Droid Life is a newspaper comic-style strip that appears periodically in 2000 AD. Essentially a parody of the initial premise that the comic itself is written, drawn and edited by droids, it focuses on P14, a struggling wannabe script droid who writes the number onto page 14 of every copy of 2000AD (the joke being that this is erased by his colleague, Ray, when he's done) and his best friend Crumbs (whose job, incidentally, is to flick away the eraser crumbs left by Ray when he erases P14's work). P14's constant attempts to get one of his scripts published always end in abject failure.
The strip often parodies classic and current 2000AD strips in the form of P14's stories, which usually see him Comically Missing the Point of the character he's supposed to be writing.
As such, the strip has become something of an Ensemble Dark Horse within the comic and has actually had a graphic novel release.
Droid Life provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of the concept that 2000 AD is entirely published by Tharg's army of droids. The strip concentrates on the droids on the lower end of things. Some classic and ongoing stories are parodied by P14's story submissions.
- Air-Vent Passageway: P14 attempts one after a particularly bad Christmas party. Too bad it led to the unsold copy incinerator.
- Ass Shove: The brain controlling the building gets one with the rolls of paper coming in the back entrance. P14 lampshades it asking, "Are we really doing those kind of jokes now?"
- The Alcoholic: Boxie, the box P14 came in.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: The teaboy is named Sergeant Bloodbath.
- Bad Boss: Tharg. And P14's supervisor who is constantly getting him to make his page numbers more thrilling (in spite of the fact that they're always about to be erased) and keeps a whip on standby at all times. At one point, the supervisor is so enraged, he is lost for words to describe P14 and gets chewed out by his superior for not being thrilling enough when chewing out a subordinate.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: It's frequently noted that the office has gotten progressively weirder since "the videogame people took over."
- Brain in a Jar: They actually get a human brain wired up to run the building. He gets used to being a building, except for the rolls of paper coming in the back entrance. It's implied that this hasn't worked out so well, as the jar is seen in the canteen later being served up to the staff labelled "cauliflower cheese".
- Butt-Monkey: P14.
- Cheek Copy: P14 does this when drunk once. Turns out, like everything else in the office, the photocopier is a droid. Technically speaking, this means that P14 slept with her. When P14 tells her that he has a girlfriend, she asks him if she can do double sided and collate.
- Christmas Episode: In each of the annual specials, there's a Christmas party held. Or at least, for the Art and Script droids upstairs. For P14 and co. down in the sub-sub basement, they might get to watch the Christmas dinner being carted past them or be allowed to listen to the noise from the real party for four seconds through an air vent.
- Comically Missing the Point: P14 never understands the strips he's submitting stories for.
- Creator Cameo: Cat Sullivan drew himself as one of the droids at the end of his author's introduction at the beginning of the collected graphic novel, where his head explodes from the confusion of whether the droids are real or not. The supervisor droid mistakes him for someone named "Bat Sullivan".
- Critical Research Failure: In-universe. P14 writes strips to submit to Tharg, yet has never actually read 2000AD, despite having worked there for at least a decade.
- Crippling Overspecialization:
- Staplie applies for a job as a typist. Unfortunately, due to him having staplers for hands, he is only able to type two words per minute. Also, the two words he types are "&QIEBGN" and "U##9H5".
- One of the vending machines attempts to overcome this by becoming a lion tamer.
- Deadpan Snarker: P14.
- A Degree in Useless: One of the urinals sarcastically tells P14 and Crumbs that he'll clean up their bathroom mess with his Masters Degree.
- Dull Surprise: Lampshaded and parodied with the fact that P14 is a Perpetual Frowner and Crumbs has a grin slapped to his fact permanently. P14's favourite team are winning a match and Crumbs tells him he should be delighted. P14 goes off into a rant about the shape of his mouth grille and calls Crumbs out for grinning at his misfortune, to which Crumbs replies that his cat has just died.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Characters have a tendency to be Killed Offscreen in comedic ways. For example, Sortofgothdroid gets sent to the smelter when the supervisor believes that whipping her isn't funny and the Brain in a Jar hooked up to the building gets served for lunch.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The supervisor droid won't whip female droids, as it's not as funny. Later on, it's established that she's been sent to the smelter instead.
- Freudian Excuse: P14 and Crumbs spend one episode discussing what happened to Sergeant Bloodbath that made him so angry, positing all sorts of theories about him being a Shell-Shocked Veteran. Turns out his wife left him for a robot who was apparently part-electric razor.
- The Great Offscreen War: The Fleetway Wars are referenced with one character being a fridge made to look like a nuclear bomb left over from them.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Subverted by one of P14's Future Shock submissions. The time traveller lines up a man with a little square moustache in his crosshairs and shoots him dead. It's Oliver Hardy.
- Incompetence, Inc.: In universe, 2000 AD is this in spades. Droids can get fired for not playing video games all day, supervisor droids carry whips around and a cardboard cutout of Quentin Tarantino gets promoted to Division Head when someone gets a slice of tomato stuck to it.
- Job-Stealing Robot: Parodied. Phoney the smartphone has become a pariah because his apps are stealing jobs from all the other robots, including using the bathroom.
- Logic Bomb: P14 inadvertently destroys a union droid with one of these. He asks the droid what his job is, with the union droid telling him that his job is to go on strike. When P14 tells him that his job is to refuse to do his job, he flusters and his head explodes.
- Lower-Deck Episode: The whole strip is basically one for the whole of 2000 AD. It's even set in the sub-sub-basement.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Sergeant Bloodbath's description of every single biscuit and type of tea he serves up.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: The work experience student. Also, one episode shows protesters with signs that say "You can't hug your children with nuclear arms" until one disgruntled droid tells him that his mother had literal nuclear arms and hugged him all the time with them.
- No Periods, Period: Averted by P14's girlfriend, whose dustbag gets clogged up, resulting in her being emotional at her "time of the maintenance cycle".
- Really Gets Around: Cheryl the photocopier. When she shows the copy to P14, claiming it to be his, he responds that the barcode on the arse in question is not his. Suddenly, the office empties.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Taken Up to Eleven and frequently lampshaded. Everything from the box P14 came in to the urinals to banana skins are robots. When P14 asks why a robotic teaboy is needed, it's stated that a robotic tea dispenser made everybody uncomfortable.
- Self-Harm: Sortofgothdroid cuts herself whenever she makes a mistake. However, it requires a circular saw to leave any lasting marks.
- Stylistic Suck: P14's story submissions.
- Take That!: The Droid Life poster shows the droid responsible for the idea that Judge Dredd was to remove his helmet and make out with Hershey in the movie sealed up in a room with no doors gathering cobwebs. In Real Life, this was actually Sylvester Stallone.
- Ultimate Job Security: Parodied. P14, Ray and Crumbs get fired in one strip, only for the union droid to kick up a fuss (See Logic Bomb above). After this happens, P14 is told to sweep up the remains and get back to work. Later, not sure if he's even supposed to be still working there or not, he goes to an accounts droid......only for the droid to reveal he only pretends to be an accountant and will be fired if he's caught not playing video games.
- Worst Aid: The office nurse wields a shotgun.
- When All You Have is a Hammer
: Roughly half of P14's Judge Dredd story submissions involve an Incredibly Lame Pun based upon the phrase "Gaze into the face of Fear" and end with Dredd's "GAZE INTO THE FIST OF DREDD!" line. Of course, Crumbs tells him that it still doesn't work as a story.
- And, of course, Staplie's winning strategy for Rock, Paper, Scissors, which involves beating all three with a stapler.