In the caves behind my house, I found a softer world. They understand what I had to do for love. They don't believe in restraining orders.A Softer World
is a Photo Comic
, full of dark surrealist comedy and just plain weird stuff. Generally, Emily Horne takes the photographs and Joey Comeau writes the captions. The comics often focus on death, love, loneliness, or other similarly heavy themes. There are few if any actual characters, apart from Baby Doom (now deceased) and a small cat.
In almost every comic
slightly cropped or zoomed versions of one photograph are arranged into 3 panels, with a short line of text over each one; the writing is usually divided into a straight line, a subversion
and an over-the-top punchline
. A frequent variation will have a second punchline in the rollover text
Shares a forum, Truth and Beauty Bombs
, with Dinosaur Comics
and The Perry Bible Fellowship
This comic features examples of:
- Altum Videtur: post hoc, ergo propter hoc
- Affectionate Parody:
- All Just a Dream: What the narrator would like to see in the newspapers, for once.
- Always a Bigger Fish: "i have never seen them scared before"
- Alt Text
- Badass Grandma: "I made a shank from my dentures."
- Bathos: The main source of the strip's humor.
- Beautiful Dreamer: But that's not good enough.
- "Before" and "After" Pictures: The narrator of 221 has no use for them, since they can't remember starting and they're never done.
- Best Years of Your Life: Over a picture of two kids on a ship.
- Black Comedy: When the strips are humorous at all. It's also common for the actual strip to be poignant but have darkly humorous alt-text.
- Call Back: truth and beauty bombs.
- Came Back Wrong: Although the narrator doesn't mind.
- The Chessmaster: Subverted painfully.
- Continuity Nod: The alt text of 886 is one to the alt text of 221 .
- Cozy Catastrophe: "Atomic war means no traffic in the mornings, no bills in the mail. I can stay in bed with you all day."
- Cute Kitten: "Pride and Prejudice with kittens. No, Kittens and Kittens and even more kittens, oh my goodness, by Jane Austen."
- Dead Sparks: Quite a few.
- Deal with the Devil: "I sold my soul to the devil, but didn't get paid or anything. He said it'd be good experience."
- Death by Origin Story: "I never wanted anything to happen to my parents..."
- Defiant to the End: "I fought my way into this world. I'll fight my way out."
- Destructive Romance: Quite a few.
- Disneyfication: Subverted. "I asked for a fairy tale romance. In my defense, I've never read any actual fairy tales. (First time I've ever wished for a disney version.)"
- Don't Fear the Reaper: "Before we met, I was so afraid of dying. But if the end comes today this will have been enough."
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Baby Doom.
- Dying Dream: "This is the fifth afternoon we've spent just making cupcakes. Maybe we didn't survive that crash."
- Evil Is Cool: "You aren't a very good person, but god damn, you make bad look awesome."
- Fair Cop: "I don't mean to seem disrespectful officer, but god damn. I want, like, three of you."
- Fairy Tale: See Disneyfication.
- Flipping the Table: Fuck this table and fuck you!
- Godwin's Law: Zig-zagged - "People who compare every petty evil to Hitler...are worse than Dracula!"
- Happily Failed Suicide:
I took a bottle of pills when I found the photographs of them together / But instead of dying I pooped all over our bed / which is a funnier story, in the long run.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: In the alt text of number 716.
- Hope Is Scary: this cage is all I know.
- I Just Want to Be Special: "I woke up in the woods covered in blood. Which means I'm either crazy or a werewolf. But I'm not a nobody."
- I Like My X Like I Like My Y
- Incompatible Orientation: "Love you. Miss you. Wish you weren't queer."
- It's All About Me: "Boy, was it a rough couple days when I first realized other people had feelings." (rough for me, i mean.)
- Kill the God: "God? You're next."
- "Knock Knock" Joke: Often used, and often twisted.
- Living Statue: But they've all seen enough to know not to show it.
- Love Makes You Crazy: "I get a crazy impulse when you smile at me. Like I want to step in front of a bus, in a good way."
"I want people to tell their children terrifying stories about the things we did."
- Mama Bear: Inverted.
- Media Watchdog: Parodied.
- Nerd: Some of the "characters". Possibly the author himself.
- Nice to the Waiter: Subverted and parodied.
If someone is nice to you but mean to the waiter,
A waiter killed my whole family.
- Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: "This town isn't big enough for the two of us. ... Let's run away together!"
- One True Threesome: "Okay, you don't think 'threepover' is funny. But I still want to sleep with you both."
- Parental Abandonment: Played for equal measures of laughs and drama.
- Please Wake Up: Please don't leave me alone with our stupid children.
- Platonic Life Partners: "You and I will never be a great love story. That's okay! Let's see what kind of story we'll be! (Ooh! Ooh! I hope it's science fiction.)"
- Protocol Peril: "'It's a compliment in their culture.' ... I am never believing anything you say again. (Now come bail me out.)"
- Rage Against the Heavens:
"Operator, put God on. Yes, I'll hold."..."God? You're next."
- Remix Comic: There's an entire community devoted to resetting the comics to figure skaters.
- Rousseau Was Right: I belive most people are inherently good. But overcoming our nature is what separates us from the animals.
- Revenge: You dedicate your life to it...then, the day after you get it, you see it for much cheaper online.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Second best isn't so bad.
- Screw Destiny: "When I was just a little girl, I asked my mummy what should I be? "Fuck 'should'," she said."
- Screw Yourself: "I would totally make out with my clone. If it was okay with her. No pressure."
- Secret Other Family: #802, although the reason it upsets the narrator is typically a little off.
- Shaped Like Itself: The "random strip" button is labeled "fnord"
- Shout-Out: To Spider-Man, among others.
- Smart People Play Chess: Geniuses play chess in bed.
- Some of My Best Friends Are X: "I'm not racist. My best friend is black. SHE'S the racist one."
- Deconstructed in another comic - having a gay friend doesn't mean you're not a bigot, it just means your friend isn't paying enough attention.
- Sophisticated as Hell
- Space Is Noisy: Averted "This is the way the world ends not with a bang but only because explosions don't make sound in space."
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I'm unarmed."
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "You and me, and baby makes..." "...life into a series of compromises."
- There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: 648 and 784.
- Title Drop: Comic #3
- To Hell and Back: Painfully subverted:
"If you died, I would go through hell to bring you back. That would be easy. I'm not sure how to deal with us just drifting apart."
- Trans Equals Gay: "No, I don't want to be a woman. What a stupid, limiting idea of homosexuality. I want you to be the woman."
- Very Special Episode: Occasionally, the strips forgo jokes to deliver a poignant message.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: "and the guilt I expected never came."
- Virgin Sacrifice: "If I could get a hold of a beautiful virgin girl, would I be summoning you in the first place?"
- We All Die Someday: "I intend to deserve it."
- Warped Aesop: Invoked by some of the strips, which run on the formula of "Standard aspirational phrase...horribly subverted by the end." Maybe none more than this one:
As a child I learned that books set you free, an encyclopaedia held over my head...waiting in the dark as he crept into my room. (long overdue
- Write Who You Know: The authors have used photos of their friends.