, by Linda Luksic Sejic (under the DeviantArt
) is a Slice of Life
webcomic centered around Elliot Torres, a chemistry major who has been searching for a stable job for two years. After being let go from a multitude of jobs for various reasons
, she resorts to applying for a job rumored to be offered from a Mad Scientist
. It turns out, despite first impressions, there's nothing to fear from the so-rumored employer, Dr. Vlad Stein
. Instead, both Elliot and Dr. Stein learn from each other's situations while going through a plethora of humorous events along the way.
Linda Luksic Sejic is also known for her work in Grimm Fairy Tales
and is married to Stjepan Sejic
, another professional comic artist with a webcomic.
Blood Stain provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absent-Minded Professor: Dr. Stein embodies this trope, as evidenced multiple times throughout the webcomic.
- He manages to forget that he booked a flight for Elliot and later, when Elliot arrives at his house, he is perplexed at who is his visitor.
- He himself describes that his "time/space orientation is a little off".
- His lack of a sleeping schedule leads to him being late for teaching and, if not for Elliot's interruption, he would have forgotten his briefcase.
- Art Evolution: As a whole, the comic's pages have grown sharper, and Dr. Stein looks younger in later pages compared to his first appearances.
- Affectionate/Indecisive Parody: Elliot's perception of her new job is this to mad science.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Elliot has this issue frequently; she is not quite as absent-minded as Dr. Stein, but she lapses into Imagine Spots even when she's being directly talked to.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Both Elliot and Serge take this role to Dr. Stein, as not only do they have to do their written jobs as an assistant and cook, respectively, but they end up having to manage Dr. Stein's life, such as waking him up when he's late for teaching and reminding him to hold his suitcase. As the story continues, Elliot take on more of the 'beleaguered' part.
- Berserk Button: Do not call Dr. Stein "Blood Stain". He had more than enough of that kind of crap during his school days.
- Blood Bath: Elliot thinks of one in an Imagine Spot about the doctor's appearance.
- A Bloody Mess: The red stains Dr. Stein mysteriously acquires are sometimes ketchup, sometimes blood.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: When a blackout occurs at the doctor's house, Sigeel draws the characters this way for a few frames before Serge illuminates the scene with a match.
- Catapult Nightmare: Elliot's awakens this way after rushing to 'God-knows-where' and having a night of restlessness.
- Cheated Angle: Dr Stein's hair is always draped over the side away from the camera.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Serge.
- Covers Always Lie:
- In-universe, Dr. Stein uses a literal example from a childhood diary as a "VERY VERY blatant metaphor" for his own personal appearance.
- A teaser for page 54 turns out just to be the Imagine Spot of the page.
- Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Dr. Stein frequently sports them, mostly because of his lack of sleeping habits.
- Cross Over: With Sunstone, as the webcomic authors are married. Interactions between the characters of each story primarily take place online, usually through the gaming sector.
- Deep-Immersion Gaming: The characters' appearances in the in-universe MMORPG Moonstone Gate appear to be this, though it is debatable how much of that is player customization rather than a projection of their real-life appearances.
- Department of Redundancy Department: A gag in one of the first comics reveals the name of the science university at Elliot's college as "Teh [sic] Science University of science".
- Dramatic Thunder: Used for dramatic effect on the house and, in a silly illustration, on a drawing tablet.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Dr. Stein
- Einstein Hair: As expected from a not-quite-mad scientist, Dr. Stein sports a healthy crop of frizzled hair. Sigeel jokes that he has a special shampoo that gives his hair the appearance of bramble, and a sketch journal skin on her deviantART page shows Vlad using Static Electricity to make his hair stand up.
- Emerging from the Shadows: With the artistic element of Chiaroscuro, Dr. Stein reveals himself to Elliot through candlelight during the blackout on the first night.
- Empathic Environment: When Elliot has had success with holding onto a job, the atmosphere remains sunny. When she loses it and has to rush to the airplane to 'God-knows-where', it suddenly pours, and the rain later causes a blackout.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Among the itinerary of cliches Dr. Stein initially appears to have, Elliot thinks of this as one.
- Facial Dialogue: Serge and Dr. Stein have one on page 48 regarding Elliot's presence.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Elliot to Clara.
- Freudian Excuse: Dr. Stein's Berserk Button appears to stem from him being teased for his nosebleeds as a child.
- Ghost Butler: When Elliot steps outside of a bathroom at Dr. Stein's residence, a draft slams the door shut. The house itself is anything but horrific, though Elliot perceives it as so.
