Sinfest in its early days. From left to right: Percival, Pooch, Criminy, Monique, Squigley, and Slick.Sinfest
is a webcomic
by Tatsuya Ishida, an outgrowth of a strip he originally created for the UCLA college newspaper. It's one of the longest-running
webcomics around, with over 5,000 strips
as of fall 2014.Sinfest
started out as a lighthearted comedy revolving mainly around the goofy antics of Slick, a Calvin-esque
teenaged "pimp" who was always trying to look cool and pick up chicks, and his hot friend
Monique, who spent her days flirting with hot guys (of whom Slick never qualified). Other prominent characters included God
, the Devil
, Buddha, and the Dragon, an embodiment of Eastern religion; Seymour and Li'l Evil, raging fanboys of God and the Devil respectively; Squigley, a stoner pig who is one of Slick's pals; The Artist, a comic artist and Ishida's Author Avatar
; Percival and Pooch, the Artist's cat-and-dog duo; and Criminy
, the sheltered bookworm.
In its early years, Sinfest
was mainly a gag-a-day comic with little regard for continuity. In addition to the humor based on the cast's foibles, it routinely played with Black Comedy
scenarios, drug- and sexually-themed humor, and featured subversive pokes at the nature of religion and morality, among other topics and Running Gags
. Slick and Monique's odd friendship/rivalry/something was the foundation of the comic and focus never strayed from it for long, but after a few years, other storylines became prominent, such as Criminy's chaste romance with one of the Devil's succubi, the Devil becoming a more serious antagonist, and revelations about Li'l Evil's backstory, as well as politically-themed gags and overall development for many characters.
However, in October 2011, Sinfest
began a huge
shift in theme and focus with the introduction of the Sisterhood. This was the first step in the comic ditching almost every aspect of its old nature and turning toward a radical brand of second-wave feminism
. In the current setting, society is brainwashed by a Matrix
-like Patriarchy controlled by the Devil, and the comic's world is connected to an alternate reality where greed, lust, and other traits fueled by the Patriarchy are the norm
. The Sisterhood have almost taken over as the main characters, while Slick and Monique have been moved to secondary status and long-time favorites such as the Dragon, Buddha, and even Criminy are barely seen. Due to the Sisterhood's influence, Monique's personality has done a complete 180, and her ties with Slick are all but erased. Several new characters have been introducednote
, and the comic is now focusing on extended storylines that can run for weeks at a time, with once-regular gags now only occasionally showing up. These changes, plus complaints about the seeming invincibility of the Sisterhood and structural issues with the storylines, as well as Ishida using the comic to take potshots at its critics
, have led to a severely Broken Base
and made Sinfest
one of the most controversial webcomics around. Ishida's Reclusive Artist
nature hasn't helped, as outside of a cryptic hint dropped by the Artist, no one knows what prompted the changes.
This webcomic provides examples of:
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- Oh, Crap:
- Old Shame: In-Universe; The artist now regrets the tone of his previous work.
- One-Person Birthday Party: it's revealed that this was one of many Break the Cutie moments for Lil' Evil throughout his life.
- Order Versus Chaos: Satan likes to frame his conflict with God in these terms, though it seems to be a lot messier than that.
- Orphaned Punchline
- Out of Focus: Slick during the early Patriarchy Arc. Lampshaded in this January 2012 strip. On the whole, Buddha, the dragon, the angels, the zombie, and to a lesser extent Criminy have basically disappeared ever since the Sisterhood showed up.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Lots of single-page "Sinfest in X" variants. "Ninja Theatre", Mecha Anime, Disney, Steampunk...
- Pædo Hunt: Pedotron Needs Little Girls.
Youngest Sister: Die.
- Pals with Jesus: Buddha.
- Panty Shot:
- Parallel Porn Titles: Babygotback Mountain.
- Pass the Popcorn: Incoming Fanservice? Cue Squig with inexplicable chair and popcorn.
- Pet the Dog:
- Pig Man
- Plot Tumor: "Patriarchy" and boy did it grow fast (to the point where the strip has become centered on Trike Girl's actions and the ramifications of said actions). Also lampshaded by Slick in January 2012.
- It did die down, although it reappeared with a vengeance around April or May, where as of July, around half of the strips (sometimes breaking to more than half) focus on this plotline, while the plots involving Storytime Zombie, Seymour, Lil'E, Tangerine, and Criminy have mostly disappeared.
