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El Goonish Shive / Tropes A to E

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El Goonish Shive provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: In the movie they watch here, horses are used as projectile weaponry. Susan asks Justin if he could do that but he says:
    Justin: I'm not trained in the art of using horses as projectile weaponry.
  • Abilene Paradox: Narrowly avoided in the "So a Date at the Mall" story where Elliot and Ashley are discussing whether to eat immediately or to wait until later. Both of them are hungry, but let the other make the decision as to whether to eat immediately. They both assume the other isn't hungry and agree to delay eating. Thankfully a combined stomach growl gives them an excuse to do what they both want to do.
  • Abusive Parents: Well, singular. Damien ended up making himself a sort of twisted father figure to Grace and her brothers, but there is nothing "fatherly" about him at all. He is an abuser pure and simple, able to control his "children" through fear and constantly hitting them whenever they displease him. And like any parent whose children are young enough, he's too powerful for them to do anything about it. And the reason he wanted Grace back? He wanted to breed with her so that he could raise an army. Whether she wanted to or not. (She didn't, by the way.)
    • Unintentionally done by Tedd's mother, using a magic analysis wand to see why he had no magical potential; he was frightened by the noise it made until it became a Pavlovian Response. Worse yet, when it appeared Tedd had no magical aptitude she couldn't reconcile with that and ended up abandoning him.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Hints dropped at Ellen having depression and taking up drinking were later explained away because the creator didn't like the direction it would take. Then, the unopened cans are stuffed back in the refrigerator by Elliot... behind the Red Herring.
    • The "Lord Tedd" arc will presumably pick up again some day, but it's more or less indefinitely on hold because the author realized he introduced it too early.
    • Susan's crusade against the school uniform policy dropped out of focus and then ended abruptly not because nobody in the school wanted to wear the uniforms (even if only Susan was willing to openly act on the matter), but because the parents of the students complained about the increased laundry costs. (Although the author had always intended to end the arc in a lame way, he admitted didn't intend for it to be so abrupt.)
  • Academy of Adventure: Two of them: Moperville North and South.
    • Raven mentions offhandedly that South has many unusual children — and he's in charge of protecting them. What's more, he never states that other schools aren't like this — we might just not have met Raven's Moperville North equivalent.
    • Though Moperville North does have its "well-meaning, but completely nuts" principal, and the Goo showed up there twice.
  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: invoked What happens to 'Fox' when Nanase is knocked out was, according to Dan, "...much less disturbing as I originally pictured it."
    Dan: Those who are easily creeped out would do well to dismiss summons quickly rather than gradually.
  • Accidental Truth:
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  • Action Girl: All the girls (and some of the guys) except for Sarah.
  • Actually Not a Vampire:
    • A variation. Susan flashbacks to an earlier encounter with an 'Aberration' — a person who has used magic in order to become immortal through parasitically leeching off the life-force of others. She starts to describe to her friends about how it had some vampire-like characteristics, realizes her description sounds like it is of a vampire, and decides to say it was one. When her friends ask if it really was one, she said 'No, not really, but it was a monster that used to be human, hypnotized young women and sucked blood out of their necks. It doesn't matter what I say. You two are going to hear "vampire."' The accompanying comments say no, it's not a 'real' vampire. About one arc later, the body-snatcher Sirleck is also identified as an Aberration, albeit one of a different variety than the one Susan and Nanase encountered in France. The common thread is that Aberrations are creatures that were once human, but physically and mentally transformed themselves into monsters in order to gain immortality.
    • Despite what some people might think, Raven assures you that he is not, in fact, a vampire. He also wants you to know that sandwiches are delicious.
  • Aerith and Bob: Jerry the Immortal thinks you should be glad he's a Jerry, because most immortals go for elitist names from ancient mythology.
    Jerry: Let me tell you, there is nothing more hilarious than the legendary hissy-fits that result from two or more immortals named Zeus running into each other.
    • One of these examples is "Chaos", who originally wanted to be known as "Box", but settled for "Pandora" when the former proved too obscure for people to get the reference.
  • Agents Dating: Agents Wolf and Cranium are dating and doing a terrible job at concealing it.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Noah uses the school's air vents to hunt a magical creature.
  • Alien Among Us: They're born on Earth, they're not aliens.
  • All-Cheering All the Time: A sketchbook entry explains why "Cheerleadra" is an awful superhero concept.
  • Alpha Bitch: Subverted. Diane is set up to be this, but she's revealed to actually care for her friends (and be concerned for random crying strangers), as seen here, and is thus really a Lovable Alpha Bitch. Her friend Lucy, on the other hand, fits the bullying part of the archetype but isn't the leader of the group.
    • Susan seemed to be an example of this at first, being portrayed as a snobby mean rich girl... but the moment she was given more screen time, she quickly got one hell of a character development. She was also revealed to have a traumatic backstory, so it would be more appropriate to call her a Broken Bird, or, more recently, a Defrosting Ice Queen.
  • Alternate Universe: Several. The one where Ellen and Kaoli "met" got Uryuoms and seyunolu as an accepted part of Human life for two centuries or so...
  • Ambiguous Gender: Tedd (even without his regular Gender Bender shenanigans) and Noah. Word of God even notes that a female posing model is used for both. It's even the first trope used for a joke in the comic.
  • Amicable Exes: Nanase and Elliot are this after the former broke it off for Sarah's sake. Partially subverted for her that she later dates his Opposite-Sex Clone Ellen.
    • More straight is Sarah and Elliot, who came to their own conclusions why a relationship wouldn't work. The former because she felt it was too slow and passive, and the later realizing that he loved her as a sister. Regardless, they're still very close, even teasing one another that they should have reacted more viciously.
  • Amusing Injuries: The end result of a Demonic Duck jumping out of a moving car. They were NOT amusing enough to distract Susan. (Justified as she was the one driving the car, and the author has a strong dislike of drivers in fiction who let themselves get distracted way too easily.)
  • Anachronism Stew: Played With. The comic is set in modern day but due to the fact that it has taken several years to go over a few months the technology progresses rapidly so Susan having a DVD/VHS player is impressive near the beginning but her having a modern cell phone is common place later on.
  • An Aesop: This comic and this one pretty much sum up the aesop for the Death Sentence arc.
  • And Call Him "George"!: Played for laughs here.
