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i.s.o. is a completed gay-themed furry comic book series by artist Vince Suzukawa. A follow-up to his long-running webcomic The Class Menagerie, it also follows the lives of characters at the fictional DeMontfort University. However, it is not a sequel; though i.s.o. even takes place in the same dorm as the former series, it focuses on the residents of a different floor of the building. Likewise, while TCM shows events through the eyes of several characters, i.s.o. concerns itself primarily with a tiger named Cody Frost, a freshman at DeMontfort who struggles with his new relationships, his homosexuality, and his desire to be "normal."

The comic was published semi-annually; ten issues of the comic book have been published. The title is an acronym commonly used in personal ads, meaning "In Search Of". It also refers to the Greek prefix ἰσο- (iso-), meaning "equal" or "normal."

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There is also a spin-off sort of thing (which may or may not be canonical) written by Vince's fiance. Set after the events of ISO it's about Cody meeting his uncle and cousin from Russia for the first time. It's called From Russia With Lust. Vince has no plans on seeing it published and since it's just something that Vince does when he has time to kill, it's the sort of comic that'll get done when it gets done. It's been several months since the last update.


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This comic book provides examples of:

  • Author Avatar: Cody Victor Frost. And Vince actually used Cody as his online avatar for some years, before Vince — who is much shorter, less massive and more Asian than Cody — switched to his more physically-realistic persona Kyle Takamoto.note 
  • Author Tract. The author essentially wrote in his own personality as Cody's.
  • Awkward Kiss: Cody and Sam. Played with in that the reason for the awkwardness isn't because of Cody being gay, or lack of attraction per se, but the fact that each of them is so unaware of the other's motives (she thinks he's being competitive or will react in disgust, he thinks she will be the disgusted one, or else knee him in the groin), that they just keep making the kiss last and last before finally breaking it.
  • Babies Ever After: For Maureen and Thor
  • Back Story: A few of the characters have these.
    • Cody's childhood with being closeted, including Todd as a childhood friend.
    • Doug's history with family, men and money.
    • Jeff's family dynamic from hell.
  • Bait-and-Switch: An utterly delicious example (which is almost a Fake Out Ending) happens in the very last issue of the comic, where it appears that Straight Best Friend Todd has lost a bet via poker game and thus has to engage in a threesome with Cody and Jeff. invokedHardly any of the readers believed it was for real, despite the large number of fans with Perverse Sexual Lust who hoped Todd would turn out to be bi...but the dialogue was set up with so many Double Entendres that the whole thing began to feel scarily plausible. Of course, it turned out to be the Bengal had to go swing dancing. A definite Moment of Awesome and Funny Moment for the author.
  • Batman Gambit: Once Cody learns the full truth about Maureen, as well as Thor's intentions towards her, he comes up with a very clever plan—after the breakup with Doug, and with it no longer being an issue for him to avoid Jake and Zach any more, he decides to quit his job as a bouncer at the Hangout...and see if he can get Thor the job in his place, so he can then pay off his debt to the school, no longer feel like a golddigger, and propose to Maureen, which will get her off Jeff's back. It looks like, no matter how hard Thor tries, Sam will never forgive him, let alone give Tyrone permission to hire him. But then, thanks to the fire at the Hangout accidentally caused by Steve, Thor is in the right place at the right time to help save Doug's life, and Sam gives her blessing after all.
  • The Beard:
    • Cody gets Sam to pretend to be his girlfriend for a short time; while nominally this is to keep his parents from learning he's gay, it's more fully an example of "getting overbearing parents off their back about their love life." Also, in a strange inverted way, Todd; see Gay Best Friend.
    • Maureen theorizes that this is also what Jeremy had with Caitlin, the girl from his webjournal he was dating (or pretending to) while also seeing Jeff, although the way it's phrased (and how it's contrasted with her comments about the girl Jeff was "banging" in high school) suggests it could also simply have been him going along with society's expectations, or that he didn't realize his orientation until exploring things with her.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Cody and Doug at the end of issue four. Also their First Kiss, natch.
  • Big Eater: Boris. Him always eating is also why he's The Voiceless.
  • Bi the Way: Jake and Zach are both bisexual. Jake's Urban Legend Love Life includes men and women alike. Zach hooked up with Jake a few times, but ultimately fell for Jake's female cousin.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Doug without his glasses.
  • Brainless Beauty: Jake and Zach. One of Jake's most notable brainless moments came as early as his first appearance, where he shows Cody porn he's watching in his laptop, in a plane packed with people, where anyone could've noticed and things could've escalated into an awkward situation.
    • Less so with Zach, it turns out. Also, when Allie uses a sea star as a "brain-sucker" on Zach, Jake implies it would have a hard time finding anything. But this backfires when Allie comes right out and says the same thing about him (after holding the star over his groin, "where your brain is", no less).
  • Broken Record: Twice in the second half of issue 3, to showcase first Cody's excitement, then his BSODing, over having a date with Doug, and both times using Rule of Three. The first ("I've got a date tomorrow!") is altered to "We've got a date tomorrow!" when Doug passes by at work, and is then ended by Thor knocking Doug down to win the drink-spilling game. The second ("I've got a date in an hour!") has the added humor of Todd pedantically correctly him to "Um...actually, fifty-five minutes" and the last repetition consisting of Cody Suddenly SHOUTING! while an image of a derailing train appears in the background. As Jeff notes, Cody's mind is often a strange place.
  • Brutal Honesty: In From Russia With Lust. Cody's uncle Vladimir is gay and a horn-dog and doesn't beat around the bush when he sees a guy he's attracted to. When he first saw Todd he stopped Cody from calling him over, leading to this hilarious exchange:
    Cody: What do you want with Todd?
    Vlad: Am going to fuck him!
  • Bucket Booby-Trap: Jeff sets one up over the dorm room door in the first issue, to get back at Jake (who broke it dancing with Cody) for making him do overtime to repair it. It ends up falling on Cody instead. The fact this results in the goat getting to see a sopping wet, shirtless Cody is a completely accidental but well-appreciated bonus.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker/In Vino Veritas: The first is what leads Jeff to agree to jump out of the cake at Wendell's bachelor party, and kiss him; the second is what gets Wendell to respond in kind, thus outing both of them in public.
  • Cain and Abel: Jeff is evading creepy stalking and surveillance, led by his estranged vindictive big sister Maureen.
  • California University: Semi-fictional DeMontfort University.
  • The Cameo: A few times. Writer Kyell Gold's character Volle as a bartender at the gay bar Shout Out-ingly named Kyell's.
