Webcomic: Ow, my sanity
Down they descended and created bodies, taking the semblance of women as their own
"Yeah, okay, hold on a second. Don't get your tentacles in a knot."Ow, my sanity is a webcomic by Adam J. Thaxton. It's a Lovecraftian Magical Girlfriend Deconstruction, or as the author put it, "stabbing the magical girlfriend genre with a rusty chainsaw". In other words, Ah! My Goddess meets HP Lovecraft.The main character is an arts student named David Bartlett, whose life sucks. One evening he comes home to find his dorm-mates performing some sort of cultish ritual. Hilarity Ensues, if you find the cult's hideous demise and getting kissed by an Eldritch Abomination to be hilarious.See Nyarko-san for a more lighthearted and comedic take on the same concept.As of 3/9/11, the comic is on hiatus so the author can work on other projects.
— David Bartlett, in response to a Cosmic Horror asking him for a dollar.
Ow, my sanity contains examples of:
- All-Loving Hero: Despite his various issues, David is astonishingly kind and generous to just about everyone, including Eldritch Abominations. Maybe this is why they haven't seriously harmed him yet. One even offered to become his eternal bride and elevate him to godhood in return for his kindness. On the other hand, it may be that they see something special in him... the investigators certainly do.
- All There in the Manual: The author's blog and DeviantArt contain useful details not included in the comic.
- Animalistic Abomination: The Sleeper of N'kai when she's ready to fight.
- Author Tract: The Take That against (or Deconstruction of) the Tsundere archetype, delivered after a plain "Get Out" fails to convey his disgust.
- Bag of Holding: Shubby's dice bag.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- ...especially when you're asking an elder god with very little understanding of humans, let alone human metaphors and euphemisms. When Nancy is summoned, she grants wishes to bystanders, but lethally misinterprets them. A cultist who wants to start a new Columbine shooting hallucinates one (only he's getting shot at instead of doing the shooting) and when he's killed, a lethal bullet wound appears in his head. One wishing that his brain was bigger (smarter) has his head swell to a fatally large size. One wishes for some killer sex, and gets what she asked for, if not what she wanted.Dave: I wish someone gave a crap about me for once.
- Narla hires a ride in exchange for "anything you want". The guy wants to never have to worry about bills again, which she considers an easy one. So many lovely interpretations of that...
- ...especially when you're asking an elder god with very little understanding of humans, let alone human metaphors and euphemisms. When Nancy is summoned, she grants wishes to bystanders, but lethally misinterprets them. A cultist who wants to start a new Columbine shooting hallucinates one (only he's getting shot at instead of doing the shooting) and when he's killed, a lethal bullet wound appears in his head. One wishing that his brain was bigger (smarter) has his head swell to a fatally large size. One wishes for some killer sex, and gets what she asked for, if not what she wanted.
- Bedmate Reveal: On the part of the author to the audience, when David casually tells Shubbie that Nancy kisses differently than she does. This is the first hint that David and Nancy's romance has progressed that far (although possibly it was just a callback to their first kiss combined with a bit of deductive reasoning).
- Bewitched Amphibians: The Sleeper turns men into frogs.
- Boy Meets Ghoul: Or herald of an alien god/Kuudere, in this case.
- Blunt Metaphors TraumaDavid: You ate ten dollars.
Nancy: I ate pancakes!
- Cliff Hanger: The 03/08/2011 strip is immediately followed up with a Hiatus announcement. No new comics have come out in years.
- Cool Big Sis: Shubby claims to be one.
- Cute Monster Girl: The Sleeper of N'kai, the Shoggoth, and Shubbie, the "default" form of Shub-Niggurath, "The Black Goat Of The Woods With A Thousand Young" (also Big Beautiful Woman and mom — she has the right figure for what she is.note )
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite what they are, most of the Lovecraftian entities really seem to be more curious about how humans act than interested in eating them. Nancy herself is fairly nice, deciding to help Dave rather than kill him in order to study his desire to be loved. The Sleeper is literally enamored of Dave for being kind to frogs and the forest. Shubbie seems genuinely amused by/interested in Dave and his relationship with Nancy. The only exception to this (so far) is the Shoggoth, and she seems to be more of a wild animal that needs to be trained than malicious.
- Deconstruction: Of the Magical Girlfriend genre in general and Ah! My Goddess in particular.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Why yes, David did. Hell, he's building a harem of "things that should not be"™. It's the entire basis of the series, in fact.
