Follow TV Tropes


Webcomic / Sinfest

Go To
Sinfest in its early days. From left to right: Percival, Pooch, Criminy, Monique, Squigley, and Slick.

Sinfest is a Webcomic by Tatsuya Ishida, an outgrowth of a strip he originally created for the UCLA college newspaper. It's one of the longest-running webcomics around, with over 6,700 strips as of spring 2019.

Sinfest began in 2000, and started out as a light-hearted comedy revolving mainly around the goofy antics of Slick, a Calvin-esque teenaged "pimp" who was always trying to look cool and pick up chicks, and his hot friend Monique, who spent her days flirting with hot guys (of whom Slick never qualified). Other prominent characters included God, the Devil, Jesus, Buddha, and the Dragon, an embodiment of Eastern religion; Seymour and Li'l Evil, raging fanboys of God and the Devil respectively; Squigley, a stoner pig who is one of Slick's pals; The Artist, a comic artist and Ishida's Author Avatar; Percival and Pooch, the Artist's cat-and-dog duo; and Criminy, a sheltered bookworm and mutual friend of Slick and Squigley.

In its early years, Sinfest was mainly a gag-a-day comic with little regard for continuity. In addition to the humor based on the cast's foibles, it routinely played with Black Comedy scenarios, drug- and sexually-themed humor, and subversive pokes at the nature of religion and morality, among other topics and Running Gags. Slick and Monique's odd friendship/rivalry/something was the foundation of the comic and focus never strayed from it for long, but after a few years, other storylines became prominent, such as Criminy's chaste romance with one of the Devil's succubi, the Devil becoming a more serious antagonist, and revelations about Li'l Evil's backstory, as well as politically-themed gags and overall development for many characters.

However, in October 2011, Sinfest began a huge shift in theme and focus with the introduction of the Sisterhood. The comic quickly ditched almost every aspect of its old nature and turned toward a radical brand of second-wave feminism. From that point on in the world of Sinfest, society was brainwashed by a Matrix-like Patriarchy controlled by the Devil which the Sisterhood fought against, and the comic's world was connected to an alternate reality where greed, lust, and other traits fueled by the Patriarchy are the norm. The Sisterhood became part of the main cast, while characters with little influence on the comic's new themes such as God, the Dragon, Buddha, and even Criminy were barely seen. The Sisterhood's influence drastically changed both Monique and Slick, and they now rarely interact.

Then in 2019, seemingly overnight, Sinfest saw yet another radical shift in theme, this time towards far-right political conservatism. To an outside observer, the current setting now seems like the polar opposite of what was preached in the past decade, with "woke" movements and groups becoming quite literally demonised, and subplots endorsing anti-vaxx rhetoric, the "QAnon" conspiracy theory, and increasingly virulent transphobia. The one common thread remaining is a severe indictment of the sex industry, but the less said about any of this, the better. Beyond that, storytelling trends introduced in the New 10's remain in practice. Several new characters have been introduced, and the comic is focusing on extended storylines that can run for weeks at a time, with once-regular gags and characters only occasionally showing up. Sinfest now is so different from its former self as to almost be a new comic, which could make an Archive Binge a jarring experience.

This webcomic provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Aborted Arc:
    • For a while in 2012, it was nearly impossible to find a strip that didn't have something to do with the sisterhood. Then around mid-September the strips more or less abruptly stopped. However it seems to be starting up again as of the beginning of 2013.
    • This can be hard to detect in this comic, because he frequently intersperses the comics of an arc with filler strips and even other arcs, so an arc may be just dropped.
    • The Pro-Obama strips have been gone for a few years, though Squigly recently invoked him before busking for cash.
  • Activist-Fundamentalist Antics: Seymour often falls into this territory; even God dismisses him as a "loony fanboy".
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: A number of 2020s strips surrounding education focus on various queer and trans people being groomers who use their ideology to infiltrate schools where they gain access to children. 2022's Zombie Hunting strips in particular have a groomer zombie disguising itself with a pride flag to elude the police; a reference to the belief that queer movements encourage and shelter pedophiles.
  • Alliterative List: From 2018-01-10, the destroyed Pimpbot's status message:
    Pimpbot Down
    Pimpbot Down
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • Xanthe gets angry over Slick leering at a woman wearing a midriff revealing shirt and tight pants and Xanthe treats the woman with courtesy. That's a fine message to send... if the previous comic hadn't been about Xanthe yelling at Monique for wearing those kind of clothes.
    • An even worse one. Xanthe has been constantly angry at men for leering at women and judging them on basis of their attractiveness. Again, that's a fine message to send. The problem occurs when a woman starts leering at men and judging them on basis of ''their'' attractiveness and Xanthe treats Squigley with scorn for complaining about it. Uh, Xanthe? Wasn't that the sort of thing you exist to criticize?
    • A story-wide example occurs as the strip suddenly cut from its Sisterhood era to its "Anti-Woke" era, where things the Sisterhood were portrayed positively for doing and believing are now portrayed as evil and caused by the Devil himself. What makes this worse is that the strip itself makes little or no effort to reconcile or justify this change in messaging, meaning the Sisterhood are still portrayed positively despite still standing for almost everything the strip now stands against. Another one to note is that the eternal whipping boys Slick and Squig practically have their Character Development set back to square one, since they spent the entire Sisterhood era (nearly a decade in real time) trying to become more accepting and progressive, only to be left on the wrong side of the message shift since for men, that's too close to being "Woke", which is now a bad thing.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Fuchsia treats Criminey's cuts, after he reaches her in Hell.
