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Webcomic / Wilde Life

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It wasn't what he expected.

"There's this funny thing I've noticed about people— You never get the story you expect. Ask them about what they have and they'll tell you about what they want. Ask them to tell you about love and they'll tell you about heartbreak. Ask them about death, though, and they'll tell you about life. It's like this wherever you go."
Oscar's Opening Monologue

Wilde Life is a horror/fantasy webcomic that began in September 2014, drawing from Native American legends and other stories. It is written and drawn by Pascalle Lepas, the artist of Zap!.

Oscar Wilde (no, not that one) has recently moved to Podunk, Oklahoma for unknown reasons. Hilarity Ensues when it turns out that his landlady — Barbara Yagamight be a witch, his house is haunted by a 1940s-era ghost named Sylvia, and a teenage werewolf named Clifford passes out on his porch.

Don't confuse with the similarly-named webcomic Wildlife, nor the manga Wild Life.

Wilde Life provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: It's all but explicitly stated at the end of Chapter 11 that Carl beats Cliff. We've seen Cliff with small bruises and black eyes on multiple occasions, but they were never explained or just brushed off as him "getting into fights". The first strip of the following chapter pretty much confirms it. Strip 870 shows it on-panel as Carl backhands Cliff with Why Did You Make Me Hit You? defense spoken at the same time.
  • Alliterative Name: Sylvia Snyder.
  • Alt Text: All the pages have it but for most of the earliest, it's just the page number. Later on it becomes commentary or side jokes.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Eliza, after worrying that Raven might have infected Clifford with the Madness.
  • Apology Gift: Oscar sends a bouquet of blue roses to his sister as an apology for his random disappearance. However, he still doesn't want her to come looking for him, so he doesn't include a return address. He later sends a live plant after she doesn't believe that they're natural.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In chapter 12, Cliff is furious with Oscar when the latter stands up to and stops Cliff's abusive stepfather from taking custody of the boy. Cliff starts blaming himself for provoking Carl and making him hit Cliff. Oscar quietly asks Cliff, "Do you think there's anything that you could do or say to me that would make me hit you?" and Cliff is silenced. The Alt Text provides a quiet "oh."
  • Art Evolution: The comic was never bad, but gets significantly better with lighting and scenery over time.
  • At the Crossroads: Oscar's date in chapter 13 takes him to an abandoned intersection near a headstone workshop. Hazel actually summons the Devil to steal Oscar's soul in exchange for her own, but he refuses as he doesn't see Oscar as interesting or useful. He will, however, permit Hazel to leave unharmed as she brought him someone to eat.
  • The Beard: Discussed—when Darcy can't accompany Eliza to a show, they jokingly ask Oscar to go as her "beard" instead.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The White-Faced Bear seems to be the comic's Big Good. This trope still applies if one gets in the way of his duties or personal interests. When he finds Eliza breaking her vows in an act of vengeance against a monster who had been following its own natural order and nearly killed Oscar, he gets furious about Oscar's "bad" influence on both Eliza and Cliff, and declares the human persona non grata in the woods.
  • Beat Panel: When Oscar tells Birdie he doesn't live alone.
    Oscar: My house is haunted. I live with a ghost.
    Birdie: ...What?
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Cliff may be a jerk to several people, but he loves his brother Kevin. In Chapter 9, when Raven gets inside Cliff's bedroom and tries to get Cliff to be one with Raven but suddenly vanishes when Kevin comes into the room, Cliff offers to stay with his brother until he falls asleep. As Kevin lulls away, Cliff is staring intently at the door just in case something happens.
    • Increasingly, Oscar seems to feel this way towards Cliff. This becomes very apparent in Chapter 12, where he is furious upon finding out that Cliff is being abused by his step-father, Carl.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • When the group is facing the monster in chapter 8, with few means to fight it the White-Faced Bear appears from no where to kill the snake monster.
    • In chapter 9 when Cliff and Oscar are being chased by the creature that once was Raven, they are calling for Eliza, who appears from seemingly nowhere and deals with the creature.
  • Blackmail: Oscar uses Cliff's secret as leverage to get him to help Oscar in chapter 3. Lampshaded by the Alt Text.
    Is blackmail for a good reason graymail?
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blonde Eliza, brunet Oscar and redheaded Clifford. Clifford fits the character type better than the others.
  • Body Horror: When animal and normal people transform into monsters, Transformation Is a Free Action is fully averted.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Oh, shit. Oh, fuck. Oh, shit-fuck."
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: When Lorelei finds out that Oscar heard her singing, she sends him away without any reason. Later, it is revealed that she is a siren and she unwittingly made him unhealthily attracted to her by her song, but she doesn't want to hurt him.
