"I like reading the Sam and Fuzzy TV Tropes page, mainly because it is surreal to be reminded I actually drew all those freaking comics."Sam And Fuzzy
is a webcomic written by Sam Logan, started in 2002 and updating regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It follows the adventures of Sam, a very regular twenty-something man
, and his roommate Fuzzy, a psychotic jerkass of a teddy-bear-looking-thing
, who live in a World of Weirdness
— located in modern-day America.Sam and Fuzzy
employs a very notable (and arguably successful) use of Cerebus Syndrome
to create an overhanging story from what started out as a "joke of the week" strip, as Sam and Fuzzy get embroiled into ever-more complex, wacky and dramatic adventures and go from (unsuccessful) taxi drivers with a demonically possessed refrigerator, to (unsuccessful) booksellers, to (unsuccessful) metal band roadies, to (unsuccessful
) fugitives on the run from an international crime syndicate, to (unsuccessful) professional problem solvers
, to (so far not unsuccessful
) members of an Omniscient Council of Vagueness
. Other recurring elements involve the Ninja Mafia
(a Mafia containing Ninjas
), Fuzzy's Mysterious Past
and Laser-Guided Amnesia
, the machinations of Corrupt Corporate Executive
Mr. Sin, an Omniscient Council of Vagueness
enforcing The Masquerade
over the world, and 17th century chemist Robert Boyle
The story is divided into multiple series
consisting of several volumes
per series. Each series is (attempted) self-contained and so far consists of the Early Years
(2002-2003), The Classic Series (2003-2006), The Noosehead Series (2006-2009) and the NMS Series (2009-ongoing). The comic can be entered at the beginning of any series with little trouble (New readers are advised to start at series four
), but expect a truly epic Archive Binge
ahead of you if you want to get all the in-jokes and Call Backs
Sam and Fuzzy contains examples of:
- The Ace: Carlyle.
- Action Survivor: Sam.
- Affably Evil: Mr. Black. Sure, he wants to resurrect the ninja mafia as a meritocratic crime syndicate, but the fact that Sam has to die to fulfill his ambitions is nothing personal — in fact, he's perfectly willing to settle for blackmailing Sam into officially denouncing his claim and then letting him go on his merry way.
- Mr. Sin is usually quite open and friendly as well.
- Ambition Is Evil: Mr. Black wasn't exactly a 'nice' person by any standards while a standard Blankface, but his antagonizing of Sam comes as a result of this trope: Mr. Black can't bury the remains of the Ninja Mafia until Sam is buried with them.
- Anachronism Stew: Fuzzy's "memory" of the disturbed delusion decade.
- Analogy Backfire: Never tell Fuzzy that "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger".
- Attack Pattern Alpha: Shamelessly mocked here.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: And bottled... IN A REALLY BAD YEAR!.
- Ascended Extra: Future Fuzzy has so far had about ten appearances in the comics. Only four of them have been official comics and his last appearance in the strip's Canon was in 2004: He continues to have regular appearances each year in the guest comics.
- Jess Starr, first pictured here, returned some three hundred strips later as a spy working for Mr. Sin disguised as Mr. X. Sam Logan noted that you can tell apart the disguised Jess by which arm is missing on Mr. X; originally his right arm was missing. She went on to work for Sam and is currently one of Sam's supporting cast.
- Aaron probably counts as this since he was originally just one of the members of Fuzzy's ninja squad but blossomed into one of the main supporting characters during the Noosehead arc, even as his former partner Ox was left behind.
- A few leaders in The Committee started out this way. They haven't ascended that much though.
- Ascended Fanboy: In-universe example: Most of the Ninja Mafia's mooks and lower-level operatives appear to be ninja fanboys who signed up for the chance to be real ninjas and earn money doing it. The blankfaces are Tykebomb versions of the trope.
