Q: Isn't your comic, in fact, historically inaccurate? GastroPhobia
A: Look, 1400 BC was a really long time ago. Our historical and archaeological records of that time are dodgy at best and laughable at worst. You'll just have to take my word that this comic is the 100% true portrayal of what really happened.
Anyway, this comic is no less historically accurate than other serious illustrated documentaries like Astérix
is a webcomic by David McGuire, about the Amazonian exile and single mom Phobia; her precocious scamp of a son, Gastro; and her recently-acquired, listless slave Klepto. They have adventures in Ancient Greece
The comic is a series of short stories; while there is continuity, there's little in the way of overarching plot.
GastroPhobia provides examples of the following tropes:
- Action Mom: Phobia
- Added Alliterative Appeal: At the bottom of the 2008-09-03 strip.
Phobia: No feeble foe can flee from the fantastic force of the fearless phobia's fusillade!
- Aerith and Bob: There's Phobia, Mania, Klepto,... then there's Kelly.
- Alt Text
- Ambiguously Brown: The Amazonians.
- Anachronism Stew: Banks, dining-and-dashing, Eye Beams, and XP in Ancient Greece. Also, the map of Greece◊ is actually a recolored map of Texas.
- Animal Eyes: Mania (not the dog, but Krphxyzwlps' human form) has slitted eyes.
- Animesque: Slightly.
- The Aristocrats: Not the best joke to tell in front of your mother.
Klepto: Gastro, look what you've done to your poor mother's spanking hand!
- Art Shift: The chapter "KleptoMania", which is from Krphxyzwlps' point of view, has all characters drawn as silhouettes with occasional facial features.
- Bare Your Midriff: Philia
- Bedsheet Ghost: Aunt Pneuma
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Krphxyzwlps
- Bigger on the Inside: Hydro the Healer's hut. Looks like a minuscule shack on the outside, but contains not only a large room but also a huge aquarium.
- Book Dumb: What the example under Foreshadowing below was implied to be at the time; Philia gives off a vibe of not being all that bright, at the best of times.
- But He Sounds Handsome: "That sexy barbarian lady escaped! Not only is she clever, she's a powerhouse!"
- Butterfly of Doom: Filby chastises Nightsorrow for this after he confesses to sleeping with Phobia not long after they ended up in ancient Greece.
What is wrong
with you?! We travel back in time and you step on like a billion butterflies! Nightsorrow:
I did a lot more than step
on that butterfly, if you know what I mean.
- Cerebus Syndrome: While the tone remains light, the comic has progressively become a lot more plot-focused, especially since the start of Season 3.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Krphxyzwlps herself started out as a Monster of the Week. She got a return appearance in "For Heifer in My Heart", more as a joke than anything else. Come Season 3, she's become an important character.
- Classical Mythology: Phobia is an Amazon (the Greek myth version), with storylines being based off Greek Mythology stories. Her brother Alcides is implied to be Hercules, as Alcides was Hercules' birth name. The first 12 chapters are very loosely based on the 12 Labors of Hercules.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Lampshaded in the Alt Text of the 2011-01-10 comic. (In this case, it was obviously done on purpose to invoke the animated trope.)
- Deliberately Monochrome: One color per chapter.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: On the topic of slavery. Phobia and Gastro own a slave named Klepto, but later try setting him free. This is also Played for Laughs when Helen knows that there's a problem with Klepto getting repossessed by the government, but doesn't know what, thinking the worst part of it is having to do your own laundry for a month.
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Gastro receives a few spankings from his mother when he's too much of a brat.
- Evil Sorcerer: Lord Nightsorrow's name and general behaviour seem to aim at this trope. However, he's not very villainous and mostly wants to get back to his own era.
- Eye Beams: Bambikles
- Face Fault: Used straight, invoked, and weaponized.
- Face Palm: With appropriate unsound effect.
- Fan Disservice: Averted in Chapter 2:
Originally I planned to draw this scene with Gastro wearing a loin cloth, but I decided to spare everyone that sight.
- Flat "What.": Phobia gives one when Philia tells her that she is Klepto and Phobia's daughter from the future.