  • Breather Episode: After the fairly dark and violent Raven chapter, we get one where Cliff gets to play with a ghost kid before Oscar and Eliza help him peacefully move on. Then the brothers go buy candy.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Upon first hearing about Cliff being a werewolf, Darcy desperately wanted to see him transform. He finally does it in front of her, and she's overjoyed.
    • During chapter 15, Oscar loses his glasses during an adventure into the woods during the night after an encounter with the Thunder Children. The post-chapter sketch reveals the Thunder children playing with the glasses.
  • Call-Back:
    • After his experience with Zulime, Clifford's first reaction to a talking bird is to quickly try to leave. If only he had gone with that instinct.
      Cliff: Nope. Fuck off. I learned this lesson already.
      Raven: Huh?!
    • In page 10, Barbara Yaga suggests Oscar to get a bat for protection. Then 588 strips later when attacking Raven's monster form with a metal bat the caption reads, "You should get a bat."
    • Page 727 refers back to page 78 where Oscar picks up a rock to face a dangerous monster then, with him using a new rock against a different foe and the caption reads, "Oscar used ROCK."
    • Page 927 has Oscar and Cliff encounter some of Cliff's friends outside of the church where the pastor is murdered. One of Cliff's friends remembers Oscar as the guy who didn't buy them beer. Oscar dryly replies, "Wow. My legacy."
  • Caption Humor: Often in the Alt Text.
    • On page 74, where a spider bites one werewolf and gives Oscar a distraction, the caption reads "Good Charlotte."
    • On page 78 when Oscar picks up a rock to potentially fight with, the caption reads "Oscar equipped 'rock.'"
    • In 280, where Clifford is entranced by a glowing moth, the Alt Text is "Brought to you by Lunesta."
  • Character Development: In chapter 10, knowing he is on thin ice with his mom from his previous misadventures, Cliff decides to not travel with Oscar and Eliza on their quest to help Taki as by the time they are done he will miss his curfew. Eliza compliments him on this maturing attitude.
  • Church Lady: Shirley Goodness, Pastor Goodness's daughter-in-law, is an obnoxious gossipy hen who loves to proselytize and make herself the center of attention. Clifford's face when he hears her name say everything there is to say about her.
  • Circus of Fear: Oscar and Eliza catch the end of Zulime's circus while searching for Cliff. The performers wear animal skull masks and the last act has a spiderweb theme.
  • Clingy Aquatic Life: A Monster of the Week that is basically a sea snake with horns emerges from a lake with algae dangling from its horns.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Clifford will drop one of these every so often.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Oscar, who Saw "Terminator 2" Twenty-Seven Times, drops this line during a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Convenient Cranny: Oscar and Cliff hide in a conveniently placed cave where the serpent cannot follow.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: In chapter 9, Oscar saves Cliff by batting Raven from behind.
  • Corner of Woe: In Chapter 9, Raven enters Cliff's room through the window, but Cliff wants to keep him away. Raven enters by knocking him over, then, apparently frightened that he hurt Cliff, runs into the corner, apologizing.
  • Creepy Crows: Raven, is a crow-person, much like Cliff is a wolf-person. However, Raven doesn't just change his shape between human and crow, he can shift the age of his human appearance from innocent child to disheveled old man, making it impossible to know his true age. Then he becomes obsessed with Cliff and pursues him because in part, he is lonely, and the Madness within wants to spread more.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Oscar revives Cliff with mouth-to-jaw breathing.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Darcy to Cliff, even when he is in human form. It doesn't work out well because Cliff Hates Being Touched.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: So far, pretty much all we know about Oscar's past is that he's "running from his demons." And he did his running the day before the comic started because on his first day in Podunk, his sister texted that she hadn't seen him since yesterday. As far as family, we know he doesn't want a lecture from his sister and he does not like his father. It's implied to have something to do with not getting a job and losing his mother to cancer.
  • Death Glare: Clifford likes to do this, especially when someone wants to be his friend. For example, to Darcy here. She gets the point.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: Eliza apparently does this to make sure other magic users underestimate her.
  • Did Not Think This Through:
    • Cliff points out this flaw with Oscar calling him for help in regards to a bad haunting.
      Cliff: Really? What did you want me to do? Turn into a wolf at it?
    • So, Cliff, what did you think would happen when you jumped in a lake when you knew there was a monster in there?!
      Cliff: Okay. Call Eliza.
      Oscar: Um... I don't think that's going to work. My phone got wet when somebody decided we needed to Carpe Diem into the lake.
      Cliff: oh.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Oscar befriends Hanyi the World Eater, a huge frog goddess. The fact that Hanyi thinks Oscar stole her heart causes some tense moments, but it doesn't stop him for coming back to her for a chat.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run:
    • Eliza to Oscar when she hears the Rougarou coming.
    • This is Clifford's response when Oscar saves him momentarily from the monstrous Raven and Eliza isn't around to help. Oscar is quick to comply.
