Love. Hate. Spontaneous Combustion.Zebra Girl
tells the story of three roommates (Sandra, Jack, and Crystal) whose lives are irrevocably transformed when they discover an ancient magical tome in their attic. When the book is slammed shut after an accidental demon-summoning, Sandra finds herself transformed into the eponymous Zebra Girl, a demon with black-and-white striped skin, hooves for feet, long, wicked talons, acidic bodily fluids, and the ability to set things on fire with her mind. Jack, blaming himself for the incident, devotes himself to the study of magic in hopes of finding a way to cure Sandra of her transformation, and along the way becomes a powerful archmage and the only hope of restoring magic to the world at large. (Or possibly staving off
a magical apocalypse; Sandra isn't the only demon running around.) And Crystal is... well, Crystal.
Started out as a rather dark gag-a-day strip, but gets afflicted with Cerebus Syndrome
in record time, as Sandra and the others discover that being transformed into/living with a demon is most emphatically not
all fun and games. By all accounts, this has only made it better, as the storyline takes various twists and turns and the world gradually warps around the protagonist trio, thrusting them into the middle of a veritable supernatural maelstrom that they attract simply by existing in their current states.
Zebra Girl contains examples of:
- Alice Allusion: Mabel, to the point that she may very well be Alice; white rabbits, falling down holes, misremembering poetry, winning her own thimble in a race, calling a demon the Jabberwock... even her name alludes to a scene where Alice becomes unsure of her identity and wonders if she's a girl she knows instead.
- Alien Blood: To the surprise of the vampire who bite her, Tomie has ink blood. He immediatly spits it.
- All Just a Dream: Apparently all this Zebra Girl stuff is just a dream, Sandra is perfectly normal girl and Sam is a cartoon character; and then Sam breaks the fourth wall. It's Incubus' attempt at a Lotus-Eater Machine, and Sandra wasn't fooled for a second.
- Alternate Universe:
- The "Angels with Dirty Fur" arc, where the gang is trapped in a parallel cartoon universe gone horribly, horribly wrong.
- The Subfusc dimension is a variation of this. As Incubus points out, it's not so much another dimension as it is another "layer" of the Earth itself. Races long thought to be just myths or long dead are "banished" to Subfusc until they are "deemed" fit to "return" to Earth. It's complicated.
- Animated Actors: Sam's home universe is built around the trope... or used to be, anyway.
- Appropriated Appellation: When returning at the end of the Subfusc arc, Sandra is talking with some kind of insectoid customs officer who can't say the name "Sandra" and keeps calling her "Zzzandra", so she says her name is "Zandra" to get by it. The news posts suggest she likes it and will be using "Zandra" from now on.
- Arc Villain:
- Lord Tool, during the Angels with dirty fur arc.
- Sandra became one to her friends during her Face-Heel Turn.
- Lord Incubus, during the Subfusc arc.
- Art Evolution: Compare this to this!
- Aside Glance: Sandra does one after a spider begins to talk to her.
- The Atoner:
- Jack. He blames himself for what happened to Sandra, and for what happened during the Maginet mini-arc. Ever since the Maginet he is doing everything he can to become a better wizard, in the hopes that the tragedies which befell his friends and wizard comrades never happen again.
- Sandra—or maybe "Zandra"—looks to be going in this direction.
- Sandra, when she is not busy pitying herself, can be pretty badass when she needs to.
- Jack started out as a normal and rather goofy human, but soon turned into a very skilled and dangerous sorcerer.
- Sam, who even in the worst situation keeps his cool, face monsters bigger than himself and can take drastic actions (such as sliting his own throat) in order to save his friends and himself.
- Viv is very knowledgeable about humans and demons, and already fought the latter a couple times and made it alive. In fact, she is very high on hell "Most-wanted" list. You have to be pretty badass to become actively hunted by demons and having survived for all this time (and when you take into account she is , as the canonical Eve, the oldest human who ever existed, that's quite an achievement).
