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... well, is 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.
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 ... even her name alludes to a scene where Alice becomes unsure of her identity and wonders if she's a girl she knows instead.
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.
Cloudcuckoolander: 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.
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.
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.
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:
Viv: If that makes you happy. Sandra: O_O
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
Drool Hello: A variant where the victim is smoking and the monster coughs.
Enemy Within: Mr. Chalk, who haunts Sandra's dreams and taunts her with her lost humanity.
Even an Human-Turned-Demon Loves Her Mama: 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.
Exact Words: In order to release Sandra from the grasp of a big guy, Viv convinces him that she will punish 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.
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.
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!
Heel Realization: Sandra has one when she is being trapped into Incubus's fake world.
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.
My interpretation was that she resisted the temptation of staying in Eden, and chose to eat to fruit to force Humanity to stand.
Ironic Echo: "Doesn't it worry you that I'm not worried?"
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 into an human again (albeit it may only be temporarly), 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.
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.
Tawny, immediately after Sam meets Sanda and Crystal: "God... Next you're going to tell me you've met humans!" Sam: "No." Tawny: "What?" 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."
Jack, when Crystal points out to him that Sandra may not wait until nightfall to come at their home, and completly falls into panic mode once he hears her scream. Sam is unfazed.
Sandra has a big one when Viv makes her realize that without her "sticking aroung", she probably would face a little problem:
Viv: Well, try this. Now we're surrounded by feral gremlins. The fire I made will keep them away until dawn. I know this stuff. If not for me, you'd be eaten. Sleep on that.
Lord Incubus himself has one when Mabel appears out of nowhere and completly sabotages his attempt to corrupt Sandra.
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.
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.
Recently, 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.
Schedule Slip: At this point, it's down to no more than one or, occasionally, two a month. This is not aided by Joe England's predilection for long form comics heavily shaded with crosshatching done with micron pens.
It eventually went back to a weekly schedule, with the latest arc having a much simpler style.
Sealed Evil in a Square: 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.
Shout-Out: A number of cameos, usually involving the Maginet.
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.
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.
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".
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.