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Webcomic / Zebra Girl

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Zebra Girl tells the story of three roommates (Sandra, Jack, and Crystal) whose lives are irrevocably transformed when they discover an ancient magical tome in their attic. When the book is slammed shut after an accidental demon-summoning, Sandra finds herself transformed into the eponymous Zebra Girl, a demon with black-and-white striped skin, hooves for feet, long, wicked talons, acidic bodily fluids, and the ability to set things on fire with her mind. Jack, blaming himself for the incident, devotes himself to the study of magic in hopes of finding a way to cure Sandra of her transformation, and along the way becomes a powerful archmage and the only hope of restoring magic to the world at large. (Or possibly staving off a magical apocalypse; Sandra isn't the only demon running around.) And Crystal is... well, Crystal.

Started out as a rather dark gag-a-day strip, but became afflicted with Cerebus Syndrome in record time, as Sandra and the others discovered that being transformed into/living with a demon is most emphatically not all fun and games. By all accounts, this only made it better, as the storyline took twists and turns and the world gradually warped around the protagonist trio, thrusting them into the middle of a veritable supernatural maelstrom that they attracted simply by existing in their current states.

Zebra Girl ended June 11, 2018, after 18 years (6610 days) and 814 strips. A backup of the site can be found here and here.

Joe England, the comic's creator, released a few "Tales of the Wooden Castle" strips as part of the epilogue, and hinted late 2021 that he wanted to create a sequel to Zebra Girl, named "The Curse of Clarity", as well as a spin-off in the same universe called "Witch Wrap", which should be released before the actual sequel.

Note: The comic hosting has changed since this page was started, so quite a few of the links are now broken. The original domain redirects to the current domain, but old links will bring up the latest page. Unfortunately the archives do not use the actual dates of the comic pages after 2003 until March 2016, so anything between those dates will have to be re-discovered the hard way.
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Zebra Girl contains examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: Apparently all this Zebra Girl stuff is just a dream, Sandra is perfectly normal girl and Sam is a cartoon character; and then Sam breaks the fourth wall. It's Incubus' attempt at a Lotus-Eater Machine, and Sandra wasn't fooled for a second.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • The "Angels with Dirty Fur" arc, where the gang is trapped in a parallel cartoon universe gone horribly, horribly wrong.
    • The Subfusc dimension is a variation of this. As Incubus points out, it's not so much another dimension as it is another "layer" of the Earth itself. Races long thought to be just myths or long dead are "banished" to Subfusc until they are "deemed" fit to "return" to Earth. It's complicated.
  • Animated Actors: Sam's home universe is built around the trope... or used to be, anyway.
  • Anti-Climax: Mr. Chalk is litteraly blown away by Zandra in the second to last page of the comic, looking rather pathetic, desperate to have a purpose in Zandra's life. His identity will remain a riddle for the ages.
  • Appropriated Appellation: When returning at the end of the Subfusc arc, Sandra is talking with some kind of insectoid customs officer who can't say the name "Sandra" and keeps calling her "Zzzandra", so she says her name is "Zandra" to get by it. The news posts suggest she likes it and will be using "Zandra" from now on.
  • The Archmage: Jack turns into one after many years of studying magic. He is able to cast powerful spells and knows many tricks. He became the de facto leader of the new mages when magic returned to the world and after the events of the Magi-net, and he is in charge of looking for new recruits.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Angels with dirty fur arc: Lord Tool.
    • The Magi-Net arc: Harold Duvase.
    • Earthbroke arc: Gregory. It doesn't end well for him.
    • The Dawn of Night and Disaccord arcs: Sandra.
    • Sandra in the Outlands (or Subfusc) arc: Lord Incubus.
    • Heaven on Earth arc: Sandra again to her former friends, though she really doesn't want to play that role this time. Also the Vampires.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Sandra and Viv have an argument after Sandra gets her demon form back, leading to Viv telling Sandra that she is not sure she should trust her. Sandra acts wounded, telling Viv that she thought they were friends, leading to this exchange:
    Sandra: "What is this? I thought we were friends! I told you what I was like as a demon!"
    Viv: "Yeah, and you told me how you treated your friends."
    Sandra: "..."
  • Art Evolution: The comic debuted in 2000 and ended in 2018, with a few notable post-epilogue updates posted the following years. In 20 years, Joe England refined his style and improved tremendously, with characters looking more detailed, less cartoony and drawing sumptuous backgrounds from time to time.
