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Webcomic / Arthur, King of Time and Space

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Arthur, King of Time and Space is a humour Webcomic by Paul Gadzikowski. It retells Arthurian Legend, in real time (with occasional timeskips) in several time periods. It ran from 2004 to 2014.

When Arthur took the sword from the stone, history itself was altered. Now Arthur exists in several realities simultaneously. The main arcs are the "baseline" or "fairytale" arc (Anachronism Stew 5th century, based closely on Malory and T.H. White); the "space" arc (A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away..., with Arthur as king of British Space, and Excalibur as his Cool Ship); and the "modern" arc (in which Arthur started as an Ordinary High-School Student, before learning he had inherited a controlling share in Excalicorp).

The main storyline in all three main settings is the Love Triangle between Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot. Secondary arcs include the "Western" arc (Arthur as sheriff), the "M*A*S*H" arc (Arthur as Hawkeye Pierce), the "Superhero" arc (Arthur as Superman Expy), the movie parody arc (Arthur as various film characters), and others.

Was on sabbatical for six months in 2009, and replaced with Arthur King of Time and Space 2.0. This returns to Gadzikowski's earlier King Arthur In Time And Space concept, in which the comic is crossover fanfiction between two fictional TV series, one about the space-faring Arthur (and very similar to Star Trek) and one about the time-travelling Merlin (and very similar to Doctor Who). A second sabbatical began in June 2011, with the strip being replaced by sketches and concluded in December, the strip resuming after a Time Skip to Arthur being 35.

The strip ended on 6 January 2014, owing to real life pressures, after one last timeskip to wrap up the storylines.

Became the Trope Namer for Panicky Expectant Father after the News Post pointed out we didn't have it.

