The Underburbs is an indie comic book series created by Joe Haley and T.J. Dort, started in 2005, and continuing to this day. It centers around "Countess" Winifred Pale, a vampire bent on taking over the world with a scroll that turns people into monsters. Unfortunately, due to incompetent subordinates and general lack of knowledge about our world, she has yet to succeed. Angela, a human-turned-witch from our world, serves as her Sidekick and viewpoint character.
Nineteen issues have been released so far. Issues 1-3 were reprinted as a Trade Paperback with added material. It does not have national distribution, so ways to buy the comic are limited to some Massachusetts comics shops, via www.indyplanet.com or by ordering them from the creators themselves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the comic series, Joe Haley (also known as "Mr-DNA") manages a "Chain Story" non-canon spin-off entitled Angela's Magic Lesson, in which readers can commission new branching paths and epilogues that result from Angela casting magic on herself.
Tropes for The Underburbs:
- Affably Evil: Unless the companion in question is at least in her level, Winifred can be a casually approachable person.
- Always Someone Better: By means someone "eviler", it's Bel to Winifred.
- Anti-Villain: Winifred is primarily the reason why Angela is in this "Conquer the World or go with her to Monster School" predicament.
- Badass Normal: George's father.
- Becoming the Costume: A major plot point in the story, as, when exposed to Winifred's scroll, people become the things they're dressed as. At one point, the creators even had an idea to make Angela change into anything by wearing a costume of it, but this was dismissed as "too video-gamey."
- Becoming the Mask: Downplayed. Angela is working with Winifred to follow her every whim, while trying to make sure Winifred doesn't get any ideas of conquering the outside world, even though Character Development marches into keeping the two close together. This cuts short when Bel starts encouraging Wini to follow her ideas.
- There is some concern expressed that Angela is getting a little too passive and friendly with Winifred a few issues after the zombie incident is resolved, though Angela seems to be moving past it, becoming more assertive and gaining other friends to keep her grounded.
- Berserk Button: Winifred does not want Angela to misbehave in front of her father.
- Celestial Bureaucracy: The big demon at the end of Issue 6 and throughout Issue 7.
- Creepy Child: Death-Ann, though it isn't really her fault. Basically she's a grim reaper with the ability to remove people's souls from their bodies. Problem is she's only a toddler and doesn't really know any better.
- Cute Witch: Angela and her mom.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: Issue 3. 'Nuff said.
- Evil Counterpart: Bel, in terms of Winifred, though both of them self-identify as "evil".
- Fantastic Racism: Werewolves versus "wolfmen".
- Halloweentown: The Evil Dimension and also the town of Pendleton, after Winifred turns people into monsters.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Winifred's ultimate goal is not to be left alone growing up after her mother died from Vampire Hunters. Since her condescending personality makes it impossible for her to have friends normally, she pragmatically turns Angela into a witch just to get herself some company. She got better.
- Jerkass: Damon, especially after he's turned into Death Lantern.
- Lack of Empathy: In self-absorbed (Winifred) and more sadistic (Bel) flavors.
- Meaningful Name: Shelly, the resident Frankenstein's Monster, shares her name with Mary Shelley.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The man with people for fingers in Issue 7.
- Our Monsters Are Different: The Underburbs setting is oozing with classical Halloween monsters, from vampires to witches and Frankenstein monsters to ghost pirates.
- Raising the Steaks: The zombie organ grinder's monkey!
- Stranger in a Strange School: Angela's peers at school have been transformed into a variety of monsters thanks to Winnifred, but Angela herself still considers herself human...just a human that can now cast spells.
- Tomato in the Mirror: It turns out that Angela's Mom really was a witch before her own "turning".