Holy wow! Let me tell you about City Face, my fine friends!
City Face is the super awesome and also summer blockbuster movie about City Face who is simply the cityest and the faceyest of all the awesome pigeons! He does his own stunts and his own fancy dances and his neck feathers are just the shiniest! SWOOOOOOOON
...Sorry about that. That’ll be the last time we let a pigeon write a wiki article.
Anyway, City Face is the story of a pigeon named City Face and his Mundane Made Awesome adventures in Birmingham, England. In the first installment, City Face learns from the fairy Polo how to dance and win the love of the attractive Female Pigeon—and in so doing, he saves the world... somehow. In City Face 2, City Face comes into conflict with a “strange shouty magpie” named Bobeyes, and learns the ins and outs of becoming a human businessman.
Although City Face is a recurring bonus comic in the Gunnerkrigg Court archives, and it shares a few characters with GC (and, according to Word of God, the two are Canon with each other), there’s precious little overlap in terms of plot.
What makes these weird mini-stories work is the writing: the various non-human characters use bizarre (but oddly appropriate) diction and operate on foreign logic. Adding to the absurdity, Tom Siddell’s commentary below the pages refers to City Face as a Summer Blockbuster and explains how the Animated Actors worked their magic, both on and off the camera. Furthermore, the Shout Box was commandeered by birds, fairies, and other in-universe characters (though these comments aren’t preserved in the archives, the Gunnerkrigg Court wiki has screenshots: here and here).
If, somehow, you find yourself desperately in need of a print copy of City Face’s grand adventures, then you’re in luck: they’re included in the hardcover print copies of Gunnerkrigg Court, specifically volume 2, Research, and volume 3, Reason.
A City Face print collection, including new content not available online, has been released under the title City Life With City Face.
City Face contains examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Years before Ogee and Torus showed up in City Face 2, Tom posted a picture of them on deviantart, and explained what exactly their deal is:These two are Ogee and Torus, and they are identical twins. [...] I thought this would be the best way to represent them in a single picture, since humans can never see them in the same place at the same time (they share the same space and time, but at different periods along a non-linear time scale). So this means... not only do they look and act the same, but you can never see more than one of them at a time. So why did I bother making them two separate characters? Because I like being difficult.
- Animated Actors: According to The Rant.
- Book Ends / Here We Go Again!: City Face begins with City Face feeling down on account of his sub-par wooing attempts, then another pigeon comes by to cheer him up and offer advice. At the end, after City Face has wooed Female Pigeon and saved the world, he encounters another pigeon who is feeling down on account of his sub-par wooing prowess, so City Face offers him some advice... The last panel even has a “Goto #1” message, rather than “The End”.
- May also indicate the presence of a Stable Time Loop.
- The Cameo: Zimmy and Gamma show up in City Face, and Jones shows up in City Face 2.
- Character Title
- Creepy Crows: Everyone fears and respects the crows. When a crow tells you to “STOP ALL THIS NONSENSE”, you obey.
- Dada Comics: It isn’t completely devoid of logic, but this comic certainly doesn’t run on human logic.
- Dope Slap: Gamma slaps Zimmy to stop her from biting a pigeon’s head off.
- Guest Comic: City Face 3 consists of 9 guest comics supposedly created by Gunnerkrigg Court characters, and one "comic" (ink footprints) made by an actual pigeonnote
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: According to Torus, human businessmen are the most important people in the world and make all the decisions. And mostly, this involves dancing.
- Forgetful Jones: Ogee exclaims to City Face that eating the bagel will transform him into a a human businessman! This is followed by a Beat Panel, and then City Face asking “What was that thing you just said previously?”. Either that or...
- It's Personal: According to Tom Siddell, at least.Reprising his role as City Face, here is City Face in City Face 2! This time, it's PURRsonal (There are no cats featured in this story line).
- Mind Screw: Tom Siddell says City Face is canon to Gunnerkrigg Court. In City Face, an adult City Face interacts with Zimmy—who left Birmingham for the Court months before the start of GC. Then, in GC, City Face shows up in the Court... as a chick. ...Moving on!
- The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Magpie55, after consistently mocking City Face for everything he does, is so impressed by the human businessman dance that he can write is "whoa he's actually pretty good at that..."
- Our Fairies Are Different: Regional fairies are closest to the Fairy Companion archetype, with hints of the eldritch—dialogue indicates that the fairies interact with time and space very differently than humans do.
- Painting the Medium: Tom taking over the shoutbox to post in-character comments from birds, fairies, and other characters.
- "Save the World" Climax: A parody. City Face starts with City Face trying to woo the female pigeon... then Polo shows up to tell him that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
- Self-Deprecation: "STOP ALL THIS NONSENSE"
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: City Face 2 simply ends with a crow swooping in to tell everyone to “STOP IT. STOP ALL THIS NONSENSE”
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: A very brief appearance by a fairy called Mustard Seed.
- Split Personality: Ogee and Torus looks like a case of this, but actually isn’t. See All There in the Manual, above.
- Stealth Pun: Torus gives City Face a berry, telling him it’s something every human businessman needs. She then criticized him for eating the berry. It was a blackberry—apparently Torus can’t tell the difference between a popular PDA brand and a literal berry.
- The Stoic: Jones, true to her personality in Gunnerkrigg Court. City Face and Torus do their human businessman dance right past Jones, messing up her hair in the process, and she doesn’t react in the slightest.
- Stylistic Suck: The art isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s much more simplistic than Gunnerkrigg Court’s usual style, and the writing features a great deal of non-standard (but quite character-appropriate) grammar.
- Summer Blockbuster: Referred to as such in The Rant.
- Take That!: Tom Siddell has gone on record in stating his dislike for the usual level of discourse on the internet. It's not much of a stretch to think the shoutbox comments are his way of mocking that.