  • Aside Glance: Sandra does one after a spider begins to talk to her.
  • Astral Projection: Mages do a lot of projecting their consciousness across the Earth and into other universes. The Magi-net was something of an astral "chatroom" where mages contacted one another. Unfortunately Harold Duvase was using it to trap their souls for power.
  • The Atoner:
    • Jack. He blames himself for what happened to Sandra, and for what happened during the Maginet mini-arc. Ever since the Maginet he is doing everything he can to become a better wizard, in the hopes that the tragedies which befell his friends and wizard comrades never happen again.
    • Sandra, as "Zandra", after a lot of events and introspection.
  • Author Avatar: The anthropomorph rabbit clerk that appears at the end of the Subfusc arc is clearly modeled after the real life appearance of Joe England, the comic creator. Said clerk would later be used at his avatar when Joe is posting comments on his website.
  • Battle Couple: Jack and Tomie are in a relationship together, and can unite their magic.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell Sandra that she's lonely despite herself. She's likely to drop you from a great height and hiss at you. Also don't hurt her friends, unless you're ready to face hell's fury.
  • Better the Devil You Know: Said word for word by Sandra, an actual devil, to Suze, the police officer, when the latter laments about Sandra not going away. Sandra points out that even if she disappears, someone or something else would take her place, and chances are they would be worse than her. Suze reluctantly agrees to Sandra's proposals, especially after witnessing herself what she is capable of.
  • Be Yourself: After Viv and Incubus trying to get Sandra to become human or demon, Mabel tells Sandra that she is not Viv or Incubus but her own person.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Sandra's house comes to resemble an Escher print after the timeskip, gaining several floors and having walls made of stairs.
  • Black Speech: When Lord Incubus is beginning to torture Sandra, he subjects her to "Numinous truth", changing his speech bubbles to this. Sandra, who until then was able to almost No-Sell his attempts, ends up genuinely disturbed.
  • Blood Knight: Of all people, Wally displays some traits post-timeskip, reminiscing a little too fondly of his fight against Sandra in the past (while everyone else in the room is sad or outright traumatized by it), and is very eager to destroy her this time.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Gregory is an experienced exorcist and demon-hunter who thought he could drag the emotionally drained Sandra with him to hell. Turns out it was a very bad idea. That event is also what finally drove Sandra over the edge.
  • Breast Expansion: All the female characters, human, demon, vampire, and Vorpal Pook, have started to gain larger bust sizes and sexier hourglass figures, apparently as a side effect of of the rampant magic in the town. Eventually revealed to be a cause of Jack's magic, specifically.
  • Bystander Syndrome: This is how Sam goes drinking in bars and nobody even notices he has white fur and rabbit ears.
  • Call-Back: At the beginning of the comic, when Sandra realizes she has been turned into a demon, she calls herself a freak. Years later, when she is wondering what she exactly is, someone who had disappeared from the radar delivers this line:
    Mr. Chalk: Oh Sandra. You know. You called it on day one. You're a freak.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After Bloo's sire voices his disapproval of her Mutiny against Zandra, Bloo tears into him saying it's his fault she's the way she is since he turned her while she was high.
  • Cassandra Truth: After the "Sandra in the Outlands" arc, Sandra is turning over a new leaf and is truly repentant about her past actions. However, her former friends are not willing to listen to her anymore. When she tries to contact Crystal (who believed in Sandra for years until she got attacked by vampires claiming to follow Sandra's orders), telling her that she is regretful and that she misses her, Jack's sister rejects her and immediately warns her brother that she is nearby.
  • Came Back Strong: "Ascension" for mages. Otherwise known as "pulling a Gandalf".
  • Censor Box: Used sometimes whenever Sandra becomes vulgar. For example, the f-word and s-word are almost always censored, but other insults get a pass, such as this one when she arrived in the Subfusc.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Jack. Fire. Apparently he thinks he deserves it. More importantly, he feels it relieves Sandra of her stress and keeps her from falling over the edge. Turns out he was right: once Sandra really tortures someone for the first time, she snaps.
    • The comic substituted the Hyperspace Mallet with spontaneous combustion. Later, when the title character attacks her True Companions and uses the same power, hilarity does not ensue.
