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Narm / Webcomics

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Yes, this was originally meant to be taken seriously.

Dramatic tension is good for pulling in new viewers to a webcomic. It doesn't always work out that way, though.

Another thing that doesn't always happen is people agreeing (often due to Fan Dumb on all sides). Be warned that some of the opinions expressed here are a bit... extreme. Webcomics tend to draw quite polarizing views and many people are quite vocal about them. Some people just don't like these webcomics, and we all know being horrible about something you hate is soothing. Others are dedicated fans who twitch whenever they hear criticism, no matter how valid or witty. So don't trust this page: read the comics!


Series with their own pages:


  • DeviantArt user Don Zatch made a webcomic called Tale of Twilight. It's got action, drama, tragedy, Unicorns who bleed silver, Alicorns who bleed RAINBOWS...
  • Most of the "drama" in Roomies! and It's Walky! is either Narm or just stupid. Roomies was generally agreed to be Cerebus Syndrome gone bad, but It's Walky never seemed to figure out what it was trying to do. Whether it be the over-the-top wangst of Sal (complete with a distracting, out of place accent), the seriousness with which Joyce's "innocence" is given (complete with trauma over forcibly being shown generic porn) that requires ignoring other events to work, the on and off competency/seriousness of the Saturday-morning cartoon-style alien villains, or the excessive amount of time spent mourning the pointless deaths of all the designated victims, the only consistent reaction is to roll one's eyes at it all. At least the comedic parts work fairly well when they show up.
  • Ellen describing her "second life" in El Goonish Shive would have worked wonders as a dramatic climax... but gets shoved forcibly into this territory when you realize that, aside from one reference almost two years prior, none of what she's talking about was hinted at before the Info Dump. By the time she starts discussing Archie, the chimera without a sex drive, you'll find it impossible to take it seriously; except it reportedly works a lot better when Archive Binging.
    • Also there is a moment when Catalina asks Susan to go out with her (in that way), Susan declines, and Catalina runs off. This was a dramatic moment... right up until Catalina says "Assjack!" (A reversal of the highly temperamental Genki Girl's favorite word, "Jackass(es)!")
      • Though this might have been intended.
    • While Dan did state that he had no intention of drawing the fight between Nanase and Abraham, the end of the "fight" when Nanase convinces Abraham that he's wrong and makes him swear never to harm Ellen was abrupt enough to give one whiplash, especially given Abraham's line "I solemnly swear to never harm Ellen Dunkel." If there had been one or two Beat Panels, then the whiplash would probably have hurt less.
    • It is utterly impossible to take an eldritch abomination which has chosen to call itself Pandora Chaos Raven seriously. It's the kind of thing a disaffected goth girl would come up with, not a Immortal sorceress/whatever the hell Chaos is.
      • Indirectly justified by Jerry, who comments that other Immortals tend to like overly-dramatic names.
    • Ellen's song in the Birthday Party arc was painfully cheesy. First off, singing scenes in comics are probably impossible to do well. Secondly, she chooses a song to tell Nanase how she feels, because serenading your loved one is never sappy. Thirdly, she scores a perfect 100 after the song's done. She must have put her soul into it.
  • Dominic Deegan: A woman's misplaced hatred caused her to attempt to kill several people by slowly freezing them to death. She is thwarted by the protagonist's brother, who channels his magic into becoming SuperGreg, modeled on his comic book hero SuperMage, himself a Captain Ersatz for Superman. The Mood Whiplash never settled.
    • Also noteworthy is this much parodied strip. Spoilers in that strip! Be warned!
    • Mookie's topped himself.
      "You slept with...? Wait! That's it!"
    • Jacob's revelation that "Death is not zombies" could have been worded better.
    • When Cthulhu-TIM and Celesto were tearing up Lynn's Brook for some time, there's a scene where Dex and his ex-wife are desperately cowering behind a piece of rubble as people all around them are getting slaughtered. It would have been a much more emotionally powerful scene if the people getting slaughtered looked more like they were desperately running for cover and less like they were out for a casual morning stroll.
  • The page image above is from Incontinent Student Bodies, a parody of Associated Student Bodies. One of the characters is playing with his friends and then suddenly pisses and shits himself, at which point he screams "BAWWWWW!" and starts to cry. This was a grown man—or bunny rather—by the way.