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong: Sensei Greg, on the possibility that his training could give "atomic breath or something" to a sociopath: "While awesome, that would be totally irresponsible."
  • Anger Born of Worry: The first panel of this strip.
  • Anti-Climax:
    • Hedge is the King of this.
    • Unfortunately, the school uniform subplot, one of the few subplots to actually receive a conclusion so far, suffers from this. In the commentary, Shive blames poor planning for the abrupt end, but insists the tone would have remained the same regardless.
    • Elliot and Sarah's break up was surprisingly amicable, and it went down very smoothly, much to the surprise of the pair and many readers. This was quickly lampshaded about how none of their friends are going to believe that the break up went so smoothly.
  • Anti-School Uniforms Plot: Moperville North institutes a uniform policy after the principal catches her and Tedd in the midst of a sissy slap fight that, he's told, began when Tedd poked fun at a shirt Susan was wearing. Susan is fundamentally opposed to this new policy, because it requires the girls to wear skirts, which she hates. Susan rebels by wearing the boys' uniform, and Tedd even joins her with the girls' uniform. The policy is eventually revoked, but not due to anything Susan did; the principal got complaints from parents about the additional laundry the policy generated.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Grace's brothers, or at least, at first. Hedge hated working for Damien, and did everything in his power to not bring back Grace, or even a woman in general, knowing full well what Damien's intentions were. Guineas too, but he had a lot less room for undermining Damien. Vlad was the only one who was actually loyal, and even he had mixed feelings at best upon learning Damien was dead.
    • Abraham didn't want to kill Ellen, but his oath was too broad, and he felt that he had no choice. He was all too happy to accept the loophole Nanase presented.
  • A Rare Sentence: Grace decides the theme she wants for her birthday party is for most of her friends to use alien technology to temporarily swap their genders, which isn't nearly as crazy as it would be in a more realistic setting but nevertheless takes a lot of people out of their comfort zones:
    Sarah: Part of me just wants to "get a room" with her. But that's just crazy! I don't want to lose my virginity as a guy, and I sure as heck don't want to risk getting Elliot pregnant! Which, by the way, is a sentence I never thought I'd say.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The cast has dealt with magic, not-aliens, alternate dimensions, immortals, shapeshifting Biological Mash Ups, and lots and lots of Gender Bending, but Tedd's claims of an interdimensional space whale that eats magic only gets him an odd look from his father.
    • Possibly justified immediately afterwards — Tedd tells Elliot that his father can't be expected to know everything, and Tedd's the only character known to even be able to sense the space whales.
    • In one of the NP's, Susan derides the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse as being scientifically-impossible. Grace quickly points out the flaw in that logic. Edward confirms that undeads are impossible, and the closest people can get to zombies are corpses being puppeted by someone.
    • Justin assumes rumors of someone selling magic stuff is just a scam. When this comes up in conversation he relizes that he probably should have looked into that more.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: A non-sexual example, as Kevin, the sentient magic wand, is overlooked by a Magpie construct that targets "valuable magical artifacts".
    Kevin: I am deeply offended.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
  • Artifact Title: Played with after so many people asked about the title's meaning. It was intended to be nonsense ("El Goonish" + the author's last name), but to appease the questioners, he introduced a "hired goon." In a non-continuity Fourth-Wall Mail Slot filler. For one panel (do you know what is it worth to hire a really huge goon?). There was also one easily missed mention of goons before this.
  • Artistic License: In the comic, change blindness tends to be treated as something that all characters experience to the same (frankly sometimes extreme) degree. In reality, while change blindness is very real, different people experience it quite differently.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Played for Laughs in an NP comic, with a football player who claims his motivation is "disproving evolution" — every point he scores without evolving is apparently further proof against evolution. The reporter he's talking to points out how this doesn't follow because not everything evolves via leveling up. In fact, the very next comic shows that football players evolve by tradeinto cheerleaders.
    The Rant: This is as least as valid as any "but why are there still monkeys" argument.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Somewhere a Physics Professor is Crying: In-Universe here and here.
  • Art Evolution: Contrast this and this. Same characters, same artist, 8 years.
    • He's also shifted from grayscale to full-color and back multiple times.
    • The first comic and tenth anniversary comic are also an excellent example of how the art has changed. Same two characters, nearly identical dialogue with a slight difference in the plot, vastly improved art style.
    • Six more years later in 2018 (to further contrast with the above examples), his style is still evolving, albeit in more subtle but clearly visible ways.
  • Art Imitates Art: The second panel of this page contains an extra imitating Edvard Munch's The Scream.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: In "Sister III - Catspaws", the messenger of Magic asks why Pandora shapeshifts into a child. He's instantly given an answer when she throws a massive temper tantrum.
  • Asshole Victim: Played for Laughs when a literal puppy kicking orphanage burning robber ends up as the first victim of an invading army of aberrations, showing that they've been eating humans while trying to avoid giving the story too dark a tone. Ironically, he never gets a chance to try his planned crimes as a result.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority in this comic, Andrea reveals that human royal bloodlines in her world have the strongest inherited magical ability, also making it a Magocracy.
  • As You Know: One of the immortals following Elliot recaps the plot points related to them. When her companion calls her on it, she points out that it helps compensate for their Easy Amnesia.
  • Aura Vision: What makes bloodgrem a useful summon instead of merely obnoxious. Also, this is Luke's power from his magic mark. He can see something to do with magic, possibly magic potential.
  • Author Appeal:
    • The copious amount of transformation. In-story, Tedd represents this aspect of him. Or rather an exaggerated version, Tedd is more pervy than Dan.
    Dan: I suppose it's POSSIBLE Sarah won't get transformed at any point while assisting Tedd. Possible, but not bloody likely.
    • Also, judging from this rant, Susan (and Diane's) "concern for hygiene" is another example.
    • The fact Dan thinks goth girls are hot is pretty obvious. Most blatantly with Elliot (who's a bit of an idealized self-insert) getting a goth girl disguise form and liking it because it appeals to his obvious attraction to goth girls.
    • Large-busted girls, usually not to excess within the main comic, but without much limit in Patreon images. Lampshaded on this page, and then the lampshade is lampshaded in Dan's commentary.
  • Author Avatar: Dan's squirrel avatar, though only out of continuity. Tedd and Elliot each serve this purpose less explicitly at times.
  • Author Catchphrase: Dan never "plans" anything, he "plots". As in, "I was plotting to have new comics up Monday through Friday, but..."
