The comic deals with Judy revealing to Nick, her boyfriend, that she is pregnant. Nick is overjoyed, but Judy doesn't want the child. The two get into a heated argument that ends their relationship, and Nick walks out on Judy.
Borba has said that the comic was intended to show that even a One True Pairing can break up, given the right circumstances. However, he chose an unplanned pregnancy as the rock upon which their relationship crashes. As a result, a large portion of the audience focused on Nick's pro-life vs Judy's pro-choice positions. This caused the general public to come to know it as the "Zootopia Pro-Life Comic" or the "Zootopia Abortion Comic", even though the term abortion or pro-life is never used in the story.
In February 2019, Borba completed a sequel called Born To Be Alive which picks up a year after the events in this comic. He has said that I Will Survive and Born To Be Alive will make up a series called The Trilogy of Life. A third installment, tentatively titled Never Say Goodbye is currently pending. A story set between this and Born to be Alive titled The Longest Night would be released the following year.
I Will Survive contains examples of:
- Armor-Piercing Response: Nick to Judy, which results in her being taken aback, then slapping him.Judy: You know who I am! You know what's at stake for me since we first met! And you know full well that I did everything for my career!
Nick: Yes, I do know. It seems like you could even kill our baby for your career.
- Author Tract: Borba has claimed it's not a pro-life author tract, but it's been noted that the story does tend to lean in a pro-life direction. The comic is peppered with Roman Catholic iconography, a religion that has a historically strong pro-life position. It's also been pointed out that showing Judy striking Nick so violently seriously undermines her argument and Nick is the one who gets the Title Drop as the last thing he says before leaving Judy.
- Bold Inflation: Borba peppers the dialog with words in bold typeface. However, there seems to be little rhyme or reason as to when words are presented in bold. It's done so frequently throughout the story that it becomes essentially pointless.
- Career Versus Family: Despite the fact that the movie showed that Judy was focused on making the world a better place and being a police officer was a means to that end, the webcomic portrays Judy as being very career-focused. She believes that some things, like her being a role model for other small mammals and her upcoming promotion to lieutenant, should be prioritized over having children. Nick disagrees.
- Dark Fic: It's a sad portrayal of the relationship of two individuals breaking down because each side has opposing views on how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy and neither side is willing to compromise or seriously consider the other's side.
- Death by Childbirth: Because there has never been a predator/prey hybrid before, Judy is concerned that their child could be way too big for her to safely carry to term.
- Double Standard: The story has a disappointing treatment of Judy as a female character.
- While the animal duo are dressed casually in the webcomic, Judy is considerably more sexualized. Nick is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and loose pants like he did in the movie. However, Judy is not wearing her gingham shirt and jeans but rather a tank top and notably tight shorts instead. In addition, throughout the comic, Judy is drawn in positions that show-off a considerable amount of hip, thigh, butt and crotch which seems very out-of-place given the serious discussion they are having.
- During their ensuing argument, Nick is portrayed as keeping his emotions more or less under control, while Judy becomes so overwhelmed by emotion that she slaps Nick hard enough to leave claw marks on his cheek.
- Downer Ending: Nick leaves Judy over her decision to not keep the child. She's heartbroken, and he's not happy with her decision, but as neither side was willing to compromise or even agree to keep talking, a breakup was inevitable.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The entire story takes place over the course of approximately twenty minutes in-universe. Critics have pointed out that the story was particularly heavy-handed in the portrayal of a relationship tearing itself apart over such an important issue without any attempt at taking time to calm down or having multiple discussions once the argument got heated. Essentially, the story shows that Nick and Judy have one and only one shot at working things out and failure results in the total breakdown of their relationship.
- For Want of a Nail: In a last-ditch attempt to talk Judy out of having an abortion, Nick asks what would have happened if Judy's mother hadn't given birth to her, saying that the world would be worse off, and he'd still be living a meaningless life..
- Full-Name Ultimatum: A variation. Judy wakes up Nick by calling him by his unabbreviated first name. Even though it's not his full name, his reaction lampshades this trope.Judy: Nicholas! I am serious!
Nick: Geez! When you call me Nicholas it means I'm in great danger.
Judy: You bet!