  • Canis Latinicus: When Jake, Zach, and Allie visit the aquarium, the proper taxonomic names of various sea life are given...along with "Wolfus Jealous" for Jake.
  • Celibate Hero: Self-repressed Cody.
  • Character Development: Cody primarily.
  • Character Tic: Cody's fur floofs/frizzes whenever he is greatly startled, distressed, freaking out, embarrassed, or aroused (such as being touched by a hot guy). It never stops being funny. It's also something he inherited from his father, which naturally means there's a scene where the two of them get to floof at the same time. And it can somehow be heard over the phone.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The drink-spilling game. It's first introduced to help explain how Doug is useful at the Hangout, and give the first hint of the cougar's feelings for Cody. ("He only lets you win if he thinks you're cute.") But then it's also how Thor makes an ass of himself to get back at Cody for walking on the grass and as part of his spying activities for Maureen, it's how Jeff finally gets Cody to ask Doug out (by way of a convoluted scheme involving a baseball cap, a motorized pop-up button, and Jake), and finally it's how Todd and Cody are able to patch up their friendship after another encounter with Thor and defending Doug.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Steve. What appeared to be a throwaway character (in Sinister Silhouettes no less) to explain Doug's poor taste in men ends up showing up again in issue 9 as an inadvertent villain, accidentally setting fire to the Hangout while doing drugs, and almost getting Doug himself killed. Not really enough to justify a invokedMoral Event Horizon, but more than enough for the readers to truly enjoy his karmic fate.
  • The Chew Toy: Cody's many comedic tortured moments.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Jake. As he himself tells Cody, "Cross mah heart...every encountah Ai've 'ad has been 100% consensual. If you were unwilling, Ai'd nevah 'ave touched you."
  • Christmas in Australia: This actually gets discussed by Zach and Jake as they're on the train during Christmas break, with the wolf noting that despite the weather, Californians maintain the same winter imagery as Aussies do. Additionally, he asks Zach whether traditions in Hawaii are different ("D'you decorate palm trees and hang flip-flops bai the fire pit?"), only for Zach to laughingly deny it.
  • Cliffhanger: Used extensively at the ends of issues, often with a heavy Mind Screw effect.
    • The very first issue ends with The Reveal, via the drink-spilling, that Doug thinks Cody is cute.
    • Issue 2 ends with The Reveal that Jeff has a stalker.
    • Issue 4 is downplayed, but after coming back from his date at Kyell's with Doug, Cody is oblivious to Jake and Zach having a movie marathon with Boris...which, since he'd supposedly been the one Cody was out dancing with, acts as the first indication that Jake will start investigating Cody's suspicious activities.
    • Issue 5 ends with Cody receiving a voice-mail on his phone from his parents...saying they're coming in for a visit to finally get to meet his "girlfriend"...
    • Issue 6 ends with the breaking of the Masquerade and the Zany Scheme resulting in Jake getting hurt and leaving before Cody can explain, so the tiger is left alone in his darkened dorm room feeling like a first-class heel.
    • Issue 7 is the infamous Did They or Didn't They? Fakeout Makeout between Cody and Jake which turns out to be mostly All Just a Dream yet leading into The Reveal of the actual dream being about Cody and Jeff.
    • Issue 8 ends with The Reveal that Thor is the spy helping Maureen.
    • And issue 9 ends with a different sort of Cliffhanger, where Thor goes to propose to Maureen.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jake somewhat, and to a lesser extent Zach.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Zach, the one everyone, including Jake himself, thinks is dumb, turns out to have guessed right that Cody is hiding his new S.O. because he's gay and in the closet. Becomes invokedFridge Brilliance once it's revealed that Zach is not quite as dumb as he appears, and downright painful once Zach tells Jake that people assuming this about him and treating him like the slow, happy, tagalong sidekick is something he's "just gotten used to".
    Zach: Hey, what if it's a dude, and he's just in the closet?
    Jake: Zach, mai friend...leave th' thinkin' to me, alraight?
    Zach: Yeah, good idea...
  • Coming-Out Story: Cody. Ironically, the one time we see him come out onscreen (albeit in flashback), the reveal of his sexuality goes completely smoothly with no problems; it's only when Todd says he should have seen it in retrospect thanks to Cody's overcompensating, Manly Gay Jerkass Façade, his dislike of being touched by other men, his always seeming to have a secret, and so forth—and Cody takes offense at this—that things go south.
  • Contrived Coincidence: While a number of these appear throughout the comic, the very first issue has two rather prominent ones—that the fellow in the adjoining airplane seat who kept Cody awake all night turns out to be his new roommate Jake, and that it's all because Jake and Zach get Cody angry (by asking him to get his interviewer's number for them) that he gets the job at the Hangout...since they cause him to tear out of his shirt, which leaves him shirtless in the alley right outside the bar, thus enabling him to impress Tyrone with his physique and strength right when he's looking to hire a bouncer.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sam manages to be this for Doug.
  • Dance Party Ending: Twice—first comes the celebration at the reopening of the Hangout, where a huge number of the cast reunite, and then at the very end Cody, Jeff, and Todd return to the 50's swing club with Sam's friends.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: This seems to have become the case between Cody and Thor. Cody effectively defeated Thor by finding out unflattering secrets about him.
  • Defrosting Ice King: A big part of Cody's Character Arc, no pun intended.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Cody and Jake in a chapter Cliffhanger.
  • Double Entendre: Possibly unintentional but probably not—when Cody first meets Sam, moments after meeting Doug, he tells her "Nice to meet you both"...while seemingly staring down at her chest. Considering how he feels about breasts, if this was intentional it was surely meant as fanservice for the straight and bi readers.
  • Dramatic Drop:
    • Cody's barbell, when after telling his dad on the phone about his new "girlfriend", the former asks "Is she a babe?"
    • Jeff accidentally lets go of the rope at the wall-climbing gym, causing Todd to rapidly plummet before he catches him, when Cody suggests his uncertainty in going farther with Doug might be because he isn't gay after all.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Cody is certain he's been a bad friend to Todd because he was, essentially, using his Chick Magnet, All Men Are Perverts nature to keep from having to ask girls out, deflect his parents, and better conceal his gayness. But to his surprise, not only does Todd not mind (and in fact completely understands why he was hiding it), he points out the same things Cody did to hide the truth—becoming as big, muscular, and masculine as possible, avoiding parties and drinking so as not to be around girls or fall prey to In Vino Veritas, putting his nose to the grindstone on their athletic activities—were what drove Todd to do the same just to better compete and keep up with him, and saved him from ruining his life and career like his partying, alcohol-loving friends. So without even realizing it, Cody became a great role model for him.
