Web Comic: Endtown

It's the End of Civilization as we know it. A mutagenic plague followed by a global war fought with disintegration weaponry has left much of the Earth a desert of fine powder and what remains of humanity fragmented into humans, animal-like mutants, and bloodthirsty monstrosities with lots of teeth. The surface, still teeming with the mutagenic virus, has become the domain of the dreaded Topsiders — well-organized, technologically advanced, and heavily armed un-mutated humans sworn to exterminate mutations of any kind in order to clear the way for the eventual resurgence of a new, genetically clean humanity. Faced with annihilation, mutants and "impure" humans have retreated into the depths of the planet to form communities and hope to win, or at least survive, what may prove to be mankind's final war. Endtown is the continuing story of one of those communities. (Author's description of Endtown, found on the GoComics site.)

In short, Endtown is an apocalyptic Webcomic by Aaron Neathery that enjoys contrasting its Funny Animals and many silly jokes with the fact that it's The End of the World as We Know It. Alternates between being a funny comic, a serious comic, and a really friggin' scary comic.

The strip was originally hosted on Modern Tales. When it moved to its new home at GoComics, Neathery pretty much wrapped up the then-current arc and switched the focus of the action to a new set of characters; this was not a ReBoot, and most of the original characters have gradually reappeared. The old Modern Tales strips have recently been added to the GoComics archives.


Tropes Featured:

