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Webcomic / Roommates

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Our main cast of lovable misfitsnote .

"Somewhere, there is a place where all stories are real and all dreams are truth.
This is not that place.
This is not quite that place, but it's close."
— Narration form "Roommates 61 - Lundi"

Welcome to the Buildingverse! This article is about the Weekly Web Comic (normally updated on Mondays) that started all in 2007: Roommates by AsheRhyder and the fans on DeviantArt. (Can be found here. And there are some "official" collected editions: Collection 1, Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, Kings War Collector's Edition'')

It's mainly about Goblin King Jareth, The Phantom Erik, (ex-)Commodore James Norrington and (ex-)Inspector Javert, who all live together in the same apartment building. Also along for the ride (occasionally) are Crowley, Aziraphale and Legolas and the romantic interests Christine and Sarah and many MANY more as they try to survive each other, life outside of their normal existence and general weirdness.

This building, this town and possibly this whole world is a special place. Sure it looks quite normal on the surface (urban Present Day setting) but how sane can it be if Gandalf teaches science at the local university? All fiction exist as movies / books / etc. and as real places / past for the characters? And there isn't much of a fourth wall either...

The comic has ended as of 2019.

There are also Fan Translation projects for this comic:

Also for a more intuitive explanation of the series you could check The 5th Anniversary Video by EveryDayArtist.

If you were looking for the unrelated dating sim with the same name that's over here.

Tropes used in Roommates:

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    Tropes A-F 
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Sweet sustained sonatas, British Boyfriends Are Better etc..
  • Alliterative Title: More like Alliterative Subtitles actually. The pages of some (mini)arcs have these, like the Erlkönig Arc (pages 135-140) Loom, Lurk, Lee, Loss, Lethe, Legacy; or the Kid!Jareth Arc (pages 130-133) Falling, Flying, Faery Tale, Forsaken. See also: Pun-Based Title.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Averted... most of the time. Most characters, due to being villains or side characters, don't get the girl in their own canon. In the comic they are either given girlfriends (or boyfriends), oneshot dates, or a chance with the canon love interest. But there's liberal doses of "He just never got over her..." for at least Erik.
  • All There in the Manual: This series is Mind Screwy but less so if you read the author comments and journal (Such Stuff... explicitly had a FAQ entry). Also the comment section of the pages contains useful clarifications sometimes. (Ashe's Tumbler account is shaping up too.)
  • Art Evolution: The early pages had a "chibi" style that gradually evolved into a more realistic (but still animesque) one. Compare this to this and then this.
  • Art Shift: The more serious the mood the more realistic the art gets (but remains animesque) just to become Super-Deformed when something silly happens.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: This imagery is pretty standard part of the battle illustrations.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Almost all the arcs with definite endings. The only thing the cast tends to win is the right to continue their life as it is now (with all its happiness, sadness, weirdness and relative freedom) and even that comes with a price.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: According to this the procreation and family forming ways and habits of the Magical Community are based more on concepts, than "biology". No we don't know how they actually do it, but it probably only accidentally corresponds with what mortals would call sex or has anything to do with the apparent gender of the participants (except maybe if the being in question has a fetish for that).
    Ashe: I rather believe the magical community holds less significance with the messy organics of relations, given that in almost any given system, half of them are shape-shifters, mpreg, or otherwise unusual conceptions. Certainly, some of them are... more carnally inclined than others (*coughJadisandDarkness*), but this, at least, should help explain how and why various members of the magical community refer to each other as "aunt", "cousin", and so forth.

