Webcomic / Eight Cicadas

Eight Cicadas is a Machinomic made with The Sims 3. The game is the stage for a story about the Waverlys: a family of undying half-human/half-unknown hybrids, and their adventures among humans in a small town.

The story can be found here.

Eight Cicadas contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Sinbad regularly angsts and gets angry over growing up with his abusive mum, Emma. However, he also vows to be the best parent he can be to Julian because of what she did.
    • Hannah's mother, Sofia, is also physically abusive towards her.
    • Bill went through it as an adult, during a flashback in "The Gallery, Part Two." Being in his 30's didn't stop Max from giving him a black eye and threatening to murder him.
  • Alien Blood: Averted, as Annette and Franco both bruise and bleed red in "Piece of Clay" and "Liver".
  • Alone Among the Couples: Annette has feelings of this in "Valley of Tears" and "Close Encounters", after Bill's death. She looks at both Sinbad and Amy with a lot of jealousy. Though it ends quickly once she's absorbed into their relationship.
  • Aloof Ally: Sinbad, when first introduced. He eventually warmed up to being more than just a belligerent colleague to Annette.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Waverlys, and other non-human characters such as Diamanda and Clara, have skintones in various shades of pink, blue, purple, or green. Justified by them being being non-human or hybrids.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Diamanda has a very feminine body shape, but is always referred to with neutral pronouns ever since their first appearance in "Close Encounters".
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Occasionally, the story jumps to Joanna's point of view, rather than whoever character she's reading about.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Carmen, to Sinbad.
  • Asian Rudeness: Soo comes off as this, but Amy later chews her out for using culture as an excuse to say nasty things about her friends and herself, as Soo was raised in America.
  • Attempted Rape: Max does this to Annette in "Heart Full of Fire", but he is shot by Bill before he can get far with it.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Bill tries to bond with Franco and Mark, his illegitimate son, in "Dear Old Dad" by buying them beer. Neither of them are won over by his gesture, and are still hung up on his flaws.
  • Because I'm Good at It: Sinbad says in "Happy House" that he cooked meth long after he moved in with the Waverlys because it gave him alone time and was a hobby.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family:
    • The Waverlys, who attract the messed-up. Annette likes bringing in unrelated friends as housemates. Suicide is nearly-epidemic among the residents. Many come from a background of abuse (Annette, Sinbad, Hannah, Amy to a lesser extent), depression and self-loathing (Shark and Harwood), or substance abuse (Bill and Shark). Many of the adults are criminals to varying extents. Annette has a highly-dysfunctional relationship with several household members (her feuds with Franco, spoiling/enabling Shark in his darkest hours, her tense friendship with Sinbad, etc).
      • However, the trope does get periodically reconstructed, as Annette often can pull people together too.
    • The extended Racket family shows hints of this. Before they all die off, most of the members are criminals of some stripe or another. The elders are Serial Rapists and abusers, often against their own family members. Silver and Bill both have histories (or presents) of substance abuse.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: While plenty of characters have thick brows, Sinbad has the thickest eyebrows, and they're always pulled into an angry expression.
  • Broken Pedestal: Reconstructed in "Down to Every Detail". Sinbad expects Annette to finally have the hatred he does for Harwood, due to a series of heinous acts he pulled in his past. However, they both come to realize that he was simply a complicated person, who ended up doing a lot of good by Annette. It also inspires Sinbad to further better himself in a similar way.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Seems to largely be what keeps Amy and Sinbad together, as she eases him out of his resentful, violent shell.
  • Canine Companion: Sagebear to Annette.
  • Cannon Fodder: Diamandas seem to be regarded as this, from their homeworld.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Bill and Franco are two main characters who have been exclusively straight (zany schemes not included). Every other main character is bi/pan or gay, or too young to have a sexuality. Much of Twinbrook seems to be at least bisexual enough for Annette's orgies, and even background characters from elsewhere tend to be bisexual (Troy and the random city folk in the orgy in "Sirius A", Landon in "Mashallah").