- Ax-Crazy: Mr. Blank, X and Y, and really, nearly all of the ninjas.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Aaron manages it. Justified, as the hand is literally Made of Iron.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Willis for Earl in the "Noosehead" arc.
- Berserk Button: Mr. Blank goes ballistic if anyone dares challenge the legitimacy of the Ninja Mafia to his face. Fuzzy is shown even early in the strip to have a sore spot for being betrayed or cut out of the loop, turning into an outright Berserk Button when he realises that Hazel and Brain betrayed him not only once but twice.
- Big Bad: The story currently looks like it may be setting up Mr. Sin in this role. He shared the spotlight with Mr. Black for most of the Noosehead and Emperor arcs, and became the primary antagonist of "Sam and Fuzzy fix your problem". Lately, he's been locked in a villainous arms race with Hazel and Brain.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Several of the Noosehead musicians, most notably lead man Sidney "The Sicko" and his second singer Nicole. Subverted as none of them are very evil at all.
- Body Surf: Fridge can hop from body to body in close proximity. Well, could. Sexxica/Candice finally manages to take him out by killing every host within range, including herself.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: See Running Gag below.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Here.
- Brick Joke: "Packing peanuts." In flight for about nine months, and if its carefully-placed landing doesn't now qualify Sam for Magnificent Bastard (or at least The Chessmaster), nothing will.
- Broken Masquerade: Sam's new goal after reforming the Ninja Mafia as a crime syndicate. His first successful target was the vampires.
- Brown Note: Here.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Arguably, the band Noosehead consists of nothing but these. And Nicole.
- Dr Crab, a psychiatrist from The Underground who is a crab with the ability to talk and think like a person. He has admitted that he has no idea what he's doing, but still has a pretty good track record with counceling his patients.
- Burn The Orphanage: Skull Panda is messed up. And Buddy isn't always the nicest guy, either.
- Carnivore Confusion: What sort of absurd talking crab with a psychiatrist's licence would eat his own kin... er, wait. Nevermind.
- Cassandra Truth: Here.
- Catch Phrase: Carlyle "I can take you where you need to go."
- Cerebus Retcon: Fuzzy's Mysterious Past was initially Played for Laughs, with Fuzzy doing things like having his mother (a real brown bear, which turned out not to be his mother) visit and later claiming he sold all proof of his childhood to National Geographic for some cash and a Nice Hat. Said mysterious past, and the Laser-Guided Amnesia that erased it, are currently a major part of the comic's drama.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Well, it's still mostly comedy, but now it's comedy with an overhanging plot.
- Chekhov's Gun: The comic makes liberal use of both this and foreshadowing. Take the interactions between Fuzzy and Crush in the context that Crush is Sam when compared to strips before the Ninja Emperor assassination, or this conversation between Hazel and Rexford in the context that Brain (the cat) eats people's memories.
- Character Development: Sam and Fuzzy are the main examples, but also several side characters like Lance, Sidney, Gertrude... Most of the characters, come to it.
- Characterization Marches On: The early comics have Sam being more socially awkward (such as having an interest in polka) while Fuzzy was a lot more sadistic (wearing a monkey corpse as a bodysuit).
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sam eventually develops one of these after spending too much time being on the receiving end of Big Damn Heroes.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Unlike the rest of the cast who simply moved away, Future Fuzzy just disappeared without a trace and hasn't been seen in at least a decade. He's eventually revealed to have been a drug-induced hallucination.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: Hazel.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Fuzzy, although this side of him has diminished as time has gone by. Malcom, due to his conspiracy theories. Mr. Sin, an evil version. Mr Ackerman, the half-senile former owner of the taxi company Sam worked at.
- Cool Old Guy: Mr. Ackerman, Sam's boss at the taxi company.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: To a certain degree. Most of the Ninja Mafia's employees aren't very dangerous whether they appear alone or in a horde. The Mr. Blank vs. the horde of ex-mafiosos fight plays it very straight, however.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Malcom.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Sin.
