Webcomic / Friendly Hostility
, by Sandra Stanley, is the Spin-Off
series of an earlier comic called Boy Meets Boy
. It's one of those webcomics that's difficult to describe.
On a basic level, it's the Slice of Life
story of Fox Maharassa, an amiable, bisexual guy with a peculiar but loving family and some equally quirky friends. His best-friend-turned-boyfriend is Collin, a bitterly sarcastic preacher's son who's biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to conquer a small South American country (Venezuela, preferably). The pair are college students, and the plot is mainly concerned with their lives and personal growth.
It also involves Anne (previously known only as Bootsie), a sweet girl Collin won as a servant/assistant in a poker game and who becomes a valuable friend.
Other important characters are:
- Nefertari: Fox's mother, would-be writer and general dispenser of sage advice
- Padma: Fox's father, affable Mad Scientist and devoted husband
- Rafi: Padma's best friend and partner in crime, also a Satanic Priest
- Fatima: Fox's sardonic and scientific sister
- Betsy: Collin's mother, mistress of emotional blackmail
- Jerry: Collin's father, a right-wing Southern Baptist minister
- Demon: Found in Fox and Collin's fridge, and probably the sanest man on board
- Arath: Collin's cantankerous friend, convinced that Fox is bad for him
- Leslie Rudd: Fox's ex-boss and other father figure (that is, apart from his actual father)
- Sofia: Leslie's evil ex-wife
- Charlotte: Sofia's daughter, Leslie's step-daughter, possibly-mad scientist (and a fashionista)
- Derringer: Photograph for Leslie's newspaper, Fox' friend and Leslie's lover.
- Kitty: A young lady Leslie picks up on a whim to pretend to be his girlfriend on a wacky scheme to make his ex jealous. Whether or not it continued to be fake is up in the air.
Somehow, though, the story grows from this basic setup to involve demons, kidnapping plots, conspiracies and headwear that is far more sentient than it has any right to be. Strongly arc based
, it's primarily a comedy, and usually provides a punch line - but depending on the arc in operation, angst and drama can easily work their way into the plot. The cast grows from the original group to include classmates, workmates, friends-of-friends and a few supernatural entities.
A warning: Friendly Hostility underwent a drastic Cerebus Syndrome Mood Whiplash
at the end of 2008. The series moved from the lighthearted tale of a well-intentioned klutz and his Jerk with a Heart of Gold
(well, sometimes) boyfriend to a considerably sadder, more realistic/ darker tale that features a level of miscommunication never seen in the comic before
, hints of a Start of Darkness
and does some serious Foreshadowing
before it crashes into a Bittersweet Ending
. Lovers of Happily Married
couples and fairytale endings take note: stop reading before November 2008. Seriously, you'll thank us later.
Friendly Hostility ended in July 2009. It is currently replaced with the new comic, Other People's Business,
which has already shaken the fanbase only a few weeks into its run. Because the thought of a world without Stan doing a webcomic is terrifying.
Because of the mood change
and the epic nature of the final few arcs, tropes that refer solely to the ending are listed separately. Needless to say, beware of spoilers.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Accentuate the Negative: Collin's best friend for most of the comic is Fox. When it comes to venting relationship problems however, he turns to Arath, meaning that Arath only really hears about Fox's failures and builds up a very negative mental image as a result.
- Age-Gap Romance: Derringer is 25 and has a crush on his boss, Leslie Rudd, who is in his late 40s. Kitty, who is 23, also has a crush on Leslie (who is apparently very attractive to younger people). Leslie eventually does go out with Derringer. ... And also possibly with Kitty as well, making this Age Gap Romance also a case of polyamory.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Bootsie/Anne learns why this trope is not the most sensible plan, in her Chicago arc.
- Allergic to Routine: Fox gets bored very easily, and isn't beyond chasing chaos to keep things interesting.
- Somewhere between Art Shift and Art Evolution: Some comics randomly go into a semi-chibi or more animesque style without warning, though the way it's done suggests more of an experimentation with subtle style changes than anything else, as the comic looks basically the same at the beginning and the end.
- Artifact of Doom: Padma's ugly hat — devoted to Padma, hates everyone else
- Ascended Extra: Fox's mom and dad become main characters for the most part in friendly hostility. Though they appeared in a very short appearance in one story line in Boy Meets Boy. Uncle Rafi also was just a one-time unnamed pervert oggling Harley's sister breastfeeding her kid in public in the previous comic.
