Order of Tales is a surreal fantasy webcomic by Evan Dahm. The story is set in Overside, several centuries prior to Dahm's other webcomic, Rice Boy. However, Order is more of a side story than a direct prequel. The comic completed July, 2010, and Dahm has since started a third webcomic, Vattu.
Koark (pronounced Ko-ark) is the last Teller of the Order of Tales. He barely escaped the destruction of his hometown with nothing but a book of stories, his mount Potok, and the instructions of his father to find an ancient and powerful story: "The Ascent of the Bone Ziggurat". Fifteen years later, Koark has a chance run-in with a Machine Man named The One Electronic, and his first good lead to finding the tale of the Ziggurat... and his travels get him mixed up with a very pissed-off Damsel in Distress, made of glass and known only as Bottle Woman.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Action Survivor: Koark may have had the training of a Teller, but he grows into this role.
- All Myths Are True: Played with to such an extent that the story is one step away from going meta, especially in the climactic fight with Gerrah, who attempts to fulfill his own version of the Obilik myth, dryly noting that the hero, Koark, dies in the tale. In the end, all myths are subverted. TOE puts it best at the beginning:
- TOE: An absurd simplification of the actual events.
- Big Bad: Gerrah, the man who murdered Koark's parents at the beginning, is behind almost all the strife in the story.
- The Blank: T.O.E.
- Character Development: Subtle and off-screen, but heartwarming. When Koark is a boy, he treats Potok with disdain for being scrawny and grey, favoring joyrides on his father's mount instead. After the Flash Forward to Chapter Two, he is quite affectionate with Potok.
- Chiaroscuro: A given, since the comic is in black and white.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Unfortunately, Koark did not and it's a Tear Jerker.
- Doomed Hometown: Played straight with Koark's home; slightly subverted with Stone Palm, although the town got burned, most of its inhabitants were perfectly safe underground.
- Fetch Quest: It seems Koark's journey is shaping up to be an endless series of these.
- Five-Man Band: As of the end of Book Two. T-O-E is the Hero, Calabash the Lancer, Koark the Smart Guy, Aethirus the Big Guy, and Bottle Woman the Chick.
- Heroic BSoD: Koark experiences a brief one after Potok dies.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Bottle Woman sacrifices herself in order to stop the Big Bad. Koark is noticeably not pleased about this.
- Horse of a Different Color: Potok, Koark's animal companion.
- Last of His Kind
- Living MacGuffin: The Bottle Woman
- Meaningful Name: An unintentional case occurs with Koark and the Bottle Woman (although the former's name in Seen-script shows that it's pronounced Ko-ark, with two syllables).
- Mistaken for Murderer: Koark is accused of murder while visiting Tenshells.
- Mythopoeia: Koark's job is to catalog it.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Torchlord.
- Nerves of Steel: An early demonstration of Koark's ability to keep his wits about him in the face of danger comes when he has been accused of murder and brought before the Oceanqueen of Tenshells. He is obviously terrified, but speaks easily and eloquently in his own defense nevertheless.
- The Storyteller: The purpose of the Order of Tales is to preserve and tell stories.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: How the stablehand saves young Koark's life. Koark manages the same trick after taking a level in badass.
- Tsundere: The Bottle Woman is understandably a little pissy about being dragged around by people who won't tell her anything.
- Walking the Earth: What Koark chooses to do as he travels with TOE and Calabash, crafting a new book along the way.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After Aethirus is separated from the group on the disastrous flying trip, he simple vanishes from the face of the narrative with nary a mention as to his final fate.