    • In that same vein, the spell originally used to banish Lord Incubus way back in the comic's wacky beginning (before the genesis of the title Zebra Girl, even) has a slightly less humorous feel now that it's been used on the former protagonist who is far more frightening than Lord Incubus ever was. Although, the spell still appears in the form of a magical toilet that sucks the unwanted guest in.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Amazingly, considering how dark the comic began. Lampshaded in this strip by Sandra.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The rabbit lady from the Subfusc, Black Betty, has a very unsettling one.
  • Child Mage: Jack was a young adult when he became a mage, something which transformed him irrevocably. That, Sandra becoming a demon and the events of the Magi-net arc forced the very laid back dude to grow significantly in a short amount of time.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Crystal, though this aspect of her is toned down as the comic gets darker, and she becomes too depressed to act like her old self.
    • Mad Mabel from the Subfusc. She has trouble making it through a whole thought without several bizarre tangents. She is implied to be Alice. How she lost her name is unknown, but the thimble and many of the seemingly nonsense things she says hint at her identity.
    • Black Betty, the vorpal pook. She loves to talk, and it is sometimes difficult to follow her train of thoughts, as she has a tendency to do a lot of non-sequitur.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Sandra engages in it when she gets the upper hand against Gregory during their fight. Instead of letting him die, she decides to keep him alive and conscious in order to rip him apart, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. She extends this treatment to her whole town, and also kidnaps Sam to keep him as her prisoner to torture when she feels like it.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Made even more impressive because the comic is black and white. Jack, for instance, became Jack The Plaid, with a major boost in power, a tendency to have some rather nice plaid-oriented spells, and a shapeshifting robe that's a pocket into a plaid dimension.
  • Cooldown Hug: Done by fake Sandra's mom to her during the dream sequence created by Incubus.
  • The Corruption: Being turned into a demon slowly but surely corrupted Sandra. While she seemed to keep her mind and free-will intact (despite being very depressed), the very fact that she is now a demon affected everything and everyone around her, including inanimate objects such as her house, which slowly turned into an Eldritch Location. Her very being also attracted all kind of weird creatures, such as werewolves and vampires, the latter having migrated en-masse to her town during the timeskip (along with some ghouls). When Sandra snapped and decided to embrace her demonic nature, she got Drunk on the Dark Side and lost any remnant of what made her human, forgetting her memories of her human life (at least, until Viv, Mabel and even Incubus in his own twisted way helped her to remember). As Gregory puts it, when he is explaining to Sam why he is hunting her:
    Gregory:This town has been consumed by chaos and mayhem. Werewolves, disappearance, burnings, fear, panic, occult forces gathering under her. She is poisoning this place... This world. She is a seed of darkness. Whether or not Sandra has an evil personality is irrelevant. The essence of hell on Earth can only bring harm. As a demonic creature, she represents a deleterious element which can not be tolerated.
  • Covers Always Lie: The teaser image for Zebra Girl's return in 2014 shows a lesbian scene between Zandra and Crystal; the disclaimer on the comic, and the news post say this isn't a guarantee of any erotic lesbian action when the comic returns, as it is just a piece of commissioned art he drew.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Gregory's actions to drag Sandra to hell were the last straw for Sandra, pushing her over the edge and leading her to embrace her demonic nature.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Considering how powerful the titular character eventually becomes, fights usually ends quickly in her favor, though other characters also have their time under the spotlight:
    • Sandra:
      • When Sandra turns against her friends, there is little they can do to actually stop her, as her incredible powers are too much for them to handle. She treats everything they throw at her as mere annoyance, mocking them all the way. She changes her tune radically when Jack banishes her the same way he did with Incubus.
      • When the final Goblin Assassin tries to get the drop on her, Sandra, in her human form and just beyond fed up at this point, quickly neutralizes him.
      • After getting rid of her chains, Sandra completely overpowers the rebel vampires, and swiftly defeats Bloo afterwards.
    • Jack:
      • After Jack ascends, he defeats Harold in a single move, showcasing his newfound power.
      • The vampires who attacked his sister are very quickly stripped of their powers when fighting against him, rendering them completely helpless.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Mabel, who is captured by Lord Incubus, who demands that Sandra releases him from his prison if she wants her back.
    • Crystal during the Heaven on Earth arc, when she is captured by vampires who threaten to kill her.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Sandra is quite snarky. This trait becomes exacerbated when she becomes evil.
    • Viv, in spades, though her snark is more of the friendly kind.
  • Death by Falling Over: Attempted by a vampire in order to kill Crystal. Thankfully, she is rescued by Wally in the nick of time.
