Webcomic: Death and the Maiden
Original title: Der Tod und das Mädchen. Mercedes was just an ordinary young woman who happened to have had a Near-Death Experience when she was a child. So when Death flags her down on the side of the highway trying to hitch a ride, she does the sensible thing and runs away as fast as she can. Too bad he's recognized her, and is now determined to reap her soul. But in this universe, there are rules that Death must follow: in order to reap a soul, the person must look him in the eye and name him. Having had to put up a few too many attempts at bargaining, it doesn't even have to be a specific name - any title will do. Wacky hijinks abound.The comic by Austrian artist and writer Nina Ruzicka can be read here.Has nothing to do with the 1990 play about a political prisoner and her rapist or the 1994 film that adapted the play.
Death and the Maiden contains examples of:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Death generally appears to mortals however they expect him to appear. He's gotten tired of changing his look over the centuries, so has opted for something classic - a plain brown hooded robe.
- Awful Truth: In his timeline, Death is only seventeen or eighteen years old. Mercedes does not take this well.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: After Pestilence makes Mercedes sick, Death admits that he cares about her, and it keeps going from there. Eventually leading to the Emergency Transformation.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mercedes and Death. Not physically violent, but vitriolic at best.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Creeps in at the end of part one, but really picks up a ways into part two.
- Chess with Death: Death's not very good at board games, but it's still not a good idea. He got so sick of challengers that he beat one to death with the chess board.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: It's more of a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship (at first), but when Mercedes and Death aren't secretly disposing of "accidental" corpses, they're doing things like spying on Mercedes' cheating boyfriend.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: He can be a nice guy, if a bit ineffectual and suffering from a major superiority complex.
- Emergency Transformation: In attempts to save Mercedes, Death turns her into Death as well. Slightly subverted though, since it was an accident.
- The Grim Reaper: Obviously.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Death.
- Literary Allusion Title: "Death and the Maiden" is a subject that dates back at least to the renaissance, but it is best known from the poem by Matthias Claudius which Franz Schubert set to music.
- Magic Realism: Let's see... The Grim Reaper is real, as are banshees and a stock-market style "Fate Exchange" running the lives of mortals, but apart from people who coming into direct contact with Death, Muggles are completely clueless.
- One-Winged Angel: Death, usually drawn as a rather goffy and cartoonish Grim Reaper, turned himself into a humanoid shadow with clawed fingers and Glowing Eyesof Doom, and can be seen here.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: They're artificially constructed, sentient extensions of Death which are assigned to a specific Irish Clan - "marking" them when it is their time - in order to make Death's job easier.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Usually death, Especially on this strip, and here too.
- Romantic False Lead: Mercedes' boyfriend, Robert.
- Take That: To the Sandman, no less.
- Temporal Mutability: Death can travel through both time and space instantly. He keeps a linear relationship with Mercedes in part one, but in part two, thing start to get a little wonky.
- The Problem with Fighting Death: Whe death forces a young writter to claim the soul of aold but badass Old Woman, they both have a conversation. After she comments that she succesful drive away death by driving anyone away from her, the writter innocently brings into the attention that doing so is no better than being actually death, and she later concends to his point.
- Time Abyss: Death, and most of his associates. Although from his POV, he's only an adolescent.
- Xanatos Gambit: Death pulls this one here.
- Will They or Won't They?: Mercedes and Death. It's pretty obvious that they have a thing for each other, but they're both too stubborn to admit it.