  • A God Am I: Jim declares himself God after suffering Schism Syndrome. Complete with demands to pray to him.
  • Alliterative Name: Albert Anderson, Gustine Greene, Wally Wallechinsky, Allie Alvarez, Holly Hollister, Jacob J. Jackrabbit, Mike Mole, Louie Lynx...
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Sam Sanders, Flask, Octavius Allgood, Jim.
    • Most of the Arc villains it turns out, but not all of them.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Once Al and Gustine complete their quest and are officially cleared by security, the comic's focus shifts to Holly and Wally.
  • Apocalypse How: Probably class 2, depending on where you look.
  • Arc Villain: Sam Sanders. Due to the change in perspective after the arc was over, he has been rarely mentioned.
  • Bad Dreams: Wally is shown to regularly have them. Usually related to his past as an engineer for a militarized equivalent of the CDC that started killing anyone suspected of being a mutant before World War 3 happened.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Gustine and Wally in the main cast.
  • Berserk Button: Apparently Wally cannot stand child abusers. When he sees that someone had beaten a child's face black and blue, without hesitation he went and beat the guy until others pulled him off.
    • Taunting Holly about her baby. When an insane Jim did so, she used her apron to attempt to strangle him, tearing his mouth apart in the process and then bit off all his fingers.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Linda sees the mutants' taboo against using mutant eggs and milk as food products as this, since it would alleviate, if not solve, Endtown's food shortage. But it's not much different than the Real Life taboo against the general consumption of human breast milk.
  • Bigger Bad: Jacob Jackrabbit
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Most of the story arcs, but the Eggs and Milk Trial arc had a particularly bitter ending. Holly, Linda, and Maude are released but Jacob got exactly what he wanted, Octavious was set up as a fall guy and killed by a lynch mob, Maude learns Linda used to be a Topsider and breaks off their friendship, many people including Allie were killed in a riot, Endtown descends into political madness and Holly is so traumatized that she attempts suicide. She and Wally are so disillusioned with Endtown that they decide to leave and find a new place to live
  • Body Horror: What happens to people who get hit with the virus and can't resist it; the "lucky" ones turn into bipedal animals.
  • Cats Are Mean: Flask's character design probably had this in mind. There's also the lynx catnip addict who kicked Holly, the two thieves at the hotel... seems the only feline who outright averts this is Wally.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Two waitresses have various "accidents" for their new co-worker, Linda, until she goes berserk.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It so happens that The transporter that became known as Petey so happened to be Flask's lover.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Flask, even before her mutation.
    • Seems all the main characters have at least something troubling in their past. Wally still has nightmares from his job before WW 3 and something happened to Holly about 2 years before the events of the story that threw her into a deep depression that seems to involve a baby.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Flask feels she has nothing to lose once everyone rejects her command.
    • Sam Sanders had hit this in the past.
    • Holly hits this after her trial is over, culminating in a suicide attempt.
    • Jim is pushed into this after catching Sarah cheating on him with one of the lizard colonists.
  • Deus ex Machina: Aaron Marx, an almost literal deus.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The primary form of weaponry.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Wally.
  • Dr. Jerk: In a place like Endtown, can you really blame Dr. Chase?
  • Drowning My Sorrows: A common practice. Perhaps most notable with Allie.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Arguably takes the form of a Space Whale Aesop. Those who mutate in a badly drugged state rather than fully conscious or unconscious become peculiar hybrids with no obvious classification, which makes them an easy target for Fantastic Racism even within Endtown. Of course, it's still better than mutating while fully awake.
  • Eat the Bomb: Technically, Aaron Marx eats the explosion itself, or at least inhales it.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: While Al and Gustine were the main characters, the story was more of a dark comedy rather than the drama with comedic moments it is now. There were also aspects such as the Topsiders' guns being sentient like their vehicles, yet in phase 2 characters don't treat the guns like they are alive like they do the vehicles. Also we learn at the end of the first arc that Mallard had come up with a solution to hunger ages ago, yet food still remains scarce even in phase 2. It hasn't been mentioned since.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Interesting variation. Holly finds an old teddy bear in the wastes and decides to bring it back to Endtown for one of the kids there. When a monster mutant suddenly attacks, she realizes the monster was a little girl and that that bear is still very much in use.
  • Evil All Along: Strictly speaking, Jacob Jackrabbit never struck us as much of a hero, but he turned out worse than we thought.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Jacob Jackrabbit versus Octavius Allgood. You might call it Gray and Grey Morality, but it's hard to tolerate either's full position.
  • Extra Eyes: Mutating while conscious almost invariably results in these.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Dr. Chase.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Octavius Allgood
  • Fantastic Racism: Apart from Topsiders' treatment of mutants, there's a growing movement in Endtown for the mutants to fully embrace their animal natures, complete with meaningful renames to a Species Surname. Immune humans or mutants who don't conform to any particular species have no real place in their version of society. Mutants who want to keep their old name? Uncle Toms.
    • There's a parallel movement for mutants to preserve their humanity as much as possible, such as keeping human names and legally outlawing things like the consumption of mutant-produced eggs or milk.
    • Later we meet a colony of supremacist lizard mutants, who rely on piracy and selective breedingnote  to sustain themselves.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Holly to Wally.
  • Fragile Speedster: Holly relies almost exclusively on her swift feet to save her. And can be amazing at it.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: Several incidental characters, plus Captain Blackie Flask and Holly Hollister.
  • Funny Animal: Being exposed to the mutagenic virus mutates you into either this or something much worse.
  • G-Rated Drug: Catnip. Not that we never see anyone drunk on alcohol.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: All the Topsiders are this. Justified in comic with the virus.
  • General Ripper: Flask.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: "Schism Syndrome" - when a mutant who hasn't fully adjusted to his new situation is hit with a mental or emotional shock, there is a good chance the shock will push them into insanity. Homicidal insanity, apparently.
