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Karma Houdini / Webcomics

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  • In Gaming Guardians, Ultima wipes out whole cities, kidnaps, maims and replaces Randarch, tortures Radical both physically and psychologically - yet while Radical still sees Ultima as her Evil Twin, everyone else seems to be ready to let her join the GG after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Broat, Big Bad of Get Medieval, ends up the favorite of the Emperor of China, and a very successful silk smuggler.
  • In Exploitation Now!, a mad scientist eventually becomes the protagonist and ultimately survives at the end of the comic with only one dead friend as punishment for all she did back when the comic was still wacky: murdering, stealing, hacking, war starting (and masturbating as she watches news reports of the death toll), and mutation, all inflicted upon the innocent masses (and later, government black-ops, but they deserved it).
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  • In Looking for Group, the undead warlock Richard whimsically and casually conducts any kind of psychotic and murderous pranks as a matter of course, quite often as comic relief. The only time he gets his comeuppance is when he's tried by a demonic court for not being evil enough, and he 'adjourns' that court at his own leisure and proceeds to mutilate every participant.
  • Samantha in Penny and Aggie has been a bitter paranoid racist who has yet to receive anything worse than a night in the hospital due to too much laxative despite her active roles in drugging and sabotaging other people out of sheer insanity.
    • Stan was key to the Popsicle debacle and has yet to feel the effect of karma in any big sense, though it is implied he feels guilt. He also had no real fallout from using the Pen-Ags to support his run for school president, only to throw them all under the bus. He's implied to feel small amounts of guilt, but the comic ended with him apparently completely successful in everything he ever wanted. The main cast still mostly hates the guy, but he hasn't suffered any repercussions for it. The story seems to imply, especially in QUILTBAG, that he is still using and dropping people at his convenience.
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    • Meg got a bad hit in the past where her reputation was ruined, but has yet to receive any retribution for anything done in the popsicle storyline. Or anything else done since the comic began.
    • Tharqa, who generally did horrible things to other characters in the strip yet received no comeuppance in the long run - though at the school reunion shown in the epilog, she's implied to still have no friends and the people she does meet all hate her.
    • A minor one, but Aggie pointed out Brandi during the 'Who Kidnapped Cyndi' storyline, citing an incident where Brandi knocked out a racist classmate and circumstantial evidence. She turned out to be completely wrong, but never gets called out on it and never suffers a bad relationship with Brandi or Penny because of it.
  • In the Chick Tracts, virtually anyone can get out of going to hell with a last-minute repentance and declaration of faith regardless of their crimes up until then (although, as he often points out, without that forgiveness you're already going to hell). There are quite a few examples of Karma Houdini, on a different level, though.
    • In "Gomez Is Coming," Ricky Valdez suffers no consequences for killing the titular Gomez's younger brother while firing randomly into a crowd after he converts.
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    • In "Lisa," the father doesn't suffer any legal consequences for molesting Lisa. The backlash over this storyline led to the tract being pulled from circulation.
    • In one tract, a man is saved from the death penalty after murdering someone with a club because his mother arranges for the guards to kill her in his place. Yeah.
  • The Light Warriors of 8-Bit Theater. After 9 years of murder, theft and horrible atrocities, the comics ends with them no better and no worse than when it began. Except Thief, who is now the King of Elfland. Although Black Mage is still Black Mage, and still has to stay with Fighter, so that could be seen as punishment enough.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, every time the Toughs have thrown something at General Xinchub that makes it looks like he'll get the screwing over he deserves, he turns it around in his favor to put him back in power. Not even death has stopped him from finding an angle from which he can personally profit.
    • Subverted with the renegade Espees who tried to steal the Toughs' Oafan ships, which lead to Capt. Tagon's death (among others). It looked like they were merely going to get off with getting assigned to a ship in the middle of nowhere. Then Chinook found out where they were located, and vaporized them with the Credomar canon.
  • In Christian Humber Reloaded, Vash rarely gets any punishment for his crimes, and goes to prison for only around five years for killing Soku and her family, before being released to hunt down convicts. Eventually, the police refuse to go after him because of how powerful he is.
  • Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell - Ella's parents accumulated enough good karma that several murders wouldn't be enough to send her to hell. So far, we've mostly seen her commit theft, which she can presumably keep up indefinitely. Contrast to Darwin, who made one horrible, horrible mistake that he can't escape.
  • Liz from Cool Cat Studios epilogue "Best Laid Plans". Liz deliberately projects a persona of a sexy, mysterious woman so she can emotionally protect herself and lets her lovers come up with their own visions of her, and then dumps them without a second thought because they don't know 'the real her'. She knowingly sleeps with women who are cheating on their husbands because 'it's not her problem', tries to worm her way into a relationship with Sophia and Belinda when both of their relationships hit temporary rough-spots (because she loves Belinda and thought Sophia would be close enough to Belinda) and acts like a self-absorbed asshole. And yet she's given a tearful send-off without so much of a word about the horrible manipulative things she did to the people who cared about her.