    Tropes G-R 
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: If a high-tech or Schizo Tech character has eyewear that will probably do something unusual, most likely have Augmented Reality features or act as personal Holographic Terminals.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Ashe tried to leave other languages alone several times, as to date (s)he failed every time. So This has the local equivalent of Once upon a time... in several languages.
  • Gratuitous French: Sometimes. The french characters mostly for swearing.
  • Gratuitous German: IN RUNES! Odin here. He says "Schattenjäger"/"shadowhunter". Or just so here.
  • Gratuitous Latin: There is at least one Literary Allusion Title left in the original Latin.
  • Halloween Episode: Usually the highlight story arc of the year.
  • Hammerspace: Every character can produce his signature weapon out of nowhere (except maybe if someone explicitly takes it away but that's not tested), Jareth, being the Space Master, also anything else.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Almost always ensues when two of The Fair Folk meet.
  • Happy Fun Ball: Each and every item by The Fair Folk ever no matter how innocent it looks. Be it a crystal or a slice of peach. The tech of Heaven and Hell is close too if it gets in the "wrong" hands, even Azira's work phone could cause considerable property damage.
  • Harsh Word Impact: Not so harsh word impact. Even absolute trust and good faith can hit you hard.
  • Heart Symbol: Every so often, like hearts used to dot exclamation points and a heart-shaped speech bubble with another little heart off to the side. Also in-universe according to Jensen some code segments of the software on Azira's cellphone is formated into hearts.
  • Heir Club for Men: The Erlkönig declared his young son Jareth his heir on the first page he appeared (which was a glimpse to the past) despite having an older daughter... which also gives some heavy subtext to his later appearances. And is sort of weird as the magical community seems to be mostly equal opportunity with several women in leadership positions. May be slightly explained in that the role of Erlkönig translates in-universe to "goblin king", and is not a gender-neutral title—but then again, others have used the neutral "Goblin Monarch", and it's been explicitly said that Sarah has a claim on the kingdom, so it's probably more a matter of his daughter having no ambitions for the role and/or not being suited for it.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Some characters wear armor (almost always the fae and mostly the Scary Impractical type) but NO character wears a helmet (Cool Crowns are common though).
  • Hero of Another Story: Most heroic characters do the occasional heroing offstage too. Except maybe James and Sarah.
  • Mood Whiplash: This series is a Cerebus Rollercoaster but you can be sure that this works on a smaller scale too.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Well, technically there are forces of good and evil but those are generally A) too busy stalling eachother. B) Not allowed to (dirctly)interfere with the free will of people. So most conflict stems from not so polar opposite moralities. From the Blue And Orange of the fair ones to almost every other imaginable morality spectrum.
  • Mundane Utility: Magical beings tend to do almost everything this way (even bordering With Great Power Comes Great Perks at times). Jareth magicked lunch at least once on-panel, way to show power over time and space. He also gets stuff (even small things like a handkerchief), dresses and travels everywhere by magic routinely. Also this is "quite possibly the dumbest application of a sonic screwdriver ever". Valjean is known to use his different canon looks to get taller and reach the top shelves.
  • National Stereotypes: Animosities played straight: The French hate the "British"note , Europeans the Americans, and vice versa. Others mostly subverted (Like: the sillier characters tend to be the "British" ones).
  • Nature Versus Nurture: One of the questions Jareth's parents seem to disagree in. Jadis stands on the Nature side and is deeply annoyed by his ex's meddling. The Erlkönig disagrees and bets on Nurture. The comic seems to indicate that the true answer is both. See also Opposed Mentors.
  • Nobody Can Die: At least nobody who isn't verse-native (if they have a story even they can be only Canonically Dead, but this means moving out of the comic) or Deader than Dead.
  • No Fourth Wall: Most, if not all, of the characters are aware that they are fictional characters, many even see the Fourth Wall effects. This is lampshaded frequently. Word of Ashe that the series has a fourth wall made of sugar-glass so it's less dangerous to break it... And what can we say about a verse where the "get viewer sympathy" is a perfectly valid advice?
  • Not Proven: Jareth's (and by extension his family's) involvement in any shenanigans and pranks ever can be summed up with this (except if he admits it).
  • The Nth Doctor: When a different adaptation of the source material becomes more well known, or just the author feels like screwing with the cast, Author Powers / Fan-Fantasy and Actor Allusion changes the appearance of the characters, for their great dismay. Like Javert's and Valjean's here. It's generally not permanent, though, as they are Composite Characters and by definition encompass all their portrayals but according to this they are be able to switch between their canonical versions at will too.
  • Odd Couple: Erik and Jareth. Legolas and Sweeney, but sadly, we don't see them so much. Dr. House and tenth Doctor. We could almost say that the comic has a cast of Odd Couples.
  • Odd Name Out: The main cast. Javert, James, Jareth and Erik.
  • Official Couple: The current tally is Erik with Blind Mag, Norrington with Eponine, Norrington's mother with Jareth's father and Jareth and Sarah are still very complicated. Javert is with Valjean officially as of page 302 in a relationship Ashe specifies as as being "demisexual" i.e. together due to shared connection, not physical stuff.
  • Offstage Villainy: Many characters are villains, and did (or do) unspeakable evils... but never on panel, or not in this story.

    Tropes S-Z 
  • Watsonian versus Doylist: This comic is so meta that many times the Watsonian explanations are in-universe wrong. Or maybe the Doylist explanations are actually Watsonian just on a different level of recurson.
  • Webcomic Print Collection: Well, not print just downloadable pdf, and for free because such a Massive Multiplayer Crossover work is a legal nightmare, but there are/will be official collected editions.
    • Collection 1 Roommates 2007-2012 - Roommates proper and Mystery (including a lost page) with some extra pages up to Such Stuff....
    • Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made One - Which is a basic collection of the 42page arc complete with its cover.
    • Kings War Collector's Edition - Collects the 107 page Such Stuff arc with the next page from Roommates proper (108). Also has extra content, including some yet unpublished sketches and background information related to the creation of the arc.
  • Webcomic Time: It's a webcomic with story arcs so this isn't too surprising. Like the 30 something pages of the Dark!Jareth arc were the story of one day (posted 1 page/week) or Such Stuff... (with 3 pages/week) took 3 months to post but it chronicled the happenings of a single night. Between these the series seems to operate on Comicbook Time. The resulting anachronisms can almost always Hand Waved with: "Well, the characters are from their fictional times (80s, 1700s etc.) anyway."
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The unnamed (and hidden, Tony Stark used the place to test his improbable GPS) university town where the story takes place. We only know that you can watch the entire Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy on the plane from England (Mrs. N. did it), it's not in Kansas, far from any larger body of water (the duck pond is the biggest) and winter can begin pretty abruptly around it.
  • Wingding Eyes: "Circles around pupils and nothing else" a lot. "Spirals" sometimes.
  • Wingdinglish: The language of the magical people is represented by English written in runes. The Erlkönig spoke this way in his first real appearance (Word of Ashe that he never bothered learning any other languages), but Odin and Jareth speak it too (Jareth mostly just for cursing). See also: Translation Convention.

    Tropes - For "Lakótársak"