Erin Dies Alone is a Spin-Off/Alternate Universe of Critical Miss. Like its parent series, it concerns a young writer named Erin and her somewhat tenuous grasp on reality, which mainly manifest as hallucinations involving video game characters.
That's where the similarities to Critical Miss end.
Unlike Critical Miss, Erin Dies Alone has a much darker and more character-based sense of humor in contrast to the former's lighthearted and irreverent gags. It essentially builds on the car crash / head trauma storyline from the Critical Miss series that was mostly abandoned to keep the comedy aspect. This comic runs with that theme and explores it a bit more deeply.
In 2017, the series left The Escapist and set up its own page. In 2018 the new management invited back the creators, but rather then continue with the series, they dropped it and created a new comic called Critical Mix which reuses characters from Erin Dies Alone and places them in their own world. For all intents and purposes, Erin Dies Alone is done. Critical Mix itself was cancelled in 2019.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe: In this series, Erin apparently doesn't have her journalist job nor has she been outside for a while. Instead, she's cooped up in her apartment, watching TV and getting high. Eventually her subconscious decides to step in.
- Black Comedy: Erin's hallucinations are played for dark, dark laughs.
- Capture the Flag: Since Gunlord is an expy of Halo the main goal of the game boils down to this.
- Deliberate Injury Gambit: During their duel Gunny forces Daedalus to impale his hand while he is hold an artillery shell, causing an explosion that takes both them out.
- Drugs Are Bad: Being the personification of everything The '90s, Rad Panda thinks so. Including prescription psychiatric drugs.
- Then again, since the exact nature of the pills, what they treat, or if they're a legitimate prescription or something else that she might be using to get high are all unknown, it is questionable if those pills helped anything. Given that she's been taking them and been a complete shut-in for months, they're not going to make her want to leave the house. One fan theory is that they're a real treatment for her vivid hallucinations and he's been sabotaging them all along out of self-preservation.
- Easter Egg: In Issue 144 clicking on Althea using her fire magic will let the reader press the "Toasty" button.
- Expy/Bland-Name Product: Unlike Critical Miss, which uses the real names, this series uses replacements
- Rad Panda = Sonic the Hedgehog (and the glut of knock-offs)
- Vampire Fortress = Castlevania
- Mighty Guy 3 = Mega Man 3
- Bomb-Bot = Bomberman
- Diego Bros. Paint = Mario Paint
- Calling of Courage = Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Battle Field, and pretty much every military FPS.
- Gunlord: Combat Enhaced = Halo with a dash of Mass Effect.
- Ultimate Saga VII = Final Fantasy VII mixed with other Final Fantasy games.
- Epic Fail: Somehow, Erin manages to lose at Diego Bros Paint.Rad Panda: That's technically an achievement, right?
- Fastball Special: Erin throws a stunned Rad at the CEO of Shard Co. so she can steal his gun.Shardee: Who throws a raccoon at people!?
- Forced Tutorial: Parodied with the tutorial in Gunlord, which starts with insultingly basic stuff like looking up and down.Scientist: Yes, very well. You have successfully found the ceiling.
- Goddamned Bats: In-Universe with the bats in Vampire Fortress.
- Hallucinations: Apart from Rad Panda, every video game they play eventually ends up as one.
- Killed Off for Real: Ultimate Saga VII being a parody of a Final Fantasy VII made it inevitable in that game arc. Turns out it's actually the Cloud Expy who dies instead of Althea, the stand-in for Aerith, getting himself killed via Heroic Sacrifice in a Hold the Line situation when the enemy deploys a weapon he couldn't block with his sword. To her credit, Althea actually tries her best to heal him, but he's too mortally wounded to save.
- Mauve Shirt: While Private Alex Pendable starts as a helmeted goon before revealing himself to be dark-skinned (not to mention his Meaningful Name, or his nickname of Mook) all indicate that he's going to die, he's at least getting more characterization than the faceless goons in the background.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There is a question as to how much, if any, of what is going on is real, or just in Erin's head... Or if things that were in Erin's head have somehow managed to get out of her head.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Erin and Rad's plan to defeat the evil Shinra-like corporation? Start a Twitter hashtag and file a complaint with customer service. It doesn't end well.
- My Greatest Failure: Rad Panda apparently climbed a tower and made it outside of the video game world. He described it as the worst mistake he ever made. Given that, for a time, he was Erin's invisible friend, there's a possibility that his escape into the real world cause Erin to be placed on some sort of medication, one that may have contributed to her becoming the shut-in she is now.
- Nintendo Hard: Conversed. Erin isn't terribly fond of these sort of games.Erin: This isn't entertainment, it's work.
- Rat Stomp: The first fight Erin's group gets into in Ultimate Saga VII is with Giant Rats
- Tanks for Nothing: The Shard Corporation sends a tank to take out Gunny. Gunny being a badass One-Man Army just bends the tank's barrel straight upwards with his bare hands. He later throws the entire tank at Daedalus, who cuts it in half in one swing.
- Trash of the Titans: Erin's apartment is not in good condition, to say the very least.
- Vapor Wear: The dancer outfit Erin is forced to wear throughout Ultimate Sage VII.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Rad Panda gives one of these to Gunny after the latter says Erin is expendable if it means competing their mission.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Rad has to give Althea this speech twice before the message sinks in.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In Ultimate Saga VII, the members of Landslide say they are nothing more than a protest group, but a captured enemy mook points out their actions are entirely wanton terrorism. Erin agrees.