- Flower in Her Hair: Phobia, sometimes.
- Foot Popping: Phobia while kissing Hydro in the "four kinds of love" panel.
Phobia: Philia, how do you stay so young-looking?
Philia: Well, GEE, maybe it's because I'm 22!
Phobia: Eight years ago, you told me you were 20...?
Philia: Then I'm 28, SHEESH! Why is this so HARD for you?!
- Gasp: Rather frequent, and usually quite exaggerated. For example, a threefer when the Mockinbirds' source of power gets destroyed.
- Generic Graffiti: Only visible in a close-up of a panel provided by the artist. Is actually more historically accurate than it seems—ignoring the Simpsons reference.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Again, Krphxyzwlps.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Well, initially.
- Green Rocks: What Chronologium amounts to. Beyond allowing time travel, eating a block of the stuff 10 years ago gave Krphxyzwlps her shapeshifting power.
- Hartman Hips: Phobia. Don't mock the size of her legs, though...
- He Who Fights Monsters: Invoked — "To kill a monster, you must become a monster."
- Honest Axe: Referenced when Mim retrieves Phobia's sword from the lake.
- Human Sacrifice: Gastro narrowly escape from this at the paws of the cultist bears.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Inverted; it ends up saving Phobia's life.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Phobia angrily states "I'm a warrior, not a scholar!" when called on the fact that she's illiterate.
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Phobia. Lampshaded here, but ultimately averted. Although while her hips are rather big, her chest is more realistically portioned.
- Infinite Canvas: Commented on and averted in a strip where Phobia falls down a hole.
- Kick the Dog: That's how you know that Hydro the Healer is a "bad dude".
- Kid from the Future: Philia claims to be the child of Phobia and Klepto from the future.
- Lampshade Hanging: "Check it out, those guys are fortuitously discussing subject matter pertinent to our current task."
- Lethal Chef: Phobia. She's apparently managed to keep herself and Gastro from dying for the last seven years, but Gastro has no idea that the squirrel his mother is using is out of place, and the best the judges can say for Phobia's dish is that she was "generous with the salt".
- Lower Deck Episode: The appropriately-named chapter "Not Everything's About Phobia".
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Phobia, Philia is your daughter.
- Mama Bear: Seen toward the end of the Nightsorrow arc.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Phobia is an aggressive Action Girl hunter who loves meat so much she considers any food without it to be utter crap. Klepto is a Non-Action Guy and an experienced cook whose meals usually don't contain much meat. When they're out drinking, she and Philia make fun of him for choosing a drink as girly as Beijing Peach.
- Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Accentuated in the "How to draw GastroPhobia" filler strips.
- Meaningful Name:
- The thieving slave is named Klepto.
- The ghost Pneuma's name means "spirit" in Greek.
- The healer Hydro keeps a huge aquarium in his shack.
- Never My Fault: Played for laughs. Nightsorrow always blames Phobia for anything that goes wrong and involves her even if it was entirely his fault, saying that she betrayed him.
- No Indoor Voice: Philia. "I AM WHISPERING!" *
- Not So Different: Parodied; Pneuma tries to invoke this, but can't think of any ways that she and Phobia are alike.
- Oh My Gods!: The names of Greek gods are often said in vain. Hell, even the trope name is said in one strip.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Mockingbird princess' Southern US accent comes and goes.
- Orwellian Retcon: Parts of Chapter 9 were redone because the author was unsatisfied with them. This included renaming the substance that allows time travel from "Samsonite" to "Chronologium".
- Other Me Annoys Me: When Philia and Philia from an alternate timeline (started by Lord Nightsorrow's manipulation) meet each other, they immediately hit off pretty well.
Philia: WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME EARLIER AND SAVE ME SOME STRESS YOU STUPID BITCH?
Philia-from-the-Future: (thoughts) Gods I hate myself.
- Our Hero Is Dead: She got better.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: Krphxyzwlps, a giant sapient centipede with the ability to shapeshift into anything with the same body mass, including several separate creatures.
- Paradox Person: Philia is worried about being this.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Phobia to Mania, while covering her with a tablecloth, after the later shapeshifted from a deer to a naked human.
