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Webcomic / Freakwatch

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Freakwatch was a horror comic about a young woman named Jessica who is forced to return to her home town after the mysterious death of her uncle. Things are not as they appear in the small town of Anderson, and as Jessica investigates her uncle's death, she may start to uncover more than she bargained for...

Freakwatch was written and drawn by William Short, and updated twice a week, but around the mid to late 2010's, the domain expired. Fortunately, the pages have been archived and you can start the story here.


Freakwatch contains examples of:

  • Alter-Ego Acting: Ted Tremaine was the morning newscaster for a local TV station, but also ran a schlocky horror show on Friday nights as "Father Fiore." The show is aptly titled "Friday Night Freakwatch," and some of his fans only refer to him as Father Fiore.
  • Art Shift: While the real world is drawn in black and white, Jessica's dreams are full of color. This probably says a lot about Jessica's view of the world.
  • Black and Nerdy: Warren shared Uncle Ted's love of tech, and also plays in a roleplaying group with several friends.
  • Cool Old Guy: Uncle Ted may not have been that old when he died, but he apparently spent all of his money on AV equipment and computers, and preferred to be on the cutting edge of tech.
  • Conspiracy Theorist:
  • Jessica believes that her Uncle didn't die a natural death. Her mother thinks she's been watching too many horror movies.
    Jessica: Hey, you can't know for sure it wasn't the Mind Melters from Mars!
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  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Uncle Ted appears to have died of a heart attack, although for some reason he was carrying a revolver when he died. Hmm...
  • Corrupt Hick: So far averted, despite appearing to be a Town with a Dark Secret. In fact, the only person who has done anything seemingly corrupt is the mayor, although whether or not he's tied into something bigger has yet to be seen.
  • Cranky Neighbor: Mrs. Quayle, who lives next to Ted's house. Though she's a little less cranky and a little more crazy.
    "KTCV! KTCV! That's the network name for me! It ain't just noise, it's muuuusic to my ears! It's singing to the world! It just don't know about it!"
  • Daydream Surprise: And a fairly unpleasant one at that, when a man standing in front of Jessica appears to turn into some kind of tree monster with a belt made of eyeballs, gaining color as though she were dreaming.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jessica is the biggest offender by far, although the rest of her family has traces of it as well.
    Jessica: I don't think anyone would say I have a personality for television.
    Jessica's Mother: Oh, sweetheart, no one said that about Uncle Ted either. We were all pretty sure he was going to have to be a stripper, too.
    • Ted was also ready to lay on the snark, although he did it with a big grin on his face.
    Ted: Cults are tricky, as you can't kill them outright like most monsters. For the most part, you must figure out how to avoid being the focus of their eccentricities.
    *holds up a newspaper headline reading "Naked Man Causes Disturbance at New Mall Site"*
    Ted: As a resident of Anderson, you are likely already accustomed to doing this.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Uncle Ted in spades, particularly in his "Father Fiore" guise.
    • Acted as this to both Jessica and Warren.
  • The '80s: The story takes place in 1985 in a small town in Ohio, although most of the decade's trappings have been largely absent so far.
    • The first real sign of the time period: massive computers and AV tech that is top-of-the-line in 1985, but which has a bit of Zeerust going for modern audiences.
  • Geek Physiques: While not as extreme as most examples, Jessica tends towards the chunky side, while Warren seems to be quite thin.
  • Generic Cuteness: Averted. Although it's less clear in earlier pages, Jessica has a bit of extra weight on her, although she's by no means ugly.
  • Horror Host: By morning, Ted was a normal news anchor for the local TV station. On Friday nights, however, he became FATHER FIORE, host of the Friday Night Freakwatch!
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Jessica's big brother, a police officer, greets her at the train station by getting into a verbal sparring match with her and threatening to take her down to the station for her "suspicious hair." And then they hug.
    "You're the worst big brother ever, you know that?"
  • Lampshade Hanging: Typically in the Alt Text.
  • Loophole Abuse: The mayor wants the investigation into Ted's death closed, and officially, it is. However, there's nothing the mayor can do if Jessica, who inherited all of Ted's stuff, decides to look a bit more closely at her inheritance... or if she decides to enlist the help of her brother Mark, who happens to be a police officer.
  • MacGuffin: Jessica's pendant has been involved in two strange incidents by the end of the first issue. The first is when it stuck to Uncle Ted's tombstone; the other is when it starts making "ping" noises as Jessica is flung into her dream.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: On the one hand, there's a perfectly logical explanation for how Uncle Ted's tombstone attracted Jessica's pendant (i.e. it's magnetic). But that just raises further questions, like why his tombstone would be magnetic in the first place...
  • Multicolored Hair: Jessica has dyed a portion of her hair green, to go along with her general Goth motif.
  • On One Condition: In an odd subversion, the "condition" wasn't a result of anything in Ted's will. However, the only way the police will get to investigate Ted's death is if Jessica keeps Ted's house and lives in it, so she winds up with this condition by default.
  • Perky Goth: Jessica, although she's less "perky" and more "highly sarcastic," possibly because she's still mourning her Uncle's passing.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted. The Sheriff's office is very suspicious about the circumstances around Ted's death, and wants to conduct a full investigation. However, the mayor tells him to drop it. Part of the reason they want Jessica to keep Ted's house is so that her brother can investigate without getting blocked by political intervention.
  • Police Brutality: Averted. It looks like Mark, Jessica's brother, is going to visit this on Warren, but refrains when he realizes Warren is harmless.
  • Posthumous Character: Ted "Father Fiore" Tremaine, who dies on the second page of the comic.
  • Riddle Me This: A young Jessica is seen with Uncle Ted, learning to solve a puzzle box. This is implied to be a part of a pattern of Ted challenging Jessica with puzzles and ciphers, perhaps so she can be ready to solve the mystery of his death.
    • And later, we see that Ted left a cipher for Jessica to decode... which requires her to watch several of his old taped episodes, as well as Bride of Frankenstein.
  • Starfish Language: One of the monsters in Jessica's dream speaks in some combination of this, Black Speech, and simlish, although it could also be some kind of cipher.
  • Techno Wizard: While not as outlandish as other fictional examples, Uncle Ted had a full suite of AV tech in his house, along with two hundred pounds of coaxial cable.
  • Token Minority: Warren is the only non-white character shown so far. Justified because the comic takes place in a small town in Ohio, which is unlikely to have a large black population in the first place.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Ted seemed to believe Anderson was one of these, and given the circumstances of his death, Jessica is inclined to agree.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Jessica was a bit surprised to learn Ted left her almost everything he owned, considering she hadn't seen him in several years. More unexpected, however, was that she would actually need to keep his house instead of selling it off, due to the weirdness surrounding his death.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Perhaps it's just the dream logic, but Jessica doesn't seem all that disturbed by the strange monsters she comes across in her dreams.