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->''Unknown to most of humanity, mythical creatures have lived under the radar for centuries; disguised by magic, developing their own culture, and generally just trying to live a normal life.'' ''Whatever that means.''

[[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/ Skin Deep]] is a webcomic created by Kory Bing. [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-1-cover/ (New readers, start here)]] Mythological creatures are real, and disguise themselves as human using magical medallions. They often live in or near "Avalons", hidden places for them to act as themselves.

The first chapter, [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-1-cover/ Orientations]] covers newcomer Michelle's discovery that her new college roommate and friends are all mythological creatures, and how she deals with it when she learns that [[TomatoInTheMirror she's not only one herself]], she's a rare ([[spoiler:and apparently extinct]]), powerful, and some people seem to believe, dangerous one.

[[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/handshakes-1-introduction/ Exchanges]], a prequel to ''Orientations'', circles around [[{{Muggle}} Anthony]] and Blanche, best friends from Liverpool, UK, as well as Jim, one of the characters in ''Orientations'', as he prepares to go to school in the States, and various other characters in the Liverpool Avalon.

[[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/homecoming-1-chotchkies/ Homecoming]] returns to Michelle as she returns home with Greg to try and explain to her mother what's happened.

[[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/greetings-from-dogpatch-page-1/ Greetings From Dogpatch]] takes us on a slightly [[IncrediblyLamePun off-road trip]] with the angel Gabe as he (or she) investigates the events of past chapters.

Taking place at the same time as ''Orientations,'' [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/reunion-page-1-the-noir-house/ Reunion]] returns us to Anthony, and how he's faring in his new reality.

[[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/illumination-page-1/ Illumination]] takes the Missouri Crew (Michelle, Greg, and Merial) to England to meet Jim's family... and to search for clues to the mystery of the sphinx.

In between the main chapters, there are multiple "side-comics" and spin-offs: ''Fiddler's Cave, The One-Eyed Bear, Ridiculous Creatures, Nixie Spit, The Bugbear Talisman,'' and ''Kill Them With Kindness.''

Not to be confused with the hilarious Creator/BlakeEdwards comedy movie of the same name starring John Ritter.

----
!!Provides examples of:

* AloofBigBrother: Played with:
** Ike Sanford is a solid subversion: His mum may drive him to distraction but he clearly loves his little (half) brothers.
** Paulie Finn appears to be aiming for aloofness (at least as far as Jim and family tradition are concerned) but neither Jim nor Colin lets him get away with it for long.
** Jon Lyon likewise appears to be trying to play it the straightest but his anger management issues won't let him get away with it either.
* AWizardDidIt: the medallions that allow mythical creatures to appear human:
** Invoked almost verbatim when [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-four-page-4/ Michelle asks Jim]] about some pointed questions about the FridgeLogic involved with the way medallions supposedly work, particularly the MagicPants, though MagicPants significantly understates the effect when you consider that Jim's true form is something like 14 feet long and Michelle's true form is a quadruped without hands--two points Michelle raises when she questions Jim's off-handed assertion that the medallions just provide illusions.
** Jim implies that there is an explanation for how the medallions work, but it's been lost to history, and is over the heads of most of the people who use them in modern times. And in any event one doesn't need to know how the medallions work to use them, any more than one needs to know how a cell phone works to make a call.
** Blanche just replies "Magic. Strong Magic" [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/handshakes-16-prester-johns/ when Tony asks about medallions]].
* AltText: Starting with the second chapter of Exchanges. Specifically, [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/heartaches-1-hello-missus-gillis/ here]]
* AmbiguousGender: [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/greetings-from-dogpatch-5-consensus/ This angel]] is giving Eustace and Myra a hell of a time.
* ArtEvolution: The author started the comic using traditional sketches, digitally colored; by now, it is entirely digital.
** Compare the [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-one-page-1/ First]] and [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-five-page-34/ Last]] page of the orientations arc.
* AuthorAppeal: Music. A large amount of Mythicals are musicians of some sort. Lorne hypothesizes that it's because music is something a Mythical can make/perform regardless of what they are, and without drawing any attention to themselves.