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted for Rose and Meechum, Shark's cats. They are exceptionally loyal and nice to him, and very much the same to Franco and Hannah after Shark's death.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The story takes a darker turn after the events of "Same Eyes" and "Heart Full of Fire", where Annette gets involved in her in-laws' criminal doings, and them is the victim of an Attempted Rape.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The amethyst ring. Introduced as an ordinary trinket that Annette steals. So far, it's also a magical or alien jewel that can blast enemies away to other dimensions at Annette's request. It so far has saved her in "Six Against Four", "Close Encounters", and "Sirius A".
  • Clone Army: Diamanda is simply one of many, as they differ only in uniform. Shown even more in "The Girl Who Could Bend Time and Space", as the three Diamandas that Annette summons speak in unison.
  • Combat Stilettos: Annette, Amy, and Molly all wear heels at the wedding in "15 Minutes" and "Six Against Four", even though they know that there's a chance of a battle taking place. Although Annette complains about them, she has no qualms running around during the fight in heels.
  • Cute Little Fangs: The Waverlys all have these, at least to varying degrees of cuteness.
  • Daddy DNA Test:
    • Annette arranges to have this done to Harwood and his potential kids after his death. This is also what reveals that Sinbad is actually his son.
    • Annette also arranges a test to see if Justin is Hannah's biological father, after Shark brings it up to her. It actually turns out somewhat positively, as Justin immediately steps into Hannah's life and tries to get her out of her mum's abuse.
    • Franco demands this in "Mandala" after Annette points out that there's no way that Abigail could he his.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Benji and Carmen, and to a lesser extent with Sinbad and Julian.
  • Descent into Addiction:
    • "First Drink" opens the story by implying that this happens to Annette, in regards to drinking. However, she starts off in "Zone 3" and other early chapters as a harmless social drinker.
    • Shark suffers a similar downfall, going from a social drinker in chapters like "White Roses" to a violent alcoholic in "Liver".
  • Dirty Cop: Goodwin, who lets one bad gang operate so they can kill off their rivals that he dislikes.
    • Dudley is mentioned to have been this to a lesser extent by not dealing with his own criminal family.
  • Disappeared Dad: Harwood to Sinbad. Mentioned in "Down to Every Detail" that Harwood's dad was absent from his life too.
  • Driven to Suicide: Almost a regular event.
    • Harwood kills himself via overdose in between the events of "Greenware" and "In My Time of Need", driven to it by lingering angst over his past.
    • Shark hangs himself after the events of "You Could Have Lived", due to no longer being able to live without Harwood in his life.
    • Bill shoots himself in front of Annette in "Saint", due to his deteriorating physical state after his injury in "Silencer" and not wanting to be a burden on his family.
    • Carmen drowns herself and her newborn out of guilt for cheating on Franco in "Mandala".
  • Dysfunction Junction: Annette happens to seek out misfits. Her and her family and housemates all have various traumas, self-esteem issues, difficulty with friendships and relationships, and never are quite law-abiding.
  • Elderly Immortal: Implied to be the eventual state of the Waverlys.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Amy confesses in "Close Encounters" that she realized her latent bisexuality only due to being attracted to Annette. And Annette might have admitted the same thing.
  • Everything Sensor: The "humming orb" in the Waverlys' basement. It alerts Annette to get her ring back in "Close Encounters", right before Diamanda arrives.
  • Excessive Mourning: Shark, after Harwood's death. He has eleven years to get over it and never does.
  • Expendable Clone: Diamandas are easily killed, and according to Annette, rarely missed back home.
  • Facial Horror: A mild case for Harwood, who had much of his face burnt in a fire when he was younger, and then poorly reconstructed (as revealed in "Down to Every Detail"). He hides the worst of the damage under his hair by the time Annette meets him.
  • Family Business: The Rackets are a somewhat unified family of criminals, with Dennis, Bill, and their parents all involved somehow. It dissolves quickly under apathy from everyone after Max's death...or is continued by Annette.
  • Family of Choice: Seemingly Annette's goal, especially as her ties to any family of her own are dead and forgotten. Her first goal in Twinbrook is to absorb people like Harwood and Amy into her new family.
