Niklas and Friends is a discontinued coming-of-age webcomic whose author used the pseudonym "Niklas Edlund". The comic, site and author were criticized for supposedly promoting paedophilia even though none of the stories contain anything related to that. The stories do have a minor GLBT component but this is deliberately left vague and mainly up to the reader.The site was started in 1998 and was last updated in 2006 after the author ceased working on the comic due to threats and abuse.
Tropes used in Niklas and Friends:
- Ambiguously Gay: Most of the boys have very close friendships, but only one is canonically gay.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Niklas’ sister Tina
- Baths Are Fun: the story “summer storm” ends with Keith and Martin taking a bath together, which, after an awkward start, results in both boys happily playing.
- The Unpronounceable: a character is named Martin Czrnczinsky. When asked about the correct pronunciation, the author replied to "pronounce it any way you like".
- Token Minority: His "token" status may be arguable but Randy is the only canonically gay character.
- Wicked Stepfather: Several comics imply, and the bio page for Keith shows, that Keith's stepfather beats him. In the spin-off story Jahv and Keyro find out and use their technology to scare him into treating Keith better.
Tropes used in the spinoff story series My Friend Is An Alien:
- Abusive Alien Parents: in Botarian society, parents are not allowed or supposed to show any kind of love or affection of their offspring. They provide them with food, shelter, and when needed clothing, but that is just about it. It’s the main reason Jahv and Keyro ran away from home. We later learn from Jahv that Botarians are unique in this aspect, as other alien species do love their children.
- Aliens Speaking English: at first Jahv and Keyro don’t speak English, but thanks to their telepathic powers they are able to learn it very quickly.
- Aliens Steal Cable: Earth tv- and radioprogramms are picked up by many alien races, some of which greatly enjoy these shows to the point that they even create remakes of them. In “Interlude”, Niklas and Davy find Jahv watching an alien remake of Gilligan's Island.
- Bigger on the Inside: both Jahv’s backpack and his tent are much larger on the inside.
- Covered in Mud: often, some characters end up like that, either because they were just playing in it, because they fell in it unexpectedly, or because they were trying an alien spa.
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: several pieces of Earth technology, including those present in theme parks, are implied to be derived from alien technology harvested from crashed UFOs.
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: among Botarians, it’s custom for children to only wear clothes for special occasions like spaceflight, but otherwise go naked all the time. As such, Jahv and Keyro usually don’ wear clothes. Keyro even feels rather uncomfortable around clothed humans. Adult Botarians avert the trope.
- Expy: the Botarans are expies of the Andorians from Star Trek. The difference is that Botarans come in all colors (not just pale blue) and their skin color is not a genetic trait (so a green Botaran can have a purple brother).
- Feral Child: Morik is an alien example due to having crashed on a primitive planet while he was very young and having lived by himself until Niklas and friends find him.
- The Greys: They are briefly discussed once. They are known throughout the universe as “space roaches” and are infamous for abducting and probing the inhabitants of many planets. Earth is just one of their targets.
- Holodeck: One of Jahv’s many inventions is the holocron, which can create a holographic representation of almost any environment. He uses it to show his human friends what his homeworld is like. It comes with a Holodeck Malfunction when they run into a seamonster called the Legend of the Lake, which wasn’t supposed to be in the program but was put in there by somebody as a ‘joke’.
- Humanoid Alien: all aliens in the series.
- Naked People Are Funny: multiple times the kids end up naked against their will while accompanying their alien friends.
- No Biochemical Barriers: played with. When Jahv first arrives on Earth and is offered some food by his new friends, Niklas worries that Earth Food might be dangerous for him. Eventually averted when Jahv’s analyzer determines that most Earth Food is safe for Botarians. Only cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, and cola are off limits.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: the premise of the spinoff is that Niklas and his friends meet some friendly Rubber-Forehead Alien kids and live adventures in space with them.
- The Runaway: Jahv and Keyro both ran away from their homeworld and their unloving family.
- Starfish Language: The Botaran language sounds like radio static. Used to explain why we never intercepted any radio transmission from aliens: we were actually hearing them all the time, but we didn't recognize them as such.
- Telepathic Spacemen: Botarians’ have telepathic powers, including reading minds.
- Unintentional Period Piece: while the author of the original series wanted to defy this trope by setting it in a generic present with no mention of specific technologies or popular culture references, the mention of The Phantom Menace as a new movie in the first chapters of the spinoff sets it firmly in 1999.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Jahv and Keyro can never return to their homeworld, since the penalty for splitting up a family is banishment.