- Disguised in Drag: The Delta Green agent, in a particularly disturbing fashion.
- Eldritch Abomination: Thaxton's quite good at designing stuff that fits the Lovecraft ideal. Well hello Nancy!
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Nancy kills several cultists by misgranting their wishes and sacrifices the rest for power to grant Dave's wish, leaving him the only person left alive in the entire dorm. (And he's named appropriately for this trope.)
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Unless all of the cultists had a death wish, summoning Nancy really didn't work out well for them. Some of them didn't even get a wish since Nancy sacrificed them so she could grant Dave's wish instead.
- Evil Is Sexy: Mentioned in-universe.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Some of the Eldritch Abominations Dave deals with take the shape of human or humanoid females.
- Gas Leak Cover-Up: As Dave immediately predicted, this is used to cover up the deaths of the cultists.
- Even more so, he not only predicted that it would either be arson or a gas leak, but also what each possibility meant; "arson" would have meant the architects of the cover-up could get local police in on the hunt, whereas "gas leak" means that they either can't work with the police or don't want to confront him.
- Gender Flip: Narla is of course one of the many Masks of the Crawling Chaos, although that's par for the course really. For those who didn't immediately catch it though, the Sleeper is none other than Tsathoggua.
- Genre Savvy: Dave, often.
- Nancy later on realizes she can't Bubble Collapse a Shogoth. She then changes it into a Humanoid Abomination so that Dave can use his usual thing on her.
- Get Out: Delivered here.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: All of the wishes Nancy granted turned out badly. Time will tell whether or not Dave's wish will follow suit. Although, given that he wished for someone to give a crap about him, one could argue that have that someone be an Eldritch Abomination already counts as going wrong.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Nancy doesn't want the Sleeper to steal Dave, although she doesn't recognize the emotion.Nancy: When the frog was trying to make a pact with you. I felt something I didn't enjoy.
- Half-Human Hybrid:
- The Deep One hybrid who held the lottery in front of the bank.
- The Sleeper wouldn't mind having a bunch with Dave.
- Half The Woman She Used To Be / Major Injury Underreaction: Nancy, meet Shoggoth.
- Haunted Headquarters: The Dyer house. It was cheap.Dave: Abandoned.
Agent: And not suspicious at all.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Played absolutely and literally straight. Dave has such good luck with Eldritch Abominations due to his inhumanly intense empathy; this tends to confuse and intrigue them enough for them to not immediately eat his head, and by the time that passes, they're smitten. Unfortunately, it's useless in interacting with other humans, as they use it as an excuse to treat him as a doormat.
- This also allows him to just roll with things that would cause others in the Cthulhu Mythos to go stark raving mad.
- Humanity Is Infectious: As a result of her pact, Nancy is experiencing human emotions.
- Humanoid Abomination: They're usually not human, but looking like them for our sake.
- Human Sacrifice: The cultists have a girl who's already had her arms severed. A bloody knife and Nancy actually appearing pretty much confirm that this went all the way.
- Humans Are Special: According to the Mi-go. They're interested in us due to our ability to make leaps of logic, thinking of three without needing to think of two, as well as our incredible rate of development.
- Hypocritical Humor: Can we not talk about me like I'm not here? Don't tell it this.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter name is a reference to a Lovecraft story; e.g. "The Case Of David Andrew Bartlet", "The Transition Of Nancy Alhazred", etc.
- I Have to Wash My Hair: In the conclusion of a Travelling Salesman Montage in the introduction. Said by a punk girl with a shaved head.
- It Amused Me: Pretty much why Shubby is hanging around. She can tell that the next year is going to be hilarious.
- Insult Friendly Fire: Does Nancy consider Dave 'subsentient'?Nancy: This is not the sort of subsentient your usual methods will work on, priest. Let me deal with it.
Dave: What do you mean subsenti... oh.
- Kick the Dog: Invoked by David, when he thinks telling Nancy to shut up was unnecessarily cruel.David: That's like kicking a dog. Wow, I feel worse now. I kicked a puppy.note ?
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: While Nancy killed the entire cult when summoned (well, those who didn't kill each other first), most of them had it coming, and it's implied some even wanted it to happen.
- Living Bodysuit: Inverted. The Delta Green agent wears a female Eldritch Abomination as a disguise, apparently in an attempt to assassinate David.