- Badass Boast: Lord Incubus begins a pretty impressiving one right after Sandra destroyed his illusions... Too bad for him, Sandra recognized him as the little wimpy demon she met at the beginning of the comic, and doesn't take him seriously.
Lord Incubus: Now I suppose you think you're terribly impressive. You... who have yet to see stars live and die, their ghosts lonely haunting corners of the space. You, who have not known the failed iterations of life which preceeded humanity on Earth and built their own crude hells. You, whose laughter never mingled with Satan's breath. Are you impressive?
- Battle Couple: Jack and Tomie are in a relationship together, and can unite their magic.
- Berserk Button: Don't tell Sandra that she's lonely despite herself. She's likely to drop you from a great hight and hiss at you.
- Be Yourself: After Viv and Incubus trying to get Sandra to become human or demon, Mabel tells Sandra that she is not Viv or Incubus but her own person.
- Bigger Bad: Discussed by Mister Chalk himself. And it's rather unnerving.
- Big Good: Viv is the counterpart of Lord Incubus during the Subfusc arc. Mabel draws a direct distinction between the two of them, refering as Viv as being "white" and Lord Incubus as being "black".
- Black Speech: Quite literally, as of this strip.
- Blood Knight: Of all people, Wally displays some traits post-timeskip, reminiscing a little too fondly of his fight against Sandra in the past (while everyone else in the room is sad or outright traumatized by it), and is very eager to destroy her this time.
- Break the Badass: Sam, post-timeskip, didn't really recover from the torture he endured from Sandra.
- Brutal Honesty: Mister Chalk has shades of this in his dialogues with Sandra.
- Bystander Syndrome: This is how Sam goes drinking in bars and nobody even notices he has white fur and rabbit ears.
- Call Back: At the beginning of the comic, when Sandra realizes she has been turned into a demon, she calls herself a freak. Years later, when she is wondering what she exactly is, someone who had disappeared from the radar delivers this line:
Mr. Chalk: Oh Sandra. You know. You called it on day one. You're a freak.
- Censor Box: Used seldomly whenever Sandra becomes vulgar. For example, the f-word and s-word are almost always censored, but other insults get a pass, such as this one when she arrived in the Subfusc.
- Cerebus Retcon: Jack. Fire. Apparently he thinks he deserves it. More importantly, he feels it relieves Sandra of her stress and keeps her from falling over the edge.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Amazingly, considering how dark the comic began. Lampshaded in this strip by Sandra.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: The rabbit lady from the Subfusc, Black Betty, has a very unsettling one.
- Mad Mabel from the Subfusc. Implied to be either an imaginary friend or an alternate personality who was shed from someone in the real world, she has trouble making it through a whole thought without several bizarre tangents.
- Black Betty, the vorpal pook. She loves to talk, and it is sometimes difficult to follow her train of thoughts, as she has a tendency to do a lot of non-sequitur.
- Color-Coded Wizardry: Made even more impressive because the comic is black and white.
- Cooldown Hug: Done by fake Sandra's mom to her during the dream sequence created by Incubus.
- The Corrupter: Lord Incubus jumps into this role with gusto for the Subfusc arc.
- The Corruptible: Sandra during the Subfusc arc.
- Covers Always Lie: The teaser image for Zebra Girl's return in 2014 shows a lesbian scene between Zandra and Crystal; the disclaimer on the comic, and the news post say this isn't a guarantee of any erotic lesbian action when the comic returns, as it is just a piece of commissioned art he drew.
- Creepy Long Fingers: Sandra, post-transformation, got longer-than-average fingers (which now double as fangs).
- Crisis of Faith: Zig zagged. Sandra refers to herself as an agnostic (you may want to take a look at the useful notes page of Atheism, which include the definition of agnoticism), and through the course of the story had many moments of doubts and anger towards God. After meeting Viv, she is quite shaken to discover that she is the biblical Eve, making her the living proof that God really does exists.
- Damsel in Distress:
- Mabel, who is captured by Lord Incubus, who demands that Sandra releases him from his prison if she wants her back.
- Crystal during the Heaven on Earth arc, when she is captured by vampires who threathen to kill her.
