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Mind Screw / Webcomics

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  • Meta-example: anything on the Dada Comics page, though it's not like they try to make sense.
  • Dresden Codak does this to varying degrees. This one is a complete Mind Screw.
  • Kagerou. The main character's Split Personality is actually pretty realistic (he's unaware of his other personalities, and none of them are really functional human beings) and based on the real life experience of the author.
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  • Expecting to Fly by Daniel Østvold.
  • Adventurers!! lampshades this trope in the some sort of symbolic climax.
  • Grounded Angel (link). Let me save you a couple of hours of mediocre art and predicable plot twists: the main character turns out to be an angel who is being chased by demons and a cat-man who leads a cult, they want the power of a book that only she can open. And in the end when she gets to the book? Turns out humanity is not yet ready for the way she wants to use it, and she gets to return to the start and do it all over again with her memories of the whole thing erased; oh, and she's been doing this for 176 years. Yeah, everything in the story occurred at least 64,240 times.
  • Magic And Physics has this, generally in the presence of Fridge Logic. Once played with when a character just says the word Mind Screw, and it has this effect on another character.
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  • Maliki: One of the comics is about Maliki talking about how she won't be drawing a comic today. Then she is seen drawing the comic about not drawing a comic. Then she is told that this could break the "space-blog continuum". Then she is seen drawing the scene where she is told not to draw a comic about not drawing a comic. Then it gets out of hand.
  • The Sluggy Freelance guest arc "The Sluggite Koan" does this in a big way. What at first seems like a somewhat straightforward Refugee from TV Land and Trapped in TV Land story delves into weird symbolism, philosophy, and loads and loads of Metafiction.
    • While not really symbolic, Torg's flashbacks will freeze your brain. Mainly because we see things through his perspective so anything we read has already been warped by his screwy mind. Most of the time we don't even know he's having a flashback until the scene suddenly cuts to him in a completely different scene saying "And that's how..."
      • This goes double for his latest flashback. We know he's having one because we see him start narrating. The story is wild enough, but Sasha's reactions are even more unlikely and surreal. At one point Torg gets killed by a boomerang riding porcupine and it turns out he made up the whole thing while having a flashback about him having a flashback.
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    • As the matter of fact, Sluggy has been gradually drifting from regular punchlines towards screwing with the minds of the readers. A recent strip featured ... well just see for yourselves. Good luck working this out (well, if you're familiar with the events leading up to it).
  • YU+ME: dream starts of as a straightforward Girls' Love strip (albeit with an ebonics-spouting conscience), until the last ten pages of issue 9, when the entire comic up to that point is revealed to be All Just a Dream, with a minor character actually being a Morpheus-like being... and then it gets weird.
  • The final arc of the fifth book of Fans!, "What Dreams May Come" focuses on a wish-granting artifact granting a kind of (extremely geeky) Assimilation Plot, apparently a metaphor for the afterlife. A few of the earlier and later introspective storylines could get a little Mind Screw-ey, but this one (being the intended finale) was just plain insane.
  • Templar Arizona. The main characters are straightforward enough, but everything about the world around them is some twisted reflection of our own.
  • A Nedroid storyline ends on this screwy note.
  • Level.
  • Occasionally, Gene Catlow wanders into this, mainly due to the strange mix of philosophy, spirituality and sheer silliness.
  • Bob and George, the entire series was just one big MIND SCREW; unless you pay attention to every detail, you are going to get lost.
    • Gets especially bad when you have five versions of each main character running around and most of them hate each other.
  • Cochlea And Eustachia is shaping up to becoming this trope, being a surreal webcomic featuring a pair of identical, scantily-clad, young women exploring a strange building with... unusual spatial properties..
  • Jerkcity. It's just a bunch of chat logs, mainly focused on UNIX, pot smoking, and homosexuality. OR IS IT?
  • Homestuck starts off relatively easily to understand, but once the Kudzu Plot had taken root, updates are now more likely to bring up far more questions than they answer.
    • As a general rule: Anything involving alternate universes will make your head hurt. Anything involving time and history and what happened when in relation to other events (or didn't happen, or happened in a manner that makes the timeline irrelevant) will make it hurt worse. And anything based around life and death and specifically who is dead or alive or both or neither at what point in time will make it explode 14 times in a variety of pretty colors.
    • Actually, almost everything (even the aforementioned elements) makes perfect sense in the context of the story. (Take almost any panel out of context, however...) However, a lot of the time, you have to think hard about every detail, pore over your extensive notes, and reread several earlier portions of the story (perhaps multiple times) before figuring it out, and then look it up online to realize you were only scratching the surface. Of course, that's what makes it so fun.
    • Keeping track of everything (or sometimes catching the important things in the first place) is what makes you reach for the aspirin. There aren't very many characters at first, but then the trolls show up. And alternate timelines. And extra universes, complete with counterparts to characters we already have. And yes, you have to keep track of them all. And pretty much everything is important in some way, shape, or form. And most plot elements doesn't make sense until you have the whole story behind them—which is why you have to pay such close attention, because you will miss something if you don't and then you'll be lost.
    • There are so many unanswered questions, with more being brought up every page, that it still qualifies as a Mind Screw of truly epic proportions. There's a reason the Wild Mass Guessing page had to be split into a dozen subpages.
    • The Homestuck Epilogues takes the brand of Mind Screw that was in the parent work, and cranks it Up to Eleven (crazy as that sounds), by mixing in meta-analysis, by making the idea of "canon" and "non-canon", who the narrator is, and even the concept of an epilogue important plot points and themes. Hussie himself even describes that he designed the print version (which was originally supposed to be the only version, so as to further distance it from the original comic) with a Tome of Eldritch Lore feel, just to convey the sheer weirdness of the narrative even further.
  • The previous MS Paint Adventure, Problem Sleuth, is actually a better example, given that it threw logic literally out the window right at the beginning. Over the course of the story, we have an imaginary universe that exists in all the characters' minds simultaneously, but physical objects can pass between the real and imaginary worlds. That's not even getting into things like mental transportation by hitting your head, valves, doors and clothes that change peoples' sizes and shapes, a robot walking through a portal into the building it's carrying on its back, or putting a window through itself. It's mostly played for laughs, but still gets quite mindbending.
  • In El Goonish Shive, there is lots of it. When done intentionally, usually involves attempts to project the normal family tree onto Ellen's case in several equally disturbing ways. Sometimes the comic Lampshades this, as seen in Grace's explanation to the immortal, Jerry of how she knows Raven.
  • In-universe example in this xkcd.
  • His Face All Red derives most of its horror from this.
  • Dialogue in Rumors of War is often a bit on the screwy side, but Nenshe goes on a Journey to the Center of the Mind during the fifth story arc and the things we see there are less comprehensible.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court managed to confuse some readers as to what's going on in Chapter 34 (Faraway Morning). The recipe in this case is interaction of characters who are a bunch of teens in extra weird circumstances, and as such themselves neither have a clear idea of what they want nor are good at sorting through their own feelings.
    • Zimmy's episodes also get increasingly bizarre each time, particularly when Antimony inexplicably starts turning into Zimmy.
  • Captain Snes definitely reaches this at times. Particularly in one comic in which the character telling the story taunts his captor about how the truth should be obvious at this point. Before realizing that he'd forgotten to mention key details earlier, and adding a whole other layer to the story.
  • Creative Release. The fact that the author is a troll definitely doesn't help.
  • Roommates manages to routinely confuse its readership mostly through unusually high concentration of meta (it's a No Fourth Wall Mega Crossover Meta Fic with Recursive Reality for starters), but its "Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On" arc takes the cake. The best description the fans could come up with to date is: Inception meets Swan Lake and also a custody battle over The Fair Folk Monster Roommate.
    • Said fair roommate also fixed Inception and accidentally made his love interest's sleeping problem their landlord. This actually more or less Makes Sense In Context.
  • MegaTokyo is pretty hard for most readers to comprehend. It helps to think of each character as experiencing their own version of the world.
  • Ruby Quest already has a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot that satisfies this trope, but the dream sequences and flashbacks push it even farther into this territory.
  • Zebra Girl: The very nature of the Subfusc is one.
  • Gaia: Viviana is subjected to a nightmarish and increasingly surreal experience when she tries to leave Oakdale, which involves being unhorsed, deafened, lost in the woods, and eventually mutilated after chasing herself through the fog, only to discover when she wakes up the next day that it was All Just a Dream except for the part when she fainted and hit her head on a rock.


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