** Abandoned theaters, roadside attractions, and themeparks.
* AxeCrazy: Myra's first appearance is as a [[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason]] lookalike in a haunted corn maze. It reflects her personality quite well.
-->''"I call dibs on the eyes."''
* BiTheWay: Jim and Lorne are currently dating women, [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/handshakes-12-jim-and-lorne/ but they had a fling in the past]]. Their relationship is actually one of the main focus of Exchange storyline.
* BlessedWithSuck: Debated within the comic itself. Michelle wavers between this and CursedWithAwesome while her more experienced friends assert that both interpretations are overly dramatic, though Jim later reveals that Merial and Greg aren't really as sanguine as they appear.
* BrokenMasquerade: There are humans that know of the mythical world, but it is implied that many of them are themselves "unturned" (e.g. a latent mythic beast). It is understandably [[TomatoInTheMirror a bit of a shock]] when someone who stumbles into the Masquerade ends up becoming part of it themselves.
* TheCallPutMeOnHold: Sam gets harassed because his TransformationTrinket never worked for some reason although he was born (in human form) to a gryphon father and human mother.
* CerebusRollerCoaster: The comic starts off rather plot-driven, then becomes SliceOfLife, with occasional interludes of random fun, and has gone back to being plot-driven.
* ChangelingFantasy: Kinda-sorta. Michelle's father was apparently a sphinx himself, though neither of them were aware of it. Michelle's initially [[IJustWantToBeNormal just wants to be normal]] instead of embracing the fantastic weirdness she's been thrown into--though she does think being able to fly is kinda cool. Her mother's acceptance does a lot to ease her mind on this score.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Jim mentions that his mom tells a version of The Great War where a family of Sphinxes escaped.
** In ''Exchanges'', Jim's mother gives him a Hestia shrine.
* ChekhovsGunman:
** Gabe can be seen in the background of a lot of pages.
* ClarkKenting: Not all the mythical creatures have medallions to disguise themselves, [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/hello-goodbye-13-everyone-knows-its-windy/ but some]] managed to hide themselves in human society [[PaperThinDisguise anyway]].
* CursedWithAwesome: Jim's 'curse' is that his hair is green, grows back instantly when cut and he is quite a bit taller than normal (7'2" in human form, and correspondingly oversized in fullform). The curse seems to run in his family, but has no negative effects whatsoever; he seems to enjoy the green hair, though he does admit it attracted a lot of [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer childhood teasing]].
** [[spoiler: And by ''Illumination,'' Jim's baby brother Colin has gotten his medallion... and his bright blue hair shows that Jim's no longer the only living Finn with the curse.]]
** [[spoiler: Later in ''Illumination'', it was revealed that the old family 'curse' isn't a curse, but rather a ''gift.'' Apparently, Jim has the [[ElementalPowers "magic of Earth"]], and Colin, [[ElementalPowers water, a "versatile element"]]. Unfortunately the Rakasha that bestowed the original blessing has been negligent in informing later generations,]]
* {{Defictionalization}}: The medallions that the characters wear to appear human have [[http://korybing.bigcartel.com been made into Pathtags medallions for readers to purchase]].
** There's also Borogove, the [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Wonderland]]-inspired card game that a handful of characters play in the comic, now a real deck.
* CuteLittleFangs: Michelle in sphinx form, and also in human form as seen when she was yawning or eating.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/one-eyed-bear-22/ In this strip]], Myra grabbed a demon by his shirt and forced him to apologize to the group. Later, and more literally, when the demon tries to apologize, Jim (who was almost killed by the demon) doesn't gave a damn and [[MegatonPunch knocks him out cold]] [[LaserGuidedKarma in retaliation]].
** DoNotTauntCthulhu: Lily Snodgrass, a mischievous glaistig, used a "Bugbear Talisman" to successfully evade Alec's "[[SpiderSense radar]]" and prank him by placing a bucket above his door. However, while he did fall for the prank, Alec is perfectly aware that Lily was responsible, and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero as a result]], [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/bugbear-talisman-11-being-of-extreme-interest/ intends to make it up to her]], [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/the-bugbear-talisman-12-the-greatest-day/ promptly conjuring bees from her cup of mead]].
