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Webcomic / Scenes from a Multiverse

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Two of the strip’s many, many colourful characters

Thief: I think the pizza wants me to murder?
Bryn: I do not understand the appeal of pizza.

Scenes from a Multiverse is a gag-per-day webcomic written and drawn by Jon Rosenberg (creator of Goats) and updated every Monday-Wednesday-Friday. As the name would imply, it consists of random sketches taking place across a vast and varied (and seemingly infinite) collection of universes. Since the setting and the cast change every day, this comic technically has one of the largest and mind-bogglingly diverse casts of characters of any work. Although this means the work as a whole has no overarching plot, particularly popular locales and characters (most notably the “Dungeon Divers”) get revisited and develop their own storylines.

Content can be as wildly distinct as the locations themselves, ranging from sociopolitical commentary (this one reduces the United States Supreme Court nomination process to two kids fighting over a TV) to affectionate parodies of movies/TV/video games the author likes to utter nonsense, or the blood-soaked antics of Cornelius Snarlington, Business Deer.

SFAM’s website can be found here, and you can read all comics from the beginning here.

The strip has not been updated since 2021.

(Not to be confused with The Multiverse.)

Scenes from a Multiverse provides examples of:

  • The Afterafterlife: In "Superhell", a damned soul finds himself talking with a demon in "Superhell", where people who die in regular Hell go. It's even worse than regular Hell — they use variable ratio negative behavioral reinforcement rather than continuous ratio. Also, everything is beige.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Parodied with Kassel, a hot dog vendor who uses his knowledge of condiments to be a forensic consultant for the police.
  • Audience Participation: There used to be a weekly poll allowing viewers to determine which dimension would get revisited. This ended with a strip showing an Author Avatar declaring he was abolishing democracy in favor of totalitarian dictatorship.
  • Author Appeal: The Star Trek-related comics that pop up once every so often.
  • Author Avatar: Either Jon himself or some thinly-veiled version of him will pop up fairly frequently, either to put himself into a Star Trek parody or make a pseudo-philosophical statement.
  • Author Tract: Internet trolls, fundamentalists and Donald Trump all end up on the receiving end of Rosenberg’s pen, but it’s usually done so cleverly you won’t mind.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: The whole point of the Bunnies Planet in the Zones of Adorable.
    Not every corner of the Multiverse is a veiled political allegory or taco bar, you know. Some places, it’s just bunnies. Hooray bunnies!
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" / Expospeak Gag: Crops up multiple times, especially here
  • Call-Back: Quite a few strips expand on throwaway jokes used in Rosenberg's other webcomic, Goats. Crab City, Good Hitler, Corn God, Firewall, Space Wizards, God being dead but once having been a pirate named Larry, those three giant faces from the Pink Dimension...
  • Cloudcuckoolander: There's one in approximately every strip.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    "[It's] up the slope of antagonistic radioactive space bears."
    "It's uphill?"
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: The punchline of this comic.
  • Corrupt Church: The religion of the Corn God. They're quite stunningly commercialistic, their deity is a crook, and every year on Cornmas they choose a new group of people to ostracize via spinning wheel.
  • Cyberpunk: Blade Runner gets parodied with a series of strips in which we see the future of resident Hardboiled Detective (actually an accountant) Sam Greeley, where he's now an accountant who hunts replicants.
  • Deadly Gaze: Horace Greenstein gives one to a TV host who mocks owls. While watching the host's show from the comfort of his own couch!
    Guy at the TV studio: Oh, god... he's watching again.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: this strip is set in Redundancy Zones, Redundancy Zones.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: Implied in the flashback where Eddie recruits the other Dungeon Divers.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The basis of the immensely popular Dungeon Divers storyline, SFAM’s longest ongoing plot to date.
  • Energy Beings: Francis the Energy Cloud. (He's a Jerkass.)
  • Expy:
    • At one point we see stand-ins for Jon and Phillip from Rosenberg's other comic, Goats.
    • The Murdercops are The Blues Brothers as homicide detectives.
    • Doctor Whoa, who's basically Doctor Who as a Lovable Sex Maniac (but gradually losing the lovable part).
    • Star Trek Week features many to different Star Trek characters.
  • Fantastic Drug: Dark Michael and Percival introduce us to Rewind, each toke of which alters a random event in your past. Later, they get their hands on a bag of Moral Superiority, which is pretty much what you'd think.
  • Fantastic Fantasy Is Mundane: One strip has a group of teenagers from the Eternal Fearzones playing an RPG in which they're mundane office workers.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Both Cornelius and his arch rival Horace apply.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: All but invoked in this comic by an Expy of Harry Kim.
  • God Is Evil: The Corn God is kind of horrible. He's been imprisoned repeatedly for drug and violent offenses, and he routinely passes up opportunities to prevent disasters so he can make public appearances on toast.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Sam Greeley fits the bill almost perfectly. Except he's actually an accountant. And a crab. But he has the Private Eye Monologue down cold.
    So that was the Case of the Murdering Murderer. Solved. Shady would see justice in two to four years plus a couple of years for the inevitable repeal process. Lucy would rest in peace. And me? The name's Sam Greeley. I'm an accountant. ...One time I counted the stars with a girl named Lucy.
  • Insult to Rocks: Used here in reference to (who else) Donald Trump.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Mother of All Bunnies looks like an adorable rabbit crossed with a Xenomorph Queen.
  • The Multiverse: Obviously.
  • Ominous Owl: Horace Greenstein, an owl lawyer whose creepy gaze is so unnerving that anyone subjected to it immediately caves in to Greenstein's (unspoken) demands.
  • Organ Autonomy: In one strip, an unfortunate guy has a rather emotional breakup... with his own lungs.
  • Parody Religion: All hail the Corn God!
  • Percussive Maintenance: In one strip, a group of teenagers from the Eternal Fearzones are playing an RPG in which they're mundane office workers. One player, because there's always one, responds to every problem by hitting it. When the problem is a malfunctioning Xerox machine, hitting it actually works.
  • Shout-Out: Tons to various sci-fi shows, or just to whatever Rosenberg is watching at the time.
  • The Sociopath: Cornelius Snarlington in spades.
  • Space "X": Used gleefully with references to Space Atheists, Hypermexicans, Planet France, and more.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Outer Suburbitron, where ghosts popping out of your hot cocoa and urging you to commit murder is apparently just taken in stride.
  • Teeny Weenie: Implied here, provided you actually know what the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction is.
  • Vampire Detective Series: Dracula Jones was a recurring character for awhile. One of the downsides of hiring a vampire detective is brought up when he drains his client shortly after solving the case.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Discussed anviliciously here
  • Wizards from Outer Space: Space Wizards are a bit of a running gag. In an early comic, a barfly reminisces about wanting to be one in his younger days, a dream he never lived out (he blames the economy).
  • You Cloned Hitler!: Good Hitler, a (fictional?) clone of Hitler who became a secret agent. The same agency who made him also made one of Kim Jong Un.