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Webcomic / Real Life Comics

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Real Life Comics is a Life Embellished webcomic by Maelyn Dean. It's not as faithful to real life as it claims, but the majority of the cast does consist of the Author Avatar and people she knows. The comic has been going since 1999, making it among the oldest webcomics out there, predating Keenspot, Megatokyo, and Bob and George.

Not to be confused with, well, Real Life.

This comic provides examples of:


  • Aborted Arc: One arc was a parody of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but the Artist cancels it a few strips in because it would take forever and the movie wasn't all that interesting to begin with. That, and she gave up trying to work out how to write strips without spoiling anything.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted with the various computers and consoles that have gained sentience over the course of the comic, like Dave's PAL and Dreamcast, which are nice and friendly. Though when Dreamcast returns years later in an Aperture Science Personality Core, Maelyn briefly worries that there's a psychotic A.I. somewhere that wants to kill her. Tony says there is, because that's just what he does.
    • Also, when Dave was experimenting with new voices and gave PAL the voice of HAL 9000, PAL claimed it was encouraging him to do terrible things.
    • There was a story arc where an AI played this straight. Naturally it was one built by Tony for his holographic double.
  • Alternate Universe: There's an arc where the cast visits one with gender-flipped versions of themselves.
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism: Maelyn says that she's switching her political party and becoming one.
  • Art Evolution: Despite being a Cut-and-Paste Comic, longtime readers notice things like more detailed characters, detailed backgrounds, color being used for all the strips, etc.
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  • Author Appeal: When it's time for another Limited Wardrobe change, real Maelyn puts Liz in a bunny outfit, and comments "Fans be damned... this one's for me."
  • Author Avatar: There is not only Maelyn Dean in the comic, but also the Cartoonist, who is usually portrayed as a disembodied god. When she does appear in-strip, she looks like Maelyn but with slightly longer hair and different clothing.
  • BFS: First an Authentic Scottish Claymore. Then a full-size replica of Cloud's Buster Sword.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Maelyn and Dave find a to do list on the table, judging by the things on it, it's Tony's.
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  • Bilingual Bonus: The Shirt Ninja speaks in Japanese.
  • Brain Uploading: Literally, when Dave's sentient computer PAL uploads itself to his brain to escape the self-destruction of Tony's space station. He later downloads himself into a new computer by having Dave vocally mimic a dial-up modem.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: "Note to self: Eat 8 Krispy Kreme donuts, phase out of existence."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Completely averted despite being such a long-running series. Although it's had short story arcs, they're never serious, and has managed to stay funny without ever running out of material. (Except for a few comics where the creator has no ideas for a strip, which still end up being funny).
    • Well, the story arcs where Tony battles an FBI agent who wants Tony's tech for the U.S. government get kind of serious at times, but it's hard to worry that any major characters will die when you know that every one of them is based on a friend or relative of the creator.
  • Character Level: "Harper just dinged."
  • Cliché Storm: An In-Universe example was done during a dimension-hopping adventure where they wound up in a world where "everything is a Sliders cliche!". Naturally, this involved their dimension-traveling device fizzling out, a doomsday scenario, joining and fighting a rag-tag resistance group led by a double of someone they knew, getting involved with and solving the world's problems and a last second escape. Well, almost all their problems.
    Alt Dave: That's great, but what about the huge freaking asteroid about to hit the planet?!
    Tony: Sorry, pal! You're on your own!
  • Closer to Earth: While this could always be said to have been the case between Liz and Maelyn, the comic has really started to abuse the use of this trope (and all that typically goes with it) in the later years. Like, "Last season of Everybody Loves Raymond" abuse it. One could argue that Liz is, basically, a live-in Straight Man to Maelyn's wise guy, a role which used to be filled by Dave and Tony.
    • Though Liz does have her moments too, like when she and Maelyn went car-shopping ("NewBeetleNewBeetleNewBeetle!" "Maybe we should get a bigger car?" "NEW. BEETLE.")
  • Continuity Porn: This 2008 comic marks the beginning of an epic story arc that makes references to several past story arcs, including one that began in 2002.
  • Corruption of a Minor: Dave complains when Maelyn plays Diablo 2 with her newborn daughter Harper in her arms, but she insists that it teaches her important life lessons:
    Harper: Gweeee!
    Maelyn: That's right, Harper, demons do gots to be slain!
  • Cut-and-Paste Comic: Most of the comics consist of the characters and backgrounds being cut and pasted with new dialogue put in. The creator sometimes makes a fuss about new backgrounds or objects.
    • One arc, mirroring Maelyn and Liz' real-world house-hunting, had a strip in which the camera suddenly refused to follow the characters. Then a note floated down from the cartoonist, stating that due to the flurry of new backgrounds she's had to make recently, she had decided to go into a coma.
  • Death Ray: Tony has one.
  • Detonation Moon: Joked about in this strip, when NASA used the LCROSS probe to smash into the moon.
  • Deus ex Machina: In this strip, Maelyn wants to buy Diablo II but has no money. The author then declares she has enough money. In the following strip, the author makes a copy of the Collector's Edition of the game appear in the store.
  • Draw Sword, Draw Blood: In one of Maelyn's first outings as the Shirt Ninja, she draws her katana without a target and announces in Inner Monologue that she can't sheathe it until it tastes blood. She satisfies this by using the sword to slice cold cuts.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Early strips made more references to anime and really abused the Life Embellished concept, as seen when Maelyn goes on a date with Belldandy and Tony builds a BattleMech which causes his girlfriend to complain until the author bribes her with an Evangelion. After a while most of the unrealistic wackiness was confined to Tony and his Evil Overlord antics.
  • Easter Egg: Repeated uses of the number 42.
  • Evil Overlord: Tony.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In-Universe: In one strip, Maelyn suggests that the graphic designer of the much-reviled Comic Sans font was actually a genius, because it's basically a huge flashing sign that screams "I'm incompetent and need the help of a graphic designer." Liz is stunned when she realizes that it makes perfect sense.
  • From Bad to Worse: Maelyn reveals to Liz that she is trans. Liz takes it pretty well, but develops a panic attack. In the hospital, Liz is then involuntarily committed, leaving Mae at home with Harper. Maelyn has to call repeatedly to check out Liz after three days.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Tony establishes The Nation Of Total Conformity. Or N.O.T.C.
  • Gender Flip: With alternate-universe versions of the main characters. This turned out to be prophetic when the creator, and subsequently the main character, realised that she's transgender.
  • Glasses Do Something Unusual: Dave's glasses have infrared, HUD, etc. which explains why they're not clear.


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