Mike Stuart and Kate McAllister are two Chicago cops assigned to investigate a series of brutal killings. At first, the killings are assumed to be animal attacks, maulings of something escaped from the zoo, but as the investigation continues, the evidence mounts that the killer is human. Unknown to them, the killer is both man and beast. As they close in on the truth, will they discover the killer is closer to them than either could imagine?
Paradigm Shift combines supernatural thriller and police procedural into a riveting action/horror story. Updates are weekly, with occasional extended (and frustrating!) breaks. Three trades have been published so far, with hopefully more to come!
Read it here.
The series went on hiatus in January 2014, but has since restarted in October 2017 with limited monthly updates. Several pages have also been pulled from the site, possibly to sell the books. A mirror of the current free pages (As of 6/9/2021) can be found here.
Paradigm Shift contains examples of:
- Accidental Truth: Mike makes a joke about the previous night being a full moon at the site of the second mauling, long before the it's-actually-a-werewolf hypothesis gains currency. Unusually, his suggestion is sort-of taken seriously; up until The Reveal the cops think they're looking for a Serial Killer who thinks s/he's a werewolf.
- Subverted in the end, however, as it appears that these werewolves aren't directly affected by the full moon.
- Action Girl: Kate, very much. Having been an athlete in her teens certainly helps.
- Art Evolution: Kate's hair tendrils grow quite a bit in the first chapter. The author actually went back and made them a more consistent size later.
- Big Eater: Kate is implied to be one, and can get hungry at the weirdest times, like having seen a mauling. Mike Stuart has no idea how she keeps it off her waist. Then he finds out in a terrifying manner.
- By-the-Book Cop: Mike, mildly, sometimes. Gina, all the f'ing time.
- Cowboy Cop: Kate at times, to the displeasure of her superiors.
- Crazy-Prepared: Mike's recent escape plan to get Kate out of Chicago (involving fake vehicle registration, money) is actually something he devised for himself in case anything from his black ops days came back to bite him in the ass.
- Cute Bruiser: Kate. While she's very athletic, the developing ability for her kicks to explode punching bags and propel Federal agents through wooden support beams is certainly very questionable. her teeth and ears show that something about her is very, very amiss.
- Da Chief: Captain Hughes, who was a former detective himself. He's intentionally portrayed as being more concerned for them than being an antagonist.
- Doing In the Wizard: The werecreatures here are the result of genetic engineering gone awry.
- Escalating War: Vince and Kate have an ongoing prank war involving putting messages on each other's whiteboards.
- Fair Cop: Both lead characters, and none of cops could be called ugly.
- Fanservice: Kate (in the story proper), and both members of the duo in the Sketchbook.
- Though as the Artist/Author says "I do not normally do Cheesecake," most scenes that happen to have nudity/near nudity/underclothes are done that way for story purposes rather than fanservice.
- It's also noticeable because when Kate shows up in underwear it's what a woman in her line of work would actually wear — that is to say sports bras and other sensible undergarments instead of the usually fanservicey lacy things that tend to appear. Several female readers have commented that they appreciate it.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The werecreatures in the series are apparently the result of a genetic engineering project working on using genes to aid the recuperating process. It worked.
- Government Conspiracy: The series seems to be heading this way. Someone federal seems to not want their involvement in the werecreature project to get out. It's not the whole federal government, however; the FBI agent who was initially set up as a potential antagonist is trying to crack the conspiracy.
- Healing Factor: One of the first signs that Kate's not normal is when she shrugs off a bullet wound that she really should have bled out from and it heals within about a day.
- Suggested with The Men in Black. Kate shoots several of them multiple times in their centre of mass to nothing more than stunning effect, and even kicking one through a wooden support beam and another having a multistory balcony fall on him.
- Human-to-Werewolf Footprints: At the construction site, there are human footprints going into the corner where the vagrant was seen sleeping, but animal prints coming out.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Chicago PD versus the FBI. Until a were-lion gets loose in the police station, at which point they wisely decide to join forces against the CIA or whoever the hell those black-ops guys are working for.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Every page has badge graphics for each act of the series. The badge for "Flight" makes it pretty clear what Kate's story is.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: Kate, due to her Big Eater tendencies. Mike goes along with it, for which Kate promises to kill him later.
- One of the Boys: Kate, who fits right in with the guys.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Inevitable, though the rules have yet to be elucidated.
- One thing that has been shown for sure is that there aren't just werewolves running around. In one scene a character ends up transforming into a werelion (Or else a werewolf with a really, really bad hair day).
- The full moon appears to have nothing to do with the change.
- Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Done intentionally: When Kate gets shot she bleeds far too much to have just shrugged it off like she did, and the author even adds in his commentary that the amount of blood on the ground afterward suggests a major artery or organ has been ruptured. This is one of the earlier and more obvious signs that she's not entirely normal.
- Perp Sweating: Kate and Mike do this with Alfonse and Frankie, respectively, including Kate telling Alfonse that Frankie might find out where Alfonse's previous partners are while he's living it up.
- Schizo Tech: A subtle example, the story was created over ten years of self-imposed Development Hell, so earlier storylines do not take things like cell phones and security cameras into account, while later strips do show them in use.
- In the case of the security cameras, it was predictive. Dirk included security cameras in the perp sweating scenes with a note of "I wish these really existed". A couple years after this, Chicago instituted a requirement for cameras in interrogations.
- Shower of Angst: One panel after Kate's been shot features this.
- Shown Their Work: The story is set in Chicago, where the artist lived for many years. It shows.
- Though the ending of the third part has the duo on the road heading out of Chicago, so will not apply from here on out.
- And not just the setting. Every other page has comments from the author about the ridiculous levels of detail and planning that go into the script. For example, the model of gun Mike uses is a higher caliber than that allowed by the Chicago police force, but he probably could get away with it in real life anyways because it's not usually enforced. In-character references to French werewolf trials and cannibal psychology. Exact timeframes for wounds bleeding out or healing.
- Police cruisers bear the real motto of the CPD.
- Standard Police Motto: Seen here on the side of a police cruiser. Justified because the Chicago PD use it in real life.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Kate and Mike (for example, Part 2, Page 88)
- Vomiting Cop: Justified, since real life cops who have been around murders for years tend to throw up at the site of maulings like the ones in the story and even need counseling afterward.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Kate has a truly terrible night, and at the scene of a serious mauling, she does remember what she did last night to her absolute horror.