Webcomic / Bruno the Bandit

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Bruno, Fiona and the enemies he made

Bruno the Bandit was a long-running fantasy Web Comic started in July 1998 by Canadian cartoonist Ian McDonald. Most of its humor comes from being set in a standard medieval fantasy world, but with computers, TV home shopping and vacuum cleaners. The rest comes from the protagonist Bruno Bunkleyutz (a strong but somewhat dim bandit), his smart sidekick (Fiona the micro-dragon) and his wacky family: Eunyce, his former warrior hottie Action Mom; Ambrose, his one-armed bandit father, and Elysia / Ella, his girlfriend, a fame vampire.

The comic enjoyed noticeable success for over a decade until October 2009, when the author burned out and abruptly dropped it in the middle of a storyline. Since then, Ian has been noncommittal on when or even if the comic will ever come back.

The site is here. Before, it was hosted on Keen Spot.

Provides examples of:

  • Author Tract: The later strips became Author Tracts on whatever Ian wants to complain about, to the exclusion of everything else.
  • Arch-Enemy: Bruno and Maledict, though they occasionally work together when the situation calls for it, but will always be ready to backstab eachother.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Belching Hydra, Bruno's favorite bar
  • The Bartender: Otho of the Belching Hydra
  • Big Eater: King Xerxes
  • Big "WHAT?!": Kind of a Running Gag, often varied, inevitably lampshaded and eventually toned down a bit.
  • Body Horror: This comic has it coming out of its nose. Noteable examples include the Ring Of Empathy-induced child labor pains Bruno is forced to undergo, and this strip, where Maledict attempts to absorb the powers of Shub Megawrath
  • Brown Note: Valditch loses his eyesight from seeing Xerxes and Xantippa have sex while hanging from a chandelier.
  • Burger Fool: Archio's
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Bruno is stupid, lazy and arrogant, but has been pointed out several times as one of the best thieves in Rothland.
  • Brought Down to Normal: When a Fame Vampire is completely drained of their fame, they undergo a painful, traumatizing death and rebirth, literally rising from their own ashes as a normal human. They tend to lose their looks and grace, but most of them seem to handle the change pretty well, since the alternative for burnt out celebrities is becoming a Häzben, wretched creatures surviving on whatever scraps of fame they are able to scrounge up.
  • Chewbacca Defense: Fiona tries this, as Bruno's lawyer. Not exactly successfully.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Fiona, here
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: In the The Da Vinci Code parody
  • Corrupt Church: The Church of Ailix is shown to have become this, with the office of the Pope being nothing but a figurehead for the rich and influential church officials, and most of the church members being more interested in amassing wealth and power than following Ailix teachings. Subtle!
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When the courts dont send Bruno to the stocks or the dungeons, theyre fond of giving him these, among other things he has been forced to clean Suna Main Street with his tongue twice and being forced to star in a series of Archio Burgers tv commercials as a Hamburglar-esque character.
  • Courtroom Antic: By Fiona, when she has to defend Bruno. Judge Cicero isn't impressed.
  • Cross Dresser: Queen Xanthippa's body double, of all people.
  • Crossover: Bruno and Fiona once appeared in a guest strip story for Sluggy Freelance, and McDonald did the Sunday strips for a while.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Ailix, a philosopher said to have been the worldy incarnation of the Creator Of the Universe. The Church Of the Blessed Ailix is based on his teachings, though with debatable accuracy.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: The pigasi (yep, you read that right), literally
  • Cute Monster Girl: The medusa stand-in for Monica Lewinsky
  • Doppelgänger: The Döpplegangsters, here
  • Dumb Muscle: Bruno himself, though he did have a clever moment or two at times.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The local crime syndicate is obviously inpsired by newspaper comic syndicates (take most of the profits, won't let it's members try anything new and original, has the dead criminals be replaced by their childre, etc).
  • Dying Clue: Parodies the scene from The Da Vinci Code.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Elysia the Fame Vampire is also the famous movie star Capriardo DeLeono!
  • Easter Egg: Read some of Maledict's spells backwards and find out!
  • Eats Babies: Emperor Goldang, here
