses a old lady with a walking frame off the side of a building. But then again, [[PunchClockVillain that's his job]].
* MadScientist: Kim.
** Her estranged father seems to be a bit out of touch with reality as well.
* MeaningfulName: Biblical names seem to be popular in Nephilopolis and, worryingly enough, a lot of high-ranking officials are named after demons. They also look [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience suspiciously tanned]]...
* MindScrew: Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion makes more sense.
* MsFanservice: Yvonne frequently sports an [[MostCommonSuperpower impressive]] CleavageWindow.
** Kimiko, more often than you'd think.
* NerdsAreSexy
* NetworkDecay: Highlighted in-universe in [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/05/09/spike-guest-comic/ "Spike's Guest Comic"]]
* NewFirstComics
* NomDeMom: Kimiko changed her surname from Kusanagi to Ross after her mother died, with the implication that it was largely to slight her father.
* NoodleIncident: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2008/10/02/epilogue-2/ "Remember when Reverse Moses parted the city to escape Aqua-Pharaoh?"]]
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Nephilopolis seems to be in the hands of these.
* OddShapedPanel: Panels are often warped and/or arranged in unusual ways.
* OrphanedPunchline: "More like [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/12/16/lantern-season/ "Nothing but nyet!"]]"
* OverlyNarrowSuperlative
* ParentalAbandonment: Kimiko's mom is dead, and her dad had apparently long since [[DisappearedDad buggered off to parts unknown]]. Then HE died.
* PlotRelevantAgeUp
* PrecisionFStrike: Two occur during the first batch of guest comics in the form of newspaper clippings.
* QuintessentialBritishGentleman (or gentlemen, rather): Rupert and Hubert.
* RPGEpisode: The philosophy-based role-playing game "Dungeons & Discourse".
** Particularly notable for Dmitri's "Dark Kantian": "[[StupidEvil I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility]]."
** [[DeFictionalization Now in playable form]], thanks to the fans.
* RedOniBlueOni: In the most literal form [[http://dresdencodak.com/2006/05/17/anagoge-starring-tiny-carl-jung/ here.]] The dress sense appears to be a clothing (and hair) example of ColorCodedForYourConvenience
* SacrificedBasicSkillForAwesomeTraining: Kim [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/03/11/mademoiselle/ concentrated on science]] and [[http://dresdencodak.com/2011/02/23/dark-science-08/ let her social skills languish]] all her life. This is especially apparent on her Twitter account.
* ScaryShinyGlasses: Kaito Kusanagi.
* ScienceHero: Kimiko. For example, defeating a flying, lightning-blasting opponent by quickly MacGyvering a giant electromagnet and [[http://dresdencodak.com/2013/12/24/dark-science-30/ tricking them into providing the juice]]?
* ScienceIsBad: Parodied and taken to extremes in [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/22/caveman-science-fiction/ "Caveman Science Fiction".]]
** A similar parody of this trope appears in the lengthy comment under [[http://dresdencodak.com/2007/09/04/an-exotic-matter/ this comic.]]
* ShaggyDogStory: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/12/16/lantern-season/ Lantern Season]]
* ShoutOut: Kimiko "[[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk Thunderbolt]]" Ross (née Kimiko Sarai '''Kusanagi''') dresses (and at times acts) a lot like her [[GhostInTheShell namesake]].
** [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/05/07/kc-guest-comic/ This guest strip]] has references to ''{{Fahrenheit 451}}'', ''Film/BattlefieldEarth'', ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'', ''Film/IRobot'', ''Film/MadMax'' and ''{{Snowcrash}}''. Wait... [[SweetBroAndHellaJeff what did that first one say about stairs?]]
** The stuffed animals near the beginning of [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/12/16/lantern-season/ this]] comic include Beartato and Reginald from {{Nedroid}}.
