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Comic Book / The Unfunnies

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The least disturbing thing about this series.

"As Williams began getting scripts and read what he had to draw, we wondered whether there was ever a moment where the artist had to stop and catch his breath before continuing. He answered in the affirmative. "Every page, and it's getting worse. Somebody help him before it's too late." And when Williams began sending back finished pages to Millar, the writer did have a few recommendations and changes for the artist. "Bizarrely, I was drawing too well. I'd get repeated emails saying 'Make it shittier.'"
Comic Book Resources

The Unfunnies is a four-issue Black Comedy horror comic book written by Mark Millar with art by Anthony Williams. Quite frankly, it lives up to its name.

A world resembling classic Nelvana/Hanna-Barbera cartoons is becoming increasingly messed up as characters discover sex, swearing and murder. Little do they know that it's the work of the creator of their world, Troy Hicks, a child molester/killer who used occult magic to switch places with one of his cartoon characters in order to escape from death row.

Issues 1 and 2 were released in 2004, and were re-released in 2007 together as The First Follies. Issues 3 and 4 were released in 2007. Each of the regular issues were released with two covers — a mass-market cover, and an "offensive" cover.

This comic contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Sally Gator - okay woman, your daughter did wrong. But that's not the reason to let some crazy doctor kill her!
  • Alliterative Name: Birdseed Betty, Deputy Doozy, Doctor Despicable... the list goes on, a nod to classic cartoon naming.
  • Anvil on Head: Betty Birdseed and her family get crushed by a giant weight from nowhere at the end of the comic, because Hicks needed a sacrifice to complete his evil scheme.
  • Anyone Can Die: Just about every character that's given any major screen time is going to be brutally murdered or screwed over, the sole exception being Troy Hicks.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Funny Animals drawn in a Looney Tunes/Hanna-Barbera-esque art style being subjected to brutal murder, drug addiction, sexual depravity, and mental instability.
  • Author Tract: The Sally Gator/Doctor Despicable story arc comes off as a really obvious anti-abortion message. Anti-Abortion messages are a recurring theme in Millar's works.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The comic ends with The Funnies creator Troy Hicks successfully avoiding his execution by trading places with one of his characters and also disturbingly implies that he will continue to do horrible things in the cartoon world.
  • Big Bad: Troy Hicks, a mad cartoonist turning the world he created into his personal dystopia.
  • Captain Ersatz: Several of the characters, Pussywhisker, for example, seems to be an ersatz version of Snagglepuss, while Millionaire Mole is most likely based on Scrooge McDuck. Hicks openly admits it, calling all characters "shitty knock-offs".
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Of the metafictional variety. The numerous characters are at the mercy of their monstrous creator, who gradually corrupts their world and is completely untouchable, allowing him to pull off his switcheroo scheme without a hitch. It's most emphasized with the officer investigating the case, only to be rendered helpless and added to the body pile.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The cartoon universe looks cute and hilarious at first, but quickly spirals into a nightmarishly corrupt cesspit.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Characters tend to say "Holy Hannah!" whenever they are met with an unexpected misfortune.
    • Whenever the fourth wall is broken, the characters tend to say "Eh, reader?"
  • Corrupt the Cutie: The first part of Hicks' plan was emailing the characters and telling them of the "wonders" he's experienced in the real world, corrupting them.
  • Covers Always Lie: The "offensive" covers represent things not appearing in the story itself, such as one of Moe Crow's sons going on a killing spree at school, or characters not seen anywhere (Dr. Despicable is represented as a cat performing an abortion on Sally Gator, when he's a human-type toon).
  • Creator Breakdown: In-Universe example, Troy Hicks seemed to having been a pretty normal cartoonist judging from some of the characters' comments.
  • Darker and Edgier: Child pornography plot point gets introduced at second page. And it only gets darker with every moment.
  • Deal with the Devil: Frosty Pete switching places with Hicks. Hicks is implied to have performed one himself, the entire comic comprising the 'eight-eight page ritual'. He needs a blood sacrifice to complete it, but he has the perfect loophole - he's the god of his world, and can create and destroy as he wishes.
