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It wasn't what he expected.

"There's this funny thing I've noticed about people— You never get the story you expect. Ask them about what they have and they'll tell you about what they want. Ask them to tell you about love and they'll tell you about heartbreak. Ask them about death, though, and they'll tell you about life. It's like this wherever you go."
Oscar's Opening Monologue
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Wilde Life is a fantasy/horror webcomic that began in September 2014, drawing from Native American legends and other stories. It is written and drawn by Pascalle Lepas, the artist of Zap!.

Oscar Wilde (no, not that one) has recently moved to Podunk, Oklahoma for unknown reasons. Hilarity Ensues when it turns out that his landlady, Barbara Yaga, might be a witch, his house is haunted by a 1940s-era ghost named Sylvia, and a teenage werewolf named Clifford passes out on his porch.

Don't confuse with the similarly-named webcomic Wildlife, nor the manga Wild Life.


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This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Sylvia Snyder.
  • Aloof Ally: Clifford. He and Oscar are not friends. He just wants you to know that.
    • ...At least, at first. Once he realizes that he can trust you he can actually be bizarrely chipper.
  • Alt Text: All the pages have it but for most of the earliest, it's just the page number. Later on it becomes commentary or side jokes.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Eliza, after worrying that Raven might have infected Clifford with the Madness.
  • Apology Gift: Oscar sends a bouquet of blue roses to his sister as an apology for his random disappearance. However, he still doesn't want her to come looking for him, so he doesn't include a return address.
  • Art Evolution: The comic was never bad, but gets significantly better with lighting and scenery over time.
  • The Beard: Discussed—when Darcy can't accompany Eliza to a show, they jokingly ask Oscar to go as her "beard" instead.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bears Are Bad News: The White-Faced Bear seems to be the comic's Big Good. This trope still applies.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Cliff may be a jerk to several people, but he loves his brother Kevin. In Chapter 9, when Raven gets inside Cliff's bedroom and tries to get Cliff to be one with Raven but suddenly vanishes when Kevin comes into the room, Cliff offers to stay with his brother until he falls asleep. As Kevin lulls away, Cliff is staring intently at the door just in case something happens.
    • Increasingly, Oscar seems to feel this way towards Cliff.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • When the group is facing the monster in chapter 8, with few means to fight it the White-Faced Bear appears from no where to kill the snake monster.
    • In chapter 9 when Cliff and Oscar are being chased by the creature that once was Raven, they are calling for Eliza, who appears from seemingly no where and deals with the creature.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blonde Eliza, brunet Oscar and redheaded Clifford. Clifford fits the character type better than the others.
  • Body Horror: When (animal) people transform into monsters.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Oh, shit. Oh, fuck. Oh, shit-fuck."
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: When Lorelei finds out that Oscar heard her singing, she sends him away without any reason. Later, it is revealed that she is a siren and she unwittingly made him unhealthily attracted to her by her song, but she doesn't want to hurt him.
  • Call-Back:
    • After his experience with Zulime, Clifford's first reaction to a talking bird is to quickly try to leave. If only he had gone with that instinct.
      Cliff: Nope. Fuck off. I learned this lesson already.
      Raven: Huh?!
    • In page 10, Barbara Yaga suggests Oscar to get a bat for protection. Then 588 strips later when attacking Raven's monster form with a metal bat the caption reads, "You should get a bat."
  • Caption Humor: Occasionally, either placed under the page or shown Often, in the Alt Text, a humorous line will appear.
    • On page 74, where a spider bites one werewolf and gives Oscar a distraction the caption reads "Good Charlotte."
    • On page 78 when Oscar picks up a rock to potentially fight with, the caption reads "Oscar equipped 'rock.'"Alt Text.
  • Circus of Fear: Oscar and Eliza catch the end of Zulime's circus while searching for Cliff. The performers wear animal skull masks and the last act has a spiderweb theme.
  • Clingy Aquatic Life: A Monster of the Week that is basically a sea snake with horns emerges from a lake with algae dangling from its horns.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Clifford will drop one of these every so often.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Oscar, who Saw "Terminator 2" Twenty-Seven Times, drops this line during a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Convenient Cranny: Oscar and Cliff hide in a conveniently placed cave where the serpent cannot follow.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: In chapter 9, Oscar saves Cliff by batting monster!Raven from behind.