- Gothic Horror: The entire comic is a comedy masquerading as Gothic horror. The tropes common to the genre are playfully subverted. In a review of the work, L.J. Phillips remarks how Elliot, while being Damsel in Distress and Unreliable Narrator common to works of the genre, confronts not fantastic monsters but instead from the burdens of maintaining a job.
- Guttural Growler: Elliot has described Dr. Stein's voice on multiple occasions as intimidating; on page 28, she compares it to "sandpaper polishing a rusty can".
- Hair Contrast Duo: Inverted from the standard blonde/brunette duo: Clara, the (albeit dyed) blonde, is responsible and takes multiple jobs to keep their family afloat, while Elliot, the brunette, would much prefer not having to worry that her family is in financial issues—though she understands the weight of their troubles.
- Healing Shiv: As Sigeel draws in one of the Moonstone Gate comics, Elliot's character's staff can heal Vlad's character's HP by bashing him over the head even if she has run out of mana.
- High Turnover Rate: The assistant position Elliot strives for has been filled frequently before, and Serge shows support for Elliot for being so determined to take it despite how implausible it was that she arrived under the time limit Dr. Stein set up for her.
- Hollywood Darkness: Mostly averted; lighting is portrayed rather realistically, with the exception being characters' visible eyes.
- I Meant to Do That: When Elliot is explaining to a forgetful Dr. Stein that he had provided a plane ticket and hence she arrived at his house late at night, Dr. Stein hesitantly responds as if the question was a Secret Test of Character.
- Infinite Canvas: Each 'page' is a long, horizontal stretch of panels, some almost fifty long.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Upon reflecting on Elliot's first day on the job, Dr. Stein ignores an explicit assessment and asks Serge for a coffee refill.
- The Insomniac: Dr. Stein, who is otherwise prone to dropping asleep otherwise.
- Labcoat of Science and Medicine: As Dr. Stein's laboratory is his home, he doesn't bother changing out from his lab coat.
- Late for School: In a twist from the usual trope, it's the professor who has to rush to class after oversleeping.
- Lighter and Softer: The webcomic was originally intended to go in a much darker direction with a more serious plot—of which Sigeel has revealed that it involved cloning Elliot, the genre was full horror, and Serge was a brunet.
- Mad Scientist Laboratory: Elliot creates one in an Imagine Spot, though in actuality, the lab that has been revealed so far looks normal and unlike how Hollywood Science perceives them to be.
- Match Cut: In page 64, the piece of chalk dropped during Dr. Stein's class is matched with a red-stained bone Elliot accidentally steps on at work.
- Mistaken for Prank Call: Elliot's first application is perceived this way, and Dr. Stein reacts to it when he later discovers that the resume and call to him is genuine.
- Mistaken Identity: Elliot wonders, when she first meets him, if Serge was Dr. Stein. She chastises herself for remembering the voice dissonance between the two.
- Multiethnic Name: "Vladimir" is Russian, "Stein" is German, and the two words together seem to have no greater purpose other than to give Dr. Stein an exaggeratedly cliche science-y name.
- Naďve Newcomer: Elliot is the newest lab assistant to Dr. Stein's workplace, so the reader receives exposition through her lack of experience.
- NEET: Elliot, at the beginning of the comic, though she tries to get out of this status.
- Never Heard That One Before: Dr. Stein launches into a pissed-off and very snarky rant about this after Elly mistakenly hits his Berserk Button by calling him "Mr. Blood Stain."
- Not What It Looks Like: Elliot comes down from her first night of sleep at Dr. Stein's house to see the doctor wielding a knife with red blotches over his lab coat. It turns out to be from him spreading jam and ketchup over bread from brunch.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Elliot is suspicious that Dr. Stein is either this or genuinely clueless.
- Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Elliot and the readers are kept in the dark about the details about Dr. Stein's job beyond the fact that he works "for a science institute". It takes two chapters to reveal that he is a professor at the institute, although he still myriads of unidentified chemicals at home that hint at a second occupation.
- An early, scrapped comic has the doctor mention working with viruses, but that is never brought up in any of the completed pages.
- Off Model: On page 44, Elliot is shown with pepper spray in right hand, and then she offers a handshake with same hand. A few panels afterward shows that she still has that pepper spray in her right hand again. Originally, Sigeel drew the handshake with Elliot's left hand, but a watcher of the comic noticed this oddity, so Sigeel redrew those frames despite the inconsistency it created.
- Out of Job, Into the Plot: Not that the job Elliot had beforehand was significant, since she couldn't hold a job anyway.
- Painting the Medium: The color of text bubbles reflect the characters; Dr. Stein's text bubbles are always black with white text and outlines, text bubbles in various panels take on an abundance of shapes to better illustrate a situation.
- Perspective Reversal: Contrast Nebezial's original inspiration for the webcomic with Sigeel's one-year anniversary retake.
