Webcomic / Monster of the Week

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/motf_7873.jpg
Agent Scully, we have a rogue agent in the basement. Go stare disapprovingly.

Monster of the Week: The complete cartoon X-Files is webcomic by Shaenon K. Garrity that started in June 2012 and chronicles X Files, episode by episode. Every Friday, new episode is presented in the form of neat, black-and-white twelve-panel cartoon.

Long story short, it's The Abridged Series of The X-Files in form of a webcomic. Of course, some changes were inevitable. Monster of the Week don't take itself seriously, throws away multiple plots from the series, Mulder is Genki Guy and characters lean on or outright break the fourth wall.

The comic went on hiatus in June 2014 after concluding season four of X-Files. It has briefly come out of hiatus as of February 2016 to recap the 2016 miniseries, skipping seasons 5-9 and the movies for the moment.

You can start reading it here. Their Patreon can be found herenote .


Tropes in this webcomic are (among others):

  • Aborted Arc: Subverted. Whenever Scully notes that the season arc seems to have disappeared, it pops up again.
  • The Abridged Series: Of The X-Files
  • Actor Allusion: invokedQuite often the author points out through caption or The Rant that a particular guest actor appearing in one episode became famous later. It's pretty uncanny to see how long is that list. Lampshaded in The Rant in Soft Light:
    The X-Files has so many before-they-were-stars moments.
  • Affectionate Parody
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: SKINNER'S FIST.
    • The first album should be titled "Shirtless Edition"
  • All According to Plan: Discussed:
    Sexy informant: My triple-dog agenting against Skinner went according to plan, sir.
    Cancer Man: You don't know the plan.
    Sexy informant: Eh, everything always turns out to be according to plan.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Grotesque reworks Mulder's obsession with gargoyles into an obsession with Goliath.
  • And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: There's are these little gems in Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man: Cancer Man expy gets a t-shirt with "I saved goddam democracy and all I got was this T-shirt" and Mulder expy gets a t-shirt with "I joined the conspiracy and all I got was this T-shirt" written on them.
    • Also used to lampshade Season 10 status as a Postscript Season in it's first chapter My Struggle, in the first few panels with Scully wearing a t-shirt that says "I learned the truth and all I got was this T-shirt".
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Many times the author changes the formula from abridging episodes to something else:
    • Jersey Devil in which the author, underwhelmed of how easy to kill was the namesake demon, proceeds to reimagine the plot. It involves Batman riding the Jersey Devil like a Flying Mount.
    • Firewalker, in which the author questions the scientific accuracy of the killer fungi, and invites a Mycologist to debunk it, but he eventually gets so annoying that Mulder and Scully proceed to throw him at a pit of the (now debunked) killer fungi.
    • Excelsis Dei which is presented as an instructional video to create awareness on the difficult subject of ghost rape.
    • Aubrey in which due to the participation of actor Terry O'Quinn, who would play Locke on Lost years later, the strip then turns into a Whatif Crossover of how several other Lost characters would act if they were in the episode.
    • Irresistible and Die Hand Die Verlezt, which are a list of the ten top reasons why their respective monsters of the week(Donnie Pfaster and Mrs. Paddock) are so creepy.
    • Fearful Symmetry in which aliens explain their plans to abduct zoo animals and turn them invisible, for the lulz.
    • Humbug which is presented as a list of carnival attractions, in reference to the Circus of Fear involved in the episode.
    • F.Emasculata which is a series of tips to prevent another outbreak like the one that happened in this episode. Which are actually only two tips: Don't lean in close to stuff covered in giant pulsating boils and listen to the CDC and not any evil impersonators of the CDC that may show up instead.
    • D.P.O and Small Potatoes in which the author recognizes these episodes as her Guilty Pleasure and goes on to list the many reasons for this.
    • Hell Money which is a list of the innacuracies of the episode's portrayal of San Francisco, being the actual living place of the author.
    • Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" which is a series of one-shot panels drawn by different artists, lampshading the many ways in which the episode makes no sense.
      • It also mimics the differing artwork of the "Big Book of Conspiracies," as Jose Chung itself is a patchwork combination of various UFO conspiracy theories found in that book.
    • Home, in which the author purposely changes the strip to a story of her husband and she watching the episode, due to how dark the plot is to properly satirize.
    • Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster, which offers an explanation for Guy Mann being dressed like Kolchak - by suggesting that the murder victim he stole clothes from was Kolchak himself.
    • Babylon, which is mostly about the dying terrorist character breaking the fourth wall to complain about the portrayal of Muslim culture in the episode. The ending is then reimagined with the muslim guy leaving Mulder in order to have a dance party with the Lone Gunmen.
  • And Then What?: After capturing Flukeman, Scully asks what would they do with it. Cue Beat Panel.
  • Art Shift: In Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" every panel is in different art style. They were contributed by multiple webcomic artists.
  • Asshole Victim: Victims in Shapes. Lampshaded:
    Scully: You know, the werewolf was the only one who wasn't dick to us.
  • Author Avatar: Shaenon appears many times in the comic to state her opinion on the episode or for fourth wall breaking jokes, she also resembles Helen from one of her other comics Narbonic. Her husband Andrew also has an avatar, but his appearances are far fewer than Shaenon's.
  • Author Filibuster: Small Potatoes, instead of abridging the episode, is author telling us her feelings about it.
  • Audience Surrogate: Scully is this for the author. Lampshaded in Beyond the Sea:
    Andrew: You just identify with Scully.
    Shaenon: Do not!
    (beat panel)
    Shaenon: Do you think i should dye my hair red?
    Andrew: Yes.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Scully and Mulder have few moments. Of course, they immediately notice that this is going to inspire fanfiction.
  • Big Bad: Cancer Man.
  • Big "NO!": Scully after flirty science guy gets shot:
    Scully: NOOOOO! Whose romantic advances will I politely rebuff now?
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Result of Mulder and Scully's argument:
    Scully: Mutants!
    Mulder: Aliens!
    Both: Mutant Aliens!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Both author and Scully with Mulder speak to audience sometimes.
  • Brick Joke: In Beyond the sea, Shaenon asks her husband whether she should dye her hair red. A few months later, she admits in the rant that she did so.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Doctor Evil in Memento Mori.
  • Cartwright Curse: Flirty Science Guy dies few panels after being flirty with Scully, prompting her Big "NO!".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Lone Gunmen, Krycek and abduction victims from second season all appear later.
  • Cliffhanger: All over the place. Almost one in five episodes end with cliffhanger.
    Shaenon: What?. What happens next?
    Alien: That's it. That's the end of the show.
    Shaenon: You're reading it wrong! Who gets the conspiracy? Is it Samantha? Who?
    Alien: Nobody gets the Conspiracy. It lives. Go to sleep.
    Shaenon: Jesus, X-Files.
  • Clone Army: Multiple Samanthas and Good Clones from Memento Mori.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Mulder is always right about the supernatural/paranormal explanations of their cases, up to the point when it just bores Scully.
  • Completely Missing the Point: In Wetwired, after Paranoid!Scully suggests that Mulder should show the chip he wound in a cable box to "[his] cigarette-smoking friends", where does he go?
    Mulder: (meeting with the Lone Gunmen) Do any of you guys smoke?
  • Continuity Nod: Upon finding premise of the Kaddish episode (racial minority) Scully immediately remembers previous "racial minority" episode (one with melanine vampires) and notes they don't have a very good track record of dealing with such cases (vampires episode wasn't exactly sensible).
  • Creator Worship: Shaenon has one for writer/actor Darin Morgan.
    • So much so that of the recap art she's done, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is not available for print sales, with one exception for Darin (averted in that Darin's brother Glen purchased it for him).
  • Damsel in Distress: Scully, more often than she'd like to.