  • Art Evolution: The art style and drawing pattern of the series has improved in quality over time. Even with the heavy plot-shift, the art has continued to become more complex and regardless of receptions to the plot, the art itself is quite nice.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Many of the secondary characters, including Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty, Death, now "reaping" souls via modern assassination tactics and weaponry, and Dragon, the embodiment of all eastern religion.
  • Anthropomorphic Vice: After withdrawing from booze, pot, and porn for five days, Squigley starts seeing anthropomorphized joints and liquor bottles.
  • Anti-Magic: The simplest explanation of how the Reality Zone works. All forms of magical flight fail, pits to hell can't be created, and unnatural creatures either revert to a natural form (as in Squigley's case) or are slowly harmed (as with the devils.)
  • Anvilicious: In-Universe example. After Monique's latest heckling, Slick lampshades that she may be too blunt with her feminism and should try more subtle terms. This upsets her. In the next strip, we see Slick explaining the ramifications of being too blunt with these sorts of viewpoints.
    Slick: You can't go around bashing people with a sledgehammer! You hit people on the head, you're gonna get a reaction.
  • Appeal to Force: The Devil's HellHounds make it clear in no uncertain terms to Slick who's not to blame for the state of his life, or more accurately that morning's hangover.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Monique looks good, even as Androgynique and Badass 'Nique. Both mess with Seymour, though.
  • Author Avatar: The Cartoonist. Originally an anonymous background character simply assumed to be the author, he has recently put himself in the spotlight.
  • Author Guest Spot: Tatsuya Ishida is a semi-regularly occurring character, both as Pooch and Percy's owner and for Leaning on the Fourth Wall moments. A Running Gag is the comparison between him and God as the two "creators" of the comic's universe.
  • Author Tract: It was one of the big webcomics when those were first taking off in the aughts. Whereas in previous years the comic tended towards light humour and general satire, it later adopted a more preachy, "redfem" tone. Most people probably forgot Sinfest even existed until its creator started popping off this gender-critical stuff. These days, it's rare to see a strip which doesn't in some way promote Ishida's views.
    • Some of this happened even before the feminist shift. Tats was never clearly big on religion, and he often critiqued consumerism and supported Obama even in the early days.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Subverted and inverted here. Perhaps zigzagged, because they're still sitting next to each other.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Criminy. After Seymour drove off Fuchsia, he raised his voice in anger for the first time.
    • The new Fuchsia is kind and gentle. It's unwise to piss her off. See Berserk Button for a pair of nice examples.
  • Blush Sticker: The boy Baby Blue had a crush on, in flashback.
  • Bondage Is Bad: The pre-September '11 Sinfest portrayed BDSM (as well as bisexuality and polyamory) as being satanic, the depraved ways of devil girls. However, this was part of the Evil Is Cool and Evil Is Funny mood that the comic was running on those days. Post September '11 Sinfest still demonizes BDSM (because BDSM only exists because all men hate all women and also because trans women exist), but now on a much serious level. Besides BDSM itself being used as a metaphor for all kinds of evil, the comic now includes three deeply evil BDSM-themed characters, "Bondage guy", "Bondage" and "Domination". Unlike the devil himself, these three sadistic devils have so far show no redeeming qualities whatsoever and no goals or personality traits beyond their complete devotion to evil BDSM Patriarchy.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy : BOMF! Several supernatural characters have demonstrated the ability to call upon hidden aspects of mortals' personalities and render those aspects dominant, with the magnitude of the effect dependent on the degree to which the aspect was originally present in hidden form. The Buddha just temporarily calms people, but Jesus and Satan can cause permanent changes to behavior and appearance (well, permanent till the other reverts their work.) Several strips suggest more precise rules as to how this works, but taken as a whole they contradict each other—the primary influence seems to be the Rule of Funny.
  • Broken Aesop: Since becoming an Author Tract on radical feminism, a lot of the comic's depictions of women, men, the social construct of the gender binary and patriarchy tend to throw themselves and/or each other under the bus when the concept doesn't fit neatly into the metaphor.
    • The fembots are a metaphor for women who are unaware of the patriarchy because they've been indoctrinated into it since birth. This would be fine, except for the part where they're literal machines complete with gaming console controls, contrasted by the actual flesh-and-blood prostitutes who work alongside them. The comic depicts the fembots as terrorized victims fighting for their freedom, but In-Universe, they're highly sophisticated sex toys that have violently turned against their users.
    • "Sex Work is Work" is bullshit patriarchal propaganda because it can't be "work" if it's exploitation... except that in-universe, prostitution is openly legal. The two recurring sex worker characters also view it as work. Sapphire chooses to be a stripper and is free to refuse Sam's offer to pimp her out (and internally refuses again when her strip club hikes her dues) and the unnamed porn star requests a new job from Abby's booth, so yes, in the world of Sinfest, sex work is work, it's just that it's really shitty work. It also doesn't help that most of the cast does just fine without having a job at all, and when they need money for plot reasons there's always an opening at the factory.
    • The "Gender Fluid" arc condemns trans women for their patriarchal appropriation of feminine identity, with Xanthe rather explicitly stating that biological sex is what determines a person's gender... which doesn't mesh very well with the Sisterhood's prior condemnation of the gender binary, and really clashes with Monique's character development since the comic switched to a radfem perspective. Although she's never claimed to be anything but female, Monique's new design is pointedly boyish, and she went from happily flirting with people of all genders to being exclusively lesbian. So, if a man decides to be more feminine, he's wearing female identity like a Halloween costume, but if a woman decides to be more masculine, she's liberated. And that's not even getting into the pre-radfem Androgynique arc, where Monique literally cross-dresses for the express purpose of 'picking up bitches'.
    • Pretty much all the positive peace-and-harmony Aesops from the pre-radfem comic have been ground into a fine powder now that we have a narratively-endorsed protagonist with "Kill All Men!" as a catch-phrase.