- Culture Justifies Anything: Mr Blanks attitude towards his monstrous actions and betrayals in his quest to restore the original Ninja Mafia, including tricking Sam into taking the role as emperor, planning to murder him once a heir is chosen, and killing his former bestfriend Mr Black. He refuses to accept the idea that the ideals and traditions he was raised and trained to uphold were what they actually were: a form of social control set in place by a dynasty of inbred nobles to prevent anyone to ascend by their own skill and talents.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Malcom keeps ranting about crazy conspiracies, and turns out to be right about them, up to and including the space gophers. It turns out that his hairdo has been intercepting transmissions from bugs in the SinCorp headquarters.
- Cute Kitten: Conscience Cat invokes this to justify his role as Gertrude's Shoulder Angel.
- Butcher's litter of adorable kittens. Well, except for Chompy.
- Cuteness Proximity: The Grrbils intentionally use this as a weapon.
- Darker and Edgier: Parodied here. Later parodied again, then re-parodied.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Fuzzy's origin story is increasingly revealed to be this, being betrayed and left with amnesia TWICE by the people he trusted, and having no memory at all of his species or background
- Deadpan Snarker: Several characters over the years. Sam is probably the most consistent.
- Death Is Cheap: Followed by a parody of this trope right here.
- Defensive "What?" : See the page picture? Good. Fuzzy does that quite a bit, as does other less morally upstanding cast members like Sin.
- Demonic Possession: Fridge is the result of a demon possessing Sam's fridge mold and can possess other beings nearby. It refuses to possess Sam and Fuzzy out of principle — it's not that desperate.
- Demoted to Extra: This tends to happen to much of the supporting cast at the end of each arc, reduced to cameos and eventually just not making further appearances, though in some cases it's subverted when they make full-on returns. Less than five supporting characters from the first two series are currently in the supporting cast, the rest having moved on.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Sam spends much of the first arc, and arguably all of the second, doing this. His hand is eventually forced into finding one, although when it does Sam seems to find that a good thing.
- Determinator: Mr. Blank. He can get distracted due to Rule of Funny, but in "serious" strips he cannot.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Mr. Sin.
- Disembodied Eyebrows: Fuzzy, lampshaded at one point.
- Double Entendre: No one is touching my thing! Even ninjas X and Y noticed this one.
- Dumb Muscle: Ox.
- Eldritch Abomination: Hazel's "cat," Brain is a nasty piece of work even by the Underground's extremely tolerant standards.
- Elton Lives
- Especially the space gophers!!
- The Faceless: Carlyle by having his Face Framed in Shadow the few times he appears, doubling as He Who Must Not Be Seen.
- Faceless Goons: The Ninja Mafia rank-and-file. Lampshaded here.
- Fan-Preferred Couple: Invoked by the author during his 2013 kickstarter, allowing backers to vote for any two characters to get a short 'date' storyline together in the comic. Out of all the possible Crack Ships that could have been selected, the fans chose Cooper and Morris.
- Fanservice: Humorously averted:
Fuzzy: Sam! Where have you been? You just missed our most commercially viable adventure ever! Bullets and boobs...nonstop!
- Filler Strips: Sam and Fuzzy has a set annual period for guest artists, known as the Obligatory Guest Artist Weekly Duration (or O-GAWD).
- Foreshadowing: Toward the beginning of the "Noosehead" arc, Malcolm says some things that most would dismiss at first as being the ravings of a paranoid nutcase who's been breathing too many fumes, but in fact they reference key elements of the coming arc. A guest comic after the arc's completion calls attention to this.
- Zig-zagged in this strip, which takes place during a flashback and foreshadows an event ten years in the future during an arc already finished. Take a bigger fall than that, indeed.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Edwin... Kind of.