    Caption: Time for: Scully in peril!
    Scully: Dammit.
  • Day in the Limelight: Avatar is one for Skinner, although this doesn't end well. Same thing with Zero Sum.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Scully.
  • Deus ex Machina: Invoked and Lampshaded for Mulder's survival of the season 2 finale cliffhanger at the beginning of season 3, where he's brought back from the dead by mystic Navajos:
    Navajo Man: Though there is no plausible way the FBI man could be alive, my dreams warn me of a Deus Ex Machina. For generations my people have been convenient plot devices.
  • Downer Ending: Only Soft Light had one so far.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: invokedAuthor states in The Rant that writing episode with kidnapped girl was especially hard, because she can't see any way to make kidnapping less than horrifying.
  • Either/Or Title: Each episode is given title by template "[original X-Files episode title], or [author's joke title]".
  • Failed a Spot Check: Mulder and Scully does it repeatedly. Suprisingly, it's rarely lampshaded.
  • Failure Hero: Mulder and Scully only solve the episode's conflict about 1/3 of the time. They generally end up letting enough people die that they have to close the case. They even have a catchphrase for when they are particularly ineffective(see: Running Gag below).Of course being an abridged series this is all Played for Laughs.
  • Fanservice: Mulder provides some, as well as Skinner, once:
    Caption: SKINNER'S FIST!!! (shirtless edition)
    • Season 10 episode Babylon has it lampshaded in The Rant:
    Shaenon: This strip is mostly male nudity. Thank you again, X-Files.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Citizens of Colma, as described by author:
    On the other hand, Colma's on the BART line, and robed figures in masks toting corpses would be unlikely to inspire comment.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Fallen Angel, about the Lone Gunmen becoming recurring characters:
    Scully: I hope you learned a lesson about the responsability of owning your own conspiracy nut.
    Mulder: Yeah. Next time I'll get at least three.
    • In Leonard Betts, about Scully getting cancer:
    Leonard Betts: I'm sorry but you've got something I need.
    Scully: Wait, what? What did that mean?.note 
  • For the Lulz: Aliens' motivations as explained in Fearful Symmetry.
  • Funny Background Event: In Little Green Men, when Mulder talks with the Senator, there's picture of Senator shaking hands with an alien hanging in the background.
    • Gets revisited in Season 10 first chapter My Struggle, in the first panel with a picture in the background of Scully with an alien doing the bunny ears on her.
  • Genki Guy: Mulder, full stop. He does it almost once every episode.
  • Genre Savvy: Scully, and Mulder to a lesser extent.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Pheobe Green from the episode "Fire" is introduced by Mulder saying "Hey, Scully. Remember how I told you I did so have a girlfriend but she lives in England and you wouldn't know her?"
  • Ho Yay: Mulder and Krycek. Lampshaded in Duane Barry:
    Krycek: Sorry to interrupt you at the pool, Mulder.
    Mulder: You realize you're just encouraging all those women on the Internet.
  • Jump Scare: Much like the episode it's based on, War of the Coprophages has a cockroach walk across the strip. As in, the strip is actually a GIF and it happens without any prompting.
  • Joker Immunity: Lampshaded for Cancer Man in One Breath:
    Mulder: Found you, Cancer Man!
    Cancer Man: You can't kill me. I'm the best villain.
    Mulder: True. I'll go yell at Skinner instead.
  • Killer Rabbit: Kitten in Teso dos Bichos, although they're not very killer.
  • Klaatu Barada Nikto: When Mrs Paddock set up her... chapel-thing in Die Hand die Verletzt, she wrote it under the pentagram, along with 666, Cthulu reference and "I *heart* evil".
  • Lampshade Hanging: Everywhere. Scully does it most often.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Often.
    Mulder: These migrant workers are killed by out grossest special effect yet.
  • Magical Native American: Indians in The Blessing Way, or Crap Goes Down Part II: Indians Are Magic.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Parodied at the end of Avatar:
    Mulder: So who was that old lady?