- Bi the Way: Derringer and Leslie Rudd, though that may be more of an example of If It's You, It's Okay.
- Breakout Character: Charlotte was originally meant to only appear in one page and never be seen again, as a bizarre form of Deus ex Machina to get Fox a job with Rudd. But Sandra loved drawing her so much and the readers thought her backstory in The Rant was so amusing that she became a supporting member of the cast.
- Broad Strokes: Sandra has gone on the record as saying that the events of Boy Meets Boy are this, at best, with almost everything up to and including how they were first introduced being thrown right out the door.
- Brother Chuck: N, the Crawling Chaos; The Rant explains why he was written out, but the plot doesn't.
- Character Blog: Livejournals were kept for Fox, Collin and Bootsie, although they're all but defunct now.
- Fox's actually became more active again around the end. Too bad by that time everyone forgot the livejournals existed and Sandra forgot the urls to them.
- Character Development: For every major character, perhaps most noticeably Anne (growing independent and shedding her nickname of "Bootsie"), Collin (losing his rebellious/meglomaniac ambitions, joining the corporate world and growing to resemble his father) and Charlotte (dropping her fake French accent and pursuing her scientific ambitions). One of the comic's greatest strengths and with the Bitter Sweet Ending one of its greatest sorrows.
- Character Focus: Most arcs concentrate on one or two characters in particular.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Fox.
- Clingy MacGuffin: Padma's hat again — it refuses to be separated from him.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Not only the Demon is the Nice Guy, he even works as a nurse!
- Deadpan Snarker: Collin, Fatima, Rudd and Arath. Occasionally Padma and Nefertari.
- Did They or Didn't They?: Just how fake Rudd's relationship with Kitty was, and whether or not it continued with Derringer in an OT3 is pretty ambiguous.
- Everybody Knew Already: Collin's homosexuality.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Leslie Rudd. Even Padma seemed to be attracted to manly mister Rudd.
- Flip-Flop of God: When introducing Derringer and Rudd for the first time, she insisted that there was nothing going on between them. Later on she started posting sketches of the pairing while saying "Okay, it's a fun pairing to draw and think about, but still nothing going on." Then "Okay, so it's canon that Derringer has a crush on him, but still never gonna happen." and finally " Yeah, okay, they're screwin' like newly weds."
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Fox is Sanguine, Collin is Choleric, Demon is Melancholic and Derringer is Phlegmatic.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Friendly neighborhood Demon, in this case, and he's even more amiable than most — in fact, he's a nurse.
- Generational Saga: The comic opens up with Fox's parents when they're young and just had their first kid. By the end of the comic Fox is a full grown adult, and his parents (plus Rafi) have more gray in their hair than color anymore.
- Hammerspace: Where Derringer gets his signs from when he can't talk.
- Happily Married: Fox and Collin until the last couple of years in the comic. Nefertari and Padma (and Rafi). Arguably Collin's parents, who seem to love each other despite their strained relationship with their son.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: most characters crashed and burned at some point before their friends picked them up again.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Leslie Rudd. Word of God is that since he can't change his past he may as well laugh at it. Also, Padma. And Bootsie.
- Honorary Uncle: Uncle Rafi, he's known Fox's dad since the day he first came to America, and is essentially a third parent.
- Hug and Comment: When Fox manages to get back from Las Vegas, Collin runs to hug him... and states that he reeks like a decomposing buffalo.
- It Came from the Fridge: Demon used to live in the back of the fridge.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Padma and Rafi, Rudd and Derringer. Also, to some extent Collin and Fox before Collin had his whole coming out arc.
- Living Emotional Crutch: For the majority of the comic, Fox is this for Collin. He backs Collin up against his parents, gets rid of the Demon when Collin freaks out about it, takes on a job to support them both when Collin's parents cut off his college funding, and helps Collin deal with his angst. When Collin gets his own job, makes his own friends and generally learns to stand on his own two feet, he grows dissatisfied with Fox and ultimately dumps him, a la The Caretaker.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Lost Him in a Card Game: How Bootsie comes to work for Collin.
- Loveable Rogue: Fox, Rafi, Rudd and possibly Padma.
- Manipulative Bastard: Collin can be from time to time, though mostly just with Fox.
- Mama Bear: Nefi, again.
- Mega Corp.: Creed.
- Also EastTelNetCom, which is later revealed to be a subsidiary of Creed.
- Meddling Parents: Collin's.
- Mistaken for Gay: Arath. His behaviour towards Collin does not help his case.
