Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire is a science-fiction/action/comedy comics series by Phil Foglio, featuring the adventures of private detective/bodyguard-for-hire Buck Godot, operating out of the Lawless planet of New Hong Kong.The supporting cast include Al, the manager of Buck's favourite bar (who looks like a short green cartoony version of the critter from Alien); and Madame Louisa Dem Five, a pillar of the local *ahem* service industry.The series started as a string of short pieces in various anthology comics, some of which were collected in the first Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire collection. In these stories, Buck protects a woman pursued by fanatical sun-priests, finds a lost heir despite the hindrance of being followed around by a freelance conscience, defends a cargo ship from space pirate attack, and attempts to learn the secret of teleportation from an enigmatic alien (with the fate of worlds hanging in the balance).There's also a one-off graphic novel, PSmIth. An attempted ongoing comic book folded, due to scheduling and other problems, after a single story arc; but that story arc, The Gallimaufry, is the crowning achievement of the series, the added length allowing new levels of depth and complexity in plot and worldbuilding.Following the success of Girl Genius, the series was re-released in web-comic form. The last installment of The Gallimaufry went up on June 20th, 2009. The following week saw a reprinting the three-page "True Story of the Winslow". And that appears to be that. (Almost.) One of the original short stories (the one with nudity) is not included at the above site. We're sure you can find it if you look hard, though.
Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire provides examples of:
Buck: "All right, I think we're talking about a presentation that will alter the balance of galactic politics, forge new alliances, turn ally upon ally and change the life of every sentient aboard this station."
Kleg: "Glurk. You...you will do this tomorrow?!"
Buck: "Tomorrow? Oh, no, that's next week's presentation. I don't know what we're doing tomorrow."
Every single word of that is 100% accurate. He's just wrong about the timing...
The fourteen Accepted Signs of Divinity, as listed here, include: "call down the lightning, corrupt the innocent, eat the moon, answer the phone before it rings".
The Prime Mover's to-do list: start rumors of the Winslow's location, find a new chief of security, evict the Pogs and topple their government, reestablish communication with Gallimaufrey Station, and "finish my bath".
And he pulls one even more complex to resolve "The Gallimaufry," offering the Pogs an increasingly ridiculous plan because he knows they'll go along with anything to get the Winslow, and also playing into his expectations of how Par will react (and that the Beemahs can get anywhere they want to, in the nick of time).
Boisterous Bruiser: Frakkus Godot and Buck himself. Pretty much any Hoffmanite, at least by reputation.
God Guise: Many of the religions that surround the Winslow. He MAY be actually Divine (immortal, indestructible, and showing signs of Obfuscating Stupidity), it is just that everyone thinks he is for the wrong reasons.
Heavyworlder: Buck and the other Hoffmannites — suprisingly, given the rest of the comic is actually fairly high into the "Hard" scale of sci-fi, they're the fantastical "big and portly" types, rather then the scientifically accurate dwarf (i.e. short, squat, and lean) types. (This may be related to the fact that they didn't evolve, but were engineered — by a group of genetic engineers whose other projects included a race of centaurs.)
Later played straight — turns out that while the galaxy as a whole doesn't think much of humans, the really clever aliens know that humans are good at "getting things done", which is why Chief Parahexavoctal, security-chief on a station with literally thousands of different races in habitat, hires a human to investigate one of the biggest mysteries ever — and why, later, the "Destroy-on-Sight" Beemahs choose to throw their lot in with humanity as well.
Beemah:: Have confidence in you. We think humanity will survive. Sneaky. Admire this.
Even the Prime Movers, the Arisian-like superintelligent godlike aliens who, it seems, run the universe, think that humanity is special... apparently because we think the Winslow is annoying.
Humans Need Aliens: In the graphic novel The Gallimaufry, it's revealed that humanity has been under the protection of an uber-powerful Elder Race alien since joining the galactic community.
Human Subspecies: Humans have several subspecies created by genetic engineering to live in specific hostile environments.
Hypercompetent Sidearms: Smith and Wesson are clearly the brains of the Pistol Packin' Polaris Packrat's operation.
I Call It Vera: Buck's zap-gun, "Junior". Junior's rifle cousin "Senior" shows up on occasion, but is never used.
Interfaith Smoothie: The Church of Slag-Blah who are "militant agnostics" who celebrate a different religion's holy day every day.
Interspecies Romance: Subverted by Buck/Louisa (Hoffmanites find humans underdeveloped and also "a wee bit... delicate") and Buck/Tal (since she's a reptilean alien, as Buck points out, even if he were inclined to perv he wouldn't know what to look at. Turns out he's lying.)
