Absent-Minded Theater is a Standard Fantasy Setting Low Fantasy dark comedy about a girl with one arm and no legs and a few other people who are being slowly and tragically (and hilariously) destroyed by all the worst aspects of a standard Renaissance-Europe fantasy setting. You know, like the awful medical care, and the evil forest, and the magic (which-you-can-only-get-by-selling-your-first-born-to-a-witch), and the crops to grow, because you've got crippled kids to feed. Even in fantasy-land.
Absent-Minded Theater provides examples of:
- Black Comedy Rape: Subverted. Koeb said she deliberately tried to write Wilbur's rape in a way that fit the darkly humorous mood of the comic, but made it clear how devastating it was to the characters involved. The comic showing how utterly broken Wilbur is as a result is a scene she admits she couldn't make funny.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Sigmund went to hell not because he "killed" Daisy, but because he killed his own mother and then let her rot without eating her. For dragons, wasting food is the greatest sin.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Consciously averted. Koeb wrote Wilbur and Daisy's reaction to the rape as a counterpoint to the belief that female-on-male rape isn't "real rape".
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Stanford, after an angel tells him that all suffering in the world exists for the amusement of higher beings.
- Handicapped Badass: Daisy. Duh. She has a VERY mean punch. Ted is pretty cool too, but he hasn't matured enough, so says the author.
- King of All Cosmos: Stanford worships one of these that makes explosions.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Quincy, of all people, is showing shades of this. He started out as a snarky voice of reason amongst his brothers, but once Stan told him how he thought his uncle and Daisy were dead due to being gullible and a lack of communication skills, he became a major playing character.
- Nested Story Reveal: the finale reveals that the main story was actually a work of fiction from 20 Minutes into the Future written by Ted. Daisy the character was based on his similarly disabled niece, whose recent acquisition of bionic limbs mirror's fictional Daisy's acquisition of magic limbs.
- Orphaned Series: the author realized she had written herself into a corner and quit. Later she added the Nested Story Reveal to give the story some closure,
- Our Fairies Are Different: In this case, 'fairies' are nosy bug-type things that get in your face, and 'Fey' are more like The Fair Folk.
- Refusal of the Call: Ray, a perfectly capable soldier, will not bother helping his own uncle from being kidnapped by a witch because, well.... he didn't feel like it.
- The Reliable One: Quincy, in spades. Selfishness or self-righteousness make Daisy's other cousins useless.
- The Reveal: Daisy and Quincy are actually siblings
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Garvan shows all the signs of being one to the witch.
- The Unchosen One: The son of Farmer Brown will be a hero. Problem is, he doesn't have a son, but a crippled girl. The other problem is, she might just make herself into a hero through sheer force of will. We're not sure what's going on quite yet.
- Younger Than They Look: Quincy. Although he looks about 40, he's actually 27.