  • Death of a Child: Not even children are safe from Troy Hicks' killing spree.
  • Depraved Bisexual:
    • Troy Hicks sexually exploits Birdseed Betty, and it's indicated he enjoys child pornography regardless of gender. To add, the genders of the children he raped and murdered are unspecified.
    • Jungle Jim also sexually exploits Betty, and tries to convince her to join him in molesting her own children, a boy and a girl.
  • Downer Ending: Troy Hicks succeeds in the ritual to keep him in the world of The Funnies, where he becomes an omnipotent god. The police department that tries to stop him are slaughtered, and he grants Birdseed Betty's family one small bit of happiness before crushing them all with a giant anvil. Meanwhile, poor Frosty Pete is stuck in Hicks' original body, awaiting execution by electric chair.
  • Dying Dream: It's possible that all the events of the comic are actually the delusional fantasies of Troy Hicks before his execution.
  • Emasculated Cuckold: This is Played for Horror. Pussywhisker loses both his testicles after being convinced by Dr. Despicable that he has testicular cancer. His wife Polly was outraged that they cannot have children and refusing to adopt, so she forces Pussywhisker to pick up men to get to sleep with her in order to get her pregnant. When she did not get pregnant from the first guy, Polly forced Pussywhisker to get more men. It's clearly damaging for Pussywhisker to do this. At the end of the issue, as Pussywhisker is forced to find another man for Polly, she reveals that she orchestrated her husband's castration so that she would be justified in her acts of adultery with copious partners, is on the pill, and enjoys that she has forced her husband to find these partners while she waits at home.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Originally, Hicks reached out to Moe the Crow with emails detailing the extravagant real world. But Moe turned him down. Hicks made the same offer to the penguin mailman, Frosty Pete, and assumed his persona.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: As the title of this miniseries would indicate, there is nothing funny about this comic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Troy Hicks's wife hated him for not being able to give her children.
  • Fur Is Clothing: When Pussywhiskers gets ready for the removal of his testicles, he has the fur covering his lower half pulled down as if they were pants, exposing his genitals.
  • God Is Evil: Troy Hicks is the creator and god of the Unfunnies-verse.
  • Henpecked Husband: Pussywhisker is forced by Polly to find men with whom she can have sex; also, Legal Beagle pays Betty Birdseed to be treated as one, for some reason.
  • Hidden Eyes: Frosty Pete (even when in devil costume at the end of the comic) and Deputy Doozy always have their eyes hidden by their hats.
  • Karma Houdini: Troy Hicks gets off scot free for all the child murders he commits, while an innocent cartoon character is tricked to take his place.
  • Karmic Death: Played straight with Polly and all men she cheated on her husband with, when it's revealed that first one of them has AIDS. Sadly, completely averted with Troy Hicks, who doesn't get any punishment for the children he murdered or the comic characters whose lives he ruined.
  • Karmic STD: Pussywhisker's wife Polly manipulates her husband into letting her cheat on him with other men by having Dr. Despicable amputate his testicles after convincing him he has testicular cancer and making him guilty of being unable to give her a child. Polly ultimately gets punished for her infidelity when she and all the men she slept with die of AIDS.
  • Loophole Abuse: Dr. Despicable ends up losing the bet he made with another doctor over removing 100 healthy testicles because the other doctor claims that the deal was one testicle per patient and Dr. Despicable tricked Pussywhisker into letting him amputate both.
  • Mama Bear: Jungle Jim found out the hard way that Birdseed Betty is one when she beats him to death with a strap-on for merely suggesting they engage in group sex with her children.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Troy Hicks, but also Doctor Despicable who convinces people they have testicular cancer to win a competition with another doctor in who will remove one hundred testicles. And Polly, who orchestrated her husband being one of Despicable's patients, so she can make him feel guilty he cannot give her a child and not only justify sleeping with as many men as she can, but even make him pick them up for her.
  • Mature Animal Story: It can't get any more adult-oriented if there's loads of violence and a subplot involving a female toon manipulating her husband into amputating his testicles so that he will feel guilty for being unable to give her a child and allow her to cheat on him with the excuse of trying to conceive a child.