  • Author Filibuster: The Legends of Celida arc so far seems to exist for the sole purpose of allowing Dan to rant about the true nature of Sheik from Ocarina of Time and whether Zelda is simply casting an illusion or out and out transforms into a male.
    • The Duel of the Discs arc is pretty much Dan using Justin, Grace, and Tensaided to give his opinions on Magic: The Gathering and the Star Wars prequels. And the arc before that, By the Numbers, was basically Dan's opinion on movie rating sites like Rotten Tomatoes, albeit with a bone tossed towards possible future character development for both Elliot and Susan at the very end.
  • Author Guest Spot: Dan has appeared as himself as he appears in real life as the "super smart" guy in panel six of this strip, but as he only revealed that it was him in the commentary and calls it a cameo, it is more like a Creator Cameo.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Pandora Chaos Raven. She chose it herself, and claims that it matches her personality. Raven is actually her married name. She keeps it even though her human husband died centuries ago.
  • A Wizard Did It: the author's (word-for-word) explanation for any discrepancies in scenery or building layout, in this page's commentary.
  • Badass Boast: "No one will care if I kill you."
  • Badass Family: The Verres family, including cousin Nanase and resident Grace.
    • And the Raven family as well, with Adrian being one of the series' biggest badasses, and his adopted son/lodger Noah being able to defeat a dragon singlehandedly and has hints of being the child left behind from the experiments that created Damien and Grace. Meanwhile, Adrian's mother, Pandora, is one of the most powerful Immortals on the planet, although that power and mental instability go hand in hand. Both power and instability appear to be going away, though!
  • Badass Longcoat: Hedge, Abraham, and, of all people, Tedd's dad.
  • Badass Teacher: Endangering students of Mr. Raven is the sort of things insurance companies make a specific exclusion for. Even for wizards.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The "Pizza" sidestory uses Animated Actors, and some of the characters are better actors than others.
  • Bad Liar: Elliot. It proves to be a massive liability when he's being questioned by Damien and Hedge, but later is one of the reasons Mr. Verres leaves him to supervise Grace's birthday party.
    • Catalina as well. She just can't seem to hold back that she's dating Rhoda.
    • Same with Ashley, as demonstrated here.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the Fate of Magic arc, it looks like it will be Tedd arguing for revealing magic and Arthur arguing for keeping it secret. But Tedd manages to get Arthur on board simply by figuring out that there are over a thousand seers who will be aware of the magic change. Arthur realizes his goal is simply impossible in the modern world, but magic itself is not so easily convinced.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Shirtless males are drawn without nipples in greyscale comics. Word of God is that this is because he can't make them look right without color. Color comics and sketchbook entries have nipples though.
    • And now that's true for shirtless females in greyscale comics too.
  • Bar Brawl: It is mentioned that Blake Raven was involved in tavern fights.
  • Battle Couple: Ellen and Nanase.
    Nanase: ...Are you doing okay?
    Ellen: awesome!
    Nanase: Focus, honey.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Especially if they're giant, magic, and half lion.
  • Beat Panel: Frequently, and once turned into gag in its own right.
    • Used to great effect when Nanase encounters one of the guys she dated before she came out.
    Gary: I don't mean to be rude, it's just I used to think you didn't want to go on a date with me because I was too geeky.
    Nanase: Yes. It was entirely because I am a lesbian.
  • Beautiful All Along:
  • Berserk Button: Quite a surprising number of times, for a relatively non-violent series.
    • Hurting Grace makes Tedd resemble Lord Tedd a bit.
    • Speaking of Tedd, well... this is how Ellen came to be.note 
    • Grace is wired with a little surprise.
    • During the battle with Damien's "goons," Ellen merely has a thumb war with Guineas. Then Vlad nearly kills Nanase. He was REALLY asking for it.
    • Hurting Raven's students.
    • Do not hurt Nanase (or any member of the Verres family, for that matter) in front of Mr. Verres. He will break you.
    • Dan himself admitted in a commentary that while was perfectly fine with people believing in conspiracy theories, you will get on his bad side if you try to convince him the moon landing was faked.
    Dan: People worked their asses off, made sacrifices, and some even died in their effort to reach the moon. If someone is going to proclaim we never made it there, they better damn well have really solid evidence or kindly shut the hell up.
    Dan: I've seen people exit bathroom stalls and walk right past the sinks! There should always be a way to get out without touching that damn dirty handle!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Grace, who can shapeshift into any number of extremely lethal forms when provoked. And when she's reluctant or unable to enter close combat, she just uses telekinesis instead. Beware, indeed.
    • Tedd looked like Lord Tedd when he discovered Damien's mistreatment of Grace, and especially when he learned it wasn't a one-off event. As "One Way Road" shows, he wants to be able to help his absurdly powerful friends, and is not satisfied with roles of a reclusive ballast or Mission Control. And as a Mad Scientist, he's able to climb the Super Weight ladder if he really wants... and does, as The Stinger to the same arc shows.
    • Pretty much most of the regular cast. They're all pretty much very nice people, but each has a Berserk Button or two that when pressed can unleash the beast. Elliot, Ellen, and Nanase are among the most powerful and protective of others.
  • Big Eater: Nanase and Grace. And Man v. Food Fictional Counterpart in the next strip, but he doesn't count.
  • Casanova Wannabe: T.C., aka "The Playah".
  • Cast Full of Gay: In 2019, a Q/A confirms that the entire main cast is somewhere on the lgbt+ spectrum, and Dan himself considers this to be the norm for humans.
    • Just to break it down; Justin, Nanase, Diane, Rhoda, Catalina, and Lucy are all homosexual (or have only been shown having serious romantic interest in the same gender), Tedd and Elliot are gender-fluid and are therefore open to both genders romantically (although Tedd less so due to childhood trauma over being teased for appearing gay), Grace appears to be pansexual (although she describes it as "Tedd-sexual", she is attracted to Tedd regardless of his/her form or gender), Ellen and Ashley are both bisexual, and Susan is asexual (although not aromantic).
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Dan's had to come up with lots of new designs for extras in later arcs.
  • Cat Girl: In various ways, ranging from the appropriately-named Catalina, to Ellen's online persona, to Grace's werecat form and the variants thereof to normal form of Nioi and Kaoli (they're skunks, but this looks close enough). Not to mention Elliot's catboy form....
