A Matter Of Life And Death is an ongoing webcomic published on Tapastic by a Vietnamese artist/game design student going by the handle "The Snipster." It typically updates every Friday and weekends.
Death is a god with an unsurprisingly depressing job - determining which human souls get to be reborn and live their lives anew, and which ones must be sent down to the land of Nim to become horrifyingly malformed beasts known as blights. However, Death also has more personal issues at hand, the most prominent being his long-standing feelings for his counterpart Life, who avoids him at every turn. Through a combination of awkward run-ins and changing circumstances, the two titular gods attempt to gain a better understanding of one another, and possibly even begin a budding romance in the process.
But not even a newly rekindled relationship can fix everything that's wrong with the world the gods reside in, or the people in it. In the end, Life and Death must confront their respective issues head-on in order to truly be happy with one another; not to say they don't have each other's support along the way.
Not to be confused with the Michael Powell film of the same name.
This webcomic contains examples of:
- Adorkable: Our first glimpse of Life has him excitedly welcoming a bunch of newly hatched chicks to the world with a huge grin on his face. Granted, the moment is kinda ruined when he spots Death, but given how he acts later, it definitely still applies.
- Death, too, later on. One of the earliest examples is Word Of God stating that he enjoys baking.
- Alternate Universe:
- A special 4-part episode created as a celebration for the comic's one-year anniversary focuses on one in which Life and Death are humans, with Death (now known as Des) being the owner of a cafe, who strikes up a fake relationship with a charismatic tour guide named Leo (Life).
- There was another special 3-part episode, this time featuring Life as a merman and Death as a human Life saved from drowning.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Pretty much anything goes in terms of color scheme for the gods, it seems. For example, Life's skin is teal with his eyes and signature stars being more of a chartreuse color, Wisdom is gold and yellow all over, Love has white hair in contrast to her skin, which can either be red or brown depending on how you see it, and so on.
- Gods like Death and Madness somewhat subvert this, though. Death has virtually no color to him, save for his eyes and the streak in his hair, which are orange. And according to Word Of God, the color scheme we see Madness with in the comic itself is actually how he looks; in other words, he's in grayscale.
- Amnesiac Hero: Life doesn't remember much about his past, and likely doesn't remember having a romantic relationship with Death by extension
- Word Of God states that while he doesn't remember everything, he hasn't forgotten everything either.
- Amnesiac Lover: Life, to Death.
- And I Must Scream: It's implied in a bonus entry that becoming a blight is not a painless process, and the end result is something that barely resembles a human if you're lucky. Oh, and they're doomed to wander around as mindless beasts fueled by sheer instinct and hatred until they're killed. Sweet dreams!
- Animate Dead: Death forced Life to do this after Life didnt take the reveal of what Deaths job really was well. It traumatised Life so badly it caused him to become the Amnesiac Hero he currently is.
- Art Shift: The art style is far more simplistic in the beginning of the comic, before switching to a more detailed style near the beginning of "Velveteen." Word Of God justifies this as experimenting with different styles.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Flashbacks show that this was the beginning of Life and Death's friendship.
- Also applies to Wisdom and Madness.
- Beta Couple: Wisdom and Madness are at least implied to be this.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Life is usually a pretty nice guy, but he has his moments. Although the former example may be a subversion, as Life later states it was something akin to a Mercy Kill.
- Death is shown to be a completely capable fighter. Also doubles as a case of Beware the Quiet Ones.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Not Life himself, necessarily - but his human counterpart, Leo, on the other hand, occasionally dips into this territory.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Life. Just compare his introductory page to this.
- Deadpan Snarker: Nearly everyone seems to have some snarkiness in them, but it's especially apparent with Madness and Medic.
- The Dreaded: Lord High Destroyer Nim is apparently this. He hasn't been shown in person quite yet, but according to the gods themselves, he's quite intimidating. Death was also this, once upon a time, apparently on account of his aura; the other gods recognized it as something alien, and not to be trusted.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Life and Death (Leo and Des) in the Special Episode.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Both of our leads can qualify for this, but Life especially. Looks like being alone for about 495 million years will do that to a person.
- If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Him...: Deconstructed in "Blackbirds Fly," where Medic's casual threats only succeed in frustrating Death, who calls her out on it. Although she doesn't seem very interested in what he has to say.
- It goes even further when Death later lashes out at Life.
- Immortal Immaturity: In-Universe example with Life. Word Of God states that he's very much aware of his age, but finds no use in acting like it.
- Mama Bear: Medic, to Life. Somewhat inverted, as she's actually younger than him.
- Odd Friendship: Death is a strikingly pale and gloomy Socially Awkward Hero with a staggering height of 7'5" and a generally mysterious atmosphere. Love is a cheerful, bubbly Dark-Skinned Blond with a terrible sense of direction and is outright stated to be the shortest God in the land of Ithis at 5'1". They also happen to be best friends despite flashbacks showing that Love was actually afraid of Death, once upon a time.
- Opposites Attract: Life and Death, quite obviously. Although "Blackbirds Fly" seems to subvert this trope by revealing that Life and Death's friendship was initially based on both of them realizing that the other had some serious self-esteem issues.
- Wisdom and Madness.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Death - his humancounterpart Des, even moreso, considering that he's known for attracting several suitors in the area, both residents and tourists alike.
- Shipper on Deck: Love is this as a result of helping everybody who is in, well, love. One bonus strip has her successfully convincing a guy to confess his feelings for a long-time male friend.
- Wisdom is also this to Life and Death, albeit a much more exasperated variation.
- The Straight Man: More often than not, Wisdom takes it upon himself to play this role.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Death, though it's closer to cute than handsome.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Amusingly enough, Death also seems to fall into this territory a few times, particularly when he's annoyed.
- Uke/Seme: Death and Life, respectively, though the creator takes several liberties with the classic examples of this tropes. Death, while having the sad doe eyes and a more pliant personality typical of the former's is a very capable fighter, independent and more willing to take the initiative in a situation, while Life is a bit sweeter than the typical seme. Another special episode shows that they are actually versatile in sex, so there's an arguable subversion of these tropes.
- Unrequited Love: Death still harbors feelings for Life, who initially wants nothing to do with him. But this wasn't always the case.
- Was Once a Man: What happens when a human is revealed to have no remorse for their major wrongdoings upon their death? They're sent to Nim, where they eventually become blights.
- We Used to Be Friends: Death and Life. Although it's heavily implied that their relationship went beyond friendship.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Gods can apparently get sick like normal people, as long as whatever's affecting them is from the realm of Ithis.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The episode "Blackbirds Fly" is this.