"All we got here is whatever sparks our souls at the moment, three panels at a time."
Three Panel Soul was created by Ian McConville, the artist, and Matt Boyd, the writer, after ending Mac Hall. The comics, which began on September 5th, 2006, generally focus on musing of life. The comics are often done in black and white with comics set inside games done in colour. Every comic consists of exactly three panels, but some continue into a part two.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe: A one-shot character managed to leap into a parallel universe that was... a little more parallel than most.
- Art Evolution: The black and white comics begin as slightly realistic before becoming chibi-fied in later comics. Realistic detail appears in some comics. Early on Ian stated in a newspost that his goal with 3PS was to freely experiment with any style. Super-Deformed remains often used.
- Art Shift: The first two panels of "Back to School" are a flashback to ten years ago, and are done in the Mac Hall style. note Specifically, this comic.
- Call-Back: Before getting married, Jess would be asked if she was engaged when buying magazines for cake designs. After the proposal, however...
- Character Overlap: Occasionally a fellow named Dom will appear in the strip. In addition to being Ian, Jes, and Matt's IRL roommate, he is also the creator of the famed "Shirt Guy Dom" strips from MegaTokyo.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Almost all the comics set in "reality". To elaborate: If it takes place in a video game world, the comic is in color.
- Dogs Love Being Praised: One strip has Jess ask "Who's a good boy?" The dog muses over what being a good boy actually is.Jess: You are!
Dog: This is amazing!
- Don't Fear The Reaper: Despite his habit of Rage Quitting lost card games, Death is presented as fairly benign.
- Enemy Rising Behind: Jo, complete with Red Eyes, Take Warning.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Titular three panels that contain every comic.
- Filler: Occasionally a set of doodles or a single sketch.
- Formula-Breaking Episode: "On Poppy", a tribute to Jess's grandfather. It's the only strip to date to break the three-panel rule, and it is most definitely a break from the generally light-hearted style of the comic as a whole.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Lampshaded in regards to Cerberus of Mass Effect, with Shepard stating that they can't run a taco cart without it somehow backfiring horribly and murdering the entire team.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: On [Topic].
- Life Embellished: The majority of the strips are based on Ian's real life with his fiancee / wife, Jess, and Matt's subsequent moving in with them.
- Nothing Is Scarier: "Now that I have a child my nightmares are about a door I can't open. On the other side I hear crying. I think I miss the spiders."
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They aren't evil at all. Just monogamous and very sociable.
- Pronouncing My Name for You: One strip has Jess attempting to learn to correctly pronounce the surname of her roommate, Dominic Nguyen (AKA Shirt Guy Dom), with mixed success. He just tells Jess to not worry about it and just say "Win".
- Shout-Out: Potentially - these two look somewhat like an odd pair of detectives, one of whom loves cabbage.
- In an earlier strip, Hilary Clinton's Secret Service agents are the Elite Beat Agents.
- This strip borrows from a certain alchemist's transumtation style.
- Interpretations depicts God the way he was in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- Slice of Life: Ian and Matt make observations of the absurdities of life occasionally.
- Spiritual Successor: Of Mac Hall.
- Stick-Figure Comic: Dom's guest strips. (Dom, Ian and Matt are / were housemates in real life.)
- Sure, Let's Go with That: When a cashier asks a Brony, "Is this for your daughter?"
- Tech Bro: The webcomic has many comics about the Techbros that populate San Francisco and their companies and apps. They are completely interchangeable, and all have the same face, sunglasses, and black and white striped polo shirt.
- To Be Continued: Some comics continue into the next installment; such as the "On Rabbits" arc.
- 24-Hour Armor: The character 'tank' is never seen outside of his armor
- Eventually lampshaded when he appears without it.
- Unsound Effect:
- MUSTACHE MUSTACHE MUSTACHE...
- Study Study Study...
- BEARTYPING. You know, for when a bear is using a computer. Beartyping.
- Walking Techbane: Apparently Matt's dad is this to smartphones.