- Pocket Dimension: There are several pocket dimension that one can enter simply by crossing a invisible barrier marked out by a sign. One turns you into the opposite gender and the other turns everything within it to a realistic state. The latter starts to destroy any pure-blooded demons that go into it (one started to disintegrate, one seemed to have it's heart stop, and another was set on fire). They will recover if they get out in time, though. Half demons are unaffected. Many males are depicted as half the height of females outside of the Reality Zone. Inside it, they grow to normal height. Also, the Devil's powers apparently don't work in the Reality zone as he displays reluctance even step into the zone.
- Politicians Kiss Babies: Slick is up for this when running for president -- the baby is less agreeable.
- The Power of Friendship: A subtle example...
- The Power of Love:
- The angels' glitter has more functionality than just "Brownie points".
- The last panel suggests the Devil's "re-demonizing" of Fuchsia hasn't fully taken.
- Her reaction to the "Spirit Fingers" of the damned confirms it. (From her horrified reaction, we can assume Blue taught them that, too)
- It wouldn't be the first time The Devil's efforts have failed to revert Fyoosh. It's pretty much confirmed that Criminy's the reason why.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Devil Corp generally promotes misogyny, but within their own factories, they discourage it due to the fact that it holds up production and hurts their bottom line.
- Precision F-Strike: "Aw HELL no!" Mainly because it's Jesus saying this. JESUS.
- Public Domain Artifact: Excalibur!
- Punch Clock Villain: Literally in this strip.
- Put on a Bus: The Dragon, Buddha, and the Angels have basically disappeared ever since Xanthe and the Sisterhood took prominance.
- Raging Stiffie: "He's here for you, too", indeed.
- Reality Ensues: Rather literally with the "Reality Zone."
- Rebus Bubble: Prevalent in some of the later strips, especially the Sunday color strips, which usually don't have much written dialogue. This strip is a premium example.
- Recycled In Space: A lot of one-page remake gags, like Booty and the Beast or Steampunk Jesus.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fuchsia the Devil Girl and Baby Blue the Devil Girl.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The Sisterhood is always on the side of good (more specifically Chaotic Good), with no ambiguity whatsoever in a world where Lawful Good characters are incompetent or aloof.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Here:
Percy: Is there anything in the world more miserable than a wet cat?
Pooch: Ummmm... A frozen penguin? ... A shaved porcupine? Constipated skunk? ... A toothless beaver!
- Right Behind Me: ...I mean, nice hellhole you got there.
- Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue: Referenced near the start of the strip.
- Fuchsia writes one of these about Criminy here behind the Devil's back.
- Running Gag: Several:
- Sadistic Choice: She hasn't made it yet but recent events imply that Fuchsia is going to have make a decision eventually.
- Scenery Porn: While it started out with black and white comic strips, in 2008 some gorgeous full-colour, full page spreads started to appear, sometimes with beautiful depictions of nature.
Drone: Sinfest: Juvenile Humor. Lowbrow. Trashy. Cultural relevance: Low.
- Sex Is Evil: Maybe? It's definitely associated with Satan, and seems to be opposed to God, but that doesn't mean much in this setting. On the other hand, Criminy and Fuchsia are both the most loving couple and the least intimate, and Slick seems to love Monique more after he gives up trying to get in her pants. On the first hand again, Fuchsia and Baby Blue are gay-for-pay with each other and are clearly good friends (though they're not actually in love with each other . . .) It's confusing.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: In a series of strips where Monique dressed as a Gypsy girl, at one point she ran into Seymour, who accused her of inflaming lust. She paraphrases Matthew 18:9 to imply that Seymour's just as inflamed.
- Sexy Santa Dress: 'Nique, Fyoosh, and Blue wear them for one Christmas arc◊, though the devil girls are technically Satan's little helpers...
- A self-deprecatory one, considering the author's admission to it being an influence, to Calvin and Hobbes.
- A later strip has Squigley fly past a boy and tiger in a box while he's on one of his drug induced couch flights.
- The October 30th strip references Nighthawks, a 1940s painting.
- This strip alone has more shout outs than you can shake a stick at.
- To Where's Waldo? here
- To Calvin and Hobbes in the Reality Zone here, as well as The Simpsons and Charlie Brown.
- Slick's words in the second panel here are taken from the chorus to "Message in a Bottle" by The Police.
- The book Criminy gave Fuchsia, the one thing she felt important enough to take with her when she left the Devi's mansion, is a Shout Out to Saturday Night Live.