  • Cat Scare: Parodied and Justified at once — Jeremy defending his territory is not a critter to be trifled with.
    • Well, unless you can project your spirit energy into a force field.
  • Catapult Nightmare: A couple of aversions/subversions and two Played Straight examples.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Sexy-awesome!"
    • Also "Za?(!)" on occasion.
    • "And we shall never speak of this again." or any variation thereof
    • "Yee-Yup."
    • Catalina yells "JACKASSES!" enough for it to be one.
    • "...thinking about baseball."
  • Cerebus Retcon: Dan is famous for this trope. Before this series developed Cerebus Syndrome, many hyper-zany elements were present in the story, and now that the series has become more serious, Dan is having fun going back and deconstructing lots of the ridiculousness of the earlier strips. The self-deprecatingly titled "Hammerchlorians" arc is devoted to one particular instance of this.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The comic started out wacky, took a turn for the dark in Painted Black, went back to wacky hijinks with Grace's party, turned dark again in Sister 2, turned wacky again with a (mis)adventure in a furniture store, and seems to have finally settled on a consistent tone of being mature, but the cast gets to have some fun along the way from New and Old Flames onwards.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The Painted Black arc was the turning point. Word of God states that he is going to attempt to undo/turn this down in upcoming arcs. Ironically, the "Bringing Silly Back" mega-arc is (self-admittedly) more serious in some ways than previous arcs. That being said, the story has never reached the heights of seriousness of Painted Black, even the antagonists have delved into absurdity and humor and generally have sympathetic aspects, unlike Damien. The obvious authorial intent is more mature storylines in substance rather than just being edgy.
  • Chain Pain: In his original appearances, Hedge wielded a chain as a weapon — specifically, the very chain that had once bound him in captivity in the laboratory that created him. Very symbolic. Very quickly forgotten, too. Only really appeared in one scene, if memory serves, though Grace references it again later.
  • Character Development: One of the strong sides of EGS. It's rather chaotic and detail-saving, but profound.
  • Characterisation Marches On: Goes hand and hand with Art Evolution and Cerebus Syndrome as the author grows from an adolescent to an adult.
    Dan: Seriously, I tend to skip my own huge blocks of text in these old comics on account of me already knowing the key points and being plenty busy, and after I wrote about Susan apologizing to Greg, someone asked "what about apologizing to Nanase for calling her that thing?" My genuine response was "Susan called Nanase WHAT?!"
  • Character Filibuster: Tedd, on occasion.
    Elliot and Sarah: (a synchronized Facepalm) Aw crap!
    Susan: What? Did I say something wrong?
    Tedd: They've heard the rant to follow before.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In an early gag, before it was established that there was a Masquerade, Nanase is floating through the hallways only to be seen by a physics teacher. Later, Diane reveals that this habit of hers clued her into the fact that Nanase has magic.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A lot of 'em. It got to the point that Shive redesigned a character who would have had certain "suspicious" traits (such as an eyepatch) specifically so that nobody would sit around waiting for those to be explained.
    • Possibly lampshaded in the commentary for this strip: "On the plus side, should the fact that there's a photo of Grace on the wall of a pancake place where a TV show episode was filmed ever come up again, the high-res version is already drawn." Definitely lampshaded in this page's commentary.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hedge, among others. Noah was even worse — he showed up, gothic font and all, and then... completely vanished. For years.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
  • The Chessmaster: Pandora. Dan even says in one commentary that she's not someone you want to play at chess. Her desire to manipulate events rather than getting directly involved actually makes sense for two reasons: the other immortals get cheesed off if one of them does anything more than assist people on the physical plane, and she prefers things to be as unpredictable as possible (Chaos is literally her middle name, that she gave herself). Doing everything herself would either earn her severe retribution or just make things too boring.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Susan and Nanase when, during a class-trip to France, they wind up being targeted by an aberration. He's not technically human anymore, but he LOOKS human — mostly — and while Nanase does most of the fighting, it's Susan who ends up having to kill him — with an ax, even. Unsurprisingly, she was somewhat traumatized, and the storyline that featured the flashback culminated in an Immortal decrying the irresponsibility of the two French Immortals who originally equipped the girls for the battle, while giving them no apparent alternative save dying at the hands of the aberration. Apparently, they could have simply informed the French Government's anti-supernatural-creature-squad instead, but elected to drag two teen girls into a battle in order to 'recruit them for the fight against evil'. Omniscient Morality License, anyone?
  • Child Soldier: After a monster attacked Susan in Paris, two Immortals empowered her and Nanase, and instructed how to kill it, though it's implied – and in the Hammerchlorians arc, confirmed – that they could have gone to an experienced local magic-user instead. Susan... didn't take it well.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Tedd. There are numerous examples of this, but possibly the best one is the first time he meets Grace. When he asks what Grace is wearing under her trench coat and she says she "Nothing," he quickly welcomes her into the house in the most over-the-top way possible, but the first thing he does once she's inside is offer her some of his clothes to wear.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Word of God states he is attempting to avert this. The author did finally properly introduce Noah, a character who was first mentioned (and then ignored) 6 years beforehand.
    • The best example in this series was likely Sensei Greg. Despite having played a fairly decent role in early arcs, he was reduced to a brief cameo in Painted Black, and only got a short, non-plot critical scene in the party arc before it got into full swing. However, this has been averted as of 8/18/2010, which marks Sensei Greg's re-introduction to the storyline.
    • A more infamous example would be Lord Tedd, who was set up for a long time as a potential Big Bad for the series but both him and his plotline quickly became buried amongst plot twists and never seen again. He's still occasionally referenced, but Dan has long realised he was introduced too early.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • Tedd can fool Will and Gill without even meaning it — they call him an impostor when they see him without his glasses. On the other hand, those are really big glasses, they have never seen him without them and they seem not to know what glasses are (instead assuming they are his eyes) which would make sense if, as shapeshifters, they never need glasses since they can shapeshift to correct or modify their vision.
    • Exaggerated with an incredibly lame (but apparently successful) government campaign to hide the presence of aliens on earth by such methods as having them wear T-shirts that say "Homo Sapiens."
    • In the New And Old Flames storyline, Elliot got a superheroine form spell, which comes with its own alter ego form which seems to allow this trope. However, it is subverted in that in the form Elliot actually requires glasses and his speech patterns are made mild-mannered. This means he doesn't really need to engage in Clark Kenting consciously; the form does it for him.
