Webcomic: Dr. Brinner: Ghost Psychiatrist
Pictured: Ghost Psychiatrism
Dr. BrinnerDr. Brinner: Ghost Psychiatrist
: Hold on, I need to go to the bathroom. General Negakipper
: No you fool, if you do that, every universe that has ever existed will simultaneously implode!
— Dr. Brinner vs. Zombie Pink Floyd
is Andrew Hussie's (of MS Paint Adventures
fame) magnum opus. It's a work spanning several years and numerous forms ranging from print to image to text to a series of Youtube videos that when first viewed seem to be mere footage of random people's children. It describes the adventures of Doctor Brinner (formerly Doctor Derek Brinner, but that was in a universe that no longer exists), an extraordinarily cool psychiatrist who deals in the dead. The coolness is canon.On several occasions, Andrew has stated that Dr. Brinner is a commentary/parody on long-running series which employ multiple universes and multiple writers within a single canon, particularly the superhero franchises contained within The Marvel Universe
and The DCU
. As one might expect from such a commentary, Dr. Brinner uses and abuses the Back from the Dead
trope and takes the idea of a multiverse to ridiculous extremes; the comic is also full of Mood Whiplash
, ridiculous (and apparently intentional) continuity problems, sporadic (and often temporary) manifestations of Cerebus Syndrome
, and blatantly clumsy retcons
, especially earlier in the series. True to its premise, it often feels very much like reading the work of dueling writers Armed with Canon
rather than the unified work of a single artist; it is very much to Andrew’s credit that he has still managed to create a comic which, in spite of an approach which would seem to lend itself to Stylistic Suck
, still manages to be an excellent read. (That said, Andrew seems to have at least partially abandoned the “multiple writers” approach in recent arcs, which have been much more focused than older ones. It’s hard to say whether this shift is an allegory for some new facet of the use of multiple writers within a canon or simply an indication that Andrew was getting tired of intentionally filling his stories with plot holes.)
As a result of all of this, while it definitely boasts its fair share of awesome characters, scenes, and arcs, Dr. Brinner
is NOT recommended as a starting point for someone who’s new to Andrew’s work. The story is extremely labyrinthine and can be very difficult to follow (even compared to the likes of Homestuck
and Problem Sleuth
, which are pretty demanding in their own right); it’s full of Mind Screwy
plot twists and concepts, Big Lipped Alligator Moments
, and sharp tonal shifts, all of which serve to make Dr. Brinner Andrew’s most inaccessible work despite its deceptively simple premise.
See also: Comments on a Postcard
and Candle Cove
, two series Andrew has been involved in that take place in the same setting.
Tropes used in Dr. Brinner
- Afterlife Express: It gets hijacked several times throughout the series. The Dron are particularly fond of taking it for their own purposes.
- Also, the set served as the battlefield for Dr. Brinner's second battle with the Antimartyr.
- Alien Invasion: And then some.
- Alternate History: Dozens of them. The most prominent of which is the Megapocalypse Split, in which the universe the story had been taking place in is demolished as a failure by OmniTech.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Averted. Dr. Brinner started the story as a Jungian analyst before he began studying under Ghost Freud — and Ghost Freud himself has abandoned some of his older theories and methods in favor of a more humanistic variety of psychotherapy.
- Annoying Patient: About 50% of Dr. Brinner's patients stumble in drunk through the Vortex Portal in the corner. Brinner tends to be sympathetic to them, but many of them later become running jokes for their antics.
- Anyone Can Die: Seems to be heading this way, with at least a couple major characters in apparently inescapable situations.
- Of course, given the premise, it's hard to say if it really counts.
- Ascended Extra: The Pizza Delivery Guy ("Pizza Guy" to his friends), who originally received no more characterization than "that guy who delivers Pizza".
- Badass Beard: Brinner grew one over the twelve years he was banished to the Oubliette Dimension by the brainwashed Marquis de Sade as part of his Plot-Relevant Age-Up. After escaping, he decided he liked it and kept it.
- Bad Future: Several have appeared or been referenced, although surprisingly few of them have played a significant role in the comic.
- Bad Santa: During the fourth Christmas special, several supporting characters have to stop ReggaePeter from saving Christmas, since it turns out Santa is using mind control to make children his slaves.
- Badass Santa: The fifth Christmas special, however, featured Brinner teaming up with an alternate universe version of Santa, described as "the most skilled martial artist in the Arctic Circle."