- The devil needs some peace and security to watch My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Careful that they don't just take over, though. Lastly, a Horse, a Unicorn, and a Pegasus all in the same panel, in Paradise.
- The church's art has an unusual take on the "Holy Ghost" portion of the Christian Trinity.
- Show Within a Show: "Ninja Theatre" is Slick's project (see also the next page).
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Seymour's Knight Templar passive-aggressive ways pushes Fuchsia's Berserk Button, leading her into a Despair Event Horizon. As Seymour tries to say a sermon, Criminy promptly tells him that he has had ENOUGH.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts:
- Significant Haircut: 'Nique gets one here. We'll see if it sticks.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The scale used to sit at the cynical end, but slowly started working its way up to the idealistic side thanks to an ever increasingly amount of strips that can't help but tug at your heartstrings.
- Sometimes Pooch will wander around looking at a couple of things, and marvel in wonder, followed by Percy, who will look at the same or similar things in fear and anger. For example, Pooch sees nature as an artist, and Percy sees nature as an enemy.
- Soap Box Sadie: The Sisterhood.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Monique. Half the time she's flaunting it, and the other half she's mourning the consequences of having dudes fall for her left and right, especially when it leads them straight to Hell...literally.
- Something Else Also Rises: Slick and Dilbert's ties.
- Space Whale Aesop: A public service announcement.
- Played straight and combined with a Fantastic Aesop with the fembots. Buying one is not only evil and sexist, but will also lead to violence.
- Speech Bubbles Interruption
- Squee: Apparently Satan likes My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Stalker with a Crush: Fuchsia becomes one for a while after she starts to become enamored of Criminy.
- Status Quo Is God: It seems that Tatsuya will NEVER resolve any of the UST between Slick and 'Nique.
- As far as Slick and 'Nique, perhaps this is why. Not that 'Nique didn't express much the same sentiments herself earlier...
- Strange Minds Think Alike: During a bout of Illuminati-fueled paranoia, Slick builds a pillow fort to protect himself. When Squigley shows up to check on him, he's very disappointed in Slick... Because everybody knows you gotta use couch cushions.
- Strawman Conservative: Several cases, most notably Little Evil.
- Straw Misogynist: Slick and the Devil have been the most prominent examples and are largely Played for Laughs. Straw Misogynists become quite a bit more prominent in the Sisterhood storyline. They also get used to attack those who dislike the Sisterhood.
- Stripperific: The Succubi. Duh.
- Subliminal Seduction: All the time. "Special messages" on TV. Also, Monique talked backward, just to scare Seymour.
- Summon Backup Dancers: Done here.
- Summoning Ritual: Interrupted.
- Sunglasses at Night (Slick)
- Super-Deformed Chibi Sinfest
- Sweet Polly Oliver: here.
- Take That: This strip.
- Take That, Audience!: The Xanthe and Sisterhood storylines have proven controversial among some members of the fanbase. A number of the strips make fun of them:
- The Patriarchy filter strips portray anyone who doesn't like Xanthe or the Sisterhood arc as self serving misogynists
- This strip makes fun of the fact that many of those complaining haven't stopped reading the comic yet.
- Take That, Critics!: Tats is fond of labeling anyone who dislikes Xanthe, the Sisterhood, or the Patriarchy arc as a Straw Misogynist.
- Taking the Bullet: Crimey for Fuchsia, although I think Cupid was aiming for him.
- Talking in Your Dreams
- Team Switzerland: Buddha acts as a neutral third party to God and the Devil. He'd be Above Good and Evil if he weren't one of the nicest characters in the strip.
- Theme Naming: The succubi are named after their hair colors.
- Three-Laws Compliant: Defied when Curly reprograms a group of Fembots, leading them to attack the staff at the Fembot factory.
- Through His Stomach: Subverted here.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Slick is short. Also, Fuchsia and Criminy. Both are taller in the Reality Zone.
- Actually applies to most of the core male cast — Slick, Squiggley, Criminy, Seymour and Lil' Evil are roughly all half the size of the women — with the exception of the Devil (and obviously God). Oddly enough, the male supporting cast (Jesus, Uncle Sam, etc) are all of normal height.
- In the reality zone, they are the exact same size as the girls. Much more realistic.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: When Monique and Absinthe hang out together.
- Took a Level in Badass: See Beware The Nice Ones above. It looked as if Criminy was about to kill Seymour.
- Even more so now that he is going into the very maw of Hell itself for Fuchsia. Go get her Criminy!!