  • The Very Special Episode of Ctrl+Alt+Del, in which Ethan's girlfriend Lilah has a Convenient Miscarriage. This happened in a webcomic in which the main character built a wacky human-hating robot out of an Xbox and who was once crowned the King of Gaming after an evil company that wanted to exploit the fictional gamer holiday of "Winter-een-mas". It doesn't help that the main character has an argument with the robot during the Very Special Episode which is played completely seriously (and, for no good reason, off-screen). And if you read the lulzy edits of the comic, then you can never take the original seriously again.
    • The Very Special Episode was particularly special; for some, its narm made it the funniest Ctrl+Alt+Del storyline ever.
    • The wedding arc might as well be Narm incarnate. From the vows ("Life dropped an epic husband") to the Hawaiian Mafia(?), it's just jam-packed.
    • Let us not forget the Take That! episode against Jack Thompson. The appearance of Tim Buckley's Author Avatar, the hypocrisy of his statements ("How dare you call video gamers violent! Don't fuck with us!") and the overwrought writing launched it straight into the Narmosphere.
  • The bottom row of this Goblins comic.
    • Given the length between updates, anything that doesn't move the plot forward has a good chance of failing to work as intended, so this example may be less narmful in an Archive Binge.
    • Hell, the Art style itself can be narmy. The body proportions and reactions are so exaggerated!
    • Everything about Chief's death. The initial reaction is over-the-top, and then Thac0 delivers this priceless line:
      "Aw, no. Chief."
    • The excessive amounts of gore, the ridiculous facial expressions, how the characters try to pull of a Big Damn Heroes moment or badass pose every other strip... yeah, this comic is really narmy.
    • All blood in the comic - all of it - is invariably colored a bright candy red. It's hard to get too emotionally invested in the scenes of carnage commonplace in the series when most of the victims look like they've been splashed with cherry Kool-Aid.
  • Depending on who you talk to, Jack is either prime Nightmare Fuel or Narm Incarnate. Between the cartoony art, the constant over-the-top attempts to address shocking issues, and story arcs like the Rape Arena, Jack has earned many a derisive snort and angry fist-shake over the years. And, oh, yes, it's furry, which is another chip in the pile for some.
  • Tales of the Questor... when the green fairy gives Quentyn her True Name.
    • And the author would have done the same for the blue fairy's true name— if he could have found a beverage that went by the appropriate name...
  • Considering it's a webcomic that underwent heavy Cerebus Syndrome while retaining a cartoony, stick-figure-based art style, you'd think Order of the Stick would be awash in Narm; surprisingly, it mostly dodges it. However, Bozzok's attempt at a Bond One-Liner—"I'm bringing the make you cry!"—is wince-worthy, and if it was supposed to be so on purpose, then it was still too bad to be So Bad, It's Good. The Thieves' Guild in general is narmy because everyone acts as if they're a credible threat with far-reaching plot implications...and then they go down like a kobold with a lung infection.
    • Hinjo's speech to Miko here. It's clear to the reader that Miko was wrong to kill Shojo, and so seeing Hinjo explain why it was wrong in such great detail is annoying. Especially cringe-worthy is the line "yours. were.," where each word gets its own voice bubble. It wasn't clear to all the readers that Miko was wrong, unfortunately. Hinjo had to explain things both to the Misaimed Fandom and to the crazy lady with the sharp sword.
  • In the Megatokyo strip "a rare thing these days", it was revealed that Sony had become a benefactor for the game company Kimiko works at. This reveal would have been more shocking had Matsui, who appears several strips before Dom, not looked almost exactly like him. It spoils the plot point just before it appears because the reader now expects Dom to be there.
  • Rumisiel's rant in Misfile was meant to be awe-inspiring, but "I'm a frikkin' angel, babe, and I got nothin' to lose" came off as just plain cheesy.
    • Emily's expression. That is all.
    • Or Vashiel in the lower left hand panel. He looks like he's trying with all of his might to take a dump.
    • When Ash reluctantly agrees to do his "duty" as King of the mountain, this happens. Uh... okay?
      • Considering that that's Ash as seen through the eyes of Missi who has a Huge Crush on her...
  • In Abstract Gender, Brian's mother is shot and killed. This is supposed to be the single most tragic event. But it feels random and a little silly.
    • It's like the author spun the Convenient Cliched Dramatic Death Wheel and landed on "mugging gone wrong" between "skiing accident" and "plane crash"
  • In this page of Harkovast, many people found Shogun's expression of rage in the final panel more comical then anything else.
    • How about this page? There's the, uh, wolf's face in the third panel, and this line:
      "Look at this old fountain... DROWN YOURSELF IN IT!"
  • Anders Loves Maria. The sheer amount of human misery hoisted upon these characters goes past the point of believability when Anders is arrested for assault after a night of angst-induced cocaine-binging incited by a sleazy reporter who plans on selling the story, during which he struck someone (causing his arrest), landing him in the same cell as the man who he had arrested for assault earlier who is ALSO the brother of his baby mama, almost forcing him to miss the birth of his child and the DEATH of said baby mama.
  • A less obvious example in this strip of Supernormal Step. It features a freaky girl appearing on some screens and singing a song that's really creepy... until you realize that it perfectly fits the meter of the Gilligan's Isle theme tune. At which point it becomes hilarious.
  • During its run, Supermassive Black Hole A* had an art shift to a darker, Film Noir art style. While some characters' looks were tweaked slightly, others weren't, resulting in dramatic lighting for a character whose nose is bigger than the entire rest of his head.
  • "WOW! Hot a What Baabhabhiat"
  • Homestuck is mostly too humourous, snarky and Bathosy (in places) to fall into this, but has its moments.
    • When Jade is comforting Jadesprite, who Came Back Wrong, hates being alive and is unable to stop crying, the fact that her tears are rendered in chatlog style as "BOO HOO HOO HOO HOO. woof :'(" somewhat lessens the genuine tragedy. It doesn't help that a few pages later, Karkat starts imagining Jade and Jadesprite making out.
      • But then, considering it was half leading up to the callback of having Jadesprite echo alternate-future-daves conversation with Calsprite, and the point and that her dreamself is rather overly emotional and flighty about things that Jade herself is does all make it a rather less tragic either way.
    • Also, when Karkat reveals that he didn't perfect the genetic sequence of the frog that created the kid's universe, dooming their timeline, he says that he gave their universe cancer. While it is a very shocking and upsetting development, the line "I GAVE YOUR WHOLE UNIVERSE CANCER, JADE. SORRY." has been met with laughter and many distasteful cancer jokes. Karkat's constant use of all caps makes this worse, since it's easy to picture that he's shouting about how he gave an entire universe cancer through the conversation.
    • In general, Homestuck's tendency to make staggeringly inappropriate callbacks and references during even the most serious situations means that anybody who reads it is inevitably going to find at least one point where the impact of an otherwise dramatic moment is ruined by a joke. The most gratuitous examples of this are the occasions where character deaths are followed up by Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff references. This is probably why the number of references to said Comic-Within-a-Comic have been toned down in Act 6.
  • An in-universe example from Bittersweet Candy Bowl - the (dramatic/horror?) movie that Jasmine and Paulo see fails to frighten them, instead making them laugh, much to the consternation of the rest of the audience.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse:
    • Last panel of page 382.
    • Android 16's fight is quite narmy.
    • Zen Buu's punch to the West Kaioshin in page 735 was deemed similar to those from cartoons.
  • One of the many strips of Gamer Chicks complaining about guys staring at the self-insert characters's breasts becomes unintentionally hilarious due to the Lazy Artist drawing the staring crowd like a block of yellow Cartoon Cheese emitting Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost
    • This Korean Webtoon is notorious for being extremely scary if you're not expecting the twist of the comic actually having animation and sound, but if you're expecting it, then the scene where the ghost pounces at the girl becomes narmy due to the extremely underwhelming sound effect, which sounds more like a burp than a scream or roar like you'd expect from this kind of scare.
    • In the prequel, there is a "The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You" moment where the (suddenly animated) ghost's hand reaches beyond the "borders" of the comic frame, but after the initial shock it becomes silly-looking due to the animation repeating.
  • EXCEPT FOR MY GRANDFATHER, WHO CALLED ME A FAGGOT. Assigned Male in general is stuffed with Narm, thanks to the fact kids of barely two-digit ages are spouting Tumblr-tier rhetoric you'd expect from a belligerent 15 year old, complete with insane vocabulary.
  • In The Young Protectors, Spooky tries and fails to rescue a group of hostages from electrocution by Death Trap, then absorbs their souls in desperation so they can be returned to life. This is supposed to be incredibly traumatic and potentially deadly for him. It also leaves him comically inflated and bobbing in the air like a balloon when the demon to whom the hostages were sacrificed arrives.
  • I Will Survive, a Zootopia fan comic where Judy and Nick discuss the very heavy and sensitive subject of abortion. Aside from the mismatch of cutesy characters and serious subject matter, the (mostly professional-looking) art ends up looking goofy at times. Of note is Nick's reaction when Judy tells him she doesn't want the child, and Judy's reaction to Nick saying that her getting an abortion would be murder, followed by her slapping Nick in an over-the-top way.


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