  • Cloning Blues: Played depressingly straight at first. When Ellen was accidentally created, she freaked out, with good reason. She had all of Elliot's memories, but suffered Loss of Identity since she could never get back his old life, and all of his friends were now essentially strangers she only knew about secondhand. She was permanently stuck in female form, something the original Elliot was so desperate to escape that he resorted to using a dangerous magical artifact he clearly didn't understand rather than risk spending (at most) a few more weeks in that form. Ellen also had reason to believe she might have less than a month to live, and feared she'd spend that time locked up in a research facility as a test subject. She went a little crazy, and as a coping mechanism, tried being an Evil Twin for a while, which only made her more miserable. However, this trope was subverted in the long run. Ellen learned her fears of an imminent demise or being locked up for study had no basis in reality. Elliot's friends welcomed her warmly and treated her like a normal individual, rather than just an accidental female copy of someone they knew. Elliot became fiercely protective of her, treating her as a cross between a little sister and a daughter, rather than the Evil Twin she had tried to be. Even Elliot's parents accepted her surprisingly easily, given the circumstances. Ellen eventually developed her own personality and became a major character in her own right, as well as an unprecedented solution to an earlier Love Triangle.
  • Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun: How Susan figures out that Elliot transformed into a girl. The way she does it is a bit Bat Deduction (Elliot lampshades this).
  • Cobweb of Disuse: There's a dojo that's disused but lacking cobwebs... then the sketchbook explains why.
  • Code Name: Grace originally didn't have a real name, but went by the code name 'Shade Tail'. 'Grace' was the name her Dr Sciuridae gave her, after the dead daughter who had been her gene-parent.
    • Both for Grace and general Tail variants, Tail as the last name is not arbitrary, it's the family name, since their Uryuom parent's name translates to Tail from Uryuomoco.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: When Nanase creates one shadow copy of herself, the copy is colored with one of the primary additive colors (red, green, or blue), while Nanase is colored with the corresponding primary subtractive color (cyan, magenta, or yellow, respectively). This actually makes sense from a scientific standpoint: The real Nanase is absorbing the color the fake one is producing.
  • Color Failure: Nanase has one at the party when Ellen goes to get her change of clothes.
    • Tedd experiences this as well.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Unlike his "fellow" aberration Gullet, Scarf resorts to a regular handgun, albeit a large one, to take down Adrian Raven.
    Scarf: Fancy magic... Fire and noise... All outdone... By humanity's toys.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: An alternate female Elliot knows the best way to take advantage of alternate Tedd's father being out of town.
  • Coming-Out Story: Justin's, related to Susan during Grace's party, though it had previously been shown without explanation. Nanase, on the other hand, comes out during the party, though by then everyone there that night except Tedd already knew. For a while she was only out to the people who were at the party, though.
  • Confused Bystander Interview: There's one of these, complete with sound effects, Buffy Speak, and general hyperactiveness. Subverted in that she's actually not a bystander. She's the superhero that she allegedly saw. And she's not even a "she".
  • Congruent Memory: Tedd is supposedly better at cooking while female. His argument is that he usually cooks for himself when his father is away on business, which is also when he's most likely to spend a lot of time gender-bent. He seems fully aware of the absurdity of this, however, admitting that it's probably all in his head. Doesn't stop him from doing it.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted. The "fire monster" summons in the New and Old Flames arc aren't really made of fire because they would incinerate themselves. They just look like they're on fire and have fire-related vulnerabilities. It's a beginner's mistake when summoning certain monsters to just go with what looks cool instead of what actually works.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Invoked. While building a deck for the card tournament at the comic shop, Tedd mentally declares one of the cards to be "not efficient, but pretty damn cool".
  • Cooldown Hug: Tedd invokes this by having Grace hug a very frustrated Elliot.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • Ellen's creation was eventually revealed as completely avoidable twice over; first when it's revealed that Tedd has a device that can gauge the end result of a transformation beam (the whole thing started when he claimed to zap himself to test the beam because he doesn't have such a device and the safety for the gun got stuck) and just likes to turn himself into the girl. The second is when Tedd's father reveals that when he turned from his business trip, he would've brought more than enough parts with him to repair the transformation gun, meaning that Elliot would've only been stuck as a girl for two days instead of a month (he left a note on the fridge explaining this, but the message never got across because of his "ink blot handwriting.") However, it was eventually later revealed that everything was due to Magus manipulating everyone's emotions in a convoluted plan given by Pandora to get his body back.
    • Tara suspected Elliot of hiding Andrea because an immortal told her so, and she's from an alternate universe where immortals Cannot Tell a Lie. However, that's not true in this universe, which Andrea had actually told her earlier. Elliot and Nanase are not amused to learn this, especially since she was willing to seriously injure Elliot over it.
    • Voltaire admits that his convoluted schemes to interfere with Tedd (including tricking Tara into killing his best friend just to traumatize him) were unnecessary and he could just have talked with Tedd and accomplished more.
  • Covert Pervert:
  • Crazy-Prepared: Mr. Verres' party chaperon presentation.
  • Creating Life: Played for Laughs — "Our goo kinda came to life...," but later revealed to be a monster sent on purpose from an Alternate Universe. Also, in a filler strip soap bubbles came to life as Pac-Man-like critters... and promptly attacked Tedd.
  • Creator Cameo: This strip (panel 6) has Dan Shive in a comic shop. Note that this is different from the Author Avatar character that appears in some non-canon strips.
    • Also in the second panel here.
  • Cringe Comedy: Catalina's plan to defuse rumors that Elliot is gay. That's an airtight argument, alright.
    Sarah: It's like a train wreck, and I can't look away...
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Mr. Verres and Agent Wolf. In early comics, the two characters were pretty goofy and usually played for laughs. That changes a bit later on:
    • We've gotten hints for some time that Mr. Verres is a very prominent figure in the paranormal area (possibly even enough to qualify him as the Big Good of the EGS world), and his moment near the end of the Abraham encounter demonstrates that he has enough skill with magic that you really don't want to mess with him or anyone he cares about.
    • The encounter with Abraham has also shown that, when he's not obsessed with aliens, Agent Wolf is very professional, and Raven has identified him as one of the most powerful wizards in the Midwestern United States.
  • Crush Blush: Both in relation to Elliot.
    • Susan has one here.
    • Ashley has one here.
