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El Goonish Shive / Tropes S to Z

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El Goonish Shive provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Sarcasm Mode: Diane isn't buying into the idea that she's some sort of Vampire Hunter or that Nanase is some sort of princess. When her companion points out that Tara was able to somehow sense that Elliot and Ellen were twins, we get this gem:
    Diane: OH MY GOD! She deduced that the people with nearly identical faces are twins?! She must be a wizard griffon!
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  • Saying Too Much: "An Endless Barrel Of Exposition" spilled it again.
  • Say It with Hearts: Used for Cardiovascular Love, in the 2003-04-23 comic, used in the last panel, with the hearts accompanying someone saying:
    God, I love that woman...
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Mr. Verres, on occasion, and Tedd here. Also Mr. Alephnull here. Preceded by Tedd's failed attempt to invoke this. Luke, a newish character as of this strip, apparently activates his after being called gay by another card player.
  • Scenery Censor: Due to Grace's views on casual nudity, and a lack of Magic Pants.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Ellen and Nanase, and Catalina and Rhoda.
  • The Scream: So far, there have been four different screams heard by aliens.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Magic usually functions under the Magic A Is Magic A principle. However, magic is also a Sentient Cosmic Force with a will and objectives of its own (and a penchant for drama). If it wants to, it can completely change the rules of how it works, and is stated to have done this several times in the past.
    Emissary of Magic: Magic is a force capable of defying the physical laws of the universe. It doesn't have to work the way it does now.
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  • Second Year Protagonist: The main characters are all in junior year, something Word of God states was only briefly meant to be the case. Eight years later, they've reached May of that year...
  • Secret Legacy: Neither Nanase nor Tedd knew that Tedd's mother, also Nanase's aunt, was "A legendary monster hunter with a long family history of fighting monsters and evil wizards," until Agent Wolf accidentally let it slip to Nanase. Nanase's mother is fully aware of both this, and Nanase's own magic abilities, but deliberately keeps it a secret for reasons of her own. Tedd's father has also kept this information from Tedd, and convinces Nanase to do the same. However, only half of Tedd's legacy is truly hidden, as his father is a high-ranking member of the FBI's paranormal division, and doesn't keep this from his son at all. It's a bit complicated, and the audience doesn't yet know the whole story.
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  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Justin and Ellen about Nanase's homosexuality. Grace and Sarah fall under this for the duration of the birthday party, although their response is more Shipper on Deck. When Nanase does come out to her friends, Tedd is the only one who doesn't already know.
  • Security Blanket: Susan's Star Trek T-shirts. Tedd's glasses.
  • Self-Deprecation: See the title of this as well as this one, which is mostly Leaning on the Fourth Wall about why the Hammerchlorians storyline is a bad idea, because "any writer who takes something no-one was questioning and tries to explain it is a hack."
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Damien was created with the intent of fulfilling a prophecy.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Magic has a will and objectives of its own. It's known to have a flair for the dramatic and even seems at times to have a sense of humor. Among its objectives is a desire to not be used by more than a small fraction of the people, and magic will rewrite its own rules if necessary to prevent widespread use. Or, in the words of the author: "Magic is a hipster that doesn't want to go mainstream."
  • Shapeshifting: Lots. There are several "natural" shapeshifters, the TF gun, the TF belt, etc.
  • Sherlock Scan: Diane does it while cap-and-piped. So much for being introduced as an Alpha Bitch two and half real-time years earlier.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sarah, with Nanase and Ellen. Interesting because she's essentially returning the favor: Nanase helped Elliot get together with her. Grace is just as enthusiastic about pairing them up. In fact, the only person who doesn't like the idea is Tedd, who considers Nanase his "ugly cousin" — he can't handle the thought of her being in a relationship with anybody.
    • Unnamed "Star Trek fangirl" ships Elliot and Susan to the point that she shows up at the video store to ask Susan about their relationship, rather than to rent a video. And just happens to be there for the revelation that Sarah and Elliot have broken up. Cue Squeeing.
    • Grace and Sarah immediately fall into this when they suspect Luke has a crush on Justin.
    • Susan embraces this concerning Ashley and Elliot, although this is more to assuage her own issues, since they already had a date planned.
  • Ship Tease: Ever since the Summer Arc, there have been subtle shipping hints between Elliot and Susan, after the six month Time Skip, the hints have been...less subtle.
    • And then, even more strangely, Sarah, Tedd, and Grace have been getting OT3 shipping since they started working together over the summer. They've all seen each other naked, pranked Tedd with awkward transformations making him guess who is who, and Tedd has accidentally kissed Sarah thinking she was Grace.
    • In some more recent comics, there have also been some... moments... between Tedd and Elliot, particularly after Tedd discovered his genderfluidity and Elliot decided he was "gender casual" (even though he admitted to making up that term). While they were always close friends, they have been getting a lot more cuddly and affectionate, and in one EGS:NP strip they fantasize about kissing... though the thought does make them both rather nervous.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: If they can't be milked for drama, they're gone. At present, this means the Hammers are gone, and Greg is closing his dojo. Also leads to Doing In the Scientist with both Hammerspace and Anime-Style Martial Arts being explained by magic.
    • Note that the Hammers had disappeared since Painted Black, and Greg is back in as a character, doing private tutoring sessions. So, in Greg's case, they shooed out the clown to bring him back.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The entirety of "Death Sentence", about an ultimately futile attempt by idealist Grace and pragmatist Raven to save a wild boar. Although Grace believes the attempt, while futile, was worth doing.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • Show Within a Show:
  • Shrouded in Myth: Grace, at times, at least as far as the Child Left Behind is concerned.