  • Corner of Woe: In Chapter 9, Raven enters Cliff's room through the window, but Cliff wants to keep him away. Raven enters by knocking him over, then, apparently frightened that he hurt Cliff, runs into the corner, apologizing.
  • Creepy Crows: Raven, oh so much.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Oscar revives Cliff with mouth-to-jaw breathing.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Darcy to Cliff, even when he is in human form. It doesn't work out well because Cliff Hates Being Touched.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: So far, pretty much all we know about Oscar's past is that he's "running from his demons." And he did his running the day before the comic started because on his first day in Podunk, his sister texted that she hadn't seen him since yesterday. As far as family, we know he doesn't want a lecture from his sister and he does not like his father. It's implied to have something to do with hospitals and not getting a job.
  • Death Glare: Clifford likes to do this, especially when someone wants to be his friend. For example, to Darcy here. She gets the point.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: Eliza apparently does this.
  • Did Not Think This Through: So, Cliff, what did you think would happen when you jumped in a lake when you knew there was a monster in there?!
    Cliff: Okay. Call Eliza.
    Oscar: Um... I don't think that's going to work. My phone got wet when somebody decided we needed to Carpe Diem into the lake.
    Cliff: oh.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run:
    • Eliza to Oscar when she hears the Rougarou coming.
    • This is Clifford's response when Oscar saves him momentarily from the monstrous Raven and lacks Eliza being present. Oscar is quick to comply.
  • Drop-In Character: Clifford. Oscar even once came home to find him playing cards with Sylvia. On more than one occasion, he enters the house by climbing through a second-floor window.
  • Enfant Terrible: Danielle is a ghost child who often throws tantrums, which tend to be quite messy.
  • Enter Stage Window: Cliff has a habit of sneaking out of his place and into Oscar's place via the window.
  • Enthralling Siren: Lorelei from a local coffee shop in Chapter Seven is a siren and has bewitched Oscar...completely by accident, and is heartbroken upon realizing that his attraction towards her was likely due to her powers brainwashing Oscar and not actually a consensual attraction on his part.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Clifford upon meeting Sylvia. He doesn't even know that other werewolves existed until the night before, but at this point a ghost doesn't even faze him.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: Cliff thought Raven coming to his room in shape of a girl was a bad dream but next morning he finds a feather in his bed.
  • Fiery Redhead: Clifford is the Hot-Blooded variety.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Cliff and Oscar and Eliza. While Oscar and Eliza get along almost immediately, it takes Cliff a while and multiple supernatural threats to let his guard down. He still insist's they're "not friends," though, which Oscar loves to tease him with.
  • Flat "What": Oscar's reaction to finding Clifford in his human form for the first time.
  • Foreshadowing: Oscar's freshly purchased, yet already cold morning coffee to the the fact that he's Missing Time. Given the fact that he and Lorelei were flirting while she was making his coffee, she could very well have just gotten distracted and made it with cold water. However, when Oscar runs into Clifford and the latter insists it's already late afternoon only to get proven right by the time on his own phone, it becomes clear that the coffee was probably made correctly, but got cold during the missed time.
  • Freudian Trio: Cliff is the Id, Eliza is the Superego, and Oscar is the Ego.
  • Friendly Ghost: Sylvia, to those she likes. If she doesn't like a resident of the house, however, she chases them away.
  • Fright-Induced Bunkmate: Inverted in two ways. For one, Kevin technically asks Clifford to come sleep in his room, and for the other, this is right after Cliff has had a confrontation with Raven, so it's implied that he needs some comfort at the moment too (and/or that he wants to protect Kevin and/or that he's hoping Kevin's presence will keep Raven away).
  • From New York to Nowhere: Oscar came from Chicago but moved to literal Podunk, Oklahoma.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Chapter Six has Nora do this to Clifford and then Carl in quick succession.
  • Genius Bonus: Most supernatural creatures and monsters are based on obscure folklore and Native American mythologies, with some non-American stuff thrown in, like Barbara Yaga.
  • Ghostly Chill: Ghosts seem to have a bit of a chill about them. Oscar describes Friendly Ghost Sylvia's touch as "All [he feels] is cold." Later, slightly-less-friendly ghost Danielle lowers Oscar's body temperature to the point of brief unconsciousness.
