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Webcomic / Sam & Fuzzy

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To the left, Fuzzy. To the right, Sam. In the middle, someone who's neither.

"I like reading the Sam and Fuzzy TV Tropes page, mainly because it is surreal to be reminded I actually drew all those freaking comics."
Sam Logan, the author

Sam & Fuzzy is a webcomic written by Sam Logan, started in 2002 and updating regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It follows the adventures of Sam, a very regular twenty-something man, and his roommate Fuzzy, a psychotic jerkass of a teddy-bear-looking-thing, who live in a World of Weirdness — located in modern-day America.

After an initial run of joke-of-the day strips during the Early Years (2002-2003), Sam and Fuzzy began employing a very notable (and arguably successful) use of Cerebus Syndrome to create an overhanging story from what started out as standalone jokes, as Sam and Fuzzy got embroiled into ever-more complex, wacky and dramatic adventures and go from (unsuccessful) taxi drivers with a demonically possessed refrigerator, to (unsuccessful) booksellers, to (unsuccessful) metal band roadies, to (unsuccessful) fugitives on the run from an international crime syndicate, to (unsuccessful) professional problem solvers, to (unsuccessful) members of an Omniscient Council of Vagueness. Other recurring elements involve the Ninja Mafia (a Mafia containing Ninjas), Fuzzy's Mysterious Past and Laser-Guided Amnesia, the machinations of Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr. Sin, an Omniscient Council of Vagueness enforcing The Masquerade over the world, and 17th century chemist Robert Boyle.

Sam and Fuzzy's overhanging story is divided into multiple series consisting of several volumes per series. Each series is (attempted) self-contained and consists of The Classic Series (2003-2006), The Noosehead Series (2006-2009), the NMS Series (2009-2019) and then returning to more freeform jokes in 2019 onwards following the conclusion of the NMS Series. The comic can be entered at the beginning of any series with little trouble (New readers are advised to start at series four), but expect a truly epic Archive Binge ahead of you if you want to get all the in-jokes and Call Backs.

Logan has also released a TTRPG known as The Underground - A Sam & Fuzzy Role Playing Game, where players can have their own adventures in the titular underground City of Adventure from the comic. The sourcebook includes a great deal of background information, including fleshing out elements that are only vaguely referenced or briefly seen in the comic.

A character page is currently under construction.

Sam and Fuzzy contains examples of:

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  • The Ace: Carlyle.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Fuzzy gets around a non-disclosure agreement with semaphore.
    Aaron: Crush and Nicole are WHAT?!
    Malcolm: I wouldn't have thought that Aaron would know semaphore.
    Fuzzy: Hell, I didn't even think that I really knew semaphore.
  • Action Survivor: Sam.
  • Affably Evil: Several of the antagonists faced by Sam and Fuzzy over the years can be genuinely nice people when they're not directly opposing them, like Mr. Black (murderous ninja, Benevolent Boss), Rexford (Well-Intentioned Extremist, Reasonable Authority Figure) and the Cat King (quirky but friendly monarch, runs the U.S. cocaine trade). There are just as many whose niceties run only skin-deep, however.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: For all the times she's cheated, stolen and harmed people's lives, Hazel's death is somewhat tragic as she's dissolved alive by The Pit — the thing she spent her entire life hunting — in front of Fuzzy's eyes, especially once it's revealed that a lot of her flaws are a result of Brain's influence since she was eight. Thankfully, after Brain and Hart's defeat, she re-materializes with her memories of herself erased, giving her a second shot at life.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The Ninja Mafia has made its headquarters in Newport, Oregon (which is somewhat bigger in the Sam and Fuzzy-verse than in Real Life, but not by much), and Retropolis, the biggest city in The Underground, is located in rural Pennsylvania near Penn State. According to The Underground RPG, the headquarters of the Committee, the Ancient Conspiracy that rules the world, is located somewhere in Nebraska. The Pit, meanwhile, is located directly underneath Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Mr. Black wasn't exactly a 'nice' person by any standards while a standard Blankface, but his antagonizing of Sam comes as a result of this trope: Mr. Black can't bury the remains of the Ninja Mafia until Sam is buried with them.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: When Fuzzy is finally told of his prior life it turns out Eric was The Reliable One and the Token Good Teammate of Hazel and Brain, who turned on them when he finally found out Brain was giving people Laser-Guided Amnesia. Fuzzy's current personality — loud, reckless, entitlement and abandonment issues up the wazoo — is eerily similar to Hazel's, which only enhances her guilt.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Mr X has lost both his arms in the course of duty, one to Mr Y back when Sam had them fight eachother to keep them busy, and the other during the assault of Mr Sin's Buddy Bear factory.
  • Anachronism Stew: Fuzzy's "memory" of the disturbed delusion decade.
  • Analogy Backfire: Never tell Fuzzy that "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The original Buddy Bears were designed to be controlled by a central "mother brain" computer due to technology not being advanced enough to support individual AI. Unfortunately, due to a programming error, this led to the Bears becoming The Horde and overrunning the Underground town they were manufactured in. Their flawed programming caused them to hug their unfortunate victims way too hard, leading to dozens of fatalities and the surviving townspeople fled and sealed the door behind them.
    • This seems to be the case for Unit 01, ruler of Megalopolis 01 and robot representative on the Committee. Unit 01 allegedly killed and replaced its creator, the mysterious human computer expert who used to run the Committee's R&D Department, and the robot creations it regularly cranks out of its factory can be a tad...eccentric. The fact that Unit 01 is really the result of a merger between a powerful AI and the brain imprint of Mr. Sin goes pretty far in explaining these eccentricities.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Self-aware robots are part of the setting. They even have their own city. The strange life-creating substance that is likely from the Pit was the key ingredient their creator needed to build truly alive machines.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Shamelessly mocked here.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
  • Ascended Extra: Future Fuzzy has so far had about ten appearances in the comics. Only four of them have been official comics and his last appearance in the strip's Canon was in 2004: He continues to have regular appearances each year in the guest comics.
    • Jess Starr, first pictured here, returned some three hundred strips later as a spy working for Mr. Sin disguised as Mr. X. Sam Logan noted that you can tell apart the disguised Jess by which arm is missing on Mr. X; originally his right arm was missing. She went on to work for Sam and is currently one of Sam's supporting cast.
    • Aaron probably counts as this since he was originally just one of the members of Fuzzy's ninja squad but blossomed into one of the main supporting characters during the Noosehead arc, even as his former partner Ox was left behind.
    • A few leaders in The Committee started out this way. They haven't ascended that much though. The most notable is Keller, the leader of the Cyborg Mafia. The Cyborg Mafia started out as a one-shot joke early on in the comic (a Mafia Ninja complains that he should have joined the Cyborg Mafia instead).