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': Implied at the end of Chapter 15 when Oscar enters the van of Emily, after they found it and their adventure the previous day for a "tour". The caption then reads "Don't go a'knockin."
  • The Drifter: Emily lives life on the road in her van, but says it's nowhere near as romantic as one might think it is.
  • Drop-In Character: Clifford. Oscar even once came home to find him playing cards with Sylvia. On more than one occasion, he enters the house by climbing through a second-floor window.
  • Enfant Terrible: Danielle is a ghost child who often throws tantrums, which tend to be quite messy.
  • Enter Stage Window: Cliff has a habit of sneaking out of his place and into Oscar's place via the window.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Oscar has this slow realization when he is speaking with the giant toad-creature Hanyi. After convincing her it is a coincidence that he smells like her missing heart, her saying it was taken by Coyote has him realize that to save him from the injuries of the spider woman, Coyote used liquid from that very heart to save him.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Clifford upon meeting Sylvia. He doesn't even know that other werewolves existed until the night before, but at this point a ghost doesn't even faze him.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: Cliff wants to think Raven coming to his room in shape of a girl was a bad dream, but next morning he finds a feather in his bed.
  • Fiery Redhead: Clifford is the Hot-Blooded variety.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: After watching Taki move onto what comes next after finding the bones of his beloved dog who died in the same accident as him, Oscar notes to Eliza that she didn't need his help to solve this situation. She agrees, but she needed him to learn more about this matter for his own understanding about the supernatural.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Cliff and Oscar and Eliza. While Oscar and Eliza get along almost immediately, it takes Cliff a while and multiple supernatural threats to let his guard down. He still insists they're "not friends," though, which Oscar loves to tease him with.
  • Flat "What": Oscar's reaction to finding Clifford in his human form for the first time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Oscar's freshly purchased yet already cold morning coffee hints that he's Missing Time. Given that he and Lorelei were flirting while she was making his coffee, she could very well have just gotten distracted and made it with cold water. However, when Oscar runs into Clifford and the latter insists it's already late afternoon only to get proven right by the time on his own phone, it becomes clear that the coffee was probably made correctly, but got cold during the missed time.
    • In the beginning of Chapter 10—The Boy and the Bones—Sylvia comments that she is feeling stronger, and she manages to manipulate things much easier than she'd done at the beginning of the comic. Later in the same chapter, Oscar and Cliff run into a normal-looking, but obviously supernatural boy. They call Eliza, who reveals that the boy is a ghost who is manifested.
    • Near beginning of Chapter 6 (The Animal Fair) Carl is arguing with Cliff and grabs him by the forearm. Cliff says Carl's "getting pretty brave" and asks what he's going to do just before Nora interrupts. Come the end of Chapter 11, What Are Friends For, we find out that Carl is beating Cliff, but he only does it when Kevin and Nora aren't home.
    • In chapter 11 when Lester procures a god's heart to save Oscar's life he pours the liquid from it into a coffee mug with frog designs on it. Later on Oscar encounters the owner of that heart, a giant frog named Hanyi.
    • In chapter 12 page 887, Oscar witnesses Sylvia getting pissed and is able to use her powers to push Cliff off of Oscar and approach Cliff in a threatening manner for daring to hurt Oscar after all Oscar has done for the boy. Oscar is able to calm her down before she hurts Cliff further. The caption text lampshades the importance of this moment:
      "Phew. All better. I'm sure none of this will ever be a problem again in the future."
    • In chapter 12, Nora promises Oscar the strength of her convictions by saying she would fight the devil to protect her children and whispers to herself, "and have." The next chapter has Sheol, who is the Devil, appear and knows Cliff's father. Clifford's arrival is enough amusement for Sheol to depart from killing Oscar.
  • Freudian Trio: Cliff is the Id, Eliza is the Superego, and Oscar is the Ego.
  • Friendly Ghost: Sylvia, to those she likes. If she doesn't like a resident of the house, however, she chases them away.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: A haunted house in Podunk, Oklahoma wouldn't fetch for much on Craigslist anyway, but Oscar has been living there for at least several months without income. He does however, find a part-time job in Chapter 14.
  • Fright-Induced Bunkmate: Inverted in two ways. For one, Kevin technically asks Clifford to come sleep in his room, and for the other, this is right after Cliff has had a confrontation with Raven, so it's implied that he needs some comfort at the moment too (and/or that he wants to protect Kevin and/or that he's hoping Kevin's presence will keep Raven away).
  • From New York to Nowhere: Oscar came from Chicago but moved to literal Podunk, Oklahoma.
  • Frustrated Overhead Scribble: When Oscar's hiding his whereabouts from his family he sends his sister a gift with a card that reads "Where's Waldo". She has a pissed of squiggle above her head in response.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Chapter Six has Nora do this to Clifford and then Carl in quick succession.
