is a webcomic by Finnish artist Papermonkey, uploaded on deviantART
The story opens with what looks to be a stereotypical plot—the dogs who live out in the world are good, and the hideous mutated hellhounds that live within the crater are evil. The jealous hellhounds envy the beautiful lands of the dogs, and a war breaks out. The righteous dogs triumph over the wicked hellhounds, and seal them away within the crater. However...
The real story begins with a pack of hellhounds, who are gathered by their leader Iacar to be told they're being evicted. Driven from their territory by another pack leader, Pyramos, they are forced to find new territory elsewhere- beyond the craggy borders of the crater. The comic follows the pack as they leave their home behind and venture out into the alien world of the dogs.
Notable for its nicely rendered art, and the artist's attention to anatomy and realistic (barring Rule of Cool
) mutations with the hellhounds, along with the incredibly detailed backstory of the world. The first volume of the comic is now in print, unfortunately only in Finnish
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Surama.
- Alien Sky: The sky in the Crater is covered in dark smoggy clouds. For the hellhounds, the normal blue sky is the alien one.
- Alternate Universe: Where the story takes place. The world is inhabited by intelligent dogs in a rough equivalent of the Copper Age, and humans (and thus the types of dogs they breed) have never existed.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Whispering Ones, who have no functional genitalia.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Pyramos does one with his tail.
- Art Shift: The comic's introduction and certain other scenes are drawn in a simpler style, reminiscent of cave drawings.
- Ax-Crazy: Niftynose, who starts a fight in the middle of a (fairly) rational discussion by shooting lightning from his nose.
- Awesome but Impractical: The badgerjaws look really nice, and it is true that the dogs in the story have a wider range of motion in their legs than normal dogs, but realistically they still wouldn't be very effective weapons. In order to do any damage with them, the dogs would have to all but jump on top of their enemies. The fact that they face backwards also means that the wielder would likely savage his own chest and stomach on them accidentally in combat.
- Basso Profundo: Morri is stated to have a very deep voice, which is desplayed by heavier lines on his speech bubbles.
- Beard of Evil: Subverted by the original Iralbe.
- Berserk Button: Grimmon is not a wolf.
- The Berserker: Certain hellhounds suffer from a thing called "panic madness": when they get scared enough, they completely flip out and start attacking everything nearby, regardless of friend or foe. One example is Arramos, the gateguard.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: Pyramos has a long prehensile tail with a bone-blade at the tip, which he uses as an effective weapon.
- Big Eater: Morri
- Big "NO!": Hafmar lets one loose when Iralbe informs them that Pyramos will take their territory.
- Body Horror: The hellhounds have been exposed to mutagenic Black Touch for generations, resulting in strange mutations such as extra limbs, extra eyes, too many teeth, strange skeletal structures, and countless other strange features.
- The most mutated ones are called deepblooded and are forbidden to breed. Even more grotesque are the cliffhounds, who live on the outer slopes of the Crater and guard it against intrusion.
- B Roll Rebus: Used a couple of times for comic effect.
- "Dog* + Pack = Death; Iacar = No Death; Dog + Iacar = No Death?"
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": All the prey animals (and cave beasts) in the Crater are so mutated it's a stretch to even call them rabbits or rats anymore.
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: The deep-blooded are forbidden from mating; they are so heavily mutated that their mutations endanger the pups, the mother, or both.
- Conjoined Twins: In a weird sort of way- the Gateguard's mutation started as this, with a Cerberus-like conglomeration of three heads, and got worse from there. One of the cliffhounds also seems to be this way, with a second "body" emerging from the first's back like a rider.
- Dark Is Not Evil
- Disability Superpower:
- Despite all of Crippled's weaknesses, he has excellent sonar-like hearing.
- Iralbe's heat vision.
- Dr. Jerk: What little we see of Iralbe senior indicates him to be this.
- Don't Try This at Home/Do Not Attempt: Poked fun at in the author's comments- "Warning, do not attempt to rob mutant chicken nests. It should only be attempted by trained professionals, idiots, or Surama."
