aka: Absurdist Comic
"MY NAME IS POKEY THE PENGUIN I LOVE CHESS!! IT IS LIKE BALLET ONLY WITH MORE EXPLOSIONS!"Geeks have a weird sense of humor. Geeks also read a lot of webcomics. As a result, many webcomics tend to have a bent towards surreal, non sequitur humor. Dada Comics take this to the extreme, being composed of nothing but surreal, non sequitur humor. They may be gag-a-day comics, or cover story arcs that make little or no sense. They may also be (intentionally) badly drawn and scripted — the biggest difference between this and unintentional bad drawings and scripts is the difference between imitations of timecube.com and The Eye of Argon. Since they're not meant to be taken seriously, Dada Comics are (with at least two exceptions) almost never subject to Cerebus Syndrome. A Sub-Trope of Surreal Humor. Compare Dream Land, Surreal Theme Tune. See also Deranged Animation, Post Modernism.
— Pokey, Pokey the Penguin
open/close all folders
- Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics, combining surreal humor with occasional bits of wisdom. Also formed the basis for a movie that wasn't much like the original: Mystery Men.
- Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle.
- From Brazilian comic Monica's Gang, Louco (Nutty Ned). Animated example.
- Most of the humor in Le Génie des Alpages is of the Dada variety.
- Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #15 features quite a few of these.
- The Happy Noodle Boy comic within a comic from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.
- Doom Patrol featured the Brotherhood of Dada. They were pretty darn weird, and considering that this comic is the example of What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?, that's saying something. One of their most memorable moments was when they first met the Doom Patrol and the leader of the Brotherhood, Mr. Nobody, threw a fish on the ground and said "There! Now we've taken over the world! What are you going to do about that?", and a line used to introduce them goes The Brotherhood of Evil is dead! Long live the Brotherhood of Dada!, a reference to a slogan used by Dadaists which went 'Art is Dead! Long live Dada!'.
- In the German comic Werner: Some one-pagers can only described as that.
- George Carlson's Jingle Jangle Comics.
- Though rare, Dada Comics do appear on the printed page. A well known example is Zippy The Pinhead and its comic-within-the-comic Fletcher and Tanya.
- "The Angriest Dog in the World" consists of a panel that briefly explains the, um, "premise" of the comic, followed by three panels of the dog in his owners' yard. The final panel is the same as the preceding three, but set at night. The only way to distinguish one comic from another is by the word balloons emanating from the house, which expound on topics ranging from silly puns to existentialist dilemmas to the makeup of obscure chemical compounds. Oh, by the way, it's written by David Lynch.
- Max Cannon's Red Meat (Available online)
- Steve Notley's Bob the Angry Flower (Also available online)
- Gary Larson's The Far Side (no recurring characters, with some minor, still non-canon exceptions), twisted non-sequiturs, blenderized pop-culture in-jokes — pretty much the forerunner of all the other Dada Comics in the newspapers)
- Gahan Wilson's comics in Playboy, The New Yorker and other publications.
- Charles Addams' comics in The New Yorker.
- There is perhaps also no better way to describe the oddities of artist Glen Baxter.
- Edward Gorey's blatantly surreal and occasionally nightmarish illustrated short stories provide an Ur-Example for this trope, with particular credit due to The West Wing, The Epileptic Bicycle and [Untitled].
- Pokey the Penguin, a bizarre comic about a penguin who lives in the Arctic Circle with Mr. Nutty, a drunken and inexplicably British snowman, Skeptopotamous, an Eeyore-esque hippo, and a bunch of other penguins, going on crazy misadventures and occasionally butting heads with the Italians, who want his Arctic Circle Candy. Dialogue is in all-caps, occasionally scribbled out or in strike-through, and is peppered with lines like "THE FLYER HAS A CUTE KITTEN DRAWN ON IT! IT REPRESENTS VIOLENCE AND CARNAGE."
- Chainsawsuit by Kris Straub, of Checkerboard Nightmare. Almost none of the comics are related, except for some recurring characters such as Two Cops, the cop who enrolled in the Police Academy twice by mistake, or Cthulhu. Found here.
- Most of the comics at Renderosity fit this category.