    • Rikk Estoban started out as a parody of needlessly grim and edgy indie cartoonists during a storyarc about Fuzzy hiring him to produce a Skull Panda comic, and would end up becoming a recurring character, even in the newer comics that have moved away from gag-a-day humor. His last appearance was as the poster celebrity for an anti-vampire group that opposed the newly exposed vampires (Rikk doesn't like that the vampires are grimmer than he is). Skull Panda itself also qualifies.
  • Ascended Fanboy: In-universe example: Most of the Ninja Mafia's mooks and lower-level operatives appear to be ninja fanboys who signed up for the chance to be real ninjas and earn money doing it. The blankfaces are Tyke-Bomb versions of the trope.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mr. Blank, X and Y, and really, nearly all of the ninjas.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Aaron manages it. Justified, as the hand is literally Made of Iron.
  • Be Yourself: The lesson delivered from Crush to Sid early in the "Noosehead" arc about Sidney's metal singer persona turning him into something he doesn't want to be, which is also foreshadowing to the fact that Crush is Sam and his Crush persona is turning him into something he doesn't want to be. While this helps Sidney develop into a better person, it also gets him 'killed' by his record label and gives Crush a fair bit of a guilt complex.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Willis for Earl in the "Noosehead" arc.
  • Berserk Button: Mr. Blank goes ballistic if anyone dares challenge the legitimacy of the Ninja Mafia to his face. Fuzzy is shown even early in the strip to have a sore spot for being betrayed or cut out of the loop, turning into an outright Berserk Button when he realises that Hazel and Brain betrayed him not only once but twice.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Mr. Sin is probably the most obvious example, but the Underground is full of ridiculous-yet-deadly beings.
  • Big Bad: The final volume of the Classic Series had Fridge; the next three volumes, a.k.a. the Noosehead Series, had a Big Bad Ensemble of Sin, Mr. Black, and Mr. Blank; Sin returned for the NMS Series to form a new Big Bad Ensemble with Hazel and Brain, but then Sin was killed by Brain, who turned out to have been corrupted/replaced by Hart, who was also Fridge, leaving Hart and Brain as the two opposing evils by the end of the Myth Arc.
  • Bittersweet Ending: How Race To the Bottom concludes: Brain and Hart are dead, the Pit has been destroyed, but so has most of the Underground, and much of the surface cities. Hazel has her memories erased, Candace passes on for good, the Masquerade is broken once and for all, and Fuzzy accepts that he'll never get the memories of his life as Eric back. Thankfully, the main characters get through it alive.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Several of the Noosehead musicians, most notably lead man Sidney "The Sicko" and his second singer Nicole. Subverted as none of them are very evil at all.
  • Body Surf: Fridge can hop from body to body in close proximity. Well, could. Sexxica/Candice finally manages to take him out by killing every host within range, including herself.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: See Running Gag below.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Here.
  • Brick Joke: "Packing peanuts." In flight for about nine months, and if its carefully-placed landing doesn't now qualify Sam for Magnificent Bastard (or at least The Chessmaster), nothing will.
    • The death of 17th-century chemist Robert Boyle suddenly turns out to be important to the main plot, after a years-old Running Gag in which it was brought up and dismissed as a kooky Non Sequitur.
  • Broken Masquerade:
    • Sam's new goal after reforming the Ninja Mafia as a crime syndicate. His first successful target was the vampires. And he quickly discovers that the Committee's reasoning for keeping the Masquerade intact was probably valid, as humanity isn't super thrilled at vampires now existing around them. There is no guessing how they'd react to the more exotic denizens of the underground
    • The masquerade gets well and truly broken once Hazel opens the Pit and Hart gains access to it, creating The Unmasqued World out of the setting.
  • Brown Note: Here.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Arguably, the band Noosehead consists of nothing but these. And Nicole.
    • Dr Crab, a psychiatrist from The Underground who is a crab with the ability to talk and think like a person. He has admitted that he has no idea what he's doing, but still has a pretty good track record with counceling his patients.
  • Burn the Orphanage: Skull Panda is messed up. And Buddy isn't always the nicest guy, either.
  • Carnivore Confusion: What sort of absurd talking crab with a psychiatrist's licence would eat his own kin... er, wait. Nevermind.
  • Cassandra Truth: Here.
  • Catchphrase: Carlyle "I can take you where you need to go."
  • Cerebus Retcon: Fuzzy's Mysterious Past was initially Played for Laughs, with Fuzzy doing things like having his mother (a real brown bear, which turned out not to be his mother) visit and later claiming he sold all proof of his childhood to National Geographic for some cash and a hat. Said mysterious past, and the Laser-Guided Amnesia that erased it, are currently a major part of the comic's drama.
    • Like with Fuzzy, one of the strip's original wacky elements later took a darker turn with the reveal that Fridge was actually Hart, a member of the same species of Eldritch Abomination as Hazel's brain-draining 'cat' Brain.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: It's still mostly comedy, but now it's comedy with an overarching plot.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Volume 6 had a story arc showing all the serious stuff that was occurring back in the comics more comedic days, such as Candice's father being killed, Hazel and Brain's feud with the Ninja Mafia, and the events that led up to Sam crashing the taxi.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The comic makes liberal use of both this and foreshadowing. Take the interactions between Fuzzy and Crush in the context that Crush is Sam when compared to strips before the Ninja Emperor assassination, or this conversation between Hazel and Rexford in the context that Brain (the cat) eats people's memories.
  • Character Development: Sam and Fuzzy are the main examples, but also several side characters like Lance, Sidney, Gertrude... Most of the characters, come to it.
  • Characterization Marches On: The early comics have Sam being more socially awkward (such as having an interest in polka) while Fuzzy was a lot more sadistic (wearing a monkey corpse as a bodysuit).
  • The Chessmaster: Sam has an uneven record on this score; while he pulled off an impressive Batman Gambit against Keller and the Cyborg Mafia, he's also been drifting into the We Have Reserves and Attack! Attack! Attack! mentalities of late.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sam eventually develops one of these after spending too much time being on the receiving end of Big Damn Heroes.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Unlike the rest of the cast who simply moved away, Future Fuzzy just disappeared without a trace and hasn't been seen in at least a decade. He's eventually revealed to have been a drug-induced hallucination.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Hazel.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Fuzzy, although this side of him has diminished as time has gone by. Malcolm, due to his conspiracy theories. Mr. Sin, an evil version. Mr Ackerman, the half-senile former owner of the taxi company Sam worked at.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mr. Ackerman, Sam's boss at the taxi company.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: To a certain degree. Most of the Ninja Mafia's employees aren't very dangerous whether they appear alone or in a horde. The Mr. Blank vs. the horde of ex-mafiosos fight plays it very straight, however.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Malcolm. At least a few of his theories turn out to be true.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Sin.