- Dare to Be Badass: Sandra gets one, from Incubus, but not in the usual way. Incubus wants Sandra to be Daddy's Little Villain, while she wants to be The Atoner, so he taunts her with taking his power and proving him wrong by not being corrupted by it, while he expects that she would get corrupted.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Struggling against this is a major part of the series. It's eventually played straight: during her time with Viv, Sandra falls off into a time stream, in which she has a vision of a woman taking care of her after she got wounded. She doesn't recognize the woman, and it takes her a moment to realize that it was her own mother.
- Deadpan Snarker: Viv, in spades.
- Death by Falling Over: Attempted by a vampire in order to kill Crystal. Thanksfully, she is rescued by Wally in the nick of time.
- The Ditz: Crystal.
- Disapproving Look: Viv gives one to Sandra here as she is threatening to kill the assassin who tried to kill her. Though it's Viv caughting her off-guard with the following sentence that makes her stop:
If that makes you happy. Sandra: O_O
- Dissonant Serenity: While everyone else is stunned or panicked when they learn that Sandra is back, Crystal looks initially surprised, before smiling.
- Don't Ask, Just Run: When the vampire who tried to kill Crystal sees a monstruous werewolf under her, her first reaction is to order her fellow vampires to run away immediatly. When one of them corrects her by saying that they are technically floating in the sky, she ignores him and urge them once again to get the hell out of here. They don't listen, believing to be perfectly safe while they are in the air. They couldn't be more wrong...
- Don't Call Me Sir: Played with. Sandra refuses to be called "mistress" by her monsters, because it makes her feel like a dominatrix. However, she is fine being called "Ma'am" or "Majesty".
- Double Standard: Viv thinks religion is like this. Saying that men in religion who reject paradise or luxury are worshiped, While she as Eve, rejected Eden and was vilified as the reason for centuries of misogyny.
- Do You Want to Copulate?: Crystal's reaction to meeting Wally is a little overenthusiastic.
- The Dreaded: Eventually, Sandra became this to her whole hometown when she decided to embrace being a demon. She also became this to her friends, who had no other solution but to ban her into another dimension in order to stop her. Five in-universe years later, her former friends still view her as a very dangerous being and are extremely wary of her.
- While she seems to act as a reasonable ruler, the monsters of her hometown consider her powerful and would rather not anger her.
- Drool Hello: A variant where the victim is smoking and the monster coughs.
- Dumb Muscle: Wally never was the sharpest knife in the drawer, but his increase in muscle-mass, his total inability to understand how his companions feel about Sandra and his willingness to "finish the job" (while being excited about it) catapulted him in this category.
- Eldritch Location: Sandra's house. Said place began to change when Sandra transformed into a demon, with shadows becoming darker and bigger, and it decided to have a growth spurt on its own while Sandra was away.
- Enemy Within: Mr. Chalk, who haunts Sandra's dreams and taunts her with her lost humanity.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: After being turned into a demon, Sandra had to hide her condition from her mother, which she hasn't seen ever since, something which depressed her deeply. The simple sight of her during Incubus's dream sequence is enough to make her have a My God, What Have I Done? moment and makes her burst into tears.
- Evil Laugh: Sandra, natch.
- Exact Words: In order to release Sandra from the grasp of a big guy, Viv convinces him that she will punish her herself, telling him that she will "make her hurt in ways even you can't manage". True enough, she proceeds to make Sandra face her humanity and makes her realize what she has done when she succumbed to her demonic urges.
Viv: Growth is painful, you know?
- Everyone Is Bi: Dream!Sam's (a figment of Sandra's imagination) says that everyone is this to some extent. It comes up when Sandra asks why Dream!Crystal is trying to seduce her, and Sam says that Incubus created her by reading Sandra's memories and found Sandra's clandestine feelings for her.
- Evil Overlord: Tool.
- Expy: Harold Duvasenote is one of Harry Potter.
- Face-Heel Turn: Sandra, one of the very few examples of this with the main character of the strip. As of 2013 onwards, the comic is pushing her back into "Face" territory... or at least out of the "Heel" side of the equation.