    Grace: You can call me Shade Tail.
    Greg: Are you okay?
    CLB: I'm fine! I tripped!
    Grace: But you were sitting.
    CLB: Yes I was. Sorry, mistress. Ma'am. Shade Tail.
  • Shrug of God: In universe (as far as the Q&A) sessions count, Dan literally answered a question about his gender identity with "noncommittal shrug" in writing form.
  • Shutting Up Now: Tedd does this at least once after receiving a double Death Glare.
    Tedd: Withdrawn.
  • Shy Finger-Twiddling: A rare male example (well, usually), Elliot does this a lot.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: While Tedd and his father were arguing the pros and cons of giving magic to the populace, Mr. Verres compares it to giving everyone rocket launchers and making it okay by giving them bomb suits. Tedd then wonders if a bomb suit would even help against a rocket launcher. His father's response of "That's a good question, isn't it?" subverts the trope by bringing the tangent full-circle to underscore his original point: They don't know if bombsuits (personal magic) could reliably protect people from rocket launchers (bad people with horrific magic), and aren't willing to take that risk.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Has characters that practically run the gamut between human and animal.
  • Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism: Tends towards the idealistic side.
    Word of Dan: I'm not saying a more "gritty" approach is wrong in general; I speak only of what is appropriate for this comic. The world is full of cynical, gritty and dark comics full of brooding, angst and doom, and while I'm sure many of those comics are good, one of my specific intentions for EGS is for it to not be one of those comics.
  • Side-Story Bonus Art: The Sketchbook and Newspaper, with parts occasionally squirreled into the canon.
  • Silence Is Golden: The scene where Susan kills the French aberration is entirely without dialogue, as a method of emphasizing just how impactful the experience was on Susan's psyche.
  • Singing in the Shower: Played for Laughs here.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: While admitting that she does like other people, Grace is pretty much a Teddsexual. This was even pointed out in universe. With huge clues to the reasons before it's fully revealed.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: About half the cast was introduced this way.
    • Noah has a spell that turns him into one.
  • Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: The early strips had No Fourth Wall. As the years progressed, any mention of the author or even fourth wall breaks in general were dropped and are now relegated to the newspaper and filler strips, which are out of canon.
  • Smash Cut: When Catalina tries to figure out how to make up for spreading a rumor about Elliot being gay:
    Catalina: I'll think of something! I'll come up with an argument so airtight that
    [cut to Catalina kissing a surprised Elliot on the lips]
  • Smelly Skunk: Averted with two seyunolu girls who are part-skunk. Apart from names translating to "scent" and "fragrance", there is no mention of how they smell one way or another.
  • Soda Can Shakeup: In one Q&A strip, Chika opens a can of shrink soda which sprays all over Lisa.
    Chika: You didn't happen to ... inadvertently shake the case while getting it out of the cabinet, did you?
    Lisa: Well, if you want to get technical about how intentional it was, and my assuming you would tilt the can towards yourself...
  • Some Kind of Force Field: Greg can do it. Also, "Standard lockdown procedure." For schools that have a wizard teacher, that is.
  • Space Whale: Invoked. The loosely-cetacean-shaped interdimensional ambient mana-eating creature would like to be compared to a [baleen] whale, thanks, not an algae-eater.
  • Speaking in Panels: There's a panel of Sarah's fantasy of what the Magitek transformation watch Nanase's wearing might do to her.
  • Species Surname: 'Sciuridae' is the formal name for the family which includes squirrels.
  • Speech-Bubble Censoring: Nanase, then Lisa.
  • Spit Take: So close. Mr. Raven held the tea inside his mouth only with a heroical effort. As The Rant points out, Grace sometimes have such effect on people.
  • Spock Speak: Noah, though Dan has said he is trying to limit this trope.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: For a long time, women who were offended by sexist men could conjure hammers from out of nowhere and use them to pummel the offender. This lasted until the person who originally created this ability passed away.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
    • Nanase and Ellen have a big problem with this early on. They even had the most screentime in Painted Black, Grace's backstory arc.
    • This decreases later on, after the Abraham arc.
    • The One Way Road arc is supposed to be about the effect of Tedd's mad science on his relationship with Grace, but it kept derailing for Ellen.
    • The New And Old Flames and Death Sentence arcs focus on Elliot and Justin, and Grace, respectively, with almost no Ellen and Nanase screentime.
    • Shive found a solution to keeping Ellen and Nanase out of the spotlight without putting them on a bus or just quietly forgetting about them: They go on exciting adventures, solving mysteries and righting wrongs...almost completely offscreen. Makes for lots of fun Noodle Incidents, too.
  • Squee!: Frequently, usually from Grace, and later on from minor character Elijah. One Q&A asked what would happen if the two ever met.
  • The Starscream: Sirleck to Magus; the latter is well aware of this, and plans to kill him first.
  • Stat Grinding: Nanase takes this approach to trying to learn more spells once she realizes she can.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Noah.
  • Stealth Pun: Many, especially in minor characters' names (see Meaningful Name above).
    • Mr. Raven's Murder Shroud spell creates a cloud that exploding crows come out of. A flock of crows can also be called a murder.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero:
    • The Latin word 'Sciuridae' translates as 'Shade Tail', which was also Grace's Code Name, though it was not in reference to Dr. Sciuridae. Its also part of the scientific name for squirrel.
