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minus is weird like that.

A webcomic by Ryan Armand that ran for 130 episodes from February 2006 to July 2008. The original website is down, but it can still be found on archive.org. Or These Mirrors

The protagonist minus note  is an elementary school girl. She is sometimes mistaken for a boy. She has a very powerful imagination and can do anything she wants. The things she does are fickle and whimsical, as well as mischievous and vindictive. She is, after all, a child.

She has very few friends, apart from a green-haired girl, the beings that minus wills into existence, and the ghosts.

It should be noted that this webcomic is not recommended for grownups, who may find it disturbing.

Compare and contrast with "It's a Good Life".

Also, yes, both the character and the strip are spelled with a lower case "m".


Tropes:

  • Accidental Murder: minus does this on occasion, most notably with the woman in the magic show, who was cut in half and pieced back together, only for her to remain dead until minus revived her. There was also one by the green-haired girl, who unwittingly made minus shatter into pieces by throwing a rock at her at the suggestion of the white-haired girl. And unlike the others, this one stuck.
  • Alternate History: Even without minus around making the laws of reality her servant, there are subtle hints that her world is not the same as our own. Of course, she may well be responsible for that...
  • Alternate Universe: minus has conjured various different universes with her powers, including the spirit world, which looks similar to Earth but with ghosts. And then there are the extra strips, which appear to be all over the place, such as strips where minus is a deliberate Jerkass and strips where she speaks Japanese.
  • Ambiguously Human: Since no explanation is ever given for why and how minus can do what she does, it's unknown whether she is a Randomly Gifted child of ordinary humans or some kind of godlike being who went native.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: minus has a lot of fun with her reality-warping powers and ultimately seeks to do no harm, but she doesn't understand the consequences that they may have on her environment.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Doubly Subverted: After hearing about the hypothesis, minus goes back in time to try to meet the aliens. She doesn't find any... but at the end of the strip it is revealed that yes, aliens were responsible for the human race. She just didn't go far enough back in time.
  • Annoying Arrows: When minus plays cupid in strip #23, the arrows she shoots appear to hurt people, but as soon as they fall in love with someone or something, they go on with their lives like nothing happened.
  • Apocalypse How: Quite a few, but most famously the one that actually stuck, wherein minus resurrected the entire population of Earth, past and present, human and otherwise. It was crowded, to put it mildly.
  • Artificial Afterlife: minus creates an Afterlife almost absent-mindedly after someone tells her about it. This becomes a case of Chekhov's Gun at the end when minus accidentally destroys the living world.
  • Art Initiates Life: In #12, minus brings her own dinosaur drawing to life and her friend's robot drawing to life to fight each other.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A giant octopus attacks a city at one point, and it gets captured by a giant net.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: minus tends to get easily distracted and then seems to... forget about her creations, or absent-mindedly wipes them out of existence.
  • Back from the Dead: minus brings back everyone. This brings about the beginning of the end.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
  • Bittersweet Ending: The entire human race is destroyed, but lives on in the after life. Also, minus and the green haired girl look distinctly melancholy in the final strip.
  • Black Knight: A mysterious knight clad in black armor appears in #74 to lead one of the red-haired girls away from the castle in minus's fantasy world. He is also called by this trope's name.
    "Fool ! Do you think you can withstand the power of the Black Knight ?"
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Technically minus is a child, so she doesn't have the same concept of moral responsibility an adult does, and does things which might seem like invokedFridge Horror or Disproportionate Retribution to adult readers. Possibly also justified given her reality-warping powers are pretty limitless and that she can also see ghosts (hence, death probably isn't a big deal). The closest it comes to any sense of logic is: minus just likes to have fun regardless of the consequences, and doesn't like it when things get in the way of that.
  • Body Horror: minus turns a balloon selling guy into a balloon himself when he yells at her for popping all his balloons. Then he pops.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: #79, where a carnival has great food, great rides, and even great food...... that you can ride!
  • Call-Back: Sergeant Davy and his trusty steed, Prendon, are mentioned as having existed in the comic's world several strips after minus altered history to make Davy a war hero.
    • Strip 50 makes passing mention to the animal kingdom rising up against humanity in anger at the result of the boxing match conducted in Strip 39.