  • Creating Life: Notes left behind by scientists reveal that the strange substance that makes up the bodies of Brain and Hart and powers Megalopolis 01 has this power. It is somehow able to breathe life into other objects and even itself. Sam connects the dots and realizes to his horror that this is what is inside the Pit. It is also implied that all of the more fantastic denizens of the setting owe their existence to the Pit. The T-Rex member of the Committee, Rexford, for example thinks that whatever is in the Pit created him by breathing life back into a T-Rex skeleton.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Mr Blank's attitude towards his monstrous actions and betrayals in his quest to restore the original Ninja Mafia, including tricking Sam into taking the role as emperor, planning to murder him once a heir is chosen, and killing his former best friend Mr Black. He refuses to accept the idea that the ideals and traditions he was raised and trained to uphold were what they actually were: a form of social control set in place by a dynasty of inbred nobles to prevent anyone to ascend by their own skill and talents.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Malcom keeps ranting about crazy conspiracies, and turns out to be right about them, up to and including the space gophers. It turns out that his hairdo has been intercepting transmissions from bugs in the SinCorp headquarters.
  • Cute Is Evil: The Grrrbls entire existance is based on this, they've forged a crime syndicate out of their ability to paralyze people with their cuteness.
  • Cute Kitten: Conscience Cat invokes this to justify his role as Gertrude's Shoulder Angel.
    • Butcher's litter of adorable kittens. Well, except for Chompy.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The Grrbils intentionally use this as a weapon.
  • Darker and Edgier: Parodied here. Later parodied again, then re-parodied.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Fuzzy's origin story is increasingly revealed to be this, being betrayed and left with amnesia TWICE by the people he trusted, and having no memory at all of his species or background
  • Deal with the Devil: Invoked in one strip where Gertrude points out to Sam that if he's dedicated to restoring the Ninja Mafia, he's going to have to be prepared to (metaphorically) make a deal with the devil. Cue a knock on the office door. (It's actually Edwin).
    Sam: Is that him now? I thought I'd have more time to decide.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several characters over the years. Sam is probably the most consistent.
  • Death Is Cheap: Followed by a parody of this trope right here.
  • Defensive "What?" : See the page picture? Good. Fuzzy does that quite a bit, as does other less morally upstanding cast members like Sin.
  • Demonic Possession: Fridge is the result of a demon possessing Sam's fridge mold and can possess other beings nearby. It refuses to possess Sam and Fuzzy out of principleit's not that desperate.
  • Demoted to Extra: This tends to happen to much of the supporting cast at the end of each arc, reduced to cameos and eventually just not making further appearances, though in some cases it's subverted when they make full-on returns. Less than five supporting characters from the first two series are currently in the supporting cast, the rest having moved on.
  • Derivative Works: Following the completion of the NMS Series, Sam Logan wrote a discussion between his Author Avatar and Fuzzy discussing what he would do next. Fuzzy suggested a number of spin-offs, including Spin-Off Babies and a Recycled In Space plot (which Logan sheepishly admitted he's been thinking about doing).
  • Despair Event Horizon: Sam hits this by the end of Crossed Wires due to Fuzzy abandoning them to join back up with Hazel, Hazel getting the final code to the Pits location, and Brain having gone unhinged and disappeared, which increases the risk of him exposing Sam's secret about not being the legitimate Ninja Mafia leader to the world, which would destroy all he's worked for
    • Almost hits it again at the end of Unfixable when his secret IS exposed, costing him his entire power base and all his resources. He's only pulled back from the brink when Devah points out that, from what they've uncovered about the Pit, Fuzzy is most likely risking getting his brain fried in an attempt at restoring his lost memories, leading to Sam shaking himself out of his self-pity.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Sam spends much of the first arc, and arguably all of the second, doing this. His hand is eventually forced into finding one, although when it does Sam seems to find that a good thing.
    • Devahi has a similar problem when we first see her; she's been drifting through life since college, because nothing she's tried has ever captured her interest enough for her to stick to it.
  • Determinator:
    • Mr. Blank. He can get distracted due to Rule of Funny, but in "serious" strips he cannot.
    • Candace is so determined to ensure that Hart is destroyed that even after her body dies in her failed Taking You with Me moment, she clings to Hart, blocks Brain's efforts to absorb him, stays trapped inside Hazel for six years, and follows Hart back into Brain's body, where she seems to be fighting for control. No other character who has dealt with Hart or Brain has been able to resist their powers effectively; Candace is doing it when she's technically dead.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Mr. Sin.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Fuzzy, lampshaded at one point.
  • Do Androids Dream?: They do, or atleast the robots created by Unit 101 do, being completely self-aware machines with thoughts and emotions of their own. This is because each robot is imbued with a microscopic amount of The Tar upon creation, giving them true sentience, but this is a byproduct of 101's true agenda of creating a race of robot slave soldiers, because 101 is really an A.I copy of Mr Sin.
    • The original Buddy Bears are a more straightforward example once freed from the disastrous Mother A.I. Once left to their own devices, their simplistic A.I quickly gained sentience, Bonus being one of the results. The upgraded Buddy Bears are even more advanced.
  • Double Entendre: No one is touching my thing! Even ninjas X and Y noticed this one.
  • Dumbass DJ: Inverted with DJ Positive, whose on-air persona was just as loud and invasive but involved being excessively nice and cheery to all his listeners.
  • Dumb Muscle: Ox.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Several times, especially when during the Noosehead-era, it got to the point where the comic itself started to lampshade this trope.
    Gertrude: I'm just surprised every time a dramatic unmasking doesn't reveal someone I already know.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The first appearance of the Committee, though it mostly focused on Mr. Sin and Rexford, also had appearances from members who would become important characters later, such as Fangy McBats, Max Keller, and Natalie Graves.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Even lampshaded by the site, who describes the early years as somewhat rough around the edges and not the best place to start reading. Featuring a joke-of-the-day setup and a cast of mainly static characters used for gags, it doesn't resemble the current comic much at all.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Hazel's "cat," Brain is a nasty piece of work even by the Underground's extremely tolerant standards. And whatever Brain is, Hart is the same thing, only nastier.
  • Elevator Escape: Sam escapes a Ninja via elevator. Or so he thinks.
  • Elevator Snare: During the "Noosehead" arc, Sam attempts to use an Elevator Escape to get away from Mr. Blank. While in the elevator Sam begins considering the odds that Mr. Blank is able to outrun the elevator. When the elevator reaches the target floor and Mr. Blank, inevitably, is waiting for him, Sam has escaped through the emergency hatch.
  • Elvis Lives: Elton Priestly, an expy of Elvis Presley and the in-universe King Of Rock N Roll, is alive and well, having spent the past 30 years on the island Sin created to imprison music superstars who tried to branch out into new genres, faking their deaths and forcing them to write new music in their original style to be released as "post-diseased" tracks. Unlike everyone else on the island, Elton steadfastly refuses to produce any sort of music except what HE wants to make (at this point, Reagge).