    • Having an appropriate name can lead to having magic affinities related to that name. Pandora for her part does not like this since in her opinion, it's cliched and predictable and thusly, boring for someone like her.
  • The Stinger: It looks like Dan acquired the taste for it by the latter arcs (which somewhat improves Rotating Arcs side in itself). After all was said and done in "New And Old Flames", the last page has a good hook. "One Way Road" got an even better "postscriptum" in the last panels.
  • Straight Gay:
    • Justin, and also Nanase. There are no flamboyant stereotypes to be found in this comic. Well, except for Justin really likes to play with hair. Though Dan tried to explain that it wasn't because he was gay it's just he happens to have a strong emotional link to hair...and it just happens to be a gay stereotype. He mostly plays with Nanase's hair, though.
    • Parodied in one comic where Justin handwaves his ability to deduce Susan's problems as "Hollywood teaching us all gay friends are insightful".
    • It takes a dark turn when Luke first assumes that Justin is heterosexual because of this.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    Tedd: Your argument is seriously "That guy is hot and I want to see him make out with my hot friend"?
    Sarah: Well, not exactly...
    Tedd: I understand completely.
  • Straw Feminist: Susan's mother, who instilled it into her daughter. Susan is a Deconstruction of this, as her stereotypical views on men were influenced by an event where she walked in on her father having an affair. It turns out she doesn't actually hate her father for this, but was trying to excuse his actions by believing that he couldn't help it because he was male (a notion that her mother helped to reinforce). Eventually she realizes that people just make stupid mistakes, no matter what their gender.
    • This is actually later inverted. When the school institutes a uniform policy, Susan is upset about the skirts for girls (because she thinks they're sexist), and many students want the uniforms removed entirely. However, Susan acknowledges that the school can't do a 180 in policy immediately (due to the expense of the uniforms) and just wants girls to have the option to wear pants.
  • Straw Misogynist: In one of the B-Side Comics, Ashley writes a story in which several characters rather explicitly refer to themselves as old men oppressing women's reproductive freedoms. They immediately correct their opinions after getting a Karmic Transformation and become subject to the very laws they were planning to enact.
  • Stealth Pun: The story arc "Hair" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin for most of it. But it ends with a flashback with Ted's mother and Raven discussing magical heredity and family lines, and how she hoped Tedd would be her apprentice. Hair sounds almost exactly like Heir.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: It's revealed this is why Voltaire was trying to kill Elliot.
  • Stunned Silence: Nanase, when Ellen reveals she doesn't even know what her dad's job is.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders:
    • Any straight Gender Bender becomes bisexual for the duration. A certain male-to-female setting - which can also be used on women - will, for 48 hours, make you extremely attractive, even to people who normally don't like girls. Not to mention the Stupid Sexy Flanders overtones of Gender Benders in the first place. Even without gender-bending, Tedd is constantly getting this; Justin once joked that he shouldn't worry about gay men being attracted to him. Also, while removing his glases was enough to make V5-ed Elliot blush:
      Sarah: In Elliot's defense, your face isn't really the best barometer of whether he was really into guys...
    • Noah seems to trigger this among the fans.
  • Sudden School Uniform: Due to Webcomic Time, the uniform policy Moperville North announced in March 2005 and abolished in January 2010 was really in effect for two and a half days.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Tedd is attempting to treat magic just like any other area of the (mad) sciences — physics, chemistry, robotics, etc. So far, we've seen him trying empirical testing of transformation spells, running numbers instead of hoping that things "just work", and so forth. It's heavily, heavily implied that "Lord Tedd" resulted in one timeline when he forgot the value of friendship in lieu of obsessing over magic-turned-science — and thus, power — to the exclusion of all else.
  • Summon to Hand: Susan can do this via hammerspace.
  • Super Empowering: Immortals have the ability to trigger Awakenings, provided the subject has built up enough magical energy.
  • Super Gender-Bender: Elliot acquires a spell that allows him to turn into a voluptuous superheroine.
  • Super Mode: Nanase with Angel-form, Elliot with "Cheerleadra", Grace with her Shade Tail form, an amalgamation of all the best traits of her multiple forms, and Tedd using his gauntlet to give him a huge boost in magic. Ellen was once able to copy Nanase's Angel-form but its unkown if that was a one time thing or not. Justin ironically, doesn't have a specific Super mode as the only magic he can use is power boosting magic, essentially making anytime he uses it his super mode.
  • Supernatural Aid: Immortals work this way rather than interfering more directly.
  • Supernaturally Validated Trans Person: The genderfluid character Tedd once appears in a female body when astrally projecting, and later has a bout of Power Incontinence when his Sex Shifting magic spontaneously changes his body to match his preferred gender in the moment.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Elliot is, from a certain point of view, Ellen's mother, despite the fact that they are biologically the same age.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: There is a hereditary component to magical potency in the setting. Two key points:
    • A child of two wizards is guaranteed to also be a wizard.
    • Wizards and all other people with magical affinities are descended from immortals.
  • Super Soldier: Grace's brothers and Grace herself; the older chimeras were meant to be super-assassins, while Grace was created specifically to fight Damien.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: George's reaction to Justin thinking he was simply uncomfortable by the idea of Justin having a boyfriend. Totally not Blatant Lies, seeing as even the commentary says so!
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial
  • Sword Cane:Raven has this, but carries it only when expecting serious trouble.
  • Symbol Swearing: Happens every once in a while:
  • Take Me to Your Leader: Greetings, human! Can you take me to your Tedd?