  • The Ditz: Crystal.
  • Disapproving Look: Viv gives one to Sandra as she is threatening to kill the assassin who tried to kill her. Though it's Viv catching her off-guard with the following remark that makes her stop:
    Viv: If that makes you happy.
    Sandra: O_O
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: At one point, Crystal's group is approached by what appears to be a beggar lady, asking for food. After several encounters with hostile vampires and guessing that the woman is certainly not human, Crystal is absolutely fed up with the pretense and bluntly tells her to cut to the chase. Turns out she is right: the lady is a vampire, and she is none other than Berserk, possessing a body and eager to get his revenge at Wally.
  • Dissonant Serenity: While everyone else is stunned or panicked when they learn that Sandra is back, Crystal looks initially surprised, before smiling.
  • Distant Finale: The series' epilogue (the regular one and the occassional "Tales of the Wooden Castle" updates one), happens roughly two hundred years after the event of the last arc. By this point, the world has changed significantly, Sandra has adopted an human girl named Clarity and she reigns on her town now full of monsters. Sandra is hinted to never have seen her mother again, and Crystal remained human and is implied to have died.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run: When the vampire who tried to kill Crystal sees a monstrous werewolf under her, her first reaction is to order her fellow vampires to run away immediately. When one of them corrects her by saying that they are technically floating in the sky, she ignores him and urge them once again to get the hell out of here. They don't listen, believing to be perfectly safe while they are in the air. They couldn't be more wrong...
  • Double Standard: Viv thinks religion is like this. Saying that men in religion who reject paradise or luxury are worshiped, while she as Eve, rejected Eden and was vilified as the reason for centuries of misogyny.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Crystal's reaction to meeting Wally is a little overenthusiastic.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Gregory's fate. His stay there changed him tremendously for the better, and he eventually left.
  • *Drool* Hello: A variant where the victim is smoking and the monster coughs.
  • Eldritch Location: Sandra's house. It began to change when Sandra transformed into a demon, with shadows becoming darker and bigger, and decided to have a growth spurt on its own while Sandra was away. Jack points out that between Sandra, Incubus and his own magic, all the different energies permeated the house, transforming it deeply, and making it a "supernatural broadcast tower" for monsters. It can now repair itself on its own will (as it dislikes having broken windows), keep normal people away, and the inside is much bigger than the outside would lead you to think.
  • Enemy Within: Mr. Chalk, who haunts Sandra's dreams and taunts her with her lost humanity.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Dream!Sam (a figment of Sandra's imagination) says that everyone is bisexual to some extent. It comes up when Sandra asks why Dream!Crystal is trying to seduce her, and Sam says that Incubus created her by reading Sandra's memories and found Sandra's clandestine feelings for her.
  • Evil Overlord: Tool, who rules Sam' home dimension with a maniacal iron fist.
  • Exact Words: In order to release Sandra from the grasp of a big guy, Viv convinces him that she will punish her herself, telling him that she will "make her hurt in ways even you can't manage". True enough, she proceeds to make Sandra face her humanity and makes her realize what she has done when she succumbed to her demonic urges.
    Viv: Growth is painful, you know?
  • Expy: Harold Duvase is one of Harry Potter. ("Du Vase" is French for "of the Vase", or "potter".)
  • Eye Take: During the "Heaven on Earth" arc, after Jack asks if anyone else noticed that Sandra "looks sexier than she used to be", Crystal blurts out that she did. Cue the whole group immediately looking at her quite surprised, especially Wally.
  • Facepalm: During the Lotus-Eater Machine sequence, Sam does one, after Sandra ignores his warnings and lets her curiosity gets the better of her.
  • Facial Markings:
    • Viv has one on the right-side of her face.
    • Tomie's human form has her insignia tattooed on her forehead.
  • The Fair Folk: Some inhabitants of the Subfusc, as well as some of the things leaving it for the mortal realm (or waking up in it) seem to be this, most notably the Goblins and the Vorpal Pook.
  • Fanservice Pack: Sandra, after she came back from the Subfusc, got noticeably sexier. The artist is aware of this, and is wary of objectifying her. While he said he will try to keep it from getting out of hand, these changes are here to stay. This trope is even discussed in-universe by Sandra and Jack at one point, with Jack admitting that it is most certainly his magic and his pervy tendencies that are at fault. Joe England mentionned on the comment section of his website that he was making a conscious effort to avoid objectifying women and that he had discussions with his sister regarding this subject.