  • Carnivore Confusion : This strip, where minus turns into food right before a man's eyes. She doesn't appear to turn into human meat, but this may count due to the man knowing that the human is the food.
  • Characterization Marches On: Despite, as can be told by most of the rest of this page, having a reputation for being dangerous, in truth, all things considered, minus stops doing more negative things very quickly - by halfway through the comic she's almost entirely neutral: only doing negative things out of naivete rather than intentionally doing them, and she often adds things to her some of the less positive things she caused to make them bittersweet or even good. She never stops callously making synthetic sentient beings, however.
  • Cheerful Child: minus, of course. Most of the time she isn't downcast in the slightest and generally has fun with her powers.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The aliens. They first appear as the inhabitants of a random planet that minus visits on a lark. At the very end of the comic, it turns out that those same aliens were responsible for the evolution of humans.
  • Children Are Innocent: Innocent, yes. minus doesn't realize that her powers can affect the real world drastically. She sets the bar for Ambiguous Innocence.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The eponymous character would normally qualify, dubbing herself Warrior Queen of the Ant People and wanting to grow up to be an elephant, if she weren't an omnipotent Reality Warper (with a dash of Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant) who ensures all her fantasies become reality.
  • Continuity Creep: Strip #50. Apparently minus's actions have consequences after all; the aliens from the "minus the alien" arc, the outbreak of smiles, and a guy's boxing match with a lion which was triggered by minus's powers have all come back as a set of two invasions (by the aliens and animal kingdom) and an epidemic, posing a threat to Earth.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: There doesn't seem to be much worrying after minus accidentally causes the extinction of humanity. It helps that the ghosts are able to reunite with past loved ones who have died.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The alien world features a lot of crystal-shaped buildings, and the aliens all wear robes.
  • Deus ex Machina: An In-Universe version in minus herself, who tends to solve any problems or requests with a somewhat tangential application of her powers. Anyone who doesn't know about minus is usually some form of terrified or curious at the seemingly illogical and irrational things that occur around her (that tend to really be... well... illogical).
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: What adult humans who have been involved with one of minus's reality-warping events realise. For the children she plays with, it's more Pals with Jesus.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • This guy successfully shoves minus into a briefcase, despite her Reality Warping powers.
    • The green-haired girl also pulls this off, accidentally, by throwing a rock at minus and making her shatter into pieces.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When a man shouts at minus after popping his balloons, minus turns him into a balloon and pops him.
  • Driven to Suicide: In #35, a businessman jumps out of an office window while stressed at work. minus saves him by turning him into a bunch of tiny people to divide his work.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: In strip 39, there is a hunter who seems to hunt a lion just for the fun of it. Thanks to minus, he ends up boxing the lion he shot.
  • "End of the World" Special: The eponymous character simultaneously resurrects every human and beast to have ever walked the earth, crushing both the current inhabitants and the freshly-risen dead. Through a conference of the Smartest People Who Ever Lived, it is decided that everyone should just stay in the afterlife. The extraterrestrial creators of human life decide to turn the newly empty Earth into a theme park showing what Earth was like right before everyone died, which is then visited by ghosts. And that's the end of the comic.
  • Fiery Red Head: The red-haired ghost shows signs of a hot-blooded personality, most notably in three specific instances towards the end: the first when she instantly snaps at her mother, who, according to her, contributed to her death, the second when she, as the green-haired woman she was reincarnated as, gets furious when a man either gets in the way or acts rudely towards the waitress she wants to befriend, and the third when, once again in her recarnation, she tackles a red-haired girl who she appears to be familiar with and hold a grudge towards.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: In part 87, minus makes herself sick after learning that when her friend was sick she spent the whole day in bed watching movies - she regrets her decision after throwing up.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: In strip #40, after being inspired by a man to smile more, she smiles at a stranger, who smiles back, but when he smiles to other people, they smile too, whether they wanted to or not.