  • Take That!:
  • Take That Me: "Bending Genders: Ha! Take THAT, Nerds! (Ow! I Hurt Myself!)"
  • "Take That!" Kiss: and it's even made a tradition...
  • Taking You with Me
    • Damien says the trope name word for word here.
    • Pandora later does this on a global scale regarding Aberrations
  • The Talk: Susan has to explain to Grace why nudity is awkward. Before that, others tried and failed.
  • The World Is Not Ready: Maybe.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Grace used to talk and scream in her sleep when she was having Recurring nightmares.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Nanase gambles on Abraham's good intentions to convince the wizard to swear an oath not to harm Ellen.
  • Talking to the Dead: An unknown would-be avenger aka Mysterious Cloaked Figure (later revealed to be Noah) in "The Child Left Behind."
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
  • Team Dad: Mr. Verres is this not just to Main Eight, but to his FBI team as well. It helps that he's Tedd's actual dad and Nanase's uncle.
  • Tempting Fate:
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    Ellen: Have fun getting poked and prodded by Tedd?
    Elliot: I'll have you know he was a perfect gentleman.
    Ellen: ...Dude.
    Elliot: Yeah, that sounded weird. Let us never speak of it again.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: In this strip, the Omega Goo has this to say after Ellen flees: "Target has fled. Proceeding with a prepared set of curse words in order to imitate anger. Damn. Crap. F--"
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted with this. Read the title if you don't get it. Also see the text message sent here.
    • More to the point, there obviously are therapists - it just seems nobody knows when to get one. This is most apparent with Susan, who obviously has some serious issues, but could probably have been therapized (whether that is still possible now cannot be said).
    • All Therapists Are Muggles: Of course, trying to explain to any mundane therapist how Susan ended up killing a vampire would have been tricky...
  • There Can Be Only One: Possibly subverted; while Lord Tedd is supposedly out to kill the "weak Tedds," Nioi insisted that he was misunderstood, and it is clear from various hints that he has a Freudian Excuse lurking in the shadows. Unfortunately, due to the Kudzu Plot, he's been Put on a Bus, so it'll be some time before we find out why.
  • This Is a Song: Sarah's cellphone has one of these:
    * this is a ringtone song... ringing all the—*
  • Thick-Line Animation: As the artwork improved, the outlines became thicker.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Melissa, of all people.
  • This Is Reality: One of the immortals says so here.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: As they said during the "Ink Blot Handwriting" incident,
    Justin: This is messed up on so many levels. I'm guessing you don't visit your cousin and uncle that much?
    Nanase: It's common sense not to.
  • Three Yay: Some Sarah/Grace/Tedd subtext starts cropping up when Sarah becomes Tedd's lab assistant. Tedd has a (brief) Imagine Spot of all three of them in sexy outfits, Tedd gave Sarah clone forms of himself with the explicit understanding that she could do whatever she wanted with them, and Sarah is the only person other than Grace who has shown to be able to call him "Teddy" and get away with it. Plus, after Grace learns of Elliot and Sarah's amicable breakup, she feels the need to reassure herself by clinging to Tedd ... and Sarah.
    Sarah: Why am I being clung?!
    • Threesome Subtext: Beginning to actually be acknowledged in universe, like on this page. Sarah pretty much admits she's attracted to Grace in this strip, even if she's not admitting it to herself.
  • Three-Point Landing: In the EGS:NP storyline Grace-A-Monsters, Gracemander can be seen striking this pose after evolving into Gracemeleon in this strip.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Averted. Tedd's blush, however, is easily visible.
  • Time Skip: Here and there:
    • There is 2-weeks long one between Sisters II and Bringing Silly Back.
    • The end of Summer features a 6-month long skip.
  • Time Travel: Averted. It's impossible.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: During a discussion about Star Trek here.
  • Timmy in a Well: Parodied, almost by name.
  • Title Drop: In the first page of All Of The Curse Words, the second panel has a stressed Ellen thinking:
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Happens to Abraham, an ancient wizard who created the Dewitchery Diamond intended to remove terrible curses like lycanthropy. And turned out to have the rather severe drawback of splitting a cursed individual into the original and an embodiment of the curse adept at spreading the curse to others. Unable to destroy the diamond, Abraham swore to dedicate his life to killing these cursed forms, which were generally vicious and powerful monsters (having failed to consider things like cosmetic magic). So he awakens from self-imposed suspended animation, sensing that the diamond has been used again. He is horrified to learn that one guy had used the diamond to cure himself of a Gender Bender, accidentally creating an Opposite-Sex Clone, so the latest cursed form he's sworn to kill is an innocent teenage girl — but feels compelled to go through with it. In the end, Nanase is able to convince Abraham not to murder Ellen, reasoning that following the letter of his oath would violate the spirit of his oath, since it was made with the intention of protecting innocent people.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Susan and Nanase's friendship. Susan is a very conservative, feminist who is just getting over her issues with men. Nanase is pretty much the opposite in most ways. the two of them are good friends, even if Susan didn't want to admit it for a long time.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: The "Pizza" sidestory has an In-Universe example. The story uses Animated Actors, and different characters put different amounts of effort into their roles. In particular, Ashley plays her role as Bridgette with absolute sincerity. However, her sincerity is matched only by her lack of talent, and all her body language comes across as choreographed.
  • Too Much Information: Fine, whatever!
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In the off-continuity Goonmanji arc, the main cast pisses off the evil cursed Reality Warper game by being far too perverted/accustomed to the Mad Science to treat whatever it does to them as something more than Fanservice at best and petty annoyance at worst.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Oh, boy
  • Touch Telepathy: Uryuoms can teach you their Cypher Language by touching your forehead with their antennae.