    • This seems to be an... odd weapon choice for a radical feminist.
    • All that preaching about the objectification of women doesn't work when even even Monique has a literal price tag. It might not be money, but fact that the tag exists means that every girl is potential property, they just don't all cost the same currency.
    • The strip's entire assertion that transwomen can't be real women hits a bit of a snarl when you remember that a large part of the fembots' character arc is that they, non-human machines desiged to look and programmed to act like women, can be real women if they believe they are, to the point that the Reality Zone transforms one into a real, flesh-and-blood human when she enters it. They seemed to catch on to this contradiction because, at some point during the "Anti-Woke" era, the strip pretty much completely gave up on the notion that the fembots were anything more than disposable machines that were only designed to look like people, to the point that almost all of them are now just the Devil's mindless minions and attempting to reprogram or liberate them is never mentioned again.
    • The "Anti-Nazi Goggles" are used to essentially accuse the "Woke" of invoking Godwin's Law in who they go after and justifying any violence with that, which doesn't really have that much weight coming from Sinfest nowadays. Calling out extremist violence might have some weight to it if the strip itself hadn't spent the past decade narratively endorsing characters that call for and engage in extremist violence regularly, calling out demonization used to justify violence might carry some weight if the strip itself hadn't spent the past decade portraying anyone the author disagrees with as being literal agents of the Devil himself, including the "Woke" people in question being portrayed as subhuman savages akin to a Zombie Apocalypse, and the horror of this "brainwashing" might carry a bit more weight if Monique's heroic induction to the Sisterhood wasn't accomplished by having her wear the "Patriarchy Blocker" glasses, which does practically the same thing as these goggles.
    • Related to the above, the strip might have a difficult time being effective at railing against things like doxxing and "Cancel Culture" when it was portraying the Sisterhood doing exactly that as perfectly justified up until just a few months before it took up that new crusade.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • "Bad Behavior", where Seymour antagonized Fuchsia. Given that on their first meeting, Fuchsia set him on fire, he really should have known what he was getting into.
    • A couple of devil bullies mess with Criminy and Fuchsia on one occasion. Between the two of them and Tomey... well, the bullies definitely end up worse off.
    • When Lil'E was in kindergarten, two boys tried to bully him. But if you mess with the son of the Devil you make his dad angry. Those boys were lucky to escape with just a few burns.
  • Call-Back: Fairly early on in Fuchsia's progression from willing servant of evil to Crim's girlfriend and reluctant Punch-Clock Villain, she saw parallels between herself and a butterfly. Almost 18 months of strips later, Crim invades hell to visit Fuchsia, and then has to make a quick escape that lands him in the Reality Zone. Shortly after arriving there, he observes both a butterfly and a caterpillar nearby.
    • Both of which may be a callback to an earlier moment involving Criminy. Also, in one Sunday strip, after The Devil and Baby Blue try to re-devil Fuchsia, we see her staring off after a butterfly as well.
  • Cats Are Mean:
    • Subverted in that Percival, while often acting like a jerk, actually does care about Pooch (though he'd never admit it).
    • Also played straight when he though it would be funny to make a "catse" screen saver.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • About halfway through the comic's run, several darker elements came into play. The Devil became much more straightforwardly evil; the succubi and Death became regular characters; Hell and the tortured souls within started appearing regularly; and Uncle Sam showed up and became corrupt, then broke. Despite this, the series stayed comedic, due in large part to Character Development.
    • But played more and more straight as time goes on and more and more strips designed without a joke are posted. The jump has pretty much been made at this point; the only jokes are at the expense of causes the author disagrees with, and the comic is so serious that he seems to be attacking them instead or parodying them like he used to.
    • Mid-April 2016, the Reality Zone sign is shown, badly damaged, being torn up as the bubble of "reality" is disrupted and then blocked off, effectively removing the last element of Old Sinfest from the map.
  • Character Development: Every main character has had some sort of serious character development. Those who have not completely changed their outlook on life (Monique, & Fuchsia) have been given a third dimension (most visible in Slick & Crim) with the only possible exceptions being Pooch, God, and the author avatar. The short version is Slick & Monique are considerably less selfish, Squig and Crim are braver, Fuchsia and Baby Blue have distinct personalities, Lil'E and Seymour are less dogmatic, and the Devil doesn't do comedy so much anymore. The longer version is:
    • Slick started out as an egotistical jackass, but took a turn to being a better person, going so far as to admitting he loves Monique. He even lost his tie, and got new shades that are not pitch black. However, that seems to have reversed itself to a degree. After a match with a succubus, he's become part devil, switching between the two personas without his knowledge.
    • Monique used to just be a rather two-dimensional materialistic attention whore/slut and is now a crunchy activist feminist. She's also cut her hair, gone to a much more androgynous look, and now considers her past an Old Shame.
    • Fuchsia started out as genuinely evil, but now is in love with Criminy, quit working for the Devil and is now essentially a soft-hearted (but short-tempered) human with a few extra features (check how her design has changed).
    • Criminy used to hide himself away in his Fortress of Knowledge; as his relationship with Fuchsia progressed, you saw less and less of the Fortress, until you see him completely without it. His hair is also a little more natural, where prior it was always 'in place'.
    • Seymour used to be a hard conservative who attacked anything outside his narrow ideals. After learning a hard lesson in humility he now shows Tangerine respect. He's still conservative and holds a grudge against Fuchsia and Baby Blue (they messed him up) but he's not quite so fast to attack now. He also seems to genuinely care about Lil'E, especially after Lil'E's recent amnesia.
      • After his run-in with Cupid, he became a bit goofier, but also became nicer, having comforted Squigley and the succubus Sapphire. It's shown here how much he changed compared to his counterpart from the Sisterhood.