  • Fat Bastard: Rebecca, the overweight vampire lady who attacks Crystal during the Heaven on Earth arc. Subverted later on, when Rebecca is revealed to regret her past actions (caused at least in part by her vampirism ramping up her negative traits, as with Mike) and realizes that she, along with the other vampires, had been manipulated and lied to by Bloo. This causes her to undergo a Heel–Face Turn and eventually becoming an important ally to Zandra after the time skip.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Vampires in this setting have it rough. They can't sleep and they are stuck in the state they were turned, forbidding them from ever gaining some sort of respite. It is even worse for Bloo, who was turned while she was high on drugs. Many vampires end up feeling like Empty Shell after a while (sometimes, litteraly, as Bloo's innards are empty of organs save for her heart, and a ton of syringes).
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mister Chalk.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The conversation between Sandra and Jen Stone when they first meet seems particularly meaningful after Sam tells Sandra that Crystal is acting strange around her because Sandra has feelings for her.
    • From the first time we meet Viv, i.e. the Eve of the apple:
      Viv: MMM. [takes bite of fruit]
      Viv: I dunno, Zhiddy. I've had better.
      Zhiddy: Well you would say that, wouldn't ya, Viv?
      Viv: I mean recently.
    • Viv has the gift of prophecy, and mentions that certain demons have this gift too, hinting that someday Sandra will have visions of things to come.
    • During her final goodbye with Viv and Mabel, Sandra says outloud that she probably never will be a mother, even if she lives forever. Viv simply says "You will." before disappearing, leaving Sandra very confused about whether Viv was telling her she would become a mother or if she would live forever. As it turns out, the answer is affirmative to both.
    • Sandra may not be the only human turned demon by Incubus in the universe:
      Incubus: Two or three freaks, the sum of your species...
      Sandra: Two or three??
    • When leaving the Subfusc, Sandra is asked what is her species, to which she replies "Undecided". The clerk tells her to enjoy it while it lasts. A few strips later, her race is given a name: the Nefastis.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Walter, the resident ghoul of Sandra's hometown, is quite nice, and a "wonderful conversationalist". Sandra ends up liking him quite a bit.
  • From Bad to Worse: The curse Jack placed on Harold Du Vase will always send him where he would least like to be. Eventually he gets used to it, and starts to think 'it could be worse', triggering the curse and sending him to the new place where he would least like to be.
  • Genre Savvy: Thanks to his showbiz background Sam takes it up to eleven, at times reaching borderline Medium Awareness. Take, for example, this conversation (just after the lights have gone out while the gang is making plans to fight a town full of vampires):
    Crystal: This is it, everyone, we're under attack!
    Wally: No! Honey, shhh. It's probably nothing. Just the wind knocking a limb into the power lines! Guys, it happens all the time around here. I'll go check and be back in two minutes!
    Sam: Holy God, Wally. You're asking for it. Crystal's right, we all know what kind of movie we're in, let's just assume the trouble is monster related!
  • Giant Mook: "Iyam a gigantic hired thug."
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Black Betty and Pooka Zin are members of an entire species of these, the Vorpal Pook.
    • The creator of the webcomic, Joe England, also appears in rabbit form. Joe is rather fond of rabbits in general, after seeing Who Framed Roger Rabbit as a child.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    Wally: No, I'm no—
    Sam: [swatting Wally on the muzzle] Switch sides or I'll kick your ass!
    • Gregory, the exorcist who tried to banish Sandra to hell, changed quite a lot after he spent some time there himself. Becoming a demon and being tortured helped him to gain some perspective, and several years later he is now on friendly terms with Sandra. The fact that she is sorry for sending him there in the first place helps too, though by all accounts he really had it coming at the time.
  • Heroic BSoD: Of all people, Sam has one when he saw several years later the cabin in which he was tortured by Sandra for days. Seeing the character who until then was known for his Nerves of Steel fleeing from the scene, having nightmarish flashbacks and needing some time to compose himself is rather distressing.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gregory created a hell bubble in order to drag Sandra along with himself to hell. Suffice to say, it didn't work as planned. His attempt succeeded in making Sandra a genuine demon, as her first experience of torturing someone made her snap, leaving her hungry for more fear and pain. As she puts it, she would have held out forever, if it weren't for Gregory's actions. She then kisses him, taking him by surprise, before throwing him to hell's demons.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Sam's gloves set vampires on fire.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Crystal attempts one with Sandra, trying to talk to her out of her evilness. Sandra is fully aware of what Crystal is trying to do, and it fails miserably:
    Sandra: Crystal... [cue Slasher Smile] It won't work...