  • Fiery Redhead: Sinbad, especially when he is first introduced.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If read in conjunction with Eight Cicadas' companion piece, after the latter's chapter titled "Restless Rigamarole". Any time Julian is seen in the story can be a painful reminder he's not going to have a happy ending.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Lolly is very open to Annette about having two abortions in her life, with no ill effects on how Annette sees her as a person.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Quitting smoking is used at least twice to show a character maturing, as with Bill after the events of "Heart Full of Fire" or Annette swearing them off for good in "Sixteen Cigarettes". However, habitual smoking is only done by characters who are harmful to the Waverlys. e.g. Armstrong in "White Roses", Troy in "Sirius A".
  • Go Out with a Smile: Said to be how Bill died.
  • Gym Bunny: Shark, being gay and loving the gym. He doesn't give any indication that it's for keeping his youthfulness, though.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: If Annette is anyone to trust, she is one, though she remains tight-lipped about her origins or even what she really is.
  • Has Two Mommies: Benji and Carmen.
  • Hates Being Alone: Annette. She surrounds herself with friends and lovers and family, to the point of it seeming like a primary motivation. She confides to Sinbad and Amy in "Close Encounters" that loneliness terrifies her.
  • Honorary Uncle: Franco refers to any close adult in his life as an uncle or aunt. Granted, a lot of them have alternate family relations, such as stepparents (Sinbad and Smy), cousins (Shark and Lolly), or even almost-father-in-law (Harwood).
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Averted for the Waverlys. Annette so far ages alongside her peers, and is shown with other immortals in some of Joanna's memories as being quite elderly.
    • Played somewhat straight for vampires like Gala and Troy, who are stuck in the 20-40 range.
  • Immortality Bisexuality: Annette and Gala discuss this in "Mashallah", as Gala says that she can use her endless lifespan to experiment.
  • Immortality Inducer: Annette often refers to herself as constantly immortal, but also has mentioned the need for a "magic recipe" to fully enable it. It is unknown how reliable she is about that.
  • In Love with Love: It takes little time for Annette to pine for a new relationship after Bill's suicide.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Subverted. Annette walks in on Bill when he has a gun to his head, and tries to talk him out of it. She fails.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Joanna and Clara are both very feminine.
  • Make Up or Break Up: Annette is close to divorcing Bill in "Heart Full of Fire" over his apathy and infidelity, but they make up once it's clear that he still cares about Annette.
  • Mark of Shame: Joanna reveals that her crack-like scars are marks for attempting suicide and failing in "Like Porcelain".
  • May–December Romance:
    • Harwood and Shark were an extreme example, with over fifty years separating them. It's mentioned that Harwood was only a few years younger than Shark's grandparents in "Seeing Red".
    • Annette and Bill also had a steep age gap between them.
  • Mercy Kill: Goodwin claims this is why he shoots Jenni in "Six Against Four".
  • Meta Origin: As revealed in "Down to Every Detail" and "Sirius A", Harwood and Troy were tied to Annette's life no matter what, thanks to the amethyst ring.
  • Mooks: Rarely does one of Armstrong's subordinates last longer than a chapter.
  • Multigenerational Household: The Waverlys seem to be an extreme version of this by the time Joanna is a young adult, as her flashbacks reveal living in the same house as her grandmother and Lydia, who is an even more distant ancestor.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted. Although bisexual, Harwood survives well into old age being who he is. Carmen and Benji's mothers are both older lesbians, though their exact age is unknown. As of "Pilsner", Annette, Amy, and Sinbad all are over the 50 mark and proudly bi or pansexual.
  • Not Blood Siblings: A mild case with Franco and both Carmen and Hannah, who have blood relations to people in Franco's extended family...but not to him. Carmen is the half-sister of Sinbad, who is Franco's stepfather. Hannah is the daughter of Justin, the husband of Franco's cousin Lolly. It doesn't bother him, though Hannah does bring up that she's kind-of family to him in "Time After Time."
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Soo and Stanley are this to Sinbad, showing them to be rude and overly-critical about every aspect of Sinbad and Amy's lives.
    • Max takes it about a billion steps further with Annette, by wanting her to leave Bill and have sex with him whether she likes it or not. Later revealed in "The Gallery, Part Two" that he and Marigold were this is many of Bill's partners.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Neither Annette nor Bill seemed perturbed by Franco being sexually active, while Franco tried to dance around the issue in "Liver".
