Melonpool (originally/alternatively titled The Adventures of Mayberry Melonpool) is a newspaper-style Science Fiction Webcomic created by Steve Troop. Originally running as one of the first webcomics between 1996 and 2005 with regular updates, it was rebooted in late 2005 (twice) and then updated infrequently in story-arc spurts through 2012 before going on hiatus. In 2014, another, comprehensive reboot took place, creating the comic's current continuity.
While it is no longer online (except for Patreon supporters) the original 1996-2012 series is still available in collected, printed form as Old School Melonpool.
The strip focuses on the adventures of the crew of the Steel Duck, a vaguely mallardoid spaceship that has a crew of rather...colorful (and not always exactly competent) characters.
Crew members of the Steel Duck include:
- Mayberry Melonpool, the Star Trek and Star Wars obsessed and incompetent alien captain from the planet Melotia.
- Ralph Zinobop, a bad tempered Mad Scientist (he built the ZSC=1) that looks down upon the rest of the crew. He's also an exiled prince from the planet Zinobop.
- Sam T. Dogg, an telepathic dog and ship pilot. One of the only crew members with any common sense. From the planet K-9.
- Sammy the Hammy, a giant hamster (one of Ralph's experiments) that serves as the engine (runs in a hamster wheel) and is always hungry. Not very intelligent.
- Fred the Monkey, Ralph's last attempt to create his own crew in the lab. An uplifted monkey who serves as Sammy's minder, and does his best to look much smarter than he actually is.
- Flatworm Jim, another uplifted animal on Ralph's crew, in this case a flatworm. His name is of course a pun on Earthworm Jim.
- Eileen, a G.R.A.I.S.E. whose introduction to Mayberry came through a disasterous blind date. Rumored to be a human hybrid, on account of the scarcity of G.R.A.I.S.E. women.
Contains examples of the following tropes:
- Aliens Steal Cable: Melotians pick up Earth television signals through their antennae. Couch potatoness ensues.
- Big Eater: Just saying the word "food" is enough to make Sammy abandon his post and rush for the fridge.
- Morally Superior Copy: Ralph Zinobop is a colossal irresponsible, selfish jerk. So naturally, when he was accidentally duplicated by a machine that makes opposite personality clones, the result was Ralphie, an incredibly nice guy and conscientious worrywart. Both versions stick around as main characters.
- Planet of Hats: Melotians are (Earth) pop culture-obsessed couch potatoes.