    Sid: They said you choked to death trying to swallow an entire bag of marshmallows.
    Elton Priestly: I am aware of what they said!!
  • Empty Elevator: The Elevator Snare with Mr Blank ends with the door opening and Sam having escaped through an opening in the ceiling.
    Mr. Blank: You cheeky bastard!
  • Especially Zoidberg: Especially the space gophers!!
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Originally starting as comic relief, the demon possessing Sams fridge eventually escapes, and ends up being a catalyst for all the insanity that ends up engulfing Sams life.
  • The Faceless: Carlyle by having his Face Framed in Shadow the few times he appears, doubling as He Who Must Not Be Seen.
  • Faceless Goons: The Ninja Mafia rank-and-file. Lampshaded here.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: This is how Mr Sin keeps escaping the consequences of his failed schemes, by using his Underground resources to pose as his own twin with no criminal record, usually by making some minor modification to his appearance and tacking on a new first name.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Invoked by the author during his 2013 kickstarter, allowing backers to vote for any two characters to get a short 'date' storyline together in the comic. Out of all the possible Crack Ships that could have been selected, the fans chose Cooper and Morris.
  • Fanservice: Humorously averted:
    Fuzzy: Sam! Where have you been? You just missed our most commercially viable adventure ever! Bullets and boobs...nonstop!
  • Filler Strips: Sam and Fuzzy had a set annual period for guest artists, known as the Obligatory Guest Artist Weekly Duration (or O-GAWD) for much of its earlier years. There's also usually a few non-canon comedy strips to break up the storyarcs, such as "Malcolm Explains...", holiday shorts, and one-shots featuring Sam's pet corgi Baker.
  • The Final Temptation: In the final arc, Sam is offered one by Brain while they're all being assimilated by The Tar. While this is going on, Hart attempts to Mind Rape Fuzzy into helping him, while Devahi is recruited by Candice to stop the other two.
  • Foreshadowing: Toward the beginning of the "Noosehead" arc, Malcolm says some things that most would dismiss at first as being the ravings of a paranoid nutcase who's been breathing too many fumes, but in fact they reference key elements of the coming arc. A guest comic after the arc's completion calls attention to this.
    • Zig-zagged in this strip, which takes place during a flashback and foreshadows an event ten years in the future during an arc already finished. Take a bigger fall than that, indeed.
    • The Underground RPG foreshadows several later plot points in the main comic, including a sample of The Tar showing up as an artifact you can build a campaign around.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Edwin... Kind of. He's a parody of the type of creepy stalkerish vampires from tween romance fiction, but isn't the least bit interested in getting blood directly from humans, a process he finds revolting.
  • Fur Against Fang: In the Sam and Fuzzy-verse, being bitten by a vampire turns you into a werewolf. Werewolves, naturally enough, don't like vampires much.
  • Gilligan Cut: A very commonly used source for punchlines.
    Brain: Stop. Just stop. I can think of a good six other plans that are less ridiculous than this... Mel Brooks-ian farce you've just described.
    **Several Months Later**
    Brain, about to enact a Mel Brooks-ian farce: I can't believe all of those six plans failed.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Gertrude gets this in the form of her eight-year old self and Conscience Cat. Conscience Cat would go on to become a (very ineffectual) good angel for Tricia and Devahi. Devahi eventually references this trope, wondering where "the other guy" is; turns out his former bad counterpart Corporate Cat got headhunted back in the 80's.
  • Guest Strip: There are occasionally O-GAWDs (Obligatory Guest Artist Webcomic Duration), week-long sessions of Sam and Fuzzy strips drawn by a variety of other artists, such as Questionable Content 's Jeph Jacques, or Wasted Talent 's Angela Melick, usually after a long story arc concludes.
  • Grand Finale: Race To the Bottom, which wraps up over a decade worth of storylines.
  • Hands in Pockets: Subverted in this.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: As the distinction between 'good' and 'evil' gets increasingly fuzzy by the latter series, so does the moral foundations when someone switches sides. By the time "Sam & Fuzzy Ruin Everything" rolls around it's hard to tell if, say, Fuzzy joining Hazel and Brain, or Brain deciding to go it alone, or Sam teaming up with Rexford count as anything else.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sam, as of the sixth volume, snapped after one too many rounds of humiliation due to Fuzzy and Sin's machinations and has become a Well-Intentioned Extremist who has reformed the Ninja Mafia as a crime syndicate.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Carlyle. In addition, there's Sin's true Space Gopher form, which has only been shown partially obscured and in the shadows.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Some of the Skull Panda strips. For a certain value of 'Mary Sue'.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Fuzzy, prior to the show hitting Cerebus Syndrome. While he still has the occasional stand-alone strip he's since undergone Character Development and is a lot more restrained and Played for Drama.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In the Noosehead arc, Sam, Jackson and Mr. Blank are all doing this. Sam got renamed "Crush" by the other roadies as a nickname and grew a beard, Jackson took off his mask and used his first name, and Blank took off his mask.
  • High-Class Glass: Mr. Rexford has a monocle. Why does a dinosaur wear a monocle? Don't ask us.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The Ninja Mafia isn't usually very 'stealthy'. Justified in that virtually none of them have any real training, and the training they do get is focused almost entirerly on combat.
  • Honor Before Reason: Sam, frequently. Most notably when he reneged on a deal that would've allowed him and Sidney to go free because it would also involve letting Mr. Black get away with his crimes.
  • Hulk Speak: Ox. He learns to speak normally during the Noosehead time skip, but instead only speaks in quotes from a Historical Quote book Aaron bought him (and Sam taught him to read)
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Vampires, and possibly some of the other inhumans.
    Edwin: [after getting stabbed] It's...It's ok...
    Edwin: Vampire biology...different from human. Heart and lungs...actually in head.
    Devahi: What's in your chest?
    Edwin: 17 appendixes. Should be fine. Only need 11.
  • Humiliation Conga: Gertrude's backstory. She had the misfortune of her life being caught up in Sam's accidental hijinx over the course of ten years.
  • I Have Many Names: Mr. Sin has had so many names that he's actually in danger of running out of aliases.
  • Implacable Man: Mr. Blank. Standing in his way for whatever reason is not a good idea. In the end, it takes having his face carved up, being beat up by Sam and thrown off the side off a flying skyscraper (twice) to kill him.
  • In the Back: The ninja mafia usually don't fight fair. Especially not Blank, who killed Black with a sword through the back.
  • It's All About Me: In an unusual way with Mr Blank. While he puts on a big air about wanting to restore the Ninja Mafia out of respect for tradition and its legacy, what he really cares about is validating himself and his family's work as servants. And he'll go to ANY length to avoid admitting that it was all for nothing.