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Walter has this reaction when Wally wonders out loud if the Ghoul isn't leading them into a trap.
  • In the Back: Bloo takes Sandra by surprise and drugs her by behind while her attention is focused on Mike.
  • Invisible to Normals: Sandra's house eventually develops a glamour of its own that pushes normal people away. Even its former residents, Jack, Wally, Sam and Crystal, are not immune, and it takes them actually focusing on it for them to realize they are just in front of it.
  • Ironic Echo: This little phrase was uttered by Sandra to Jack a one point. The next time they meet, Jack turns the tables on her and throw it back at her:
    Jack: Doesn't it worry you that I'm not worried?
  • It's All My Fault: Jack develops a serious guilt complex about what happened to Sandra, and to the rest of the world by proxy. As he puts it, he feels like he is cursed to curse people.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Wally gulped some vampires, before releasing them. All he has to say is that they taste like rice cakes.
  • Karmic Transformation: An accidental one. When Mike tries eating Jack during the Final Battle, Jack undergoes a magicgasm, causing Mike, an entitled, controlling misogynist, to be turned into a buxom woman against his will.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Sandra does this to her entire town once she fully embraces her demon nature. Things get really serious when you realize that she imprisons and tortures (at least, mentally) Sam.
    • After being turned back (temporarily) into an human again, Sandra steals Mabel's thimble from her, just because she can. However, this time, she takes pity on Mabel and gives it back. This is the first sign of humanity she has showed in months.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Sam.
  • Knight Templar: Prof. Broadshoulders, who was cursed by a demon in his youth (the curse takes the form of a "yucky face" branded on his forehead), and swore to stop similar things from happening to anyone else.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The cast page is not even trying to hide many key events of the story.
    • Sandra eventually succumbs to her demonic urges and becomes a ruthless and cruel demon. Thankfully, that doesn't last.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After everything Gregory did to her and her friends (including kidnapping Sam, poisoning Wally and nearly killing Jack), you can't really feel bad for him when Sandra decides to make him suffer and send him to hell as the first soul she ever claimed.
  • Literal Metaphor: Zandra invokes this in frame 3 here:
    Jerry: Are you mad? note 
    Zandra: Probably. note 
  • Little "No":
    Goblin Assassin: IEEE! From nowhere I appear, the final goblin assa—
    Sandra: No. [grabs his tongue and curb-stomps his ass]
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Incubus attempts one on Sandra. She knows better and actually engages in casual conversation with Sam about it. However, Sandra is taking things too lightly, and ignores Sam's warnings...
    Sam: This place is a sand trap, see? It feeds on inertia! Don't relax, just leave!
  • The Magic Comes Back: The human world is in the early stages of this (though it never went completely away, it was much rarer and low-profile before); especially noticeable in the Magi-Net arc, which deals with the resurgence of magically-empowered humans rediscovering sorcery, and the Subfusc arc, where we see throngs of supernatural beings returning to Earth.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Sandra was attacking her friends right before her banishment, Crystal tried to calm down Sandra by appealing to their friendship. Sandra cruelly told her she knew what she was doing and that "It won't work" (and it indeed didn't). Years later, when the two of them met again, Crystal and her friends are setting up an ambush, with Crystal acting as a scout/bait. Sandra contacts Crystal telepathically, telling her once again that, whatever she is doing, "It won't work", but that she wants to make everything right again with her, as she is no longer looking for a fight, is truly repentant, and is carrying an injured Sam with her. Except this time, Crystal doesn't trust her.
  • Mind Rape: Jack is the subject of one when he is hit by the bullet goblin. The insect is feeding on his fluids and magic, and we have a chilling representation of it attacking Jack's inner psyche.
  • Mind Screw: The very nature of the Subfusc is one.
  • Monster Mash: The initial group is composed of one normal human (Crystal), a sorcerer (Jack), a demon (Sandra), an anthropomorphic rabbit (Sam), a werewolf (Wally), and a talking book (Tomie) who got a human form at some point. Later in the comic, Sandra's hometown attracts a lot of monsters, with now vampires, ghouls and other kinds of creatures roaming in the streets.