  • Touched by Vorlons: If certain requirements are met, Immortals can mark a human to give them magic powers. Pandora has been handing out such marks without the knowledge or consent of the recipients.
  • To Unmasque the World:
    • This is Pandora's long-term goal, which she starts by appearing on the evening news in her Creepy Child form. She then proceeds to empower random people with magic, so as to cause as much chaos as possible in a way the Masquerade cannot cover up. While the former only brings weirdness hunters to town, the latter proves effective, especially when the superheroes started showing up to save people. In fact, it was so effective that the head of the local MIB office essentially gave up, admitting on live television that it was all real. Pandora's reasons for doing all this are simple: Her son, Raven, is an elf, a half-immortal who is not allowed to interfere in situations that do not directly involve magic. Therefore, she is creating a world where everything directly involves magic. That, and she's bored.
    • Tedd also wants to unmasque the world, but he's doing it in a far more responsible way. The reason the masquerade is in place is because most people have little to no magic resistance. Unveiling magic would be like handing out guns to random people when most people can't use either guns or bulletproof vests. Tedd, as a Magitek Mad Scientist, decides to create technology that will allow the average person to use magic to an extent that it is safe to remove the masquerade.
    • It turns out that neither of these have any chance of working. Magic itself is intelligent and wants to be used—but not by everyone. If too many people learn how to obtain magic, magic will change the way that it works for humans to render all that moot. Pandora's plan got close enough to working that magic came within a hair's breadth of changing things, but did send an avatar to inform Pandora (in the most convoluted way possible) of what was going on. Pandora agreed to fix things, but not before yelling about "no good cheating magic" and insisting that Tedd had the right idea.
    • The comic is a weird case; according to the MIB head (after he revealed the existence of magic on live television), the big secret was never that magic existed. The secret that everyone is taking so much trouble to conceal is that magic is easy. EGS has a very forgiving and intuitive magic system, with spells reflecting the person that acquires them under most circumstances... meaning that the real monsters usually get the most destructive and powerful spells.
    • Ultimately, though Pandora gave up on her goal, she actually succeeded. With her forced reset incoming, she took advantage of the mechanics to force every Immortal onto the physical plane to cast an Aberration destroying spell. That spell manifested as a wave of light that was visible for miles around, and since every Immortal was forced to cast it, well, the masquerade on magic's existence was completely and utterly shattered. The Will of Magic outright states that this one event was enough to do it on its own even without previous incidents. And when the Will of Magic consulted Tedd, Arthur and Van on what to do, Tedd successfully convinces it that it is impossible to remain secret with modern technology, so it decided that it will go along with its reveal.
  • Tragic Dream: Tedd can't give magic to everyone in the world, as it would just change to undo any progress he makes.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Tedd catches a lot of this from the start, which is completely groundless. The author indicated in a non-canon piece that Justin would love being a girl so he could pick up guys. After receiving complaints, turned it the other way in follow-up piece and kept it from entering the comic's canon. Later on in the canon story Justin addresses the fact that he doesn't actually want to be a woman, even though it would make his life easier.
  • Transformation Comic: One of the definitive examples.
  • Trapped on the Astral Plane: Magus is actually from another universe altogether, but a spell gone wrong caused him to end up in the spirit plane of the "main" Gooniverse, which is also inhabited by immortals.
  • Trauma Button: A minor trauma with major consequences: As a baby, Tedd was scared by a very noisy magic detecting device, and still is into adulthood... However his traumatic reaction to the device involves unconsciously raising his magic defenses against it, which caused him to be mistaken for a Muggle Born of Mages, one of the causes of his parents' divorce.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Known as an Angst-Induced Awakening, one of the possible ways for magic potential to be realised, generally due to big events like home being destroyed or a loved one dying, though if someone has a lot of pent-up issues, a minor event could trigger it in a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back way. Also of note is that it actually counts as a proper awakening since Magic is big on Rule of Drama and such awakenings are inherently dramatic.
  • True Companions: Although the two members that are actually family have virtually no interaction with each other.
  • Twice Shy: Justin and Luke like each other pretty instantly, but both dance around the subject of asking the other out, since they're assuming that the respective other is straight. Justin is the first to get over himself.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy : Nanase likes Ellen, but since girl-Elliot is identical to Ellen, Hilarity Ensues when Nanase sees them (more or less) tickle-fighting.
  • Two Gamers on a Couch: The NP stories are starting to show shades of this.
  • Tyke Bomb: "Project Lycanthrope" chimerae. Including Grace, although it didn't work very well.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Principal Verrückt, as Susan notes.
  • Uneven Hybrid: It turns out that all wizards, people with inherited affinities, and seers, are descendants of Immortals. The idea that the Human-Immortal hybrids known as Elves couldn't have children turned out to be deliberate lies. Diane is quarter-Immortal through her father, Adrian Raven, and Susan is a more distant descendant of Raven. This would also mean that Tedd, Sarah and Nanase all have an Immortal ancestor somewhere in their family tree.
  • The Unintelligible: the Writer's Block communicates almost entirely in weird noises. It did say one intelligible word once, but that word was censored.
    Writer's Block: Mee moo f@&$.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: The Verres family has a cat-like pet named Jeremy who was brought home by Tedd's father one day. Jeremy has spines/spikes on his back that become erect when he's frightened or angry and his jaws are powerful enough to open metal cans of catfood. Tedd is a Mad Scientist and his father is part of an organization that deals with the unusual (supernatural, aliens, etc.).
