mezzacotta (yes, all-lowercase) is a website launched by David Morgan-Mar and The Comic Irregulars (authors of Darths & Droids and Irregular Webcomic!) to showcase "all the weird, crazy, half-baked ideas we come up with."
It contains the following webcomics (linked comics have their own pages full of tropes):
- mezzacotta, a webcomic "with two people talking to each other. Mostly." Though it launched in October 10, 2008, its archive of daily strips extends significantly farther into the past. The archive contains strips for every day that has passed since the introduction of Darths & Droids, Irregular Webcomic!, Sluggy Freelance, the World Wide Web, the year David Morgan-Mar was born, television broadcasts, radio, the steam engine, the printing press, the fall of Rome, and so on. The "earliest" strip in its archive is supposedly 9,986,270 million years older than the presumed age of the Universe.note One could, perhaps, think of it as the Webcomic of Babel... or maybe the Webcomic of Leaves. You can find the "first" one here.
Unfortunately, the engine has been broken since November 2019, preventing comics from loading, and as of July 2022, still is.
- Lightning Made of Owls: a webcomic consisting entirely of user-submitted Guest Strips, launched on 15 November 2008. Its name is a deliberate Word Salad Title. It features the following stock characters:
- Holly, an optimistic, lively young woman. Always depicted with clear round Nerd Glasses.
- Ambrose, a learned, eccentric older man. Always depicted with a yardbrush moustache.
- Samantha, a smart, vain, self-motivated young lady. Always depicted with large earrings.
- Oliver, a bald man who is Always Lawful Good. Always depicted with an L-shaped scar.
- Meridien, a long-haired spiritual woman. Always depicted with a cloth fashion accessory, typically a ribbon.
- Delkin, a young technician, and the joker of the bunch. Always depicted with Hidden Eyes.
- Square Root of Minus Garfield: a user-submitted Remix Comic inspired by Garfield Minus Garfield. Each strip is a remixed Garfield strip, but remixed in an entirely different manner to the previous strips. Launched on 21 November 2008.
- Comments on a Postcard: Having finally completed their magnum opus, the phenomenally acclaimed genre-defying webcomic known as Postcard, the Comic Irregulars have started to re-run it from beginning to end. But there's a problem - all of the comic image files have mysteriously been deleted! Furthermore, nobody else seems to have ever heard of Postcard, or have any memory of ever reading it. But, unperturbed by this apparent glitch in the time stream, the Comic Irregulars are simply running the News Posts without the comic images, and hoping that the reader's imagination will suffice until they can find someone, somewhere, who has a backup copy of the files in their browser cache. note Launched on 8 December 2008.
- The above description is one of many random descriptions of the webcomic that load when the "About" page is viewed.
- Awkward Fumbles: Launched on April 14, 2009. A collaborative webcomic where mezzacotta readers send in comic strips with blank speech balloons, and "other readers" insert dialogue and captions of their own making, to create a finished comic that isn't quite what either of the parties intended! (If this sounds like something that the Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North already did a while back, that's because it is.)
- Planet of Hats: Launched on April 9, 2014. A Star Trek: The Original Series recap comic drawn by David Morgan-Mar, inspired by Monster of the Week. Currently has all 79 episodes (excluding "The Cage" as a separate episode) and The Animated Series, with plans to do the six movies featuring the original cast.
- The Dinosaur Whiteboard: Launched on January 26, 2015. A webcomic that uses a whiteboard made from the Dinosaur Comics panels, on to which David writes the captions in marker pen.
- The Prisoner of Monty Hall: Launched on January 27, 2015. Written and illustrated by Ian Boreham (Comic Irregular).
- iToons: a spinoff of Square Root of Minus Garfield focusing on remixing comics other than Garfield or Dinosaur Comics. Originally launched on 2 June 2015 at Blogger since David Morgan-Mar was too busy at the time to host it on mezzacotta, moved to mezzacotta on 29 December 2015 after the comic took off.
- Eavesdropper: Launched on 14 June, 2017. An original story comic drawn by David Morgan-Mar and written by Andrew Shellshear.
Comments on a Postcard contains examples of:
- April Fools' Day: This strip does the entire point of the webcomic in reverse for an April Fools gag. Rather than it being just broken image links, there actually is a comic someone drew.
- Black Comedy: Discussed in comic #1666.Dark humour is the least preferred, due to its subject. Suicide gags, deaths, serious illnesses, and other things of that sort are to be expected. These are best used least, but when done properly they can be quite hilarious.
- Brand X: In #4999, the comic excises all its brand names due to new advertising laws. This includes replacing a branded soft drink with a new one called Can of Drink.
- Celebrity Paradox: Here (a shout out to the other work by the Comic Irregulars). The annotation describes what pieces of pop culture exist in the Postcard universe and how they're different.
- Christmas Creep: #853's author comments that it annoys him when stores sell Christmas merchandise in mid-October.