- Facepalm: During the Lotus-Eater Machine sequence, Sam does one, after Sandra ignores his warnings and lets her curiosity gets the better of her.
- Facial Markings:
- Viv has one on the right-side of her face.
- Tomie's human form has her insigna tattooed on her forehead.
- Failed a Spot Check: When Incubus kidnaps Mabel, Viv tells Sandra to go after them, but she says she can't without her demon powers. Whether she didn't notice or forgot in the carnage, Mabel's Be Yourself speech has reawakened Sandra's Zebra Girl form. The cackling when Viv points it out can be heard for miles.
- The Fair Folk: Some inhabitants of the Subfusc, as well as some of the things leaving it for the mortal realm (or waking up in it) seem to be this, most notably the Goblins and the Vorpal Pook.
- Fat Bastard: The overweight vampire lady who attacks Crystal during the Heaven on Earth arc.
- Faux Affably Evil: Mister Chalk.
- For the Evulz: Sandra, once she begins to act without restraints as a demon.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Walter, the resident ghoul of Sandra's hometown, is quite nice, and a "wonderful conversationalist". Sandra ends up liking him quite a bit.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: It took a long time to happen, but this may wind up being Sandra's ultimate fate.
- Fully-Embraced Fiend: Sandra pretty much lost this battle once the professor pushed her to it, though there seem to be forces in play that are struggling to remind her of her humanity now that she got sucked into Limbo.
- Gender Misdirection: Turns out that Tomie, Jack's Grimoire, is a girl when she takes a physical appearance.
- Genre Savvy:
- The whole main cast rapidly acquire this, most notably how every one of them independently guesses what Wally is as soon as they learn his name. Thanks to his showbiz background Sam takes it Up to Eleven, at times reaching borderline Medium Awareness.
- Collywobble from Subfusc sent one of his minion, Quick Slick Spitlick, after Viv and Sandra, because he figured that Viv would hurt Sandra in some "vague, existential fashion that doesn't involve actual physical damage". Turns out, he was spot on:
Viv: Nuts. Didn't think he'd catch on. Growth is painful, you know?
- Mabel, in her own damaged way and in a meta-sense, realizes that Sandra is crucial to the plot:
Mabel: Oh, dear. I'm starting to think the world revolves around HER!
- Giant Mook: "Iyam a gigantic hired thug."
- Hair-Raising Hare: Black Betty and Pooka Zin are apparently members of an entire species of these, the Vorpal Pook.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When Fake!Sam, who acts as her smart-side during the Lotus-Eater Machine sequence, points out that Incubus created sexy Fake!Crystal because of Sandra's lingering feelings for her, she tries very hard to deny it:
Sandra: (hearing a door bell) That's probably a fake Mike now. A sexy fake Mike. Because sexy Crystal didn't work. Because I like men.
- Healing Factor: Jack, a side-effect of being constantly fried and healed near the start of the comic.
- Heel-Face Turn: Wally. As Sam explains, he's "a classic 'switch sides' kind of character."
Wally: No, I'm no—
Sam: [swatting Wally on the muzzle] Switch sides or I'll kick your ass!
- Hellfire: Zebra Girl can summon it.
- Heel Realization: Sandra has one when she is being trapped into Incubus's fake world.
- Heroic BSOD: Of all people, Sam has one when he saw several years later the cabin in which he was tortured by Sandra for days. Seeing the character who until then was known for his Nerves of Steel fleeing from the scene, having nightmarish flashbacks and needing some time to compose himself is rather distressing.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Viv has fought her fair share of monsters and demons thoughout the centuries. Yet is universally despised because she is Eve, the first woman. However she explains that she resisted the temptation of the fruit, but rejected Eden as she wanted people to be able to stand on their own two feet.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Of all people to be afflicted by a Baleful Polymorph, it was Sandra rather than her more adventurous friends. She lampshades this when, after her Face-Heel Turn, she reflects on the fact that she actually became evil partly because if she couldn't be a normal human, she'd be a normal demon. No matter what she does in this direction, it will backfire on her because the Cosmos is out to make her special, whether she likes it or not.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Crystal attempts one with Sandra, trying to talk to her out of her evilness. Sandra is fully aware of what Crystal is trying to do, and it fails miserably:
- I Know Your True Name: Incubus grabs Mabel and claims he has power over her because he knows her true name, while she doesn't.
