written by: stuart richards
In defiance of: the laws of god and natureThe 503
—Header notes for the proof-of-concept installment of The 503
is a rendered photograph/line drawing webcomic about several friends who move to Portland, Oregon together and the various events that transpire throughout the course of that journey.Word of God says
that the strip is based on the real-life experiences of the author and his friends, so the comic is at least somewhat autobiographical in nature.
Currently, the strip is dealing with Author Avatar Philip Archibald Stone
's journey to Portland, and the various people he meets along the way.
This webcomic utilizes the following tropes:
- Author Avatar: Philip Archibald Stone
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the proof-of-concept strip.
- Bar Brawl: Initiated by Demitri Kalinin and John Flatt in this strip, and continued here, with appropriate music ("London Calling" by The Clash).
- Cluster F-Bomb: Demitri's response to being Hoist by His Own Petard in this strip.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Phil obviously has one of these, first referenced here and then made more explicit with a dream sequence to the point where other characters noticed it on their own.
- Death by Origin Story: Dawn Rachel Mcallender, Phil's girlfriend, dies in a wildfire in 2006. This is what motivates Phil to move to Portland and fills him with grief at the beginning of the strip.
- Funetik Aksent: The Australian owners of the Jolly Swagman speak in a strong bogan accent represented as such and even lampshaded in Strip 70.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: When Demitri asks Phil to prove his (Phil's) existence. Given that Demitri has a black eye as a result of an earlier Bar Brawl, the outcome is fairly predictable.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Phil's conversation with Demitri in this installment:
Phil: Okay, then, let's take your overly-skeptical approach to everything. Prove to me that you exist.
Demitri: Don't pull that Descartes crap. I'm right here in front of you, you can see me. Don't be ridiculous.
- Precision F-Strike: The bouncer, when he kicks John and Demitri out of the bar.
- Oh, Crap: When Phil Stone realizes he's . . . become romantically involved with the girlfriend of a Huskers lineman:
Phil: I. Did. WHAT. With. A. Husker's. Girlfriend.
Phil: Christ on a crutch.
Cindy: Or you, if he ever finds out!
- Rail Enthusiast: Ryan Sangiorgio, who improbably gets the girl because of it.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: As noted above, the webcomic is partly inspired by the author's life in Portland.
- Riddle for the Ages: The fairy which shows up in this episode - is it a figment of Phil's imagination, or is it real?
- Sex for Solace: Averted when Shellie backs away from a kiss with Phil after learning about the death of his girlfriend three years ago in Strip 189.
- Slice of Life: See "Real Life Writes the Plot".
- Trickster: Demitri Kalinin
- Write What You Know: Based on the author's experiences in Portland.