** [[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/03/09/dark-science-17/ Caspar]] is clearly a stand-in for Creator/AynRand, considering her books titled [[Literature/TheFountainhead "Wellspring"]] and [[Literature/AtlasShrugged "Nimrod Faltered"]]
** [[http://dresdencodak.com/2007/12/01/live-forever-or-die-trying/ This page]] references PrincessMononoke.
** The time colonists were a parody of the primary crew of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. Their leader, in particular, is a dead ringer for Creator/PatrickStewart. He refers to his second in command as [[NumberTwo Number One]] and [[http://dresdencodak.com/2008/10/22/the-end/ later]] responds to a request with "I will [[Catchphrase/LiveActionTV make it so]]." Another set of TNG parodies appear in "Dark Science", with a dark-skinned guard with a silver sash being a pretty clear reference to Worf.
** Unknown, but the fellows apprehending Balthazar [[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/12/03/dark-science-23/ here]] seem to have something of a resemblance to [[ComicStrip/SpyVsSPy "Spy"]]
** Melchior of the Dark Science arc has an uncanny resemblance to The Thin Man from [[Film/Metropolis]].
* TheSingularity: Kimiko mentions it a few times in the comic. She (and the author) ''are'' futurists, after all.
** [[spoiler: In addition, the time travelers are refugees from an alternate timeline where this almost happened, but they rebelled and killed off anyone beyond baseline human intelligence,]] and [[spoiler: the series climax involves a second, small scale one causing a DeusExitMachina.]]
* SpaceAmish: The time travelers in the Hob arc [[spoiler: destroyed future Earth because they believed post-singularity technology had taken all meaning from their lives, and they planned to colonize the past Earth and live like us "noble savages"]]
* SpringtimeForHitler: "Your "Pay by the hour apartment" concept actually makes money. -go back 2-"
* StuffBlowingUp: [[LampshadeHanging "This seems excessive on the bank's part."]] With a PlungerDetonator, too.
* StupidEvil: Dmitri Tokamak's "Dark Kantian" in [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/01/27/advanced-dungeons-and-discourse/ Advanced Dungeons and Discourse]]
--> I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility.
* SuperSenses: According to the author, Kimiko's robotic eye shifts, the iris becoming more square, to give her better vision in low light.
* SwissArmyAppendage: Kim's artificial arm. It's apparently weaker than her real one, though.
* TalkativeLoon: "Radnar!" "By the stone of Daggoth!" "Keeper of the five rings!"
** "By the moat of Maggoth!" "The cloak of Bungo!"
** [[spoiler: "Hey, it's her."]]
* TeenGenius: Kimiko. Who has entered her early twenties (it says so on the cast page!), but continues to fit in the looser sense of being young, brilliant, and angsty.
* TerminallyDependentSociety
* TokenEvilTeammate: the Dark Kantian in [[http://dresdencodak.com/2009/01/27/advanced-dungeons-and-discourse/ this one]]. He is compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility.
* {{Transhuman}}: See TheSingularity above.
* TruthInTelevision: [[http://dresdencodak.com/2006/10/22/phantoms-of-a-lost-muse/ Phantoms of a Lost Muse]] is based on the premise that people contribute small parts towards a greater work. Similarly, [[http://www.westendshowslondon.com/news/91129royal-opera-house-is-all-of-a-twitter/ the Royal Opera house is planning to show an opera written by Twitter contributors]].
* UnusualUserInterface: Kimiko has a interface jack in her upper back post-Hob.
-->'''Kim:''' Ugh, your network tastes like old soap.
* VastBureaucracy: Nephilopolis not only has departments of 'Tastes' and 'Opposition', but you have to register every single robbery you commit.
-->'''Nephilopolis Poster''': Register your crimes. It's the law.
* ViewersAreGeniuses:
** It does tend to refer to all sorts of weird and obscure topics; but the author, [[TheSingularity unsurprisingly]], expects readers to augment their own intelligences with the Internet while reading, as mentioned in the comic comment [[http://dresdencodak.com/2007/05/06/after-many-a-summer-dies-the-swan/ here]].
* WhatYearIsThis: The time travelers in the Hob storyline, when they realize [[spoiler:Kimiko is their BigBad]].
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Kimiko. Especially the strips where she flashes back to her childhood. ''All of 'em.'' Also, [[http://dresdencodak.com/2010/03/11/mademoiselle/ the board game]] about it.
* WordSaladTitle: The title is a reference to the Dresden Codex, a Maya book considered to be the oldest written document in the New World.
* WrenchWench: Kimiko, especially in the Hob storyline.

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