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Nightmarefuel / El Goonish Shive

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Despite being a generally happy webcomic even El Goonish Shive can bring you nightmares.

In General

  • Damien. An absurdly powerful being who believes himself to be god.
    • Here is Grace as a child huddling in a corner while Damien kills everyone in the facility.
    • Grace was solely made in order to kill Damien.
    • In general Grace's siblings have a pretty hard time.
      • Firstly living with Damien.
      • Vlad's transformation is so complicated that he can't transform without risking killing himself.
      • Guineas' transformation involves him burning all the fat of his body.
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  • After Not-Tengu is defeated, Mr. Verres explains to Nanase about why The Masquerade is so important to keep up.
    "You know that man in the ambulance right now? The man capable of, and having already done, absolutely horrible things? There is NOTHING special about him. He's just an average jerk who, when younger, stumbled on a way to gain use of magic that almost anyone on the planet could use. You want a real-life, non-hypothetical example of why there's so much secrecy? It's lying in the back of that ambulance."
  • Immortals in general could be counted as nightmare fuel. A group of beings that if they so choose can be undetectable and watch what they want unobserved. As time goes on they grow more powerful, more intelligent and less sane.
    • Luckily Immortals have to follow laws restricting them to only being able to empower and guide. Unfortunately the Immortal can only break these rules if they acknowledge they did so. And since they grow less sane with age...
      • According to Pandora the empower section means that she can simply give whoever she wishes magic marks and empower everything in Moperville. The latter of which is what attracts aberrations to come into Moperville.
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    • An Immortal Voltaire became fixated on attempting to kill Elliot. His attempts included having someone summon a being made of fire for him, having the same person attack a dojo and then summon a dragon and finally tricking a griffon into attacking him. luckily his intention wasn't to kill Elliot but rather traumatise Tedd.
      • And his reason for doing that was to force a change in immortal law to turn them BACK into Physical Gods.
  • Aberrations. Normal people that decide to give up their morals and become Immortal monsters. Even Immortals work to kill them whenever they can.
    • Once again Immortal help might not be the best considering how two of them decided using children to get rid of them was a fine tactic.
    • Examples include:
      • One in Paris that attracted people to it before attacking them.
      • Sirleck, a body snatcher. Who inhabited an already braindead man over what might have been months or years, keeping him practically undead.
      • A six-armed acrofatic ruthless mercenary-type who apparently could carry a small arsenal in hammerspace.

Main Series

  • Chaos' manifestation on the physical plane will give you chills with her first appearance. When unfocused her image will haunt your nightmares forever. Which makes the revelation that she's the mother of a grumpy old history teacher all the more shocking.
  • Also the end of the Sister II arc: Holy crap, that is one Creepy Child. The fact that Dan went on to say that Rhoda and Carol weren't hurt helped somewhat, but it was still enough to seriously freak out some people.
  • And now she's returned, after being completely absent for several years of real time. And in the middle of what was thought to be a filler arc, too. Just her being there, not saying anything, just observing, is enough to send shivers down your spine.
  • Not to mention "whatever the hell this thing is "
  • Susan's face in the second to last panel here isn't as strong as the others, but is still pretty damn scary. "Oh, hell" indeed.
    • And in the strip immediately after, the face she has directly before the "beam" is shot is even worse, with the pitch-black eyes and furrowed face...
  • "Family Tree" initially seems to be full of typical, if mind-altering, Gender Bender fun. Then Diane come back to grab a slice of pizza. Things quickly descend into horror fuel as we watch her slowly realize something's wrong. And by something wrong, we mean the terror in eyes as she tries to get her sister to remember that no, everyone is not a girl and please stop worshipping her and calling her "lord". Really, this is possibly the comic's darkest, most terrifying arc yet. The whole thing reads like a Lovecraftian Survival Horror. Then Tengu shows up. For extra horror: Regardless of whatever gender the guests originally were, they're all gradually turning into clones of Nanase. Tengu is thorough in his attempt at identity murder.
  • I was just... giving some advice...
  • Little maggot...
  • Luke seeing Tedd and Grace with alien faces is pretty creepy, given the Uncanny Valley effect.
  • [[ This page might be one of the darkest since Painted Black
  • Lord Tedd's rage.
  • Pandora's look when she's really pissed.
  • Nanase's fight against Abraham; she's only present per fairy doll spell, and she can't do much besides pester Abraham to win time for Ellen. Abraham keeps hacking her dolls into pieces with his axe, and Nanase keeps summoning new fairy doll bodies... but she feels them getting bisected and dying. Every. Single. Time.
  • As Tedd himself says here. After switching back from being female we learn that it's possible to change people PERMANENTLY.
  • I will rain hell down on Moperville.
  • Elliot has an Immortal who is focused on killing him. Imagine how that must feel.
  • Sirleck without a host. Even the author was horrified.
  • Lord Tedd is all but confirmed to be what our Tedd could have become if he had never made friends with the rest of the cast or what he might become if he lost them.
  • Sirlek has control of Ellen!
    • Thankfully, he doesn't seem to plan on keeping her as a permanent host.
  • There is something utterly terrifying about Scarf Aberration's method of "dealing with" Raven.
    Fancy magic, Fire and noise, all outdone... by humanity's toys.
  • Magus comes from a world where transgenderism is encouraged for various professions and even hobbies, Magus himself being a magically transitioned Ellen. This is so ingrained in his world that our Ellen is viewed by him as being abused because she can't magically transition permanently and, as far as he knows, no one has bothered to try to find a way to "help" her "become the true self".
    • On the other side of this, Magus is heavily defensive about his choice to transition, which points to Magus' transition for a small but notable physical advantage in battle being questioned very heavily from a mentality of "gender doesn't matter in battle because magic", leading to his defensiveness and his convictions concerning Ellen. It has yet to be shown how much magic is affected by gender, if at all. However, the physical difference in strength and leverage is a fact, and even in a battle of magic it could be the difference between victory and defeat if the fight descends into a wrestling match.
    • Even worse is that Magus formed these views while suffering from isolation torture with almost no one to talk to, and at point either actual torture from Immortals or at least the risk of torture from Immortals. Magus also helped create Ellen in the first place, and probably feels responsible for her well being too, making his concern regarding her border on familial.
  • Susan can look terrifying with a Hair Aura.
  • Grace's montage of all the different ways coming out to Rhoda could horrifically backfire.

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