  • God Is Flawed: minus has godlike powers, but she doesn't know what her actions may result in, leading to some consequences.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: #73: during the medieval segment, minus is the queen, and when one of the knights bring the main red-haired girl to her, she proclaims "Off with her head!" and sentences her to execution.
  • Great Gazoo: minus uses her powers to affect the world around her, often causing some sort of mayhem in the process, and she is quite the eccentric one.
  • Green Thumb: minus is sometimes shown to manipulate plant life. In the first comic she grows trees to stop bullies, and in another she turns grass between concrete tiles into a large plant.
  • Humanoid Abomination: minus can be considered one, but "abomination" is a huge stretch. She looks like a normal human girl, but has reality-warping powers that no normal human being could have.
  • Humongous Mecha: minus summons a giant blue robot to defeat a giant red robot in strip 55.
  • Idiot Hair: minus has an idiot hair that sticks up. It's realistically small at the beginning, but over the course of the comic it becomes longer and longer. In comic #120 she stretches it out to make a long curl.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Amusingly deconstructed in #13. Several kids talk about this sort of plot, and all agree it's the best way to go... right up until minus floats by on a cloud. At that point, we're reminded that they're kids: they immediately decide they want to ride clouds as well.
  • Imaginary Friend: minus can make up various entities in her mind, though they don't stay imaginary for long, as she often brings them to life.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: It's never explained where exactly minus' powers come from.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: One of the girls in minus's class is friends with Larry, an adult man.
  • I See Dead People: minus can see and talk to ghosts. In one strip, she's talking to the ghost of a dead girl and her friend asks if she can see.
  • Jackass Genie: The end of this strip, where a genie denies a man power and shoves him into a mud puddle. Then he toys with two more people in the next strip by flinging them away after they say their wish, although like everything else minus does it's Just for Fun.
  • Jerkass:
    • minus can be this a lot by messing around with people, thought normally she doesn't mean it and just wants to have fun.
    • Also the red haired ghost girl, who often messes with others like minus. At least minus' is out of childish naivete and immaturity; the ghost girl is full aware of her actions.
  • Jerk Jock: These show up occasionally, such as two sports-playing boys who bully minus in strip 1, a rude, self-centered football player in strip 10, and a tall one who (temporarily) gets the court to himself and is rude to minus and the green-haired girl in strip 15.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair:
    • minus's hair changes from strip to strip. Justified, since she is omnipotent.
    • When minus brings the red-haired ghost back to life, her hair inexplicably changes from red to green, presumably to distinguish her from her (living) identical twin who was just introduced.
  • Karma Houdini: A non-malicious kind for minus. She doesn't receive that much punishment for messing with people or accidentally wrecking the environment.
  • Kids Are Cruel: minus doesn't generally doesn't recognize the consequences of their actions until they're presented to her, if they ever are at all. This leads to a lot of Disproportionate Retribution such as turning a man into a balloon and letting him pop, or moments like the creation of a miniature civilization in her tub only to destroy it when bathtime ends.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Subverted. Red top-hat guy appears to warp minus's mind somehow, and she dies two pages later. minus returns as a ghost, but accidentally kills everyone (except Larry) soon afterward. Everyone lives on in her strange afterlife, though, and the tone never really changes. #123 appears to poke fun at the comic's own ongoing lack of seriousness.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Alien invasion? Zombie apocalypse? Famine? Summon a kraken!
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: After being mistaken for a boy, minus amps up her femininity. She's back to normal in the next comic.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Quite often happens when people get on the wrong side of minus. Sometimes subverted given her general lack of moral responsibility and the resultant Fridge Horror, like the balloon-seller's fate.
  • Little Miss Almighty: minus isn't really confirmed to be God in the comic - just a girl with limitless unexplained powers. But she does create the Afterlife, and is shown to run it whenever she isn't busy having fun.
  • Living Toys: minus makes the toys in a claw machine sentient, leading the girl using the machine to feel sorry for trying to grab one of them, letting it go and apologizing.
  • Love at First Sight: minus plays cupid in #23, causing the people she strikes to fall in love with the first thing they see, including inanimate objects.
  • Magic Realism: To an extent; minus exercises her powers in a rather normal society. Some of the people around her don't seem to be bothered by the things she conjures.