- Fur Against Fang: In the Sam and Fuzzy-verse, being bitten by a vampire turns you into a werewolf. Werewolves, naturally enough, don't like vampires much.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Gertrude gets this in the form of her eight-year old self and Conscience Cat. Conscience Cat would go on to become a (very ineffectual) good angel for Tricia and Devahi. It's probably for the best he doesn't have a devil counterpart.
- Guest Strip: There are occasionally O-GAWDs (Obligatory Guest Artist Webcomic Duration), week-long sessions of Sam and Fuzzy strips drawn by a variety of other artists, such as Questionable Content 's Jeph Jacques, or Wasted Talent 's Angela Melick.
- Hands in Pockets: Subverted in this.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Sam, as of the sixth volume, snapped after one too many rounds of humiliation due to Fuzzy and Sin's machinations and has become a Well-Intentioned Extremist who has reformed the Ninja Mafia as a crime syndicate.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Carlyle. In addition, there's Sin's true Space Gopher form, which has only been shown partially obscured and in the shadows.
- Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: Some of the Skull Panda strips. For a certain value of 'Mary Sue'.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Fuzzy, prior to the show hitting Cerebus Syndrome. While he still has the occasional stand-alone strip he's since undergone Character Development and is a lot more restrained and Played for Drama.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: In the Noosehead arc, Crush is Sam. The other roadies nicknamed him Crush after he dropped an amp on his foot.
- In addition, Wilkins is Mr. Blank. He just took his mask off.
- High-Class Glass: Mr. Rexford has a monocle. Why does a dinosaur wear a monocle? Don't ask us.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: The Ninja Mafia isn't usually very 'stealthy'.
- Hulk Speak: Ox.
- Humiliation Conga: Gertrude's backstory.
- I Have Many Names: Mr. Sin has had so many names that he's actually in danger of running out of aliases.
- Implacable Man: Mr. Blank. Standing in his way for whatever reason is not a good idea. In the end, it takes having his face carved up, being beat up by Sam and thrown off the side off a flying skyscraper (twice) to kill him.
- In the Back: The ninja mafia usually don't fight fair. Especially not Blank, who killed Black with a sword through the back.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: The ninja mafia started out like this (or appeared to) before becoming a major plot point.
- It's Pronounced Tro-PAY: Too-che-sto-nay.
- Jerkass: Mr. Sin is equal parts this and Cloud Cuckoo Lander, having no real empathy for anyone and no real idea how to relate to them anyway.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fuzzy. Lance too, after some Character Development caused by twenty-four hours of solid exposure to Fuzzy.
- Jumping-On Point: Six of them, as of April 2010 — the archive is divided into different arcs, and the sixth just ended.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Somewhat averted in that the swords of the Ninja Mafia are completely un-katana like.
- Karmic Death: Mr. Blank is finally killed when he is hit by the corpse of Mr. Black, which he had murdered previously, and loses his footing while trying to climb back up a flying building.
- Killed Off for Real: Candace, Fridge, Mr Black, Mr Blank
- Killer Rabbit: The Grrbils. They intentionally cultivate this image.
- Knight of Cerebus: Arguably kicked off by Fridge. Although he starts off as comic relief, his actions in the "Friday Night" arc drag Sam into the Ninja Mafia plotline that has dominated the last four years of the comic.
- Mr. Blank and Mr. Black further do this after Sam gets set up as the one who murdered the Ninja Mafia leadership.
- Koan: Carlyle tends to speak in koans or other forms of vague, yet always appropriate, advise.
- Large and in Charge: Mr. Rexford the dinosaur: Rich underworld magnate and chairman of the Omniscient Council of Vagueness (or at least their local chapter).
- Grrrbil leaders tend to be "the big man" in a literal sense. Taken to its logical extreme by their Don, who enforces the trope by consuming a magical mutagen that sticks him in a One-Winged Angel form.
- Mr Ackerman was atleast twice the height and size of his employees.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Someone wiped Fuzzy's memory roughly a year before he met Sam. It's eventually revealed that Hazel and Brain did it, and that Fuzzy used to be "Eric", the third member of the band.