* DisabilitySuperpower: Madam U is a blind Gorgon who gets along fine using her snakes' senses.
* DisappearedDad: Michelle's father died from a sudden brain aneurysm when she was in elementary school.
** Greg's mom had him out of wedlock. Nothing is really known about his father (except that he ''wasn't'' the satyr parent).
** When Tony's asked about his family, all he can say about his father is that he was a sailor who left a long time ago.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Greg. Merial proved immune, but it appears to be working on Michelle
* DominantSpeciesGenes: Offspring of interspecies couples are one species or the other (unless ill-considered shapeshifting magic is involved, in which case hybrids or TomatoInTheMirror timebombs are possible). Which species it is is random, unless one of the parents is a OneGenderRace in which case [[GenderEqualsBreed kids of the opposite gender will be the other species]]. The offspring of humans and medallion-disguised mythical creatures usually are born looking human, but when they touch a medallion for the appropriate species [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-two-page-10/ their true form is revealed]] (usually).
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Subverted, since Jim doesn't really seem all that embarrassed, but his full name is Jimothy James Finn. Same goes for his older brother Paulbert.
* FantasticGhetto: A lot of the avalons.
* FantasyKitchenSink: The setting throws in references to European, Native American, Middle-eastern, and Christian mythology; including gryphons, demons, dragons, satyrs, spirit animals, angels, and more.
* FantasticRacism: As should probably surprise no one, even mythical creatures are not immune to this all-too human failing.
** Ike Sanford gets a lot of prejudice because he's half manticore. Worse, his own mother Lynn is a vicious bigot with no filter. [[spoiler: Ike's girlfriend Rhonda is determined to make Lynn's prejudice as self-punishing as possible, hence the title of the side-story "kill them with kindness".]]
** Eustace complains that European-descended mythicals ignore Native American spirit animals like himself.
** When Michelle misidentifies Marshall the spirit raven as a crow he replies "Crows are filthy animals."
** Leah Tanno is Japanese, but as her gryphon form combines two North American animals (red-tailed hawk and bobcat) her gryphon ancestor (who could have been dozens of generations of "false humans" back) must have been a gaijin. While she hasn't complained about overt discrimination back home she still moved to England because [[InternalizedCategorism she never felt like she fit in back in Japan]].
** Jim is not particularly fond of bugbears, but insists it's due to ''experience'' instead of prejudice, probably a result of growing up with Alec.
* FeatherFingers: [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/greetings-from-dogpatch-7-halt/ Hank the chickadee]] in "Greetings from Dogpatch" has them. It appears to be a stylistic choice on his part since it's all magic either way.
* FirstEpisodeSpoiler: It starts as a straight college story; Michelle, with no idea of what she is, meets roommate Merial and friends Jim and Greg, all apparently human. The reveal starts at the end of the first chapter.
* FlatWhat: [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/handshakes-12-jim-and-lorne/ Jim in this page.]]
** And Michelle's mom on [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/homecoming-6-awkward-conversation/ this one.]]
* FlyOrDie: Jim's approach to teaching Michelle how to fly consists of chucking her off a cliff and then telling her that was how he learned when she complains about it.
-->'''Jim''': It's just like riding a bike.
-->'''Michelle''': I broke my arm riding a bike.
* FreakOut: Anthony doesn't take his introduction (specifically, his second visit) to the local {{Masquerade}} very well.
* FreudianExcuse: Jim hints he developed his flippant, irreverent and excentric attitude to compensate for all the teasing the "Finn Curse" brought him as a child.
* FromACertainPointOfView: Jim tells Eustace Michelle is a winged lion, a lie that he hopes contains enough of the truth to be believable [[spoiler: it isn't.]]
* TheFreakshow: Mr. Finn and his best friend Django Henge traveled with a sideshow during their year in America, though Mr. Finn insists he was a "rousty" (roustabout) implying Django was an exhibit.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Pay close attention to the background events. They're frequently (though not always) funny in the present, sometimes funny in retrospect but always significant. New characters typically appear somewhere in the background before they are introduced in the story. Michelle's first visit to their local Avalon in issue four has good examples of both along with some Funny Foreground Events of Greg and Miriel shopping while Jim quizzes Eustace about the Momo.