  • Monster Progenitor: The ending results in multiple characters producing new magical species. Sandra the first Nefastis, though she rarely converts anyone. The transformation of Sam's girlfriend Mary into another anthropomorphic rabbit generates a magical "echo" that causes ordinary rabbits to become sapient, forming the High Rabbits or "Mimsy Pook". Mike, or rather Michelle, begat a succubus line of vampires.
  • Mood Dissonance: So, on the one hand, you have a group of friends preparing themselves to fight again a former one (and, for all they know, this dangerous ex-friend is out for their blood), all of them being deeply saddened by the situation and traumatized by past events, and on the other hand you have a werewolf completely ignoring how said group of friends really feel, reminiscing past traumatic events with excitement, and seemingly impatient to kill her (whereas the others don't really want to think about such a possibility).
  • Mood Whiplash: And now: HUMOR!
  • Most Common Superpower: Lampshaded here.
    Rebecca: "Uh... I don't know if this is... important? But... I could swear that Bloo's boobs are getting bigger."
    Sandra: Yeah. Actually, that... seems to be going around. Beat Add it to the list of nonsense we currently don't have time to care about.
  • Must Be Invited: Vampires can't come inside a home unless they have been invited. Sadly, a welcome mat or a "Open to the public" sign count as an invitation.
  • The Mutiny: Or, as they call it, the revolution. Vampires of Sandra's hometown were just biding their time. Once Sandra discovers that there is a conspiracy against her, Bloo decides it is time for Sandra to take a nap, and drugs her. She then reveals their intention to lock her up and use her as a "karma farm", i. e. "harvesting" her blood regularly for their own purposes.
  • Never Say "Die": Wally talks about "destroying" Sandra instead of "killing" her. But the sense of what he means is unambiguous, since he mentioned that they were going to "finish the job".
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Bloo was turned in the sixties while she was on drugs, so has been on a perpetual high she can't come down from for several decades.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Lord Incubus. That little skull-headed demon Jack released from the book that wanted to take over the world, only to get flushed down a dimensional portal shaped like a toilet? Yeah, he's back. And he's genuinely frightening this time. Turns out he's an archdemon, and Viv says outright that releasing him would be earth's downfall.
  • Not Worth Killing: Sandra invokes this as the reason why she doesn't kill the vampires who attacked Crystal and Sam.
  • Number of the Beast: Given a nod when Jack reveals that it has been 1,666 days since Sandra's banishment and subsequent return.
  • Official Couple:
    • Crystal and Wally very quickly hit it off, and eventually found a family together.
    • Jack and Tomie after the timeskip, which comes as a surprise initially considering Tomie's initial nature.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several throughout the comic:
    • Jack, when Crystal points out to him that Sandra may not wait until nightfall to come at their home, and completely falls into panic mode once he hears her scream. Sam is unfazed.
    • Sandra has a big one when Viv makes her realize that without her "sticking around", she probably would face a little problem:
      Viv: Well, try this. Now we're surrounded by feral gremlins. The fire I made will keep them away until dawn. I know this stuff. If not for me, you'd be eaten. Sleep on that.
    • Lord Incubus himself has one when Mabel appears out of nowhere and completely sabotages his attempt to corrupt Sandra.
    • When Jake realizes that Sandra is back from her banishment, he immediately panics. The other members of the group are not particularly happy either, with Crystal being the sole exception.
    • Crystal went to her hometown alone in order to find Sandra. Instead, vampires find her, with one claiming they have instructions to kill her. Cue panic.
    • The fat lady vampire who tried to kill Crystal had this reaction when she saw a very big and angry Wally in his werewolf form roaring at her.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: As explained by Zandra, there are many vampire types; the particular strain in her town don't sleep during the day, but are rather rendered desperately, maddeningly powerless and invisible while fully conscious. One of the reasons they're so eager to play ball with Zandra's rule is that drinking her blood is the only thing that allows them to sleep (or something similar, at least), something they hadn't been able to do since their vampiric conversion. They also remain in whatever state they were in when they were turned permanently. Bloo for example was turned while high on drugs, and has remained on that same high since the sixties.
    • Vampires (or at least the type that we encounter) are also completely hollow inside, and the feeling of emptiness drives them mad. They don't only drink blood, but can also unhinge their jaws to impossible proportions and swallow people whole to feed upon. Swallowing people whole also seems to be how they create other vampires.