  • The Glomp: Raven does this to Cliff as he is excited to meet another of the animal people.
  • Guardian Entity: The White-Faced Bear, who apparently protects the local forest and its creatures, including Eliza and Cliff.
  • Hand Behind Head: Oscar does this sometimes when insecure like here.
  • Hates Being Touched: Clifford, which doesn't mix too well with a mom who describes herself as "a hugger". However, she and Kevin appear to be the only people he tolerates touching him.
  • Haunted House: The house that our lead character picks out to rent from a listing on Craigslist the day before the comic starts. The ghost actually likes him, but has driven out a number of previous tenants, including one who left their TV behind because they were in such a rush to go.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Cliff assumes that his Disappeared Dad had the same powers that he did, and that his mom didn't know about them, because she probably would have brought it up otherwise.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Raven is a shapechanger, so he can be in either human or animal form. He acts creepy enough even as a human, but then he turns into this.
  • Iconic Outfit: Cliff's red hoodie. Which he stole from Oscar.
  • Idiot Ball: Cliff holds it several times.
    • In chapter 8, despite knowing something was wrong with the water in the lake, Cliff horses around and knocks Oscar and himself into the water, drawing the monster to them.
    • In Chapter 9, despite knowing how creepy Raven is becoming, when he finds Raven out of his window, he opens the window to tell him to leave, allowing the shape shifting Raven to pour into the room.
  • Informed Judaism: Word of God states that Oscar is Jewish on his mother's side. It has yet to be mentioned in the comic.
  • I Know Your True Name: This is Zulime's gimmick—if she learns your true name, she can put you into a trance and make you do whatever she wants. She successfully does this to Cliff throughout most of Chapter Six; when she tries to do it to Eliza, she discovers that Eliza is FAR more powerful than she had guessed.
  • Illness Blanket: Oscar sports one while under Lorelei's spell in Chapter Seven.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Oscar points out to Cliff that he's "kind of mean sometimes," Cliff's response is, "Hey! Fuck you! I'm not mean. Asshole."
  • Leave Me Alone!: At one point Cliff is fed up with Raven and tells him to leave him alone.
  • Light Is Not Good: Zulime likes to wear white clothing and uses glowing butterflies to lure people to her.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Eliza is pretty feminine, and is dating Darcy.
  • Literal Metaphor: Barbara tells Oscar not to be late with the rent, as "I'm a real witch." He naturally assumes she means witch in the spelled with a B sense, but she's being entirely literal.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Those spiders which save Oscar are the heralds of the great white-faced bear. They also serve as his eyes in places he cannot go.
  • Magic Pants: Werewolves' clothes transform with them. Clifford's first transformation seems like the illogical version—he turns back into a human with pants and shoes, but no shirt—but it turns out that he took off his shirt before he transformed to try to throw the other werewolves off his scent.
  • Meaningful Name: All over the place.
    • Oscar Wilde, who is a writer like his namesake.
    • His landlady, who admits she can be "a real witch" sometimes, is Barbara Yaga.
    • A witch named Elizabeth Proctor.
    • Then we have Cliff, short for Clifford, who turns into a big red wolf.
    • Barbara has two dogs (who can turn into human boys) who seem to be twins, and one is named Remus.
    • And of course the apparently quiet, dull looking Oklahoma town Oscar moves to is named Podunk.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Justified, as they turn out to be supernatural. Oscar is told there are no wolves in Oklahoma after he finds one on his porch - fair enough, said wolf turns out to be a werewolf named Cliff. The night after, Oscar is chased down in the woods by more werewolves, only to be saved by a talking bear...and Cliff tells Oscar that there are no bears in Oklahoma.
  • Missing Time: Done quite subtly. Oscar buys his coffee during the morning, and is next seen walking in town. He drinks his coffee as if he just got it, notices it's cold, and throws it away just as Clifford shows up. Oscar asks Clifford why he's not in school mid-morning on a Monday, only to be told it's already 4 PM and have it confirmed by his phone.
  • Monster of the Week: Each chapter has its own subplot with its own supernatural creature. Most of the characters introduced are gone, but some remain, notably Sylvia, Cliff and Eliza from chapters 1, 2 and 4, respectively.
  • Monochrome Apparition: Sylvia is painted in greyish colors.
  • Morphic Resonance:
    • Werewolves' coats seem to be the same color as their hair; for example, ginger Cliff turns into a big red dog.