  • Jerkass: Mr. Sin is equal parts this and Cloud Cuckoo Lander, having no real empathy for anyone and no real idea how to relate to them anyway.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fuzzy. Lance too, after some Character Development caused by twenty-four hours of solid exposure to Fuzzy.
  • Jumping-On Point: Six of them, as of April 2010 — the archive is divided into different arcs, and the sixth just ended.
  • Kavorka Man: Sam, while not exactly ugly, is rather dorky and awkward, especially back before the NMS days. Despite this, he's managed to land several very attractive girlfriends over the comics run.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Somewhat averted in that the swords of the Ninja Mafia are completely un-katana like.
  • Karmic Death: Mr. Blank is finally killed when he is hit by the corpse of Mr. Black, which he had murdered previously, and loses his footing while trying to climb back up a flying building.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Grrbils. They intentionally cultivate this image.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Arguably kicked off by Fridge. Although he starts off as comic relief, his actions in the "Friday Night" arc drag Sam into the Ninja Mafia plotline that has dominated the last four years of the comic.
    • Mr. Blank and Mr. Black further do this after Sam gets set up as the one who murdered the Ninja Mafia leadership.
  • Koan: Carlyle tends to speak in koans or other forms of vague, yet always appropriate, advise.
  • Large and in Charge: Mr. Rexford the dinosaur: Rich underworld magnate and chairman of the Omniscient Council of Vagueness (or at least their local chapter).
    • Grrrbil leaders tend to be "the big man" in a literal sense. Taken to its logical extreme by their Don, who enforces the trope by consuming a magical mutagen that sticks him in a One-Winged Angel form.
    • Mr Ackerman was atleast twice the height and size of his employees.
  • Last of His Kind: Brain thought that he was, until Fridge took a bite out of him.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Someone wiped Fuzzy's memory roughly a year before he met Sam. It's eventually revealed that Hazel and Brain did it, and that Fuzzy used to be "Eric", the third member of the band.
    • It later turns out that Brain can do this at will and occasionally does it by accident. He's apparently wiped several dozen people all over the U.S, including Cooper in the year between the Noosehead and NMS arcs.
  • Last-Second Chance: Sam, to Mr. Black. If not for Blank's interference, he would probably have taken it.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Earl, during an unsuccessful attempt at getting Butcher and her children away from Sydney, had to contend with Alphonso. The full encounter is added in the print and adds the line verbatim.
    Fuzzy: I think he got one of my eyebrows!
  • Let's Meet the Meat: One strip parodies this concept with Oinky, a mascot for a brand of bacon, who claims he wishes he was human so he could eat himself as a pig. Fuzzy concludes that the logic behind these mascots is to annoy the customer so much that they WANT to eat them just to shut them up.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: How Sam keeps a couple of dangerous and moderately psychotic Ninja Mafia lieutenants busy so they don't get bored and try to off someone else. When it turns out that this is actually completely normal, Sam sent them back at it, but restricted them to nonlethal methods.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Spoofed in this strip, adding in (for no apparent reason) pouring a fizzy solution into a test tube and building a snowman to the more standard montage fare.
  • Lonely at the Top: Both Sam and Fuzzy have done this. The juxtaposition between loyalty to your friends and pursuing your own agenda is a recurring theme in the comic, ranging from Sam's brief stint as manager at Bunton's Books to both Sam and Fuzzy burning their respective bridges to run the Ninja Mafia or be a movie star.
  • Long-Runners: [[Three comics weekly since 2002.
  • Love Redeems: Defied by Gertrude. When accused of it, she denies it (in a "You Watch Too Much X" way, not a "She Is Not My Girlfriend" way) and states other reasons for the Heel–Face Turn.

  • MacGuffin: In the sixth volume, "The Pit" that is guarded by the Omniscient Council of Vagueness becomes this. Hazel and Brain are after it for an unknown reason, and are systematically hunting down council members who each have "numbers", clues to its location, and stealing them. It's unknown how many numbers they've currently acquired. Another example is the Band of Wazoo-La, which has been stolen and re-stolen an incredible number of times by multiple factions and is also linked to "The Pit".
  • Mad Artist: Jhonen Vasquez Rikk Estoban. Played mostly for comedy.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sam has been taking levels in this after becoming Ninja Emperor and being forced into exile underground. Gertrude eventually calls him out for manipulating her and warns him that it won't work again.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: The Ninja Mafia has "Ninja" versions of almost everything. Including croquet.
  • Masquerade: Most of the story's weird, inhuman creatures and unsavoury criminals live in (or at least visit) the Underground, a network of hidden cavern-cities linked by tunnels stretching across the country. Normal people have never heard of it. (Although major soda companies still manage to put up billboards there. Somehow.)
    • Maybe the soda companies are owned by people belonging to the Underground?
  • McNinja: Ninja Mafia, again.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: Sin
    • Also, Dr. Crab masquerading as Dr. Love.
  • Mood Whiplash: Usually intentional; the strip often uses humor to hide the fact that some horrible twist is incoming.
  • Morality Chain: Eric seems to have been this to Hazel before Brain wiped his memory, creating Fuzzy
  • Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Mr. Blank.
  • Nerd Glasses: Mr. Blank. Presumably contacts under the mask, though in one flashback strip he's shown pulling the mask on top of his glasses.
  • Never Found the Body: Lampshaded, subverted and parodied in short order with the corpse of Mr. Blank.
  • Nice Guy: Sam. It's one of his defining traits, judging by all the people who lampshade it.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Island contains fairly obvious captain ersatzes of Real Life artists who died while still popular, including "Elton Priestly" (Elvis Presley), "Curtis Cutter" (Kurt Cobain) and "Big Pimpin' G Moneydogg" (amalgam of pretty much every rap artist killed 'before his time', like Tupac Shakur). "Christy Spelling" resembles Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears, but neither of them were dead at the time the comic was made.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Sam makes one to himself at the end of book 3.
  • No Longer with Us: Used by Mr Y at one point.
    Mr. Y: You earned this, Devahi. I just wish...that Mr. X could have been here to see it.
    Mr. Y: But, someone had to go pick up this week's ninja dry cleaning.
  • Non-Action Guy: Sam. Despite taking a couple levels in badass and the occasional Let's Get Dangerous! moment, he's still one of the weaker characters in terms of physical combat and tends to leave the heavy fighting to others.
  • Noodle Incident: Discussing the return of Mr. Sin here.
    Sam: At least tell me you've got some idea what he's up to.
    Dt. Morris: ...No. But hopefully something less traumatic than last time.
    Sam: Where did he get that many greased ferrets, anyway?
    Dt. Morris: Those nuns are never going to be the same.
    • Turns into a Brick Joke later when Dev is going through the files on Sin.
  • The Noseless: Sid and Nicole, the latter lampshaded here.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Sam learns of Rexford's past and his insistence that I Did What I Had to Do, his immediate reaction is how close he himself came to that same point.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Sid and Crush. Sam and Gertrude.
