Webcomic / Trying Human

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tryinghuman.png

Trying Human is a science-fiction webcomic by Emy Bitner.

Rose Marie Williams is a secretary and filing clerk for a New York City police station. She frequently suffers from nosebleeds and what she thinks are episodes of sleepwalking, but actually, she has been being abducted by a group of aliens. One of the aliens, Hue, is not like the others. Also, he's smitten with her.

The story also follows Roger, Rose's on-again off-again boyfriend who winds up as the newest recruit to the Majestic 12, and Phillis, an Air Force translator in the 1940s whose mysterious connection with EBE1, the castaway alien (later Hue's genetic father) somehow resulted in her death.

These tropes have been deemed classified:

  • Abusive Alien Parents: EBE1 towards Hue.
  • Action Girl: Pigment kicks ass and takes names. In the fight against Roger, it's her who does most of the kicking, while her partner restricts himself to verbal lashing and looking cool.
  • The Ageless: Glasner is implied to have acquired this form of immortality through contact with alien technology, since he's been around since the 1940s and seemingly hasn't aged a day.
  • Alien Abduction: The Greys abduct humans for research. That's how Rose ( and Roger) ends up in the plot.
  • Alien Autopsy: Happened (off-page) in the forties storyline. Glassner also threatened EBE1 with it.
  • Alien Blood: The Greys have blue blood.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: For food, mainly.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: 6 has a thing for 8, who has a thing for Roger, who may or may not still have a thing for Rose. Also, Glasner and Phillis.
  • Anime Hair: Human Tone.
    • Justified as his chip has a glitch in it, causing his hair to appear like a "torch."
  • Arc Words: "Red" is important for as-of-yet undisclosed reasons. It's implied that it has to do with Shade, who has red eyes, or Rose, who has red hair.
    • The catatonic Phillis has red eyes.
  • Art Evolution: The difference between the early pages and the new pages is actually quite astounding, the artist has even begun to go back and redo the older chapters in her new style. A very impressive example can be seen here.
  • Artificial Human: 6 is explicitly called an engineered lifeform, but don't call him "half" anything.
    • All the current Grays are this, not just Hue. See Last of Their Kind.
  • Artificial Limbs: EBE1 has an artificial arm, made for him by Phillis. Notably, when Rose encounters Phillis or something resembling her on the spaceship, she says that she "makes arms" as an introduction.
  • Asshole Victim: Some pretty nasty stuff happens to Walter in the flashbacks such as getting pimp-slapped by EBE1 and injected with...green stuff by Dr Glasner - but honestly, what with the way he behaves sometimes, you can't deny he has it coming.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Soort of how the Guinea and Pig started, although she's a grownup (if small) from the beginning and every inch as capable as her companion. But they walk the Earth, fighting the good fight together.
  • Beta, Gamma, Delta Couple: Phillis and EBE1 and possibly more depending on how things play out.
    • 8 and Roger might have something going on, Longus and Don almost definitely.
      • And maybe Quazky and Gracelis too.
      • 8 and 6 seem to be quite close emotionally. He's rather sweet towards her (buying her that picture frame was adorable).
  • Between My Legs: This page when 8 and Glasner have their extracurricular activities.
  • Black Site: More than one. They're conveniently connected with a super fast alien-tech train.
  • Blinding Bangs: 8, and all of the Majestic 12 (save Roger and 6) have, in one way or another, Hidden Eyes.
    • Notably, when we do see 8's eyes (which is fairly often), it's nearly always during a vulnerable moment.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes and eye symbolism are all over the place.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Dr. Glassner has a disturbing tendency to bully Greys. Who are telepathic and telekinetic, and, in case of EBE1 at least, not afraid to use it.
  • Chick Magnet: Non-canon examples but EBE1, 7, and Hue. With dashes of Even the Guys Want Him. In canon, Longus, ironically enough.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Rose gets one here.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The fact that Roger just happens to be hired by an organization dealing with aliens while Rose is abducted by those same aliens. Later revealed to not in fact be a coincidence, since both Roger and Rose were abducted and that automatically put Roger on the watch list of potential agents.
  • Creator Cameo: More than once. Here is the latest.
  • Creepy Cute: Hue, and most noticeably, the Reptoids as a whole. They are human-eating lizard aliens, but have Cute Little Fangs and amusing dialogue that makes it hard to think they're creepy at all. Even Magnus manages a few humorous lines, usually targeted at Quazky.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: 3 (although in Chapter 18, it's revealed that the blonde hair is a wig).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rose, Quazky and EBE1.