    • When Cody goes to Sam to ask her to pose as his girlfriend for his parents' benefit, he fully expects her to furiously refuse based on her past dislike for him/overprotectiveness toward Doug...but because she knows better than a lot of people how life-changing it can be being outed to one's family, she actually readily agrees. Even more so, Cody's plan is to engineer a break-up in front of his parents so that he'll have a ready-made excuse to keep them off his back while he dates Doug in peace, and he hinges this on Sam's prior dislike as something easy to accomplish. However, after she takes Cody out to the swing club to establish a believable rapport between them, the things she learns about him there and his overall attitude change displaying his inner goodness actually makes it, in her own words, "easier than I thought" pretending to like him. The end result is that it takes some fast thinking with Randall's friend employed at the diner, plus the outside interference of Jake and Becky, to still pull it off.
    • After learning about Maureen's Trophy Husband, Wendell, Thor decided to play up the testosterone so as to give her what he thought she wanted. Turns out she was actually looking for a family man, who would need to show a tender, caring side...which he could have shown to her via his love of plants if he wasn't also hiding that from the college authorities. And Maureen hates liars. Luckily, Cody has a plan...
  • Dramedy.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The Aesop of the arc with Steve, Doug's ex, although handled much better and less invokedAnviliciously than most such examples.
  • Dumb Blonde: Somewhat inverted by Jake. And absolutely subverted by Doug who, along with his glasses, is able to split bar tabs in his head because he's good at math, and is quite the well-spoken and intelligent fellow all around.
  • Dysfunction Junction: A recurring trope for some of the characters with detailed backgrounds.
  • Engineered Heroics: Surprisingly, it turns out this is the real reason behind Thor's second clash with Cody and Doug, since Maureen wanted the bison to pick a fight and then lose it, thus helping Cody get Doug's attention and ask him out without using Jeff's help. But thanks to Todd's intervention things didn't go according to plan...and of course, Cody had already asked Doug out by that point anyway, which Thor and Maureen didn't even know.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Several times throughout the comic, Jeff attempts this with Cody, working to psychoanalyze him and figure out what his issues are/how to help him come to terms with his gayness. And for some of them, he succeeds, or seems to. But in the end, after one 'session' blows up in the goat's face thanks to him accidentally revealing his crush on the tiger, it's a long talk where Cody and Jake clear the air between each other that helps the former finally figure out what's the cause of his 'performance anxiety'. It also indirectly helps him, along with the dream he has after, to figure out he and Doug aren't working out, so they can have a frank discussion and eventually an amicable break-up.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Most of the male cast.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: At the end of issue four, when Cody realizes (thanks to Volle and Trevor) that his macho-man attitude is putting out a wrong image he no longer wants, especially if he's going to be dating Doug, he gets a new haircut, ditching the crew-cut he'd sported for all the comic prior to that.
  • Failed Dramatic Exit: Downplayed, since Cody just wanted to get away from what he thought was a seduction in progress and so tried to cheesily claim he had karate class and had a friend taping the football game for him, but the end result is the same—after rushing out of Jeff's apartment and slamming the door, Cody has to creep back in because, since Jeff drove him there, he has no idea how to get back to the dorm.
  • Fanservice: Lots of it.
  • Femme Fatale or The Vamp: Depends on whether Maureen turns out to be redeemable—turns out she is the Femme Fatale.
  • First Guy Wins: Played with. The very first guy Cody is shown meeting (other than one who turns out to be his best friend Todd), in either Issue #0 or the actual first issue, is Jake, but after going the whole comic either constantly tempted by the wolf or trying to get rid of him, the tiger finally ends up just being good friends with his roommate. The next guy he meets is sexy handyman Jeff...except he ends up just being a sounding board and much-needed support for Cody. The next guy after that (other than his new boss Tyrone) is Doug, his Love Interest for nearly all of the comic and whom Jeff actually works to help Cody hook up with. But in the end, Cody and Doug realize they're not working out and would be Better as Friends, a single kiss is the extent of how far things go with Jake, and an Erotic Dream reveals to Cody that he returns Jeff's crush so that after a few last complications, they end up as the Official Couple.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The start of issue eight makes use of small pieces of panels to show only brief glimpses of the guy making out with Cody. A very observant reader will notice the arms aren't quite fluffy enough, the muzzle is the wrong shape, and the chin has a goatee, thus revealing before it comes out in two pages that not only was the Cliffhanger of the last issue All Just a Dream, it involved Jeff, not Jake.
  • Forced Out of the Closet:
    • In a brief and rather hilarious throwaway bit at the start of the very first issue, Jake explains to Cody that the reason he's at DeMontfort (as opposed to an Australian college) is because he got caught sneaking out of the dean's house...and the latter, confronting him about supposedly sleeping with his daughter, instead figured out it had been his son Jake was visiting. Interestingly, no negative consequences are implied for the son, with the dean only throwing Jake out of his office, and then sending him to the US as an exchange student.
    • In backstory, this is what happened to Doug at age fifteen, when his parents caught him making out with a senior. End result, he was thrown out and taken in by Sam, which led to both of them being disowned.
    • This also happened in Jeff's backstory to his first boyfriend, a lion named Jeremy, courtesy of the goat's sister Maureen as retaliation for the humiliation she suffered when her fiance Wendell was outed in turn. What happened to the lion as a result is never fully revealed, although despite being seen dragged out by his furious father, Vince assured the readers that he is all right. It's also implied that Maureen did this to other friends or boyfriends of Jeff's over the years, but just how many is never verified.
  • Foreshadowing: When Cody discovers the photo of Jeff and his ex Jeremy, he thinks the goat invited him back to his apartment to seduce him because he has a thing for him. But after he drops the photo and Jeff thinks Cody's panicked exit was due to learning he was gay, he starts apologizing for making Cody uncomfortable because he got too used to people being open-minded in California—which leads to Cody confessing his sexuality, and the whole conversation turns into helping Cody deal with his self-hatred, be himself, and pursue Doug. But it turns out Jeff really did have a thing for Cody, although it didn't start developing into more until some time after this, and this becomes critically important thanks to his sister Maureen.
  • Frazetta Man: Cody briefly imagines himself and Doug as caged sabretooth versions of this, to represent their inner masculine urges they've been resisting (or not).
  • Freudian Slip: When Jeff starts listing activities they've done together that showed off Doug's body, in a misguided attempt to help Cody see the cougar as sexy rather than just a huge and off-putting brute like the other big guys he's known in the past, he accidentally includes ones that only involved himself and Cody, thus giving away his secret crush.