  • Curse Cut Short:
  • Curtains Match the Window: Seen with Susan, Elliot, Ellen, and Tedd.
  • Cute Approaches Camera: Done so here.
  • Damsel in Distress: During the "Painted Black" arc, Grace becomes one when she's captured while infiltrating Damien's base... at least until Damien makes her really, really mad.
    • Zigzagged by Elliot, who ends his stint as a Distressed Dude by genderbending his way out of his restraints.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Magic apparently drains users at various rates. Spells too powerful to handle may overtax even well-trained magic users, possibly even removing their magic for months at at a time.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Some Guy wins the card game tournament.
  • The Dark Side: Early on, when the Goo is first created.
    The Principal: So you're saying you can't make me an army of goo-based hall monitors?
    Tedd: Even if I could, I would not give into the dark side so easily.
  • Dawson Casting: Tedd invokes this in an EGS:NP strip by claiming to be twenty-one outside of continuity due to Comic-Book Time. Grace counters the gap might be up to a year, making Tedd eighteen. She then goes on to say that it doesn't matter anyways since none of them are likely to look any different before they turn 30. Though the revelation that he may be under the drinking age causes Tedd to excuse himself so that he can dispose of a keg in the fridge before his dad finds it.
  • Daydream Surprise: Here, with hints, and far more emphatically here.
    • This has become easier to notice thanks to Dan's consistency in displaying 'imaginary' panels with rounded corners. The last example portrays this perfectly.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Nanase's Angel spell very nearly became this.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
  • Death Glare:
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Several straight examples and variations:
    • Grace perfectly roleplayed and imagined an entire epic duel for Justin's and Tensaided's card game duel.
    • Whenever the characters use IM, instead of showing them typing, the author shows their avatars acting things out as if the conversation was happening face to face. The author explicitly stated it was because simply typing was boring.
    • During Squirrel Prophet, all the card games are visualised as epic battles rather than just people playing card games on desks.
  • Default Setting Syndrome: In-universe — Newspaper arc "Dan in the MUD."
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "You could always get hugs, have a second player for video games, get hugs, have help with chores, get hugs..."
  • Deus ex Machina: Subverted or maybe deconstructed mildly with the Dewitchery Diamond. It seems like a plot device at first, but then it solves it in a way completely different from the way everyone expected, and caused more problems than it solved, in the form of Knight Templar Abraham.
    • Magic is stated to have a flair for the dramatic. The characters expect magic to act this way.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Anybody who forgets he's fighting a wizard after having to overcome his spells just to get there deserves to be spammed by exploding crows on the spot.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Abraham. Almost everything he did at all.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper:
    • Abraham's diplomatic efforts. He doesn't tongue-slip, but still manages to annoy one more hell out of Adrian Raven with every phrase, starting from the second.
    • Tedd, in his usual style.
    • Much later, Tedd still has the habit, but seems to be a lot better about Shutting Up Now.
    • Oh, Elliot...
    • Nanase here
  • Directionless Driver: Referenced after Ellen's "birth," as she deluded herself into thinking she was Elliot's Evil Twin.
    Elliot: As a woman, she might use tactics that we as men wouldn't even cross our minds.
    cut to Ellen asking a gas pump attendant for directions
  • Dirty Business
  • Dirty Old Man: Averted, but lampshaded, here.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: Space Is Noisy now — courtesy of Catalina and Raven. Among others.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy:
    • A V5-ed Susan gets distracted by her own sudden-sexy in this strip. Understandable, as in addition to the appearance this form has a rather... unusual hormonal status, which she wanted to experience in the first place. She stood enthralled until Insulted Awake... and only from the second attempt.
    • Genderbent Sarah also has one of these moments here.
      NO! BAD Sarah! Stop thinking of yourself as a sex object!!
  • Distracted by the Sexy: It turns out that Tara the Griffon had been told that Immortals on this side of the world were capable of lying, unlike the ones they know of, which would have been very useful to remember when she tried to kill Elliot because she trusted a local Immortal's word over his. However, her girlfriend is cute when she's being nerdy. (For instance, when she's talking about little-known facts about Immortals.)
  • Distressed Dude: Elliot for most of the Painted Black arc.
  • The Ditz: Grace on occasion. She learns VERY quickly, however.
    • Elliot in his "party girl" form.
  • Ditzy Genius: The reason for Grace's Ditzy characteristics. Both her ability to absorb information and her lack of common sense are impressive.
  • Does Not Like Men: Susan started out like this, firmly believing that All Men Are Perverts. A major part of her Character Development is moving past this, acknowledging that most males she knows aren't that bad (even the genuinely perverted Tedd has redeeming qualities). She got this from her mother, who extended to issue of her former husband's affair to all men. Susan had to lie that Justin was gay so she'd let him stay over, if only in the hopes that his homosexuality would rub off on Susan.
    • Catalina and Diane are both stated to automatically assume any man is a jerk until he proves otherwise. The former is a lesbian while the latter is not only attracted to men, a Gold Digger.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Ellen yells at Tedd for never apologizing for the mistakes that lead to her creation, his reply makes it sound more along the lines of an unplanned pregnancy, also tying in with the Running Gag about Tedd being Ellen's father.
    Tedd: If you're the result of my mistakes, then they were the best mistakes I ever made!
    • Also, the discussions about transformation can sometimes sound like it's being used as a metaphor for sex (or possibly kinky sex). Especially when the consent issue is brought up.
  • Doing In the Scientist: At first, the plot was fairly silly, and all transformation weirdness was due to the Transformation Gun, an invention of Tedd's. Then it was revealed to come from Uryuom technology. Then that was revealed to be based on magic, a fundamental form of energy which had already cropped up in earlier storylines.
  • Doing In the Wizard: In a way. Magic has actually become more prevalent after the Sister 2 arc, but it's also become less silly and more systematic. See Cerebus Retcon above.
  • Don't Try This at Home: The commentary for this comic goes out of its way to inform readers of the potential hazards of using a sleeper hold.
    • Also in the commentary for this one.
    • Dan does it a lot, actually.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The reason Ellen raised hell at the school in "Sister", is because she thought she had less than a month to live.
  • Dope Slap:
  • Doppelgänger Spin
    • Nanase Kitsune
      • She creates two images of herself while in a demonstration martial arts match with her boyfriend Elliot. Each of the images she creates has different colored hair (green and blue). She uses them to distract him so she can make a sneak attack from the rear. Elliot complains that he hates "these trendy 'which one is real?' illusion attacks".