- It later turns out that Brain can do this at will and occasionally does it by accident. He's apparently wiped several dozen people all over the U.S.
- Last-Second Chance: Sam, to Mr. Black. If not for Blank's interference, he would probably have taken it.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Earl, during an unsuccessful attempt at getting Butcher and her children away from Sydney, had to contend with Alphonso. The full encounter is added in the print and adds the line verbatim.
Fuzzy: I think he got one of my eyebrows!
- Let's Meet the Meat: One strip parodies this concept with Oinky, a mascot for a brand of bacon, who claims he wishes he was human so he could eat himself as a pig. Fuzzy concludes that the logic behind these mascots is to annoy the customer so much that they WANT to eat them just to shut them up.
- Let's You and Him Fight: How Sam keeps a couple of dangerous and moderately psychotic Ninja Mafia lieutenants busy so they don't get bored and try to off someone else. When it turns out that this is actually completely normal, Sam sent them back at it, but restricted them to nonlethal methods.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Lock and Load Montage: Spoofed in this strip, adding in (for no apparent reason) pouring a fizzy solution into a test tube and building a snowman to the more standard montage fare.
- Lonely at the Top: Both Sam and Fuzzy have done this. The juxtaposition between loyalty to your friends and pursuing your own agenda is a recurring theme in the comic, ranging from Sam's brief stint as manager at Bunton's Books to both Sam and Fuzzy burning their respective bridges to run the Ninja Mafia or be a movie star.
- Long Runner: Three comics weekly since 2002.
- Love Redeems: Defied by Gertrude. When accused of it, she denies it (in a "You Watch Too Much X" way, not a "She Is Not My Girlfriend" way) and states other reasons for the Heel-Face Turn.
- MacGuffin: In the sixth volume, "The Pit" that is guarded by the Omniscient Council of Vagueness becomes this. Hazel and Brain are after it for an unknown reason, and are systematically hunting down council members who each have "numbers", clues to its location, and stealing them. It's unknown how many numbers they've currently acquired. Another example is the Band of Wazoo-La, which has been stolen from so many characters by so many other characters that there must be something important about it...or not.
- Mad Artist:
Jhonen Vasquez Rikk Estoban. Played mostly for comedy.
- Manipulative Bastard: Sam has been taking levels in this after becoming Ninja Emperor and being forced into exile underground. Gertrude eventually calls him out for manipulating her and warns him that it won't work again.
- Martial Arts and Crafts: Ninja Mafia
- Masquerade: Most of the story's weird, inhuman creatures and unsavoury criminals live in (or at least visit) the Underground, a network of hidden cavern-cities linked by tunnels stretching across the country. Normal people have never heard of it. (Although major soda companies still manage to put up billboards there. Somehow.)
- Maybe the soda companies are owned by people belonging to the Underground?
- Meganekko: Candice.
- McNinja: Ninja Mafia, again.
- Mobile-Suit Human: Sin
- Also, Dr. Crab masquerading as Dr. Love.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Mr. Blank.
- Nerd Glasses: Mr. Blank. Presumably contacts under the mask.
- Never Found the Body: Lampshaded, subverted and parodied in short order with the corpse of Mr. Blank.
- Nice Guy: Sam. It's one of his defining traits, judging by all the people who lampshade it.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Island contains fairly obvious captain ersatzes of Real Life artists who died while still popular, including "Elton Priestly" (Elvis Presley), "Curtis Cutter" (Kurt Cobain) and "Big Pimpin' G Moneydogg" (amalgam of pretty much every rap artist killed 'before his time', like Tupac Shakur). "Christy Spelling" resembles Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears, but neither of them were dead at the time the comic was made.
- Noodle Incident: Discussing the return of Mr. Sin here.
Sam: At least tell me you've got some idea what he's up to.
Dt. Morris: ...No. But hopefully something less traumatic than last time.
Sam: Where did he get that many greased ferrets, anyway?
