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Webcomic / Derelict

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Derelict is a science fiction webcomic set in a post-flood world, written and drawn by Ben Fleuter. It's about Dang Thu Mai, a lone scavenger living on a boat and coping with her surroundings. Complicating matters is an otherworldly fog which shrouds the world, and hides the so-called "Miasmic Races", monstrous yet intelligent beings, most of whom possess nothing but ill will for humanity. Eventually Dang's travels bring her into contact with other characters, some of whom become the focus of the strip.

The strip went on hiatus in 2016, and finally in 2021 Fleuter posted an announcement that he had given up on continuing it.

Starts here.

Tropes included

  • Anachronic Order: The segment with Dang on board the Miasmic-occupied oil-drilling complex requires several re-reads in order to get the order of events right.
  • All There in the Manual: Ben has revealed in other projects, and on the Nothing Personal forums, much more information than the comic itself has.
  • After the End: Though we still don't know exactly what the end was, yet.
    • Author Appeal: Ben is rather fascinated by the subject, to say the least.
  • The Ark: Mention is made of massive floating structures called 'Ark Cities' where many humans now live. Dang eventually ends up living on one.
  • Artistic License Ships: The strip is full of slack shipkeeping practices (mostly unsecured cargo) would get you killed in short order on any real ocean. Probably due to Conservation of Detail.
  • Chiaroscuro: As Dang chases down the stolen Pen at night
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Dang uses UV crossbow bolts against Miasmic enemies.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: "This One": the size of a jumbo jet, has a mouth full of wriggling tentacles, ghostly white, and able to force its way into your mind to convey thoughts and images; is polite, helpful, and generally wants the best in life for others.
  • Disaster Scavengers: Dang is one, and there are certainly others. It's now been shown that in some places, society continues to function, with both humans and miasmics present.
  • Flashback: The sequence on the oil rig is half Dang trying to find oil for the Penumbra, half flashback to an earlier time when Dang had a lot more fight in her and was exposed to the Miasma.
  • Half-Human Hybrid/The Virus: The strip has now shown what appears to be a half-human/half-miasmic hybrid; Dang shows troubling signs of potential hybridization (more green highlights in her hair) after each miasma exposure.
  • Houseboat Hero: Although Dang does sometimes sleep on land when scavenging, it is abundantly clear that the Penumbra is her home. Until it gets destroyed.
  • Hostile Weather: The Miasma. Eldritch, toxic, tentaculate (with artistic suckers), Mind Rape-y, and possibly intelligent. Established as nothing but bad news if you're human and have lost your mask.
  • Important Haircut: Ben uses the length of Dang's hair to help indicate time passing between events; the growth is just as important as the cutting.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Dang gets locked in a room which contains welding and/or diving tanks.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The humanoid Miasmic races. The masks and voluminous cloaks protect them from the sun, seeing as they're burned by ultraviolet light. In more stable and civilized places, they tone back this look.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Possibly. At the least, Beautiful Flower was not nearly as nasty as the other miasmic beings; she regretted stealing Dang's boat and later uttered a prayer when it appeared she killed Dang.
    • Later strips show Humans and Miasmics mixing, albeit warily, especially in the Ark city.
  • Oceanic Airlines: Dang comes across a crashed passenger jet which is sporting an Oceanic Airlines logo
  • Odd-Shaped Panel as wide as the strip, and wavey, to indicate that she slept a long time.
  • Ominous Fog: Which is apparently not normal fog, as it may be poisonous and hides inhuman beings who are intelligent, but not, apparently, inclined to play nicely with humanity. It's also drawn in a way that resembles tentacles.
  • Rule of Perception - the "UV weapons" glow a convenient neon blue
  • Rule of Three: Dang ponders them, related to survival: three minutes without air, three days without water, three months without food.Then she wonders if she got it right. (Not exactly: three weeks without food is the rule.)
  • Scavenger World: At least for those who live on their own. There are certainly plenty of abandoned spots to scavenge, though. It does turn out that in some places society has managed to resume with both humans and miasmics present.
  • Silence Is Golden: More often than not, the comic will go for whole pages with no spoken words or sounds. It's very effective at conveying a sense of isolation.
  • Shout-Out: As noted above, Dang comes across a crashed passenger jet which is sporting an Oceanic Airlines logo.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: The Miasmic Races often wear skulls of various species as helmets when they run the risk of being exposed to the light.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Dang laments the supply situation to Pen.
  • Taken for Granite: A risk the Miasmic Races run if they are exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • Time Skip: We go from a wounded Dang sitting on a tiny island, with the Penumbra destroyed and a naval battle raging around her to her working as a shuttle-train operator on an ark city.
  • Weakened by the Light: The Miasmic Races cannot stand ultraviolet light (it turns them to stone), so they go cloaked and helmeted (well, skulled, usually) during the daytime. Humanity has apparently somehow developed UV weapons to use against them.
  • Wham Episode: The destruction of the Penumbra.