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Webcomic / A Tale of Fiction

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"After all, you didn’t even bother to name your particular species; we defined the whole bunch of you as being NOT-human, so you must be a what, monster? That makes sense. After all, you are digging the mines, I am writing – as in, putting words together, making stuff up, naming things."
I am not fiction, Baruch Caan's blog

An English-language webcomic written and drawn by Felix Schittig and Kilian Wilde and updated on Mondays and Thursdays. ''A Tale of Fiction'' is the continuing story of the adventures of Harper, his roommate Vauxhall (or 'Room'), and a shapeshifting monster unhuman they've named 'Sneaky' and their fight against the Department of Unethical Fiction (or DUF)'s government of Fictionaria.

The comic initially oscillates between gag strips, often based off real-life experiences of the comic's authors or their friends, and an over-arching storyline dealing with the aforementioned DUF. Later, the plot takes over, but a light-hearted touch prevails throughout. Major questions abound about the circumstances leading to the DUF's rule, how they gained power and what happened to the former ruler, the mysterious King.


A Tale Of Fiction has a large amount of background material on the world and other goodies available on the site via Vauxhall's "Dragbook", including an in-universe news feed, an ambiguously DUF-critical web-column (apparently on indefinite hiatus) and an in-universe webcomic called "Bison and the Boar Boys" (originally updated every Tue/Thu/Sat, now on indefinite hiatus).

A Tale of Fiction provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Information on certain things mentioned in the comic (e.g., turn-masks) but not further explained can be found in the Dragbook.
  • Art Evolution: The art style becomes more detailed and sharp as the series progresses,.
  • Ascended Extra: Baruch Caan wasn't a character at first, just a name under blog posts. Then he appeared in the strip, but mostly as a gag character. Now, he seems to be becoming a mover and shaker...
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  • Back from the Dead: Even a pretty large hole in the head and loss of all life signs apparently isn't enough to keep Sneaky down. Koudlam is also reconstituted in some as-yet unknown fashion after his demise.
  • Badass Normal: The DUF soldiers and especially the special agents qualify for this, fighting (and beating) unhumans with improved physical abilities and magique users on a regular basis.
  • Beat Panel: A lot, especially in chapter 1. Awkward, Harper...
  • Big Eater: Sneaky in the first chapter. He likes pizza.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In a way. A lot of the jokes are funnier if you speak fluent German, as the authors'... uneven grasp of English occasionally backfires on them, with interesting results.
  • Call-Back: "Unhuman Rogue Wrestlers".
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Subverted. The comic actually starts out without many jokes, but after a few strips, the True Companions fall into a routine of gag comics. It then feels like a shock when Sneaky tears some poor guy apart with a monster claw when they get caught illegally climbing a tower.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The tentacled monster the trash evolved into after Harper neglected his duties turns out to be the reason the DUF searches the apartment building. But then, it did resemble his mom...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Harper's affair with Sync's girlfriend. Sync and her later broke up after he found out. It understandably affects his job performance.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Mike is not happy with Sync. And he wants information. So he tries to get it using quite extreme means.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the main characters get a turn.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Pity the poor fool who shouts at a confused Sneaky...
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Just about everyone in this strip. By each other.
  • Distressed Dude: Harper and Vauxhall get a turn as this, as does Baruch Caan.
  • Drugs Are Good: The heroes often partake of various drugs, while the antagonists generally don't (barring some alcohol by the more sympathetic DUF-allied characters). Drugs are also an important source of information via vivid dreams.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: When Gidders' airship is shot down by the DUF.
    Sneaky: Fuzz flew away? Like... by himself? Without an avivessel?
    Gidders: He does that from time to time.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: In the very first strip, with the council pushing the button.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Most characters killed in this comic are killed fairly graphically.
  • Fantastic Drug: The Seasoning, used in religious festivals by the priests of Freemon. Causes visions and incites orgies.
  • Fantastic Racism: A major plot focus. Unhumans are forced to live in slums in DUF-controlled territory and are generally discriminated against.
    • Averted in Catherinesborough, where unhumans and humans seem to live in harmony since the DUF was ousted in the Bloody New Year's Eve.
  • For the Evulz: Agent Nitz, as described in the Dragbook.
  • Friends with Benefits: Just about all of Harper's relationships to date seem to be this.
  • God Was My Copilot: Several characters are more than they seem. Among others, the King, the Lawmaker, Fuzz, Gidders, and Baruch Caan are all revealed to be unknowing incarnations of the Gods. And it's made clear suggests that more will be revealed as time goes on.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffered by Gidders when he learns of the fate of his avivessel.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Apart from the drug-induced expository visions, the High Priest is portrayed as having a quasi-mystical understanding of his surroundings specifically due to his consumption of any even vaguely druglike substance he can lay hands on.
  • Holiday Non Update: A regular occurence.
  • Identity Amnesia: Sneaky. Presumably a plot point.
  • Interface Screw: This. Also used in many dream and drug sequences.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Sneaky doesn't realise that his shapeshifting is an unusual ability at first.
  • Informed Attribute: Special Agent Colibeuf is stated to have a strong moral concept [sic], but we don't see much evidence of that until much later in the plot.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Maurice walks in on Harper and Miranda at an... inopportune time.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Special Agent Nitz, who turns up and quickly increases the violence in the strip by a factor of 10.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Self-conscious humor is a constant source of punchlines, most obviously featured in Sneaky's confusion about Fuzz's Entry in chapter 5.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Super Special Agent Johnson is very serious about controlling who knows about specific details of the Lawmaker's past. Enough so that he's willing to kill Trish, a loyal magique-user with rare and useful talents, to keep those secrets.
  • Mind-Control Device: Turn-masks.
  • Mind Rape: The turn-masks force you to betray your friends and like your enemies, and (depending on how they're set up) you're able to see it all happening and remember it afterwards.
    • Mike also uses this to make his torture more effective. He uses Magitek to have an actual torture session with the victim in their mind, leaving their body intact and allowing him to reset any damage as often as he wants.
  • Mr. Exposition: Vauxhall, whenever DUF lore or history comes up.
  • Morphic Resonance: Sneaky's eyes retain their black, abysmal look after all kinds of shapeshifting.
  • Myth Arc: Finding out the fate of the mysterious King, understanding the past, learning the identity of the gods, and defeating the DUF.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: Fairly often for the first few strips, establishing Sneaky. Also used for action sequences.
  • Oh, Crap!: A few times, very nicely here.
  • Porn Stash: Of epic proportions on the Dragbook. Unfortunately, it's password-protected.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Chapter 4 is all about DUF agents in their free time, having drinks and enjoying each others' company.
  • Reverse Mole: High Secretary Benn turns out to have been a RISE ally all along.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
  • Show Within a Show: Bison and the Boar Boys, a gag-a-day comic available on the Dragbook's "FictionFox Browser". "I am not fiction" may also qualify.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Mostly averted in the series, but one occurence in Chapter 1.
  • Spock Speak: Sneaky falls into this quite often.
  • Stripperiffic: The "CWBL host".
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: In the very first strip, no less.
  • The Infiltration: Claire joins up with the DUF under the name Clear. She gets close to her turned father, but has to give up her position before she can act to resolve the situation.
  • Torture Chamber Episode: Mike has one of these. Use of Mind Rape also makes it seem endless.
  • True Companions: The three main characters, occasional differences between roommates notwithstanding.
  • Wham Episode: Tend to crop up at the end of chapters. Also, this.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Invoked in-universe by Special Agents in particular.


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