  • Ghostly Chill: Ghosts seem to have a bit of a chill about them.
  • Ghostly Goals: Clifford and Oscar find a young boy who is somehow resurrecting dogs. Eliza identifies him as a ghost who has manifested after years of being around. This boy, Taki, died in a car accident when he was eight. Eliza suspects, and is later confirmed, what Taki needs to do to move on is find where he died because he also lost his beloved dog, whose body was left where the accident happened and some bones still remain. Once Taki finds the spot, his dog's spirit arrives and they run off into what comes next.
  • The Glomp: Raven does this to Cliff as he is excited to meet another of the animal people.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Eliza takes her duties to protect people from the monstrous things in the world seriously. In chapter 10 she confirms to Oscar that if Cliff had been infected by The Madness when he confronted Raven, she would have killed him to save him from what it would have driven him to become.
  • Good Shepherd: Pastor Goodness from 150 years is a kind man. One character tells Oscar of a time when a mother and her son, named Blackwolf, took up in an abandoned house deep in the woods and the day Pastor Goodness heard this, he sought them out. Not to ask them to move, but offer them clothing, food, and firewood. He tells the mother he wouldn't feel right knowing there is a family struggling in the woods. The mother is genuinely taken back by this kindness and admits she and her son rarely receive it. When photos Blackwolf took bring in two hunters of beast-folk, Goodness is adamant about protecting Blackwolf from the men. When he is able to pick up one of their guns, he fires a shot past one of the assailants and tells them to let Blackwolf go.
  • Guardian Entity: The White-Faced Bear, who apparently protects the local forest and its creatures, including Eliza and Cliff.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Cliff assumes that his Disappeared Dad had the same powers that he did, and that his mom didn't know about them, because she probably would have brought it up otherwise.
  • Hand Behind Head: Oscar does this sometimes when insecure like here.
  • Hates Being Touched: Clifford, which doesn't mix too well with a mom who describes herself as "a hugger". However, she and Kevin appear to be the only people he tolerates touching him. It's strongly implied this dislike is a result of trauma from Carl beating him.
  • Haunted House: The house that our lead character picks out to rent from a listing on Craigslist the day before the comic starts. The ghost actually likes him, but has driven out a number of previous tenants, including one who left their TV behind because they were in such a rush to go.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Raven is a shapechanger, so he can be in either human or animal form. He acts creepy enough even as a human, but then he turns into this.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After a rough conversation with his father, Oscar insists he doesn't want to talk about it - before promptly talking about it so much that Sylvia has to suppress a smile.
  • Iconic Outfit: Cliff's red hoodie. Which he stole from Oscar.
  • Idiot Ball: Cliff holds it several times.
    • In chapter 8, despite knowing something was wrong with the water in the lake, Cliff horses around and knocks Oscar and himself into the water, drawing the monster to them.
    • In Chapter 9, despite knowing how creepy Raven is becoming, when he finds Raven out of his window, he opens the window to tell him to leave, allowing the shape shifting Raven to pour into the room.
  • I Know Your True Name: This is Zulime's gimmick—if she learns your true name, she can put you into a trance and make you do whatever she wants. She successfully does this to Cliff throughout most of Chapter Six; when she tries to do it to Eliza, she discovers that Eliza is FAR more powerful than she had guessed.
  • Illness Blanket: Oscar sports one while under Lorelei's spell in Chapter Seven.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: During the resolution of Chapter 15, Oscar has brought to his house Emily. She is a young woman who in the past day or so, stole a magical coat which turns her into a giant bird, lands in the woods unconscious, is found by Oscar and friends, taken to Eliza's house, wakes up and kidnaps Oscar at gun point to take him to look for the coat, is nearly killed by the Thunder children after Oscar insults them, learns the coat is stuck on her forever, and is now spending the night at her kidnapping victim's house at his invitation. When Emily is stressed out as she sits on the couch, Oscar has this exchange.
    Oscar: Ah ha yeah. I don't know how to make it better. Beer?
    Emily: Beer!
    Caption: Beer.
  • Internal Reveal: In chapter 10, Cliff discovers his family all know about his smoking habit.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Oscar points out to Cliff that he's "kind of mean sometimes," Cliff's response is, "Hey! Fuck you! I'm not mean. Asshole."
  • I Will Wait for You: In Chapter 14, Hanyi has been waiting for a friend she made over a hundred years ago unable to accept that he is most certainly dead.
  • Leave Me Alone!: At one point Cliff is fed up with Raven and tells him to leave him alone. Raven ignores that.
  • Light Is Not Good: Zulime likes to wear white clothing and uses glowing moths to lure people to her.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Eliza is pretty feminine, and is dating Darcy.