      • She uses a variation on this early on while fighting a giant blob of goo. In a subversion, none of the ones fighting the goo are the real Nanase; the real Nanase is rescuing Ellen while the goo is distracted by the duplicates.
    • Magus, while "powerless", later used this to run away from more or less godlike beings.
  • Double Standard: Ashley draws a line between fairy doll Nanase accidently coming across as flirty in a conversation, which makes her uncomfortable, and Grace unintentionally playing into Ashley's fetishes by shrinking herself, which she obviously enjoys. Of course, she has said before that she likes Grace, but it's not quite clear if she takes an explicite issue with Nanase.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Discussed by Elliot and Sarah after they break up.
  • Dramatic Irony: During the Sister 3 arc, Magus still believes, not unreasonably, that Pandora is a monster and that he needs to stop her. What he doesn't know however is she underwent a lot of Character Development and is making up for her actions, culminating in a Heroic Sacrifice where she kills Aberrations in spite of the action being in violation of Immortal law and forcing a reset.
  • Dramatic Stutter: Tony stutters his name when confronted with Grace in Tedd's form without Tedd's glasses to hide Tedd's feminine eyes.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Happens whenever Nanase's mother says something emphatic. Played seriously the first time, and then for laughs in one of the Q&A comics.
  • Dramatic Wind: Susan is particularly good at it. Tedd too as of late.
  • Dream Emergency Exit: Lucid dreamers can exit magic dreams by pinching themselves. The Rant notes that you can experience pain in dreams, but because the "pinch-me" cliché exists and magic is powered by intent, pinching yourself is the obvious way of signaling "I want to wake up now".
  • Dream Sequence: An entire Story Arc of them, each revealing something personal about one of the main characters.
  • Dropped Glasses: ...revealing that the character doesn't really need them.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Tedd's face is so feminine that he grows his hair out just so he can blame that on why he looks so much like a girl when his glasses are off.
    • Noah, though he seems completely fine with it.
    "Regardless of which gender he is at the time, I use the female [plastic] artist model for Tedd. And Noah, now that I think about it."[1]
  • Dysfunctional Family: Not only has Tedd's mom gone to Europe and abandoned her family, but when Nanase's mom is asked about her sister, the answer sounds much like Pandora-Chaos at her worst.
  • Eagleland: The Government isn't that bad. Even The Men in Black (though they have their moments). But tourists...
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Early in the comic Elliot and Nanase share a rather overtly sexual relationship, with the two even having a tradition of making out after sparing matches. This becomes a rather odd point later on, when Elliot is revealed to be borderline sexually repressed, and even Nanase seems a lot more reserved (of course, this might just be in comparison to her new girlfriend, Ellen, who is a lot more open and flirtatious). Recent interactions between Elliot and Ashley seem to be reaffirming Elliot as overtly sexual, insinuating his situation with Sarah was actually more out of character for him due to the two not realizing their feelings for each other were deeply platonic, not romantic.
    • While it was always insinuated people could simply be more lax about their magic use before it started getting unwanted media attention, some of the magic use in the early comics was pretty oddly overt. Most of all was probably Nanase, who used to openly use blatant magic in public (she regularly levitated through the crowded hallways of her school, to the point where a joke was made that the Physics Teachers have a pet peeve against her). Even weirder, after magic gets exposure, almost no one thinks of confronting Nanase about her magic use, in spite of using it publicly in her school for possibly years.
    • The early comics repeatedly bring up the characters worrying about pregnancy and how it might relate to transformations, and nobody ever seems to consider using prevention if they really want to have sex while transformed. It's not until 2013 that Sarah points out that very obvious solution in a talk to Nanase.
  • Easily Forgiven:
  • Eating the Eye Candy: While not hunky, Sarah ends up considering it during the Party arc. The object? Herself. It Makes Sense in Context, really.
  • Education Mama: Nanase's mother.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Two of them to date. First off, Pandora looks like this whenever she's not a Creepy Child or adult woman. Then there's this ... thing although Word of God - and, later, the comic itself - states that the latter used to be human.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Three times. One is Justified in expansion, another is justified in previous development, and the last one was built up over more than two years so that it was bound to appear and could not be anything less than Summon "Oh, Crap!."
  • El Spanish "-o": The "El" in the name of the comic.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Tiffany Susan Pompoms.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Tedd Drew Verres isn't such a bad name, but he makes a big deal out of it. Middle Names are Always Fun!
  • The Empath: Uryuom (and greater chimera) have empathic abilities they use instead of pheromones, as well as low-grade telepathy. Both are related to antennae.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: Greg stumbles onto a pile after charging into Tedd's house to protect Grace.
  • Enhance Button: Averted.
    • In this comic, zooming in on a photo and using the brightness command results in visible pixels and artifact.
    • Discussed in the commentary of this comic, including a jab at CSI's usage of this trope.
      Of course, if this was CSI, some dude would magically multiply the resolution of the image, clean it up, and get the license plate of a nearby car from a reflection in Elliot's pupil.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Both Elliot and Ashley. According to Dan, the key to writing their interactions is to remember that they're both dorks and everything flows from there.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: How Sensei Greg created Anime-Style Martial Arts.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • Ellen and Nanase reach the conclusion that Susan and Diane must be sisters due to their uncanny resemblance, being born twenty minutes apart, having the same magic affinity, Diane being adopted, and the fact that Jerry appears to believe it. Tedd's father debunks the possibility they're twins Separated at Birth, but Susan's father being "a cheating cheater who cheated" raises the possibility of half-sisters. Ultimately, their familial connection is revealed to be Adrian Raven, who fathered a distant ancestor of Susan's and is Diane's biological father.
    • The thing that convinces Susan that she might indeed be related to Diane is the fact that Jerry appears to believe it enough to protect Diane on "her sister's" behalf, while doing nothing to protect Rhea. The fact that an immortal, who would likely have much more ability to find out something like this, thinks is true is enough to convince Susan it's a real possibility. Jerry, standing next to them and invisible, notes he doesn't know any more than they do.
      Jerry: I reached that conclusion for the same reasons Ellen and Nanase did. I don't know jack.
    • Grace chooses Die Hard as the first movie in a Christmas Special marathon due to assuming that if it is a movie set during Christmastime it must be a Christmas Special. (She does realize it's a violent action movie, but still thought it counted as "Christmas".)