- The Pigpen: Dr. Stein somehow perpetually leaves red substances on his coat—even his Digital Avatar in an MMORPG!
- Power Trio: Elliot, Dr. Stein, and Serge.
- Punny Name: Vlad Stein's name is intended as a cliche science name as well as a slant rhyme of "Blood Stain".
- Rainbow Pimp Gear:
- In the MMORPG Moonstone Gate, Elliot asks what Dr. Stein's setup looks like under his cosmetic armor, and said setup is a mishmash of armor sets that optimize his character's stats but is, to put it lightly, aesthetically unappealing.
- In another strip, Elliot's unicorn armor looks like, in her words, "a stripper with a weird fetish".
- Repeat After Me: Serge helps Elliot introduce herself to Dr. Stein after being frightened by their second impression, up to the point where he suggests for her to repeat "And I think Serge is smoking hot!"
- Right Behind Me: In a dubiously canonical sketch comic, Elliot mimics Dr. Stein's position by dressing up and sitting in his chair, while the actual Dr. Stein appears behind her.
- Running Gag: Coffee. Dr. Stein's work environment essentially requires caffeine, and as Serge's brew is... not the most appetizing, both Elliot and Dr. Stein frequently poke fun at the lack of respectable coffee and crave a good cup.
- Satellite Love Interest: Daniel, who, out of the characters named in the comic, is the only one who hasn't revealed his last name.
- Scary Flashlight Face: Dr. Stein, with a candle, during the blackout.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Light works correctly in the actual events in the comic, though Elliot imagines Dr. Stein with them as he's bathing in blood.
- Seriously Scruffy:
- This is one of Dr. Stein's most defining tropes. Dr. Stein's messy appearance is caused by him working almost non-stop—not from a bolt of electricity or the like, as Elliot uncovers throughout the chapters.
- Thanks to a combination of omitting shampoo in her suitcase and a desire to prove her capabilities to her boss, Elliot's hair also becomes more disheveled the longer she stays in her job.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Elliot's reaction to Dr. Stein's interpretation of Serge's introduction of her.
- Slasher Smile: Only in the Dr. Stein of Elliot's Imagine Spots.
- Sleepy Head: Dr. Stein is prone to falling asleep at inopportune times, such as while wandering a hallway at night or when someone is talking directly to him.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Blood Stain is a turn from the grim horror expected from its subject; Sigeel admits that she can't keep a situation serious, so she embraces humor with open arms.
- Sounds of Science: Mumbles.
- Speechbubbles Interruption
- Stealth Pun: Elliot clutches onto a stick of pepper spray frequently in chapter two. The weapon she holds onto in her Medieval European Fantasy Imagine Spots is a mace.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Dr. Stein
- Team Chef: Serge is the one to the main cast, though he cannot make a cup of coffee for Dr. Stein, which ails his tendency to want to stay awake.
- Travelling Salesman Montage: Elliot's job flashback.
- Troubled Backstory Flashback: For a single panel to explain Dr. Stein's reaction to Elliot's Malaproper of his name.
- Undisclosed Funds: The salary for the assistant job is revealed without numbers, but instead, through Elliot's shocked expression.
- The Unfavorite: Elliot starts off as this, given her NEET status providing little to support the family. She expresses disappointment that she is similarly ignored outside of the family, in Dr. Stein's workplace.
- Visible Silence: The webcomic's Beat Panels often take this form, the ellipses often creatively integrated into the panel.
- Wall of Blather:
- In one of Elliot's jobs, her employer explains the process of making candles to her, only to have it be received as a wall of "blah" and "mumble" from her perspective.
- Clara is on the receiving end of one as Elliot hastily explains why she is running off—unable to absorb the the urgency of Elliot's situation and panicking later on.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The comic takes place somewhere in the Mediterranean, and Sigeel goes out of her way to obfuscate location names, substituting "somewhere in the asscrack" and "God-knows-where" in lieu of locations.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: The trope does not exactly fit, but Elliot simply can't hold onto a job that requires focus, which, essentially, means all of the ones she applies to.
- You Have 48 Hours: Dr. Stein gives Elliot three hours to catch a plane, and, remarkably, she does so, though not without plenty of frustration from herself and her friends about this short notice.
- You Didn't Ask: Elliot initially looks for an autoclave on her own in Dr. Stein's basement, figuring that doing so will show that she is a responsible person (in contrast to her bumbling behavior in previous jobs). However, after spending a few pages searching with no avail, she hesitantly asks Dr. Stein where the autoclave is; she is surprised to find that Dr. Stein just nonchalantly throws out its location instead of criticizing her absentmindedness.