  • Literal Metaphor: Barbara tells Oscar not to be late with the rent, as "I'm a real witch." He naturally assumes she means witch in the spelled with a B sense, but she's being entirely literal.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Those spiders which save Oscar are the heralds of the great white-faced bear. They also serve as his eyes in places he cannot go.
  • Locked Room Mystery: How the police are looking at the death of Pastor Goodness, who is found in his church behind a locked door, and his face ripped off.
  • Magic Pants: Werewolves' clothes transform with them. Clifford's first transformation seems like the illogical version—he turns back into a human with pants and shoes, but no shirt—but it turns out that he took off his shirt before he transformed to try to throw the other werewolves off his scent.
  • Match Cut: This comic has the arc of a spit melon seed followed by the fuel gauge of a car.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: The first time Oscar encounters Emily, he and his friends find her naked and unconscious, having just fallen from the sky. They bring her to Eliza's house to recover. Once there, she doesn't exactly make the best first impression, stealing a gun and taking him hostage before leading him into the woods. However, Oscar, having some previous experience with being kidnapped, is able to remain calm and talk her down, discovering that she's merely a woman who has made a bunch of mistakes and is in way over her head. He offers his help in fixing those mistakes, eventually leading to romance.
  • Meaningful Name: All over the place.
    • Oscar Wilde, who is a writer like his namesake.
    • His landlady, who admits she can be "a real witch" sometimes, is Barbara Yaga.
    • Barbara has two dogs (who can turn into human boys) who seem to be twins, and one is named Remus.
    • Then we have Cliff, short for Clifford, who turns into a big red wolf.
    • A witch named Elizabeth Proctor.
    • And of course the apparently quiet, dull looking Oklahoma town Oscar moves to is named Podunk.
    • The pastor of the local church has the surname of Goodness. He is a kind, gentle man, who takes meeting a stranger in his church asking about the Devil in stride and brings up his views on the Devil becoming smarter and subtle these days. Said stranger then reveals his inhuman black eyes and rips the pastor's mouth off with his teeth.
  • Mercy Kill: Eliza delivers a great quote on the topic.
    Eliza: How I felt about it didn't matter. Sometimes mercy takes the shape of a knife. To save him from that, I would have done it. And I would have carried it with me for the rest of my life.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Justified, as they turn out to be supernatural. Oscar is told there are no wolves in Oklahoma after he finds one on his porch - fair enough, said wolf turns out to be a werewolf named Cliff. The night after, Oscar is chased down in the woods by more werewolves, only to be saved by a talking bear...and Cliff tells Oscar that there are no bears in Oklahoma.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Emily gets angry at Oscar when he tells her their relationship is complicated by his situation. She thinks he's already in a relationship, but he's actually talking about Sylvia haunting his house.
  • Missing Mom: Oscar's mother died of cancer before the events of the story.
  • Missing Time: Done quite subtly. Oscar buys his coffee during the morning, and is next seen walking in town. He drinks his coffee as if he just got it, notices it's cold, and throws it away just as Clifford shows up. Oscar asks Clifford why he's not in school mid-morning on a Monday, only to be told it's already 4 PM and have it confirmed by his phone.
  • Monster of the Week: Each chapter has its own subplot with its own supernatural creature. Most of the characters introduced are gone, but some remain, notably Sylvia, Cliff and Eliza from chapters 1, 2 and 4, respectively.
  • Monochrome Apparition: Sylvia is painted in grayish colors.
  • Morphic Resonance:
    • Werewolves' coats seem to be the same color as their hair; for example, ginger Cliff turns into a big red dog.
    • Raven retains his Occult Blue Eyes in every shape he transforms into. His black hair is also probably supposed to match his feathers.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Oscar, the main character is a journalist.
  • Ms. Exposition: Eliza frequently explains the supernatural phenomena. Justified in that Oscar is The Team Normal, and Cliff, though having been able to use his powers all his life, has never talked to anyone about it prior to the comic's events.
  • Mundane Utility: Flower-girl Eliza is a witch and opens her beers with a simple spell, making the caps just pop off. The caption lampshades this:
    "Witches have great party tricks."
  • Mysterious Protector: The White-Faced Bear is protecting Clifford for some reason. Sometimes he extends it to Oscar, but makes it clear that he shouldn't count on that. On page 913 when Oscar asks him why he protects Clifford, all the Bear says when leaving is he was asked to.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Oscar Wilde. Lampshaded often.
  • Nice Guy: Oscar, hands down. He continues to be friendly and treats others well, even when some aren't quite human.
  • Nice Jewish Boy: Oscar again, who is Jewish.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Oscar has one starting here.