    • While not as much as Fyoosh and still very much a Card-Carrying Villain, Baby Blue is shown to have a genuine soft spot for Fuchsia and possibly some jealousy towards Criminy.
    • Recently, we've been looking into the past of Lil'E and seeing what he's like without his devil worship.
      • Without his memories, he's less of a jerk that most of the cast. He's also intelligent enough to take the hints about what kind of person he used to be, put them together logically, and come up with something that worries him.
    • The Devil went from being a funny 'classic cartoon' style of character to being a true source of malice. He rarely seems to use his lemonade-style soul-buying stand anymore.
      • He it has also been implied that he has a Tragic Backstory involving Lil'Evil's mother, and that in his own strange way he cares about his son.
    • Squigley has been grappling with his life of excess. He ran away once to try to escape gambling debts, has dealt with his problems with food and pot. Most recently, he's been trying to deal with his addiction to pornography.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Those "glitter points" come in handy.
    • The "Reality Zone" too, since it seems to have the power to incapacitate things of Hell. Forky lost consciousness upon entering and recovered upon leaving. The Devil is apparently afraid of the place, as he refused to enter and create a hell hole there. Instead, he replied "show's over" when asked and walked away. Tangerine actually started to burn like a vampire in sunlight when she went in. Fuchsia started to disintegrate after a few seconds in it, but was fine when she left.
    • A particular request, made to the Devil, only to be denied, has passed through several people since, affecting each of them.
  • Chew Toy: Seymour in 2011 gets lots of screen time dedicated to making him suffer. Not that the fan base minds.
  • Children Are Tender-Hearted: An infant Lil' E cried over the shooting of an angel.
  • Continuity Creep: As noted above, the comic has had little to no regard to continuity in its earlier years. But extended story arcs began taking shape before so long. And old throw-away gags from earlier days have also been brought back and expanded upon, including Squigley's ability to fly his couch while high.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • 'Nique acted as one to Criminy at one time. She was quite protective of him if she thought he was in danger.
    • Likewise, Tangerine is one to Lil'E.
  • Cool Cat: Percy is a perfect example of "cats are cool" via "cats are aloof," where he thinks he's too cool for everyone around him, and acts accordingly.
  • Cool Horse: The winged horses Tangerine and 'Nique watch in the tree.
  • Cool Shades: Probably the look Slick was going for, although he doesn't pull it off as well as he thinks he does.
  • Evil Me Scares Me:
    • Fuchsia has this reaction to her reflection after losing her temper with Seymour. In all likelihood, this was a side of herself she never wanted Criminy to see.
    • After getting mindwiped, Lil' E also has this response.

  • Face Palm: The Cartoonist does this when his Fanboy misunderstands "spotting blacks".
  • Fallen States of America:
    • Some of the strips about the presidential elections show how low or how dictatorial Ishida regards America to be.
    • Sam's treatment to Liberty can be seen as this. Ishida regards USA as misunderstanding the concept of "Liberty", and continues to do things that are very douchey to her without considering what she would think about it.
    • The Compass Arc portrays the USA as having fallen into a Brutal, Crapsack World.
  • Fan Fic: Seymour is shown to be writing some about Jesus and John Galt.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Seymour in strips 3662 and 3663 directed towards Fuchsia, which also showcases his hypocrisy since one of the core tenants of Christianity is that those who are legitimately trying to change their ways should be encouraged along that path. Made even more apparent when it was earlier shown that two angels pretty much ignore her nowadays since they know she isn't evil anymore. They even give Criminy their blessing when he digs his way to hell for her since after all, love transcends all boundaries.
    • Seymour does seem more sympathetic towards Tangerine, trying to help her without hurting her feelings (partially so she does not hurt him), to the point where she seems to consider him a friend. Considering his enthusiasm for this happens after getting told off by Fuchsia, it might be evidence of him trying to Atone himself.
  • Females Are More Innocent: The series's credo for latest few years. Average male? Sorry, likely a "dudebro" and a creep visiting strip-clubs and contributing to the oppression of women. The devil girls will be revealed as more innocent than him.
  • Female Monster Surprise: Cerberus's sex is established when Sleaze wishes for "Hot Bitches" on Christmas Eve, and Cerberus appears at his door.
  • Filibuster Freefall: The comic shifted rather abruptly from adult-oriented gag-a-day humor (which nevertheless commented on a variety of political and social issues) to a hardcore second-wave feminist theme and, by the late 2010s, extreme anti-trans views. The strip's creator Tatsuya Ishida also being a poster boy for Reclusive Artist, the reason for this change remains unknown. Grey Carter goes into more detail here, describing Sinfest as a case of a "passionate person [who] gets ass deep in [a] pet issue to the point it alienates everyone around them."
  • Foreshadowing:
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: So far, Sinfest has possibly over a dozen plotlines all going at once, including...
    • The Sisterhood's fight against the patriarchy.
    • Lil E's backstory (which itself deals with his lost mother, The Devil secretly being his father, and his Lethe-induced amnesia).
    • Slick trying to become less misogynistic and gain the Sisterhood's favor.
    • Devil Slick messing with Slick's life.
    • Slick rewarming his heart and discovery of sunglasses that makes him see prices on people.
    • Slick regaining his friendship with Monique (many of these deal with Slick if you haven't noticed).
    • Monique's current political agenda as a radical feminist and how the world around her goes out of its way to go against her.
    • Monique's ongoing relationship with Absinthe.
    • Angie's adventure with Lil E and her discovering about her past life before she was a devil girl.
    • The Zombie's search for Fuchsia so he can have story time again.
    • Baby Blue dealing with her current position as a higher ranking devil girl.
    • Baby Blue dealing with Fuchsia no longer being with her, thus becoming more stoic and serious minded.