    • Raven retains his Occult Blue Eyes in every shape he transforms into. His black hair is also probably supposed to match his feathers.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Oscar, the main character is a journalist.
  • Ms. Exposition: Eliza frequently explains the supernatural phenomena. Justified in that Oscar is the Team Normal, and Cliff, though having been able to use his powers all his life, has never talked to anyone about it prior to the comic's events.
  • Mundane Utility: Flower-girl Eliza is a witch and opens her beers with a simple spell, making the caps just pop off. The caption lampshades this:
    "Witches have great party tricks."
  • Mysterious Protector: The White-Faced Bear is protecting Clifford for some reason. Sometimes he extends it to Oscar, but being makes it clear that he shouldn't count on that.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Oscar Wilde. Lampshaded often.
  • Nice Guy: Oscar, hands down.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Oscar has one starting here.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Raven, full stop. Seems just cute when he appears as a little kid who likes to hug Cliff, but then he changes his shape to that of a teenager, and his touchy-feely approach gets an enormously creepy overtone... and we don't even know hold old he actually is.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Oscar came to Podunk for some peace and quiet; boy, did he pick the wrong town or what?
  • Not His Blood: Oscar get splattered on with blood from a werewolf and is subsequently forced to explain himself to other characters who get worried seeing him like this.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Considering the fact that their relationship is going in Parental Substitute / Big Brother Instinct direction, Oscar and Clifford share a dynamic quite reminiscent of romantic couples. Clifford keeps claiming he and Oscar are not friends despite usually being the one showing up at his place. Thanks to Clifford never giving back the hoodie that was given to him during the You Must Be Cold episode below, they even have a platonic version of Her Boyfriend's Jacket on their record.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Raven has glowing blue eyes whatever shape he appears in.
  • Off with His Head!: The final fate of the creature that once was Raven, courtesy of Eliza.
  • Oh, Crap!: There's been a string of, "Oh crap, oh Crap, oh CRAP!" moments for poor Oscar in the werewolves story arc.
    • As he's fleeing from the same werewolves, he experiences an even bigger moment of "Oh, Crap" wherein he's running across a dry lake-bed trying to get away from it all- and hears a loud cracking noise coming from the surface, expressing a mix of "You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!" and "This Is Gonna Suck" just before he falls into a sinkhole beneath the surface.
    • Clifford has one when a woman comes up right behind him, calls him a wolf and vanishes like the wind. He is next seen hiding under a tree, smoking.
    • Eliza, the flower lady, when she sees Clifford protected by the White-Faced Bear's spiders.
    • Zulime, when she realizes how much Eliza has outclassed her.
    • Clifford does one in wolf form when he faces Raven in a warehouse.
    • Clifford here, when his mother finds out he was drinking and smoking.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Some wander, some haunt a place and some haunt a person. Sylvia admits that she feels "more solid" some days than others, but even at her best times feels drained after moving a few objects, and can never touch living things. It's also become apparent that they can use some crazy powers when upset.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: "Animal people" can shift instantly from one form to another and the trait seems to be passed from parent to child. Several different kinds exist, including wolves (like Clifford) and ravens (like Raven). Also, they can catch the Madness, which irreversibly turns them into monsters.
  • Perma-Stubble: Oscar wears a five-day stubble throughout, unless it's plot-relevant.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Eliza faints after exhausting her powers at the end of the Chapter Nine.
  • Quirky Town/Town with a Dark Secret: Podunk has werewolves, witches, ghosts and who knows what else? As to the quirky part, apparently even people from Chicago are called Yankees or Yanks, even though Chicago is Mid-West.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Cliff. He's apparently the comments favorite because of this.
  • A Rare Sentence: Cliff points out that Oscar's line "I have werewolf loogie on my face" is something no-one has ever said before.
  • Red Headed Step Child: Cliff is literally this, but the trope itself appears to be averted. His mother at least is very loving. He doesn't get along well with his step-father though. It's also worth noting that Cliff's brother (with whom he is also very close) is adopted and black.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hot-headed, foul-mouthed Cliff is red while mellow, easy-going Oscar is blue. Emphasized by Cliff usually wearing his red hoodie while Oscar is usually seen wearing colder colors.