  • Noble Wolf: Lester has this opinion about Cliff, who certainly does try to do right by his friends, while Lester does noble things more out of spite due to being Coyote.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction:
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Raven, full stop. Seems just cute when he appears as a little kid who likes to hug Cliff, but then he changes his shape to that of a teenager, and his touchy-feely approach gets an enormously creepy overtone... and we don't even know how old he actually is.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Oscar came to Podunk for some peace and quiet; boy, did he pick the wrong town or what?
  • Nothing Personal: While not said by the supernatural being herself, the fact the spider-woman lures Oscar into her lair to kill is considered this by Eliza and an old man aware of the supernatural. The being isn't malicious, but rather just securing her next meal.
  • Not His Blood: Oscar get splattered on with blood from a rougarou and is subsequently forced to explain himself to other characters who get worried seeing him like this.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Considering the fact that their relationship is going in a Parental Substitute / Big Brother Instinct direction, Oscar and Clifford share a dynamic quite reminiscent of romantic couples. Clifford keeps claiming he and Oscar are not friends, despite usually being the one showing up at his place. Thanks to Clifford never giving back the hoodie that was given to him during the You Must Be Cold episode below, they even have a platonic version of Her Boyfriend's Jacket on their record.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Eliza notes that she must abide by this and isn't a Hunter of Monsters. If a supernatural being is behaving within its nature and isn't trying to enter the town, she must let it be. Even if that being nearly kills Oscar.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Raven has glowing blue eyes whatever shape he appears in.
  • Offering Another in Your Stead: A woman who had lost her soul to Sheol tries to buy her freedom with Oscar's soul. Sheol doesn't consider the trade worthwhile, but threatens to eat Oscar anyway. Even Oscar doesn't blame her for being desperate enough to try anything to escape such a fate.
  • Off with His Head!: The final fate of the creature that once was Raven, courtesy of Eliza.
  • Oh, Crap!: There's been a string of, "Oh crap, oh Crap, oh CRAP!" moments for poor Oscar in the werewolves story arc.
    • As he's fleeing from the same werewolves, he experiences an even bigger moment of "Oh, Crap" wherein he's running across a dry lake-bed trying to get away from it all- and hears a loud cracking noise coming from the surface, expressing a mix of "You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!" and "This Is Gonna Suck" just before he falls into a sinkhole beneath the surface.
    • Clifford has one when a woman comes up right behind him, calls him a wolf and vanishes like the wind. He is next seen hiding under a tree, smoking.
    • Eliza, the flower lady, when she sees Clifford protected by the White-Faced Bear's spiders.
    • Zulime, when she realizes how much Eliza has outclassed her.
    • Clifford does one in wolf form when he faces Raven in a warehouse.
    • Clifford here, when his mother finds out he was drinking and smoking.
    • Nora when she comes home and realizes that there's been a fight going on at home.
  • Once is Not Enough: Oscar bludgeons a spider monster with a rock, but then (attempts to) run away rather than following up against the obviously stunned villain. In fairness, running away is pretty much his modus operandi.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Some wander, some haunt a place and some haunt a person. Sylvia admits that she feels "more solid" some days than others, but even at her best times feels drained after moving a few objects, and can never touch living things. It's also become apparent that they can use some crazy powers when upset.
  • Our Sirens Are Different: Lorelei from a local coffee shop in Chapter Seven is a siren and has bewitched Oscar...completely by accident, and is heartbroken upon realizing that his attraction towards her was likely due to her powers brainwashing Oscar and not actually a consensual attraction on his part.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: "Animal people" can shift instantly from one form to another and the trait seems to be passed from parent to child. Several different kinds exist, including wolves (like Clifford) and ravens (like Raven). Also, they can catch the Madness, which irreversibly turns them into monsters.
  • Perma-Stubble: Oscar wears a five-day stubble throughout, unless it's plot-relevant.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Cliff. While he he loves his mother and brother, the stress of the years of abuse by his stepfather resulted in his dour look most of the time.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: At the end of Chapter Nine, Eliza faints after exhausting her powers to remove the remains of Raven's monster form.
  • Precision F-Strike: Oscar discovering Carl is abusing Clifford and Carl's arrival at his door to reclaim Clifford infuriates Oscar to the point he yells at the person to "Fuck off!"
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: We might assume that Black Wolf running around barefoot is a case of Barefoot Poverty, but once we see his Death Glare as his mother is making a shoe for him, it becomes apparent that he wouldn't like to wear shoes even if he had a change.
  • Pungeon Master: Puns appear rather often due to the author's fondness for them - if not in the comic proper, then in the Alt Text and especially prevalent in the comment section. Particularly playful (and/or painful) punnery will often get highlighted as a top comment by Pascalle.
  • Quieting the Unquiet Dead: Every ghost is tethered by something they can't find or something they can't let go of.
    • Chapter 3 has a girl who became a ghost rather than leave her mother behind. She happily moves on when the mother reassures her that it's okay for her to go.