  • Friendship Moment: Remarks that Todd had made, which were in essence true, hurt Cody deeply...but once he got over his anger, this hurt turned into guilt thanks to how much Todd had been there for him, and how he felt he was using and taking advantage of the Bengal. After all lies and secrets are revealed during a one-on-one talk in issue three, from then on it seems their friendship is back on track and maybe even stronger than before. The fact Todd helps defend Cody and Doug from Thor, and even briefly poses as the cougar's boyfriend to keep the bison from outing Cody in public, is most definitely an example of the trope, since it precipitates said heart-to-heart.
  • Funny Background Event: A number of these, but one of the funniest is Ty falling off his perch when Cody seemingly proposes a threesome between himself, Doug, and Steve.
  • Furry Comic: All of the characters are anthropomorphic animals, and the author is a member of the Furry Fandom, so...yeah.
  • Furry Reminder: Other than when a character's species or attributes (hooves, stripes, etc.) are mentioned in dialogue, there's actually surprisingly few of these, although of course Ty's perch at the Hangout is meant to take complete advantage of his species (and the bar's name references this too). Also at one point at Kyell's, Cody does tread on Nate's tail and in issue 9, when Cody is scaling the dorm roof to explore the secret room, a series of panels shows the tiger leaping that quite accurately displays how a cat looks when springing/jumping.
  • Gay Best Friend: Inverted; Todd, who is straight, is Cody's best friend. It's also a somewhat convoluted (on Cody's part) platonic example of The Beard where being his friend helps "prove" Cody is straight because everyone assumes the fellow weightlifter and football player of the "red-blooded All-American boy" must be straight too. At the same it makes it easy for him to get dates to throw off his parents without having to actually ask girls out (via double-dating arranged by Todd), and with most of the girls actually focusing on Chick Magnet Todd while Cody pushes them away with his grumpy tough-guy facade, he gets to live his life in peace without the pressure to conform.
  • Gender Equals Breed: Done invokedWord of God intentionally as a rule of genetics in the story.
  • Gentle Giant: Doug.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: First in issue 7, when debating whether to come out to Jake, and then again in issue 8 when debating whether to break up with Doug, Cody gets a visit from this pair. Notable for reversing the shoulder position, as well as for the angel and devil not only getting into a heated argument (complete with a Precision F-Strike from Angel Cody) but literally jumping into the ring together. (By the way, Angel Cody wins.) A Rule of Funny moment, but it may also be a nod to the original notion (see the trope page) of a person's personified virtues and vices having a Battle in the Center of the Mind for control of his or her soul. Also notable for a number of fans invokedfinding Devil Cody hot, as well as shipping the two with each other—a notion the author teased fans with on the back cover of issue 8.
  • Good-Times Montage: In the second half of issue 5, showing the progress of Cody and Doug's dating life.
  • Hand Behind Head: Cody does this a lot when he's embarrassed, especially around Doug. He does it even more as he learns to loosen up and let down his macho man routine.
  • Has a Type: Jeff likes bigger men. Especially, it seems, big cats. Which makes Cody's brief surmise that the goat might have meant himself when he warned "someone'll step in and nab [Doug] if you stall too long" not that far off the mark, if he'd met Doug first.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Subverted when Jake shows Cody a male/female sex picture and gay Cody is horrified.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Thor looks damn good in a suit when he goes to propose to Maureen.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Thor. This is especially revealed during his talk with Cody in the greenhouse.
  • Hot Men at Work: Many characters.
    • Cody as a bouncer.
    • Doug as a waiter.
    • Jeff as a handyman.
    • Thor as a groundskeeper.
    • Tyrone as a bartender.
    • Volle as a bartender.
  • House of Broken Mirrors: Variation, where the cover of issue eight is a shattered image of Cody's face, interspersed with pieces from similar images of Doug, Jake, and Jeff's faces. Considering the first half of the issue is all about the tiger coming to terms with his desires, what he wants for the future, and who he wants to end up with—so that he is indeed feeling all jumbled-up and distorted, his ego undermined and at war with itself (as exemplified in his Good Angel, Bad Angel scenario)—the imagery is apt.
  • Humiliation Conga: For Thor after he cheats in the drink-spilling game—first Cody takes advantage of his belligerence to claim he's drunk and therefore "you've had enough", thus denying him the free drink he just won; then Todd not only takes him down with his karate but defuses his imminent outing of Cody's sexuality by claiming to be the "stripey boyfriend" in question. The icing on the cake is how the Bengal also turns a number of Thor's comebacks into Double Entendres and caps it off by revealing just what winning the drink-spilling game means, which Thor didn't even know. The end result is everyone in the Hangout laughing while the bison storms out in a fury.
  • Husky Russkie: Vladimir (bonus points for the name) and Georgiy in From Russia With Lust. Georgiy doesn't work out at all but he's still bigger and stronger than Cody. Vladimir is able to easily lift him and the chair he's sitting in several feet off the floor. They both speak broken English, but it's hinted that Vlad's is just an act.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "All I'm sayin', is open communication is the best way to sort out your problems. Take it from someone who knows." Spoken by Boris.
  • Identical Panel Gag: Unsurprisingly, the author uses this a few times along with Visual Puns and Odd Shaped Panels. What is particularly fun is how subtle and easily missed some of these are. For example, in issue 3, page 28, the panel where Todd's old friend Dwight is shown being forced by the cop to do the "touch-your-nose-with-your-finger" test after his drunken car crash perfectly mirrors the one below it from Todd and Cody's karate class in terms of character placement and poses—and Dwight is even pointing at the broken board fence while Todd is breaking a board with his hand. Issue 4, page 7 has two stacks of panels where the top of one mirrors the bottom of the other in character posing and vice versa, and is linked by theme as well—one set shows Doug/Cody lifting heavy objects, the other them playing sports (and even the middle set, while not identical in pose, involves the same activity, weightlifting). One of the harder ones to notice, due to how busy and wonky the pages are, is the same issue, pages 26 and 27: while there are some extraneous figures outside the panels to further obscure it, the cross-shaped panel of Doug dancing as well as the set of five small panels of Cody psyching himself up (and belching) is a perfect inverted mirror of the previous page where it's Doug's four friends dancing and/or laughing along with five small panels of Cody nursing his drink.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Todd does this, as a form of Brain Bleach when he is forced to listen in as Cody and Jeff discuss Cody's sex life. "You do the hokey pokey and you tune your best friend out..."
  • I Have No Son!:
    • Doug's parents kicked him out as a teenager for being gay.
