"I am the captain. The year is 20__ something something. I stopped counting a while ago, and therefore not sure what day it is. Humanity is virtually wiped out in a nuclear holocaust. Me and my last squad: pilot and sniper, live in the wasteland ruins of tomorrow. This is my story. I am captain."
The nuclear Apocalypse has come and gone, scarring the cityscape into an almost unrecognizable scene of twisted metal. Dangerous mutant animals prowl the dark recesses of the underground tunnels. Aliens pop up every once in a while to steal one of the few surviving members of the human race.So life is a constant battle just to stay alive, right?Actually it's really, REALLY boring. Aliens and Monsters are few and far between, so mostly you just have the barren wasteland, its long dead skeletal occupants, whatever you manage to find, plus your imagination to keep you entertained.Meet The Captain and his/her team: Pilot and Sniper (a.k.a. "Mr. Snippy"). They're going to attempt to stay alive in this dangerous environment. But mostly? They're going to try to keep themselves from succumbing to boredom.You can read the comic here.Of course, once in a while, there's goingto be some grand adventureto be had by the group.
All of the mind-screwy stuff seems to actually have been a dream, or at least the entity messing with his mind as of #121.
All There in the Manual: The creator has started to post Snippy's autobiographical data, which has started to explain the events leading up to the apocalypse, as well as describing daily life with Captain and Pilot. Pilot has a journal entry as well. More recently, the creator has started posting some backstory in the descriptions for some of the strips, such as this one. There also used to be a page on the website, with no links to it (for some reason), that gave a fair bit of backstory. It has been removed. Then there are the crewmates' tumblr and Facebook pages.
There's also a wiki to help sort out what's going on.
Always a Bigger Fish: First an unidentified group in gas-masks ambush Sniper. Then the Cancer shows up to flay and reanimate them. And then ANNET burns the Cancer to the ground with a single orbital strike.
It doesn't help that Captain is often modelled by the author's fiancée. According to Word of God, the rest of the Captain's models are both men and women, so "the Captain is thus technically all genders".
On their Facebook pages, Pilot's and Captain's genders are both given as "Neutral (it)".
Additionally, in this journal Snippy remembers Pilot and Captain in his "dream" as a green-eyed man-child and a purple-eyed girl, respectively. Then again, he also seems think that Pilot was a robot, remembers the whale that he lived inside as being a fish, and overall seems uncertain of what happened in the "dream".
Apparently, Captain uses a voice modulator, so even his voice can't tell us his gender.
Apocalypse How: Between classes 4 and 5, as the creator says that The Captain, his squad, a cult of soft drink worshippers, and a few other isolated off-screen groups are the only human survivors left. Most plant life is gone, and giant, leech-like worms are some of the only few things left of the animal kingdom.
Backstory: The creator is starting to reveal the characters' highly intriguing backstories via flashbacks and journal entries. The focus so far seems to be on Mr. Snippy, but we've also seen a bit of Engineer's and even a tiny bit of Pilot's. The Captain's, of course, remains elusive as ever. As is standard, much of the new information raises many more questions than it answers.
Badass: Snippy is intentionally one of these. Captain and Pilot occasionally manage it accidentally.
Born Again Immortality: The Lifealope may have this ability, if this is any indication. It may actually be Resurrective Immortality, or in this case there may be no distinction between the two, since it's not clear if the Lifealope ages in the conventional sense of the word — plus it shapeshifts, so it can look like any age it wants.
Born Lucky: Captain is heavily implied to have this attribute.
If so, Snippy may be some sort of cosmic counterbalance.
Catch Phrase / Never Live It Down: The exclamation "Bwah?!" expressing confusion, surprise or alarm, has been said four times by the Sniper in the comic, and never by any other character, so it has become something of a catch phrase in Fan Art.
Cerebus Syndrome: The comic started out with one-offjokes that didn't really connect to each other in any meaningful way. The first story arc (the Lemonade Cult) got started pretty quickly, but it was more for laughs than anything else, and didn't move the story forward at all. Then, as the result of another short story arc that was all comedy and seemingly of no consequence whatsoever, the Cancershowed up, and shitgotreal. Though the main storyline hasn't moved forward more than a few minutes from that point, the readership is now being treated to severalinterestingflashbacks and characterjournalentries that reveal a much deeper story than one would expect from the earliest issues. The comedic side of the story certainly doesn't suffer though — the creator seems able to juggle comedy and drama with the skill of a master.