    • Vainglorious' mysterious agenda.
    • Seymour's ongoing homoerotic fascination with Jesus.
    • Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty's marriage issues.
    • Squigley and his random adventures (which seem to change every few months).
    • And many, many, many more. Many of which are just short drop in stories that don't come back into the webcomic's many plotlines.
      • EG: A woman named Amber, who Criminy went on a date with once (in the early years of the strip), came back and met with Criminy once more, where she mentions that she is now a news anchor for Hell News. Her employment was a consequence of Blue's searching Criminy's background for something less than Incorruptible Pure Pureness. The search is in vain until she encounters Amber in tears after her one time with Criminy. She was now reporting live on the Rogue Fembot's rampage and being chased by police through the city. Her only purpose in this storyline was to make sure that the cameras never turned away because of ratings, even if she had to go against her higher-ups' orders. She has rarely been seen since that storyline, although in the middle of the MMXV arc, Fuchsia (with that look) asks Criminy about Amber.
  • The Fundamentalist: Seymour and Lil' Evil for Christianity and Satanism, respectively. Subverted occasionally when Seymour actually practices what he preaches, only to relapse into being a massive prick some time down the road. Again, like everything else in this comic, his flip-flopping got Lampshaded as being due to the Full Moon causing a werewolf-like transformation.
  • Furry Confusion: Tangerine, since she keeps her devil tail hidden within a thick padded sleeve, looks like she's a cat-girl all the time.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: During one of God's puppet parodies, the Devil mocks him, causing Slick to comment, "Sometimes I can't tell the two of you apart."
  • God Is Evil: Subverted; God can seem this way to some of the characters, but is generally just obnoxious and somewhat childish, with occasional Pet the Dog moments. Jesus, on the other hand, is an awesome guy.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • To a minor degree, this is why God does not show his face and uses the hand puppets. He's showing an image of his face to two people caused a bit of a fight. Now imagine if He showed His face to a few more people...
    • As previously stated, when Slick ate the Fruit of Knowledge and found out he was a cartoon character, he tried to kill himself by jumping off a cliff. That works out about as well as you'd think.
  • Granola Girl: Nique starts as a generic hippy ("Peace!") and gradually turns very liberal left-wing, frequently protesting and contesting. She's even a struggling vegan. Lil' E even preferred her as his "archnemesis" over Seymour as more well-intended, at least for a time.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Monique either has no intention of taking their relationship out of the friend zone or she would, but has a zero-tolerance policy for his horny clownades. But she's jealous. During the "Loverboy" sequence she drives away a girl who was actually liked Slicky enough to laugh off his antics.
    • Slick either is interested only in Monique's butt or can't hold his brain in one pile and mouth free of drool around her. When she isn't around, he wanders off after other girls all the time. But seeing her flirting with a guy? No way. That's enough to stop his own not-yet-ruined flirt and go decry his rival in a hissy fit so stupid that even Monique who already knows him well facepalmed.
  • The Grim Reaper: He shows up near the end of December to take down the elderly year, every year without fail.
  • The Hand Is God: The God of Sinfest is literally a giant disembodied hand (sometimes two) and a booming, disembodied voice. Sometimes He uses a hand puppet.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Parodied with Patriarchal Action Movie, where the only lines are yells of "I am heterosexual!" while doing Rated M for Manly things.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Sam when watching porn on the internet.
  • The Hecate Sisters:
    • Absinthe as the naive maiden, who despises being D-man's booth babe, still conserves her mercy and sees being working for him in rose-colored glasses.
    • Fuchsia as the mother, who was before in Absinthe's shoes, but grew out of being a succubus to pursue love but despise being out of that life, it left her quite messed up.
    • Baby Blue as the crone, she's working for D-man the most and is the most bitter and distant since Fyoosh left the mansion.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Fuchsia bounced back and forth between crushing on Criminy and actively helping Blue and the Devil antagonize Slick and Monique until her character development led her to pretty much stop being evil. Justified in that her romance with Criminy took time to develop.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Fuchsia made her choice without so much as a word, over a year in making. She went initially from toying with Criminy, to being intrigued, to straight-out crush. During her crush phase, she'd still cheerfully torment others but behaved herself whenever he was around. Over the passing of time, she started to wish to become 'normal' and feel pity for the damned. Recently she's almost completely rejected her devilish nature, flat out offering comfort to the damned and rarely being shown in her succubus outfit anymore. There's been some dark foreshadowing that this could get her killed (although none of the cast has ever died yet), but also some that shows she could obtain salvation.
  • Idiot Ball: Devil Tech snatches up the ball and gleefully runs with it. One of the more blatant examples is its policy of installing unguarded computer data-ports on the exterior walls of all its facilities.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Baby Blue will destroy you. Otherwise, she won't do anything to Criminy because that would hurt Fuchsia.
  • The Illuminati: The Devil's surveillance definitely seems to invoke this trope. The surveillance cameras take the form of the Illuminati pyramid.
  • If Criminy had only been a notch-less Incorruptibly and Purely Pure, he might not have inadvertently broken Amber's heart in an early strip.
  • But above all, Pooch. He is the happiest, most positive, sensitive, good-natured thing in the world of Sinfest. The angels are occasional minor jerk-asses.
  • Instant Bandages: Parodied: After bringing down MMX, Death climbs out with these on his hat!
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Poor Squigley's fart heard around the world:
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Slick's Superpowered Evil Side and Squigley mostly are online because of this trope. Also, the Feminists try to put a stop on this teaching the porn harms and degrading factors this stuff have for women.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Criminy (human) and Fuchsia (succubus).
    • The Devil (guess) and Lil' E's mother (human? Mother Nature?).