  • Technically, Lyle Phipps, from Great is a Karma Houdini. Early on, he kills a man in a drunken brawl, and the incident is almost immediately forgotten about because everything in the beginning of the comic is Played for Laughs.
  • It's Walky!.
    • Mike is a particularly odd example. While he is certainly one of the biggest jerks in the Walkyverse, dialogue from the latter half of It's Walky and his arc from Shortpacked! reveals that his actions actually served to help those around him and he is either just poor at socializing or he just doesn't care about how others see him. In Shortpacked!, Amber even decides to marry him after all this, and later decides that she prefers Mike sober as opposed to drunk, even though drunk Mike is nicer.
    • Ryan perfectly fits this trope though. In the backstory for It's Walky!!, he led Ruth away from her babysitting duties to have sex with her, inadvertently allowing Head Alien to abduct Walky. Ruth then discovers Walky unconscious and brings him to her father, accidentally walking in on his affair with Billie's mother. She later tries to find Ryan again, only to discover her with another woman. Ryan appears again in Dumbing of Age at a party Roz invited Joyce to. He attempts to seduce and later rape Joyce, which scars her for a bit. He manages to get away with only a few cuts. There is a reason the fandom doesn't really like this guy.
  • Magick Chicks ends with Melissa using her newfound authority as student council president to let her friend, Cerise, off scot-free after everything she's done. Including the attempted murder of 9 students and enthralling the school. And to ensure the decision was final, Mel decreed she and her Coven would be returning to their old school and that no one is allowed to come after Cerise for revenge.
  • Makoto Yosue from Red String. His very first appearance showed him attempting to claim Miharu as property and even after it was apparently pointed out to him that it was actually her cousin that was his intended wife, he still cheated on Karen to openly pursue Miharu to the point that she started hiding from him and had to have Eiji protect her from him. He eventually declared he was going to pursue Karen in earnest, but still kept flirting with Miharu - once even getting caught by Karen, though the story presented her anger as being in the wrong and Makoto as a victim. Makoto continued to use Karen as a way to stay close to Miharu, and basically never stopped stalking her, though the story informed us that he had "changed" simply because he wasn't openly flirting with her despite clearly hoping to use her later break-up with her own fiance as a way to hook up with her. Eventually he did in fact get Miharu, through Miharu finally realizing he was loveable and with even Eiji, the man who had once had to protect Miharu from him, encouraging him to continue to pursue Miharu. During their relationship, Makoto actually dragged Miharu behind a tree and yelled at her for her association with Kazuo...yet the encounter ended with her apology to him and their relationship unchanged. At one point, the story finally had Kazuo point out that his life has been nothing but people handing him opportunity after opportunity...except it portrayed Makoto as being far more sympathetic for feeling sad that Kazuo called him out. Meanwhile, the entire reason this comment happened was because Makoto, who was present for Kazuo's suicide attempt, had used it and the terrible home life he knew Kazuo suffered from as leverage against him. In the end, Makoto uses the leverage from his argument with Kazuo to quit his job to date Miharu full time, presumably supported by his parents. Miharu declares her love for him. Makoto ends the comic with his unearned victory prize, clearly because the author just doesn't want him to ever see a single repercussion for any action he takes.
  • Due to a generally high level of Sitcom inspired Comedic Sociopathy most of the Wacky Hijinx in the CD Rudd comics Sailor Sun and I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle are driven by the actions of cheerful idiots who are never called to account for their actions. Rudd also plays with this trope with Jean in I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle because his initial transformation into a Jerk Ass Genie is portrayed as an ironic punishment for his own chauvinistic genie master fantasies. As "Jeanie" he/she is punished by Lord Guano for bad behavior but thanks to the Blue and Orange Morality of the Djinn it's rarely for something the audience would deem objectionable.
  • Homestuck:
    • Post-retcon Vriska Serket. Her ultimate fate has not been revealed yet, but her Karmic Death was retconned, and the knowledge that the timeline where she was dead ended in failure caused her ego to inflate beyond anything the audience has seen. The reality is, the timeline failed not because of a lack of Vriska, but because of unneeded interference from Aranea. And yet, while Vriska being alive is beneficial to some of the heroes' personal problems, she gets away with treating Tavros, Jake, and her pre-retcon self like crap, gets to sucker Terezi into compliance by holding her alternate self's death over her head, and gets to play a pivotal role in defeating the Big Bad, just like she always wanted.
    • Some people also see Terezi as this, due to being Easily Forgiven for creating Davesprite's offshoot timeline by killing John and thus getting Jade killed.
  • A Discussed Trope in The Order of the Stick; Evil Overlord Tarquin posits that the Big Bad of most stories (and by extension, most dictators and tyrants off all sorts in Real Life) pull off this trope even in the event that they are brutally killed by the heroe(s) or otherwise meet a bloody end, because in most cases they were already living "like a god" for a given period of time — which could be as long as decades or even centuries — and a few minutes of violence and death at the end is a fair exchange for that. Basically no matter how they are punished, odds are they won't regret a life of villainy that gave them wealth, status and power even when Karma tracks them down eventually, negating the purpose and effectiveness of the Karma in the first place.


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