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Shoot The Shaggy Dog / Webcomics

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  • In Bob and George, the epilogue for the story explains the characters' futures, but keeps reminding us that the entire cast was going to die in between the classic Mega Man and Mega Man X time periods. It then subverts it by saying that was if a minor comment hadn't convinced Dr. Wily to not try to activate Zero who will kill everyone, and they all just fake their own deaths and move to Acapulco to prevent a time paradox.
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  • The Last Days Of FOXHOUND is a prequel comic about the boss characters from Metal Gear Solid. Five of whom you kill in the game, and the last one having manipulated them into rebelling in the first place so they could get killed. By design this pretty much means it'll turn into a Shoot the Shaggy Dog, but the penultimate page really drives it home.
  • Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman is a great example of this; after all his adventures, the title character accidentally deactivates the 'Buddha' cheat code and dies, broken and bleeding, at the base of the Citadel. Too be fair, the comic's title should have been a hint.
  • Filthy Lies. The artist got sick of doing the comic and dropped a giant septic tank on the protagonists. Then he realised he missed doing the comic, so they got better. Even this, however, was better than the second time around of the artist getting sick of doing the comic, and just stopping.
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  • The GOFOTRON Arc of Sluggy Freelance would be a good example of this (although not for the main characters). It would take too long to explain the entire plot, so basically it's an entire 2 and a half month plot arc where Torg, Riff and Bun-Bun are transported to another universe, which is set up as an epic futuristic soap opera, with many characters introduced. In the end, the entire universe is destroyed (the main characters escape, though none of the natives do). And then it turns out the universe was just created as part of an experiment by an alien race to find a new form of energy. Then it turns out that the company is a waffle iron company, and the entire purpose was to find a new way to power waffle irons!. Oh, and the company decided to pull the funding.
  • El Goonish Shive has one in the form of the "Death Sentence" storyline. In it, Grace and Raven attempt to remove an enchantment on a wild boar and escort it to safety. Unfortunately, the boar *wants* the enchantment, meaning Raven has to shoot it, after which they realize there probably wasn't a good place to send it anyway, rendering the whole mission pointless — although Grace feels differently.
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  • Falcon Twin (link): All of the time and effort that the protagonist spends trying to get back to her own Crapsack World is completely wasted because her (not)girlfriend decides that leaving her to bleed to death in a burning building is an OK thing to do, even though medical attention isn't unreasonably far away. However, considering that the tone of the entire series and the very EMO protagonist both come from well beyond the Despair Event Horizon, could you really expect any other kind of ending?
  • Homestuck: The White Queen abdicated her throne, escaped to Earth, met up with the remaining exiles, and was almost ready to leave for a new universe with the survivors and her recently-awakened husband as part of a lengthy plan. And then Jack appeared completely unexpectedly, killed them all (except PM) before they could do anything, then did exactly what they seemed to be trying to avert. The worst part of it all is that even after Jack appeared, they still could have accomplished something if AR had finished his job in time, but he couldn't bring himself to destroy the station containing WV, sealing their fates (and then WV got impaled anyways). On the other hand, PM survived, put on the White Queen's ring, and followed him to the trolls' session with just one thing clearly on her mind, so a potential subversion?
    • And she brought WV with her, dropping him off with the main characters so they could get him some healing.
  • Boxdog: On Boxdog's ninth birthday, she couldn't decide if she wanted a vanilla cake or chocolate cake. Since she couldn't choose one or the other, her frustrated mother offered to skip the cake for the whole day. Boxdog then replied that she could have either one, but wanted vanilla more. As such, her parents went off to the store, but ended up picking up a chocolate cake. As they were driving home, a drunk driver blindsided them, their car flipped over on her front lawn and her mom and dad burned alive, trapped in the car.
  • Played for Laughs in Sinfest: Criminy is reading Tomey:
    Criminy: And so he made his way out of Hell and returned to his beloved. And together they vowed to live happily ever after.
    Tomey (Jumps up and flames): But then suddenly ZOMBIES appeared and ATE THEIR BRAINS!
    Criminy: Must you kill off EVERYONE?
    Tomey (Chuckling): Death! Death! Death!
  • The subplot of "Bearclaw" in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja ends this way. After delivering some exposition to Doc, he gets thrown out of a plane into the ocean. He survives, somehow, and is found by some dolphins, who carry him to land. After he thanks the dolphins for saving him, one of them pulls out a gun and shoots him. (How it did this with no fingers or pockets is left as an exercise for the reader.) The whole thing is a Brick Joke from his introduction, where he bragged about killing dolphins with his bare hands.
  • The Last Halloween: The earth has been invaded by monsters, who are proceeding to kill the entire human race. Normally these monsters are kept in check by the Phagocyte, who keeps them locked in the shadow realm. Doctor Fugue explains to a group of kids that the Phagocyte must have been killed. Luckily, the Phagocyte has an heir, and Fugue knows his mother, so he sends the kids to go find the heir. Fugue turns out to be wrong about nearly everything: the boy he knows is not the Phagocyte's only son, and he isn't the heir. Even if he was, it wouldn't have mattered because the Phagocyte isn't dead, he's just so critically wounded that he can't stop the invasion. Meanwhile the quest that Fugue sent the kids on kills one of them, and dismembers two more, and then to rub salt in the wound, the son that they rescued dies anyway.


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