Webcomic: Blood Stain

Blood Stain, by Linda Luksic Sejic (under the DeviantArt username Sigeel) 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.
  • Adjusting Your Glasses: Dr. Stein dons his glasses by the arms on page 61, implying him to have at least a cautious characterization.
  • Affectionate/Indecisive Parody: Elliot's perception of her new job is this to mad science.
  • Answer Cut: The end of page 53 ends with Elliot asking Dr. Stein what exactly her job is. The start of page 54 shows her scrubbing beakers and flasks.
  • 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.
  • Asleep in Class: The reader sees Dr. Stein falling asleep mid-lecture on Elliot's first day on the job. His students comment on how loud he snores after class.
  • 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 Board Barricade: After Dr. Stein sleepwalks into the door of Elliot's room, Elliot rushes to block the entrance with furniture. She then has to put the furniture back the next morning, and the sound of scraping (and his own forgetfulness) causes Dr. Stein to become troubled.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Dr. Stein "Blood Stain". He had more than enough of that kind of crap during his school days.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Dr. Stein likes ordering take-out chicken feet dipped in ketchup, despite having Serge as a chef.
  • Blood Bath: Elliot thinks of one in an Imagine Spot about the doctor's appearance.
  • A Bloody Mess: Zigzagged; the red stains Dr. Stein acquires are sometimes ketchup and sometimes blood.
  • Break the Cutie: At the start, coddled Elliot finds out that real life is harsh when her lack of focus gets her rejected from every job she applies to. Her self-confidence grows with the start of every opportunity, but it is crushed when she inevitably gets fired. She looks to be on the verge of tears on page 70 after Dr. Stein lets out his pent-up frustration out on her.
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: Ally of Sunstone appears on the chapter five cover.
  • 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.
  • Cliffhanger: Several pages end with Elliot asking unresolved questions. Due to the genre of the series, though, the answer is typically predictably mild or funny.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Serge to Dr. Stein.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The series is one for Elliot, who starts off as irresponsible and scatterbrained for her age but learns to handle the pressures of real life.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The cover of the first chapter's cover milks the work's implied horror genre, but there's very little actual horror outside of the protagonist's mindset.
    • 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.
  • 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".
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Because Elliot has been berated by previous bosses over incompetency (SP) at jobs, Elliot refuses to ask Dr. Stein for help or take suggestions from Serge, even when it's her first day at work.
  • 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.
  • Face of a Thug: Elliot is horrified to see Dr. Stein in person, given how it was during a blackout and he was illuminated by candlelight. She quickly learns that he's much less scary than she thinks.
  • Facial Dialogue: Serge and Dr. Stein have one on page 48 regarding Elliot's presence.
  • Fictional Video Game: Moonstone Gate, a MMORPG that Elliot plays and eventually drags Dr. Stein into. The game is where also Crossovers with Sunstone occur.
  • Flashback Effects: In the comic, flashbacks are introduced by the panel's border becoming bubbly. Sometimes, other effects are added, such as sheep bouncing along on clouds when Elliot is nearly asleep on page 58.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Elliot to Clara.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's known from strips Sigeel draws set in the future that Elliot will keep the lab assistant position, making the uncertainties presented in chapters 1 - 3 dismissible.
  • Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind: Dr. Stein appears scary to Elliot due to his messy hair, red-stained clothes, and creepy voice. He is an Absent-Minded Professor at worst.
  • Freudian Excuse: Dr. Stein's Berserk Button appears to stem from him being teased for his nosebleeds as a child.
  • Friend to All Children: It's briefly alluded that Elliot and children get along. She gets Clara's toddler to hush within a few moments of being around, and she is excited at the prospect of children in her future boss's family. Clara mentions that she would make a good babysitter.
  • 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.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Sigeel portrays Elliot's conflicting thoughts in a scrapped take of page 70 as a "passionate voice", "doubt voice", and "reasonable voice" as mini-Elliots dressed in different costumes on her shouders.
  • 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.
  • Got Me Doing It: If Sigeel's sketches that take place later in the timeline are of any indication, it's that Elliot will succumb to the same messy behavior as Dr. Stein.
  • Grumpy Bear: It's implied that Dr. Stein's personality has developed into one from the endless hours he puts into his days and from the frustration of working with his former lab assistants.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: On page 52, Dr. Stein asks why Elliot rushed to his location on such short notice, forgetting that he gave her the plane ticket on such short delay. After Elliot's response, he covers up his question by claiming it was a test.
  • 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 Hidden Purpose Test.
  • Infinite Canvas: Each 'page' is a long, horizontal stretch of panels, some almost fifty long. However, this is not true of the PDF versions of the chapters, which breaks up the "pages" into more traditionally-sized ones.
  • 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 refill. It's subverted in that he needs coffee, not alcohol.
  • The Insomniac: Dr. Stein, who is otherwise prone to dropping asleep otherwise.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: When Serge and Dr. Stein discuss their new lab assistant over coffee while she's in the restroom, Dr. Stein claims she's probably climbing out the window. The next panel cuts to Elliot, musing over how high the bathroom window is and where she would go if she could escape.