Dt. Morris: Those nuns are never going to be the same.
- Turns into a Brick Joke later when Dev is going through the files on Sin.
- The Noseless: Nicole, lampshaded here.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Sid and Crush. Sam and Gertrude.
- Odd Name Out: Subverted. Sam thinks he's the only emperor on the list without a nickname. He's wrong.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: There's one made up of Underground entrepreneurs and businessmen. They seem to run things on the surface as well.
- Only One Name: Sam. His surname is never given.
- Oracular Head: Roger. Only Fuzzy can hear him, though. This arguably says more about Fuzzy than it does about Roger.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Very different.
- Plot Tumor: The series was at first about random jokes and semi-normal life. Then ninjas were added because ninjas are cool. They went away but would eventually come back to determine essentially the entire plot for the majority of the series.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: As of the sixth volume, this appears to have happened to Sam.
- Put on a Bus: In many ways inverted. Most of the cast changes have been due to Sam and Fuzzy being (In-Universe) moved away from the rest of the cast and not vice-versa, with a few hangers-on showing up for cameos. But the most surprising example was when Sam was put on a bus for a few months with Fuzzy and a new supporting cast being the focus characters, before it was revealed that he was Hidden in Plain Sight from the beginning.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Morris (after some Character Development, and exposure to Sam). Until he established NMS as a public organization, that is, culminating much later in a justified reply to her behavior.
- Mr Ackerman during the X-Press Taxi days of the strip, despite being somewhat loopy from old age and drug use, he only asks that Sam pulls his weight with the company, something that Sams neurotic personality, social awkwardness and tendency to find himself in wacky hijinx isnt well suited for. This is actually a major plot point early on, as part of what kicks off the larger story arcs is Sam getting fired from his job due to crashing his taxi while being pursued by the Ninja Mafia after taking on one of Carlyle's delivery jobs.
- Red Herring: After Sam and Fuzzy go missing after the events of the third book, the story picks up again following the roadies of Noosehead, one of whom is Fuzzy and the other two are Crush and Aaron. Both Crush and Aaron resemble Sam physically and mentally, Fuzzy has an equally familiar relationship with both, Crush shares Sam's ability to get himself into trouble, while Aaron shares Sam's neurotic behaviour and freaks out at the slightest mention of the Ninja Mafia. Aaron is the red herring: He's actually the ex-ninja mafioso Jackson. He even succeeds at fooling Blank, who finds out at the same time the reader does.
- Refuge in Audacity: And THEN some! I don't even know what a bank is!
- Relationship Reset Button: Invoked but then zigzagged with Rebecca Morris and Erin Cooper. The amnesiac Cooper infers that this trope is in effect, but actually,Morris was seemingly only friends with her former self and is surprised that the reset relationship is moving in a romantic direction.
- Retcon: Done in-universe by Rexford.
- Robot Me: Fuzzy. Mass-produced, even.
- Royal Brat: Most of the 'nobles' of the Ninja Mafia produce these, who get senior positions in the organization due to nepotism.
- Rule of Cool: Parodied.
- The entire Ninja Mafia. I mean, come on it's a Ninja Mafia. Eventually deconstructed by Sam when he (wisely) points out it's more of a cult than a mafia, run by cynical crooks who exploit what is essentially employees who are all Ascended Fanboys.
- Running Gag: One notable one is "the death of 17th century chemist Robert Boyle."
- "Robots? Clones? Robot clones?"
- "That's what the Ancient Ninja Law Code says. Or at least I think it does... What are these, coffee stains?"
- Sarcastic Confession: Here, and lampshaded within the same strip.
- Save the Villain: Subverted when Sam lets Fuzzy kick Mr. Blank over the edge of a flying skyscraper.
- Schizo Tech: Played for Laughs here.
- Shout-Out: Sin's code for arming the Buddy Bears is a cheat code for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (which, in turn, is the birthday of the game's lead programmer).