- Company Cross References: #3207's description alludes to the "Garfield Retold" series on fellow mezzacotta comic Square Root of Minus Garfield.
- Continuity Snarl: A natural outcome of having each strip's comments submitted by somebody else. But most of the continuity errors are invisible to the reader thanks to the broken image links, and the rest are presumably due to the frequent Time Travel and Parallel Universe plots.
- #EngineeredHashtag: Parodied with the attempted #ReplaceEntireSentenceWithPostcardCharacters.
- Lampshade Hanging: One of the "About" pages: "How awesome would it be if someone produced a webcomic without the comic? Each day, they'd just post the author comments for the comic, and leave it up to the reader to imagine what they actually drew. Perhaps there could be a fictional backstory about the mysterious lost comic for which only the author's comments survive." This was actually the original pitch, as posted on the Mezzacotta forums.
- Noodle Implements: The entire punchline of the comic is that there are no actual images behind the submissions, just the author's comments. Thus, many of the comments wind up describing outlandish scenarios we'll never understand the full context of. #1670 is a typical example:Allow me to tell you the story of why old man Hubert is no longer allowed to handle anything made of platinum and how it ties in to when I finally managed to remove that ant nest from my neighbours' attic...
- Severely Specialized Store: In #5006, the author recounts going into a beachside store called Cecil's. The only items the store had in stock were art supplies and batteries.Nobody on the boardwalk needs batteries and art supplies. Cecil really needs to get his priorities in order.
- Shout-Out: The description of #4996, "I don't like change and I am afraid," is a reference to the Good Kid song "No Time to Explain," which features the lyrics "I said I don't like change, but I'm not afraid."
- Toilet Humor: In comic #1666, the author gives a giant rant about how much they hate toilet humor.This one is never done right, so it's never really funny. Too many TV shows and movies are too much into this one. It's overused. It's pointless. It's stupid. I absolutely hate this kind of humour. I don't even know why I put it on this list.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The author really didn't like cows, until they went into therapy.
- Write What You Know: The author had a character assigned to write a 300 word paper on Julius Caesar because they got the same assignment as a kid.
Eavesdropper contains examples of:
- Split Screen: Used to show Eve and the kidnappers in different locations at the same time.
mezzacotta contains examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: References to modern technology and concepts, and the use of modern vocabulary (like "dude"), pop up long before their invention.
- Eternal English: Plenty of the comics are in nonsensical English, but English nevertheless, even though most of them were written before the English language came into being.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Seems to be the case here.
- Framing Device: It's pretty clear that the Comic Irregulars haven't really been making comics since before the universe began, but that's the story.
- Heh Heh, You Said "X": Random attempts at this trope often fail because the Double Entendre is absent; "X" has no second meaning.
- Limited Animation: Only the characters' pupils, mouths, and eyelids move.
- No Fourth Wall: The sheer number of strips make it impossible to say if fourth wall breaking happens constantly or not, but at least this strip is an example. And this.
- Parody Commercial: Many of the ads appearing in the header are jokes and do not link anywhere.
- Public Domain Stories: Each strip includes a copyright line along with its date in the archive. If these dates are taken seriously, then all but the tiniest, most recent fraction of the archive has expired copyrights, or rather, predate the concept of copyright. Given the lack of reasonable copyright date markings, the legal weight of the CC-BY-NC-SA restrictions is nearly as ambiguous as copyright itself.
- Russian Reversal: Some characters try to make these jokes. One character states something, and the other character reverses it. The reversal tends to be as nonsensical as the original statement."In Soviet Russia, you make no sense to this joke!"
- Tag Line: Quite a lotThe webcomic that uses the proleptic Gregorian calendar.The webcomic with two people talking to each other. Mostly.The webcomic that uses SVG.The most innovative webcomic for quite some time. By some measures.The website that went online before it was ready.The webcomic that reduces hair loss and increases virility.The website with The Hyperstig.The webcomic that could use more publicity.Post about us in your blog!From the people who brought you Darths & Droids.The webcomic that everyone is talking about.The longest running webcomic on the net.From the people who brought you Irregular Webcomic!The webcomic that will revolutionise your web experience.The website with the International Phonetic Alphabet pronunciation.The Emil Zátopek of webcomics.The webcomic that broke TV Tropes.The webcomic that started on the other side of the shark.The proleptic webcomic.Now totally sold out for the advertising bucks.The website with the non-rotating taglines on static pages. (a special one for on static pages)
- Time Abyss: Did we mention "making comics since before the universe began"? Even if the Comic Irregulars are time travellers, there are literally quadrillions of comics, sloppily drawn and written though they may be. To create them all manually would require an absurd amount of time.
- They Called Me Mad!: Mild in this one, meaner in this one.
- Unsound Effect: The strip for 19 July, 6021 BC
- Word, Schmord!: This is one of "Character 1"'s standard ways of being a Jerkass, like in this strip.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Used in this strip from the late 18th century.