Webcomic: Sandra on the Rocks
Sandra the Unhappy Bunny (Girl)
When Sandra's around, everything is wild...and glamorous!Sandra On the Rocks
— Marie (frothing Sandra fangirl)
is a webcomic written by Dave Lumsdon (aka Dave Zero1) and drawn by Remy "Eisu" Mokhtar. It originally started as filler strips in its parent comic, Ménage à 3
in December 2011, and became a separate production on April 2, 2013. The lead character comes from Ménage à 3
, but Sandra
has a different artist and a somewhat different atmosphere; it's less a Slice of Life
and more of a satire
of the clichés of the modelling and computer games businesses. Also, while Ménage à 3
and its earlier Spin-Off Sticky Dilly Buns
are set in Montreal, Canada, this comic is set in Paris
, France, at least to begin with.
The title character, Sandra Arden, was originally a member of Ménage à 3
's second-line cast, a waitress and workmate of first-line character DiDi. In that comic, through a drunken accident, she found herself transported from Montreal to Brazil in the company of transsexual
model Senna. Unable to get home, Sandra became Senna's personal assistant, soon discovering that Senna is a boss from hell
. Her salvation comes in the form of international fashion photographer Domenico Pedrazzini, who whimsically decides that her freckles make her interesting, declares that she will be his next great discovery, and ships her off to Paris to live in his own penthouse while he and his team transform her into a model.
Unfortunately, once there, Sandra discovers not only that Domenico is an unpredictable flake, but that his team includes his PA, Tatiana Likhachyova, a semi-closeted dominatrix
and Beta Bitch
type who treats Domenico as her alpha and who has an unrequited crush on him
. Tatiana quickly becomes insanely jealous of Domenico's interest in Sandra and determined to drive her off or destroy her
. However, Sandra wants to stay, if only because she soon finds romance in Paris. So to begin with, the comic becomes a contest between Sandra's innocent luck, resilience, and occasionally displays of gumption, and Tatiana's determined if erratic attempts at evil. Matters are further complicated when other members of Domenico's team are required to train Sandra, some of her modelling gigs get complicated, and other characters enter the cast, many with their own Plot Threads
The first page is here
. Note that some other pages may be at least marginally NSFW; although Sandra
so far lacks the explicit sex and nudity that characterises Ménage à 3
, it does feature some buttock-cleft and Side Boob
glimpses, along with a little BDSM
and some ... interesting ... lingerie
Sandra on the Rocks contains examples of:
open/close all folders
- Bare Your Midriff: Demonstrated on 40% of the characters present (and correct for a night out clubbing) here.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Domenico and Zoé are divorced, but there is still...chemistry...between them, sometimes requiring buckets of cold water.
- "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Necessarily demonstrated by Sandra, in the painful elbow-to-gut form, when Gary is being Gary.
- Beta Couple: The relationship between Alex and Marie is a background sub-plot, while Sandra's romances (mostly with Pierre) are a foreground concern. However, the trope is inverted in one important respect; Sandra and Pierre have a fairly straightforward relationship, whereas Alex and Marie have problems, mainly due to geeky adolescent inexperience.
- Book Ends: In the very first strip, Senna says "When I'm around, everything is glamorous". In the last strip of the first 150-strip volume, Marie says "When Sandra's around, everything is wild... and glamorous!". The Call Back is clearly deliberate, especially given that Ménage à 3 uses visual as well as verbal callbacks to bookend its volumes.
- The Cameo: There are occasional appearances by characters who are normally based in Ménage à 3. In addition, Eisu may occasionally slip in characters from his other work. For example, this strip features a non-speaking appearance by Maureen from his own No Pink Ponies.
- Celebrity Resemblance:
- In a slightly odd in-universe example, Sandra is fortuitously discovered at a video game trade show when a live-action model is needed for a game heroine.
- Marie, the teenage fan girl, bears a startling resemblance to cosplay model Marie-Claude Bourbonnais (minus her super powers), with the same spiky blonde hair and big eyes. However, Word of God says this is a total coincidence.
- Childhood Friends: Alex and Marie. It's pretty clear that Marie wouldn't mind if it grew into something more, but Alex isn't as quick to break out of the "platonic friend" mindset.
- Cleavage Window: Present on some of the showier fashion outfits seen in the comic — notably on Zoé's clubbing outfit here. This may be a little unwise of her, given that she usually opts for "stylish", and this dress reminds us that she's got quite a bit of cleavage to show.
- Coitus Ensues: After letting her temper (and her mouth) get the better of her, Sandra tells Tatiana and her other trainers that she'll cross the street to Pierre's shop naked, to prove that she doesn't have body modesty problems. She's allowed to take a bedsheet, but that gets caught on a door, leaving her exposed. When Pierre offers her a spare uniform to cover up, she thanks him for not making fun of her, or trying to take advantage of the situation, then says she wouldn't have minded if he had made a move on her. A little one. One panel later, they're doing it on the floor.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: No, Cammi doesn't care that she's just been caught having sex with her boss' ex-husband by her boss, she just wants ten more minutes to finish up.
- Cosplay: The crossover with Ménage à 3 involves some cosplay-related complications, though most of the specific events are shown in the other comic. After Sandra models as in-universe videogame heroine "Carmen Chamelia," she finds herself a geek idol, and uses Gary from the other comic as a consultant on geek culture. He explains cosplay to her, just as Tatiana is forming a weird plan of her own that involves making Sandra dress up in a white dominatrix outfit for a fictional shoot that Gary interprets as perfect Emma Frost cosplay. When Senna uploads the pictures from the shoot to Sandra's website, Alex and Marie also interpret them that way, rather than as bondage gear.
