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Webcomic / Alice (1999)

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They just saw the Hotter and Sexier version of themselves...

Alice is a webcomic by Michael McKay-Fleming that started being published online in 1999. It tells the story of Alice Dobson who lives with her father in a quiet Canadian town. Alice is a Miss Imagination Cloudcuckoolander whose fantasies tend to spill into the real world — much to the annoyance of her more down-to-earth best friend Dot, who nevertheless often finds herself joining in on the various (mis)adventures. Another friend, the boy-crazy and ditzy Joanne, also joins them on occasion, making them form a classic Comic Trio.

Other important characters in the comic are Alice's always-off-screen mother (who lives in Europe and seldom sees Alice but whose absence is heavily felt) and her father's new girlfriend, Joan, with whom Alice has a complicated relationship — she really wants to hate Joan and treat her as the classic Wicked Stepmother, but has problems doing so because Joan is so fundamentally likable.

The comic has a lot in common with Calvin and Hobbes (which it occasionally references and gives more or less obvious Shout Outs to) in its mixing of the mundane with the wildly fantastic and overly-imaginative protagonist, but it's more obviously a fantasy comic; Alice's fantasies aren't only for her but tend to drag other people (most often Dot) along, and as such it's not always easy to know what's real and what's imagined. Alice is also more inclined towards longer (and often recurring) storylines rather than stand-alone gags.

Apparently stopped updating in 2014, and is currently only viewable via the Internet Archive.

Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A-Cup Angst: Played with a little when the girls get their first training bras and neither of them are developed enough to show — so Joanne stuffs her bra with tissues to make it appear that she's got huge breasts. Nobody's fooled for even a second. note 
  • Alien Abduction: Happens to Alice. She gets very excited about it, though she has a moment's worry about getting anal probed — but the aliens tell her they don't do that anymore.
  • Alliterative Title: One strip of "Video Games Can Be Dangerous To Your Health" mentions a game called "Pony Pals Prancing Party".
  • Amicable Exes: Alice's parents are on good terms with each other despite having been divorced for a good ten years or so.
  • And You Were There: The "Dragonslayer" storyarcs take place in a fantasy world where everyone is an alternate version of Alice's friends and family, with Sdrawkcab Names.
  • Art Shift: The "Little Alice" storyline is drawn by Tariq De Vore, in a very different style than Michael Fleming's artwork.
    • Also played with on this page, where Alice, Dot and Joanne are drawn like sexy action-comic women, much to the distaste of Alice and Dot (though Joanne seems to like it).
  • Ascended Extra: In the beginning, it was just Alice and Dot hanging around. Then Joanne was introduced, first as an incidental character, but she got increasingly large roles until she was easily the third main character of the comic.
  • Astral Projection: Alice has an involuntary out-of-body experience when her father tells her that Joan will be moving in with them.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Joanne, Dot and Alice, in that order.
  • Brainy Brunette: Dot, who unlike Alice is a good and attentive student who enjoys schoolwork (though she has problems with the creative subjects Alice excels at).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The first comic does the classic "welcome to the comic" No Fourth Wall opening. After that, especially in the strip's early days, there would be the occasional fourth-wall-breaking strips, though they tended to get more subtle and creative as time went on.
  • Burping Contest: Alice has one with the three little boys she and Dot are babysitting. Then Dot comes in and beats them all hands down.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Alice. She is basically an older, female Calvin in personality.
    • However it becomes somewhat deconstructed when one realises that (some of) Alice's tendencies were a coping mechanism for her birth mother walking out, and her first stepmother dying.
  • Comic Trio: Alice, Dot and Joanne often form one when they're together. Usually, Alice takes the role of the schemer, with Joanne as the follower and Dot as the powerless sane one, but they'll occasionally swap roles depending on the situation.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several character have traces of this, but none more than Dot.
  • Dream Within a Dream: The first Dragonslayer arc turns out to be a dream within a Dream Within a Dream.
  • Dumb Blonde: Joanne is the ditziest and blondest of the girls. Several comments are made about her looks as well, so she might count as a Brainless Beauty.
  • Failing a Taxi: In Chicago, Joan tries to get a taxi but it doesn't work.
  • Fantastic Comedy: At least at first, the argument could be made that the fantastic things are all in Alice's head — but as the strip goes on, too many of the fantastic story plots get integrated in the real world for this explanation to make complete sense.
  • Firemen Are Hot: Joanne has a fireman fetish.
  • First Kiss: Alice is simultaneously relieved and disappointed by hers.
  • Freudian Excuse: The main reason Alice reacts the way with Joan is because she blurts out in the "Camping with Joan" storyline that she doesn't need another mother to abandon her. Since it actually happened to Alice twice.
  • Gay Paree: One arc takes place in Paris.
  • Genki Girl: Alice is the most clear-cut example, but Joanne has her moments as well.
  • Generation Xerox: Alice is implied to be just like her mother.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Happens to Alice, Dot and Joanne when they go skinny dipping. They put all their clothes in a plastic bag tor safekeeping, only to have a dog carry the bag off in its mouth. They share a large cardboard box in order to get to their respective homes. Dot and Joanne both make it indoors undetected, but Alice doesn't.
  • Good Stepmother: Two examples:
    • Miranda - Alice's first stepmother. It's one of the reasons she has such a Freudian Excuse.
    • Joan actually is trying to be this. She makes mistakes, but she tries her hardest.
  • Groin Attack: Dot gives a knee to the groin as retaliation for being dumped for being "immature".
  • Hotter and Sexier: The top image comes from the Alice 2012 gag.
  • Insult Backfire: Tiffany calls Alice "Four-eyes" when she has glasses. Alice takes this literally and starts looking for her second pair of eyes, and gets mad at Tiffany for lying.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alice can be this at times.
  • Kids Shouldnt Watch Horrorfilms: Alice and Dot sneak into a movie called "Scream your head off IV" and it naturally gives them a horrible nightmare.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Averted — when Joanne gets a haircut, one of Dot's brothers suddenly realises that she's beautiful.
  • Mr. Imagination: Alice.
  • Missing Mom: Not dead, just living abroad. It's more than hinted that she's very close to Alice in personality, and that this has made her a loving, but often unreliable, irresponsible and absent parent.
    • Also there was Miranda, Eric's new wife after he got the divorce. Alice was two years old and loved Miranda very much, but she died in a car accident. Though Alice in present day doesn't remember Miranda, she still subconsciously knows that she's lost not one but two mothers — which is why she has such problems letting Joan get close to her.
  • Noodle Incident: As one of the more obvious Shout Outs to Calvin and Hobbes, Alice and Dot have made references to "the strudel incident."
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Ultimately averted. even if it doesn't seem like it at first: The girls are growing older, albeit very slowly (Lampshaded by Alice when she enters the eighth grade, and comments that it feels like she's been a seventh-grader for five years).
  • Only Sane Man: Dot.
  • Running Gag: The "I've forgotten something" strips. The basic gag is that Alice is off somewhere and enjoying herself, but has a nagging feeling that she's forgotten something important — and then the scene cuts to the teacher at school asking where she is, indicating that she forgot to go to school. As the strip progresses there are a lot of variants on this (Dot is the one who's absent because she forgot to set her watch, the teacher is the one who forgot to show up at school, Alice is the only one who shows up at school because she forgot it was a holiday, and so on).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Dot frequently makes comments along this line, though notably it's very rare for her to actually leave; she usually just makes the threat to.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The characters in the "Dragonslayer" arcs.
  • Shout-Out: This one has a shout-out to Back to the Future Part II. Lampshaded below by the author.
  • Silent Conversation: The girls have one of these, plotting what to do to Dot's brothers after they drench Joanne in pond water.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: One arc features Joanne and Dot thinking Joan is cheating on Eric after seeing her hanging out with another man at the mall. (And the pool.) They try to hide Alice from them, only for her to surprise them when she knows him by name, points out that the man Joan was with was the man who introduced Eric and Joan - and he's gay.
  • Talk to the Hand: Dot at times.
  • The Unseen: Alice's mother has yet to appear on-screen. Several storylines center on Alice going to see her or getting a visit from her, but circumstances often hinder them from actually meeting (and when they do meet, we don't get to see the meeting).
  • Webcomic Time:
    • Alice and her friends are implied to be in in 6th and 7th grade from 1999-2005. During that time, they celebrated numerous Christmas and Halloween events as well as Dot's mother having a fifth child.
    • Alice lampshades this here - "Grade Seven seemed to last five years."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Over the course of the series, all the major characters get at least one scene where they're called out on their behavior. Alice gets the most, usually over her irrational dislike for Joan.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Very much averted with Joan, to Alice's frustration; she's really uncomfortable with her father having a new girlfriend and doesn't want another mother... but it's hard to hate someone so genuinely kind and understanding. (Not that Alice doesn't try her best.)
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: This is certainly Alice's viewpoint on things. She might even be right.

Alternative Title(s): Alice The Webcomic, Alice, Alice Webcomic