  • Media Transmigration: The plot of the comic is that the murderous cartoonist of a children's comic series, Troy Hicks, magically swaps himself with one of his innocent characters; so while he takes on the life of the in-universe mail penguin Frosty Pete, Frosty Pete takes on his life in the real world just in time to be arrested. As Frosty Pete, Troy makes life hell for the other characters.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Frosty Pete stands in front of a mirror and sees Hicks' image.
  • No Fourth Wall: If one were to make a drinking game out of the times the characters address the reader, it would put their health at risk.
    • "I'm as real as the people reading this!"
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Used horrifically at times, such as when Dr. Despicable's men murder Sally Gator's daughter and when Hicks in Frosty Pete's body walks off with her new baby to presumably do something horrific to it
  • Police Are Useless: Justified in that, before Hicks' arrival, the biggest crimes in town were petty pranks, so the cops are unprepared to face the crime spree. However, when they get told that the child killer is someone small, black, with flippers, that gives a "South Pole vibe", and don't connect that with Frosty Pete standing right in front of them, they really come across as dumb. On the other hand, Hicks is the one writing their reality now, so maybe he was just messing with them.
  • Possession Sue: invokedPlayed for Horror, and more literal than most cases. Frosty Pete is heavily implied to have been a minor character who acted nothing like that before Hicks took him over, and now the unassuming mailman is practically a god.
  • Pregnant Reptile: Sally Gator is shown with a pregnant belly when she and her husband conceive a new child.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In-Universe example, Troy Hicks based what happens to Moe and Pussywhisker on events from his own life.
  • Really Gets Around: Polly cheats on her husband with a lot of men, but she hides it behind her fake obsession of having a child.
  • Resurrected Murderer: Comic book creator Troy Hicks raped and murdered eight children before being arrested. He escapes the death penalty by using an occult ritual to switch places with a character in his comic, and promptly twists his world from Funny Animal wholesomeness to a Dystopia of sex and violence with him as its god.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Troy Hicks and the events of his life in the real world are shown using photographs of real people.
  • Running Gag: "Eh, Reader?"
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Crow Family, the police officer trying to stop Troy Hicks, and the cartoon character with whom Troy Hicks trades places all end up killed when they try to change things and their efforts turn out to be for nought.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: A lot of characters swear like sailors, most notably Chick-Chick Chickie and Pussywhisker's adulterous wife Polly.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Completely on the Cynicism side by as soon as the second page.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: This isn't your typical Funny Animal comic aimed at children. The series begins with Moe the Crow being arrested for owning child pornography and it only gets worse from there.
  • Talking with Signs: Chick-Chick Chickie uses signs to explain why he's forced to curse to everyone. If he ever stops doing that, Frosty Pete will kill him with a rifle. He does.
  • Teeny Weenie: Pussywhisker's dick is shown when he prepares for the surgical removal of his testicles, and it is rather small.
  • Understatement: Review in first issue says this comic might be inappropriate for kids. Might? MIGHT?!
  • Unreliable Narrator: Given that Troy Hicks is clearly a deranged psychopath, some of the details he gives regarding his backstory may be suspect.
  • Villain Protagonist: Troy Hicks, the creator of the cartoon characters, is convicted for molesting and killing children and invades the world of his cartoon creations to get away with his crimes and continue doing horrible things.
  • Wish-Fulfillment: In-Universe example, Troy Hicks uses the world of The Unfunnies to commit atrocities and go unpunished.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Troy Hicks raped and murdered three children, and the comic ends with him kidnapping a newborn baby.
  • You Bastard!: An "Eh, reader?” catchphrase appears to be originally used whenever something funny was happening so used to suggest collusion when terrible things are done to the characters is supposed to make readers feel bad that they're laughing at all this macabre. The only problem is that the reader is likely too disgusted to be actually laughing.