  • Unsound Effect: Not all that frequent, but notably including Sensory Overload when Nanase saw Ellen and female Elliot tickle-fighting in their underwear.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After Grace finds out what happened to her real father, she goes utterly ballistic on Damien. She snaps out of it before actually killing him, though. Also happens to Nanase when Abraham tries to destroy Ellen.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Sarah would like (with the help of magic) to be "taller". (Although, boobs aside, she would indeed like to be taller.)
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Inverted with Dr. Sciuridae's highjacking of the Shade Tail project into an attempt to clone his dead daughter, as it's implied that was the main reason why the project (aka: Grace) didn't wind up a Smug Super and potential Multiversal Conqueror.
  • Utility Magic: Magic is a fundamental part of the universe, and anyone could use it, if they tried. Magic doesn't like being used too much, though.
  • Verbal Backspace: The Emissary of Magic is about to ask Pandora why she would take on a childlike form when she suddenly runs circles around him throwing a tantrum about Magic ruining her plan to empower all of Moperville by threatening to change its own rules to stop it from working. "Nevermind."
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Crops up from time to time in and out of universe, particularly with Tedd. Arguably justified in some of the non-canon comics, as Dan Shive is known to draw characters switching sex within the same comic with no explanation and no attention drawn to it, just to see if readers are paying attention.
    • In a recent comic, Susan got hit with this when viewers suspected she might be male because the lighting made her chest appear flat. To be fair, a lot of the gender benders in the series are fairly androgynous, with bust size often being the only significant change between their forms.
  • Villain Episode: One EGS: NP story line shows a day in the life of Pandora as she searches for people to give magic to during the week before Halloween.
  • Visible Silence: Principal Verrückt of Moperville North High School is temporarily rendered speechless by Sarah's Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • Visual Pun:
    • The Writer's Block.
    • Susan's curiosity is a Cat Girl, and what do we say about cats and curiosity?
  • Wake-Up Call: Grace and Adrian Raven had the best of intentions when they wanted to prevent a wild boar from being killed. They thought that there was a better way of dealing with the situation. They were forced to learn that good intentions means zilch if poorly thought out when they were forced to kill it themselves to prevent Grace from getting hurt and were forced to admit that there was no other realistic outcome.
  • Wall of Text: "No, seriously, what's the plan?"
  • Wangst: Played with in-universe in regards to Susan's "major angst-induced Awakening."
    Jerry: Angst-induced Awakenings are usually triggered by things like murdered loved ones or a village burning down, not disappointment over origin stories.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Not shown on-panel, but Tedd's dynamic morph watches are all devilishly tricky to use, and while testing them with Sarah and Grace, the three of them end up losing their clothes quite a lot.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The fire-summon mooks have a weakness to water, despite not actually being on fire. Trying to make flaming creatures with a summon spell that can't allow it (the creatures would incinerate themselves) causes the effect.
  • Webcomic Print Collection: Two volumes; the first is out of print.
  • Webcomic Time: Eight years of EGS as a webcomic is just over two months of time in-comic. The Birthday Party was a particularly jarring example; a year of EGS was one day of in-comic time. This makes Ellen's character development and Nanase coming out slightly odd.
    • It is getting a bit better, though. As of November, 2012, about 135 days, just over 4 months, have passed in-comic. Still, however, January 21, 2013 will be the 11th anniversary. It is yet to be seen if we will reach the 5-month milestone by that time. This panel makes sure that, while it may be a weekish late, they definitely are past the 5-month mark now.
    • The December 30, 2014 comic lampshades it. The tournament in question started in mid-April.
  • Weird Trade Union: The demonic duck belongs to the Distraction Union. And he doesn't like "scabs".
  • Weirdness Censor: The aliens, when walking among humans, use a system of disguise that involves wearing shirts bearing the label 'human'. Despite their natural forms looking like Little Green Men, this method somehow successfully convinces anyone who has not been explicitly informed of their existence.
    • Averted later on when a monster attack happens in public, all the bystanders record the incident and release the information, the local news station immediately shows up and interviews the man who fought the monster, and that very same day the head of The Men in Black openly confirms magic and monsters are real.
    • The trope actually ends up being subtly deconstructed as The Unmasqued World really isn't any different from before. People still go about their lives as usual, The Men in Black still do their job as before, and most denizens of the magical world still stay out of sight. Even while The Masquerade was in place a lot of people knew about magic. It seems like people just don't let all the weirdness going on around them get in the way of living their lives, yet aren't in the least bit of denial about how strange things are. They just treat the fantastic the same way as they treat the mundane.
    • There's also change blindness, the real-life phenomena of where people not actually seeing a change can prevent people from noticing it (Grace likes to play around with this) and transformation blindness, where people who have been transformed by magic usually adapt instantly, and may not notice unless it's actively pointed out (Pandora compares it to no one thinking about their hands until they're pointed out).
  • We Need a Distraction: Ashley and Elliot need to make a quick exit from the middle of a busy mall without being followed. Tara the griffin also needs to leave, but it's a good deal less important if people see which way she went. The solution is to have Tara make the loudest, showiest exit she possibly can, drawing enough attention that no one realizes Elliot and Ashley have left until they're already long gone.
  • We Were Rehearsing a Play:
    Tedd: They're... um... rehearsing a play...
    Pizza boy: A play?
    Tedd: Yes. A play.
    Pizza boy: About two guys fighting over skirts?