  • Odd Name Out: Subverted. Sam thinks he's the only emperor on the list without a nickname. He's wrong.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Sam's face when he finds out the real reason why Unit 01 wanted to meet the Buddy Bears.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: There's one made up of Underground entrepreneurs and businessmen. They seem to run things on the surface as well.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The "Six Years Earlier" arc retells key moments from the strip's early volumes, but with added scenes from Hazel's perspective that show what was really going on the whole time.
  • One-Winged Angel: Hart!Brain achieves one of these by absorbing the core at the heart of the Robot Factory. The dialogue implies that whatever was powering the core was really the same substance Brain and Hart are made of
  • Only One Name: Sam. His surname is revealed late in the comic's run and we find out why he's been hiding it for all these years: It's completely terrible. Seriously, "Samms"?
  • Old Shame: In-universe, Rikk Estoban hired Fuzzy to reclaim a stolen painting by an obscure artist named David Williams. The painting in question is cheerful and borders on saccharine, making it a mystery of why Estoban would even want it. Sure enough, Fuzzy eventually figures out that the painting is an old work back before Estoban established his grimdark persona, and David Williams is his real name. The only evidence of that period is the painting itself and a newspaper clip from an old art show where Williams work was panned by critics.
  • Oracular Head: Roger. Only Fuzzy can hear him, though. This arguably says more about Fuzzy than it does about Roger.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Very different. They're born as and die as vampires, have Bizarre Alien Biology, and lack any supernatural powers beyond being long-lived, and possibly some minor Super-Strength. It's implied that The Tar, having to work with so many bizarre and self-contradicting thoughts about vampires, created the first ones based on what everyone could agree on — the blood drinking — and all the other vampire myths manifested as inheritable mental illnesses.
  • Plot Tumor: The series was at first about random jokes and semi-normal life. Then ninjas were added because ninjas are cool. They went away but would eventually come back to determine essentially the entire plot for the majority of the series.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Sam dips his toes into becoming a Villain Protagonist throughout Sam and Fuzzy Ruined Everything by slowly slipping down the slippery slope. Being almost killed by Sin at the end of Missing Inaction causes him to have a Heel Realization and reverse course.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • In many ways inverted. Most of the cast changes have been due to Sam and Fuzzy being (In-Universe) moved away from the rest of the cast and not vice-versa, with a few hangers-on showing up for cameos. But the most surprising example was when Sam was put on a bus for a few months with Fuzzy and a new supporting cast being the focus characters, before it was revealed that he was Hidden in Plain Sight from the beginning.
    • Following the completion of the NMS Series, the author has implied he will be putting the main characters on a bus to focus on new stories in the Sam and Fuzzy universe.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Morris (after some Character Development, and exposure to Sam). Until he established NMS as a public organization, that is, culminating much later in a justified reply to her behavior.
    • Mr. Ackerman during the X-Press Taxi days of the strip, despite being somewhat loopy from old age and drug use, he only asks that Sam pulls his weight with the company, something that Sams neurotic personality, social awkwardness and tendency to find himself in wacky hijinx isn't well suited for. This is actually a major plot point early on, as part of what kicks off the larger story arcs is Sam getting fired from his job due to crashing his taxi while being pursued by the Ninja Mafia after taking on one of Carlyle's delivery jobs.
  • Red Herring: After Sam and Fuzzy go missing after the events of the third book, the story picks up again following the roadies of Noosehead, one of whom is Fuzzy and the other two are Crush and Aaron. Both Crush and Aaron resemble Sam physically and mentally, Fuzzy has an equally familiar relationship with both, Crush shares Sam's ability to get himself into trouble, while Aaron shares Sam's neurotic behaviour and freaks out at the slightest mention of the Ninja Mafia. Aaron is the red herring: He's actually the ex-ninja mafioso Jackson. He even succeeds at fooling Blank, who finds out at the same time the reader does.
  • Refuge in Audacity: And THEN some! I don't even know what a bank is!
  • Relationship Reset Button: Invoked but then zigzagged with Rebecca Morris and Erin Cooper. The amnesiac Cooper infers that this trope is in effect, but actually,Morris was seemingly only friends with her former self and is surprised that the reset relationship is moving in a romantic direction.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Sin does this to Mr. X after pulling a Kill and Replace scenario on him. Literally. X is, in fact, not dead and returns to the cast no worse for wear save for having had to eat dog treats for a few months.
  • Retcon: Done in-universe by Rexford.
  • The Reveal: The comic is infamous for pulling these, planting tiny, almost unnoticable seeds that don't pay off for years.
    • The Empire arc is full of these, such as the Ninja Emperor has been possessed by the demonic Fridge who disappeared several months before and Candace/Sexxica is the daughter of the now-dead comedic background character DJ Positive
    • As mentioned above, the Noosehead arc is also full of this.
    • Unit 01, the leader of the Robot faction is a digital copy of Mr Sin
    • The Pit, the biggest secret of the entire setting is the motherlode of the Tar, the psychoactive substance that is implied to be the origin of the non-human species in the distant past.
  • Right Behind Me: Quick, before Mr Sin finds out!
  • Robot Me: Fuzzy. Mass-produced, even.
  • Royal Brat: Most of the 'nobles' of the Ninja Mafia produce these, who get senior positions in the organization due to nepotism. Gertrude was one as an actual child, though she only appears very briefly in a flashback and as an imaginary projection by her adult self.
  • Rule of Cool: Parodied.
    • The entire Ninja Mafia. I mean, come on it's a Ninja Mafia. Eventually deconstructed by Sam when he (wisely) points out it's more of a cult than a mafia, run by cynical crooks who exploit what is essentially employees who are all Ascended Fanboys.
  • Running Gag: One notable one is "the death of 17th century chemist Robert Boyle." Becomes a Cerebus Retcon as "Unfixable" reveals that Roberty Boyle faked his death and was involved in early experiments on the mysterious tar from the Pit, before finally dying when a monstrous entity (heavily implied to be Hart) attacked his lab in 1699, living long enough to scribble down one final diary entry
    • "Robots? Clones? Robot clones?"
    • "That's what the Ancient Ninja Law Code says. Or at least I think it does... What are these, coffee stains?"
  • Sarcastic Confession: Here, and lampshaded within the same strip.
  • Save the Villain: Subverted when Sam lets Fuzzy kick Mr. Blank over the edge of a flying skyscraper.
  • Schizo Tech: Played for Laughs here.
  • Shape Shifter Default Form: The shapeshifter-for-hire Jesse Star normally appears as a voluptuous blond woman, but unusually, this is not her true from; she's actually a kind of giant slug, which she reverts to in direct sunlight. That said, she "identifies" as her human form, and her true form has never actually been shown in the comic.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Sam eventually tries to shut down Dev by telling her that he's sick of people invoking He Who Fights Monsters to criticize his actions, and that it's foolish to insist that he not take control of the Pit away from obviously corrupt and incompetent people when there's no apparent way to Take a Third Option.