  • Eldritch Abomination: Parodies H.P. Lovecraft's ones, with Shub-Megawrath, her sister Cindy and Archio, the fast-food demon. Also, the majority of Numth'Kuls friends are these.
  • Emo: Sour Ron
  • Emotionally Tongue Tied: Secedriel, the leader of the elves, doesn't dare to say "separation". linky
  • Engineered Public Confession: Happens twice in the Whistle Of Time arc, both times courtesy of Fiona.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: You can even have them mow your lawn!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: During his introduction arc, Numth'Kul was on the verge of succeeding in his bid for world domination, until the humans he was killing and his own demonic forces turned on him when they found out he was planning to sacrifice an adorable baby unicorn for a spell to blot out the sun.
  • Evil Chancellor: Valditch (at least occasionally)
  • Evil Empire: Hyperbolea, in the Good Guy arc
  • Evil Sorcerer: Maledict. Numthkul when he was alive
  • Exact Words: Used by Carlin when he reveals that he's the son of Xubuxx, to destroy the heart of Ahriperson
  • Eyepatch of Power: Tyler One-Eye
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Bruno's schemes will almost inevitably backfire on him, through a combination of bad luck and his own stupidity and arrogance.
  • Fall Guy: The appropriately named Phallgaius.
  • Famous Ancestor: Bruno's family tree includes quite a few shockers, being the grandson of Fame Vampire leader Nosferatinx through his mother, and a descendant of Ailix himself through his father
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Häzbens, especially the ones who used to be child stars
  • Fat Bastard: The fame vampires Cumbakh and Nosferatinx, at least until a union strike forced Nosferatinx to limit the amount of fame he could draw from his subjects, causing him to become increasingly skeletal.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Minor character Dibunquor is this, belonging to a group of skeptics who, despite living in a fantasy world full of magic, gods and monsters, have developed the ability to "rationally" explain everything around them according to science, to the point where their power of disbelief can erase supernatural creatures and items from existence.
    • Bruno and his father are this. Despite constantly being exposed to supernatural and fantastic things, the two don't believe in Ailix, even after meeting him.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The 1001 children of Shub Megawrath and Numth'Kull, adorable anthromorphic goat babies with incredibly potent eldritch powers.
  • Forbidden Fruit: This is what makes chess so popular in Suna City. Until it was legalized.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to Bruno and Fiona once
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Magic is fueled by belief, thus skeptics are immune to magic and can make supernatural beings vanish from existence.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Parodied in the Good Guy arc, which made fun of the ridiculous extremes in The Sword of Truth.
  • Golden Mean Fallacy
  • Grand Theft Me: Bruno almost suffers this in the story with Lady Decrepta.
  • Groin Attack: The TV moderator likes to do them. But skeptics have balls of steel.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Numth'Kul is actually the spirit of the ancient evil sorceror Ahriperson, who ruled a dark kingdom thousands of years ago, until said kingdom was destroyed in a magical accident intended to eradicate a population of barbarians who were contaminating the evil of the kingdom with bluegrass music. He lost all his memories in the ensuing cataclysm aside from his skull, his spirit and the name Numth'Kull, which was actually a wizard with a lisp calling him a "numbskull" moments before the spell backfired
  • Guest Strip: Ian McDonald, as mentioned above, used to do the "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain" strips for Sluggy Freelance.
  • Hellhole Prison: Skullbreak
  • Henpecked Husband: King Xerxes
  • Hermit Guru: Carlin Nietzsche
  • Hollywood Atheist: Due to the setting, every atheist character that appears is either this or a Flat-Earth Atheist. Noteable ones include the professional skeptic D'bunkr, and a tv show that is supposedly intended to be religious satire, but consists of little more than shallow mockery of the main religion of the setting, Ailixism.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Eunyce is the daughter of the head of the Fame Vampires, Nosferatinx. Ever since she became an ordinary human, she's opposed him and his exploitation of his subjects. There just hasnt been much she could do until recently.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Bruno always calls Fiona "lizard".