    Skinner: None of your business, agents.
    Mulder: I think she was the ghosts of Vietnam.
  • Medium Awareness:
    Mulder: Are you even aware you're in TV show?
  • The Mole: Krycek for Cancer Man.
  • Multiple Endings: After failing their El Chupacabra assignment, Mulder and Scully give Skinner two alternative endings to their report: "Alien Abduction Ending" and "Chupacabra Bros Ending". Skinner finds this nonsense.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Lampshaded in The Field Where I Died:
    Scully: Are those Gregorian chants on the soundtrack? My people [catholics] refuse to take responsibility for this particular religious abuse!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Lampshaded in Unrequited.
    Mulder: ...so the government put us in charge of protecting those generals cause it knew we'd fail!
    Skinner: Impossible!
    Mulder: Isn't it suspicious that they gave us a real FBI job?
    Skinner: Hmmm.
  • Opening a Can of Clones: Who's the real Samantha?
  • Perspective Flip: Fearful Symmetry is told from the perspective of aliens.
  • The Rainman: Patient from Elegy, or Autism Is Magic.
  • The Rant: There's one under every strip where author is talking a bit about her feelings towards episode she's currently abridging.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Lampshaded in Sleepless as the reason for Mulder to temporarily get a new companion(Krycek):
    Scully: Sorry Mulder, I can't fight any crimes or be shot from the waist down until Gillian Anderson pops out her baby.
  • Recap Episode: Each season ends with recap strip, where single frames from each of the season's strip are combined into one.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Lampshaded for The Field Where I Died:
    Mulder: Man, how'd we get roped into raiding a suspiciously Waco-like cult?
    Scully: I hate missions ripped from the nation's headlines.
    • Also used, in a Dude, Not Funny! fashion, in season 10 episode Babylon, where the dying muslim character complaints about the portrayal of muslim characters in the episode as terrorists, and Mulder retorts invoking this trope.
  • Red Shirt: There's a lot of those, but it's especially lampshaded in Ice, when, upon hearing what their newest mission is about, Scully decides to collect a bunch of "some redshirts to get killed ahead of us". Those are: "Cynical hard-bitten pilot!", "Wacky scientist who's quirks will be missed!", "Suspicious guy who will probably turn on everyone!" and "A woman!"
  • Rule of Cool:
    Mulder: I don't think we're dealing with a zombie. We're dealing with a golem. (beat) Because it's cooler.
  • Running Gag:
    • Scully in peril!
    • So...even by our usual low standards, we completely failed.
    • Oh God, don't make me say [something] vampire.
    • The Alien Screenwriters.
    • SKINNER'S FIST!!!
    • The rainy pine forests of [place of current episode].note 
    • Mulder and Cancer Man being B.F.Fs. note 
    • Shaenon freaking out whenever the black oil makes an appearance
  • Russian Reversal: ''Tunguska, or In Russia, Oil Lightly Seasons YOU".
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Two prominents examples in the two parter in which Mulder and Krycek go to Russia:
    • In Tunguska Mulder and Krycek are captured by russians after a horseback chase and then sent to a gulag. The author states her opinion about this in The Rant:
    Shaenon: The Russians chasing Mulder and Krycek with horsewhips may seem over the top, but literally the same thing happened to Pussy Riot. So, you know, Russia.
    • In Terma, the Russian prisoners method to prevent black oil infection are over the top even for Krycek:
    Russian Prisoner: We came up with a way to escape the Black Oil inoculations stranger. CUT OFF OUR INOCULATION ARM.
    Krycek: Wow. That is really... Russian.
  • Seen It All: Mulder's attitude in Unrequited:
    Scully: So what, we're dealing with a vet[eran] who kills invisibly through Mind Control?
    Mulder: Nah, that already happened in Season 2.
    Scully: A vet who kills invisibly through psychic projection?
    Mulder (smug): Season 3, Scully.