    • Also implied to be what happened to Jeff's first boyfriend, Jeremy thanks to Maureen outing him.
  • I Have to Wash My Hair: When Cody is trying to work up the nerve to ask his crush, Gentle Giant Doug, out on a date, his Imagine Spot comes up with various reasons why Doug might turn him down. This excuse is one of them.
  • Imagine Spot: Cody's mind.
  • Interspecies Romance: Cody as a tiger with Doug as a cougar. And later with Jeff as a goat. A number of these appear elsewhere in the comic actually, such as Trevor and Robbie, Krystal and George, Sam and Marty, Thor and Maureen...
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Several times, during the scenes immediately following the basketball game where being up-close-and-personal with Doug led Cody to slam him into the wall with a forceful kiss, and naturally making use of Dramatic Irony: Doug wonders to Dusty "what brought that on?" followed by Cody wondering the same thing (but with shame rather than bemusement); Cody admits, after slut-shaming himself, that it "was actually really hot", only for Doug to say the same in sultry fashion; and then lastly Doug, after being pleased Cody had finally taken the initiative, sounds hopeful about what may happen next time...only for the tiger to firmly berate himself and say next time he'll "just be cool" and won't be doing something like that any time soon. While somewhat Played for Laughs, the whole sequence actually underscores how much the two cats' needs and views are on completely different pages.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thor comes across as a giant ass who uses his size to intimidate people. He's also a plant lover whose actually a pretty nice guy when you get to know him, as long as you avoid his Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Jerkass Façade: From early on we know Cody's reason for him exhibiting this trope.
  • Karma Houdini: Maureen. The comic made it very clear how horrible being outed can be, and she is responsible for outing her brother's first real boyfriend. She proceeds to break a number of laws, and talks Thor into doing her dirty work. She does not seem to appreciate the depth of her actions, let alone receive any punishment for them.
  • Knight Templar: Maureen.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Cody and Jake are seen making out at the end of a chapter, ending in a Cliffhanger. Subverted: Not only is it All Just a Dream, but Cody and Jake end up just becoming friends. Some might say this trope actually applies to Cody and Jeff, but that was foreshadowed, at least on Jeff's part, almost from day one.
    • Also to a lesser extent, Zach and Allie, which also somewhat comes across as a Beta Couple.
  • Loophole Abuse: How Thor gets away with spilling Doug's drink tray twice—because the Hangout never bothered to put up a sign saying the game was a one-time thing, because nobody had ever managed to do it more than once (presumably because no one was strong enough to do so on their own, and Doug only "let them win" once). Logically this shouldn't count, because (as Sam points out) it should be obvious no establishment would allow such a game to be won indefinitely and thus allow endless free drinks, but since Thor is being an asshole and also acting on behalf of Maureen he isn't being logical or fair. Luckily this gets turned back on him in rather epic fashion—see the Humiliation Conga above.
  • Luminescent Blush: A number of characters have this, but the most common one is, surprisingly and adorably, Cody himself.
  • Lust: Cody feels it with a vengeance.
  • Male Gaze: Oh, here and there.
    • Cody's view of Jake.
    • Jeff's view of Cody.
    • Cody and Doug's view of each other.
  • Manly Gay: Tyrone and Volle.
  • Masquerade: An entire arc concerns Cody going to great lengths to prevent his parents finding out he's gay.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Jake has five brothers. Most of them are also beefcake or Fanservice in some way, but there's actually a nice amount of varying body types among them. Unsurprisingly, several of them are also quite lusty, if not to the same extent Jake is.
  • Meaningful Echo: In a Call-Back to issue 2.
    Cody: How did you put it...I think for now, I'm just glad I'm free to be...considering all the possibilities.
  • Meganekko: Cody likes Doug with glasses — a sexy Spear Counterpart of the usually female Meganekko.
    • Also, for the invokedstraight readers, Sam's friend Jeanne.
    • Sam herself has a bit of this going on when she meets Cody's parents.
  • The Moorcock Effect/Canon Welding: i.s.o. and another work by the same author, The Class Menagerie, not only take place in the same shared universe, but at the same DeMontfort University and their characters even live in the same dorm building, Richter Hall. But whereas TCM characters live on the dorm's third floor, i.s.o. characters Cody and Jake live on the first floor, and the characters from the two stories are not seen meeting one another.
    • While none of the ISO cast met the CM cast, there was a 'blink and you miss it' cameo in issue 6, where Sam is describing her taste in men: the skater roo is invokedpretty much confirmed to be Mikey. Also, a retooled Biff appears near the end of issue 9.
    • Dani appears in an Imagine Spot in From Russia With Lust.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: The motivation behind Maureen's romance with Wendell. When this is inadvertently ruined by Jeff's drunken make-out session revealing Wendell to be gay, this is what leads her into stalking Jeff for Revenge. Only finding her another husband puts paid to this line of thought.
  • Naked Apron: Tyrone is a pair of pants away from this trope. It's hot.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: Played with, but in most cases averted. Most of the characters, simply being American unless revealed to us otherwise, don't match any particular stereotypes, but some of them do have more obscure connections revealed or implied through their surnames, backstories, or supplemental material.
    • Cody being a Siberian tiger seems chosen solely for the massive size of the animal in question (and the thick fluffy fur), but after reading "From Russia With Lust", it's clear Vince has established the Frost family as hailing originally from Russia, which does indeed fit their species.
    • By contrast, Todd being a Bengal doesn't play into any aspect of his character—except for the Stealth Pun contained in his last name.
    • On the inside cover of issue 4, when Vince draws the main cast as humans, Thor is depicted (fittingly enough) as a Scary Black Man...but his species is that of a bison (more usually associated with Native Americans), not any African animal.
    • Tyrone, on the other hand, has next to no indications in either his speech patterns or his character design, but on that same issue 4 inside cover he is depicted as Hispanic; though this could be a slight nod to vampire bats being native to South America, there otherwise seems to be no connection.
    • And finally the most obvious stereotype in the comic, Aussie Jake, is...a wolf, not the expected kangaroo or even a dingo.
  • Nice Guy: Doug. His friend Tim, Todd's friend Dave, Nate, and Boris also count.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Todd's CD which Cody mercilessly teases him about features an artist who is an amalgamation of various female pop stars, in this case Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. When trying to defend himself, the Bengal suggests Cody would be just as eager to own a CD by...Brad Jolie. And Doug's CD, which Cody borrowed to burn a copy of after admitting (reluctantly) to liking it himself, has such an artist too. Her name? Diane Salinas. (Switch the names around and sound them out...)