- Hypocrite: Unlike his portrayal in the movie, Nick is shown to have religious convictions that he expresses in his comments on the pregnancy. In addition to the Roman Catholic iconography present in the background, when Nick is unable to convince Judy to keep the child, he calls her decision a "premeditated sin". This tends to imply a Roman Catholic or at least a conservative Christian religious viewpoint. Both have a strong pro-life perspective, but also have a rather condemning view on sex outside of marriage. However, Nick who is only Judy's boyfriend, doesn't seem at all bothered about the sinfulness of the activity that got them into their current situation.
- Informed Attribute: The final panel informs us that Nick and Judy represent an "everlasting love that has triumphed over the odds and many challenges". However, neither Nick nor Judy are ever shown demonstrating the qualities of a mature, loving relationship such as bringing a sense of compassion to an argument, making an effort to understand an opposing viewpoint or being willing to compromise for the sake of their loved one.
- Let Me Get This Straight...: Nick does this after Judy relates her fears about being pregnant with a fox/rabbit hybrid.Nick: So what you're saying is... "Hey, Nick! Even if you can get me pregnant, I don't want to have any children with you." Did I hit the mark, Judy?
- Love Bubbles: Subverted. There are hexagonal bubbles in the background when Judy appears to be inspired by Nick's speech and might be considering keeping the baby, however in the next panel Judy shuts that down with the proclamation "my body, my rules."
- Mix And Match Creature:
- It's shown that the offspring of separate species looks like a mix of the two. For example, a sheep/goat cross looks like a fluffy goat.
- Deconstructed with Judy's argument. In this comic, there has never been a prey-predator hybrid, so Judy has no idea what the baby would look like. She worries that the child would be some sort of freakish fox/rabbit hybrid or that it could be too dangerous to carry to term.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Judy immediately regrets slapping Nick, but the damage has been done.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: Despite the subject matter being about abortion, the actual word is never used throughout the comic.
- Poe's Law: Some people have argued that Borba did the comic as an intentional and deliberate Stealth Parody. It's hard to say for certain whether they're right, but certain particularly strange parts of the story (like the fact that Nick and Judy's apartment is directly modeled◊ after Jerry's apartment from Seinfeld) seem difficult to explain as the work of a legitimate fan.
- The Power of Love: The entire story is a subversion of this trope showing that even a One True Pairing can break up. Despite the story's assertion that Nick and Judy represent an "everlasting love that has triumphed over the odds and many challenges", a loving attitude is not apparent in the story. Their actions and behavior toward each other conveys no sense of compassion, understanding or willingness to compromise for the sake of their loved one. Both Nick and Judy are portrayed as seeming to only care about themselves, ignoring the other's thoughts and feelings so each can focus on what's at stake for them.
- Pubescent Braces: When Nick asks what would have happened if Judy's mother never gave birth to her, a collection of pictures of Judy's childhood are shown, among them a shot of an adolescent Judy with braces.
- Self-Deprecation: In early 2018, Borba posted his own meme of the original comic. Judy and Nick sit calmly on the couch and both are playing on their smart devices. Judy sends an IM announcing her pregnancy and that she doesn't want the child. Nick responds back with "Yeah whatever".
- Skewed Priorities: To underscore Judy's trepidation about the pregnancy, the comic establishes that, to her knowledge, there has never been a predator/prey hybrid before so there is no medical precedent to determine the safety of carrying the child to term. However, this also means that, as far as she knows, the child is a scientific miracle that would be the first of its kind which could have a significant impact on the society of Zootopia and its understanding of inter-species offspring. Yet Judy takes no steps to learn more about the potential uniqueness of her condition and her main concern is how it could adversely impact her career.
- Soap Opera: Some readers have suggested that the story's focus on a couple painfully breaking up complete with excessive gestures, over-the-top facial expressions, and melodramatic dialog makes more sense if one considers the webcomic as a scene from a gaudy Telenovela featuring two characters that resemble Nick and Judy.
- Title Drop: Nick quotes the title when he walks out on Judy.Judy: Nick! Where are you going?
Nick: Don't worry. I will survive.
- Titled After the Song: This comic takes its name from the popular, late 1970s disco song by Gloria Gaynor.
- Writer on Board: One of the biggest criticisms levied against the story is that Borba cherry-picked only those aspects of Nick and Judy's character that served the narrative of getting into an argument that would break them up and ignored aspects that strongly imply they would have dealt with the pregnancy issue more rationally. This led to a lot of the fandom feeling they were unfairly presented.