- Fuchsia herself has taken one and decided she's not going to hide her relationship with Criminy any longer. She even blows up the Devil's security alarms as she proceeds to march out of the mansion. Granted, Fyoosh always had that kind of power, but she's also always been shown to cringe at the thought of having to face her boss.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Seymour after the Bad Behavior series.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Slick. To some degree, Monique too.
- Torture Technician: Baby Blue gets creative sometimes. See: Cool and Unusual Punishment. Chances are, all the torturers but Fuchsia (now) can be that way.
- Training Montage: Seymour buffs up after Monique calls him on his gender confusion rant.
- Translation Trainwreck: In-Universe example in this strip.
- God's Devil Puppet.
- Baby Blue's method of choice for causing trouble. She always has the right thing to say or do to get under people's skin. Her favorite target is Seymour, not that he doesn't deserve it.
- Tsundere: Percival. He just can't admit how much he likes stuff. Including Pooch.
- Übermensch — or rather Uberboy
- Umbrella of Togetherness: You can stand under my umbrella.
- The Unfair Sex: ...is the new fair. Since the Sisterhood appeared, the strip runs on this, depicting every man as a misogynistic jerk and every woman as a poor victim if any conflict arises. Even the Hell Girls are now characters much more moral and sympathetic than males, and as for Buddha and Jesus, we're simply not seeing much of them these days.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Slick and 'Nique. Squigley prefers to phrase it in more straightforward terms, though.
- Unsound Effect: All over it — here, here, here, here, and here. Explore Explore!
- Up to Eleven: Satan has a Paranoia Meter that does this.
- Vagina Dentata: The Fan Girl has been making comics about this, she even made them detachable.
- Villainous Crush: Fuchsia to Criminy. Starts her development into an Anti-Villain.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Observe.
- The Voiceless: Buddha.
- Or is he?
- Which is weird, because he started out having a voice when he was introduced.
- Walking the Earth: After some coercion, Squig does this during an arc beginning late in October, 2010. In fact, he walks through a number of other comics.
- War Room: Hell's control room is shown here.
- Waxing Lyrical: Several
- "You're like a butterfly. A wild butterfly. I will collect you and capture you."
- "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you."
- "Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice, oh, and it lights up the night...and you see your gypsyyy..."
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: As it turns out, this is a lot of what drives Lil' E.
- The reason he was abandoned by his father here
- Though he may not recall just why he is so desperate for that person's approval, considering how young he seems to have been when they stopped living as father and son.
- Some of the Devil's interactions with the "Puppet-master in the Sky" seem like this turned sour.
- Weird Trade Union:
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: For all his Jerk Ass Knight Templar behavior, Seymour does mean well. Unfortunately his methods are fundamentalist and do not allow for differing points of view.
- The Sisterhood as well, despite their admirable goals.
- Wham Episode: After Lil E gets his mind wiped by the River Lethe, Baby Blue pulls up his history on 'Wickedpedia' showing a flashback that strongly implies that he's Satan's son.
- What Beautiful Eyes: Criminy, according to Fuchsia.
- When I Was Your Age: Uncle Sam to Slick — who asks him about the uphill both ways.
- Wicked Cultured: Satan
- Wiki Rule: Monique has discovered a wiki devoted entirely to her, with very up to date info on her. Also, an email to Slick from Monique saying that she made a wiki for him: SlickyWiki. Also, the webcomic now has its own wiki.
- Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: A TV does this after seppuku.
- The World Is Just Awesome: There's a few moments like this and thankfully, they tend to be in the Sunday color strips, like this one. Also, this.
- Wrench Wench: The feminist girls built a playground in one night.
- Writer on Board: In all honesty, the strips featuring the Sisterhood tend to read more like a feminist tract than anything else.
- Wrong Context Magic: The word "magic" is never used, but Squigley's shamanic powers are completely different from anything demonstrated by angels or devils.
- Yandere: Fuchsia seems to be one given what she says in this comic. She has since gotten better. Possibly Baby Blue in a Depraved Bisexual example.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: How Criminy regards Ms. Fuchsia.
- You Are What You Hate: Arguably the author itself.
- You Are Worth Hell: Better in context, but even out of it, aw....
Did you really come down here to save me? Criminy:
Yes. Well, no
. Not to save
you... Just to be
with you. Fuchsia: *GLOMP*
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: That's clever. Guilt Trip, much?
- Your Mom: Used by the embodiment of eastern religions Here.
- Yuri Fan: Slick and Squigley.
- Zettai Ryouiki: