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Comic Strip / SnarfQuest

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L to R: Suthaze, Aveeare, Prince Raffendorf, Telerie, Snarf, Etheah, and Geezel.

SnarfQuest, drawn and written by Larry Elmore, is a fantasy comic strip with sci-fi and modern elements. It is the only comic series by Elmore, who is more widely known for his fantasy art paintings. The strip was originally serialized from 1985–1989 in the role-playing magazine Dragon, and, due to its popularity, subsequently spawned several collected volumes, tabletop games, and full-color followups by Elmore in 2000 and 2011.

The eponymous Snarf is a male zeetvah—a humanoid being with long, batwing-like ears, and a dragonlike snout. Like all zeetvahs, Snarf comes from the village of Zeetville, located in the Vallys [sic] of Exotic Beings. Snarf is an adventurer of the comic-hero variety. More clever and opportunistic than brave or heroic, Snarf displays a certain "courage under pressure" and is usually able to talk or bluff his way through danger. His basic goals are to become rich and famous; however, he would rather steal treasure than directly fight for it.

Initially setting off a quest to become leader of village, Snarf gets sidetracked after encountering Aveeare; an explorer robot from space whom Snarf mistakes for an armored wizard. Over the cross of his adventures, Snarf gains a variety of allies, such as the beautiful swordswoman Telerie Windyarm; Prince Raffendorf, a human transformed into a humanoid rat; and Willy, the dragon who thinks he's a duck. He also gains enemies, primary among them being the Evil Sorcerer Suthaze, and his apprentice Geezel.

A card game based on the strip called SnarfQuest Card Game was released in 2001.

SnarfQuest RPG Worldbook was released in 2003 containing information on the setting and information for roleplaying.

A Point-and-Click Game called SnarfQuest Tales was funded through Kickstarter and the first episode was released in 2017.

SnarfQuest contains examples of:

  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: The space civilization has starships, fully artificially-intelligent robots, and hand-held laser weapons — and they're terrified of Snarf's bad old 20th century pistol. Justified because lasers just cause burns that can be treated, but an old-fashioned chemical propellant pistol can kill in a single shot.
  • Bag of Holding: There is a moment when Snarf wanted to impress Aveeare by showing him a revolver pistol. The gun wouldn't have been impressive even if it'd found it, but the robot was astounded to see Snarf violate the laws of physics by climbing entirely inside a tiny Pack of Holding.
  • Bald of Evil: Suthaze combines bald of evil with Wizard Beard.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: It's evil on evil, but Suthaze magically brainwashes an evil dragon into thinking he is a friendly duck named Willie. Snarf breaks the spell temporarily to distract Suthaze, but it is rendered permanent by massive head trauma.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A literal example happens when an explosion restores Willie's memory and he reverts to his true identity of the evil dragon Kizarvexius. Unaware of this, Suthaze believes he is still dealing with Willie the duck and starts pushing him around the way he always does. This proves... unwise.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Telerie, Snarf and Aveeare are exploring a cave in the dark, you can see their eyes in the darkness. Then another pair of eyes appears and a growling noise comes from them. Snarf starts stabbing at them, and when Telerie lights a torch they see that he has killed a monster.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Some of Telerie's choices for combat attire are questionable; such as a chainmail shirt that just covers her breasts and a Lady Legionnaire Wear skirt, leaving both her midriff and her legs bare.
  • Cutting Through Energy: Telerie Windyarm gains her name from her "sword that can split the wind," which is capable of deflecting magical blasts or chopping them straight out of the air.
  • Delusions of Doghood: The evil dragon Kizarvexius was struck in the head by lightning during a powerful storm, and forgot who or what he was. Suthaze cursed the dragon into believing that he was a duck named Willie. Thus, Suthaze gained a powerful servant that could be easily controlled.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Snarf's principal adversary is Suthaze; a bald, bearded, evil wizard. He possessed a "magic time jumping glass" – an hourglass that could transport the user into the future for 72 hours – with which he would plunder the future for fantastic treasures.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Prince Raffendorf wears an eyepatch that would probably be far more dashing had he not suffered a Forced Transformation that transformed him into a humanoid rat.
  • Facial Horror: Snarf and others assume that Aveeare (a robot stranded in a fantasy world) is a victim of this trope, mistaking the circuits and gears under his faceplate for scar tissue.
  • Forced Transformation: Prince Raffendorf had been transformed into a rat man by Suthaze's magic, and only Suthaze possessed the ability to reverse the curse.
  • Framed for Heroism: Played with when an evil wizard whom Snarf is facing off with suddenly goes "Urk!" and dies. The humanoid characters assume that Snarf actually scared him to death, but the readers learn that their gaggaleech companion (actually a highly venomous death leech) had secretly dropped onto the wizard's back and bitten him.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Telerie covers her breasts with her arms after Snarf uses her white shirt as a surrender flag.
  • Indy Ploy: Larry Elmore plotted out the next step and place for the characters to be, then threw it out and literally made up the craziest possible way to get there from the last stopping place. Best Example: You Shot My Tower!! Snarf DID.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Snarf hooks up with Telerie Windyarm, an Action Girl whom he later discovers has no sense of modesty when she casually changes clothes right in front of him. Although he is initially embarrassed at this, when they are invited into a starship and she changes into a skimpy nighty for dinner, Snarf firmly tells one of the attending robots to say nothing so he can enjoy her company as is.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Telerie couldn't quite get out the critical word when parting company with Snarf: "I really, really lo- like you."
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: When a group of space-travellers from a medieval fantasy world, posing as a rock band (It Makes Sense in Context) angered a group of space miners, resulting in a high-speed chase with both parties exchanging gunfire; while the miners weren't too worried about the heroes' lasers, but when Snarf pulled out his .357 Magnum (that he once killed a dragon with), they started to panic because "lasers'll burn ya, but them slug-throwers will rip yer head off!" The matter became moot, anyway, after the team wizard hit the miners with a Lightning Bolt spell, but still...
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Willie the dragon came to believe he was a duck after being struck by lightning (and cursed by Suthaze).
  • Monster Protection Racket: Willie the dragon (who thinks he's a duck) is suckered into playing the role of the monster in one of these.
  • No Face Under the Mask: Princess Penelope falls in love with Aveeare: not understanding that he is a robot and believing him to be knight in a suit of armour. At one point she sees him with visor up (as he is conducting repairs) and sees that he has no face, just circuitry which she interprets as a mass of scar tissue that has completely obliterated his facial features.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Snarf is more clever and opportunistic than brave or heroic, but he displays a certain "courage under pressure" and is usually able to talk or bluff his way through danger.
  • Rat Men: Prince Raffendorf was a human prince who'd been transformed into this trope by an evil wizard, and was seeking to be restored to normal.
  • Robosexual: Princess Penelope falls in love with Aveeare and wants to make him her husband. Of course, she doesn't really understand what a robot is, but she is very determined.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Prince Raffendorf was a human prince before being turned into a giant humanoid rat by an evil wizard.
  • Rule of Funny: The strip practically runs on it. Larry Elmore has said that he plotted out the next step and place for the characters to be, then threw it out and literally made up the craziest possible way to get there from the last stopping place.
  • Solitary Sorceress: Etheah of the Woodland is a benevolent sorceress who lives by herself in a small house far away from civilization.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Subverted subtly in one strip. Snarf and his allies are cowering behind some rocks while an enemy fires a machine gun their way. Snarf tells Telerie that he has a plan and asks her to remove her shirt. She does so and is then less than impressed to discover that Snarf's plan is waving her white shirt as a surrender flag.
    Telerie: Is that all you wanted my shirt for? What a cheap trick!!...
    Snarf: [smirking] Okay, okay. We had to surrender properly.
  • Translator Microbes: A goofy-looking critter called a gaggaleechnote  gains the ability to communicate with everything due to a ring-granted Wish. It uses this power to play pranks on the other characters, but is forced to change its diet from blood to fruit juice note  because "everything" includes prey.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: After gaining the ability to communicate with everything, the gaggaleech is forced to change its diet from blood to fruit juice. Even then, it is extremely annoyed to find that even apples beg for mercy when being drained of their vital fluid.
  • White Flag: Snarf and his allies are pinned down behind a rock. Snarf announces he has a plan and tells Action Girl Telerie to take off her shirt and give it to him. The now topless Telerie is not impressed when she discovers Snarf's plan is putting her white shirt on a stick and waving it as a white flag.
  • Wizard Beard: Suthaze has a long white beard that reaches most of the way down his chest and is tied into two ponytails.
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: Prince Raffendorf parts company with Snarf when he opts to work for Geezel and Etheah for a year, in exchange for them transforming him from a giant humanoid rat back into a human.