Frederick the Great: A Most Lamentable Comedy Breaching Time and Space is a webcomic about the 18th Century Prussian monarch Frederick the Great. Except he's a time traveler with the personality of a giggling schoolgirl. And he travels with Isaac Newton, Peter the Great, and Abraham Lincoln, fighting just about everybody.
As you can tell, this is not exactly a sane comic. Much of the humour comes from juxtaposing various historical figures into increasingly bizarre situations, such as making Isaac Newton a literal math wizard, making Salvador Dalí into a supervillain attempting to destroy all rationality, Emily Dickinson as a Goth ninja, and so on. There's a lot of very obscure jokes, but the 'Gentlemen Scholars' (as the comic's creators, one Count Dolby von Luckner and one Geoff like to call themselves) post lots of handy historical background in The Rant.
Highly recommended for history buffs and fans of absurd humour.
Can be found here.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Alternate History: The heroes' actions seem to be resulting in this.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Played for Laughs with Peter the Great. His idea of enlightened rule is the mass slaughter of serfs.
- Art Evolution: An extreme example. The current art, while still rather simplistic, is exponentially better than the early episodes.
- Badass Bookworm: Scientists and mathematicians makes up a good section of the cast. Given the nature of the comic, they tend to be incredibly powerful.
- Berserk Button: For Newton, mentioning Leibniz (or Euler, for that matter) will send him into a fury.
- Big Bad: Either Ethan Allen, Calvin Coolidge or Possibility. It's hard to tell at this point.
- The Big Guy: Peter the Great
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Mathematicians and dimensional personifications are identified by colors (Time is turquoise, Newton and Space are green, Euler and the Eigenpower are gold, etc.). What it means for two people to have the same color has not yet been clarified.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The early arcs were even stranger than the current ones (Frederick Douglass creating a transcendentalist monster by sewing together Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, anyone?). Also, pigs make multiple appearances in the Loyola arc, but it has been hinted that the reason for this will be explained at some point in the future.
- Eldritch Abomination: Picasso briefly becomes one. Also, it turns out that W. S. Gilbert worships these.
- Eternal English: Somewhat justified - Noam Chomsky intervened at the Tower of Babel, ensuring that everyone in all time periods speaks English. This has had remarkably little effect on history.
- Foreshadowing: A Leibnizbot standing over Sans Souci appeared briefly in a montage from 2010, four years before its formal introduction.
- Friend to All Living Things: Abraham Lincoln learned how to talk to animals from the Baba Yaga.
- Gargle Blaster: The Dirty Charlemagne, consisting of Chianti, rhino horn dust, and mercury. Extra opiates makes it a Dirtier Charlemagne.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Ethan Allen.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Subverted, for the most part. Despite having many historical figures as protagonists, the majority of the cast are really quite terrible people.
- Historical Hilarity: Built into the premise
- Historical Villain Upgrade: W.S. Gilbert, Marie Antoinette, Salvador Dali - is there anyone in this comic this hasn't happened to?
- In Spite of a Nail: Despite the massive changes done to the timeline, famous people still tend to be born at the right times.
- Jerkass: Everyone, with the possible exception of Abe Lincoln.
- Knight Templar: Calvin Coolidge
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Ignatius of Loyola, of all people.
- Nice Hat: This is how Frederick, and the other Zeitgeschlaegers, travel through time.
- Only Sane Man: Isaac Newton, or so he feels most of the time. But he too can succumb to megalomania.
- Abraham Lincoln is probably a straighter example of this being the most normal person on the team.
- Ret Gone: Paul-Henri Delaflote used to be a very important scientist, but was erased from history
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Calvin Coolidge, almost literally.
- Ship Tease:Emily Dickinson and Leonhard Euler get one in the 2016 Valentine's special.
- Shout-Out: Several:
- The 'future' arc is admittedly inspired by Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- The same arc features a direct reference to Ender's Game.
- Joseph Campbell shows up wielding a lightsaber. This is a reference to his influence on George Lucas during the writing of Star Wars.
- After fixing the rockets on Frederick's robot, Wernher von Braun answers an American soldier's question of the robot's destination with "Once the robot is up, who cares where it comes down? That's not my department."
- Stable Time Loop: The 'future' arc.
- Superpowered Alter Ego: Abraham Lincoln can become Flaverham Lincoln, a mighty juggernaut powered by pure funk.
- Take That!: Napoleon, an avowed fan of The Empire from Star Wars, suffers a psychotic breakdown when he sees them defeated by the Ewoks.
- The Gentlemen Scholars (or at least the Count) don't have a very favorable opinion on Carl Jung or his work. To their credit, this dislike doesn't really show that much in the comic (Jung's Jerkass tendencies aren't any worse than anyone else's in the comic), but The Rant for those strips was incredibly vitriolic.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: It's a time travel comic. This is to be expected.
- Tsundere: Isaac Newton and Wehrner von Braun are this to each other.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Many of the jokes require a lot of historical knowledge. Usually the Gentlemen Scholars are kind enough to provide helpful information in The Rant.
- Villain by Default: Averted. For an historical comic, 'classic' historical baddies such as Josef Stalin and Those Wacky Nazis have yet to show up, in favor of more bizarre antagonists like Ethan Allen and Pablo Picasso.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Peter the Great rarely has a shirt on
- West Coast Team: More accurately, Eastern Civilization Team. Frederick's euro-centric team has a significantly more competent Eastern counterpart, led by Nader Shah. They don't get on very well.
- World of Badass: Indeed.