Maliki is a French webcomic running since 2004. Though created and written by comic artist Souillon, he almost never breaks character; every blog post, comment response, or FAQ answer is written as Maliki.
The comic centers around Maliki, a pink-haired, pointy-eared comic artist, and the many funny, relevant or random events going on in her life. While it is mostly a Slice of Life comic in nature, it also features several supernatural elements, the most notable one being the existence of "mnesic cristallisations", metaphysical projections materialized by strong emotions.
Many characters also appear in Maliki's adventures, among which are her friend and work partner Becky, her cristallisation LadyBird, the young Chinese clandestine Fang, and the gruff and beefy viking Jonn the Norman. Maliki also owns many, many pets, the ones most often seen being her cats Fëanor and Fleya, later joined by Arya and Luma, then by numerous others.
Maliki quickly gained in popularity since its creation, and is nowadays one of the most popular and well-known French webcomics. It is also often quoted as a prominent example of "franga", aka "French manga", due to its heavily-inspired art style and publication format.
Starting in 2007, the comic has been published in physical form, courtesy of Ankama Éditions, in a series currently comprised of seven volumes. Two separate self-published volumes, entitled Maliki Blog, were successfully crowdfunded and released in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Three novels also exist, telling the story of Maliki as a junior higher.
There also exists a spin-off webcomic, Mascot, Hell's Kitten, derived from a few strips posted during the webcomic's Hostile Show Takeover, and featuring the titular violent, amoral, and adorable Mascotte. It follows a three-panel format, and features plenty of gore and dark humor.
Maliki provides examples of:
- Animesque: The comic's art style is heavily influenced by manga.
- Author Avatar: Souillon himself occasionally appears in the comic, where he is presented as Maliki's assistant, or rather personal slave.
- Behavioral Conditioning: After going through the Insanity workout program, Maliki and Becky cannot hear the word "SQUAT!" without instantly crouching.
- Character Development: Fang started out as an excitable and cheerful little girl, who spoke in a broken English. As the comic went on, her English got progressively better, to the point of being near perfect, and she grew up to be a more withdrawn, slightly rebellious teenager.
- Character Title: The comic is named after the main character.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Fëanor, or, as Fang calls him, "the little defective one". Having been stepped on the head as a kitten, he lost his sense of balance, took several years to learn how to get his claws out, and picked up some weird behaviors such as scratching his head by rubbing it across the ground. He has a habit of staring into emptiness for hours on end, sometimes getting afraid all of sudden by things only he can presumably see.
- Deadpan Snarker: Maliki's weighing scale loves to poke fun at her for putting on weight.Scale: If the idea was to weigh a sumo team, it would have been easier to do it one by one.
- Death Activated Super Power: Cristallisations have powers based on the way their host's cat died. For instance, Electro's electric powers are due to Flèche dying by electrocution, Tan's fire manipulation stems from Boule de Neige being burnt to death, an Ankou's weakening and healing abilities originate from Boule de Suie being killed using ether.
- Denied Food as Punishment: Because she wasted money on a pet fish for Fang, Doang's father punishes her by forbidding her to eat anything but said fish until the next day.
- The Devil Is a Loser: Satan currently works as a heating engineer, going by the name of Christian, as God's disappearance left him unemployed.Mad: You are the devil, dad! Satan! The Prince of Lies! Lucifer! Baal! The Lord of the Flies! The Evil One! You're not a nobody, damnit! You rule the Underworld! You have the power to bring forth Armageddon!Christian: And that means I can't have an honest job?
- Didn't Think This Through: As Fang and Electro are bored, Maliki hands them a magnet to play with. She realizes a second too late that letting Electro hold a magnet is a pretty bad idea, since she literally electrifies everything she touches.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The firefighters opt to let Maliki burn in a fire because she didn't want to buy a calendar from them.
- Divine Parentage: Madeleine is the daughter of Satan.
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Lady has trouble using pens or keyboards without completely crushing them. She also arm-wrestled Jonn once, whose arm ended up in a very, very painful-looking position.
- Foreshadowing: Becky's Triforce necklace can be seen on Maliki's bedside table in this strip, hinting at their future coming-out.
- Friend to All Living Things: Maliki is very fond of animals, and owns a lot of pets, among which are several cats, hens, and even axolotls.
- Gag Censor: Alcoholic drink names in this strip are covered with the name of alcohol-free ones.
- Giant Woman: In the two-part story "Lex Naturae", Nanie, a representative of Nature, grew to a size of several meters in order to seize Tiko by force. Fénimale retorted by growing to the same size, under her human form, in order to face her. In the second part of the comic, Nanie decides to up the ante by doubling in size once more to leave Fénimale and Maliki with no way of stopping her.
- Healing Hands: Revealed to be part of Ankou's ether-based powers.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Mad took over the comic for a brief period, during which she published a few strips featuring Mascotte.
- I Have No Son!: After realizing that her sister had experimented on her and lied to her, Fang refused to acknowledge her as part of her family anymore.Fang: From now on... I won't believe a word you say. You're not my family.
- Kayfabe: Souillon never steps out of character online. Strip descriptions, blog posts, comment responses, FAQ answers, and even Twitter and Facebook posts are written as either Maliki or Becky. He only steps out of the role when he meets fans during conventions, and even then, he officially acts as Maliki's "representative".
- Killer Rabbit: Mascot the Hellkitten. He's small, cute, and has a habit of spreading bloodshed.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Parodied in this strip, in which every single everyday item has to be updated before it can be used.Dialog Box: You have selected "Ice Tea". The update IceTea 6.3.4b is now available for this product. Do you want to install it now?