- Mistaken for Racist: Collin's convinced his parents hate the Maharassa's because of their skin color. They insist it's because Fox's mom bit her.
- However, the provocation which lead to the biting had, well, racist undertones. See also "If only he was a nice wholesome Christian boy!" And on applying for the Safari Sam thing, Collin takes 'wholesome' as a euphemism for 'white'.
- Nice Guy: The Demon.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Collin, and very possibly Arath.
- No Accounting for Taste: Arath's view of Fox and Collin's relationship. Given that it's a view based solely on Collin's complaints and a very unfortunate incident at a party, however...
- Fox himself does a Lampshade Hanging in one of the later strips: after a particularly idiotic escapade, he admits that he has poor impulse control and no common sense, but points out that Collin is a meglomaniac with entitlement issues, and the only ones who would put up with them are each other. This turned out to be a rather nasty case of "don't count your chickens before they've hatched" - the commentary suggests that the author set up that scene to foreshadow the break-up, commenting that that was a particularly stupid thing for Fox to say.
- Now What?: regarding some of the side characters. For example, whether Anne starts dating Arath or Demon is explicitly left up to the reader.
- Off-Model: The demon's wings would vary between being tiny little things, to being large enough for Anne to use as a beach umbrella, or sometimes he wouldn't have wings at all. The author explained it as just being one of his powers.
- Operation: Jealousy: Leslie pretending Kitty is his girlfriend to piss off his ex-wife and her ridiculously young boyfriend of the month.
- Out of Focus: Whoever's not involved in the currect storyline - Collin's parents in particular have been Out of Focus for a while, although the plot makes it clear why this is so. Surprisingly, happened to Collin and Fox themselves towards the end.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Anne and Arath at the end of the comic. Possibly a set-up for a Relationship Upgrade. In the epilogue Sandra left it up to the reader whether or not they entered a codepedent friendship or a romantic relationship. In either case, when Anne moved away to go to Law School Arath came with her.
- The Rant: Usually just gives interesting quips and "production notes", but is sometimes essential to understanding the comic - particularly towards the end.
- Twisting the Words: Arath tends to do this with anything Fox says. Collin's also good at doing this in general.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Derringer's bunny. The thing's a friggin' lump with ears and a face.
- Relationship Upgrade: Fox and Collin, although it happened in Friendly Hostility's forerunner, Boy Meets Boy.
- Also the Demon and Charlotte.
- Subverted with the Demon and Anne. Poor Anne.
- But then at the end, Demon and Anne again (maybe).
- Rotating Arcs: Employed to keep its growing cast of characters in check
- Shout-Out: Quite a few.
- In one Halloween page you can catch the main characters of Pushing Daisies in a crowd shot.
- Sleep Cute: Fox and Collin have definitely had their moments.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Happens to Collin once, during a job interview to be an elementary school teacher's assistant. The interviewer spelt his name with one l; Collin was unamused.
- Stereotype Gay: Averted, subverted, tied up and kicked in the head.
- Story Arc: the comic is strongly arc-based.
- Triang Relations: Rafi's relationship with Padme and Nerfetari is... complicated. "Rafi is... ours." Collin's parents made the bad first impression that they were living in a polyamorous relationship.
- Tsundere: Collin to a T.
- The Unpronounceable: The Demon and his brother. Attempts to pronounce their names cause nosebleeds, spontaneous human combustion, etc.
- Unsound Effect: Lots of 'em.
- Unusual Ears: The Demon (and his brother) has donkey ears. Or bat ears.
- Useless Bystander Parent: Betsy is eventually revealed to be this. Initially, she seems like the main instigator of Collin's woes, but when she finds out that her son is gay and in a relationship with Fox, it becomes clear that she does what she does to keep her husband happy, deferring to his judgement on "things like these," but hiding Collin's homosexuality so that she can continue to see her son.
- Weirdness Magnet: Fox.
Collin: "Fox? In case you haven't noticed, you're a freak magnet. Freaks love you. It's why so much weird shit happens around you... Hell, the creepy carnie that's been evesdropping us is ready to give you his life story right now."
Creepy Carnie: "'s true. You've got these eyes I could just, like, loose myself in, man."
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Collin's parents on just about anything - from his choice of friends, to his hair, to his politics and, especially, his sexual orientation.
- Your Cheating Heart (Rather unusual example - see the page for details)
- Zany Scheme (the basis of quite a few of the plots)
Tropes that refer only to story arcs from November 2008 onwards: