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Not What It Looks Like / Webcomics

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  • The Spanish webcomic 1 Millón de Monos. One of the characters says that "It's just what it looks like!" (Only, it's unclear what exactly it looks like.)
  • Near the start of Nineteen, Twenty-One, Dong-whi follows a cat by climbing up a wall and Yong-whi happens to see. He then attempts to explain to her that he isn't a burgler, but she wasn't thinking that in the first place.
  • Kroenen says this to Rasputin in Abe & Kroenen when he catches Abe holding Kroenen as they are about to escape the Ringwraiths. Unfortunately, not only does Rasputin have a rare moment of sense and realize that Kroenen and Abe are together, Kroenen has also inadvertently let slip that he can talk. Ironically, Rasputin's more upset about him hiding the latter than the former.
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  • AO Range: Subverted amusingly (complete with reference to Three's Company) here.
  • In Comic Rantz, a splinter removal look like something else, not that those involved notice.
  • In Commander Kitty, MOUSE engineers one of these with the help of a conveniently timed fruit basket.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del shows us a particularly Genre Savvy example, as Lucas asks if it's what it looks like.
  • In the middle of the dance hall from Ears for Elves, Tanna shouts at Rolan for what he did earlier.
    Tanna: You pushed me to the ground!
    Various elven ladies: Did she just say-
    Oh my gods...
    She didn't. I can't believe he'd-
    Did they really?

    Tanna: Oh come on. What are you? A bunch of gossiping barmaids? It's not like that at all.
  • Eerie Cuties:
    Brooke: (mortified) "I... I think I'm going to die of embarrassment for reals this time!"
    Layla: "Somebody, just stake me now!"
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  • Hookie Dookie Panic has the scene which Wilcow insists "It's not what it looks like". Probably you won't even want to try and make sense out of what it looks like.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Subverted during one of the Fourth-Wall Mail Slot Q&A sessions regarding Time Travel, where the two hypothetical copies of Lisa start kissing each other, they freely admit that it is exactly what it looks like.
    • Played straight during the non-canon Pokemon parody arc when trainer Charlotte comes across Nanase and Justin hiding in the bushes naked. The audience, having read the previous comics, knows that Justin's Gracemander is drying everyone's wet clothes with her fire breath, but Charlotte draws the obvious conclusion. Either Nanase or Justin (it's unclear as the dialogue comes from off panel) says, "There are so many reasons this isn't whatever it looks like!" Unusually, they actually get a chance to explain themselves.
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  • Plays itself out in Greg, as Greg is trying to yank off Ted's jeans.
  • In Hang in There, Kogasa-san, during the Anime Boston arc, Kogasa walks into her hosts' hotel room and sees Yoshika tied up on the bed shibari-style...but subverts this trope by not flipping out and just rolling with it, to everyone's relief.
    • Even better, since the comic is autobiographical, this actually happened; author Mizuki Hitoshi said in his commentary that he figured it wasn't anything inappropriate because "Yoshika" was still fully dressed, and the Danbooru members who were Hitoshi's hosts explained that "Yoshika" had agreed to pose as an artists' model for a livestream they were recording.
  • Irma. It's Norwegian, but who needs translation?
  • Towards the end of It's Walky!, Danny avoids this trope via Genre Savvy. He's talking with his ex-girlfriend and just mentioned that he was planning to propose to his current one. He flat-out refuses to show Sal the ring because if he does, Billie will end up walking around the corner and seeing them.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes has this gem.
  • In the second Life of Maid Christmas Special, Rinnosuke takes on the role of Santa Claus for the year, but after being spotted by Marisa, he's forced to use a combo of Giving Them the Strip and Ninja Log in a bid to get the hell away from her so she doesn't steal the presents he's been hired to deliver like she did with Youki last year. It works, but when he heads to Yuyuko's place to deliver her present, Youmu enters Yuyuko's room to leave her own present for her and walks in on Rinnosuke standing over a sleeping Yuyuko in his underwear while breathing hard (due to having just gotten away from Marisa and delivered Yuyuko's present). The obvious conclusions about Rinnosuke's intentions are jumped to and swords are drawn, with painful results for him.
  • Hilariously done with Cyber Punk relish in Lizzy. Found here.
  • At one point in MegaTokyo Robot Girl Ping answers Piro's door in her underwear. Kimiko was not amused. And it didn't help matters that Ping has the body of a seventeen-year-old girl. Well, a malleable artificial body that can pass for almost anything between late middle-school and senior high school ages. Unfortunately that scene gave Kimiko an impression of the former.
    • This sort of thing happens constantly. Largo and Erika come out of a room half-undressed with Largo raving about how "soft" her body is...nope, they were building computers, and Largo's paranoid about static electricity, so they had to wear minimal clothing. Kimiko spends the night sleeping on top of Piro...but nothing else happens. Kimiko comes home to find an underwear-clad Erika, who yanks Kimiko's clothes off, and then Piro shows up and Erika makes him disrobe, too... so he can help fix her computer. Miho wanders to Piro's apartment and spends the night, then they go to a bathhouse and bathe together... but Piro was in jail all night, and they hardly even look at each other in the bathhouse.
  • Ménage à 3 uses the trope for gags:
    • An epic instance arises when geek and (at the time) virgin Gary has new character Yuki sit astride his face and then get handcuffed to him. That part isn't his fault; admittedly, he does then deliberately grope her breast while she's unconscious, but he's honestly convinced that she must be a figment of his imagination at the time. Then he finds himself lying on top of her, panting (actually from exhaustion), just as she recovers consciousness. Much of this happens in public, but the real problem is that Yuki is a violent androphobe, and this incident almost gets Gary killed. Funnily enough he and Yuki end up dating for a while, much later.
    • Another spectacular case occurs in the strip #671 (November 13, 2012, NSFW). When Chanelle walks into a room to discover Amber and Gary both naked, and Dillon also present (but dressed), she instantly concludes that Amber must have got back into her past career in porn. (Don't ask about the absence of cameras or film crew.) This probably wouldn't matter much, if she didn't also instantly volunteer to serve as Gary's fluffer, and start acting on the offer.
    • Later again, the trope is played with when Matt and Peggy encounter DiDi and Kiley in a motel corridor. Kiley and Matt are sort of in a relationship of sorts, and Kiley and DiDi were both previously regarded as probably straight, but to be fair, everyone has an excuse of sorts at this point. Still, despite Kiley's Motor Mouth blathering, the fact is, everything is almost exactly what it looks like.
  • Misfile:
  • Mountain Time had a rather... odd example of this trope. But then, it's Mountain Time.
  • Nerf NOW!!, and by extension, Mass Effect has another variation.
    • Also inverted in this strip.
  • No Rest for the Wicked:
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Played with in strip #269, when Celia recalls finding out her boyfriend "slipping the wood" to a dryad. He says it's not what it looks, but it's unsure what it looks like in the first place....
    • Subverted when Nale seduces Haley in order to betray and kill her, only to be stopped when his enraged girlfriend Sabine arrives. She realizes what's going on immediately, but wanted to kill Haley herself:
      Nale: It's not what it looks like.
      Nale: [simultaneous] I was going to KILL her.
      Sabine: [simultaneous] YOU WERE GOING TO KILL HER!
    Since Sabine knew Nale wasn't trying to have sex with Haley (and, as a succubus, wouldn't even be mad if he had been), Nale then has to explain that, despite what it looks like, he wasn't going to kill Haley without Sabine. It's never made clear whether his explanation is legit.
    • In the Prequel story Uncivil Servant, Belkar sees what seem to be criminals extorting money from a man, but after he kills them it is revealed that they were actually the police and fire department asking for donations.
  • Played for Drama in Peter Is the Wolf, where the titular character's girlfriend walks in on him tied to a bed, with a gag in his mouth about to be raped by his longtime stalker and mistakes it for him cheating on her. She promptly slaps him and breaks up with him on the spot. She learns awhile later she just abandoned the man she loves for nearly being raped and is completely horrified with herself.
  • Questionable Content:
    • In this strip, when caught in an inadvertently compromising situation, Marten remarks, "I'd say 'it's not what you think!' only I'm not even sure what I think this is." In a humorous subversion, Faye realizes that, considering Marten's track record with women, it obviously couldn't be what it looks like.
    • Used almost word-for-word here.
    • And again, although this time, as Dora says, it sort of is what it looks like.
    • Oh lord.
  • In Red String, Reika walks in on Eiji's brother's fiancée all over him (against his expressed wishes). Her reaction so far is typical for this trope, even though they aren't dating. To be specific, she runs out and slaps Eiji when he tries to stop her. Then she asks angrily and accusingly what they would have been doing further if she hadn't walked in with Eiji's brother.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
    • In general, especially early on, the comic constantly created situations in which what was happening was not what it appeared to be to the reader at first, usually revealed by the caption — how closely they fit this trope varies. Naturally this also combined it sometimes with Subverted Trope when what it looked like was a trope. (Like a guy shouting to his kid "I Have No Son!" — and the kid was actually his daughter, so it wasn't the trope so much as a Non Sequitur.)
    • It might also be done differently than usually, so that things are worse than they look: A mother uses a whip to knock a soda can out of her son's hand, and it's not what it looks like because she was aiming at him, not the can.
    • The comic would also subvert the trope Not What It Looks Like as well, more than once.
    • The strip for 2006-08-09 goes through four layers:
    (Pictured: a guy dressed as king pointing to a silhouette of a hanged man in the background and saying it's an lesson to all who won't kneel in deference.)
    First caption: "Many of us felt Henry had overstepped his authority as prom king." (So he's not a real king, but someone behaving absurdly as a prom king.)
    Second caption: "For example, he brought in this silhouette of a hanged man. To a prom!" (So he didn't actually hang anyone.)
    Third caption: "Or there was the time when he hanged that guy for not kneeling in deference." (So he did actually hang someone.)
    Panel in cave painting has character saying: "Pag killed mammoth."
    Caption in cave painting: "Pag had not killed mammoth."
    Actual caption: "Prehistoric single panel comics were a lot less predictable."
    • One strip contains an entirely implausible appeal to this trope: "It's not what it looks like! In fact, you're cheating on me!"
    • In 2013-10-14, someone saying "It's not what it looks like" is not what it looks like. (He's not cheating on him, he's in bed with someone else because all three of them are married to each other, and he's joking about it.)
  • This strip of Scandinavia and the World.
  • Sexy Losers contains a number of parodies of this. Unfortunately, the comic's less safe for work than a copy of Hustler, so a link might not be prudent.
  • Split Screen: The night Jan left for college (never to see her best friend, Jeremy, for a decade). She was going to meet him, to finally confess her feelings to him once and for all. She sees him waiting for her in the diner, with his girlfriend, Natalie. She runs off rather than confess her love in front of his girlfriend. Turns out; Natalie was A) A lesbian, B) Was only Jeremy's girlfriend so she could act as a buffer between Jeremy and Jan and C) was only there to make sure Jeremy stopped ducking Jan and confessed his feelings. It's twelve years before Jan finds this out.
  • Superbitch: One of Quinn's experiments.
  • In Think Before You Think, Brian tries to help Julia after she passes out, and Becky catches them in this position.
  • TwoKinds:
  • In Wapsi Square, Kevin walks in the room, and sees this.
  • The Wretched Ones: Nicky says this once he is discovered burying two dead bodies with Jack. He can explain.

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