    • Don't forget Guinea and Pig, whose very names show much propensity for Black Comedy snark.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The 1940s scenes eventually settled on appearing this way. With red details.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The Reptoids, especially in the earlier comics
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In Chapter 1 guess who's sitting behind Roger on the plane?
  • Easter Egg: Phillis is hidden in several pages of the comic.
  • Emotionless Aliens: The Greys have emotions, but they're very different from human ones, and Hue is considered defective because he acts like a human. However, if anything the other aliens are sometimes more emotional and expressive than the actual human characters.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Phillis.
  • Forceful Kiss: EBE1 has a message for Phillis. Unfortunately, only Rose is around to deliver it so...
  • FaceHeelTurn: Roger seems to be undergoing one during the latest chapters, going from easy-going goofball fish out of water to almost, sadistic glee at chasing down and hurting Hue, possibly justified slightly due to Hue not actually leaving Rose alone. And then he starts behaving increasingly paranoid and abusive towards Rose, culminating in slapping her hard across the face.
  • Fiery Redhead: Rose, at least when hanging around EBE1.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Phillis is shot trying to escape from the base with a baby. The question is how she got there.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In the case of the Deep Underground Military Bases.
  • Generation Xerox: EBE1 and Phillis in the forties, Hue and Rose present-day.
  • Goth: 7, with a hint of Ax-Crazy.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Roger, who's already rather stressed, reacts very violently when he sees his girlfriend with Hue.
  • The Greys: Hue and EBE1's race. Dour, described as creatures of rigid habits, reproduce by cloning. Also a Dying Race that's trying its hardest to preserve at least some of their legacy.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: It's heavily implied that 6 is in fact half-alien, though he vehemently denies being called "half".
  • Hands Off My Fluffy!: Rose standing up to EBE1 in Hue's defense.
  • Herr Doktor: The German Vernon Glassner.
  • Hugh Mann: None of the real humans running around seem to notice that Trying Human circuits don't actually work all that well. 7-foot-tall albinos? Normal! Guys with greenish skin, yellow-and-red slit pupil eyes, fangs, claws, forked tongues, and strangely spiky hairstyles, who demonstrate the ability to jump outrageous distances? Nothing to see here!
  • Humanity Ensues: EBE1 causes Rose's mind to screen image him as a human. He then kisses her.
  • Informed Judaism: Don. All we have is his own word.
  • In-Series Nickname: EBE1 always refers to Phillis as "Philena," a contraction of her first name and her last name, "Lennox."
    • The "Philena, queen of the moon" implies some mythological association he's having.
  • Interspecies Romance: All over the place, in many different flavours.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Greys use a type of memory altering that lets the abductee fill in the blanks as to what happened to them.
  • Last of Their Kind:The Grays' home planet burned up in one of its two suns. EBE1 was born/created shortly before it happened as a prototype form for deep space travel. The original Grays were much more expressive and colorful.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Dr. Glasner, though it's debatable how sane he was to begin with.
  • Mad Scientist: Glassner is... lower in decibels than most, but he is quite insane. Exhibit A: an Only Mostly Dead woman in a glass tank .
  • Mars Needs Women: Hue's attraction to Rose parallels EBE1's attraction to Phillis.
    • A lot of aliens in this series seem to be partial to humans, as well.
  • The Men in Black: Majestic 12, not that Roger knew when he signed up.
  • Mind over Matter: The Greys. They can also make walls temporarily intangible.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Longus. Seriously, lizard men were NEVER meant to be that sexy.
  • Ms. Fanservice: 8 is The Tease expert, especially towards Roger. It used to be her job.
  • My Card: Guinea (the AWOL agent formerly known as 12) and Pig (his grey companion Pigment) have one of these. Guinea gives it to Hue who can't read English in case he needed more of their badassery in the future.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Averted, although not very clear. It is more evident in this image
  • No Sense of Personal Space: 8, repeatedly and not just to Roger.
  • No Such Agency: The Majestic 12 is so secret they don't even use personal names (unless talking about someone who's already left the service). And don't tell the prospective recruits they're going to be shipped off to a top secret instalation in the middle of nowhere, completely incommunicado, say bye-bye to your loved ones forever, you're a Man (or Woman) in Black now. Wear your shades.