* GenderBender: [[DefiedTrope Didn't]] [[AvertedTrope happen]], actually -- [[spoiler: much to Anthony's relief when he turned into a [[OneGenderRace harpy]]. It turns out the magic allows exceptions to the MonogenderMonsters rules found in folklore.]]
* GeniusBonus: Pretty much all of the mythical creatures have a solid basis in folklore that their roles in the story either underscore or subvert.
* GenderBlenderName: Anthony's friend Blanche, a white '''stag'''. [[LampshadeHanging Anthony points this out early on]].
* GenreSavvy: [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/homecoming-3-open-the-door/ When Michelle express reluctance to tell her mother her secret as a mythical creature]], Greg convinces her to do that anyway, pointing out that her mother out likely figure it out by herself and, if she tried to keep it a secret any further, that will likely only hurt her mother more.
* GoKartingWithBowser: Gabe the angel and the demonic Grimm Brothers have a standing Friday night poker date.
* GodivaHair: Merial in her full nixie form
* GoneHorriblyWrong: If the shapeshifting magic "breaks", the resulting mishaps are rarely pretty, and often permanent.
* HalfDressedCartoonAnimal: The subject as a whole gets pointed out at various times throughout the comic. Michelle, for example, is fully aware that her sphinx form lacks pants.
** [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-three-page-25/ "Check it out. This chick is totally not wearing any pants."]]
** [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/issue-four-page-5/ "You should see centaurs. They put on shirts but just let their horse bits flap in the wind. It's hard not to laugh."]]
* HeroOfAnotherStory: the ''Exchanges'' arc runs on this trope as the POV shifts to follow a new group of characters every time their paths intersect.
* HiddenElfVillage: The Avalons, places where mythologics walk around openly. They range from remote villages like Wonderland, to single shops like the Southwest Missouri Avalon, to concealed neighborhoods like the Liverpool Avalon (which is housed in the empty shell of a huge warehouse.)
-->'''Jim:''' Most "abandoned" buildings aren't really abandoned. We use them for shops and meeting places and the like. We keep 'em run down so they don't attract attention.
* HimeCut: Leah wears a hime cut wig to Jim's going away party, perhaps to remind everyone that she's Japanese.
* HowDoIShotWeb: Michelle reportedly has supernatural powers as a sphinx, but [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/homecoming-12-parental-support/ doesn't know]] how to consciously access and use them. Then there's her first [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/korybing/skindeep/series.php?view=single&ID=88472/ flying lesson...]]
* InsistentTerminology: It's "pterippi", not "pegasus", thank you very much. Calling all winged horses Pegasus would be like calling all humans "Adam".
* ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne: Michelle is [[TheLastOfHisKind the last sphinx]] and potentially has enormous powers...that she cannot currently use except in dire emergency. All of this makes her a target for Angels, Demons, Dragons, and anyone else who might have an agenda or a hand in the Spinx and dragons' mutual genocide. So far "target" is the only thing she understands.
* INeedToGoIronMyDog: "[[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/homecoming-5-smooth/ I need to get more tea]]. [[{{CaptainObvious}} I will go into the kitchen now.]]''
* InternalizedCategorism: Greg ''hates'' satyrs. Too bad he is one.
* InterspeciesRomance: When in human form, the mythical creatures can marry ordinary humans and raise human children (termed "false humans"), however, the child will "revert" back to a mythical form if they come into contact with one of the medallions. The creatures themselves can interbreed to an extent, but "[[http://booker.deviantart.com/art/Reader-Questions-12-17-150169838 it's complicated]], it's [[AWizardDidIt magic]], [[BellisariosMaxim don't worry about it]]." Interspecies romance is mandatory for the MonogenderMonsters like Harpies and Nixies.
* ItRunsInTheFamily: The Finn's heroic ancestor Phineas the Red appears in a flashback arc. Turns out he's flippant, lackadaisical and frequently irritating -- just like Jim.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Michelle spends the first few weeks after her transformation as a one girl pity party until Jim not-so-gently reminds her to pull her head out of her ass by asking if she'd even noticed that Greg and Merial have problems too.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Gabe is bossy, arrogant and hostile towards everyone, but he works hard to keep people safe.