  • Magical Camera: minus uses a camera to take a picture of a tour guide, who brought up the fact that some used to believe that it captured souls. However, thanks to minus's powers, it indeed captures souls, as the guide's spirit shows up in the polaroid.
  • Mood Whiplash: At a few points, the comic can switch from a lighthearted tone to a darker tone. The most notable example of this is the ending, when the bright tone of minus bringing people to life is cut short by her accidentally ending the world. The mood does remain more lighthearted for the rest of the strips, though.
  • Morality Pet: The green-haired girl with the pigtails. While minus isn't inherently mean or villainous, the green-haired girl is the only person she really considers her friend, so she exercises more caution with her powers when she's around, usually leading to better things and happier endings for her newly-sentient lifeforms.
  • Mugging the Monster: More specifically, Bullying A Reality Warper:
    • A few kids in the very first strip bully minus, not knowing about her reality-warping powers. She proceeds to tangle them with tree roots.
    • In #15, a Jerk Jock decides to take the court all for himself and tease minus and the green-haired girl about it. He learns the hard way not to mess with minus, as he gets shrunken down and chased by an ant ridden by the 2 girls.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Larry somehow survived the entire Earth being covered in every animal that ever lived, which killed everyone else, so apparently he has this characteristic for unexplained reasons. He first appears in a city recently destroyed by a giant octopus, totally unconcerned by his situation.
  • No Name Given: Most people in the story are never called by their name (and as such are descrbed by their traits in outside sources). The most notable characters with names given are minus, Larry, Lem McNole, and a couple ghost characters.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Starting in strip #119, courtesy of minus killing almost all life on earth and causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Only Six Faces: If it weren't for hairstyle, the characters would be indistinguishable.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts in this story are represented as the person they used to live as, but with a ghostly tail in place of legs.
  • Perfect Health: minus had never gotten sick before, so she wills herself to. She finds it highly overrated.
  • Perspective Magic:
    • Strip #14, where minus picks up a star from the sky and brings it directly to her and the green-haired girl.
    • Strip #95, where minus flings a house from far away as if she were directly next to it.
  • Pet the Dog: minus isn't villainous but can get quite mischevious with her powers, but sometimes she shows that she has a good heart, such as in strip 61, where she allows a genie to grant a young girl's wish so her mother can be healthy, which is coming after the genie denying people of their wishes.
  • Physical God: minus doesn't just seem to be a god — she kind of seems to be the god. She runs the afterlife, at any rate.
  • Pirates: At one point, minus imagines herself as a pirate captain, forming a brand new adventure in the open seas where her crewmates are people from the library.
  • Portal Picture: In one strip, minus enters are painting and interacts with the people there, which continues with another painting in the next strip.
  • The Rant: An appropriately strange one, some having such inexplicable content as sketches of men making weird expressions, or "aoifhasfugrfiawugfafashofihoiehrogiehrgoiehfoshf."
  • Reality Warper: minus can warp reality based on her imagination. Some examples include changing her own appearance, creating life, manipulating plants and structures, causing or curing sicknesses, transforming herself or other people, forcing people to smile, Time Travel, creating new worlds, and bringing people Back from the Dead.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: This trope is usually played with, with minus either letting havoc break loose or controlling her environments. The biggest example comes at the very end with innocent little minus accidentally killing everyone on the planet by, ironically, resurrecting everybody who ever died (mass suffocation ensues as the earth is covered in layers of people and animals). It's played for laughs, though, because everybody decides to just create a utopia in the afterlife, and eventually the ghosts turn Earth into a theme-park based on how things used to be.
  • Recurring Character: There are various characters that make various appearances throughout the strips, most notably the green-haired girl, minus's mother, the white-haired girl, Terry (the red-haired ghost), and Larry.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: minus's omnipotence can't solve the world's problems due to her short attention span.
  • La Résistance: In #75, the white-haired girl joins a rebel team lead by a Black Knight to put in an end to the reign of minus, who is playing as an evil queen.
  • Retconjuration: minus rewrites history as she chronicles the exploits of "Sergeant Davy." The teacher contradicts themselves as they attempt to explain the rapidly-changing story.
  • Retraux: minus is deliberately drawn in the style of a turn-of-the-century newspaper comic, only without the limitations on space or color.
  • Reused Character Design: Most of the unnamed characters look like the characters from another one of the artist's series, Great.