  • Slasher Smile: Mr. Sin has a habit of this.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The creator, Sam Logan, and Jeph Jaques of Questionable Content are mutual Sitcom Arch Nemesises to each other. Played for Laughs by both sides involved.
    • Lance is introduced as one. It's quickly abandoned as neither side are really belligerent enough for 'nemesis' status.
  • Smash Cut: Invoked by Fuzzy in the Cold Open of Volume Six, after Sam describes his plans for the Ninja Mafia. It then cuts to the title card, Sam And Fuzzy Get Famous.
    Fuzzy: The kind of thing they might make a movie about someday!
    Sam: Yeah! Maybe!
    Fuzzy: And in that movie, they'll cut from this moment right to the part where everything goes to hell.
    Sam: Wait, wh-
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Fuzzy during the comic's early run. Currently he's closer to being a second main character, what with having split up with Sam and all.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: You've lost that LOOOVIN' FEELIN'
  • Spit Take: In one strip, Fuzzy manages to do one when he's surpised by a news article, even though he wasnt drinking anything.
    Fuzzy: Ah loth all muh thaliva...
  • Spoof Aesop: Several of The Merch is T-shirts with slogans like "Murder is not an appropriate method for career advancement" and "vampirism does not make stalking attractive".
  • Stable Time Loop: In a guest strip, no less.
  • Stepford Smiler: Possibly Fuzzy, via Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Straight Gay: Morris & Cooper, whose sexualities went implied but unconfirmed for some fifty strips and eight years' worth of appearances.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Sam's first attempt at a beard was so bad it made people go temporarily blind. It's given a Call-Back some four hundred strips later when Nicole points out to Sam that you're supposed to trim beards as they grow.
  • Super Loser: Edwin. There are lesser examples as well of supernatural beings that are explicitly referred to as 'lame' by the remaining cast, but Edwin is by far and large the most blatant.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: Mr. Blank has this attitude towards the Mafia. Apparently, service to it has run in his family and he doesn't take kindly to its legitimacy being questioned.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Like here.
  • Symbol Swearing: Whenever someone swears in the comic it comes out as this.
  • Take That!: Edwin is a walking Take That! to the Twilight franchise, and specifically its bizarre concept of romance.
    • Word of God is that Edwin was an unintentional reference (in fact, a recent Q&A said that a lot of his references tend to be the unintentional variety unless he specifically draws them in that way), but the timing of it still makes perfect sense.
    • Sid manages to make an in-universe example: When Mr. Sin attempts to pressure him into making more music for him while on the Island, Sid makes one loud, angry and vicious heavy metal song — the only one he will ever write — which is a single long tirade about what a prick Mr. Sin is and contains a Long List of things Sid wants him to shove up his- you get the point.
  • Taking You with Me: Heroic example: Candice killing Fridge. Or trying to, anyway; it looks like he may have survived.
  • Technically-Living Vampire: Without so much 'technical'. Sam and Fuzzy vampires are alive, and require sleep, food and air, though their physiology is quite different from human.
  • Tempting Fate: Sam's tempting of fate is lampshaded in this comic. Fuzzy's is lampshaded and inverted here, while Mr. Y's is played straight here.
  • The Bus Came Back: Gertrude left at the end of the Noosehead arc to find herself. After staying gone for the Time Skip and the entire N-M-S arc, she returned after a second Time Skip as Sam hired her for the reformed Ninja Mafia.
  • The Imp: Fuzzy.
  • The Ishmael: Sam is essentially this during the climax of the first arc, made to bear witness to Candice's tale of vengeance over Fridge. He ends up in a similar situation in the final arc, when Fuzzy takes his vengeance on Brain. Subverted by Fuzzy later on, who claims that without Sam he wouldn't have been able to get to that point in the first place.
  • The Rival: Lance was this to Sam in the first arc. Sort of. The narration and characters kept treating him as one, even as the actual story (and comedy of their interactions) showed that this was blatantly not the case. Their one geniune attempt at a rivalry started the story's Myth Arc as Sam picked a Carlyle job in an attempt to one-up Lance.
  • The Straight Man: Sam.
  • The Unfettered: Mister Blank is willing to go to any length to make Sam the emperor and then kill him when he passes off the title. Candice is a subversion: She follows the trope right up until Fridge possesses Sam.
  • The Unmasked World: Happens at least twice, first with the Vampires and Grrbils due to Sam, and finally to the entire Underground thanks to the events of "Race to the Bottom".
  • Title Drop: The title of "Sam and Fuzzy" gets dropped in the last panel of the NMS Series and Sam and Fuzzy's involvement in the main plot, as the title of Fuzzy's autobiography. Fuzzy still being Fuzzy even after all his Character Development, however, the names are in the opposite order.
  • Theme Naming: Early in the strip, Sam and Fuzzy adopt a cat that Fuzzy names "Butcher" (it turns out to be a lady cat). Fast forward through some half-dozen time skips and Sam has got a puppy to go with the cat, which he's named "Baker". According to Malcolm, we don't want to know about the Candlestick Maker.
  • There Are No Therapists: Subverted. At one point, Sam does go to see a therapist, but said therapist is both horrifically incompetent and a giant talking crab. See for yourself here.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Referenced with the Non-Disclosure Automaton.
  • They Walk Among Us: The independent story arcs set after the Myth Arc. Due to the events of the Myth Arc, the Underground is well and truly into the open.
  • Time Skip: Endemic, every new arc leads to a jump that can go between several months to a year forward in time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sam, as of the recent Application Pending storyline.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Fridge attempts to possess Ox. It goes poorly, because Ox is so dumb it can't think when it's possessing him.
  • Tranquil Fury: The fight between Mr. Blank and Mr. Black.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Ninja Mafia Blankfaces are trained from very young childhood.
  • Underground City: The Underground is full of them. The two major ones we see in the comic are Sub-Newport and Retropolis, though The Underground RPG revealed several others.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Sam.
  • Unknown Rival: Gertrude has practically every aspect of her life inadvertently ruined by Sam's actions. He doesn't remember any of it. She does.
