Webcomic / Wondermark
Marooned: Day 2 note
An Illustrated Jocularity
What happens when you mix Victorian-era illustrations with modern day insanity?
Welcome to the world of David Malki !'s Wondermark
. A world of top hats and Steampunk laptops played down to contrast the modern, neurotic characters that populate it. A gag-a-day webcomic with Negative Continuity
and no recurring characters (except maybe the alien Gax
and "superevil" puppy butt Mr Meanscary
), each strip is a brief window into the lives of absurd but not entirely unrealistic new people.
The humor is a little diverse on a strip-to-strip basis but the bulk of it comes from good ol' human neuroses and eccentricities. Common subjects are banter and 'duels', often between spouses, observations about society and culture, poop jokes and a healthy dose of hypocrisy and narcissism. There's also an occasional abstract strip that relies more on visual gags and general weirdness. One thing that always remains prevalent is a strong sense of irony.
The author has arranged some of his favorite strips on a single page as an introduction to new readers; this can be found here
. Of particular interest to tropers is this strip
, featuring the Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000
Also worth checking out are The Comic Strip Doctor
, a critical dissection of newspaper comics, and Dispatches From Wondermark Manor
, a series of parody Victorian novels, both by the same author.
Wondermark provides examples of:
- Alt Text: Of the bonus joke kind.
- Anachronism Stew: The DeLorean as a train.
- Art-Style Dissonance: The art is taken straight from sophisticated Victorian art. The jokes are absurd and often nonsensical.
- Author Tract: Frequently subverted. Characters will start off making a typical 'angry webcomic author' rant at someone, only to go somewhere very, very strange. Example.
- Beat Panel
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Starhorse arc invokes this in the most frustrating way possible—the fisherman ends up only catching one of five horse-heads, and every time he tries to make a wish the single head warns him that whatever he wishes for will be reduced to one-fifth in the most inconvenient way possible.
Linehorse: ...But alone, I can only one-fifthgrant wishes.
Fisherman: Ah! So if I were to ask for five million dollars, might I still get one?
Linehorse: Kind of like that. You would get five million fifth-dollars. Like, bills, but only one-fifth of each bill. Or sacks and sacks of wedge-shaped coins. No vending machine will take them.
- Critical Research Failure: This one:
Salesman: "Hello sir for order a camel?"
Customer: "Capital! Thank you! Just one question before I set off. How high can this beast fly? Are we talking mountain-vaulting altitudes or is it more a graze-the-steeples type of affair?"
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "At the Walforth Barber Academy, our credentialed graduates coif kings, popes, and emperor-pope-kings."
- Cut-and-Paste Comic: Most of the time. Though image manipulation is fairly common.
- Dead All Along: Word of God says this has been true for everyone since the very beginning.
- Fate Drives Us Together
- Franchise Zombie: Not Wondermark itself, but in the Comic Strip Doctor column, Malki dissects this phenomenon as it relates to newspaper comics. Established strips run on brand recognition for decades after they cease to be funny, and newspapers are afraid to take risks on new artists. The result is, it's extremely difficult to get into the business, and the majority of newspaper comics are boring, predictable drivel. He considers webcomics to be the cure, because while Sturgeon's Law still applies, the truly talented now have an outlet to get their work recognized without having to compete for space on the funny page with the likes of Dennis the Menace (US) and Ziggy.
- God Is Evil: Discussed in a series of strips beginning here.
- Ice-Cream Koan:
"God, with a sword, can make a man a king. But a king, with a sword, can only make a man a knight. A knight, with a sword, can make a man a corpse. So... I kind of forgot where I was going there."
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In which most of the comics are named as such.
- In Which a Trope Is Described: See above.
- It's Been Done: A man claims to have invented "food inside of bread." He's less than happy to be told that dumplings already exist. In the followup strip, he thinks he still deserves some recognition for inventing them independently — a claim which, even if true, his friend finds unimpressive.
]: But so what?
What do you want, a medal? Ben:
What is that Ben's Friend:
It's like... an award, that you wear around your neck. Ben: Dangit
I had that
idea too! Alt Text:
Well, in MY conception they'd mainly give them out for military heroism and athletic achievement...you're KIDDING ME. YOU ARE KIDDING ME. FOR CRYING. OUT. LOUD.
- I Wished You Were Dead: Parodied here.
- Jerkass Genie: Turns out that the one-fifth of a starhorse could have granted one whole wish whenever it wanted to.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: This strip.
- Moral Guardians: O selfless saviors!.
- Mundane Made Awesome: What was going through your mind?
- Necessary Fail: O Theoretical Saviors
- Negative Continuity
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Next years memes predicted.
- Nobody Here but Us Statues: This◊ Drabble Remix Comic from The Comic Strip Doctor.
- Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: Applied to an unfortunate Cyrano 
- Old British Money: Price Sixpence
Or by post Sixpence Halfpenny
- Once an Episode: The Comic Strip Doctor column always ends with, "See you in the funny pages."
- Overly Long Airplane Banner Gag: Done in this strip, using a bird rather than an airplane.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: 
- Present Day Past
- Remix Comic: Some of the articles in The Comic Strip Doctor feature edited strips intended to feature better humor. One particular edit for Cathy at first has the punchline, "You didn't put them back in the bags." David, deciding that nobody would get it outside of comic book nerds, changes it to, "I can't see the TV."
- Retraux: The whole visual theme
- Running Gag: Punching Stuff Until It Blows Up and its two sequels.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: "Isn't it just awful being pretty?"
- Species Surname: Gax the Gaxian.
- Steam Punk: Most often used to stand-in for modern technology though more straight examples exist.
- The Talk: In the form of a tree trying to talk to his anguished son about "pollination."
- Talking Animal: Tagged as humanized animals.
- Those Magnificent Flying Machines: A regular fixture in many strips such as this one.
- Ticket-Line Campout: Subject of this strip
- Vampire Vannabe: Parodied here.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Parodied here.
- Wiki Walk: Played with in this strip.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Gaxians consider hair-brushing a very personal thing.