Character Blog: Semi-official ones exist in the form of "Ask (character)" tumblr pages for each main character. Though owned and operated by fans, the ones for the main characters are kept in contact with the author, Vitaly S. Alexius, who keeps them up to date on his plot plans and character bios to ensure that they're as accurate as possible. The ones for less major characters such as Photoshop and Mr. Kittyhawk do not include the same level of plot-backing, however. The characters also have their own Facebook pages, operated by Vitaly, where people can ask questions or see what the characters are up to (Photoshop has one, too. So far it consists of roaring and growling).
Chekhov's Gun: The mug. It never seems to run out of tea or cool down. It's debatable as to whether the liquid in the mug is even tea at all. Spilling tea from this mug resulted in the nuclear apocalypse, and has repeatedly been the bane of Zee Captain's enemies (up to and including Cancer and The Arbitrator).
The Chew Toy: Mr. Snippy is very much this. Bad luck seems to follow him around: He is constantly dealing with Captain's and Pilot's annoying and often dangerous antics; he was left hanging in an upside-down train for a long time (possibly days); abducted by aliens; captured by a group of survivors; and most recently, almost killed, and then captured and "integrated", by the Cancer. It's also been revealed that before the comic begins, he was swallowed by a whale. This turned out to be part of a plot by Pilot to have Captain all to himself. A journal entry reveals that he was once subjected to a Captain-proclaimed "holiday" in which several objects were thrown at him, ending in a "battle to the death" against Pilot and Photoshop (cosplaying as internet browsers) — which he lost, obviously. He recounts a week during which Captain dressed him up in "ridiculous outfits" and made him play the personalities — one of which was "Zombie Snippy", resulting in him getting more objects thrown at him, as well as dirt. "Fireman Snippy" had his shoe set on fire and was shoved into a burning skyscraper. ("Thank god my G Directorate issue Officer uniform is fireproof.") Every day, Captain wakes him up with an irritating noise. And he had to listen to Nyan Cat for a week. Once, he was stuffed into a shopping cart while he was sleeping, to recreate a scene from a "Jackass" poster. And he almost had his face eaten off by a flying Photoshop. Another journal reveals that Pilot once tied him to a couch while he was sleeping. It's becoming quite common for fans to proclaim, "Poor Snippy".
Snippy: Does the director of this madness ever sleep?
Chromatic Arrangement: If you count the Captain's purple goggles as red, the gang fits this trope to a T, as Captain is the The Leader, Snippy is blue and The Lancer, Pilot is green and The Big Guy, and Engineer is the orange-ish fourth member. You could also ignore the goggles and count the more prominent red band on the Captain's cap and the mug with a red heart on it.
Cloudcuckoolander: The Captain and Pilot — the latter perhaps even more so than the former.
Pilot's Journal: SOMEDAY I'LL BUILD A HOUSE... NO A BOAT SHAPED LIKE A SHOE AND SAIL ACROSS THE OCEAN TO THE PARADISE LAND OF PANCAKES AND MERRYNESS.
Cold Sniper: Subverted. Despite being the only character to carry a (traditional) weapon, and despite a tendency towards sarcasm, the Sniper is sympathetic and quick to defend The Captain from danger, even though he's usually the one to get hurt.
Comic Trio: The Captain is the navigator, Pilot is the driver, and Sniper is the guy trapped in the back seat.
Crapsack World: Snippy and Engie's flashbacks show that the world was a crapsack one even before it got nuked.
Crosscast Role: Unless (s)he is literally genderless, or a hermaphrodite, Captain is modelled by the opposite sex all the time, as according to Word of God, (s)he is modelled by his fiancée and by people who come into the studio, both men and women. This might be true of other characters as well.
The Captain may seem bungling on the surface, but he's probably the last person you want to pick a fight with.
While not as much as The Captain, Pilot also has this to a degree. Most of the time, he runs and freaks out over tiny radioactive spiders. But then he performs a gravity-defying leap and slices off several of Cancer's tentacles with a pipe in order to try and rescue Sniper.