    Tedd: Yes..No! They're staying true to the play's Shakespearean roots by having men play female roles!
  • Weak to Magic: vampires (humans who sacrificed their humanity for immortality) are universally weak to summoned magical weapons.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The "Painted Black" arc.
    • May 31, 2010.
      invoked Word of God: I have frequently seen Susan described as having a "bored" look on her face. For a long time now, I have seen it as something else.
    • New and Old Flames. Magical forces have become so blatant that the guy in charge of keeping these sort of things secret just gave up, admitting it was all real on live television. Later on though, he states that the real secret was not the existence of magic per se, but how almost anyone on the planet could gain access to it.
    • The end scene of Death Sentence. Rhoda has a Power Tattoo, her power makes things grow, and she was the one who turned the boar giant in the first place. And not even she realizes it.
    • From "Hair", we learn that Tedd is magically challenged. We also learn that he plans to use his science to make it safe for everyone to use magic. And to top it all off, the final page features Tedd's mom's first appearance.
    • In the final panel of "One Way Road", while Tedd is narrating, we finally know one of the inventions he spent the chapter obsessing over creating... A replica of Lord Tedd's glove.
    • "There Be Whales Here - Part 3". HOLY CRAP. First off, we discover a fundamental function of the EGS universe. There are giant, psychic algae eater - sorry, whales - living on another plane of existence. These whales feed on excess magic, keeping earth stable. As the next arc shows, not even Mr. Exposition Mr. Verres knew about that. Secondly, an explanation for why Moperville is a City of Adventure: the magic energy is increasing beyond normal standards in Moperville. The watches won't even work anywhere else. Because of that last detail, more magical creatures will be coming soon. And more magic will spread. And just to cap off the "Holy Shit!" Quotient, we're hit with a six-month Time Skip, which is massive when you consider the comic had only progressed about five months so far during its eleven-year run.
    • "End Of An Era". Not as big as some of the previous, but Sarah wants to "just friends" Elliot. They were together through roughly 1400 updates.
    • A Wham Page in "Family Tree", where Ellen and Nanase learn a surprising piece of information which implies that Diane and Susan are identical twins.
      • Followed rapidly by the final panel of this comic, which seems to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.
    • Most of "Family Tree" is this, with the first big threat after the whale's warnings, more people breaking through The Masquerade, hints and exposition on both Susan and Tedd's respective parents, and finally an explanation for why The Masquerade exists: Tengu was human. Ordinary jerks can become psychotic, self-entitled, overpowered monsters with a god complex. And all it takes is just a taste of magic.
    • Oops.
    • A seemingly filler arc takes a turn for the dramatic with the last panel of this page: Pandora is back.
      • That's just the tip of the iceberg. So far: A new character with the ability to see magic auras, who might be a love interest for Justin, appears, Tedd's aura apparently looks like this, Grace becomes aware of not only Justin and Rhoda's magic marks, but also that Catalina apparently has one as well, Tedd figures out that he's gender fluid, Pandora gave Tedd a magic mark that turns him into a girl, Tedd figures out that he has a supernaturally intuitive insight into the inner workings of magic, and Justin's magic mark is gone because Pandora awakened his powers, and Sarah got her own magic mark. Dang.
    • So A Date At The Mall quickly turns into this in part 3. A Griffon knight shows up in the middle of the mall looking for Elliot, having been led there by an Immortal. Then the Immortal shows itself when the Griffon starts backing down only for the two French Immortals to reveal themselves (after having been absent for quite awhile) and assure the Griffon that its been tricked. The Immortal retreats, but not before exposing Elliot as Cheerleadra. And keep in mind, all of this happened with many witnesses, effectively ensuring a Broken Masquerade.
    • Sister 3, being the culmination of several long-running plotlines that were present since nearly the beginning, provides a whole lot of whammies. In order:
      • Tedd's status is finally explained after it became clear that there is something weird with his magic affinity. He's a Seer, a rare and very specific type of wizard that can see magic, have lots of magic energy, can create wands, but can't awaken. It's also explained that people like him have two purposes, one being that should magic severely change, Seers are to make sure people know the new rules.
      • This page contains two whams for the price of one. Sirleck has possessed Ellen, and used his control over her to let Magus possess Elliot. The pages after that reveal that everything to do with Ellen's creation and the incident in France was directly caused by Magus, triggering pretty much most of the events of the comic, masterminded by Pandora as an incredibly (and deliberately) convoluted scheme to get Magus into Elliot's body.
      • And the whammies continue. It turns out that elves can have children and the earlier information that they couldn't was a lie that immortals pass to their next incarnations so that they don't have to deal with descendants. The reason why this is relevant? Susan is Adrian's distant descendant and Diane is his daughter. And this come just after Pandora has just blatantly broken immortal law by saving Adrian from the aberrations, meaning she's due for an imminent forced reset.
      • Continuing on from the above, Pandora exploits the mechanics of her forced reset in order to force every single immortal on Earth to cast a spell that kills aberrations, wiping out the vast majority of them (Sirleck managed to escape due to being too far). In the aftermath of this, it appears magic has decided to change, and the second function of seers is revealed: to determine the severity of magic's change. And the people chosen for this? Tedd, Arthur, and a previously unseen British kid named Van who is stated to be Tedd's half-brother, with the author's commentary implicitly confirming Noriko is his mother. Ultimately, Tedd managed to convince Magic that upholding The Masquerade is no longer an option due to information technology, which resulted in Magic going along with its reveal.