  • Epiphany Therapy: Lampshaded. Tedd gets over his fear of being called gay for liking Grace when she's gender bent long enough to kiss guy!Grace, but Grace is quick to point out that just recognizing he has a hangup isn't enough to instantly make it go away.
  • Especially Zoidberg: Susan drops one of these on Elliot and Tedd in a moment of frustration, then immediately apologizes as her frustration isn't actually directed at them.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • Tedd has such a moment when he realizes that the only way for Elliot to stop getting spells themed around turning into a girl is for one such spell to accurately reflect who he is. Magic is trying desperately to give him a spell that reflects his personality, but the gender bending, which is the one thing it is absolutely sure about, is also the one part it is getting wrong.
    • After having her clothes spontaneously grow back to full size off her shrunken body, Grace is able to figure out how magic's change gave her the ability to transform her clothes. She then proceeds to follow tradition by shouting "Eureka" and running around naked.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Female Variant Number 5 is meant to cause this.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Discussed. After the furious look Elliot gave Melissa, Noah tries to get out of him what was that about:
    Noah: Is it jealousy? I have been told I could make straight men see rainbows.
  • Everyone Can See It: Elliot and Susan have become far closer to each other than they realize and pretty much everyone, including Sarah, ostensibly Elliot's girlfriend, notices it. Sarah herself would be all for it if Elliot and Susan got together, because it's become clear to her that Elliot isn't even really functioning as her boyfriend.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Even Magus won't help Chaos ruin Verres to just to kill Abraham… just to punish Raven for being a disobedient son. Though Magus hasn't yet been clarified as "good" or "evil", he had been antagonising Ellen through the arc.
    • Also, during Painted Black, Hedge did everything in his power not to bring women back to Damien, knowing that he only wanted them for breeding.
    • All aberrations are The Sociopath, but unlike one of his fellow mercenaries, one retains enough humanity to think cannibalism is disgusting and is enough of a Pragmatic Villain to not want to draw attention via killing more people than necessary.
  • Everyone Is Bi: This didn't seem to be true at first, but ultimately, of the main eight, only Justin and Nanase appear to have an uncomplicated gender preference. From the beginning, Ellen was bi and Grace wasn't exactly straight; although any male character turned female will be attracted to men and vice-versa, that's a much greater part of Elliot's life (although that means any homosexual character transformed into the opposite gender will actually technically be considered heterosexual while in that form); Tedd, Sarah, and Elliot slowly come to realize that they're attracted to both sexes regardless of form; and Susan comes to realize she's an exclusive voyeur, whose subjects could be of either gender. Furthermore, more recent important characters, such as Noah and Ashley, seem similarly difficult to label.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Sirleck cannot understand why Raven would do charity work for military veterans.
    Sirleck: What's the point of living for centuries if you're going to let your heart bleed?
    • Justified: The process of becoming an Aberration removes one's empathy.
  • Evil Laugh: Along with Psychotic Smirk, played to the hilt with Raven, though he could just be being creepy and weird.
    • Definitely just being weird, considering he's one of the series' most powerful supporting heroes. His mother, on the other hand, plays this one straight...
  • Evil Overlord: Lord Tedd, though Nioi insinuates that he's nothing of the sort. Well, to Nioi and around her, he may be a very nice lad indeed. After all, Lord Tedd is the product of Tedd's issues never fixed by the presence of either Elliot or Grace, and it looks like "guy with a furry fetish and a half-cat girlfriend" again.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Justin upon seeing Susan's "kitty face", thinks to himself that there is no god.
  • Evil Twin: When she's first introduced, Ellen tries to be one of these for Elliot in an effort to give herself some sense of identity. She turns out to be spectacularly bad at it.
  • Exact Words: Immortals in Moperville's universal neighborhood are forbidden (by some unexplained contract or compact with humans) from doing much more than "guiding and empowering." However, as the comic progresses, it quickly becomes clear that "empowering" and "guiding" have loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. Loopholes which many immortals use with giddy abandon to achieve ends ranging from "vampire extermination" to "make me not bored."
  • Exposition Cut: Its frequent use is lampshaded in this comic from late in the "Sister" arc.
  • Exposition Diagram: Both Mr. Verres and Elliot's parents have used the Type 2 version.
  • Exposition Party: Gets its own arc, the longest in the series.
  • Expressive Hair: When Catalina asks Susan on a date, her hair acted like cat ears, raising when she's happy and laying flat when she's upset.
  • Expy: Grace definitely has nothing in common with Squirrel Girl... oops. On the other hand, "cat girl"-to-"squirrel girl" substitution doesn't leave many options anyway.
    • Mr. Raven comes across as Snape with better style, at least at first. Tell me you don't imagine Alan Rickman delivering some of his lines.
    Raven: You are a homicidal wizard invading a public school. No one will care if I kill you.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • First there was a hilarious version with female Tedd and too reasonable Susan.
    • And another, slightly more dramatic one with Elliot about his girlfriend Sarah: "I care deeply about her and I want her always to be a part of my life! I don't want to hurt her! She's like a sister to me!"
    • Later, Grace is sure that if Justin has a magic mark, he must know about it.
      How could he miss a small flame shaped mark colored slightly different from the rest of his skin on a spot high up on his back where he'd need a mirror and probably have to make a deliberate effort to dammit
  • Extra Parent Conception: Uryuoms reproduce this way, with a variable number of parents.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: A variant. There is no special effect stopping people from noticing magic if it happens in front of them, and the fact that knowledge of magic can easily be spread with modern technology is one of the main drivers of the plot. However, The Will Of Magic has decided (for reasons that presumably make sense to it), that it does not wish magic to be too widely used or publically known. Therefore, whenever the Masquerade truly breaks, the Will of Magic changes the rules for how humans can access its power, everything that everyone knows about magic becomes false, and the Masquerade is back in place.
  • Extreme Doormat: Sarah's motive to be upset with Elliot... to the point of wanting to break up with him. Elliot never takes the initiative of suggesting something to do and doesn't even have the drive to call her until someone tells him to do it. Sarah's always the one who must come out to call him or ask him out and decide what they should do, and even though she knows Elliot does it to avoid being oppressive to her, she's sick of it. Not to mention Elliot, in all the months they had being together, never tried to have sex with her.