- Improbable Weapon User: Jack, post-timeskip, nonchalantly uses a nail gun against vampires.
- Innocently Insensitive: In this strip, Wally doesn't seem to realize that reminding some people of some really bad experiences they had in the past isn't a very good idea...
- Invisibility: Sandra's powers increased after the Subfusc arc, allowing her to turn herself and her allies invisible. She is even able to hide herself from Jack, who can't even sense her while she is just a few feet from him. Crystal and Wally can "smell" she is here, but can't pinpoint her location at all.
- Ironic Echo: "Doesn't it worry you that I'm not worried?"
- It Tastes Like Feet: Wally gulped some vampires, before releasing them. All he has to say is that they taste like rice cakes.
- Kick the Dog:
- Sandra does this to her entire town once she fully embraces her demon nature. Things get really serious when you realize that she imprisons and tortures (at least, mentally) Sam.
- Once being turn back (temporarly) into an human again, Sandra steals Mabel's thimble from her, just because she can. However, this time, she takes pity on Mabel and give it back. This is the first sign of humanity she has showed in months.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Sam.
- Knight Templar: Prof. Broadshoulders.
- Little "No": Sandra lets out one in this particular scene:
Goblin Assassin: IEEE!
From nowhere I appear, the final goblin assa— Sandra:
No. [grabs his tongue and curb-stomps his ass]
- Living Crashpad: Wally acts as one intentionaly in order to save Crystal from a deadly fall.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Incubus attempts one on Sandra, but she knows better and actually engages in casual conversation with Sam about it. However, Sandra is taking things too lightly, and ignores Sam's warnings...
Sam: This place is a sand trap, see? It feeds on inertia! Don't relax, just leave!
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Lord Incubus reveals to Sandra that he's her father, not biologically, but that her demonic form is the result of his residual energy reacting explosively when Jack slammed the book closed. She is a piece of him, making her the closest thing he could have to a daughter, and he feels something akin to love for her.
- Meta Guy: Sam, to epic levels.
Tawny: [immediately after Sam has met Sandra and Crystal] God... Next you're going to tell me you've met humans!
Sam: I'm not going to do that. The joke where you hypothesize some really unlikely scenario and get more and more specific, not knowing you're exactly describing actual events, while I stand here all awkward from your inexplicable outburst of irony.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Wally does this during his "inspirational" speech about their fight against Sandra and how they are going to "finish the job" this time.
- Mind Screw: The very nature of the Subfusc is one.
- Monster Mash: The initial group is composed of one normal human (Crystal), a sorcerer (Jack), a demon (Sandra), an anthropomorphic rabbit (Sam), a werewolf (Wally), and a talking book (Tomie) who got an human form at some point. Later in the comic, Sandra's hometown attracts a lot of monsters, with now vampires, ghouls and other kind of creatures roaming in the streets.
- Mood Dissonance: So, on the one hand, you have a group of friends preparing themselves to fight again a former one (and, for all they know, this dangerous ex-friend is out for their blood), all of them being deeply saddened by the situation and traumatized by past events, and on the other hand you have a werewolf completly ignoring how said group of friends really feel, reminiscing past traumatic events with excitement, and seemingly impatient to kill her (whereas the others don't really want to think about such possibility).
- Mood Whiplash: And now: HUMOR!
- Morality Chain: Crystal is this to Sandra. Even during Sandra's Face-Heel Turn, Sandra avoided to hurt her directly, and she admitted that she misses her. Crystal also tried to talk her out her villainous phase several times, taking huge risks to do so. During the Subfusc arc, Sandra realized that she always tried to protect Crystal, even acting very possessive towards her. Considering that Sandra has romantic feelings towards Crystal that she buried deep down into herself, that explains part of her behavior.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Sandra has one when she truly realizes what hell she put her friends through when she tortured them, after being tortured herself by Incubus:
Sandra: Holy God. Oh God. It was stupid. I was... I was torturing people. Was I insane?! What have I done??