  • Rewriting Reality: Occurs here when minus writes down in her notes, which changes history by bringing character "Sergeant Davy" into play and causing the teacher to correct themselves in the middle of speaking as the story keeps changing.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds are positively beautiful, particularly by webcomic standards.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Various references to anime here. In order of lines, the immortal who wants to be human is from Hoshin Engi, the second one sounds vaguely like a quote about immortality from Galaxy Express 999, the one about the witch giving up her powers is Ojamajo Doremi, and the quote about everything coming easy sounds similar to a lament made in Magic User's Club by Takeo's gay friend.
    • The dishman who was out dojo-hunting obviously battled a practitioner of Panzerkunst.
    • In the description of Strip #116:
    Hi everyone! How's it going? This. Beat. Is. Non. Stop.
  • The Slow Path: #25 and #26. When the long-haired red-haired girl is gone, she lives an entire lifetime, whereas minus and the other children wait for a few minutes until the elderly version of her returns. Slight subversion as she wouldn't make it back at all; minus brings her back in her old age to say good bye.
  • Silence Is Golden: While there are a few strips that have talking in it, many strips are pantomime.
  • Sociopathic Hero: minus, in as much as all children are kind of sociopathic. The strips are full of people whose lives she has ruined or casually tormented over a minor slight or just because she was playing around.
  • Spirit World: One of the many things minus creates on a whim. She takes a man through the world of ghosts, which looks a lot like modern society. However, the man doesn't believe that's what a spirit world really looks like, so minus changes the setting to an ancient cave, and then to a field of flowers connected by rainbow bridges.
  • Starfish Aliens: Some amorphous "alien sprits" seen in the afterlife in strip 101, which barely resemble any normal lifeform. The look vaguely octopus-like, resemble clouds, have horns sticking out of their body, and are cyclopses.
  • Tempting Fate: In #66, when a tour group suddenly runs away from minus holding a camera, the tour guide tries to explain to them that it's not going to steal their spirit. The tour guide allows her to take a picture of him, so that's what she does. The next panel shows his smiling ghost in a camera picture.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The ponytail girl, who joins La Résistance to fight against the rule of minus, who is an evil queen that ordered her execution earlier.
  • Unstoppable Mailman: The paper cutout man minus creates will deliver her the candy she asked him to get, no matter what.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: If the red-haired ghost hadn't asked that minus bring her back to life, the end of the world might not have happened.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Even the in-universe characters have trouble pegging minus. Even Word of God has commented on it.
  • Walking the Earth: Larry. He just wanders around the world, remaining unharmed every time. Not even The End of the World as We Know It can stop him.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Subverted in strip 38. A girl heads to a claw machine to win a prize. Due to minus's powers affecting it earlier, one of the plushes is sentient and starts screaming for help. Instead of not paying mind to it, the girl is freaked out by it, putting the plush down and apologizing to it.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Discussed twice:
    • This strip, where three kids are glad to be human because magic would make things too easy and living forever can take out the passion for life, until they see minus riding on a cloud and drop their previous notions.
    • This strip, where an art instructor is disappointed that death will just lead to another life and finds everything meaningless as a result, though it's meant to make fun of True Art Is Angsty.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: minus only uses her powers to have fun. This is Justified in that she is an immature child with no ambitions or long-term plans.
  • A Wizard Did It: Since minus's powers are, literally, whatever she wants, "minus did it" is a perfectly valid solution to any Fridge Logic.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: This couple appears to believe that minus is a rules lawyering Literal Genie, quite forgetting that she's really just a naive little girl with a rather short attention span.
  • You and What Army?: This line is said by the man who took minus's frisbee away in strip 98. He is then surrounded by an entire army pointing guns at him, courtsey of minus, and he gives it back.
  • You Never Asked: Referenced in #120. One ghost claims he knew what was about to happen (in this case, minus causing everybody to die), and when another ghost points out that he never mentioned this, the first ghost just says that the other ghost didn't ask.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Here and here, where minus revives all of the people at the hospital, making them act like zombies. It's more of a childish prank than a full-blown apocalypse, though.


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