  • Shout-Out: To Thunderbolts, Face/Off, Crime And Punishment, Rambo, Re Animator and American Werewolf among others. Scully seems particulary pop culture-savvy, even if pop culture in question wasn't there when show is supposedly taking place.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Mulder discovers that he is now seeing the "kill" messages in Blood (after Scully shoots down his idea that the LSD-spraying program is involvednote ), how does he react?
    Mulder: (with crazy eyes, pumps fist) Yes! I'm crazy! My theory holds!
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: In his first shot Mulder is seen wearing glasses, helpfully pointed at and signed "smart glasses".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Season 10 Agents Miller and Einstein are basically younger versions of Mulder and Scully. Lampshaded in the last chapter of season 10 My Struggle II:
    Scully: The world's ending and Mulder's run off again!. Good thing we acquired Muppet Babies versions of ourselves this season.note 
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In Hell Money author (citizen of San Francisco, where action takes place) proceeds to point out differences between X-Files version of city and real one... and then, in the end, states that they got one thing right.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Author stated in-universe that she considers shapeshifter episode in season one a missed opportunity.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Scully barely makes it four panels before realizing how stupid Space is going to be.
    Mulder: Aw, play along.
    Scully: I'm sorry... I just don't even...
  • Truth in Television: Lo Pan in Hell Money, according to the author.
    X-Files: Lo Pan from "Big Trouble in Little China" rules the city and can steal your organs any time.
    Reality: True.
  • Ugly Cute: In Season 10 chapter Founder's Mutation, both Mulder and Scully have separate idyllic fantasies about raising their part-alien, fantasy son who they manage to conceive despite having never been past second base on-screen, and whom they give for adoption because he was magic. The author represents the part-alien of the child by drawing him with slightly larger dots for eyes which are a little more separate from each other than the rest of the characters. It works.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Scully, especially in Unruhe. She just shrugs off this nonsense.
  • Unfinished Business: Ghost in The List, revenge variety.
  • Villain Episode: Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man is this for Cancer Man, except more so than the actual episode because it's mainly a retelling of the episode as if it was one of his Jack Colquitt stories. Notably, it delves headfirst into Fan Fic territory when "Wolf Mandrake" shows up.
  • What an Idiot: invokedMulder tends to act like this every time Krycek is around. Scully calls him out on this, but he just won't listen...
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Mulder say it... moments before angry Russians start chasing him. And he's with Krycek.
  • Who Writes This Crap?! / "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Lampshaded in several ocassions to note the absurdity of certain episodes plot twists:
    • Almost to Running Gag levels, whenever there is a message attached to a strip which says: "Actual line/joke/dialogue used in the episode".
    • Miracle Man, the Monster of the Week himself says it best:
    Well, it's all over... and no one figured out the murders were done by me, the burn victim he miraculously healed! Mainly because it makes no sense.
    • The Calusari: "Old lady eaten by chickens: Thing that happens."
    • The entirety of War of the Coprophages, at the very beginning with a message from the author: "Okay, I admit it. I can do nothing better with this episode than just quote all the best lines".
    • Hell Money: "Left His Heart in San Francisco <- Actual Joke used in this Episode.note "
    • Terma: "Interlude: Horse framed in scientist's death."
    • Space mostly consists of Scully in upset silence over how dumb the episode is.
      Mulder: I'm sorry, Scully. This was a bad one.
      Scully: I... Sometimes they're just too stupid, you know?
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Subverted. Author praises X-Files casting repetitively in-universe.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Mites for Mulder and Scully, as well as Black Oil for the author.
  • Wild Card: Krycek. Astoundingly, Mulder trusts him every time.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Invoked and referenced the trope namers in Season 10 chapter Founder's Mutation, in which after being reunited the mutant siblings get revenge on their evil doctor dad by giving him a scanner death, by shouting "MUTANT SIBLINGS POWERS ACTIVATE"


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/MonsterOfTheWeek