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Jack delivers this line to Sandra when she went full fullblown evil demon:
Jack: I'm also Plaid Jack Clarity, the tartan sorcerer. Walker in infernal fires, he of the intersecting lines. This is my friend Tomie. And you're a bad, bad demon.
- Nerves of Steel: Sam proves multiple times that he's perfectly able to remain unfazed and focused, even in the worst situations. He even provides the image trope.
- Never Say "Die": Wally talks about "destroying" Sandra instead of "killing" her. But the sense of what he means is unambiguous, since he mentioned that they were going to "finish the job".
- Not Me This Time: While trapped in Incubus' Lotus-Eater Machine, Sandra encounters Mr. Chalk, who reminds her that she's got bigger problems than him.
Mr. Chalk: Focus, Sandy! I'm not the bad guy today!
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Lord Incubus. That little skull-headed demon Jack released from the book that wanted to take over the world, only to get flushed down a dimensional portal shaped like a toilet? Yeah, he's back. And he's genuinely frightening this time. Turns out he's an archdemon, and Viv says outright that releasing him would be earth's downfall.
- Oh, Crap: Several throughout the comic:
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: They change at will, but only during the night. They can grow to any size while transformed, and discard all excessive mass when turning back, which quickly decomposes into a puddle of unidentifieable organic compound.
- Playing with Fire: Sandra acquired fire powers after being transformed into a demon, and is able to set people on fire with her mind. This power was used as a Running Gag earlier in the comic, with Sandra putting Jack ablaze regularly. As the comic went on, she used it less and less, to the point she doesn't use it anymore.
- Precision F-Strike: Sandra threw quite a lot of them when she was banished by Jack to the Subfusc, and a few more there as well. Most of them were barely censored.
- Prehensile Tail: Sandra's tail is very flexible, and can be effectively used as a weapon, a lasso or a restraining device. She can even increase its lenghts, something that Viv called the "infinite tail" constriction technique.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: Sandra slowly goes insane following her transformation into a demon. Her drive to become human again slowly fades away the longer she remains in that form, and at one point she completly embraces her evilness, making her town and friends her playthings. Seeing that she had now become a danger which can't be restrained or convinced to go back to her older self, she is banished to an alternate dimension by Jack. In said dimension, she regains her human form, something which upsets her greatly because at that point she clearly came to enjoy being a demon.
- Psychotic Smirk: Black Betty is quite fond of these, and pulls a very disturbing one during her introduction in the cemetery.
- Really 700 Years Old: Viv claims to be human, but Sandra, despite being deprived of her demonic powers at the time, is still able to tell that something is amiss. Later, Viv says that she is human, just "old" (despite looking rather young). Even later, Viv hints that she is millennia-old. When you realize that she is, in fact, Eve, and thus one of the very first human beings, calling herself "old" is an euphemism.
- Recap Episode: The author likes to do some every now and then (and since the story started in 2000, they are most welcomed), but especially when he wants to introduce a new act. Said recap episodes also became more serious after a while, such as the Recap introducing the Heaven on Earth arc (which takes place after the Subfusc one).
- Rhymes on a Dime: Apparently, Sam has the skill, although he uses it but rarely. As do all rabbits it seems.
- Running Gag:
- Two Words: Jack. Fire.
- Sandra's repeated attempts to make a Deal with the Devil around the 1st of April would lead up to a joke strip of her getting turned into a pony.
- Sandra has a tendency to fall quite a lot in the Subfusc. Lampshaded by Viv:
Viv: Have I mentioned how you seem to fall down a lot?