    • Monique (human) and Abby (succubus).
  • I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday: Nana is thinking back about the youthful Lilith, who saw the good in everyone -- including The Devil.
  • Irony:
    • The Cartoonist's cat tries to bring down the instrument of punishment and enforcement. He brings down the bookshelf on himself instead.
    • Fuchsia spent much of her time torturing Seymour so that his already fanatical beliefs would turn him into a paranoid monster so that the devil could more easily influence him (not that they considered him a threat, but more as a toy or a joke), but she was so successful that when she tries to Heel–Face Turn, Seymour's fanatical paranoia prevents him from seeing that she's changing into something better while he's being flanderized into something worse by said paranoia. Since Seymour USED to be a better character, Fuchsia sometimes believes that he is right to condemn (she IS one of the people who helped to corrupt him) as we see here. Basically, her past actions are stopping her from turning completely through Seymour's paranoia. All is not lost as Cupid, literally shot love back into Seymour, so maybe he'll give her a chance.
    • Xanthe described gender roles as a source of discontent and alienation, however, it was exactly "enlightening" 'Nique that led to discontent and alienation of 'Nique, who actually stopped feeling comfortable in her life, descended into paranoia and was condemned by her fans as a result of a change in her views. Despite author's mockery, the same could be said about Slick who now, due to the change in 'Nique's ideals, lost an important friend.
    • On a meta level, the entire Sisterhood retool and the "Patriarchy Blockers" used to facilitate it being written as a huge sendup to The Matrix is very ironic to people who are actually familiar with the movie, especially since it started being used to "awaken" characters to anti-transgender positions. The writers of The Matrix came out as transgender themselves years ago, and it's widely believed the entire movie itself was a huge allegory to a transgender person realizing and accepting that part of themselves. For another level of irony, this is pretty much the exact same reappropriation of the movie's "redpill" concept that right-wing extremists would use a few years after the comic did. Turns out invokedMisaimed Fandominvoked creates some strange bedfellows.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In one Sunday strip, Baby Blue holds off killing Criminy after she realizes just how happy her former lover, Fuchsia, is with him. Awwwwwwwww.
  • Jerkass:
    • Slick, at his worst behavior.
    • Played for laughs with the Devil when he's up to his general douchebaggish behavior, and with God when he's mocking people with his hand puppets.
    • Lil'E, pretty much all the time, until he loses his memory and he's no longer a Jerkass.
    • Seymour, considered the biggest Jerkass in the comic, especially post 2010.
      • Until late 2011, when he proved that he could befriend a confused demon, and that he would not hurt Lil' Evil when the latter was down. Even further after his encounter with Cupid and became more friendly (and goofier).
    • Glossy. However, unlike Seymour, she's always depicted as being right, even when saying the same things as Seymour.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
  • Seymour's words against Fuchsia. Calling her as a monster who should go back to the Hell she belongs is supposed to set him up as the Jerkass of the arc and make the reader root for the other party. But when said monster, instead of ignoring him or proving him wrong, enters into an Unstoppable Rage, goes for the Disproportionate Retribution route and immediately tries to kill him, it makes the readers think he was actually right and Fuchsia's very poor anger management, added with the very poor value of life that ensues, makes her completely unsuited to live on Earth.
  • JerkAssGod: Subverted; the only character that he's consistently a Jerkass to is the Devil. God's hand puppet mockery can come off this way occasionally, although it's mostly played for laughs and some of His "victims" actually find the caricature amusing.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Possibly Nique, here. Also if this strip has any bearing on canon, Xanthe has gone from simply wanting equality for women and for men to reject their Dudebro programming to saying men should be SILENCED period.

  • Literal Genie: 2012-12-24: Dear Satan Claus, Sleaze's Christmas Eve wish to Satan Claus to "Please bring me hot bitches" results in Cerberus with tail on fire appearing at his door. He quickly rewords his wish.
  • This is perhaps the basis of Slick and Monique's friendship. They gravitated toward one another out of loneliness and grown to be good friends as they accepted one another for how they are.
  • Loony Fan: Lil'Evil and Seymour, in slightly different ways. Lil'E clearly has a raging crush on the Devil and desperately wants his approval, while Seymour is such a devoted goofball fundie that he regularly fails to notice the actual Jesus since he's so busy shopping for Jesus merch.
  • Lost Aesop: Although metaphors mixing and conflicting with each others' meanings became a pretty common issue for the strip as it drifted more and more into social and political commentary, the absolute queen of them all has to be the 2020 New Year's Baby's subplot. Unlike most of the other "Year" characters, she was introduced at the beginning of the year as a baby and was taken in by the Devil, where she was raised as a celebrity spokeswoman for his aims as she aged into an adult form. The strip's apparent analogy for people thinking 2020 was an awful calendar year was that she begins aging past conventional attractiveness and people turn on her for no longer appearing in sexually objectifying ads, to the point of trying to kill her. While the commentary on sexual objectification could mean something, the problem is it's being applied to the Anthropomorphic Personification of a particularly disliked calendar year, and used to explain the dislike that in real-life was for reasons the strip never attempts to connect to her. In the end, the metaphors crash like a head-on collision and end up having no coherent message or meaning at all.
  • Malaproper: Tangerine is known for those, such as "Jay-Zee" for Jesus.
  • Mama Bear: Fuchsia has a maternal bond with her pet Forky, and was ready to burn Little E's face off when he said he was going to mount it as a trophy.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: Squigley appears at first to be subject to this, though it later becomes apparent that marijuana gives him actual powers, and flying around on his couch is neither a hallucination nor a metaphor. (He describes himself as a "shaman.")
The Sisterhood: DIE.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • Trike Girl's energy shield power seemed to have no point than to give her Plot Armor. There are theories however, that her shield works like Star Wars (blocks energy but useless against physical attacks).