- Cross Over: As well as spinning off from Ménage à 3, this comic has crossed over with that one. The story in question was foreshadowed by a couple of strips in the parent comic, but really began with a double image of the same moment here and here. Subsequently, for a while, alternate strips from each would begin with a re-drawing of the last panel from the other — though either comic could be read on its own and still make sense. Then the plot threads diverged a little more, although they continued to run in parallel for a few more strips.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: This being a comic about the modelling business, any of the female characters may be willing and able to flash a good pair of legs from time to time, although as this isn't an action-oriented comic, they don't usually have to worry much about unintended flashes. However, Tatiana evokes the trope more significantly; she's supposed to be a quiet, reserved personnel assistant, but she always wears a (very mini) miniskirt — giving a large hint that there's a side to her personality that she's trying to keep hidden.
- Darker and Edgier: Parodied here and in the surrounding storyline, in the treatment given to retooled in-universe videogame character "Carmen Chamelia". Sandra is not amused.
- Death Glare: Demonstrated by Zoé on an unfortunate paparazzi, to useful effect. She should be at a situational disadvantage, but her build helps, and perhaps she actually turns even her state of dress to her advantage somehow.
- Delicious Distraction: Sandra hits Pierre's bakery to distract herself after a rough week, and Nadine regards Pierre's croissants as a good way to celebrate distracting Eloise from a jealous rage.
- Dramatic Unmask: More or less parodied when Sandra takes off the mascot head she's been obliged to wear at a video game trade show, and two significant onlookers realise that she resembles video game character "Carmen Chamelia". (And one of them has just said "And it's not like there is a suitable replacement nearby"...)
- Easter Bunny: Sandra is wearing a rabbit costume — possibly an Easter Bunny outfit, though that tradition is more or less unknown in France — when she first enters Pierre's boulangerie.
- Eiffel Tower Effect:
- Enemy Mine: A three-sided conflict brews up over Gary during his crossover visit from Ménage à 3, from about strip #66 (late September 2013) onwards, involving Sandra, Senna, and Tatiana. Such fights tend to involve a lot of (unstable) temporary alliances.
- Face Framed in Shadow: Used in the introduction of Sandra's possibly-mysterious enemy.
- Fanservice: All of the major characters are more or less good-looking, and the plot and context provide plenty of opportunities for some of them to get down to underwear.
- Fanservice with a Smile: Appears in slightly variant form, when Sandra (an ex-waitress) acts as a "booth babe" at a series of trade conventions (some of which happen to be connected with the food industry) as part of her training.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: Gary's always-reliable social ineptitude produces a full-on faux pas.
- Foreign Cuss Word: When Lavali breaks up with her girlfriend Claire, they sling a couple of French insults at each other that might have endangered the strip's PG-13 rating if they'd been translated.
- Alex and Marie, two teenage fans who Sandra acquires when she blunders into the videogames world, function as the comic's baseline geek presence. Their blog may play a significant part in the rapid growth of Sandra's online popularity.
- Gary, in a guest appearance from/crossover with Ménage à 3, is also quintessentially geeky, and serves as Sandra's consultant on geekdom.
- Generic Cuteness: Widespread in this comic — not entirely surprisingly, given that it centers on the modelling business. For example:
- Sandra is treated as an ugly little peasant by Senna, Tatiana, and her model coaches, despite being a very cute young woman. That being said, these people are in a business where freckles alone are usually considered a deal-breaker.
- Tatiana, a seemingly innocuous and unassuming PA who is largely ignored by her photographer boss, can wear a minuscule miniskirt with complete effectiveness.
- Cammi, the agency's driver, looks like she ought to be one of its models. Her total self-confidence helps, but she has plenty to be confident about.
- Meanwhile, Alex and Marie, a pair of geeks with no evident connection to the fashion business (until Marie is recruited by Zoé), are just adorkable. Even Lavali, an office assistant at a games company who lacks the glamor and confidence of most of the cast, only needs a well-chosen dress and a few minutes with a stylist to be able to go out clubbing with three models without looking out of place.
- Give Geeks a Chance: At least somewhat implicit in Marie's view of Alex and especially in Sandra's view of Gary. However, neither relationship has yet fully developed, and both guys are adorkable to Hollywood Nerd levels.
- The Glomp: Lavali executes a rather sedate glomp onto her brother Alex, marked as such with an Unsound Effect, when she needs comfort after a break-up.
- Gone Horribly Right: Tatiana plans to drive Sandra away by an intensive regime of humiliation. However, the intense and sometimes humiliating training regime which Sandra undergoes (largely courtesy of Zoé, in fact) does apparently help turn her into a competent model.
- The Grunting Orgasm: Pierre's first time with Sandra produces some fairly restrained but audible moans of "Oh Sandra". What neither of them know, unfortunately, is that they have witnesses at that moment — and Eloise isn't going to take this scene well.
- Heroes Want Redheads: She isn't the hero, but Cammi has expressed interest in Sandra.
- Hollywood Game Design: "Dark Matter Games" may be at least a borderline case:
- Certainly, their chief designer seems to be rather flaky, and readers don't see a very large staff in their Paris office, considering that they appear to be a major games company. However, some staff members could simply be off-screen, and some elements of the depiction, notably the faintly sinister chief executive, can be considered deliberate parodies of the trope.
- It is, though, pretty obvious that the creators haven't the slightest idea what happens during a MoCap session. Of course, there probably wouldn't be as much room for comedy if they did the research.
- Hollywood Nerd: Various characters in the comic are presented as geeky or nerdy. Three such characters, though, are Gary, Alex, and Marie — all total Hollywood nerds — and other geeky types, while often plump, are rarely really hideous.