    • Chapter 10 has the ghost of a boy who wanders the highway in search of his beloved dog. When Oscar helps him find where the dog is buried, their spirits run off into the sunset together.
  • Quirky Town: Apparently even people from Chicago are called Yankees or Yanks, even though Chicago is Mid-West.
  • A Rare Sentence: Cliff points out that Oscar's line "I have werewolf loogie on my face" is something no-one has ever said before.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Said from the villain the mysterious evil being to Hazel the hairdresser after her actions have brought Oscar before the being and he plans to kill Oscar: "You have killed a man tonight... Not that you really care. Remember that the next time you think you don't deserve what you get."
  • Red Baron: With Cliff's many escapes from the police when doing illegal activity with friends, all they can identify him with is the color of his shoes as he was running away. So they call him "Green Shoes" after they finally catch him and still don't know his identity.
  • Red Headed Step Child: Cliff is literally this, but the trope itself appears to be averted. His mother at least is very loving. He doesn't get along well with his step-father Carl though. Carl beats him It's also worth noting that Cliff's brother (with whom he is also very close) is adopted and black.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hot-headed, foul-mouthed Cliff is red while mellow, easy-going Oscar is blue. Emphasized by Cliff usually wearing his red hoodie while Oscar is usually seen wearing colder colors.
  • Rescue Introduction: Cliff is introduced after Oscar finds a "dog" passed out on his porch and brings it inside.
  • Running Away to Cry: Cliff does it here, lampshaded by Eliza.
  • Running Gag:
    • The fact that Cliff stole/borrowed-and-never-returned Oscar's red hoodie. Alternatively, the fact that Oscar seems to be unable to keep a jacket for more than five minutes before lending it to someone else.
    • Cliff insisting that he and Oscar (and Eliza) are not friends. He drops this eventually.
    • Whenever Oscar offers to put on a movie, it's always going to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Possibly excusable given the weirdness he's encountered recently, but Oscar genuinely didn't realize that Clifford was being sarcastic here when Cliff explains he walked to meet Oscar because of how awkward it would be to explain why he is meeting Oscar.
    Cliff: Hey mom, that dude who put me in his bathtub needs me to meet him at the hospital for some mysterious reason. I'm sure it's not weird. Can you drive me? I'll be super careful.
    Oscar: You didn't ... You didn't actually tell her I put you in the bathtub?
    Cliff: No, I didn't fucking tell you put me in the bathtub!
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Emily takes Oscar for a tour of her van, closing the door after "this is the bed".
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Zig-zagged — Clifford's clothes disappear in wolf form, but he keeps his tongue stud.
  • Shipper on Deck: Clifford's friends are more than happy to encourage Clifford to talk to his obvious crush Camellia.
  • Ship Tease: Oscar and Sylvia have more than their fair share of caring tendencies and meaningful looks towards each other, which is encouraged when the author makes art like the extra comment featuring them playing Strip Poker.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleep Cute: Cliff and his brother here. Their mom even takes a picture!
  • The Speechless: Taki, the young boy Cliff and Oscar find in chapter 10, never speaks. When he does it is when they are close to the bones of his dead dog who died in the same accident as Taki and his parents. He calls her name and using his powers, summons her spirit to him and they go off into the light afterwards.
  • Spider Swarm: The White-Faced Bear's wolf spiders will do it to people harming those he protects. Or sometimes he does it to the protectee to indicate that they shouldn't be dealt with. Either way, tends to incite arachnophobia.
  • "Spread Wings" Frame Shot: The webcomic occasionally puts main character Oscar in a position where it looks like he has angel wings. On cover of chapter 3, he's standing in a gallery in front of a painting with angels. A similar juxtaposition occurs a few pages later when he appears to have a pair of feathery wings in front of a hospital picture and again in chapter 13. This is likely some manner of foreshadowing.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Subverted. Oscar attempts this while fleeing a giant spider monster by calling on the Thunderchildren to help, but they promptly flee when they see what he was hoping they'd eat.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Oscar tries to pet Clifford once he transforms in front of him for the first time, and he naturally gets weirded out and shifts back. Just because you look like an adorable canine doesn’t mean you’re not still a human with a personal bubble.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Cliff reveals he can shift his eyes to his wolf ones in the dark, presumably for better vision.
  • Tempting Fate: In the opening pages of chapter 15, Eliza, Cliff, and Oscar are in the woods enjoying a stroll. When Cliff pipes in his hunger and boredom, Oscar asks, "Come on. Can't we enjoy a nice stroll in the woods when no one is in mortal peril?" Then suddenly they feel a strong gust of wind, a shadow covers them, and they see a giant bird-creature in the sky flying past. The caption lampshades this action.