** Jim can be a bit of a self-centered dick and people would probably hate him if he wasn't also endearingly goofy and extremely charming. He also leaped to defend his friends against a monster, a demon and a dragon without hesitation and he bought Michelle some of Eustace's (implied to be expensive) magic earrings to help keep her safe.
* TheJuggernaut: The Monster of Missouri (AKA "''Momo''") is actually a rather [[GentleGiant peaceful creature]] normally, but when possessed by demons, it's an unstoppable terror.
** To put a few examples: A griffin leaps at him? It's soon defeated. A satyr staggers him with a headbutt? [[BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu He nearly broke his neck doing so]]! [[KillItWithWater Drown him]]? [[DeathisCheap It's simply resuscitated]]...[[spoiler: He turns out to be unkillable because he's already dead. The demon brothers fear retribution for killing him to use as an undead weapon.]]
* HybridMonster: Ike is half manticore and half buggane, which is not a natural occurrence.
* HybridOverkillAvoidance: Beings of nearly any species can have children together, using medallions if necessary, but unless strong non-medallion magic is involved the children will simply be one species or the other. Ike is the exception that proves the rule as he is clearly a mixed-breed monster but only inherited a (mostly) compatible subset of Buggane and Manticore features.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Michelle starts out with this attitude, unsurprisingly, though it soon becomes "I just want to be normal, but flying is cool". Jim eventually lectures her (while flying) that it all depends upon your definition of "normal", and Michelle would be much happier if she stopped trying to draw an artificial line between her sphinx and human lives.
-->'''Jim''': On two legs or four, you're still Michelle Jocasta.
* ItsPronouncedTropay: Meee-shell, just like the Beatles song, which her father loved to sing to her as a child.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/characters-2/ These guys]], and there's more that haven't been introduced yet!
* LostTechnology: The secret of making medallions has been lost [[spoiler: ...because the sphinxes were making them, and they went extinct.]]
* LieToTheBeholder: WordOfGod's explanation for how the shapeshifting medallions operate, both by the author and in-universe characters. [[BellisariosMaxim Try not to think too hard]] about some of the specifics.
* MagicPants: Clothes get magically "stored" somewhere whenever one of the Masquerade assumes their fully mythical form. So far Michelle's shirt has been the only exception, as it does not disappear in full form. (she has yet to develop a midform) so she has to wear a shirt cut to accommodate her wings. Eyeglasses seem to work inconsistently too: Merial discards hers when she transforms, but Jim's father's get stored along with his clothes. According to WordOfGod different types of medallions offer different levels of MagicPants because the spells vary, each medallion is hand crafted, and older medallions tend to use wilder magic whereas newer medallions have more refined but less powerful spells.
* [[ManicPixieDreamGirl Manic Pixie Dream Guy]]: Ravi.
** Rhonda serves as one to [[JadeColoredGlasses Ike]], best seen [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/kill-them-with-kindness-1-omg-shoes/ here]].
* TheMasquerade: There's a whole secret culture comprised of mythical creatures, but it's kept secret from humanity, mostly out of a vague fear that TheWorldIsNotReady. It's an unusually low-key Masquerade, though, because they don't go to [[LaserGuidedAmnesia extreme]] [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade lengths]] to keep humans away; they just try to make their [[HiddenElfVillage Avalons]] inconspicuous and scare off any humans who manage to find one, and if a human gets past those obstacles then they're expected to keep it a secret as well but not threatened with dire consequences for breaking the Masquerade. [[CassandraTruth It's not very likely that someone who blabbed the secret would be believed]], so they probably don't ''need'' to do much more.
* MiddleChildSyndrome: Middle Finn brother Tobias has a really bad case, which only makes his brothers tease him all the more.
* MinionWithAnFInEvil [=/=] HeroWithAnFInGood: played as counterparts to each other in the "Welcome to Dogpatch Arc".