    • Now her trike has the power to turn into a space ship.
  • Ninja: The 'Ninja Theatre' arcs, which take place in a feudal Japanese alternate universe, staring Slick as a ninja named Wasabi, and Monique as the Geisha Yellowtail.
  • Out of Focus: Slick during the early Patriarchy Arc. Lampshaded in this January 2012 strip. On the whole, Buddha, the dragon, the angels, the zombie, and to a lesser extent Criminy have basically disappeared ever since the Sisterhood showed up.

  • Pocket Dimension: One can enter several pocket dimensions by crossing an invisible barrier indicated by a sign.
    • The "Trans State" turns anyone into his/her opposite sex.
    • The "Reality Zone" originally turned things and objects into more realistic versions. It is probably the most used of the Pocket Dimensions, going well beyond its initial purpose.
      • Ordinarily, (before the art shift that began around 2015), males were half the height of females. They become normal height in the Reality Zone.
      • Squigley becomes an actual pig, but he can still talk.
      • Control of Fembots breaks down, and they are freed. Apparently, surveillance drones also break down.
      • The Reality Zone begins destroying pure-blooded demons who enter. (One starts to disintegrate; one's heart appears to stop; others are set on fire.) They recover if they get out in time. Half-demons appear to be unaffected. The Devil refuses to enter. Forky was apparently killed in the zone, but revived as soon as Lil'E took him out of the zone.

        Demons apparently can build up resistance to damage in the Reality Zone, by repeating spending longer and longer times in it. Two background demons have repeatedly challenged themselves and each other to enter, and see how long they can stay before the pain becomes intolerable. Fuchsia tried that, and eventually reached the point where she could paint an entire painting inside the Reality Zone.
      • MMXV, the Old Year, became a youngster, thanks to a bit of water summoned by The Devil from the Fountain of Youth. He stole Nana's flying broom for the fun of it, but flew over the Reality Zone, thanks to the Failure-Is-The-Only-Option curse, and his youth was undone.
    • The Friendship Zone.
    • The Female-Only Zone.
  • Police Brutality:
  • Various strips have shown Death curiously commenting on repeated appearances of "unarmed black male" and their like. Some are police killings.
  • The Power of Love:
    • The angels' glitter has more functionality than just "Brownie points".
    • The last panel suggests the Devil's "re-demonizing" of Fuchsia hasn't fully taken.
      • Her reaction to the "Spirit Fingers" of the damned confirms it. (From her horrified reaction, we can assume Blue taught them that, too)
      • It wouldn't be the first time The Devil's efforts have failed to revert Fyoosh. It's pretty much confirmed that Criminy's the reason why.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Devil Corp generally promotes misogyny, but within their own factories, they discourage it due to the fact that it holds up production and hurts their bottom line.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Subverted in a Ninjapiece Theatre strip when Slick, the Pimp Ninja threatens Yellowtail (the Geisha Slut) with "I kill you so hard your ancestors will die!"
  • Precision F-Strike: "Aw HELL no!" Mainly because it's Jesus saying this. JESUS.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: One of the most frequent complaints aimed towards the Sisterhood and their allies. The strip constantly tries to paint their actions as heroic and morally correct, even when they come across as well-intentioned extremists who are utterly convinced that their particular brand of feminism is right by default and treat anyone who doesn't immediately agree with them as either a clueless knucklehead or a misogynist. This isn't helped by the implication that their opinions are, in fact, Tatsuya Ishida's personal opinions.
    • One of the best examples as the strip ran on was after the strip began railing against "Wokeness", which was represented by "woke extremists" who are portrayed as slavering nutjobs that attack anyone who isn't "enlightened" to their point of view, but whose actions, and motives to some extent, are practically identical to the Sisterhood's, the only real difference being that the Sisterhood is mostly cartoony little girls and the "Woke" are all drawn as ghoulish and ugly. The use of "Anti-Nazi Goggles", which brainwashes people who wear them into thinking everyone around them is a Nazi is also eerily similar to the "Patriarchy Blockers" convincing any woman that wears them that everything around them is out to oppress them, and that for a long time after they first "awakened" Monique, she was basically rendered a paranoid, neurotic mess who could no longer maintain relationships with anyone she didn't agree with. Again, the only real difference in practice is which one the author agrees with.
  • Put on a Bus: The Dragon, Buddha, and the Angels have basically disappeared ever since Xanthe and the Sisterhood took prominance.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: A lot of one-page remake gags, like Booty and the Beast or Steampunk Jesus.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fuchsia the Devil Girl and Baby Blue the Devil Girl.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified:
    • The Sisterhood is always on the side of good (done through chaos), with no ambiguity whatsoever in a world where more lawful characters are incompetent or aloof.
    • Although, this was notably averted once the George Floyd protests in 2020 happened in real life; despite voicing several causes the strip had previously expressed support for, the strip's commentary on the subject never acknowledged that aspect of the movement and exclusively portrayed them as a bunch of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists who just wanted an excuse to destroy things for fun.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Here:
    Percy: Is there anything in the world more miserable than a wet cat?
    Pooch: Ummmm... A frozen penguin? ... A shaved porcupine? Constipated skunk? ... A toothless beaver!
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism:
    • The scale used to sit at the cynical end, but slowly started working its way up to the idealistic side thanks to an ever increasingly amount of strips that can't help but tug at your heartstrings.
    • Sometimes Pooch will wander around looking at a couple of things, and marvel in wonder, followed by Percy, who will look at the same or similar things in fear and anger. For example, Pooch sees nature as an artist, and Percy sees nature as an enemy.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Monique. Half the time she's flaunting it, and the other half she's mourning the consequences of having dudes fall for her left and right, especially when it leads them straight to Hell...literally.