    You jinxed it Oscar
  • Tainted Veins: In chapter 11, Oscar receives these on his neck from the spider monster's venom.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Oscar doesn't touch his sandwich and leaves the diner after having just another disturbing vision.
  • Those Wily Coyotes: Lester is an ancient trickster who all but outright stated to be the Coyote.
  • Time-Passage Beard: When Oscar wakes up at Lorelei's place with a full beard and no memory of the past days.
  • Touché: On page 1158 of Chapter 15, Cliff wants to help Eliza search for something. She initially refuses and leads to this exchange:
    Eliza: No-
    Cliff: Oh? Which one of us can track things by scent?
    Eliza: Touche.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Podunk has werewolves, witches, ghosts, monsters who were once human, a sentient bear who guards it from supernatural threats, Thunderchildren, spider-monsters, and much more.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Animal people change instantly and without any sound effect.
  • Tsundere: Clifford. Made fun of in the comments often.
  • Tuck and Cover: Oscar grabs Cliff and pushes him out of the way, shielding him with his body when a malevolent ghost attacks them.
  • Typhoid Mary: "The Madness" is a disease that can affect animal people, but for which ordinary humans can be asymptomatic carriers.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Oscar isn't completely unfazed by the weirdness around him, but he gets over each revelation in a couple of pages. As far as we can tell, he's completely normal himself.
    Werewolf: Who's this? He ain't a wolf.
    Cliff: Don't worry about him. He's just some guy.
    Oscar: I am literally just some guy.
  • Unsound Effect: Lock.
  • Visual Pun: This comic is rife with them in the comments, prompted by Cliff handing Oscar a pocket-knife to fend off a massive lake snake with the words "It's better than nothing."
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Animal people can transform between their human and animal forms at will. Raven is a special case, as he can transform into any kind of human. He first shows himself as a little boy to Cliff, then turns into an older man so he can buy cigarettes and booze for Cliff. Later, he appears to be around the same age as Cliff. When Cliff tries to send him away, he turns into a girl, hoping that Cliff will accept him that way.
  • Was Once a Man: The rougarou. Worse, they'll transform any normal human who sees them. Eliza seems to indicate that the giant snake in the river used to be a human, too. Most monsters, however, are the result of animal-people falling under "the Madness" when they consume human blood.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Scenes where Cliff is upset or lashing out tend to prompt puns about "Despite all my rage, I am still just a wolf in a cage", or similar.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Whether it's the location or Oscar himself, something is up when a man meets a ghost inhabiting the house he's renting, helps rescue a teenager who can turn into a wolf, comes across a helpful swarm of spiders and a talking bear all in three days. In Oklahoma. He's taking it rather well.
  • Werewolf Theme Naming: Clifford (as in the big red dog) and, more obviously, Remus.
  • Wham Shot: A minor one, but Barbara calls in Cletus and Remus to dinner, and the reader is expecting the enthusiastic hounds that had greeted Oscar, not the pair of young boys that pass her by.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: You might think that a huge bear and a swarm of tiny spiders were not very intelligent. You would be very wrong.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Sylvia isn't alive, of course, but the principle is the same. She watches people move into and out of her house, usually without getting to know them by talking directly. She gets upset at the thought of Oscar going out to do something dangerous and she might not see him again.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Clifford's abusive step-father Carl takes this approach, going so far as to say, "Why do you have to push my buttons? You know I don't want to hurt you." He says this after smacking Clifford with enough force to give him a bloody nose. To make matters worse, Clifford has internalized this, and doesn't tell anyone because he blames himself.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Barbara Yaga warns Oscar not to annoy her, because "I'm a real witch." Hmm...
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Oscar encounters an elderly woman lost in the woods and in need of help. She is a spider-creature luring him to her nest to eat him.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: The caption for page 983 calls Oscar a "mensch"note  for his act of paying the grocery bill of the mother with an infant ahead of him when she lacks the money to cover the bill.
    "Be the mensch you want to see in the world."
  • You Are Grounded!: Cliff gets grounded by his parents after skipping school and not returning his mother's calls. Unlike most examples, Cliff willingly accepts his punishment without much protest, as the events in Chapter 9 had left him too emotionally drained to protest.
  • You Are Not Alone: After the events of Eliza killing the creature that was Raven, who had succumbed to something called the Madness, Clifford is emotionally wrecked and runs off. While Oscar feels this is because Cliff doesn't want them to see him crying, Eliza follows and notes to Oscar that Clifford doesn't have to bear this alone.
  • You Must Be Cold:
    • Oscar gives Cliff his jacket after Cliff wakes up, shirtless, in his bathtub. (As Oscar notes, it doesn't exactly look good for him to have a half-naked teenage boy unconscious in his house.)
      Oscar: People go to jail for stuff like this!
    • He later loans the blue jacket to Eliza and then Clifford during the arc where Clifford is missing.