  • No Mouth: While this happens to a lot of characters throughout the comic, it most commonly happens with Cody and Doug. Not an example of Lazy Artist but a deliberate stylistic choice; sometimes it is meant to suggest thoughtfulness, lack of expression, or confusion, but usually it's meant to be funny and/or cute. Amusingly, when Cody isn't drawn this way, his other near-default expression is a Cheshire Cat Grin (thanks to being embarrassed or trying to get out of trouble).
  • Not So Stoic: Cody, despite trying to be a stoic tough guy, is incredibly easy to rattle. One of the earliest examples of this is him falling back against the alley wall at the start of issue 2, when he realizes what Doug spilling his drink tray for him means. The fact he actually does faint after finally asking Doug out one issue later is an even stronger example.
  • Not This One, That One: When Cody first meets Doug's friends, he mistakes Trevor the horse for Robbie the rabbit because Tim had introduced them as a personal trainer and book shop owner.
    Cody: Yep, definitely a trainer's grip there, Robbie.
    Trevor: Me? Oh, goodness gracious no, hon, I'm Trevor. Though I suppose I keep my girlish figure by tossing books around all day.
    Cody (turning to stone): I see.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Played for Laughs and also Invoked by Jeff—by claiming he needs a certain red baseball cap (which Doug just so happens to be wearing), then using a motorized button to make Doug spill his drink tray right when he's next to Jake, he engineers it so that Jake drags Doug off toward the Hangout bathroom to obtain the hat...so that an observing Cody thinks the drinking game, Doug's mussed hair, and Jake's reputation means the two of them were making out. All of this is meant to push Cody into finally talking to Doug and asking him out, when he thinks the latter might get taken by another guy—and it works.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Georgiy in From Russia With Lust. Seeing how unhappy his father and contemporaries were being geniuses led him to pretend to be dumb as a brick, despite being just as smart.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel: Tons, and while according to the author the majority are due to the usual reason (breaking up the monotony), many of the other reasons (reinforcing action/thoughts, reflecting theme, humor value) apply as well.
  • Official Couple: Robbie/Trevor, Cody/Doug (who have since broken up), Cody/Jeff.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: While Cody and Jeff get together, and even the redeemed villains get married and are expecting a baby, poor Doug is left without a man in his life—though to be fair, it is hinted he might be interested in Tim, he gets his life saved, and his breakup with Cody is the best one on record for him. Meanwhile Jeremy, Jeff's old boyfriend outed by Maureen, gets dragged away by his belligerent father and is never seen again. invokedWord of God states he's all right...somewhere...but even factoring in this being a slice-of-life comic which can't have pat endings and all loose ends tied up, it still feels a bit...unsettling.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe, Jeff has been suffering from this since Maureen's stalking, coupled with her periodic phone calls letting him know aspects of his life she'd observed or that she was watching him right at that moment, has made him think she's everywhere and always has some way of keeping tabs on him. It turns out he's Properly Paranoid though, since she does have a spy assisting her: Thor. On a hilarious meta side note, the scene just before The Reveal is made involves a long-distance shot of Cody and Jeff talking, with the "camera" focused on a grass blade with an ant in the foreground, a detail that caused several of Vince's beta-readers to think the ant was some sort of Spy Bot with visual and audio recording devices. Considering this is in the same universe as The Class Menagerie, with DeMontfort's rival school Forrest Tech and its AI robotics (which also appear in two other semi-canonical one-shots written by friends/beta-readers/Ascended Fanboys but illustrated by Vince), the idea isn't as unlikely as it seems on the surface...
  • Parental Abandonment:
  • Performance Artist: Jake is a dance major.
  • Poor Communication Kills: For the longest time, Doug and Cody can't manage to connect on a physical level, beyond a number of kisses both passionate and sedate. Doug feels this is due to Cody being so new at even admitting his sexuality, letting alone dating another man for the first time, while his friend Robbie is afraid Cody is just stringing him along either to dump him or pressure him into sex when he's "built it up enough" and is "owed" it. Cody meanwhile is afraid that he's coming across like too much of a horndog, and also worries that his inability to follow through means he might not actually be gay. When they are finally able to clear the air between them, it turns out that while Cody has always played the tough manly guy, and can continue to take charge if it's what his partner wants, he really is looking for equality in a relationship...and while Doug did like the idea of Cody both being a bad boy and having a kinder, gentler side, in the end he is...still a submissive. While this isn't the only issue this fundamental incompatibility is a big part of why they decide in the end that they're Better as Friends.
  • Promotion to Parent:
    • When Doug's parents kicked him out of the house as a teenager for being with another male, his big sister Sam took him in.
    • Also Maureen when Maureen and Jeff's parents were killed in an automobile accident. Not that Maureen was all that good at it, and Jeff was an independent teenager anyway.
  • Pun: The author is quite good at these, both verbal and visual, often of a furry nature. Two excellent examples would be the "Wash and Were" (a laundromat with a wolf on the sign) and the Hangout (run by a bat).
    • Punny Name: While some of them are subtle, a number of the character's names act as this in one way or another, usually in an animal sense but not always.
      • Cody Frost: Not just the Defrosting Ice King mentioned above, but because he's a Siberian tiger.
      • Jake Packard, a wolf.
      • Todd Connors, a Bengal tiger.note 
      • Sam Hill (as in "what in the _____ are you doing?")
      • Thor Grainger, a bison.
      • Tim Longoria, a weasel.
      • Trevor Buckingham, a horse.
      • Robbie Warren, a rabbit.
      • Randall Winger, a kite.
      • Pete Firestone, a Dalmatian.note 
  • Raging Stiffie: Cody's "proof of gayness".
  • Red Herring: A lot of readers thought when he appeared that Nate would be a threat to Cody's relationship with Doug, would even try to sabotage it so he could snag the tiger for himself. invoked(Some actively hoped for it, though not because they had anything against Doug.) But in the end, he turned out to be exactly what he seemed to be—a Nice Guy and a good, gay friend with no strings attached to help show Cody how to have a normal life.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Thor, post-spying confession, at least from Sam's point of view. Then he saves her brother...
  • The Reveal: From the end of issue 8, Thor is the spy helping Maureen. And for that matter, Jeff telling Cody he has a stalker, who it is, and why.
  • Romance Arc: Cody and Doug.
  • Rule of Sexy: Muscles, abs, buns, haircuts, clothes, builds...