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: With a story involving a massive multiverse and time travel, some crazy historical shenanigans are pretty much guaranteed. However, Andrew tends to avoid using more obvious historical figures (with a few notable exceptions), instead focusing on more obscure folks — among other things, issues of Dr. Brinner have featured Frank Zappa as a pill-popping, corrupt DEA agent, Emperor Halie Selassie of Ethiopia as a brilliant experimental physicist, amateur jazz musician, and sidekick to WW II-era superhero Wheelman, and Quaker humanitarian William Penn as a psychopathic sorcerer-king who has a particularly strong taste for human sacrifice.
- Big Bad: Appears to be the Technochrist, an android made by taking the DNA of Jesus and combining it with a robot. Stated goal of the Technochrist is to destroy every universe in which Dr. Brinner is logically capable of existing. He was apparently developed by a company called OmniTech, which he founded. Don't worry, it all makes sense in context.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Pretty much the entire universe.
- Bluff the Impostor: Subverted when Mr. Seven, who isn't actually an impostor like Dr. Brinner assumes, decides that Dr. Brinner himself is an impostor because of the details of their adventures that he's getting blatantly wrong on purpose.
- Body-Count Competition: The 'Martyrs of the Technochrist (the Antimartyr, the Ultramartyr and the Megamartyr) are constantly discussing how many universes they have caused to unexist.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Entire universes at times. Last count had Brinner's total patients at around half a googol. Not everyone gets individual treatment, of course, and he's been known to mass-prescribe treatments quite often.
- Broken Ace: Captain Justice, in his introduction, starts out as The Cape turned up to eleven, but it's soon revealed that he's just a loser trying to live up to the expectations of the previous Justice, who is heavily implied to have been Abraham Lincoln.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Ghost Freud's exact words upon this happening.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: One of Dr. Brinner's cousins is a judge. Who insists on wearing orange to work every day. Something about sympathy for the people he's trying.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Franklin Delano Roosevelt gets one of these. He just wants his father to recognize that he can still be a good person without wrestling tigers.
- The Cameo: In Dr. Brinner's first psychoanalysis montage, there's a very brief shot of one ghost who got many fans asking "Was that Aradia?
- During the unveiling of the Brainwasher Matrix right before the Second Technowar breaks out, one of the ghosts overseeing its construction is quite clearly The Doctor. And it's just the thing he would do.
- Childhood Memory Demolition Team: It's hinted that the Old Universe Dr. Brinner was sent to the current universe, and that he has vague memories of his future in that world, even though it no longer exists.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the first few arcs, Dr. Brinner's roommate Leonard was a recurring character and Brinner's original sidekick before the introduction of the Pizza Guy. He did still feature in the comic for a while after that, but he hasn't even been mentioned since the Day of the Omni-Reaper arc, due to Andrew finding him superfluous and him having no distinguishing traits of his own.
- Clone Degeneration: The Brinner clones created by Professor Heinrich start out normally enough, but eventually the machine produces mutants like Insane Brinner, Midget Brinner, Cyclops Brinner, and Two-Headed Brinner.
- Clothing Damage: Brinner has a habit of getting his coat shredded at various dramatic moments, to the point where it's lampshaded in his visit to his tailor.
- During his fight with Brinner, 1-48N's Powered Armour is gradually broken off piece-by-piece. His losing his helmet is what sets up The Reveal that he's John Lennon.
- Cool Old Guy: Due to a combination of a curse from a mummy and one of Dr. Brinner's ancestors being The Lord Of Time of a few universes, Dr. Brinner is currently nearing infinity years old, and he is still kicking ass.
- Cute Bruiser: Timothy, Dr. Brinner's 7-year-old nephew. Though at first he seems like he'll just be The Load to his uncle and his allies, he soon makes up for that when he destroys five evil universes with a flick of his finger.
- A Day in the Limelight: Don't Fear the Reaper, Pizza Delivery Guy, an arc in which the eponymous Pizza Delivery Guy and a few of his friends fight a desperate losing battle against Dark Brinner to protect the Cosmic Keystone they found in a calzone.
- Deadpan Snarker: Dark Brinner, in his rare moments of lucidity.
Dark Brinner: So, you go around calling yourself the Antimartyr of the Technochrist? What, was “Negaguru of the Cyberbuddha” already taken?
Isn't there something we're forgetting?