- Everyone Went to School Together: this bonus strip.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Crippled, who is...crippled.
- Extra Eyes: Iacar (above his normal left one), Morri (three pairs and seventh in the middle of his forehead), Niftynose (small Third Eye),... Seems to be a somewhat common mutation.
- Eyeless Face: Iralbe.
- Eye Scream: Courtesy of Hafmar.
- Also present in some of the extra drawings Papermonkey has on her DeviantArt. One of the Old Ones (sort of the head council of the Crater) has curved horns that grow towards his eyes. At some point in his past, his left eye was pierced by one of his own horns; the other horn was broken off before the same thing could happen to his right eye.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Iralbe, again.
- Other hellhounds also have extra eyes in other places, such as on their legs (one dead hellhound is identified this way). Eyes not near the head tend to be non-functional due to lack of an optic nerve.
- Fantastic Racism: Dogs against Hellhounds.
- Feather Fingers: Subverted- while the dogs don't have hands, they can move their paws in a way that their innermost toe acts as a thumb, with three fingers, better explained and illustrated here.
- Fighting for a Homeland: Or more accurately, searching, at least for now.
- Five-Man Band:
- Funetik Aksent: Iacar fpeakf with a lifp becaufe of hif large fangf.
- Funny Background Event: Frequently, usually involving Surama.
- The Ghost: We're frequently told about the cave beasts, but never get to see them outside of ominous cave-drawings and shadows.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: One of Pyramos's many mutations lets him be very good at this.
- Handy Helper: Everyone (mostly Iacar) to Crippled.
- Hellhound: While they are called hellhounds, they don't fill the usual roles. Instead, they are just large, heavily mutated dogs.
- Humans Are Bastards: Intentionally averted- humans don't exist in the dogs' world.
- Insistent Terminology: Grimmon is not a wolf!
- Large Ham: Pyramos.
- The Medic: Iralbe. In comic, this role is known as a "wounder."
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Twins Surama and Hafmar.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Hafmar, having two rows of sharp teeth, top and bottom!
- Mordor: The Crater, especially from the dogs' point of view.
- Mutagenic Goo: Black Touch.
- My Eyes Are Up Here: Azrabak was looking at Iacar's mouth instead of his eyes, since he finds multiple eyes disconcerting. Cue Morri staring at him from the other direction...
- Natural Weapon: Pyramos's blade tail.
- No Biological Sex: The whispering ones (such as Iralbe and Riega) have no genitalia, and thus no sex. They're generally referred to in the masculine for simplicity's sake.
- Nothing but Skin and Bones: Sinjal/Crippled, due to his severe digestion problems.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Crippled's real name is Sinjal, but as Iacar couldn't say it right when they were pups, Sinjal got nicknamed Crippled. In the comic, he's only referred to as such.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Word of God states that the hellhounds are essentially the Blizzard variant in animal form.
- Outnumbered Sibling: Surama has four brothers and no sisters, and three of them are older than her. The fourth is Hafmar.
- Partially Civilized Animals
- Perp Sweating: Attempted by Surama on Azrabak
- Psycho Electro: Niftynose.
- Sibling Rivalry: Surama and Hafmar.
- Shock and Awe: Niftynose's mutation allows him to draw electricity in and send out lightning bolts through the horn on his nose.
- Shown Their Work: The amount of detail put into realistic anatomy and mutations is really quite incredible. At one point, the artist spends several paragraphs explaining that dog teeth are generally dull and meant to crush windpipes and major arteries, not cause huge blood splatters.
- The Smurfette Principle: Surama is the only female in the pack. She isn't The Chick.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Inverted by a couple of side characters. He looks like an elegant sighthound; she looks more like a fuzzy hippo than a canid.
- The Unpronounceable: Azrabak's name apparently is this for the hounds. Cue the nickname "Bakbak".
- Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: A possible result of the Black Touch. Sometimes they're functional, sometimes they're not.