** It's not that the demonic Grimm Brothers don't want to be evil, they just don't tend to be very good at it. Mikhail in particular is so hapless he almost crosses over into IneffectualSympatheticVillain territory
** Just because angels have to do the right thing doesn't mean Gabe has to be pleasant about it or set a good example otherwise. If anything Gabe tends to be a good example of bad behaviors when not actually battling demons.
* MistakenForGay: Blanche, by pretty much everybody. It really bugs him when he hears this from his best friend Tony, who's the one person Blanche figures should know better
* MonogenderMonsters: some species (like Harpies) tend to be all of one sex or another.
* MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily: A closeup of Merial's mouth while she's eating reveals a full set of carnivorous fish teeth reminiscent of a shark even when she's in human form. Michelle's CuteLittleFangs show under similar circumstances.
* MundaneFantastic: To the mythical residents of the Liverpool Avalon, the strange goings on are all totally normal and boring.
* MundaneUtility: mythical abilities and powers are frequently treated like labor saving devices or home appliances.
** Myra sates her bugbear's inherent need to mess with people by working in a Halloween corn maze.
** Alec's bugbear abilities and inclinations make him an ideal volunteer doorman (guard, actually) for the Liverpool Avalon.
** Merial always wears skirts, which makes sense considering her true form has a tail instead of legs.
** It's also subverted when Eustace asks Michelle if she'd tried escaping the Bloodcarver's bonds by transforming into a human:
-->'''Michelle''' Would that have worked?
-->'''Eustace''' Probably not.
* NoNudityTaboo: Played with. All mythicals (except Michelle for some reason) become nude in full-form due to the MagicPants effect inherent in their medallions, which makes sense because most of their full mythical forms make some or all clothing unnecessary or impractical. Jim mentions centaurs, who can wear shirts but have to leave their "Horse Bits" exposed for all to see, but also mentions that mythicals born mythical are perfectly comfortable with nudity since they couldn't even wear clothes until they get their first medallions. Contrast Merial, who seems quite comfortable nude in her full Nixie form, with Michelle, who insists on wearing a shirt even though she just has to cope with her butt being on full display. Despite this, most mythicals do wear clothes in human and mid-form, either due to practicality (pockets!) or as a means of expression as exemplified by the music scene in the Liverpool Avalon.
** Jim's little brother Colin provides amusing reinforcement to Jim's point: He can hardly wait to get his medallion and assume human form but the interval between being thrilled that he can finally wear clothes and dismay that he's now required to can be measured in minutes. He still likes the opposable thumbs.
* NotQuiteBackToNormal: Greg cannot assume fully human form because his TransformationTrinket is damaged so he has to hide his goatlike ears under a stocking cap at all times.
** Merial retains her carnivorous fish teeth even in human form.
** Michelle retains her CuteLittleFangs and curls up like a cat when she's lying down, though that may not mean much as it could easily be a stress-induced fetal position.
** [[Creator/MontyPython Tim the Wizard]] is stuck with curled ram's horns after a botched spell.
** Much like Greg, Myra's left eye is a permanent [[GlowingEyesOfDoom Glowing Eye Of Doom]], and she wears a patch over it unless she has her GameFace on.
* NotSoExtinct: Sphinxes and dragons supposedly wiped each other out centuries ago. Yet Michelle is a sphinx, [[spoiler: and dragons aren't quite extinct yet either.]]
* OldShame: Ike was the product of one of his now very conservative mother's youthful indiscretions, and she doesn't let him forget it.
* OneGenderRace: Satyrs are all male. Harpies are all female. [[spoiler: Which is why it's so confusing when Anthony turns into a harpy but remains male. Turns out his mother was a harpy who used a transformation spell to become human when she fell in love with Anthony's father and that spell had a hidden price.]] Strong magic can subvert these general rules, however.
* OnlySixFaces: A lot of the characters had the same beak-nose and face at first, but the art improved rather rapidly; this is especially obvious when the artist switched from traditional pen-and-watercolor to Photoshop - compare the first page to the latest one, in which the characters have distinctive noses and jawlines.
* OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent: Well, Ordinary College Student for Michelle, until she picked up a random trinket dropped by a stranger [[spoiler: which was actually the shade of her dead father.]]
* OurMonstersAreDifferent: And how! Most of them are ordinary, average, down-to-earth people even if they look like they just stepped off the pages of a medieval bestiary. Stock elves, dwarves, trolls, and goblins are notably absent. WordOfGod says they're already much-used elsewhere, and aren't likely to show up any time soon.
** InUniverse the term "monster" is used generally for creatures who have no medallions to assume human form (like Harpies), more specifically for non-sapient creatures like the nightmare and the Momo, and very specifically for those who prey on other sapients like most manticores.
** Bugbears are anthropomorphic bears in this canon with an interest in the strange and the macabre. They can also teleport, know where everyone is, and have a habit of freaking people out.
*** WordOfGod states that they had to alter a ''lot'' of the Bugbear mythos.
** BigfootSasquatchAndYeti: The Momo (Missouri Monster) makes an early appearance.
** OurDemonsAreDifferent: The Grimm brothers are apparently from the city of Dis, can possess or remotely manipulate others, and can teleport by dissolving like smoke.
** OurGryphonsAreDifferent: Several different types of gryphon exist, with Jim, a main character, as an '''Opinicus''' (aka ''Maned Gryphon'') with bird wings and a raven-like pointed beak, but otherwise lion-like in most respects. Reverse gryphons are also present, as well as variant gryphons combining different cats and raptors than the traditional eagle and lion.
** Harpies apparently come in a few varieties as well, with Abigail appearing something like a WingedHumanoid, while [[spoiler: Anthony]] looks like the traditional bird with a human head.
** OurMermaidsAreDifferent: Merial is a Nixie, which is like a mermaid, but with more fangs and water powers and a limited ability to transform without a medallion. She has a fish man-like appearance in her midform.
** The author repeatedly noted that Michelle is a winged ''Grecian'' sphinx, while her father was a wingless ''Egyptian'' sphinx. [[spoiler: This actually became a point of interest in the chapter ''Illumination.'']]
** They aren't [[{{Pegasus}} pegasi]], but "Pterippi," literally "winged horses".
* PartialTransformation: In addition to transforming between their human and mythical forms, most characters can assume a "midform" that is essentially an anthropomorphized version of their creature. Greg specifically notes that he had to re-learn the banjo with the three-fingered hands of his satyr form. All appear subject to some degree of MorphicResonance, as the various brothers all retain some degree of family resemblance even when they are in different forms.
** On two occasions, Michelle is also shown in completely human form save for her sphinx tail. One is a chapter cover, and the other appears to be her first midform, assumed unconsciously when she starts composing an e-mail in her sphinx form.
** Nixies can assume a humanoid form using their natural shapeshifting though they still need medallions to appear human.
* PettingZooPeople: Midforms generally resemble this.
* PunnyName: Blanche Noir. Doubles as GratuitousFrench.
* RequiredSecondaryPowers: Invoked, lampshaded, and conversed. Michelle's lengthened neck in sphinx form is a particularly subtle example.
** Merial's medallion provides human disguise only because her actual transformations are all accomplished using her natural shapeshifting. She has to wear glasses in her human form because her eyes remain optimized for underwater vision, which her disguise-only medallion can't fix.
* ScheduleSlip: The author maintains a fixed schedule of one page a week for the most part, but exceptions have occasionally happened.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: The Bloodcarver (who seems like a nice guy despite his name) violates explicit orders from "The Father" (whoever that is) and lets Michelle go because she is, as he tells Gabriel, "a frightened child" who is "obviously innocent".
* ShapeshifterBaggage: {{Handwave}}d as part of the [[LostTechnology super-advanced medallion magic]].
* ShapeshifterModeLock: WordOfGod states that if a character's TransformationTrinket is taken away, the character will revert back to their mythical form until they get it back.
* SlapSlapKiss: Lily's prank offensive against Alec in "The Bugbear Talisman" has strong flirting overtones leaving the impression that it may have actually been a backhanded attempt to get him to pay more attention to her.
* SliceOfLife: Roughly half the arcs.