  • The Unmasked World: As of volume five this appears to be Sam and the Ninja Mafia's long term goal. Upon breaking The Masquerade on vampires through a Batman Gambit his only description of it is "a good start". It's completely broken by the end of Race To the Bottom
  • Unstoppable Rage: Again, the fight between Mr. Blank and Mr. Black.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The abnormals who don't live in the Underground skirt by on this, taking advantage of the fact that people tend to disregard out of the ordinary sights if no one else seems bothered by them. This only works with minor exceptions though, such as Fuzzy who originally claimed to suffer from a rare disease called Ursine Syndrome, making everyone disregard his bizarre appearance out of fear of looking insensitive.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Sam is this for the original Ninja Mafia and Getrude especially. His unknowing involvement pretty much destroyed her life. He got the college scholarship she wanted (that he wasnt able to keep anyway), accidently ruined her college career by destroying her term projects while he was almost comatose from sleep deprivation (she held her computer disks too close to a box of magnets he was carrying around), ruined her chances to impress the Ninja Council by making her late to a martial arts competition (Fuzzy had stuffed the taxi wheels with drugs), spilled coffee on some invaluable ancient ninja texts when she bumped into him, and seemingly destroyed the Ninja Mafia by wiping out the council.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: One of the sub-types of vampires that exist in the setting are a parody of this trope, while also Played for Drama. A vampire with this particular mutation has superhuman control over phermones and hormones, drawing in anyone who is sexually attracted to their gender, but like other vampires, it's a psychological problem that is difficult to resist. The one who appears in the comic suffers from blackouts and doesn't remember what she did in her "sexy vampire" state.
  • Vandalism Backfire: Done in an early strip where Sam is annoyed over Fuzzy accidentally crashing their taxi, forcing them to use a cardboard box as a substitute. Cue Fuzzy trying to cheer him up in his usual sociopathic way.
    Fuzzy: Look Sam, I bent all your golf clubs into animal shapes to cheer you up! See, this one's a ducky!
    Sam: Fuzzy, I don't own any golf clubs...
    Fuzzy: (Beat) OH CRAP, MY GOLF CLUBS!!
    Sam: Okay, NOW I feel better.
  • Visual Pun: Skull Panda is Invulnerable to the Cold Vacuum of Space.
  • Wainscot Society: The Underground, which has its own society and rules made to protect the Fantasy Kitchen Sink from the 'regular' world above.
  • Webcomic Time: Canonically, the Myth Arc covers about a decade and took sixteen years to finish. Most of the actual time within said decade was covered by Time Skips between arcs. Since the end of the Myth Arc, the arcs have become less connected and may happen at the same time, or with any number of years or months apart.
  • We Help the Helpless: The NMS. Unfortunately, that doesn't pay the bills very well.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Fuzzy explicitly calls Sam one.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Candice. The Committee as well. Sam is becoming one
  • We Used to Be Friends: Mr. Blank and Mr. Black. Sam and Fuzzy goes through this stage at one point as well, as does Sam and Devahi, and Fuzzy and Hazel.
  • Wham Episode: Buddocaplyse. Sam breaks upon having his life messed up by Fuzzy and Aaron so badly that he can't be seen in public anymore, disowns the two, and starts talking with Sin.
    • As of the end of Double Jeopardy, he seems to be working with Hazel.
    • In "Sin's Gambit," Sin murders a huge percentage of the Erasers, Brain gruesomely kills Sin, Sam learns that Brain knows the truth about Candace, Sam and Devahi break up, and Brain is revealed to have been corrupted by Fridge.
    • As of "Unfixable", Sam's fraudulent claim to the Ninja Mafia throne has been exposed, leading to the entire force deserting him, including X and Y, as well as the loss of both his seats on the Committee, and the Cyborg Mafia confiscating the Buddy Bots.
  • Wham Line:
  • Wham Shot: In "Crossed Wires," Unit 01 is a copy of Mr. Sin via Brain Uploading.
  • What the Hell, Hero?
    Mr. Black: What the hell, man? I thought you were supposed to be the nice one!
    Sam: What can I say? Every single person I know is a bad influence.
    • Sam gets a long and overdue one from Devahi at the end of "Sin's Gambit" for his actions, which include sending the Ninja Mafia against Sin's Buddy Bots despite the fact that they were completely unprepared to fight them, which causes one-third of them to be seriously injured, planning to reprogram the Buddy Bots to work for him despite the fact that they're highly dangerous killing machines built with technology they barely understand, and most importantly, planning to use them to intimidate other Underground territories into doing what they want — ie. something that Sin would do.
    • Sam gets one from Rexford, of all people, for exposing the existence of vampires to the world.
    Rexford: Yes, yes, you're an inspiration. Hundreds of years of proven, reliable stability completely upended on the whim of a self-righteous know-it-all. Sure, it's reckless, and you have no idea what you may have wrought, but congratulations! You did it. You forced us all to let the vampire pill out of the bottle. You'd just better hope the world can swallow it.
  • Where It All Began: Sam and Fuzzy's final conversation at the end of the Myth Arc takes place on the same overlook they would hang out on during The Early Days. It's made clear Sam chose to take Fuzzy there specifically for the resonance.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: For the first two arcs Sam and Fuzzy's hometown wasn't named, only hinted to be located somewhere in America. It was later christened 'Newport', and eventually revealed to be (or located really close to) the Real Life town of Newport, Oregon (though the author has gone on record that he hasn't tried making the fictional version close to the real-life thing at all).
  • White Gloves: Initially, Sam appeared to have them. Later, he had actual hands. Lampshaded later.
  • World of Snark: Sarcasm is a pretty big part of the comic's humour, and pretty much everyone gets in a sarcastic dig at some point. It would probably be easier to list the major characters who don't engage in sarcasm as an outlet, and that list probably starts and ends with Malcolm and X and Y.
  • World of Weirdness: The surface world is somewhat normal with a few exaggerations, but the Underground is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, and things tend to leak a little.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After a year of forced exile, Sam finally manages to return to the surface... only to find that nobody from his past life wants anything to do with him anymore.
    Sam: (...)I think I missed it... more than it missed me.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: This is how the Ninja Mafia works — at least, this is how it works if you kill the entire Ruling Council (so none of the official successors are left alive). Sam, as the only survivor of the murder of the previous Ruling Council, is therefore considered the rightful Ninja Emperor — and becomes the focus of all the plotting that comes with it. It's also the only way Sam can "step down". Since Emperors rule for life, someone has to kill him to take his place.
    • Happens again when Sam accidentally causes the destruction of Unit 01 and finds himself in charge of Megalopolis 01.
  • You Killed My Father: Fridge eventually possesses a ninja and kills DJ Positive. Candice reveals herself to be his daughter moments before she kills herself and Fridge's body at the same time.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: This is the true nature of The Pit. It is in reality a massive reservoir of a mysterious psychoreactive substance known as The Tar that gives physical form to the thoughts and imagination of any sentient being near it, meaning it's the origin of every non-human sentient being on Earth - vampires, werewolves, talking cats, sentient robots, shapeshifting slugs, all of them.
  • You Will Be Spared: A somewhat dark version. When Blank kills Black, he claims to Sam that Black was his oldest and only friend, and that he made his death as quick and painless as he possibly could — but if Sam thinks he's deserved the same treatment, he is sadly mistaken.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Here.
  • Your Vampires Suck: See Take That! above.