  • Older Than They Look: Besides Glassner, The Greys don't really seem to age - Pigment first came to Earth about thirty years before the present day plot started and she looks the same. EBE1 is probably older than she is and hasn't aged a day, either, since the 1940's.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Despite being shot in the opening scene, Phillis is still somehow alive and conscious in the modern day, albeit imprisoned in a jar by Dr. Glasner (see below).
  • People Jars: Glasner keeps Phillis' body in one.
  • Pet the Dog: Longus' relationship with Don, a young gay boy.
  • Psychic Link: EBE1 develops one with Phyllis. It transmits ''pain''.
  • Punny Name: Guinea and Pig escaped Area 51 when Glassner wanted to use them for a particularly vile experiment - we don't know the details yet.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Human Shade.
    • Justified, as with human Tone - her chip has a glitch in it causing her long locks.
  • The Reptilians: Two species on them, one of which is actually bred from Earth Troodon. And has prehensile tongues.
  • Rescue Romance: 8 seems to be trying to induce this with Roger, since he helped her out years ago, and says that she was the one who recommended him for the job.
    • Though it's not their first meeting, Longus rescues Don from a couple of thugs, which kickstarts their relationship.
  • Sanity Slippage: It seems Roger is cracking under the strain of his new MIB job...
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Guinea and Pig both sport these - he gets a classy red silk one, she has a pale yellow one over twice as long as she's tall.
  • Sex Dressed: 8 here, and Dr. Glasner a few pages later (note the unbuttoned shirt and lipstick stain).
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Gracelis, a high-class Draconian, wears a fur coat and uses a cigarette holder in both human and Reptoid form.
  • Spicy Latina: 8, judging by her last name and use of Spanish in a flashback, and she's more than willing to use her sexuality to get her way. In fact, she used to be a streetwalker.
  • Stalker With a Crush: Longus had apparently taken to "keeping an eye" on Don whenever he was off work.
    • Hue also fits the description. Abducting Rose in her sleep when it's not her turn to be taken, showing up at her apartment uninvited...
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Walter's attitude towards Phillis, though it fits with the 1940s setting.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Rose to Phillis, despite the former being redheaded and the latter being blonde. EBE1 has noticed.
    • In her childhood picture (and one dream sequence), Rose is blonde...
  • Telepathic Spacemen: The Greys, very much (they've lost the use of their mouths). Reptiloids, to smaller extent. No info on the Nordics yet.
  • Theme Naming: The Greys are named Hue, Shade, Tone, and Pigment. Only EBE1 doesn't fit this pattern, but it's because his "name" is actually a designation given to him by the U.S. Government (his real name hasn't been revealed).
    • According to Glasner, the practice of using names is a foreign concept to the Greys, so presumably their common names were also given to them by humans. (Shade is also referred to as EBE3 in one scene.)
    • Barring Quazky, all the Reptoids are named after (human) muscles or muscle groups.
  • Tin Man: The Greys. Even more apparent when they use the Trying Human units.
    • Exemplified with EBE1. He gets PISSED.
  • Triang Relations: Phillis, Walter and Glasner appear to be in a Type 3, while Phillis seems to at least partially reciprocate Walter's feelings. 8, Roger and Rose are in a Type 4, though 8 clearly wants to change Roger's mind about that. Meanwhile, 6, 8, and Roger are in a Type 5, with 6 at the A point.
    • Rose, Roger and Hue are in what appears to be a complicated Type 7; Roger and Rose each think of the other as their giflfriend/boyfriend even though they haven't been in touch lately, while Hue is smitten with Rose and she's beginning to feel the same way about him even if she doesn't realize it.
  • Title Drop: The Trying Human circuit that allows aliens to mimic humans.
  • The Twink: Don.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Mum.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 17:
    • Phillis has a telepathically-induced freakout when Glasner stabs EBE1's prosthetic hand with a scalpel to demonstrate that it can feel pain.
    • Longus shows Don what he really is.
    • Roger discovers that Hue has been spending time with Rose, and shoots him (non-fatally) in a jealous rage.
    • Shade wipes Rose's memories of her alien encounters, and reveals to Hue that his own memories of earlier encounters with Rose had been erased.
  • Yandere: 8 seems to be shaping up to be this, and even recommended Roger for the job to get close to him.
  • You Are Number 6: ... and Roger's not at all happy about it.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Even when Rose joins an "alien abductee" support group, her story is seen as far-fetched.
    • When Rose tells EBE1 she's been seeing Phillis all over the place. Not surprisingly, he thinks the experiments have made her loony.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/TryingHuman?from=Main.TryingHuman