Ironic Echo: the Prime Mover points out that humanity didn't retire, they quit. Much later, after killing Parahexavoctal, he points out that he didn't retire, he was fired.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Klegdixal. EVERYONE in the galaxy thinks that they're jerks, but they've actually dedicated their vast knowledge of biotech to preventing biowarfare; see also Morality Pet below. This is not to say that they are not, in fact, jerks.
On most human planets, the laws are enforced by near-indestructible Lawful Stupid robots. Technically, this is also the case on New Hong Kong, but on New Hong Kong there is only one written law — which forbids the passing of any more laws — and society runs on unwritten customs instead. The entire planet is patrolled by a single Law Machine, which doesn't have much to do.
The Gallimaufry, being a space station and not a planet, is also outside the Law Machines' jurisdiction; there is one Law Machine situated there, as an observer. At one point, when the humans are trying to explore a booby-trapped secret passage, the Law Machine offers its assistance, on the grounds that while it's forbidden to interfere, there's nothing stopping it going down the passage and observing what's there.
Love Is in the Air: When she chooses, Louisa can become a walking pheromone factory. It's a treatment anyone can acquire, but it requires stringent licensing.
MacGuffin: The Winslow, so very much — he could have been an inert lump of indestructium for all the difference it would have made to the plot. Given a great big Lampshade Hanging, with much discussion of the fact that although everybody knows he's very important, there's no general agreement on exactly why.
Mass Teleportation: In one story, Buck has to gain the trust of a mysterious alien which has the mass teleportation technology needed to evacuate all the people off a planet that's about to be wiped out by a supernova. When he finally manages to explain the situation, the alien casually suggests that it would be just as easy to teleport the entire planet.
Morality Pet: The Beemahs effectively become this for the Klegs. Initially hating and fearing the Klegs, who created the technology with which the Zmouf made the Beemahs as slaves, the Beemahs are as stunned as anyone else to discover that the Klegs had had no idea what the Zmouf intended, were horrified to learn the truth, and have felt guilty about it ever since. The Klegs are overjoyed to have a chance to make amends.
In the Teleporter story, the villain founds an entire inhabited colony world just so it will be in danger in a way that forces Buck to discover the Teleporter's secret for X-Tel. Note: This was done while the villain didn't know where in the universe Buck was, or whether he could be found before said planet met its fate. Nice guys, X-Tel.
Also the Prime Mover's "restraining order" on Hyraax.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Buck's "Pog Disguise." Which is essentially placing a normal Pog on his head, putting on a shirt over that, and pretending to walk around as a pog. Keeping in mind that Buck is an 8-foot tall, quarter-ton Hoffmanite... and Pogs are about the size of a medium-sized dog. Tops.
Playing Both Sides: While he's not the first Magnificent Bastard to cut dishonest deals with two sides of the conflict for his personal benefit, Buck is probably unique in managing to do so while BOTH parties are standing right next to him.
Porn Stash: Even nigh-omnipotent aliens have them.
The Power of Legacy: Security Chief Parahexavoctal is revealed to have committed several large-scale crimes in pursuit of his assigned duty, including (but not limited to) genocide and the large-scale enslavement of a sentient race. When confronted with his sins, he continues to claim that he just did what he had to do in order to provide thousands of years of peace on the station. The Prime Mover acknowledges this, and decrees that his record shall stand as a shining example to all his successors with no mention of his crimes. Par smiles and thanks him for fulfilling his ultimate wish, even as he is wiped from existence.
Terse Talker: The Beemah spokesman. Lurks in dark. Drops pronouns.
Thirty Gambit Pile Up: The Station Chief's oppression of the Beemahs, which led to the Beemahs interfering in the Pog's plans to infect humanity with a will-sapping virus, which was messed up by the humans giving up the Winslow voluntarily. All of this was because of a very minor gambit of one reporter suggesting Fractal Bombs to locate the (indestructable) Winslow.
Thrown Out The Airlock: Every race's embassy has an airlock for a ROOF. Parahexavoctal has been known to throw entire embassies out the airlock.
Wretched Hive: New Hong Kong. Mind you, just because it's Lawless, doesn't mean there aren't rules. But there aren't rules about unimportant stuff like shooting people down in the street just because you don't like them.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Parahexavoctal assisted the Beemahs in rebelling against the Zmouf, then enslaved them himself and issued a "shoot on sight" order for the entire species to ensure their secrecy.
Your Head A Splode: The Prime Mover implies that if Hyraxx even thinks about the revelations in the last part of the story, this is her fate. He suggests a Lobotomy to remove the memories.
Godot Was Here.The Winslow is here. He's everywhere. All hail.