- If Listening To 11.975 MHz doesn't count, nothing does. It seems to take place in a literal Dream Land. The cast includes a girl with antennae (of Pac-Man chasing a ghost) who speaks only nonsensical French, a girl in swirly Opaque Nerd Glasses who speaks only in calculus equations, a Chinese Girl who speaks only nonsensical Chinese, a Barbie Doll Anatomy-subverting Innocent Fanservice Girl (possibly Brazilian, from her dark hair and Markov-chain Portuguese) a Hippie Chick who wears 1 less item of clothing each time she appears (last seen wearing a lab coat, glasses, peace sign, hair band, sandals, and nothing else), and a walking radio that can only say the words "Zachary", "Acetaminophen", and "Beige". Oh, and random scenery that quotes... random things. Like the names of European dictators, or random snippets from 1960s novels. Randomly. This doesn't include the backgrounds and minor characters, which can be charitably described as "screwed up." Oh, and the contact page gives information on contacting the author over CB radio.
- (Note: The author claims to have never heard of Dadaism.)
- Super Mega Comics certainly qualifies. The art consists entirely of poorly-drawn stick figures that put Shirt Guy Dom to shame, and the plots make a marginal amount of sense, at most.
- Buttercup Festival usually consists of a protagonist, dressed like the Grim Reaper, conversing with an off-screen character about nothing in particular, and features some exceptionally strange dialogue. An early example can be found here.
- Witch's Brew is literally Dada. Each strip is produced via the Exquisite Corpse game, where multiple artists collaborate on each strip, but must make their contributions without seeing any more than one panel of the strip.
- Chicanery, a sprite comic starring an assortment of Earthbound characters and other clip art. After the events of the game, Pokey embezzles $44 million from Giygas so that he and Ness "have enough legal tender to go on nonsensical zany adventures". They are quickly joined in their escapades by a trigger-happy Mr. Saturn who is relatively more coherent than others of his kind, Mr. T (represented by the "generic black guy" sprite from Earthbound, which looked unmistakably like the real T), Ness's former comrade Jeff, and Pip from Chrono Cross. These escapades include traveling through time to prevent a nuclear detonation (and briefly ending up in medieval times, represented by graphics from Ultima I), the occasional treasure hunt, extended parodies of Parasite Eve and Metal Gear, and a fight between a giant Mister B. Natural and a Humongous Mecha based on MST3K's Frank Conniff ("the 2000-inch TV's Frank").
- Beaver and Steve, in their unfeasible adventures, do encounter the occasional recurring character or plot point (which occasions probably make for the weaker of the strips); at its best, though, this sometimes-single-page, sometimes-story-arc webcomic shows no interest in consorting with such dull companions as continuity or logic. There Are No Rules here. Anything can happen. (Although there is a better-than-average chance that there will be toasters, robots, and time travel involved.)
- Framed!!! is very surreal, starting with its self-referential metafictional premise of real people trapped in a comic strip. It frequently identifies conventions just so that it can violate them, such as having a character turn into abstract art or shove a tilting panel back into position. It's also responsible for the massive "Framed!!! Great Escape" crossover event, a weeks-long orgy of metafiction.
- Loserz sometimes falls into that, as in this strip.
- The webcomic Dresden Codak and its science-based surrealism qualifies, despite having Cerebus Syndrome for a short while.
- It is nigh on impossible to describe the black-and-white comic Something Happens, but it sure fits in this category.
- Another webcomic example is Fluble, with evil penguins (why is it always penguins?) working for THEM bent on galactic domination, clowns, fish, and random celebrities killed with axes.
- Dadasaurus Rex takes the already eccentric Dinosaur Comics right off the rails.
- Ctrl+Alt+Del does this occasionally with its Chef Brian comics.
- Mr. Square Comics seems to take this trope as it's manifesto, though they are ALL extremely out there, these in particular are some of the weirdest: issue 164, issue 93 and issue 95
- Electric Retard
- Subnormality! Yes, the exclamation mark is part of the title.
- Garfield Minus Garfield. While some show how much of a woobie Jon is, others simply make absolutely no sense.
- The Dada Detective, which neatly subverts this trope by having a technically sensible plot — a detective is trying to find a missing duck — but is filled with talkative mimes, goons who are overly fond of metaphor, disco, and Peter Lorre.
- mezzacotta. It's expected when there are trillions of strips and that they are generated by randomizing the lines.
- From the same people behind it comes Square Root of Minus Garfield, where people can contribute their own Garfield strips, resulting in variants of Garfield Minus Garfield's premise like Garfield Minus Jon and Garfield Plus Garfield. Others make tributes to other things like Dinosaur Comics, MS Paint Adventures, and Homestar Runner. Of course, there's lots of variety like Plush Garfield and Dark Side of the Lasange.
- Penny Arcade does this occasionally, usually with the Twisp and Catsby strips.