Arthur, King of Time and Space provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Galehaut and his attraction to Lancelot in its modern arc incarnation. In the fantasy and future timelines, he meets his canon fate from the Authurian legends of never having his love reciprocated, then Death by Despair. In the modern arc, it merely comes up once or twice before disappearing forever.
  • Action Girl: Guenevere and Tristram in the space arc.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: In the space arc, the first time Guinevere meets Arthur and Lancelot, she assumes Lancelot is the king.
  • Anachronism Stew: Impossible to avoid in the fairytale arc due to Grandfather Clause.
  • Anachronistic Animal: The webcomic makes Sir Gilbert the Bastard's dog a rough collie for the sake of a Timmy in a Well gag. Modern collie subbreeds only became a thing in the 19th century. (In The Rant, Gadzikowski notes that he didn't know if collies existed in the 5th century, but says it's wrong either way since Gilbert's dog is supposed to be a hunting hound.)
  • Animated Actors: In the plain background no-fourth-wall strips the characters are aware of their status as both in a webcomic and as public domain figures, often using this to point out the plot holes and getting called away to star in another comic. Since the background is green, these are called the green room.
  • Art Evolution: In 2012, after considering using the triangle format permanently, Paul developed a lineless version of the regular art style.
    • In-universe, Arthur's Shapes goes from "all characters are different shapes" to "all characters are circles" to "all characters are triangles, just like The Hero of Three Faces".
  • Author Catch Phrase: "Can't beat the classics."
  • Betty and Veronica: Guenevere and Morgan early in the space arc.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Fairies and Olympians can see ultraviolet.
  • Book Ends: The first and last strips both have Arthur's situation being explained to him by magic users in four time periods simultaneously; the baseline, space, and western arcs, and a fourth arc where what they're saying is Lost in Transmission.
    • except that in the last strip, the last panel is a straight transliteration of English letters into their nearest Greek equivalents of a three word sentence which should be very familiar to readers of this strip, i.e. "Thanks for reading".
  • Born Lucky: Lancelot has God's favor, and as a consequence will inevitably win any contest he enters. This extends not only to contests of skill, but to games of chance — Western arc Lancelot does very well at cards — and even bets on events that no human being could influence: Arthur once cured his sea-sickness by betting him he'd be stuck with it for the rest of the voyage.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Merlin outlining his radical politics: "Everyone deserves self-determination. Even the commons. Even women. Even common women!"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Many, many examples, usually indicated by characters being against the blank website background; literally "outside" the regular strip. (A brief sequence in the Lancelot-goes-mad-and-ends-up-at-Carbonek storyline had the court of Carbonek breaking the fourth wall "in continuity".)
    • And again at Carbonek when Percivale, Galahad, and Bors visit. King Pelles starts talking about the cultural (and pop cultural) influence of the Grail Quest stories down the centuries, leaving Bors to remark, "I'd forgotten how free with the fourth wall it can get at Castle Carbonek."
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': In the superhero arc, Kingman gets arrested by Homeland Security. Unfortunately, the legal system is so uncomfortable about actually putting The Cape on trial that he never actually gets to challenge the law itself, which was the goal.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: When Elaine describes the Holy Grail, Morgan asks how she talks so the capital letters on "Holy Grail", "Our Lord", "Last Supper" and so on are audible. Elaine replies "It's a Gift."
  • Cattle Punk: The Western arc
  • Cloning Blues: The False Guenevere in the space arc.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Arthur wears yellow, Guinevere wears blue, Lancelot wears red, Merlin wears orange, Nimue wears purple, and Morgan wears green, Tristran wears pink, Pellinore wears indigo. The same goes for the family of each (extended family in the case of Morgan; the Orkneys all wear various shades of green sorted by their loyalties). Oh, and Mordred and Galahad are black and white respectively.
  • Comic-Book Time: Sort of inverted; the characters have aged during the Time Skips, but the contemporary arc is still contemporary, meaning, for example, that Merlin's meetings with Barack Obama were first shifted to Arthur, and now presumably didn't happen at all, since the President is the right-wing Lucius Roman.
  • Cool Old Guy: Merlin in any incarnation but primarily the modern day arc, where he's a substitute teacher who owns a comic book store, has an eidetic knowledge for his favorite TV shows, used to be a hippie, agrees to watch Ector's sons on a moment's notice when he's called to active duty, and takes in the orphaned child of some old friends. A close second is the space arc Merlin, who's basically the Doctor.
  • Cool Ship: The Excalibur in the space arc
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Morgause in the modern arc has elements of this trope (though downplayed; she may cut corners, but only because of her duty to stockholders who depend on investments for retirement, and she's not proud of it).
  • Days of Future Past: The space arc envisions a future where all of currently-known history is recapitulated in space. It's explained here.
  • Death of the Old Gods: A few strips deal with Odin getting cranky because the Christian God is depleting his worshipper base. In the modern arc, this is portrayed as an eyepatch-wearing gangster reluctantly coming to terms with Arthur's non-corrupt political campaign.
  • Distant Finale: Essentially, the last week of strips, which jumps forward to the end of the story in order to wrap everything up.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: After Space!Guinevere's body is resurrected her soul remains in the hereafter, and Morgan theorizes that it would require something to the tune of Lancelot making love to her to call her soul back. Presenting a bit of a moral dilemma.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: After years of dropping hints, Morgan is completely incredulous that Arthur still doesn't know what Lancelot and Guinevere are up to. Eventually she realizes that he knew all along, and why he's never done anything about it, and this facilitates her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Evil Twin: The False Guinevere/Fasha.
  • Expy: Everyone in the space arc, mostly because the space arc itself is based on Gadzikowski's earlier fanfics, where mythological figures stood in for characters from popular TV shows.
    • The crew of the Excalibur stand in for the cast of Star Trek: The Original Series: Arthur is Kirk, Lancelot is Spock, Guinevere is Bones, Gawain is Scotty, etc.
    • Merlin is the Doctor from Doctor Who, with Morgan and Nimue acting as his companions.
    • Hercules is Superman (with Iolaus as Jimmy Olsen, Megara as Lois), the heroes of Troy are the cast of M*A*S*H, etc.
  • The Fair Folk: Morgan's faerie allies in the baseline and space arcs.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Based on science and magic combined.
  • Feudal Future: The space arc is just the fairytale arc's nonspecific-but-generically-medieval time period updated into space.
  • Fictional Age of Majority:
    • In the space arc, Guenevere and Morgan object to Merlin calling them "girls", saying "We're over fourteen and legally adults!"
    • In the contemporary arc, an out-of-continuity discussion on whether Arthur and Gawaine should have been shown drinking alcohol considers the possibility that Camelot is in a US state where the drinking age is eighteen, before concluding "the contemporary time zone was supposed to be devoid of fantastic elements".
  • Foreshadowing: In one contemporary arc strip when Arthur is still in high school, there's a discussion as to whether a "an ancient warlord [who] lived today instead of a thousand years ago" would become a politician or run a corporation. Contemporary Arthur goes on to become both.
    • Every mention of Excalicorp before Contemporary Arthur learns his destiny.
  • Freudian Trio: Lampshaded in this strip. For the record, Gadzikowski is familiar with TV Tropes.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The finale of the space arc was compressed into a single-panel summary due to real-life pressures, but was later told in more detail in an instalment of The Hero of Three Faces.
  • Gag-per-Day Webcomics: Although there's plenty of continuity and entire story arcs from the mythos are adapted over the course of years, the strip is primarily meant to be this.
  • Gender Flip: Various knights become Dames in the space arc, most notably Tristam, who was also Gender Flipped in the modern arc.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: Dagonet wears one in the colours of the Pendragon coat of arms.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Averted with Lancelot. Although he's very devout in the modern day arc, and feels a bit squeamish about Tristran's sexuality, he comes to accept it because she's his friend.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Arthur and Lancelot. Lancelot thought he and Galehaut were this.
    • In the final few strips it turned out Lancelot was wrong about Arthur as well, who is biromantic if not bisexual.