- Precision F-Strike: Implied by a "censored" bubble.
- Proud Warrior Race Girl: Phobia, naturally. "A warrior does not wash dishes."
- Puns: Many of the chapter titles.
- Purple Eyes: An Amazonian racial trait.
- Really Gets Around: Phobia claims that she doesn't know who Gastro's real father is because there's too many candidates.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni:
- Phobia and Gastro.
- Sometimes also Phobia and Klepto, when he behaves less obtusely.
- Reused Character Design: Amusingly, the Sphinx is apparently played by an "actress", namely Saphire from Princess Knight.
- Riddle of the Sphinx: Parodied. Multiple times.
- Riddling Sphinx: A sphinx is repeatedly humiliated because she only knows the one riddle, and everyone, even the little kid, knows the answer already.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Klepto, sometimes.
- Sdrawkcab Name: The god of the cultist bears is "Tolaerac".
- Security Cling: Though she'd probably deny it, Phobia did jump into Klepto's arms when startled by Princess Mim metamorphosing.
- Self-Serving Memory: Nightsorrow remembers meeting Phobia by saving her from a frog monster. While she says she's the one who saved him.
- Servile Snarker: Klepto, with far more emphasis on the "snark" than the "serve".
- Shaped Like Itself: "Trivial Trivia!"
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Seen between Phobia and Klepto.
- Ship Tease: Phobia and Klepto get a subtle one in the main storyline. It's telling that they always seem to hit it off in the AU stories. Eventually, the comic stops teasing and says outright that they've been dating for months and that's why Phobia wants to set him free.
- Shown Their Work: Despite the comic being a massive Anachronism Stew, the artist clearly knows a lot about Ancient Greece. An example is the filler strip "Trivial Trivia!", which explains the philosophical concept of the four types of love.
- Slipped the Ropes: Well, the handcuffes: Phobia in the Mockinbirds dungeon.
- Speech Bubbles Interruption: Gastro to Phobia:
Phobia: A warrior does not recite po—
Gastro: We accept!
- Splash of Color: The page where Phobia meets again with her brother Alcides is in black and white, save for the blood covering Alcides/Herakles.
- Spoiler Opening: Appropriately, the "Opening Credits" show Mania a few episodes early.
- Stalker with a Crush: Nightsorrow to Phobia. "But have you seen her ass?"
- Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: "None shall pass, for this bridge leads to the Magical Land of the Pretty Ponies."
- Take Off Your Clothes: In the 2009-08-31 strip, Filby asks Phobia to take off her belt. She doesn't take it well.
- Tell Me About My Father: Parodied, with Phobia telling Gastro she was seduced by Zeus in the form of an animal, and the specific animal changes every time she tells the story. The "Handsome Giraffe" probably being the highlight.note Later, she claims that she doesn't know who Gastro's father is... and even later, she accidentally lets it slip that she actually does know. It's Lord Nightsorrow. Gastro's not happy to find out he's been lied to all these years.
- Theme Naming: Many of the names come from prefixes/suffixes of Greek origin.
- Time Police: Philia. First foreshadowed on two pages, then shown in the dubiously canonical "badder comics" interlude, before finally showing up in the comic proper.
- Title Drop: Happens twice in "Not Everything's About Phobia", with Lampshades in the Alt Text.
- Too Kinky to Torture: Klepto
Phobia: You know, some people whip their slaves for less than that.
Klepto: Phobia, it has been my goal to be whipped by an Amazon since I was thirteen.
- Title Sequence: You heard right. There are title sequences for a webcomic. One for every season.
- Tranquil Fury:
Phobia: (smiling) And if you ever endanger my son again, I'll have to cut out one of your kidneys and force-feed it to you.
- Translation Convention: Lampshaded for a punchline in the 2010-08-11 strip.
- Undead Author: Played gleefully straight in "The Hole Story".
- The Unpronounceable: Krphxyzwlps. A whole comic is solely about Phobia's efforts to pronounce it.
- The about page now adresses this. It says it's pronounced as Ker-fixy-whelps. The z is silent.