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Harwood. It's later revealed that they cover the worst of his scars from a fire.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Used in "In My Time of Need", where Shark holds Harwood's body for the last time before burying him.
  • Polyamory: Annette, Amy, and Sinbad update their Three-Way Sex to this in "Sirius A".
  • Police Brutality: Guaranteed whenever Goodwin makes an appearance. Choice acts of violence include shooting a dog, strangling a suspect to death and leaving his body, and pulling a gun on a friend while off-duty.
  • Race Fetish: Bill is revealed to have the supernatural version of this in "Clavicle", as he is extremely attracted to demon girls. And Annette was the closest he could get to that.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Armstrong and his gang all have black and red clothing motifs. However, there are non-evil characters who also use this color scheme. e.g. Sinbad, Guillaume.
  • Rescue Romance: Bill and Annette rekindle their relationship after he saves her from Attempted Rape.
  • Serial Rapist: Max. Most of his victims were attractive women who were within the family in any way.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Annette and Bill get married specifically because they're having a baby together. It's for the sake of Bill's public image.
  • Snow Means Death: Harwood and Shark both kill themselves in the winter/in the middle of snowstorms. It leaves their burials as particularly bleak and lonely.
  • Suddenly Sexuality:
    • Amy is initially described as straight in "Pancakes", but she comes out to Annette as bisexual in "Close Encounters". There are moments in chapters like "Minibar" and "Shades of Jade Green" where she is physically affectionate with Annette, though.
    • Annette also has a surprised reaction when she learns that Harwood was bisexual in "Same Eyes".
    • Annette herself drops that she's pansexual in "Mashallah", in spite of no prior indications of being attracted to anyone but human men.
  • Suicide for Others' Happiness: Bill's intentions. Though killing himself in front of Annette did much more harm than good.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Annette didn't plan either of her pregnancies. She especially didn't plan Samira, who was conceived when she was older and in a particularly stressful period of her life.
  • Tattooed Crook:
    • Armstrong and his gang are all tattooed, and one on the buttcheek is considered a mark of membership in "The Gallery, Part One".
    • While Annette and Sinbad are protagonists, they both have extensive tattooing on their upper bodies and the most criminal pasts.
    • Amy starts out as tattooed but good, but eventually joins Annette's more dubious side.
  • Teens Are Short: Enforced due to TS 3's shorter models for teenagers.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Carmen, as of "Distractions, Part Two".
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, as Annette and Franco both try to seek help in "Liver" and "Mandala", and Shark gets involuntarily committed in "You Could Have Lived". How useful therapy is turns out to be another story...
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Amy delivers this to both of her parents in "Soo & Stanley".
  • The Shrink: Pansy, being Type 2 to Franco. He doesn't personally see her as very helpful, and takes his healing into his own hands.
  • The Twink: Landon as of "Mashallah", right down to being tan and blond. Harwood might have some of the aesthetic, being naturally tan and small, though he is older and tends to attract younger (or seemingly younger) beefcakes like Troy and Shark.
  • Three-Way Sex: Annette, Amy, and Sinbad agree upon this in "Close Encounters".
  • Traumatic C-Section: Happens to Annette before the events of "Liver". As a hybrid, she is immune to human painkillers and couldn't be anesthetized for delivering Samira. It ends with her punching out a nurse and spending time in therapy.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Older, overweight Bill, and slender, young Annette. However, Annette doesn't see it that way, and the story makes constant reminders that she had genuine physical attraction to Bill.
    • Harwood and Shark are "Ugly Guy, Hot Boyfriend" material, almost to an extreme. Shark is young and muscular, and hopelessly in love with the old, shapeless, mangled-up Harwood.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Franco and Samira, because of their hybrid mum and human dad.
  • Wedding Smashers: Armstrong's gang crashes Amy and Sinbad's wedding reception, and they bring guns.
  • What Does She See in Him?: In spite of Annette being much younger and more conventionally-attractive than Bill, this is rarely brought up. However, Soo finally does in "Soo & Stanley".
  • Your Cheating Heart: In "Face Your Demons", Sinbad ends up cheating on Amy with Shark. Ultimately, Sinbad stays with Amy, and Shark kills himself.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/EightCicadas