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Webcomic / Zap!

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Zap! (not to be confused with the classic Underground Zap Comix by Robert Crumb, or ZZap! the Commodore 64 magazine) is a science fiction webcomic which ran from 2003 to 2014 and centers around the title character, Zap Vexler. Chris Layfield is the writer, and Pascalle Lepas is the artist.

Amnesiac Zap finds himself the captain of a Cool Starship called the Excelsior. He discovers that he is psychic and falls for the first officer, Reona, who is still heartbroken over the previous captain, Efrem. He had been apparently killed by an enemy, Naveed. Reona and the ship's mechanic, Grontar, and navigation droid, Robot, aren't too thrilled about Zap being picked as the captain. This is mostly because Zap is a doofus and far from captain material. They fight their way through the GEF, crash land, fight their way through the GEF again, take off, and pick up an ally: Kasey. Another Resistance member, Kasey is infatuated with Robot and helps repair Reona's artificial arm. Zap runs into a stranger (to him at this point), Gunner, who claims to be a friend from his forgotten past. The comic finally concluded in September, 2014.


Zap! contains examples of:

  • Body Horror: The bizarre creature that kills the bounty hunters. It's some sort of goo beast that can bore through flesh and armor, and also has image-perfect shape-shifting ability - though it gives itself away when trying to talk.
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  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Naveed uses a guard's severed hand to retrieve her sword.
  • Bounty Hunter: The four Elementaros are initially brought in by the Galactic Earth Federation as bounty hunters to pursue Zap and company.
  • Clothing Damage: Zap, Reona, and Grontar ruin their nice clothes in the amusement park battle. But Reona's nice sheer hose survive the fight without even a run.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The three main psychics have different colored Battle Auras and eye glows. Zap's are green, Efrem's are blue, and Gunner's are yellow.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Apparently a fairly normal ability for psychics.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Galactic Earth Federation was finally dissolved and replaced with Universal Senate; a proper example of The Federation.
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  • Elemental Hair Colors: Three of the last four Elementaro, as seen here:
    Europa, with the power to control the wind. (White-haired)
    Callisto, who has power over water. (Blue-haired)
    Gannymede. He is a master of earth. (Green-haired)
  • Elemental Powers: The Elementaro race. The last four members are recruited by Naveed.
  • Last of His Kind: Robot is the last robot left with a learning AI. The Elementaros are the last of their species. Zap, Efrem, and Gunner are also the last three members of their species.
  • Restraining Bolt: The "crowns". And Robot's programming to obey the Captain, like it or not (he does not).
  • Scenery Censor: Here Zap is naked, with Robot's head "tastefully" interposed.
  • Spot the Imposter: The Body Horror creature takes Zap's appearance. Side by side, everyone debates who to shoot. Gunner comes up and just unceremoniously shoots the fake. The monster was quite easily distinguishable ("Meeee, Reaaal Zaaaaaap...") when everyone was "Side by side" as it were, and the remark from Robot seemed like it was an obvious Lampshade hanging.
  • Stellar Name: The last four Elementaro, the Galilean Satellites, named after four moons of Jupiter. Io, Callisto, Europa, and Gannymede.
  • Super Registration Act: Psychics are being rounded up for nefarious purposes (implied to be made into Super Soldiers).
  • Technopath: One of Zap's first displays of psychic ability is activating the Excelsior's hyperdrive. In fact his mental commands are apparently the only thing that can do so. Gunner, as his name implies, uses his to improve the function of his weapons.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Zap, who was mistaken for a stowaway at first, is almost dumped with the trash into space (or so he thought).
  • Title Confusion: Due to the old URL, the comic is often called "Zap IN SPACE". This is also something of a Berserk Button for the author, to the point that they've migrated to a new URL.
  • Webcomic Time: A few years of comics following a few weeks of plot.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zap's fear of space squid is played as a Running Gag.

Alternative Title(s): Zap In Space