  • Rule of Three: "I must not die a virgin I must not die a virgin I must not die a virgin..." "Whew! Not gonna die a virgin." invoked"Aw, crap. I am so gonna die a virgin..." Explanation 
  • Rule 34: Strangely averted. For a comic with a great deal of invokedHo Yay and Fanservice, there is a significant Fan-Art scene and invokedLGBT Fanbase, but a surprising scarcity of actual Rule Thirty Four, even in the wake of a particularly homoerotic Ship Tease Cliffhanger. And most of the Rule Thirty Four that's actually been published, was by the original artist. This seems to defy expectations of human nature.
    • That is because the writer specifically requested that no fans draw such artwork. And his own examples have been highly scarce because he's insistent on ISO remaining a PG-13 comic that isn't all about sex. (Or at least, depictions of it.)
      • The fans seem like extraordinary obedient fans. What makes Rule 34 Rule Thirty Four is that it describes a side of predictably irrepressible human nature. And as a rule, it is strangely magically averted in this case.
      • Not so strange: the fans had too much respect for the author to disobey his request for no ISO porn. GIFT does not always hold true. Or if a more cynical view is preferred, disobeying would have led to a discontinuation of the comic, which not even the most porn-loving fan would have wanted.
  • Secret Relationship: Cody and Doug, before Cody kisses Doug in public in front of several people they know; Cody still tries to keep it secret from his own parents.
  • Secret Test of Character: It's not clear if he planned this from the start or it was a subconscious thing, but when Doug reveals he asked Cody to go with him to Kyell's for their second date, Sam calls her brother on using the club as this trope—since it being a "total meat market" and thus prime temptation would help prove whether the tiger was the trustworthy sort. Despite encountering Nate there (who just turns out to be a fellow classmate and then ends up becoming a good, platonic friend), Cody passes—in fact he actually admits to Trevor he's dressing and acting unapproachable on purpose since he is there with Doug, not seeking random hit-ons. It's not until later that Cody is actually tempted, both in kissing Jake and dreaming about Jeff, but this has to do with other problems in the relationship and in Cody's emotional state, not faithfulness.
    Sam: You wanna see how he reacts to temptation, cuz you're not sure if you can trust him yet. Is that it?
    Doug: Mmmaybe. It sounds so underhanded when you put it that way...
  • Sex Changes Everything: Cody's great dread.
  • Ship Tease: Cody and Jake's sudden making out.
  • Shirtless Scene: A number of times with Cody, and also with Doug and a few other characters. Does not technically apply to Jake, as he never wears a shirt anyway. (The one time this is averted, when he dresses up to make a good impression on Cody's parents, ends up still hilariously played straight in the end when he later shows up at the restaurant with Becky, and Mr. Frost can't help wondering in the background, "What happened to his shirt?") Also Nate at Kyell's. And since the basketball games in issue 5 involve "Shirts vs. Skins" this ends up applying to a large number of characters. Including Dusty, invokedto Cody's freakout. She's still wearing a sports bra.
  • Shout-Out: The gay bar Kyell's is named after fellow gay-fiction writer Kyell Gold.
    • Also to pop music culture: the music video which Jake gets to be part of has a number of shots inspired by the likes of Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson, while the T-shirts which Jake and Zach buy bear a line "Caught in a rad bromance" parodying a Lady Gaga song.
    • Then there's the Scooby-Doo reference when Jake is trying to find out Cody's secret before he finds out that Cody's gay:
    Jeepers, Jakey Doo!
    • When Trevor questions Cody about his uncertainty at dancing in a gay club for the first time, they share a familiar exchange:
    Trevor: You nervous?
    Cody: Me? I...well...er...uh...maybe?
    Trevor: First time?
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Cody authoritatively giving Doug a very hot kiss.
  • Shutting Up Now: Todd, in the last issue when he worries about there being a fire at the crowded Hangout.
    Todd, after a Beat panel in which everyone stares at him: Um...I think I'll just, y'know, stand in the corner with a bag over my head...
    Cody: Aww. Well, be sure to cut a hole for your drink!
  • Sneeze of Doom: This is actually how Thor catches Cody in the greenhouse, thanks to him sweeping the dirt from a pot he spilled under the table where the latter is hiding.
  • Snowball Lie: How things get out of control with Cody. Needing to explain to his parents why he's now working (and afraid they'll tell him to quit once they find out he's a bouncer, which would take him away from Doug), he claims he's dating a girl (Sam, but with Doug's traits and personality). But once he actually does start dating Doug, all the time he spends with him makes his parents so curious they drop in to visit so they can meet "her"...which in turn leads Cody to fake that he's actually dating Sam, and the process of setting this up (and then arranging a "break-up" so he can date Doug in peace) ends up spiraling into a huge Masquerade with numerous lies, secret phone calls, clandestine meetings, and clever schemes that end up drawing in Sam and her friends, Becky, Jake, Nate and Randall, and one of the latter's friends before it all finally collapses.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay:
    • When at the 50's swing club, Cody thinks that Sam's friend Nikki is flirting with him, so admits to his sexuality to nip it in the bud. Of course she knew all along about him and Doug and was simply teasing because "that doesn't make you any less yummy to dance with!"
    • Maureen's Trophy Husband fiance Wendell.
  • Spit Take: Cody, when he's delaying at Kyell's because he's still nervous about dancing.
    Trevor: Yanno, hon, if you nurse that drink any longer, you'll grow breasts.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: As revealed at the end of issue 2, Jeff has one of these. His own sister Maureen, thanks to a complicated backstory involving his secret gayness and a drunken bachelor party ruining her impending wedding with a guy he'd introduced her to who turned out to also be secretly gay.
  • Straight Gay: Doug, Jeff, Robbie. Cody tried but failed to be this. Doug wasn't actually hiding or overcompensating, so he could actually get away with it without mentioning it.
    • Tyrone is gay, not that you'd know from looking at him.
    • And Nate as well, whose absence from this page was noted by Vince himself.
  • Stripperiffic: Jake never wears a shirt.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: When Cody can't get hot Doug out his mind no matter how hard he tries. This is a variation of traditional Stupid Sexy Flanders in that Cody is actually gay rather than straight but (at the time) he hadn't completely come to terms with it yet.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Downplayed with Todd, for Cody—the Siberian does think his friend is hot, and even admits to wishing he might turn out to be bi and they could "experiment" (to Todd's laughter), but at the same time Cody's determination that no one would ever learn his sexuality caused him to successfully resist reacting to Todd over the years of their friendship. It's actually Jeff who finds the Bengal hot, to the point he wonders how Cody never got caught looking and nobody figured out he was gay.
  • Super-Deformed: During some of Cody's (or Doug's) cuter Imagine Spots.