* SpotlightStealingSquad: After setting up the main plot line in Missouri, the comic spent nearly three years on the ''Exchanges'' arc, a story set in Liverpool before ''Orientations'' takes place. ''Exchanges'' served to explain many setting details, providing an example of more "normal" interaction between mythical creatures in the mythical society, but only shared one character with the ''Orientations'' cast. While it was an entertaining SliceOfLife story, it also left many fans wondering when the story would return to the Missouri-based conflict.
** Since ''Exchanges'' has finished, the comic has alternated between funny short stories in both Missouri and Liverpool and arc-centered stories about the length of one of the chapters that make up ''Orientations'' and ''Exchanges''. The author has said to expect this rhythm to become the norm for the comic.
* SuperpowerLottery: Bugbears. Enhanced strength, magic powers, possible teleportation, and absolute awareness of every sentient being around them for miles. They could probably take over the planet if they were interested in using their powers for any purpose besides {{troll}}ing people.
--> "It's like they evolved for the ''sole purpose'' of ''messing with blokes.''"
* SuperStrength: Nemean Lions are incredibly strong and borderline indestructible to boot - generally, the only thing that can hurt one Nemean is another Nemean. As a result, they're often used as muscle where heavy lifting is required, and the Avalons crack down hard on any Nemeans with violent tendencies.
* SureLetsGoWithThat: Gabe's response when Eustace and Hank [[http://www.skindeepcomic.com/archive/greetings-from-dogpatch-49-goodbye-mike/ prove more capable than he assumed.]]
* TomatoInTheMirror: If you're a "false human" (the result of aforementioned InterspeciesRomance) and come into physical contact with a medallion, then -- *poof* -- you're suddenly a monster! And apparently you were meant to be one all along but just didn't know it.
* TransformationComic: Unusual in that 'Human' is the transformation, not the other way around.
* TransformationTrinket: Medallions. Some are apparently older (with stronger but wilder magic) than others.
* TheUnfavorite: Ike's mom has never approved of him, and acts as if his out-of-wedlock birth was somehow ''his'' fault instead of hers.
* UrbanFantasy: Set in a modern world (well, sorta, the comic takes place in 2004) exactly like ours, except for the magical [[WainscotSociety hidden community]] of mythical creatures that have been living just under the surface for hundreds of years.
* VertebrateWithExtraLimbs: lampshaded by Michelle when she complains that learning to deal with six limbs (four legs, two wings, and nothing remotely resembling a hand) in her sphinx form has been a bit of a trial.
* WainscotSociety: The fantastic creatures mostly live as humans using that TransformationTrinket, but have the network of Avalons where they can be themselves.
* WebcomicTime: A matter of minutes can go by in the comic over a month's worth of comic updates.
* WeirdnessMagnet: Michelle. She draws in the seemingly impossible even by the standards of the FantasyKitchenSink monster-people world. Heck, she even uses the exact term to describe herself.
-->'''Michelle:''' I think one of my powers is being a ''weirdness magnet.''
* WelcomedToTheMasquerade: Humanity is filled with "Unturned" [[AllMythsAreTrue fantastic creatures]], who were descended from an ancestor who owned a [[VoluntaryShapeshifting human-disguise medallion]], and are covered by a semi-permanent version of the same spell that keeps them human all the time. Getting a medallion of their own [[IAmWho breaks the old spell and reveals their true species]]. For some (like [[OurGryphonsAreDifferent Jim]]), getting a medallion and being Turned is a normal part of growing up; for others (like [[RiddlingSphinx Michelle]]), it comes as a [[TomatoInTheMirror rude shock]].
** Michelle is literally welcomed to the masquerade by Eustace on her first visit to the local Avalon, and she finds the people there quite nice for the most part.
* WhamLine: Anthony's mother gives one to him.
-->'''Ophelia:''' [[spoiler:...I was born a harpy.]]
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Jim, as the result of a supposed curse that runs through his family line, has green hair. [[spoiler: And as of ''Illumination,'' we now know that Colin Finn has blue hair.]]
** [[AllThereInTheManual Other material on the dA profiles]] show that there are ''other'' curses in Jim's family, too. Such as the Red and White curse, etc. WordOfGod has, however, warned that much of the old material on her dA profile are out-dated and readers should tread carefully.
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