Webcomic / Crimson Dark

Explosions. Shiny.

"It's a pretty dirty war Nick."

Crimson Dark was a Sci-Fi webcomic created by David C. Simon. It ran from 2006 to 2012, with updates every Monday and Friday, ending when Mr Simon moved to Austin, Texas to work on Star Wars: The Old Republic for Bioware.

The comic uses both 3D renders (done in Poser 4) and a heavy amount of Photoshopping on top of them (For example, the clothes are done in photoshop, as are explosions). The author is a big fan of Firefly, but the comic had an engaging and complex story of its own, with a familiar but distinct setting.

Tropes seen in this webcomic:

  • Absent Aliens: So far not a one.
  • Ace Pilot: Kari.
  • Actual Pacifist: Daniel. He shoots Hal to save Whisper, but still feels horrified by his actions.
  • All There in the Manual: The database.
  • And Your Little Dog Too: Abraham Mensk threatens to go after the families of Vaegyr and his wife. Vaegyr responds by just shooting him.
    • This displays either extreme stupidity, overconfidence, or just underestimation of his opponent in Mensk, because Vaegyr was about to let him go.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Handwaved. Because conventional weapons will keep going until they hit something (causing collateral damage), ballistic weapons are illegal in space. Instead, they use energy or plasma weapons which become weaker over distance.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Vaeger.
  • The Bible: Dan is a "bible basher" but doesn't seem to mind the title.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The Cirin Alliance are pragmatic assholes who think nothing of colluding with pirates, sticking AIs in corpses to create suicide saboteurs, or even re-enacting 9/11 on military stations staffed with human shields. However, the Republic of Daranir are Blatant Liars who think nothing of re-enacting the Blitz to force conquests to surrender, after which they hold Kangaroo Courts denouncing enemy leadership as terrorists.
    Kari Tyrell: Patriots start wars. The good ones end them. But there's nothing safe about those people. It's the patriots who'll get you killed.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Whisper
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Cirin Alliance have this as their hat. From using cybernetically enhanced AI controlled corpses as saboteurs to hiding out in wrecked ships and using the distress signals to lure nearby Republic ships into ambushes, the Alliance is willing to do just about anything if it will give them an advantage. Their ships are also mostly former civilian craft that have been upgraded to warships.
    • They are also not above dealing with pirates.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Republic ships are blue, while the Alliance ships are red. Even the exhaust colors match up.
  • Cool Starship: Replete with them.
  • The Cutie: Kari
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: There are several groups such as the Human Purity Movement that honestly believe this, though out in space they are generally a minority.
    • The JAKs used by the Cirin Alliance take this to the extreme, using the corpse of a human that has been implanted with an AI to control it. They are used as saboteurs, where being already dead allows them to more effectively stow away aboard ships and makes them entirely expendable. They are highly illegal, not that the Alliance cares.
      • Of course, The Republic also uses JAKs as unquestioning troops for their black ops units.
  • Cyborg Helmsman
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone and their dog gets a shot at it.
  • Deus ex Machina: There was one news snippet just mentioned the existence of Souri Behemoths before one pulled a Gunship Rescue for the protagonists. The one person who knows they were allies didn't know one was going to show, or why they are helping the Alliance in the first place, and since they refuse to communicate ship-to-ship, the readers never see or hear them. And as the author got a new job, we'll probably never know.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: Used in the flashback to the battle at White-Fall.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Kari. Not her fault though. She was built into a propoganda figure.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Jump drives, which use a mix of Applied Phlebotinum and Hyperspace.
  • The Federation: The UTC says that it's this, the Cirin Alliance thinks it's The Empire.
  • Gambit Roulette: Though not used, the idea is roundly mocked.
    Dan and Vaegyr get caught trying to break Kari out of jail.
    Kari: This is the lamest rescue ever.
    Dan: Well, we did get you out of isolation.
    Vaegyr: Yes, everything is going according to plan.
    Dan: Except that we didn't anticipate any of this.
    Vaegyr: It's one of those retroactive plans, it only makes sense in hindsight.
    Kari: (to one of the guards) Is it too late to say that I've never met these two men before in my life?
  • Hollywood Hacking: Whisper can lock and unlock doors with her mind, for starters.