  • 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.
  • Lead You Can Relate To: Elliot is a gamer, college graduate, and person struggling to keep a job, like many a reader of this work's audience.
  • Lethal Chef: Clara refers to "the bakery incident" when recapping Elliot's jobs and how the food Elliot made "tasted like ash", "had concrete hard density", "had dry gravel texture", or "all three combined"! Later in Chapter 1, we see the start of a running gag.
  • 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.
  • Lying To Protect Your Feelings: In page 37—appropriately named 'Lies'—Elliot comforts Clara and Daniel with lies as to why she went missing earlier that day. It is true that she rushed in desperation for the lab assistant position, but the details differ completely. She isn't in a student dorm but Dr. Stein's own home, and her boss wasn't in a rush—only the plane flight was. Elliot then tells Clara to 'make up something' to tell their mother.
  • 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: On 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 Romance:
    • Serge tries to introduce Elliot to Dr. Stein after he picks her up from the airport, but Dr. Stein thinks Serge invited a girlfriend to his home. He still doesn't quite get that Elliot is the new lab assistant until next morning after Serge explains for an hour.
    • On page 66, Serge assumes that the question Elliot is about to ask him involves an Office Romance between her and Dr. Stein. Elliot is disturbed at his assumption. The follow-up dialogue seems to be a friendly poke toward Shippers.
    Elliot: Do people normally ask that question often?
    Serge: More than you would think...
  • 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.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Dr. Stein is this in Elliot's eyes early on, given how Elliot is Ms Imagination and interprets Dr. Stein's unkempt appearance and insomniac, blase behavior as those of a Mad Scientist and his home as a Haunted House. After the initial bumpy introduction, Elliot sees him as a person rather than imagined cliches.
  • Mr. Imagination: Because Elliot indulges in video games—or perhaps, from video game withdrawal—she tends to anticipate fantasy sequences in her head instead of more realistic scenarios.
  • 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.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Dr. Stein craves a good cup of coffee due to his demanding work schedule. Elliot, as his assistant, quickly follows suit. As Serge can't make a drinkable pot, Elliot imagines a 'coffee god' in one page and pleads to it for decent coffee.
  • 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. Her older stresses harshly that all Elliot does is play games rather than trying to hold onto a job to keep their financial situation from crumbling. Elliot does make a genuine effort at her next job as a waitress, but after she is fired again, she has trouble with her self-confidence and escapes from reality by jogging her imagination and playing games again.
  • 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 a Morning Person: Dr. Stein is not one. Nor is he an afternoon person or an anytime person. He goes by his own schedule, whatever that is.
  • 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.
  • Old Dark House: Dr. Stein's mansion looks sinister when it's at the top of a cliff, covered in creeping vines, and lit by lightning or candlelight. On a sunny day, though, it's completely normal and probably sunnier than most houses.
  • Online Alias: Elliot and Dr. Stein's usernames in Moonstone Gate are "ellyoldcoot" and "bloodstein", respectively, according to Sigeel's husband.
  • Only Sane Man: Serge acts as the sensible guy between Dr. Stein's messy habits and Elliot's naivete and imagination.
  • 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, and text bubbles in various panels take on an abundance of shapes to better illustrate a situation.
  • Parody of Evolution: The montage where Elliot gains experience waitress starts with her hunched over and cautious about balancing glasses on her plate. In later frames, she straightens up and skillfully handles multiple plates at once. Sigeel dubs the page "Ellyvolution of a Waitress".
  • 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!
  • Potty Emergency: Elliot politely asks for restroom after seeing Dr. Stein's Berserk Button after flubbing her introduction. Sigeel does justify, though, that she hadn't been guided around the house yet.
  • 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.
  • Shared Universe: With Sunstone, as the webcomic authors are married. Interactions between the characters of each story primarily take place online, usually through the gaming sector.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Elliot's reaction to Dr. Stein's interpretation of Serge's introduction of her.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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
  • Splash Panel: Dr. Stein's home is introduced in one to give both Elliot and the reader the sense of how imposing it initially seems.
  • 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.
  • Sudden Game Interface: Elliot mixes reality and video games at times—when she falls asleep on the autoclave on her first day of work, she hallucinates that she's wielding the Magic Staff and wearing the tiara from her Moonstone Gate character. Several comedic moments are punctuated with elements such as Critical Hits and stat boosts for successful actions.
    Elly uses bad breath on boss. It was super effective.
    Status Inflicted: poison | slow | sleep | zombie | confuse | darkness | silence | petrify
  • 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.
  • Visual Pun:
    • When Elliot's imagination causes Dr. Stein to take the form of a nightmarish dragon, Elliot is holding a mace. In reality, Elliot carries pepper spray—a.k.a., mace.
    • In one of Sigeel's supplementary Moonstone Gate comics, Elliot's character casts a heal spell on Dr. Stein's character. We see a high-heeled shoe thrown at Dr. Stein's character that restores him to full health.
  • 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.