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Webcomic / The Dreadful

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A webcomic written and drawn by Matt Speroni of How I Killed Your Master fame, The Dreadful (link is to first page, as some pages are NSFW) is a fantasy story in a Wild West setting. It stars Kit, a cute half-demon ("Devikin") gunslinger who wields the eponymous weapon, a magical pistol. It also has a fairly strong supporting cast, that is becoming more developed as the comic goes on. These include Boozloaf, a minotaur preacher; Erin, a winged sniper; Liz, a sharpshooter who once ran with the same gang Kit did, and Poe, Kit's less violent twin sister.

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The story begins with our heroine shot in the back and left to bleed out in an alley. Someone called Judge Catherine finds her lying there and whisks her away. She recovers after two days in the hospital and is taken to meet with a detective agency. They task her to hunt down and kill the leader of her old gang, Jeanne Noelle. Given that Jeanne was more than likely the one who ordered her shot, Kit has no problem with this. But the job may not be as simple as it first appears...


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This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Feather Sword chops through the monkey-like villains like they are made of tissue paper.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: You can't tell in the comic itself because it's Deliberately Monochrome, but supplemental material shows that Devikin have unusually pink skin, and whatever Jeanne is, she has green skin.
  • Anachronism Stew: The setting is nominally Wild West / Weird West and the standard sidearm is a single-action revolver, but then you have things like Burke's drum-fed grenade launcher, meta-references to .jpgs, and that one robot (who in flashbacks is treated mundanely).
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Chapter 4 leaves Kit and focuses on Erin, a Winged Humanoid who is carrying out Jeanne's contract on Liz.
  • Art Evolution: Kit gets lips on page 62, and the overall style moves from Animesque to more realistic. Unusually, it's a deliberate and immediate shift rather than a gradual change. There are also more subtle changes as the comic goes on, especially to character designs. Kit in particular is noticeably more muscular in later comics.
    • More recently, another major change seems to have taken place. The current designs are a bit of a hybrid between the two previous styles, with less exaggerated lips and more animesque expressions. Liz also lost the circles under her eyes. The exact point where it happened is hard to tell due to the shifting focus of characters during Chapter 8.
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  • Art Shift: A bit more noticeable and intentional, during the flashback to Kit and Poe's childhood, the character designs was significantly more like the original art style. This is most likely due to the same reason that the art style was originally changed starting in #62: it makes the characters look younger.
  • Attack Backfire: Combat Tentacles aren't so useful if they're stuck in a tree.
  • Author Appeal: Speroni has mentioned that he's keen on athletic women [1], and plenty of them show up in the comic.
  • Axe-Crazy: Burke, who was planning to kill Liz and feed her to a steadily increasing chain of predators.
  • Bad Boss: Burke again, who shoots a henchman for making a bad joke.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Strongly averted. Kit looks like hell (no pun intended) after her first zombie fight.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Kit to her sister Poe. Her primary motivation aside from revenge on Jeanne is to find Poe.
  • Body Horror: That... thing that takes over Burke's corpse. Euuugh.
  • Boobsand Butt Pose: Sabueso's old partner Catraven does this immediately after slicing up a bunch of goons.
    • Sabueso himself combines this with Riker Pose in the present. Kit promptly makes fun of him.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The show-off gunman - who had just seen Kit disarm multiple opponents (and is still holding her gun) - who tries to intimidate Kit with his gun-twirling skills and bravado. It turns into a literal case of Too Dumb to Live.
  • Bus Crash: After being briefly introduced early on, "Muttonchops" and the centaur agent initially sent to accompany Kit reappear several dozen strips later as heads on pikes.
  • Call-Back: "I always get a kick out of your sense of chivalry, Kit." Said by Jeanne first when Kit balks at shooting an unarmed, hooded hostage, then later when Kit refuses to shoot Jeanne in the back.
  • Chandler's Law: What will it take to get Lucas to tell Poe what she needs to know to advance the plot instead of trying to score with her? Zombie Attack!
  • Changing The Uncomfortable Subject:
    Liz: "Where'd that beam go, anyway?"
    Kit: "Let's not dwell on questions about how The Dreadful works."
  • Chekhov's Gun: The silver bullets Kit took from the gun-juggling idiot come in handy against one of the... things.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Burke, again.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Kit: You never thought about just shooting it?!
    Art: But I don't know a spell that shoots bullets!
    Kit: *Beat Panel* Hate Wizards so goddamn much...
  • Didn't See That Coming: Kit's on her way to take down Jeanne, and by the time she gets there, she'll be able to use the Dreadful again. Perfect plan, right? Then she gets summoned by inept necromancers. Upon rescuing their would-be sacrifices, she learns she is even further away from her destination. Oh, and now she doesn't have a horse.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kit and Poe's father left them when they were little, which Kit is bitter about. Kit has always assumed he's been dead, but Poe received a letter from him letting her know he was in prison, but concealed it from Kit because she was afraid she'd try to kill him. Kit finds out when a knight tells her, and she doesn't look too happy about it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being Kit's self proclaimed rival and declaring that she's an absolute monster, El Sabueso looks none too pleased with how the Jacks are treating her.


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