  • Jerk Ass: Hal.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Subverted. Conventional guns and other kinetic weapons ARE quite useful, but have been banned due to remaining effective at very long ranges. Dissipating energy "lances" are used instead.
  • Layman's Terms: Inverted in this strip.
    Vaegyr: Kari, what's your assessment?
    Kari: Cooooool...
    Vaegyr: Yes. I was hoping for something more tactical in nature.
  • Lethal Chef: Vaegyr. His chili is the stuff of nightmares.
    • Actually, he's a memetic lethal chef. The other characters give him grief, but some of them like his chili just fine.
  • Masochist's Meal: Again, Vaegyr's chili. Slightly subverted in that his wife Larissa has grown to like it, though she would rather not tell him that.
  • Mental Affair: Because of the extent of Whisper's body which has been replaced by cybernetics, this is the only way she and her boyfriend could ever be intimate.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Kari
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The JAKS are Illegal Ninja Zombie Cyborgs.
  • Old-School Dogfight: World War II style fighter combat, only in space.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted, Daniel shoots Hal in the leg, and Hal winds up losing the leg.
  • Playing Both Sides: Mensk is the secret contact of the pirates to both the Alliance and the Republic.
  • Privateer: Vaegyr Ward is quite insistent that he's a privateer, not a pirate.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Daranir Republic has this as their hat. They make heavy use of propaganda, and their architecture is cathedral-like to show how the military has an almost religious aspect to it.
  • Running the Blockade: Cirin Alliance planet Farhaven has been besieged by the Republic of Daranir for quite a while. Vaegyr Ward got offworld on a blockade runner, and in chapter 12 the Farhavenites stage a mass breakout with Alliance military and mercenary support.
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear / Death Bringer The Adorable: Literally toyed with while being hinted at in this strip.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: See the picture for one example.
  • Self-Deprecation: A staple of the comic.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Kari, though not as severe a case as most. Her experiences at the battle of White-Fall left her with PTSD.
  • Shout-Out: Space stations named after Jane Espenson and Tim Minear. Also, the captain of Kathryn's Glance, as the crew prepare to attack Espenson Station, says 'Have fun storming the castle.'
  • Show Within a Show: Walker Wars.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Whisper gives Dan one of these.
  • Smug Snake: Abraham Mensk. and his uncle.
  • Space Is an Ocean: If the picture didn't give it away, the comic uses this one quite a bit. Some cases are more justified than others. Ships have a bridge, a noticeable top and bottom, are laid out with decks parallel to the direction of travel, and are named and classified in the usual manner of sailing ships. And that's not even mentioning the pirates.
    • Spacecraft also have red and green navigation lights like ships (and planes).
    • The one exception to this is that fighters are often seen flying upside-down or sideways. Of course, the fighters have their own physics violations...
  • Space Pirates: Replete with them. Some are worse about it than others.
  • Space Western: Flirts with this when not indulging in Space Is an Ocean.
  • Super Soldier: An actual in-universe classification. Military forces are prohibited by treaty from making their regular soldiers more than 40% synthetic, but Super Soldiers are exempt from that restriction such as the Republic's Marines they're also JAKS
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Completely deconstructed when Mensk gets shot from behind while trying to convince his guards not to go rogue Considering the people he'd been openly trying to kill for a long while were right behind him, this may have been a bad call.
  • The Captain: Vaegyr Ward.
  • The Empire: The Cirin Alliance, though mainly in their opposition to the Republic of Daranir. They're serious Combat Pragmatists who are willing to fight dirty if it means winning. And they frequently do.
  • The Republic: The Republic of Daranir, though some of their actions are pretty questionable.
    • The blockade of the planet Farhaven and using JAKs to slaughter everyone aboard a civilian ship just to catch two Cirin spies are just two examples. Then there is the fact that they use their border military bases as trading ports, putting civilians directly into the firing line of the Cirin Alliance, who are not exactly known for giving a damn about that sort of thing.
  • Uriah Gambit: Saphira sets Mensk againt Vaegyr... with the expectation that Vaegyr will then kill Mensk. Though Larissa is the one who actually pulls the trigger.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Pick any two people who like each other.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Deconstructed. You don't do it because his uncle is a pirate warlord.
  • World of Snark