    • Though it is possible that what happened to Jim is more supernatural. For starters, but Wally and Justine suffered from Schism Syndrome for extended periods of time in the past, but they mostly just unable to cope with their new body and its new instincts. However Jim has gone completely insane but also somehow knows rather personal bits of information about others like how Wally killed a teacher while working with Atlas and how something happened involve Holly and a baby. And in the span of about 5 minutes to boot.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Professor Mallard in the main cast.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Linda, apparently.
  • Here There Be Dragons: Endtown's maps of the surface. "Well, at least they know about the dragons."
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's implied that Topsiders often resort to this in desperation.
  • The Immune: The few humans left in Endtown. The Topsiders have a particular hatred for them as they carry the virus but don't look obviously nonhuman.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Flask was stopped by Allie and Leo.
    • Holly was stopped by Wally.
  • Interspecies Romance: Not uncommon in Endtown. Of course, "species" doesn't have the same meaning for mutated humans.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Aaron Marx grants Flask her second chance, he also loses her forever — ironically to another reality's Aaron Marx, who loves her equally. When the Oracle asks if he is envious, he says yes, but that not everyone is granted a Happy Ending.
  • Kangaroo Court: Set up for Al and Gustine. The trial is kept secret so as not to panic Endtown with accusations of treason.
    • Another for Holly, Linda, and "Maw" Maude for the purpose of making the use of mutant byproducts explicitly illegal rather than just taboo.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Part of the Topsider process for making brain-controlled machinery.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Flask, once she realizes who Petey used to be.
  • Meaningful Echo: Wally's at first weirded out by Oscar the Crab mutant and is relieved when the offer to shake hands is a joke. After Oscar ends up saving his life (and he's come to grips with some things), Wally asks to shake hands for real.
  • Meaningful Name: In Endtown, by Contrived Coincidence, even the names that don't roll easily off the tongue often indicate what animal the character's mutation resembles: Allie Alvarez the alligator, P. Foxworthy the fox, and Linda Kowalski the koala.
  • Mercy Killing: Flask shoots a child-turned-monster for this reason. Also, some Topsiders seem to see their massacre of mutants this way.
  • Mood Whiplash: The entire comic is this, because it balances funny animals with how humans would actually react.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Another typical result of mutating while conscious.
  • Odd Couple: Even putting aside the Interspecies Romance, Aaron Marx and Flask.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Doctor Mallard.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Dr. Chase.
  • Pet the Dog: Considering her usual attitude about killing people in cold blood, putting the little girl Eldritch Abomination out of its misery is possibly one of the kindest and most reasonable things Captain Flask has done in the story. Yet it's regarded by many as Shoot the Dog, if not Kick the Dog.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Lucranians, apparently. According to Aaron Marx, there are only three things you need to know about them: "greedy beyond comprehension, cheat as readily as they breathe, and absolutely love bargains."
  • Punctuated Pounding: "Weak! Useless! Coward!"
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Care of Holly, a mouse.
  • Rule of Scary: Why else would those monsters — and the Dittos — look like they do?
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Sort of. When Flask was made captain of a self piloting ship, she planned to ram it into a Topsider base that had many noncombatants and children. The others were horrified and Wally tried to take over as captain of the ship. However the ship refused to acknowledge anyone else as captain as long as Flask was alive even though Wally had knocked her out. Wally, who didn't want to kill her, decided he had to if he was to save everyone else. But before he could, Flask drew an old gun on him that she had found earlier. But then it exploded in her hand due to age and disrepair, apparently killing her instantly and flinging her body out the window of the ship.
  • Schizo Tech: Justified, as Endtown has to make do with whatever works. Candlestick phones make sense in a land of many species; there's no telling how far apart their mouths and ears will be.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After being locked up for over a month over eating cheese made from mutant cow milk and seeing Endtown descend into rioting over it, she has decided she wants nothing more to do with the place. She and Wally leave to find somewhere else to live.
  • Selfless Wish: The first big "Quest" in the series is Gustine attempting to turn human. Gustine eventually finds it, but uses the berry to bring her boyfriend back to life.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Flask is.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Flask identifies Petey when he calls her "Blackie."
  • Species Surname: Adopted by some of the residents of Endtown after their mutation.
  • Tap on the Head: Averted. One swipe didn't just knock Wally out; he was still on death's doorstep in the hospital.
    • Played straighter later on when he again gets whacked on the back of the head. Enough to knock him out for a while, but he seems fine when he wakes up.
  • The Unreveal: Though there wasn't too much build up to it, near the end of his first arc, we learn that Wally doesn't feel natural in his new body. He still considers his pre-mutation body to be his real one. He takes out a picture of himself that he apparently looks at regularly to show Holly. However we do not see his human face, and she turns it into a paper boat and drops it in the river while trying to help him accept his current life. Even in a later flashback from when he was still human, we still do not see his face.
  • Truth Serums: Albert and Gustine are injected with them during their interrogation. They give the exact same story as before, and Flask still doesn't believe them.
  • Underground City: The titular Endtown.
  • Wetware CPU: Topsider computers, made from those mutants whom they capture instead of disintegrate. Such as "Petey."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Flask.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Jackrabbit and the Milk Trials. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • You Monster!: What Holly calls Flask after she gives a child-turned-vine-creature a Mercy Killing. Could also qualify as What the Hell, Hero? Interestingly, Flask turns it right back on her, thanks to Values Dissonance.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Wally and Petey manage to foil Flask's plan to explode the rocket they thought they were just sabotaging, killing an entire Topsider city, only to find out that not only was the rocket they were after a decoy; it was specifically set up as a trap for Flask.