THE TINY TAG ON MY INSIDE FOLD OF MY JACKET SAYS "SG CHRISTOPHORUS HATCHENSON". THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE SOMEONE I LIKE. MAYBE I KILLED THEM FOR THIS JACKET. THIS JACKET IS SOFT AND FITTING. ... THE DEAD LIKE TO PLAY GAMES AND TALK TO ME, BUT THEY AREN'T VERY INTERACTIVE, UNLESS PROVOKED. IF YOU LOOK FROM THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE, YOU CAN SEE THEM MOVE.
Cult: The Nutritionists, who worship the Holy Lemonade and have a "religious document" that is actually a sticker from a soft drink bottle.
Dada Comic: Onlookers may not get why a jet-powered train and a fizzy-drinks cult is so funny.
Dark and Troubled Past: According to his journals, tumblr, and Facebook page, Snippy's life before the apocalypse seems to have been this. In his "normal" life, he was a branch officer for GOOD Directorate, Inc. Unfortunately, he was one of about 1% of people who couldn't connect to the neural network with his mind. This meant he had to work a dead-end job and he couldn't afford enough sleep. When he did sleep, the neural network's attempts to connect with his mind caused horrific nightmares — so needless to say he was constantly exhausted. Plus the nightmares apparently made him lose track of reality. Then, when he was escorting a science team on a mission to investigate an anomaly, a "series of unfortunate events" killed all of them, and he still blames himself for this. When he got out of the zone — which took weeks — everyone was already dead.
I can't stand being alone for too long, too many dark memories from my past start to waltz in my thoughts. Is this why I keep myself subject to Captain's plots? To run away from my past?
Driven to Madness: Pilot's backstory seems to imply this. He was a member of the team of Fighter Jet pilots who were sent to nuke ANNET. In one of his journals, he states that "one million voices of Eureka still sing in my cranium. They ask me to stop... I know that they are all just dust now, and what has been done cannot be retracted." The reason for this is The ANNET headbands linked voices together, meaning that Pilot could hear the innocents he was murdering in his attempt to destroy ANNET perfectly as he killed them. It is heavily implied that this, as well as most of his memories having been stored in his now-broken headband, is the reason he is as insane as he is in the comic.
Exactly What I Aimed At: Snippy vs the Cancer. Upon realising his bullets aren't doing much to the creature or its skeleton hosts, he shoots past it to the tanks of flammable gas. It doesn't work, but it was still awesome.
Expressive Mask: If you look closely, you may spot a few instances. Especially common and noticeable with Mr. Snippy, whose open goggle-flaps serve as rudimentary eyebrows to portray many different emotions, such as shock, fear, confusion, desperation, worry, anger, and irritation. It's very rarely that his "eyebrows" aren't being used to evoke some kind of emotion.
Eye Lights Out: When Sniper and Pilot are killed (due to being tangled up in Cancer when ANNET performs an orbital strike on it), their goggle lenses are grey. Then, when the Lifealope brings them back to life, the lenses return to their normal colour (blue and green, respectively).
The Faceless: Originally the whole gang. Over the course of the comic, everyone's face has been shown (though almost always with their eyes obscured.) By now only Captain continues to remain completely faceless. He removes his mask once, but in that instance we can only see the front of him in a reflection off someone's helmet, and you can't make out any features whatsoever (this is probably a good thing — see Death Glare above).
There are also hints that the Captain's name may actually be Zee Captain. Most times, use of this name could be chalked up to silliness; but Engineer, a rather solemn character, has used it twice in an otherwise serious context.
DEAR SHOE, THAT'S RIGHT YOU ARE A SHOE. THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT NOT BEING A SHOE BECAUSE IN MY MIND YOU ARE ONE AND THAT IS MOST UNFORTUNATE. AS LONG AS I HAVE YOU CONCEPTUALIZED AS A SHOE IN MY IMAGINATION YOU SHALL REMAIN AS SUCH. THIS MAKES ME WONDER WHETHER ALL PEOPLES AND OBJECTS CAN BE CONCEPTUALIZED AS SHOES AND THUS BECOME SUCH, GRANTING ME ABSOLUTE POWER OVER THEM. DOES SNIPPY HAVE A CLEVER ARGUMENT? NO HE DOESN'T, HE'S A SHOE. SHOES CAN'T HAVE CLEVER ARGUMENTS.