  • Wham Line:
    George: Anyway don't worry about it. And I won't tell anyone your boyfriend's Cheerleadra.
    • In "Family Tree", when Rhea calls Diane "my lord".
    • Later in "Family Tree", not-Tengu reveals that Tedd isn't an only child, likely a half-sibling. Problem: nobody heard what he was saying.
    • And at the end of "Family Tree", Mr. Verres explains that there is nothing special about not-Tengu. He's just an ordinary jerkass who stumbled across one of the many common and easy ways to use magic in the setting, and anyone could easily do the same if they only knew how. This is what the masquerade exists to hide.
    • "She's like a sister to me," says Elliot, while trying to articulate his feelings for his then-girlfriend, Sarah.
    • Tedd: "Okay. You know how if you focus your eyes just right, you can sort of 'see' magic?" Sarah and Grace: "No."
    • "They're not twins." says Mr. Verres despite all the coincidences and evidence pointing towards otherwise.
      • Granted, in the next comic he does acknowledge the possibility that they could instead be half-sisters, given that Susan's father was known to have cheated.
    • "For the record, I consider the whole of my efforts with Dexter to be one attempt." From Voltaire, confirming that he was the one responsible for the events of "New and Old Flames" instead of Pandora.
    • And a very sedate "Reason You Suck" Speech from son to mother - "Father would hate what you've become."
    • "Of COURSE they were his!"
    • And one from Susan to Pandora - "Can you start by explaining why your son looks like my dad?"
      • And just a few strips later, Pandora delivers this bombshell - "Susan is your direct descendant, and Diane... your daughter."
  • Wham Shot:
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: "Surely Nothing Bad Can Come from This.".. Right?
  • What Does This Button Do?: Three sketchbook comics show characters unable to resist pressing an "Awkward Button".
  • What Have I Become?: Tedd asks this of himself after saying that he would rather figure out the science behind Elliot's transformation magic than ogle his breasts (yes, the pronoun is correct).
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Save one or two bad eggsnote , there are no really evil characters in the comic; all of them so far have either been misguided or acting off their own sense of what's right rather being downright evil.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: Justin feels this way towards Sarah.
  • Willfully Weak: Mr. Raven is half immortal and very powerful — but not allowed to interfere with mortal events. Mostly. Unless you're stupid enough to press his Berserk Button.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Being morphed by a beam of energy is good for you.
  • Wine Is Classy: The presence of a glass of wine in Mrs. Pompoms hand seems to be an example of the high society version.
  • Wing Ding Eyes: Several characters have had the "Spirals" version.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Many characters and summons which fly have wings, but commentary notes that the flight is all magical. The aerodynamics just don't work out for a Winged Humanoid, and the best the wings can do is help maneuver.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Hotness: Magic can impact a user's physiology based on their subconscious desires, affecting size, muscle, and probably the Most Common Superpower. Simply having magic power can also attract people on a subconscious level.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Revealed to be the reason why Immortals "reset" every two hundred years. As time goes by, they become "more bored, more powerful, and less sane," which as Jerry notes is "kind of a bad combo." This could explain why Pandora acts the way she does, since alleviating boredom through certifiably insane plots is her entire reason for doing things. 200 years is considered the safe limit, but by her own admission she's been pretending to be on year 299 for a few centuries now.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: Averted, Lampshaded, and flat-out abused.
  • Word Salad Title: Lampshaded here.
  • World-Healing Wave: Pandora's final act is to force the rest of her kind to cast a spell that manifests as a light wave that destroys Aberrations on contact, destroying most of the Aberrations in the world, with the only ones left being those out of range or otherwise not detectable that way.
  • The World Is Not Ready: This is the official reason for The Masquerade on magic. It is theoretically possible for almost anyone to gain magical powers, and since few of magic's limitations are known, it is impossible to predict and deal with the many abuses that could be committed with such power. As such, it is kept a secret to restrict access to a manageable number of people. Tedd's current goal is to make the world ready by searching for an easy way to give everyone magic resistance.
  • Writer's Block: Shive has this, and many filler strips consist of him chasing a box-like creature labeled as such.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Ellen considered her fight with the goo to be a "win-win", given that loosing the physical fight would have resulted in a "noble death".
  • X-Ray Vision: Tedd's glasses used to have an x-ray feature. And Grace suggested a version that would remove the wearer's clothing when taken off and vice versa (It Makes Sense in Context). Innocent Fanservice Girl, indeed.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Used in the narration for this strip.
    Laterz... What? Z's are cool.
  • You and What Army?: Seriously? Gerald needed to ask?
  • You Fail Economics Forever: Invoked.
    Magus: I can totally hook you up with straw turned to gold.
    Aberration: I'm already worth millions, and you'd just be devaluing gold in general if you made more.
    • Which, funnily enough, is actually the ABERRATION failing economics forever. A few million in gold has a negligible impact on gold's value, and gold would be far less traceable when transferring funds between his hosts. Presumably he just doesn't want to go to the trouble of fencing it.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Verreses' purple hair is natural. Nanase's red hair (well, black now) is natural, despite her dominant Asian genes. Susan's (dyed...well, natural now) hair is actually dark blue, not black, and this is seen as a natural hair color. This gets brought up in universe, where it is stated that an ongoing mystery is the fact that a person's natural hair color can be completely different from what their own genetics say it should be. Nobody knows the exact cause, but some speculate it to be connected to magic, though there is no correlation to a person's magic power potential.
  • You Watch Too Much X: (guest strip) Tedd, wake up.


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