Stuck in the Middle is an anthology of short black-and-white comics about middle school, drawn by 17 different artists and edited by Ariel Schrag. The comics do not follow one central plotline; rather, each features an episode in the life of a middle school student, and all of them seem to have the view that Middle School Is Hell. Loss of friends, bullying, and the obliviousness of adults are prominent themes, and few of the comics end on happy notes.
Has no relation to the Disney Channel show.
This anthology provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: "Fair Weather", "Never Go Home".
- Adults Are Useless:
- "Anxiety". It takes a special kind of oblivious to listen to a kid talk about his problems at school for an hour and then deduce that he's stressed by the possibility of his parents getting a divorce.
- In "Snitch", Tania's teacher accidentally gives her a reputation as The Stool Pigeon.
- Averted in "Simple Machines". Instead of scolding him for doodling, Aaron's teacher encourages him to use his art/design skills in the school play instead.
- All Girls Like Ponies: "Horse Camp".
- All of the Other Reindeer: "Anxiety", "Shit", "Hit Me", "Tina Roti", "Snitch", "The Disco Prairie Rebellion of '81".
- Alpha Bitch: Ashleigh Thomas from "Tina Roti".
- Art Shift: Art styles vary wildly between the 17 artists, as is expected.
- Black Bead Eyes: The characters in "Anxiety".
- Breather Episode: Compared to the crap that the other protagonists go through, "Simple Machines" is much easier to stomach.
- Bros Before Hoes: "A Relationship in Eight Pages".
- Clingy Jealous Girl: "Watch your step, new girl! Alex is mine!"
- Cool Loser: The majority of the protagonists are depicted this way, but we don't see enough of them to gauge what they're really like.
- Deliberately Monochrome
- Disproportionate Retribution: In "Fair Weather", Joe doesn't mow the lawn when his mother asks him to do so. Her reaction is to throw his entire comic collection in the garbage.
- Driven to Suicide: Discussed in Terry's internal monologue in "Anxiety".
- Girlish Pigtails: Daisy Mae in "The Disco Prairie Rebellion of '81", complete with flower pinafore and dorkishly wide grin.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Loser Protagonist: Everyone, really.
- Middle School Is Hell: About the only comics that don't end on a depressing note are "A Relationship in Eight Pages", "Simple Machines", and, ironically enough, "Crater Face".
- Ordinary Middle School Student
- Rise of Zitboy: The plot of "Crater Face".
- Skintone Sclerae: The protagonist of "Like a Weed, Joe". Combined with the bizarrely half-realistic art style, he looks very strange indeed.
- There Are No Therapists: Double subverted in "Anxiety". The protagonist does see a therapist, but she doesn't help him.