- Logic Bomb: Dave makes a Mi-go faint by claiming everything he says is a lie, then saying something true. Apparently, this only works on ones that have very little experience with humans.
- Lovecraft Country: The comic takes place in Arkham.
- Lovecraft Lite: There are horrible Eldritch Abominations (and people around Dave die horribly, and Nancy offers to kill people for him on occasion), but the creatures' reactions to Dave are far from hostile. So far most of them just want to get to know David better or propose in really creepy ways.
I have a poster. It's called "Pale Blue Dot," and it's got a passage by Sagan on it, and in reading it again, something profound struck me. Lovecraft's horror hinges on the idea that the universe just doesn't care about us. It was not made special. We are not even a footnote in the universe's history. At least, that's how Lovecraft saw it. This was a terrible notion in the 1930s, the most profound source of absolute horror that could be dredged up from the human consciousness and pushed out into a rainy Rhode Island street. Now we hand posters of it on our walls and post rambling, inane blog entries about it like it's the behavior of a new celebrity couple. Cosmic horror isn't scary any more. What was once the great fear of the age is now a joke.
- On the other hand, the author has said on his blog that it's going to have "a Lovecraft ending." This might mean an optimistic one like The Dunwich Horror or the good ending of Eversion, or it might mean a typical one with Dave and/or a bunch of other humans winding up dead/insane/transmogrified.(Besides, did he say who gets the Lovecraftian ending?) If so, the warm-and-fuzzy-ish beginning just makes things worse. Since it's based on Delta Green, Earth is still doomed, but Dave and friends might not go mad, suicidal or primordial either.
- The author has called the webcomic his "thesis statement" on why the Cosmic Horror Story became Lovecraft Lite; Humans Are BECOMING Cthulhu.
Not only that, we're about to start CREATING stars and universes ourselves. We're doing 1930s magic, but we're doing it better than the terrible things in his stories could do it. That's what's funny. That's why we giggle. We all know it, somewhere, subconsciously.
- A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss: ...and the sacrifice of your dorm mates.
- Magnetic Girlfriend: Nancy. Of all the girls after David, there is only one whose proximity to David is not due to her presence: The Sleeper of N'Kai.
- Monster Roommate: And landlord, and pet...
- Mundane Made Awesome: Inverted with A group of eldritch abominations... playing ''Call of Cthulhu''...
- Mundane Utility: One of the agents suggests that David might be using Nancy as an infinite soda supply.
- Murder Simulators: Made fun of here.
- Nature Lover: Dave rescues frogs and is fond of the forest.
- Noodle Incident: The grey goose drill. It's also a Shout-Out to a Delta Green scenario involving an old nuclear power plant, a terrorism drill, and a Hound of Tindalos.
- Odd-Shaped Panel: Common, with eldritch backgrounds between panels.
- Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Dave carries an unconscious Nancy this way.
- Painting the Medium: Justified: When Shubby introduces the shoggoth prod, there's a helpful closeup of the seal. Dave picks up the closeup.
- Ship Sinking: David/Collette got put down hard.
- Splash of Color:
- Spoiler: In-universe: Shubby apparently doesn't want to warn Dave about potentially amusing future events.Shubby: Forget it! Spoilers! Spoilers!
- Starfish Aliens: Literally, with the two Elder Things.
- The Stoic: David. His Brown Note reaction to the Eldritch Abominations he's seeing everywhere now is Dissociative disorder — i.e., he's going to be as stoic as he can be...until his insanity finally catches up with him.
- Straight Man: The Mi-Go think like computers, and have no capacity for humor or imagination. They make for the perfect straight man.
- Take That: Possibly by the author against a character archetype he appears not too fond of. "Go David. Don't take no shit off dat tsundere wannabe." No telling if other tsunderes will appear later in the comic to better treatment, though.
- Time Travel: Somehow, at some point in the comic's future, David will travel back in time roughly 5,000 years and rescue Egypt.
- Unwanted Harem: The author has hinted at this. David seems to be accruing one made entirely of Eldritch Abominations. It's not really there yet, but some chapter names and Thaxton's DeviantArt gallery give us a peek at what's coming.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Nancy is bound to David until she understands what his wish was.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Not David but Delta Green thinks they're dealing with a Cult Leader that sacrificed his cult to bind a Eldritch Abomination. They're about half right.