(not to be confused with the classic Underground Zap Comix
by Robert Crumb
, or ZZap! the Commodore 64 magazine) is a science fiction webcomic centering around the eponymous main character Zap Vexler. Started in 2003, the already written story is about halfway through being drawn and released. Chris Layfield is the writer, and Pascalle is the artist.
In the story so far, amnesiac
Zap finds himself the captain of a Cool Starship
called the Excelsior
. He discovers that he is psychic
and falls for the first officer, Reona, who is still heartbroken over the previous captain, Efrem. He had been apparently killed by an enemy, Naveed. Reona and the ship's mechanic, Grontar, and navigation droid, Robot, aren't too thrilled about Zap being picked as the captain. This is mostly because Zap is a doofus and far from captain material. They fight their way through the GEF
, crash land, fight their way through the GEF again, take off, and pick up an ally: Kasey. Another Resistance member, Kasey is infatuated with Robot and helps repair Reona's artificial arm. Zap runs into a stranger (to him at this point), Gunner that claims to be a friend from his forgotten past.
At this point in the story there are about five separate plot threads, one involving space pirates, one involving a government conspiracy, and some others following the now split up crew of the Excelsior
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Air-Vent Passageway: Zap uses this right into the enemy's midst.
- Amnesia Danger: Zap has to figure out how to work the hyperjump with his forgotten powers.
- Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Zap
- Amusement Park: Scene of the biggest fight so far.
- An Ice Person / Making a Splash: the Aquarians and Callisto.
- Animated Actors: Not animated, but one filler comic portrayed the characters as actors playing parts. It even included a Classically Trained Extra.
- The concept has since been revisited two or three times, making it a Running Gag.
- Art Evolution: Pascalle's art noticeably improves over the years.
- Battle Aura
- Big Red Button: This comic.
- Blank White Eyes: A few times. Here's an example.
- Blood from the Mouth: Zap, after a nasty gut shot.
- Blue with Shock: This comic. Complete with Ocular Gushers.
- Body Horror: The creature that kills the bounty hunters.
- Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Naveed uses a guard's severed hand to retrieve her sword.
- Bounty Hunter: Four of them in one arc.
- Clothing Damage: Zap, Reona, and Grontar ruin their nice clothes in the amusement park battle.
- But Reona's nice sheer hose survive the fight without even a run.
- Color-Coded Characters: The three main psychics so far have different colored Battle Auras and eye glows.
- Contest Winner Cameo: An archive search contest winner was inserted into a comic as a speaking character.
- Cross-Popping Veins
- Deflector Shields, psychic controlled.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Sepia flashbacks.
- Dramatic Pause: President Billings does this during a press conference, waiting three minutes to ramp up the drama.
- Dream Sequence: A few symbolism loaded sequences here and there.
- Elemental Powers: The Elementaro race. The last four members are recruited by Naveed.
- Elevator Snare: Happens to Grontar.
- The Empire: The Galactic Earth Federation
- Evil Versus Evil: The GEF against the Serpent's rebellion (which is different from the Resistance).
- Five-Man Band: fits, for the most part.
- Flashback: Lampshaded in this comic.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom are an indication of often dangerous psychic powers.
- Government Conspiracy: not fully revealed yet.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The GEF grunts are usually idiotic and are killed in droves.
- Guest Strip: A few.
- Hall of Mirrors: Here.
- Halloween Cosplay: One or two Filler Strips.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: Reona, about Zap. Even flat out says it on page 281.
- Hypno Trinket: The psychic Amplifier Artifact devices called "crowns" can be used to do this. At the GEF psychic academy, they are used to keep all the psychics underneath the GEF's control. Gunner manipulated all of this into being, and plans to use the mind controlled psychic army to Kill All Humans as revenge for the destruction of his world.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: I believe the GEF have landed about 5 of their shots so far.
- Jedi Mind Trick: Seemingly a standard psychic power.
- Just a Machine: Several intelligent robots are destroyed for avoidable or petty reasons. Made more jarring by the fact one of the main cast is a robot.
- Kick the Morality Pet
- Laser Sight here.
- Last of His Kind: Robot is the last robot left with a learning AI. The Elelmentaros are the last of their species.
- La Résistance: Played absolutely straight with "The Resistance".
- Law of Alien Names: Lots of the names fit.
- Leave Him to Me: Reona vs. Naveed.
- The Merch: Not a big part of the site, but there is a book out.
- Mind-Control Eyes: here.
- Non Sequitur Thud: This comic.
- Not What It Looks Like: The title and the dialog.
- Numbered Homeworld: Sticklebat 7. The Bungling Inventor Stickle race found their previous six planets "too flamable".
- Ominous Multiple Screens: During the computer failure scene.
- Outrun the Fireball: Zap does this in the second comic.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Reona's space dress
- President Evil - Not competent, but evil.
- Pstandard Psychic Pstance: here.
- Psychic Powers: Of course.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Here.
- Rebus Bubble
- Restraining Bolt: the "crowns". And Robot's prgramming to obey the Captain, like it or not (He does not).
- Scenery Censor: Here Zap is naked, with Robot's head "tastefully" interposed.
- Schedule Slip: This hasn't happened for some time, as Pascalle has a Strip Buffer.
- Science-Related Memetic Disorder: The Stickle race.
- Shirtless Scene: Zap, trying out tuxedos going stark naked.
- Slow Motion Fall: here.
- Some Call Me Tim: Robot's renaming.
- Space Is Noisy: There are some sound effects during the space battle.
- Space Whale: Space Squid, actually.
- Spit Take: here.
- Spot the Imposter: The Body Horror creature takes Zap's appearance. Side by side, everyone debates who to shoot. Gunner comes up and just unceremoniously shoots the fake.
- To be fair here, The monster was quite easily distinguishable ("Meeee, Reaaal Zaaaaaap...") when everyone was "Side by side" as it were, and the remark from Robot seemed like it was an obvious Lampshade hanging.
- Super Registration Act: Psychics are being rounded up for nefarious purposes (implied to be made into Super Soldiers).
- Technopath: One of Zap's first displays of psychic ability is activating the Excelsior's hyperdrive. In fact his mental commands are apparently the only thing that can do so. Gunner, as his name implies, uses his to improve the function of his weapons.
- The Rant
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Zap, who was mistaken for a stowaway at first, is almost dumped with the trash into space (or so he thought).
- Title Confusion: Due to the old URL, the comic is often called "Zap IN SPACE". This is also something of a Berserk Button for the author, to the point that they've migrated to a new URL.
- Webcomic Time: A few years of comics following a few weeks of plot.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Robot gets by a security checkpoint with pants, a wig and a sign the says "I am human". (The costume really didn't work, though, it was Zap doing a Jedi Mind Trick type thing on the guards.)
- Word of God: You can get some spoilers and have some of your wild speculation quashed on the forum by the creators.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zap's fear of space squid is played as a Running Gag.
- You Didn't Ask