- Slasher Smile: Mr. Sin has a habit of this.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The creator, Sam Logan, and Jeph Jaques of Questionable Content are mutual Sitcom Arch Nemesises to each other. Played for Laughs by both sides involved.
- Lance is introduced as one. It's quickly abandoned as neither side are really belligerent enough for 'nemesis' status.
- Smash Cut: Invoked by Fuzzy in the Cold Open of Volume Six, after Sam describes his plans for the Ninja Mafia:
Fuzzy: The kind of thing they might make a movie about someday!
Sam: Yeah! Maybe!
Fuzzy: And in that movie, they'll cut from this moment right to the part where everything goes to hell.
Sam: Wait, wh-
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Fuzzy during the comic's early run. Currently he's closer to being a second main character, what with having split up with Sam and all.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: You've lost that LOOOVIN' FEELIN'
- Spoof Aesop: Several of The Merch is T-shirts with slogans like "Murder is not an appropriate method for career advancement" and "vampirism does not make stalking attractive".
- Stable Time Loop: In a guest strip, no less.
- Stepford Smiler: Possibly Fuzzy, via Laser-Guided Amnesia.
- Straight Gay: If Detective Morris is a lesbian (implied, but not stated outright), she is one of these.
- Super Loser: Edwin. There are lesser examples as well of supernatural beings that are explicitly referred to as 'lame' by the remaining cast, but Edwin is by far and large the most blatant.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: Mr. Blank has this attitude towards the Mafia. Apparently, service to it has run in his family and he doesn't take kindly to its legitimacy being questioned.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Like here.
- Take That: Edwin is a walking Take That to the Twilight franchise.
- Word of God is that Edwin was an unintentional reference (in fact, a recent Q&A said that a lot of his references tend to be the unintentional variety unless he specifically draws them in that way), but the timing of it still makes perfect sense.
- Sid manages to make an in-universe example: When Mr. Sin attempts to pressure him into making more music for him while on the Island, Sid makes one loud, angry and vicious heavy metal song — the only one he will ever write — which is a single long tirade about what a prick Mr. Sin is and contains a Long List of things Sid wants him to shove up his- you get the point.
- Taking You with Me: Heroic example: Candice killing Fridge.
- Tempting Fate: Sam's tempting of fate is lampshaded in this comic. Fuzzy's is lampshaded and inverted here, while Mr. Y's is played straight here.
- The Bus Came Back: Gertrude left at the end of the Noosehead arc to find herself. After staying gone for the Time Skip and the entire N-M-S arc, she returned after a second Time Skip as Sam hired her for the reformed Ninja Mafia.
- The Imp: Fuzzy.
- The Ishmael: Sam is essentially this during the climax of the first arc, made to bear witness to Candice's tale of vengeance over Fridge.
- The Merch: Attempted subversion with the in-universe creation of Skull Panda, a character that "will appeal to alienated youths and wannabe social outcasts" by being simultaneously edgy and cute. Later played straight when the author realized the character was legitimately appealing; Skull Panda currently has two t-shirts for sale.
- The Rival: Lance was this to Sam in the first arc.
- The Straight Man: Sam.
- The Unfettered: Mister Blank is willing to go to any length to make Sam the emperor and then kill him when he passes off the title. Candice is a subversion: She follows the trope right up until Fridge possesses Sam.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The abnormals who dont live in the Underground skirt by on this, taking advantage of the fact that people tend to disregard out of the ordinary sights if no one else seems bothered by them. This only works with minor exceptions though, such as Fuzzy who originally claimed to suffer from a rare disease called Ursine Syndrome, making everyone disregard his bizarre appearance out of fear of looking insensetive.
- Theme Naming: Early in the strip, Sam and Fuzzy adopt a cat that Fuzzy names "Butcher" (it turns out to be a lady cat). Fast forward through some half-dozen time skips and Sam has got a puppy to go with the cat, which he's named "Baker". According to Malcolm, we don't want to know about the Candlestick Maker.