- Scary Teeth: Black Betty, the vorpal pook, from the Subfusc who appears later in Sandra's town has some very sharped ones, making the contrast between it and her dandy costume/attitude all the more disturbing.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Lord Incubus is sealed inside his own pocket dimension, and can't interact much with the rest of the world. He only manifests as a black square in Subfusc. However, that doesn't mean he's helpless: he can still talk to other people (like while he's trying to make Sandra free him), and God help you if he happens to know your real name: Mabel was captured by him, since she doesn't know her own true name anymore, granting him power over her. Since he also knows Sandra's name, he is able to read her mind, making her the perfect target for his Lotus-Eater Machine trap.
- Sense Loss Sadness: As a demon, Sandra doesn't need to eat or drink anymore, sustaining herself with invisible and intangible things. Naturally, she misses her sense of taste, and she'd rather forget about what she has lost. She is still able to taste coffee, somehow. Don't tell that to Xykon, though.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Sam is suffering from PTSD after what happened when he was a captive of Sandra.
- Shout-Out: A number of cameos, usually involving the Maginet. Hell, that entire arc bears more than a few similarities to Serial Experiments Lain... albeit without as much Mind Screw.
- Slasher Smile: After she embraced her demonic self, Sandra became very fond of these.
- Smoking Is Cool: Viv.
- Spit Take: The rest of the main cast's reaction to Crystal getting a boyfriend—unfortunately for Jack, who was sitting in the path of Sandra's spit-take.
- Stab the Salad: Confronting Sandra in her newly-recovered demonic form, Viv produces an object which appears to be some sort of bolo-weapon, which she uses as a magical swing. Then subverted, when it's further revealed that yes, it does also serve as a bolo.
- Stages of Monster Grief
- Stunned Silence: Quite a few characters do this, but especially Sandra during the Subfusc arc. Quite understandable when a talking spider from the moon has a chat with you (this particular example also counts as an Aside Glance).
- Sugar Apocalypse: What happened to Sam's world.
- Super Senses: Crystal remains the only "normal" human of the group, but she managed to gain the ability to "smell" souls, which she uses in order to find Sandra.
- Take a Third Option: The Subfusc arc consists of Sandra grappling between her opposing natures as demon and human, with Lord Incubus and Viv trying to win her over to their respective sides. The one who finally wins her over is Mad Mabel, whose mental state is likewise confused.
- Talkative Loon: Black Betty, the vorpal pook, is one in spades. She jumps from topic to topic very quickly, and loves to ramble about weird things, mostly about rabbits.
Black Betty: Yes, everything's coming up rabbits! Rabbits wearing clothes, rabbits on their toes, rabbit looking to worship a rabbit messiah. Maybe there'll be a rabbit revolution!
- Tears of Remorse: Sandra completly bursts into tears during her My God, What Have I Done? moment.
- The Nose Knows: Wally, as a werewolf, has an acute sense of smell, and remembers Sandra's smell.
- The Shadow Knows: If 13th september 2014 strip, Wally's shadow in a panel reflects his werewolf form while he is in human form. It also highlighs his ferocious nature and his wish to get rid of Sandra once and for all.
- The Unfettered: The nature of a demon, and what Sandra and Lord Incubus find so awesome about it.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Viv has a little flying accident in this strip.
- Title Drop: Viv calls Sandra "Zebra Girl" during this comic.
- Took a Level in Jerkass:
- Sandra big time during her Face-Heel Turn. It takes a while before she reverts back to a nicer persona.
- Wally, post-timeskip, acts a lot more insensitive towards his friends (see Innocently Insensitive), and has no qualms about saying he is willing to destroy Sandra in front of her former friends. Said friends include his current girlfriend, Crystal, who he knows was Sandra's closest friend.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Both subverted and played with: just like with Sunnydale, most people seem to ignore that their town became a monster den. However, some humans (or, rather, some former humans in the case of Mike, who is now a vampire) are aware of the situation and of the return of Sandra.
- Tranquil Fury: When vampires tried to kill his sister Crystal and he arrived to save her, Jack very calmly shot them with nails.
- Trickster Mentor: Viv is very fond of this kind of approach, often giving cryptic informations or advices to Sandra.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- Invoked by Sam, who is a giant anthropomorphic rabbit. He actually counts on people rationalizing him as a hallucination, some guy in a costume, or whatever they can think up. He has yet to be proven wrong.
