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Webcomic / Johnny Wander

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"Johnny Wander might be about life after college, being a kid, growing up and all the people you meet and all the things that happen in that brave new world.

Or it might be about something else entirely."

Johnny Wander is a Slice of Life webcomic by Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh. The comic mostly follows the everyday lives of Yuko and company after graduating college, but since September of 2009, they have started putting up short comics with an Urban Fantasy theme on occasion.

The main cast includes:

Ananth, a self-proclaimed comics nerd, whose hat always covers his eyes. Even when he's not wearing it.
Yuko, a small girl who is often mistaken for a boy, and is "internet famous"note . Can also fit inside a dryer.
Conrad, an exhibitionist who likes to eat breakfast 24/7. Also has a very suspicious hairdo.
John, a mildly ornery tallish fellow who likes to clean.
Steve, a DJ who's skillful with bass.
Mike, a musician who can be stopped with shellfish and/or bullets.
Rook: Yuko's (very talkative) cat. Meow meow meow meow meow meow. Not a real cat.
Gonta: Yuko's dad's cat. Likes to fret.
Mika: Yuko's mom's cat.
George: smiles all the time.
Lela: who likes dogs and cooking.
Cricket: the laundry kitten. Chirrup.

The main comic contains examples of:

  • The Big Guy: The only person John might not be taller than is Jeph and that's only because they haven't appeared in the same comic together.
  • Character Title: Possibly, but most probably not. There is a character named John, although no one ever calls him Johnny, and there's no obvious reason for the comic to be named after him.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: George as his default expression. Apparently, if he stops smiling, the world explodes.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: John says the darnest of things.
    alt-text: how do you come up with these things, man
  • The Comically Serious: Being mildly ornery only serves to make John even funnier.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": The cats named Rook and Cricket.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Seen here, during a road trip.
      Yuko: You're going to stay on this road for about 20 miles.
      George: What do I get off on?
      John: That's none of our business, George!
    • Ananth's notes on the comic start with, "The exit was for the Innuendo Parkway, on which we stayed till the end of our trip."
  • Out of Focus: When the characters of your comics are friends and roommates, they tend to come and go whenever they move away.
  • Orwellian Retcon: After the revelation that Conrad's hair is a small furry animal, they went back and drew eyes on it in every single comic.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Ananth enjoys froofy starbucks drinks and wearing Yuko's girly socks to stay warm.
  • Shonen Hair: Conrad has hair enough like this for someone to ask about it in the Q&A comics. Apparently it's a small furry creature that lives on his head. It looks kinda like a hedgehog...

The short story comics provide examples of:

  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Eating feathers makes you develop these. On Callie it's a full-blown case of Looks Like Cesare.
  • Disability Immunity: Delilah is immune to her pet's petrifying gaze, because she's blind.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Death, who is actually a bit bumbling and awkward (but very sweet and an utter gentleman).
  • Kiss of Death: Cecilia receives a very localised form of the latter when Death kisses her hand at the end of her date and leaves it skeletal to his horror.
  • Really 700 Years Old: It's easy to miss, but Cecilia's date with Death happened in the 1920s. She stayed the same physical age for around eighty years because he was avoiding her.

Barbarous provides examples of:

  • Coat Cape: The academy aged fraction of Percy's mind wears an oversized jacket draped over her shoulders.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Cecilia wears her gloves when first meeting Cee, to hide her skeletal hand.
  • Doing In the Wizard: While magic is well established, Percy is outright offended when Cerberus claims the apartment she's cleaning up for the new tenants is haunted by the ghosts of a little old couple, since such supernatural sightings are obviously a matter of the planes being misaligned. Then, when she's about to do a simple realignment, the ghosts of a little old couple who had died in the apartment show up to ask her what she's doing, talk about all the travel they've been up to since death, and then scamper off laughing as Death himself shows up trying to look imposing to chastise them. Death then asks Percy for fashion advice and tells her not to tell Cee that he showed up looking horrifying before flusteredly leaving.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Percy wakes up from a dream on the subway where someone is telling her she never belonged, has what is quite obviously all of her belongings with her in bags and leaps up to chase a thief who took someone else's bag only to botch the magic when trying to get the bag back damaging the bag and burning her own hands. She's quite obviously intense, emotional and desperate, all things which pique Cecilia's interest later on.
  • Extreme Doormat: Cecilia unabashedly hired Percy largely because she's so confrontational that she manages to get Leeds to talk back, yell and argue with her instead of just bowing to her wishes like he does with everyone else.
  • Facepalm: After having thoroughly pissed off Leeds the night before, Percy tries to build a rapport with him the next morning. Her attempts at small talk leads to her telling him "Yeah, you're like all shoulders," at which point she stops following him for a second to smack a palm against her face.
  • Familiar: Only the Pillars are allowed to have familiars, and while there are rules against making them sentient as it would be unethical, Leeds' reaction to the very mention of the Pillars implies they'd murder or use—enslave—any such familiar reported to them.
  • The Magocracy: The Pillars are not only powerful dangerous magic users, they're also the law enforcers and seem to have judicial and legislative powers as well.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Percy has not yet accepted Cecilia's offer and is furious at her magic having gone bad she tells Leeds "I'm not good at happy mediums. I'm a hundred percent. Or nothing." Leeds responds with a mild "Well...nobody's nothing". Later, when trapped in a mess of the fractured psyche of herself and Leeds, she has a near identical conversation with a piece of her own mind that reflects her time right after being turned down by the Pillars, and realizes her own growth as she says it.
  • Unsound Effect: After Percy tries using her magic, which she knows has gone bad, to hurry along the tile job, the text over her and Leeds' heads as they stare wide eyed at the result is A BAD JOB.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Most people assume Leeds is just a person wearing a fancy glamour, but he is in fact a familiar, a life-form not meant to be anything other than a mindless slave. He was, however, illegally created with free will and personality, things which the public is not meant to think familiars can have.