  • Played straight and combined with a Fantastic Aesop with the fembots. Buying one is not only evil and sexist, but will also lead to violence.
  • Straw Feminist: Utilized frequently to depict aspects of feminism the author disagrees with as dangerous and counterproductive. Sex-positive feminism is shown as largely for male gratification and so is third-wave feminism to different degrees. Trans-inclusive feminists are all depicted as ugly and whiny; complaints about misgendering are largely dismissed as nonissues.
  • Straw Misogynist: Slick and the Devil have been the most prominent examples and are largely Played for Laughs. Straw Misogynists become quite a bit more prominent in the Sisterhood storyline. They also get used to attack those who dislike the Sisterhood.
  • Subliminal Seduction: All the time. "Special messages" on TV. Also, Monique talked backward, just to scare Seymour.
  • Succubi and Incubi:
    • The succubi started out tempting humans with lesbian trysts, and were often seen attending the Devil. Succubi still take that role occasionally.
    • Baby Blue may still be a succubus, but that's not been shown on screen since her promotion to The Devil's office manager and her corresponding outfit shift to conservative, modest, Sexy Secretarynote  business suit.note 
    • In fact, she receives a sample creepy crawler (pun intended) drone, along with sample footage. Her response:
      Blue: Milton... you fucking creep!
  • Take That, Audience!: The Xanthe and Sisterhood storylines have proven controversial among some members of the fanbase. A number of the strips make fun of them:
    • The Patriarchy filter strips portray anyone who doesn't like Xanthe or the Sisterhood arc as self serving misogynists
    • This strip makes fun of the fact that many of those complaining haven't stopped reading the comic yet.
  • Take That, Critics!:
    • Tats is fond of labeling anyone who dislikes Xanthe, the Sisterhood, or the Patriarchy arc as a Straw Misogynist.
    • Taken to extremes in the latest comics. Tat is now out and proudly TERF, and his latest comics pretty much outright state that anyone criticizing him or giving him grief over it is a Johnbie and hence part of the problem.
    • In 2022 he took to including very open slams against Reddit, possibly because of the relentless mocking the strip now receives on the Sinfest subreddit.
  • Taking the Bullet: Crimey for Fuchsia, although I think Cupid was aiming for him.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl:
    • Slick is short. Also, Fuchsia and Criminy. Both are taller in the Reality Zone.
    • Actually applies to most of the core male cast — Slick, Squiggley, Criminy, Seymour and Lil' Evil are roughly all half the size of the women — with the exception of the Devil (and obviously God). Oddly enough, the male supporting cast (Jesus, Uncle Sam, etc) are all of normal height.
    • In the reality zone, they are the exact same size as the girls. Much more realistic.
  • Took a Level in Badass: It looked as if Criminy was about to kill Seymour.
    • Even more so now that he is going into the very maw of Hell itself for Fuchsia. Go get her Criminy!!
    • Fuchsia herself has taken one and decided she's not going to hide her relationship with Criminy any longer. She even blows up the Devil's security alarms as she proceeds to march out of the mansion. Granted, Fuchsia always had that kind of power, but she's also always been shown to cringe at the thought of having to face her boss.
  • Baby Blue's method of choice for causing trouble. She always has the right thing to say or do to get under people's skin. Her favorite target is Seymour, not that he doesn't deserve it.
  • Tsundere: Percival. He just can't admit how much he likes stuff. Including Pooch.

  • Unwanted Assistance: Fyoosha has tried on-and-off to get Blue to reform as well. The first attempts were shot to hell, and Baby has lost all patience with the concept of redemption. Fuchsia won't take the hint.
  • Vagina Dentata: The Fan Girl has been making comics about this, she even made them detachable.
  • Villainous Crush: Fuchsia to Criminy. Starts her development into an Anti-Villain.
  • Walking the Earth: After some coercion, Squig does this during an arc beginning late in October, 2010. In fact, he walks through a number of other comics.
  • The War Room: Hell's control room is shown here.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Several
    • "You're like a butterfly. A wild butterfly. I will collect you and capture you."
    • "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you."
    • "Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice, oh, and it lights up the night...and you see your gypsyyy..."
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: As it turns out, this is a lot of what drives Lil' E.
  • Some of the Devil's interactions with the "Puppet-master in the Sky" seem like this turned sour.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The strip zig-zags this with the fembots in a somewhat disturbing way. They were first introduced during the feminist era as a sign of women's objectification who the Sisterhood were determined to reprogram for their own ends. There were several who broke free of their initial programming and even received a Become a Real Boy storyline. But at some point during the "Anti-Woke" era, the strip suddenly dropped the whole idea of them being humanlike like a rock, to the point that they're now almost exclusively portrayed as the mindless underlings of the Devil whose existences don't matter, and the idea of attempting to reprogram or liberate them is never brought up again. To illustrate the contrast in how this trope was portrayed with the fembots: The strip in 2014 where the Patriarchy sends an assassin fembot to kill a fembot who went rogue and decided to take the "Kill All Men" motto seriously (then detonates the assassin fembot when she refuses) was portrayed as a heinous act on par with murder. The strip in 2020 where Hekate euthanizes the three fembots she took in because they "went Woke" and started using straw!progressive language was portrayed as, at worst, a difficult but justified Shoot the Dog moment.
  • You Are Worth Hell: A literal example. Better in context, but even out of it, aw....
    Fuchsia: Did you really come down here to save me?
    Criminy: Yes. Well, no. Not to save you... Just to be with you.
    Fuchsia: *GLOMP* Even better!
  • Yuri Fan: Slick and Squigley, which, in Slick's case, allowed him to come to terms with losing Monique.