- Subverted by Sandra herself, who spends a good portion of the early comics just trying to be able to go out without attracting TOO much attention, settling on what is quite nearly an outright monk's robe with incredibly long sleeves whose hood completely covers her face in shadow. Anyone who DOES get a look at it, she explains away the facial markings as "make-up to cover up burns".
- Urban Fantasy
- Undying Loyalty: Crystal towards Sandra. Despite Sandra hurting her and her friends, she never stopped believing in her. Even when Sandra was actively attacking them, she tried to reason with her (to no avail). When she heard about Sandra coming back from her banishment, her first reaction was to smile, while everyone else was wary or in panic-mode. She even went as far as leaving the gang to try to find her alone (Crystal being basically a Muggle, this was a very dangerous move), still hoping that, maybe, she had changed. However, after 5 years and with everyone around her viewing Sandra as a menace, Crystal herself admits that she is at her limit, and she is begging Sandra to give her a sign to believe in her.
- Villainous Breakdown: Sandra has an epic one when Jack banishes her to the Subfusc.
- Webcomic Time: Given a nod in this strip, which was written almost 10 years after the comic debuted:
Wally: Two years?
Crystal: Not even that, but it feels like ten to me.
- Weirdness Censor: Lampshaded: Sandra's house litteraly grew on her own, but people remained oblivious to the supernatural thing happening next to them. It also seems that most of them choose to ignore/forget what happened in the past, when Sandra went on her terror spree. The comic implies that most of them didn't notice their town slowly but surely filling up with monsters.
- Weirdness Magnet: Lampshaded by Jack, who states that "magic attracts magic"
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Professor Broadshoulders, who is determined to rid the world of demons, no matter who he has to kill or damn to Hell to do it. Including himself.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sandra has a fit because Viv won't help her save Mabel from Incubus, but Viv throws it right back in her face, pointing out her concern that Sandra is no better than Incubus.
I thought we were friends! I told
you what I was like as a demon. Viv:
Yeah, and you told me how you treated your friends. Sandra:
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Crystal has this look when she is (presumably) falling to her death after being told that Sandra herself asked the vampires to kill her.
- Winged Humanoid: Sandra.
- Wham Line: A major one for the Crossover Cosmology nature of the 'verse
- White Gloves: Sam: comes in handy when the werewolves tie him up.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sam's reaction to the wolves (werewolves, actually) in this comic.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Sandra.
- Words Can Break My Bones: Jack has such a grasp on magic post-timeskip that he is able to take away the vampires' power of flight simply by saying "None of you can fly" (complete with a hand gesture). The vampires are incredibly distraught by this.
- World of Chaos: The Subfusc, especially because of its inhabitants. When you have anthropomorphic psycho rabbits, nonsensical talking spiders from the moon and a flying doggy-snake thingy who is litteraly attracted to crucial moments, marriage proposals and other life-altering decisions, you begin to get the idea that this place is just downright bizarre. As for the location in itself, it quite obviously doesn't follow the usual laws of physic, and people there are able to float (not fly) if they let go of their concerns. There is also a place dedicated for people who feel at their lowest, adequately named "The Pit", and an healing river made by the flow of time... You get the idea. As a pretty pissed off Sandra said:
Sandra: Everything in this place is a joke.
- Worth It: Approached by a Giant Mook, Sandra fights back by throwing hot coffee at his crotch, he then throws her off a roof. Sandra says it was worth it.
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: As of this strip, it has been confirmed by Jack that almost five years have passed on Earth, while Sandra was trapped in the Subfusc for a week or so at best. The possibility of this was discussed in dialogue between Sandra and Viv.
- You Remind Me of X: Viv says that Sandra reminds her of Lilith. In Jewish lore, Lilith was Adam's first wife, instead of Eve; Lilith left the Garden of Eden because she didn't want to be subservient to Adam, and may be the mother of all demons, which makes sense why Sandra now has her eyes.