- Girly uses this for a bit of its humor, though it is not exclusively Dada.
- However, it is the spinoff series of Cutewendy; which was very Dada.
- Jerkcity is essentially a series of one-off chatroom conversations in comic strip form, sometimes rendered illegible, and sometimes isn't even a comic strip.
- Slow Wave is a collective dream diary in comic form. It makes roughly no sense. Although this might be a subversion, since A) The whole thing is descriptions of dreams, and B) This Troper sent in a dream which the author rearranged to make less sense.
- Mountain Time is completely inane, though the author claims it is deeply meaningful.
- megaGAMERZ 3l33T is a parody of this genre. It is ostensibly written by Diablo, a fictional evil chicken (not to be confused with all those real evil chickens) from the comic Goats. Early strips are barely distinguishable from real Dada Comics, but over the comic's year-long run "Diablo" pushed the comic into being a more obvious and extreme parody.
- Flying Man and Friends. Pick a strip. Any strip.
- This one's called Dada. There are references to the original Dada movement; for instance, the Mona Lisa is a major character. Plots are followable, but are interrupted by word-association battles so often that you might not notice.
- The Comic Adventures Of Left And Right is about two very similar friends that crack contrived Visual Puns when they're not plotting to kill each other.
- Everything at Is This Tomorrow qualifies, especially Aether Transmission.
- Expecting a funny example? TOO BAD! WALUIGI TIME!
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff a webcomic that ties into Homestuck. It's a two-gamers-on-a-couch series only totally incomprehensible and so ironic you can't even begin to understand all the layers of irony.
- Unwinders Tall Comics sometimes veers into this territory, as well as having at least one in-universe example.
- The Tripadelic Life Of Spannith No Punchlines, troper-written.
- Axe Cop, drawn by professional artist Ethan Nicolle and written by his 6-year-old brother Malachai.
- Perfect Stars is beautifully drawn but barely intelligible.
- These Webcomics Are Bad. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Tonight is a good day is an obscure example, as well as one of the straightest examples of this trope (I think so, anyway.)
- Fall City Blues — the recurring Transitfish Syndrome filler.
- The Book of Biff. Every single update, Biff has found some way to defy the laws of physics, do something inexplicable, or simply apply everyday objects in absolutely insane ways. The second comic pretty much solidified this early on — it involved Biff inexplicably trying to smother a grease fire by beating it with two hammers. (This has since become a mini-meme among the commenters for early comics.)
- This random generator provides a new Dada comic every time you refresh the page. WHEN ARE METEORIC INTERSCINDINGS MARLING YOUR FORWARD PITYINGS?
- Bogleech's comics are definitely this, mixed with a healthy dose of Squick and horror.
- Eegra's 'Hilarity Comics' are dada gaming humor.
- WoodsOfEvil fits here.
- Large Bagel: A human sized bagel named Pinisu-chan and her friends protect the earth with their vaguely defined magical girl powers. A bizarre parody of magical girl animes and fanimes.
- Purple Pussy: Which deconstructs and plays up toilet humor to near incomprehensible extremes.
- White Ninja Comics has some consistency in White Ninja's character, but his role and the the supporting cast always change from one inexplicable situation to another.
- Ctrl R.
- Fiascos is a comic about an unnamed man in a suit with a TV for a head and a fluorescent alien called Jam try to return to their homeland. Things descend into chaos almost immediately.
- Educomix, despite picking up a storyline a few strips in, remains completely insane in comparison to anything in real life, yet runs on its own consistent internal logic.
- keithiscoolbykeith was a mind-bogglingly random.lo-rez and deliberately(?) amateurish strip. And then it randomly disappeared.
- ''Negamaki!'' starts with talking sushi, immediately devolves to Cthulu Mythos, and pretty much keeps riding the slide down from there.
- Ghettonauts, a fancomic of Psychonauts, has it's first page being a shot of one of the campers laying in the grass, apparently on an acid trip, and that's it. It gets weirder.
- Deer Me has an occasional example with in-verse comic "Wonder Wonder" wherein the featured Wombat does nothing except say one word in the final panel. Viana loves it while the rest of the cast understandably fails to see the appeal.
- Spaghatta Nadle, a Comic Within the Webcomic Hyperbole and a Half.
- The Adventures of Sue and Kathryn! is about a zombie and a Mad Scientist wraith trying to fit into suburban life. Except for the elves. And the were-elephants. And the Haunted Tree. And so on. It's also a Show Within a Show in the artist's other webcomic, Selkie.