In-Series Nickname: The whole gang. Except for Mr. Snippy. According to his autobiographical information his real name is "Charles Snippy", so in his case it's actually a subversion.
A couple of examples; he sets off on the Captain's mad quest with nothing to defend himself but a small handbag and performs a Diving Save to push the Captain out of the way of the cancer-beast, only for it to attack him instead.
Just in Time: ANNET, of all people, arrives just in time to save Engineer from an onslaught of reanimated skeletons.
Exactly where does the line between Sniper's dreams, flashbacks, and reality begin and end?
Who is Zee Captain? Is he really Snippy's imagination or has Zee Captain pulled a fast one?
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's implied that Captain and Engie may be responsible for the Apocalypse. Captain by spilling tea on ANNET and driving her insane; Engie by trying (and failing) to kill the insane ANNET by nuking the planet.
No Name Given: The whole gang, up until recently (Snippy's and Engineer's names have now been given). All the other characters at least have official names or nicknames though, except for the wolfalope, who doesn't even have an In-Series Nickname. Pilot's and Captain's names have both been hinted at, but not confirmed.
Only Friend: According to his tumblr account, part of the reason Snippy hangs around with Captain and puts up with him is that he'd be all alone otherwise.
He's such a child. I often feel like I'm babysitting him. Yet at the same time he always bosses me around relentlessly and is always making up some absolutely ridiculous demands... I hate it. But still... He's all there is. He's my only friend.
Surprisingly, Captain is also Snippy's favourite crewmate, partly because of this.
Anonymous: Who's your favourite crewmate?
Mr. Snippy: [after deciding on Captain] Only because Pilot is more insane than Captain, I haven’t even seen Engie in awhile, and hey, if a guy’s gonna offer you friendship in a lonely world like this, you might as well take it, right?
Although as the comic progresses there are some indications that Snippy may be as insane - or even moreso - as Captain (if Captain even exists) and Pilot. In which case, by default, Engie would be the Only Sane Man.
Schrödinger's Butterfly: Is Snippy currently in the Cancer and remembering his pre-apocalyptic life, or is he currently in his pre-apocalyptic life and sporadically dreaming about his future post-apocalyptic life?
Something We Forgot: We'll never know how long Sniper spent hanging upside down in that crashed train. The Captain certainly didn't make a note of it.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The cultists were harmless. The aliens were more dangerous, but still comedic. The Cancer was terrifying, and technically killed Snippy and Pilot. The Arbitrator kills planets for a living, and tries to do so to Earth.
A Spot Of Tea: Zee Captain. Except, whatever it is, it's a lot stronger than tea.
Stalker with a Crush: Zee Captain has one, who left a bra on his sleeping form one time. He technically has two, if you count Pilot.
Team Pet: The freakish mutant worm-like creature that Pilot befriended is referred to as Photoshop, and he reappears occasionally throughout the story, such as during Pilot's flight experiments. "Ownership" seems to be split between Pilot and Captain.
Walking the Earth: The Captain and his subordinates don't seem to have much else to do.
Walking Tech Bane: The apparent reason for why Sniper couldn't connect to ANNET. This is the reason why he was transferred into Dead Zone Research, and is the reason ANNET absolutely wants him dead.
Even weirder, a scientist speculates that the effect he has on technology is a result of a Temporal Paradox in his brain, which is causing the signal from the Neural Network to travel into future, which may be related to his prophetic dreams.
Wham Episode: Page 104. and page 105 Warning, serious spoilers. It is implied, but not confirmed, that Snippy is actually insane. Captain doesn't exist, he's just Snippy's split personality. He's occasionally just imagined Captain by him, and in other cases he actually dressed up as captain and acted as him. This could be true of Pilot as well. To top it off, now Snippy is being taken to a different world to be judged and Earth is going to be turned into a black hole. Let's pray this is all a dream, shall we?
Ambiguity has been resolved - The Arbitrator was wrong; Captain and Sniper are not the same person, as evidenced by Sniper landing on Captain. And, of course, conveniently happening to obscure his face.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Sniper and The Captain are downright hostile to each other in conversation, but they both regularly risk their lives for each other.