Maliki: NO! CANCEL!
Dialog Box: You chose to cancel the update. Please wait while the system is restoring your previous settings...
Dialog Box: Oops, the process encountered an error. Do you want to try to cancel the update again? There's a risk that you lose the content of your bottle.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Pilven. He conducted experiments to attempt to recreate mnesic cristallisations, by giving cats to orphans that they'll become attached to, then killing the cat in the hope of triggering the cristallisation. His "scientific protocol" also involved drugging the orphans beforehand in order for them to be easier to control, and sending the cristallisations he created to fight against others in order to test their fighting abilities.
- Malaproper: Fang at one point fantasizes about being in a magazine of "botte pipole". "People" in French is a foreign loanword that means "very important people"... except that Fang mistakenly thought instead about boat people, obviously with very Unfortunate Implications.
- Mind Screw: Maliki talks about how she won't be drawing a comic today. Then she is seen drawing the comic about not drawing a comic. Then she is told that this could break the "space-blog continuum". Then she is seen drawing the scene where she is told not to draw a comic about not drawing a comic. Then it gets out of hand.
- Morphic Resonance :
- Mnesic cristallisations physically mirror the cats they reincarnated from ; for instance, LadyBird's clothes and hair bear the same spotted pattern as Lady's fur and both share the same yellow eyes and line mark on their cheeks, while ElectroCute's clothes sport the same stripes as Flèche's fur and they both have large blue pupils and a lightning-like mark under their eyes.
- Fénimale can still be identified under her human form by her long red hair, her yellow and green eyes, and her plant-like green clothes.
- In this strip, Fénimale and Maliki are transformed into pigeons, which still sport the same hair as they did before. Fénimale's loincloth also morphs into a collar with a similar pattern.
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- Mystical Pregnancy: During Maliki and Backy's wedding, Fénimale plucks out a strand of hair from Maliki, and uses it to copy her biological material into one of Becky's ovocyte, making her pregnant with her and Maliki's child. She tries to keep a low profile afterwards, as this is a severe bending of Mother Nature's rules.
- News Ticker: Present in this strip, and unsurprisingly filled with Faux News.RUSSIA: Putin crushes his opponents, with a steamroller.
- Playing with Fire: Tan is able to manipulate fire.
- Shock and Awe: Electro is able to manipulate electricity. Her body itself is running with electricity, meaning direct physical contact with her is highly discouraged.
- Shout-Out: Mnesic cristallisations were quite obviously inspired by JoJo's Bizarre Adventure; early on, they were even called "stands".
- Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: In-Universe. Maliki decides to try her hand at Black Desert, which has a huge world to explore, tons of quest to accomplish, and a very complete trading and crafting system. She spends a week fishing.
- Sinister Surveillance: Doang keeps tabs on everyone. She hid a Tracking Device in Maliki's apartment for three years, has a special team watching over Fang in permanence, and always seems to know everything about every single character.Dr. Pilven: Sorry to insist but may I ask how you got all this information?Doang: You're keeping tabs on people I'm keeping tabs on. It creates bounds...
- Sequel Episode: "My Crappy Life's Comic", to "My Life Comic".
- Story Arc: The comic occasionally move away from its Gag Per Day format for storylines that stretch over several pages.
- "Ohana" introduces Doang, Fang's sister, as she came to visit her younger sister and met Maliki.
- "Orphans" focuses on Doctor Pilven, a scientist studying mnesic cristallisations, as he attempts to confront two cristallisations he created himself to Lady and Electro. Details are also revealed about Maliki's past, specifically how Lady came into being.
- Volume 7 centers around Maliki and her friends traveling to Japan. While that arc didn't particularly focus on plot, it did reveal some details about Fang and Doang past life, and foreshadowed some bigger plot threads.
- "Game of Kermesse" tells the story of Maliki, Becky and Fang taking part in a school fair. It is far more epic than it sounds.
- Stronger Than They Look: Lady may not look it, but she's strong enough to kick off asteroids back into space.
- Take That!:
- One strip takes a jab at Mosanto, an agrochemical company that has been the target of numerous ecological controversies.Fénimale: Nothing can stop Nature.
Maliki: Mosanto begs to differ.
Fénimale: I do not wish to discuss this.
- While Maliki is watching TV in this strip, the announcer declares that "Donald Trump plans on bringing back slavery and wants to authorize vivisection on kittens and puppies for entertainment purposes".
- There have been numerous jabs taken at French president Emmanuel Macron. During Maliki and Becky's wedding for instance, Maliki gets shivers when meeting the presidential portrait's gaze; for extra points, the quote underneath said portrait is "Come and get me!", an infamous statement he delivered while his deputy chief of staff was under investigation.
- One strip takes a jab at Mosanto, an agrochemical company that has been the target of numerous ecological controversies.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Maliki is pretty much addicted to BN biscuits. It's even become a frequent gift from fans at conventions.
- Training from Hell: Maliki and Becky go through the Insanity workout program. To say it leaves them exhausted is an understatement.
- Virtual Celebrity: Officially, the author of the webcomic is Maliki herself, and Souillon is her representative. According to him, this was an idea inspired by the virtual band Gorillaz, and the idea behind it was to make her feel more alive, by blurring the line between the character and the author.Souillon: Maliki is a 2D character who writes her own stories but needs me to represent her in real life.