    • She also takes offense to being called a "baby dragon", since micro-dragons are fully grown dragons, just small.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Eunyce, the former Warrior Hottiel. Same thing goes for Ambrose, who was as muscular and athletic as Bruno in his youth.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: "We toasted him!"
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Cara the Cutpurse and Red Sonata, here
  • Literal Metaphor: the strip's full of these. See Jumping The Shark above for an example.
  • Little Miss Badass: Bruno's daughter Delorus
  • Long List: See the first strip.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Coddlesworth
  • May-December Romance / Gold Digger: Bruno and Lady Decrepta
  • Meaningful Name: Queen Xanthippa (still not on God Save Us from the Queen! levels)
  • Mr. Seahorse: Close to. Thanks(?) to a magic ring, Bruno can feel the pain of a woman giving birth. It's revealed to be All Just a Dream.
    • The All Just a Dream revealer in turn was itself all just a dream. Not long after Bruno is awakened from his daydreams of debauched rule and carnal excess, Ambrose makes a number of pointed comments about Bruno's pregnancy-escapade.
  • Monster Clown: Archio
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: Shub Megawrath of course, being a parody of the original Shub Niggurath
  • Mr. Alt Disney: A fame vampire named Valdyzny, the father of all fame vampire animals courtesy of his distilled fame vampire blood serum. Complete with Shout-Out to Mickey Mouse. And near the end of the "Bruno's Queen" arc, his own theme park, Valdzny-ville. Ironically, a major conflict of that arc was whether or not a Delorus-centered amusement park would be built over a third of the city of Suna.
  • Muscle Angst: Bruno, when he sees the models for new armors.
  • Nobody Calls Me Chicken
  • Noodle Incident: How Ambrose lost his arm, nothing is known other than that a young Bruno was somehow responsible. Of course, its Ambrose saying this, so he could just be shifting blame.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The villain of "Tito the Thief" is an obvious stand-in for Fred Phelps.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Fiona
  • Not So Above It All: Fiona, despite being signifigantly smarter and somewhat more moral than her boss, can be just as greedy, selfish and petty as he is.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Thieves' Guild.
  • Orphaned Series: The comic ended abruptly in 2009 in the middle of a storyline, and has not been back since.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Said micro-dragons, who're pretty intelligent.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Averted, they're not even twice as tall as humans, just much bulkier. They do however only have four fingers, unlike humans who have five.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: While Bruno's world has regular vampires, there is a much more prevalent breed called Fame Vampires, who feed off the public's adoration and attention. Losing their status as celebrities is a death sentence, as this will lead to them either painfully dying and being reborn as normal humans, or being forced to subsist on any kind of fame or attention they can get as the miserable Häzbens.
  • Painting the Medium: A week of strips played out with the characters "saying" the general gist of a storyline instead of talking normally. For example, Bruno, in the throne room with the king, says "Oh-so-subtle hint about my plans to rob the royal treasury", with the king replying "Complete misunderstanding of what Bruno said".
  • The Plan: The blue bird of happiness likes to play various gambits with Bruno, but since the strip broke off, we may never learn what he really had planned.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Parodied here and in the following strips
  • Punny Name: Clonin the Barbarian Wilderness-Enhanced, Xanax the Warrior Princess, Numth'kul the demon, Headacheron his kingdom... In Num'thkul's case, there's an explanation for it.
  • Puppet King: King Xerxes has little real political power, with the majority of Rothland being ruled by the nobility. This causes problems when Bruno usurps Xerxes and claims the throne for himself
  • Really Gets Around: Elysia when she was still a fame vampire.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Maledict is actually 800 years old, having been the court magician for the first king in Xerxes royal family.
  • Satan: Called Xubuxx here.
  • Schedule Slip: In its later years, unfortunately more and more, before finally stopping altogether.

Alternative Title(s): Bruno The Bandit

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/BrunoTheBandit