- There Are No Therapists: Subverted. At one point, Sam does go to see a therapist, but said therapist is both horrifically incompetent and a giant talking crab. See for yourself here.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Referenced with the Non-Disclosure Automaton.
- Time Skip: Endemic, every new arc leads to a jump that can go between several months to a year forward in time.
- Took a Level in Badass: Sam, as of the recent Application Pending storyline.
- Too Spicy For Yog Sogoth: Fridge attempts to possess Ox. It goes poorly, because Ox is so dumb it can't think when it's possessing him.
- Tranquil Fury: The fight between Mr. Blank and Mr. Black.
- Tykebomb: Ninja Mafia Blankfaces are trained from very young childhood.
- Unfazed Everyman: Sam.
- Unknown Rival: Gertrude has practically every aspect of her life inadvertently ruined by Sam's actions. He doesn't remember any of it. She does.
- The Unmasked World: As of volume five this appears to be Sam and the Ninja Mafia's long term goal. Upon breaking The Masquerade on vampires through a Batman Gambit his only description of it is "a good start".
- Unstoppable Rage: Again, the fight between Mr. Blank and Mr. Black.
- Vandalism Backfire: Done in an early strip where Sam is depressed over his recent breakup with his girlfriend Alexa. Cue Fuzzy trying to cheer him up in his usual sociopathic way.
Fuzzy: Look Sam, I bent all your golf clubs into animal shapes to cheer you up! See, this one's a ducky!
Sam: Fuzzy, I dont own any golf clubs...
) OH CRAP, MY GOLF CLUBS!!
Sam: Okay, NOW I feel better.
- Visual Pun: Skull Panda is Invulnerable to the Cold Vacuum of Space.
- Webcomic Time: Canonically, five to six years have passed since the start of the now eleven-year old comic. Most of that has been due to Time Skips between arcs.
- We Help the Helpless: The NMS.
- Weirdness Magnet: Fuzzy explicitly calls Sam one.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Candice. The Committee as well.
- We Used to Be Friends: Mr. Blank and Mr. Black. As of the sixth volume, Sam and Fuzzy have reached this stage.
- Wham Episode: Buddocaplyse. Sam breaks upon having his life messed up by Fuzzy and Aaron so badly that he can't be seen in public anymore, disowns the two, and starts talking with Sin.
- As of the end of Double Jeopardy, he seems to be working with Hazel.
- Wham Line: "Our name is Eric."
- What the Hell, Hero?
Mr. Black: What the hell, man? I thought you were supposed to be the nice one!
Sam: What can I say? Every single person I know is a bad influence.
- White Gloves: Initially, Sam appeared to have them. Later, he had actual hands. Lampshaded later.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Sam makes one to himself at the end of book 3.
- World of Weirdness
- You Can't Go Home Again: After a year of forced exile, Sam finally manages to return to the surface... only to find that nobody from his past life wants anything to do with him anymore.
Sam: (...)I think I missed it... more than it missed me.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: This is how the Ninja Mafia works — at least, this is how it works if you kill the entire Ruling Council (so none of the official successors are left alive). Sam, as the only survivor of the murder of the previous Ruling Council, is therefore considered the rightful Ninja Emperor — and becomes the focus of all the plotting that comes with it. It's also the only way Sam can "step down". Since Emperors rule for life, someone has to kill him to take his place.
- You Killed My Father: Fridge eventually possesses a ninja and kills DJ Positive. Candice reveals herself to be his daughter moments before she kills herself and Fridge's body at the same time.
- You Will Be Spared: A somewhat dark version. When Blank kills Black, he claims to Sam that Black was his oldest and only friend, and that he made his death as quick and painless as he possibly could — but if Sam thinks he's deserved the same treatment, he is sadly mistaken.
- Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Here.
- Your Vampires Suck: See Take That above.