  • Surfer Dude: Zach.
  • Theme Naming: All the chapters within each issue have titles that play off of the i.s.o name—either by using phrases based off of what it stands for, words that contain the "iso-" prefix, or phrases that either rhyme with or contain the letters somewhere within them. The author has to reach and strain a few times to make it work, but it's still a fun touch.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After Jake loses out on Zach, to his own cousin and also doesn't get together with Cody, it seems as if the poor wolf will end the comic without anything good to look forward to beyond his schooling (although he and Cody do finally become friends). But then in the last issue he gets discovered by some talent agents who just happen to need a taller (and very strong) dancer, which results in him getting to do a music video shoot with a rising American Idol-type star. The result certainly seems to suggest his career is being launched and industry connections being made for him (the singer asks him to be a backup dancer for her summer tour), and at the very least he finally gets a chance to be recognized for the talents he spoke of back in the very first issue, not just his looks and bedroom activities—and have fun, too. (Although he does, ironically, end up having to take off his shirt for a fair portion of the shoot.)
  • Trophy Husband: Maureen almost had this with Wendell, until he was seen making out with Jeff while drunk.
  • Tsundere: Thor is a Type A Tsundere who is usually very Jerkass, but is actually very tender while caring for plants. He has also been shown occasionally to be kind and gentle with certain people.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Cody for half the male cast. And Jeff for Cody, which eventually becomes apparent to Cody, and Cody flees as a result.
  • Unusual Euphemism: After Nate swiftly thinks on his feet and comes up with a lie to cover for Cody with Jake (yet another Not What It Looks Like situation), Cody says he owes him one. The snow leopard's response? "So...with those big, strong arms...how are you at...polishing?" Which turns out to mean polishing Nate's snowboard.
    Cody: Somehow, I knew I was still gonna lose my shirt.
    Nate: C'mon, I'm not stupid. Just keep at it. Winter break'll be here before you know it.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Jake and Zach each for their promiscuity, but in Jake's case it's actually completely true.
  • Violent Glaswegian: In earlier public drafts of i.s.o., there was no Thor, and in his place was a Jerkass dragon groundskeeper with a Scottish accent named Duncan. This character being able to breathe fire was the original premise of how Thor accidentally started a fire in his Back Story. But Duncan's role was completely replaced with Thor because Duncan's personality and occupation too closely resembled Groundskeeper Willy. Thor, a bison, can't breathe fire, so his fire backstory is more of a conventional accident. Still, Duncan was invokedhot enough to get some Fanart for a little while.
  • Visual Pun/Stock Visual Metaphors: The author's artistic style is replete with these. Most occur within Cody's Imagine Spot, but just as many are unusual panel layouts, commentary on the dialogue (slice-of-life shots from Todd and Cody's past are depicted on slices of bread), or ways to liven up the boring square panel comic-book style. To list all of them would be almost as long as this page—and many, many of them are a invokedFunny Moment or Moment of Awesome. The Shout Outs to Naked Gun in the PG-13 sex scene between Jeff and Cody are particularly hilarious. One of the most striking examples would be the series of images from Cody's lying telephone call to his parents, since each is interlocked with or leads into the next: parachuting out of a plane ("taking the plunge") which lands him in the middle of a spider web ("caught in a web of lies") which then appears inside a maze he has to find his way out of, a maze he is then seen digging out of until finally he is underwater ("in over his head").
  • The Voiceless: Boris, because as a Big Eater, he always has food in his mouth. He remains this way until we finally see him speak in issue eight.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: A bit downplayed, but when Thor goes to propose to Maureen, he brings her the engagement ring hanging off the branch of one of his bonsai trees.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene:
    • Jake never wears a shirt.
    • Tyrone never wears a shirt but he does wear a bartender's apron. Somewhat justifiable in that Tyrone is a bat with bat wings, which would make any conventional shirt impractical. Later when Tyrone has to wear a shirt, he wears one with the sides torn down to accommodate his wings.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: One of the above shirtless scenes, right in the first issue, occurs because Cody, infuriated at Zach and Jake's innuendoes about his upcoming job interview, hulks out of his shirt (which, thanks to him bulking up over the summer, is already too tight). He later invokes the trope name when explaining his appearance to Jeff (in lieu of being thought a Chippendale dancer).
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Jokingly invoked by the author to explain how (and why) he creates such wonky panel layouts and Visual Gags. Arguably one of the many reasons the comic has such a big following.
  • When He Smiles: Despite putting up such a gruff, tough, uber-manly asshole front, it turns out that if you can get him to relax and be himself, Cody has an absolutely sweet and heartwarming smile. Needless to say, getting to see it more and more often as the comic progresses is quite satisfying.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Kyell's, a bar Cody visits with Doug and Doug's friends.
  • Wicked Cultured: Maureen is as sophisticated as she is bitchy.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Cody, when asking Sam to pretend to date him for his parents' benefit, falls into this because he fully expects her to refuse outright, or at least argue with him about it until he can convince her—except she instantly agrees. Causing his Imagine Spot invokedto view her briefly as a nun.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Downplayed, but when Cody is having an Erotic Dream at the start of issue eight Jake reveals that not only was he not dreaming about him, he wasn't dreaming about Doug either, since it was Jeff's name he was moaning in his sleep.
  • You Just Told Me: Cody thinks Jeff has shown up to berate him for avoiding him, which he's been doing since he hasn't been able to apply his advice re: Doug yet. But Jeff is just there to fix the broken dorm room door (again).
    Jeff, grinning: But...since you brought it up...
    Cody: D'oh!
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Not only does issue 7's Cliffhanger turn out to be (mostly) a dream, but even then it was a dream about Jeff.
  • Zany Scheme: Cody's plan to have Sam impersonate his girlfriend when his parents come to town for lunch. Nate points out that all such plans are doomed to failure—but in a subversion, Cody reveals he wants the plan to fail, because the point isn't to genuinely convince the Frosts he and Sam are an item, it's to have her break up with him in front of his parents, so as to get them off his back about finding a girl and leave him to date Doug in peace. Further subverted when the appearance of Jake and Becky as Spanners in the Works causes the plot to collapse—with the exact end result Cody had hoped for. The downside? Jake gets hurt in the process, and Cody is left to wonder for the first time whether keeping his orientation a secret is really worth it, if it just keeps hurting his friends, and if he'd really rather be thought a Handsome Lech (or worse a Casanova Wannabe) instead of gay. And the crowning bit? Like almost all Zany Schemes, it wasn't even necessary because his parents end up being perfectly fine with him being gay, and one already suspected.


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