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Webcomic / Academia

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Stephen: I used to be a serious scientist.
Pasha: And then you moved in with me.

Academia , "the webcomic for the intellectual in all of us", is a slice-of-life webcomic about a pair of undergraduate students with different majors and different outlooks, who live together in Toronto. Stephen Janzen Gould is a high-strung, prickly ambitious student of neurobiology and immunology, who is making a genuine effort to be a more pleasant person to be around without compromising his academic future, and dealing with a minor inferiority complex. Pavel "Pasha" Moskowitz is a gigantic and affable Russian Jew with a double major in music and philosophy, easygoing but for his nightmares of Inferno and the occasional philosophical quandary.

Supporting characters include Gloriana Muruthi, Stephen's lab partner, Jack Fortinbras, her roommate (who is awesome), Ida Portinari, a snarky figure skater, and Zelig, Pasha's pet coconut octopus.

This being a series about the different mindsets of different types of university student, Genius Bonus abounds, naturally.

You can read it here. The comic debuted in September 2012 and the last comic was posted in May 2013 before the comic stopped updating without any explanation.

This comic provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Jack Fortinbras is better than you.
  • Animal Testing: Stephen wants to run some tests on Zelig the octopus.
  • Art Shift: Pasha's dream sequences are done in the style of Gustave Doré 's illustrations for The Divine Comedy.
  • Author Appeal: In-universe. Pasha comments that, since Dante's guide through the Inferno was Virgil, his should probably be J.K. Rowling.
  • Big Eater: Pasha. "I love cream eggs." Although it's implied he keeps kosher about food.
  • The Big Guy: Pasha
  • Berserk Button: Stephen's is apparently the colloquial misinterpretation of the word "theory"
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ana's character page tells us that she's an example of this. Presumably it will come into play later on.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Kids today with their rap music and their iPods and their cephalopods and their... cephaloiPods..."
  • Canada, Eh?: The comic is set in Toronto and most of the characters are Canadian, and yet so far, there have been no particularly Canada-based jokes.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: "Fucking philosophy students."
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe. Pasha's breakup with his reading glasses.
  • Circles of Hell See Dream Sequence
  • Cthulhumanoid: Invoked by Pasha.
    Stephen: "You have an octopus on your face, don't you?"
    Pasha:"Stephen, help. He has suction cups."
  • Dream Sequence: Pasha's Dante dreams
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ida, Ana, and Pasha's grandfather. Additionally, there's a poster above the sofa at Stephen and Pasha's place, depicting a "Snarkosuchus".
    "Someday your descendants will be picking my descendants' teeth."
  • Discredited Meme: In-universe during one of the Hell sequences.
    Zeyda: I'm not having you pass out at Paolo and Francesca. Falling unconscious within a dream?
    Pasha: Infernoception.
    Zeyda: Even I find that reference dated, and I died at 97.
  • Eye Scream: "Should you really be putting your gloves in your eyes?"
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Averted, overall. Since it's closely based on Dante, the first look we get at Hell is "a dark wood" full of mist, and then we get a lot of rain on the river Styx.
  • Foreshadowing: In the very first comic, we see Pasha quoting Inferno in his sleep.
  • Footnote Fever: All the quotations from Dante receive proper academic citations.
  • Funny Background Event: The series is full of this in the form of posters on people's walls.
    • Gloriana has one of Charles Darwin, labelled "Chuck D".
    • The above "Snarkosuchus" poster, as well as "Well-Meaning but Racist Apatosaurus" at Pasha and Stephen's place.
    I like all dinosaurs, Triassic, Cretaceous, and regular.
  • Funny Octopus: Zelig, the vaguely cuddly coconut octopus who functions as a sort of Team Pet.
  • Gag Penis: Subverted, when it turns out Jack isn't talking about his penis after all.
  • Gentle Giant: Pasha
  • Genius Bruiser: Jack's sports scholarship is almost as big as his academic scholarship.
  • God Was My Copilot: Yo-Yo Ma is an angel.
  • Gravity Is Only a Theory: Stephen mentions this specific example as part of a rant about common misconceptions of scientific terminology.
  • Hell Gate: "I am the way into the doleful city..."
  • Hive Mind: Zelig. As Stephen explains, "Besides the central brain, each arm has a nerve cluster that can independently carry out simple commands."
  • Husky Russkie: Pasha
  • Ignored Epiphany: "For some reason, I feel compelled to go to the gym. I'm not going to, of course."
  • Insufferable Genius: Stephen is trying not to be this. Massively averted with Jack.
  • Jerkass: Pasha's grandfather
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stephen
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Yo-Yo Ma
  • Lovable Jock: Jack. Ida is working on being more lovable.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Ana
  • Nice Jewish Boy: Pasha
  • Nice Guy: Jack
  • Non-Indicative Name: "I Thought Comedies Were Supposed To Be Funny"
  • Odd Couple
  • The Professor: Dr. Sun, of Neurobiology, and Dr. Cadbury, of History of Modern Composition
  • Posthumous Character: Pasha's grandfather, who appears only in Pasha's dreams
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Pasha is the blue one, and Stephen the red. There's a bit of variation in that the more even-tempered one is the humanities student and the scientist is the irritable, energetic one.
  • The Scottish Trope: Pasha's references to "G-D"
  • The Scream: Stephen's reaction to an 82% yield.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Pasha's surname, girth, and violin-playing are likely references to Papa from An American Tail
    • A panel depicting Stephen outside the chemistry building parodies the poster for The Raid: Redemption.
    • The octopus, a creature renowned for its flexibility and camouflage abilities, is named "Zelig".
    • One of the leads is a scientist named Stephen J. Gould.
    • Pasha's character page features a variation on the Hyperbole and a Half "Clean all the things" meme, and Jack's has a doodle of Trogdor.
  • The Smart Guy: Everybody. Literally everybody.
  • Stealth Insult: Pasha's grandfather tells him he'll be "seeing plenty of this circle." Pasha doesn't immediately recognize what that means; they're in the circle of the gluttonous.
  • Team Pet: Zelig
  • Totally Radical: "Gould out. Peace!"
  • Tsundere: Both Ida and Ana, to an extent.
  • Time Lord: Jack's character page suggests he might be one.
  • Visual Pun: Some of Stephen's t-shirts
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Dr. Sun mentions that the Ethics board won't object to Stephen running tests on Zelig.
    They don't bother with anything that isn't a mammal.