  • Rescue Introduction: Cliff is introduces after Oscar finds a "dog" passed out on his porch and brings it inside.
  • Running Away to Cry: Cliff does it here, lampshaded by Eliza.
  • Running Gag:
    • The fact that Cliff stole/borrowed-and-never-returned Oscar's red hoodie. Alternatively, the fact that Oscar seems to be unable to keep a jacket for more than five minutes before lending it to someone else.
    • Cliff insisting that he and Oscar (and Eliza) are not friends. He drops this eventually, but the fandom won't.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Zig-zagged — Clifford's clothes disappear in wolf form, but he keeps his tongue stud.
  • Ship Tease: Oscar and Sylvia have more than their fair share of caring tendencies and meaningful looks towards each other.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleep Cute: Cliff and his brother here. Their mom even takes a picture!
  • Spider Swarm: The White-Faced Bear's wolf spiders will do it to people harming those he protects. Or sometimes he does it to the protectee to indicate that they shouldn't be dealt with. Either way, tends to incite arachnophobia.
  • Symbolic Wings: Oscar has them on the cover of chapter 3, standing in front of a painting with angels. A similar juxtaposition occurs a few pages later.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Oscar doesn't touch his sandwich and leaves the diner after having just another disturbing vision.
  • Time-Passage Beard: When Oscar wakes up at Lorelei's place with a full beard and no memory of the past days.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Animal people change instantly and without any sound effect.
  • Tsundere: Clifford. Made fun of in the comments often.
  • Typhoid Mary: "The Madness" is a disease that can affect animal people, but for which ordinary humans can be asymptomatic carriers.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Oscar isn't completely unfazed by the weirdness around him, but he gets over each revelation in a couple of pages. As far as we can tell, he's completely normal himself.
    Werewolf: Who's this? He ain't a wolf.
    Cliff: Don't worry about him. He's just some guy.
    Oscar: I am literally just some guy.
  • Unsound Effect: Lock.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Animal people can transform between their human and animal forms at will. Raven is a special case, as he can transform into any kind of human. He first shows himself as a little boy to Cliff, then turns into an older man so he can buy cigarettes and booze for Cliff. Later, he appears to be around the same age as Cliff. When Cliff tries to send him away, he turns into a girl, hoping that Cliff will accept him that way.
  • Was Once a Man: The rougarou. Worse, they'll transform any normal human who sees them. Eliza seems to indicate that the giant snake in the river used to be a human, too. Most monsters, however, are the result of animal-people falling under "the Madness" when they consume human blood.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Whether it's the location or Oscar himself, something is up when a man meets a ghost inhabiting the house he's renting, helps rescue a teenager who can turn into a wolf, comes across a helpful swarm of spiders and a talking bear all in three days. In Oklahoma. He's taking it rather well.
  • Werewolf Theme Naming: Clifford (as in the big red dog) and, more obviously, Remus.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: You might think that a huge bear and a swarm of tiny spiders were not very intelligent. You would be very wrong.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Sylvia isn't alive, of course, but the principle is the same. She watches people move into and out of her house, usually without getting to know them by talking directly. She gets upset at the thought of Oscar going out to do something dangerous and she might not see him again.
  • Witch with a Capital B: Barbara Yaga warns Oscar not to annoy her, because "I'm a real witch." Hmm...
  • Woman in White:
    • Zulime, the other witch. It's so bright to show how magical she is.
    • Eliza dons an off-white dress when she faces the creature that once was Raven.
  • You Are Grounded: Cliff gets grounded by his parents after skipping school and not returning his mother's calls. Unlike most examples, Cliff willingly accepts his punishment without much protest, as the events in Chapter 9 had left him too emotionally drained to protest.
  • You Are Not Alone: After the events of Eliza killing the creature that was Raven, who had succumb to something called the Madness, Clifford is emotionally wrecked and runs off. While Oscar feels this is because Cliff doesn't want them to see him crying, Eliza follows noting to Oscar that Clifford doesn't have to bear this alone.
  • You Must Be Cold:
    • Oscar gives Cliff his jacket after Cliff wakes up, shirtless, in his bathtub. (As Oscar notes, it doesn't exactly look good for him to have a half-naked teenage boy unconscious in his house.)
      Oscar: People go to jail for stuff like this!
    • He later loans the blue jacket to Eliza and then Clifford during the arc where Clifford is missing
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