Johnson Superior is a photographic embellished webcomic, involving time travel and something about demonic possession. The humor is mostly dry, as the two main characters are usually Genre Savvy, even if they argue about how they should act within that genre. All the action takes place in recognizable parts of Chicago.
Each comic is a single photo (besides the occasional Flash animation, comprised of multiple photos), edited for style and sometimes effects. The dialog and story progress in the captions underneath. Well... the story kind of progresses. However, as of September 2013, after over a year of inactivity, the series is once again running.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Art Evolution: While obviously not drawn, the editing on the photographs changes in style from barely noticeable, to very stylistic. The photographs themselves change too- while it was shot out of order, the simpler scenes that tend to be in the beginning were taken by spare actors, while the more complicated scenes that take place later were shot by a professional director of photography.
- Call to Adventure: In the form of cryptic love letters shoved under Dirk and Buddy's front doors.
- Futureshadowing: Multiple times, but the best bit is before the story even brings up time travel, when Dirk chooses to ignore a noise and goes into his room. The narration says, "Safely in his room, with his door closed to whatever werewolves and time travelers and biblical demons may've been behind his couch..." That's in comic 19. It's not until comic 78 when the reader discovers that it really was time travelers behind the couch, and in fact, Future-Dirk himself.
- Ominous Message from the Future: Less of an ominous message and more of a demented fake love-letter. After Dirk and Buddy have traveled in time, though, they get another one that's a little more straightforward.
- Our Time Machine Is Different: Janet Eerie goes through a few failed examples that MADD tried, such as a pool ball rack, a spray-on fluid, and a wireless router that could send wifi back to Ancient Greece. The actual time machine is a highly complex, multi-billion dollar... coffee machine/clock/calculator combo, held together with duct tape.
- Running Gag: Everybody keeps talking about getting shot in the face.
- It's the only thing Janet ever threatens.
- Wesley refers to it as a "face-puncturing incident".
- Jerry actually gets shot in the face.
- Schedule Slip: The first one was between December 2011 and March 2012, but the worst was between July 2012 and September of 2013, when it essentially became an Orphaned Series.
- Series Hiatus: One done on purpose in August 2011 while the author moved.
- Shout-Out: And plenty of them.
- The MADD office is on the corner of Emmett Street and Davis Avenue, referencing time travelers in Back to the Future and Homestuck.
- Dirk and Buddy almost get into an argument from the third Scary Movie about waking up dead.
- Compasses, maps, and cracked bomb walls from The Legend of Zelda come up- not to mention a hookshot.
- The same scene also references finding your own dead bodies and turning into monsters, from John Dies at the End.
- The Slow Path: The first use of the time machine is accidental, but by luck it only transports Dirk and Buddy a few hours into the past. Since they didn't bring along the return remote, they're forced to wait it out while hiding from their past-selves.
- Time Travel
- Stable Time Loop: So far, everything that Dirk and Buddy have done has been consistent with one chronology.
- Wrong Time-Travel Savvy: Dirk is for a few moments, thinking about Groundhog Day, but Buddy points out that since they're seeing his past self, the rules must be more in line with Back to the Future.
- You Can't Fight Fate: In one comic, Dirk wonders what would happen if he and Buddy stay silent when they know from their own past that they heard themselves making noises. Buddy pretends not to hear him, and Dirk repeating his question louder and louder is the exact noise he was trying to prevent.