Basically a comedic fantasy, Van Von Hunter pokes fun at many fantasy elements, especially the questing aspects and the kind of people who make those requests. Its sense of humor is its strong point.
It started in 2002, but started suffering from Schedule Slip sometime after the author got a book deal from Tokyopop. Three volumes were published in all, forming a complete story arc taking place
ten thousand three years after the end of the story begun in the webcomic. It also made a surprising jump to newspaper syndication, thanks to a six-month deal through Universal Press Syndicate. The webcomic started up again in 2012 with some strips involving Time Travel.
Has also been turned into a movie, which...diverges from the source material.
The series provides examples of:
- Amplifier Artifact: The Ebon Eye in the books. Or, as the Flaming Prince would have it, the "blarble".
- Ax-Crazy: Van's maid, Miriam. She cleans Van's mansion with a knife.
- Beard of Evil: Van draws a goatee on his evil twin so that they can be told apart.
- Big "NO!": Parodied in the second book when Van sacrifices his Sidekick's brownie hoard and the Sidekick realizes what her boss just did.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Van's sidekick complains to the audience upon the first mention that she has no actual name.
- Breast Plate: Adonette, in the second book. Lampshaded.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The life's work of Vengeance Joe. He's on a quest to slay Von Hunter for not properly introducing himself.
- Drop the Hammer: Van's primary weapon is a battle hammer.
- Easy Amnesia: The given reason that nobody knows the name of Van's sidekick.
- Embarrassing First Name: The Flaming Prince's first name is Lesley. Though that's probably less embarrassing than his title.
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: What happens when Van throws the brownie sack to the zombies with an "EAT THIS!!"
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
- Van's sidekick is first introduced in the webcomic as a "Damsel In Distress," being held captive by one Count Disdain (a Vampire). After the Counts inevitable slaying, she gets dragged into Vans quest to defeat evil, and never actually properly introduces herself before she is given amnesia, which actually happens quite awhile after she meets Van. Since the only one who might have known her name (Or at least had a clue to it) was Count Disdain, they never do find out what her name is.
- This also applies to the Flaming Prince's assistant.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Count Disdain's castle ("The ominous fortress on the mountaintop")
- Flaming Sword: Van usually uses a battle hammer, but occasionally uses a magic sword in the books.
- Funetik Aksent: Miriam. "Roight. Keep it ter yorself then, love."
- I'm Thinking It Over!: Van and his sidekick escape their first adventure after having been sentenced to death. When confronted by the choice of accompanying Van or returning to face certain death, the sidekick says she'll have to think about it. Even after their foes launch a B-2 bomber at them out of a catapult she still isn't certain.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Van, as well as Ari, The Flaming Prince, and Adonette
- Improbable Weapon User: Amanda Beaumont has mastered the use of broken swords.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: The Goblins' Brownies are so good, that a king is forced to reconsider his hostility of the Goblins, and allow them to trade in his kingdom (with the brownies among other tasty goods the Goblins sell). They snap a group of brain-hungry zombies out of their mindset as they realize how good they are, and almost can be considerer a G-Rated Drug as they compel the Sidekick to want them (and she has to be slung over Van's shoulder carrying a big golf-bag full of them)."NO! I Can Still Carry More! THEY HAVE SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE CHUNKS IN THEM, DAMN YOU!!"
- Joker Jury: Van Von Hunter begins with Van on trial for the crime of "re-murder", i.e. the "murder" of an undead vampire. The event took place in a land seemingly populated entirely by the undead, so the judge, jury, and lawyers are all undead.
- Kangaroo Court: Van's killing of a vampire was brought to trial in a court that was incredibly biased in favor of undead.
- Kick the Dog: What convinced Van that his counterpart was evil.
- Lampshade Hanging: "The laws of the land strictly forbid the use of flashbacks within flashbacks!"
- Large Ham: The Sidekick's down to her last brownie—"The One Brownie"—in Volume 3, and invokes Gollum as she's torn about her "sweet, tasty Precious" and eating it. "But we musts! Yes, Precious, we musts!" And then can't bring herself to eat it, bemoaning, "But You Are the Last!" And then a goblin pushes a sqweaky-wheeled cart right where she can see it—loaded with boxes of brownies. A few pages later, she has a box tray of them, as well as a drink to go with them.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Subverted. Van warns everyone to leave Kulaats' tower before it collapses, but it's still standing later on.
- Meaningful Name: Van changed his name to Von Hunter to reflect his chosen profession. His real name is Vaughn. His real surname, that is. Von Vaughn. His given name was always Van, though originally also pronounced "vawn".
- My God, What Have I Done?: After eating one of the Goblins' Brownies, a previously brain-hungry zombie asks in shock, "What have we been DOING all this time?!?"
- No Name Given: As mentioned above, with Van's sidekick.
- Other Me Annoys Me: The Flaming Price's eviler, gay version from an Alternate Universe is shown to really get on his main counterpart's nerves.
- Our Goblins Are Different: Volume 2 has "darkness-loving goblins" who were "elfs" corrupted by demonic magic. Hollow-tree, cookie-baking elfs. Who still make great, delicious baked goods. They make AMAZING brownies. Which are Comfort Food to the Sidekick, and Really Good to a pack of zombies that snaps them out of a hunger from brains in Volume 2 (the zombies then want the brownies instead). The brownies have made a king reconsider not having them operate in his kingdom (where they could do great business selling their baked goods).
- Quest Giver: One bit character is officially named "Quest Giver Guy".
- Running Gag: "I will crush you like... like... this X!"
- Selective Obliviousness: Van pretends not to notice that Ari is entirely evil so that he doesn't have to fight her.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: An "SAT prep" version of the first book was released, with various words replaced with fancier synonyms. "Clever" became "perspicacious" for example.
- The Technolich is eventually brought back to life by being hit with a pillow stuffed with Pheonix Down. The books also include more, including references to Dragon Ball and Fullmetal Alchemist, and a minor character named Hans Gruber. Ariana's Warthog's School of Magical Science arc (complete with characters such as "Hairy"), and some more Fullmetal Alchemist references. Also present in one of the swords on the wall in this strip.
- Also, a shout out to Azumanga Daioh.
- Sinister Shades: The Flaming Prince's assistant.
- Super-Strength: Subverted. The magic gauntlets acquired by Van's sidekick let her lift very heavy things, but not throw them, push them, or manipulate them in any other way, with one exception: She can drop stuff.
- Time Skip: Between the webcomic and the books, amounting either to three years or ten thousand years, depending on who you ask.
- Tricking the Shapeshifter: As it turns out, vampires can switch between human and monstrous form, and "A beautiful woman is so much more intimidating than a vampire." Two panels later, "They are easier to stake, though."
- The Von Trope Family: Right there in the title. Subverted; Von Hunter is A) a good guy, and B) not his real name.