    • Mike's accidental transfiguration from drinking Jack's blood while he was having a "magicgasm" leads to the creation of a entirely new breed of vampires, the Succubus, one composed entirely of buxom females just like him/her.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They change at will, but only during the night. They can grow to any size while transformed, and discard all excessive mass when turning back, which quickly decomposes into a puddle of unidentifiable organic compound. It's also mentioned in one of the epilogues that, while the vast majority of werewolves only live a bit longer compared to regular humans, a few of them, such as Doyenne, the leader of then now (thanks to her) disbanded pack that Wally was once a part of are immortal, extremely powerful and extremely dangerous from centuries without any real human love or connection.
  • Perky Goth:
    • Sandra, while in disguise, is frequently mistaken for a goth.
    • Crystal decided to take change her looks to look like a goth for a while, but it didn't last.
  • Recap Episode: The author likes to do some every now and then (and since the story started in 2000, they are most welcomed), but especially when he wants to introduce a new act. Said recap episodes also became more serious after a while, such as the Recap introducing the Heaven on Earth arc (which takes place after the Subfusc one).
  • Reformed, but Rejected: After Sandra returns, the others naturally don't seriously consider the idea that she could have changed. Sandra was already aware that it wouldn't be easy, but poor communication, misunderstandings and overeager minions constantly conspire to make it even worse between then. As you might think, this leads to a lot of Dramatic Irony - like Sam's unwitting inversion of Oblivious Mockery:
    Sam (sarcastically): "Unless she had a profoundly enlightening experience she'll probably be even worse than we remember."
  • Rejected Apology: Sandra tries to apologize to Crystal for her actions, but Crystal, who had her faith in Sandra shattered only a few hours before, is not willing to listen.
  • Rescue Romance: When Jack's mind was being eaten by the mind insect, as he was losing consciousness, he is saved by an unknown entity made of light, whom he can only describes as "beautiful". They kiss, and Jack experiences a magic surge powerful enough to fry the parasite and free him from its control. The entity turns out to be Tommie, and Jack and her eventually become a Battle Couple as Tommie gains an human appearance.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Apparently, Sam has the skill, although he uses it but rarely. As do all rabbits it seems.
  • Running Gag:
    • Sandra's repeated attempts to make a Deal with the Devil around the 1st of April would lead up to a joke strip of her getting turned into a pony.
    • Sandra has a tendency to fall quite a lot in the Subfusc. Lampshaded by Viv:
    Viv: Have I mentioned how you seem to fall down a lot?
  • The Shadow Knows:
    • During Halloween, Sandra gains her human form back, albeit temporarily. Jack notices that her shadow makes it obvious that she is still a demon.
    • In the 13 September 2014 strip, Wally's shadow in a panel reflects his werewolf form while he is in human form. It also highlights his ferocious nature and his wish to get rid of Sandra once and for all.
  • Shout-Out: A number of cameos, usually involving the Maginet. Hell, that entire arc bears more than a few similarities to Serial Experiments Lain... albeit without as much Mind Screw.
  • Single Specimen Species: Sandra is the only representative of her race. At least, until Gregory shows up. Hell's inhabitants call her a Nefastis.
  • Spit Take: The rest of the main cast's reaction to Crystal getting a boyfriend—unfortunately for Jack, who was sitting in the path of Sandra's spit-take.
  • Stab the Salad: Confronting Sandra in her newly-recovered demonic form, Viv produces an object which appears to be some sort of bolo-type weapon, which she uses as a magical swing. Then subverted, when it's further revealed that yes, it does also serve as a bolo.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Inevitably, Sandra goes through this after turning into a demon, though some stages are swapped. She is stuck in the Denial and Defiance phases for a while, and gets very depressed as a result. After a traumatic event, she skips Acceptance entirely, and enters the Betrayal phase, becoming a danger to everyone in her town. It is only after the Subfusc arc that she foregoes her Betrayal and finally reaches Acceptance, finding her balance and coming to regret her actions.
  • Stunned Silence: Quite a few characters do this, but especially Sandra during the Subfusc arc. Quite understandable when a talking spider from the moon has a chat with you (this particular example also counts as an Aside Glance).
  • Sugar Apocalypse: What happened to Sam's world.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Sandra's minions aren't exactly bright. They seem to mean well, but they frequently go above and beyond what she expects of them, resulting in them almost killing Crystal and knocking Sam unconscious. Sandra's feelings about them include annoyance, disbelief, anger and barely contained fury. She even goes as far as saying that she would have killed some of them on the spot if her combustion power actually worked on them. As it turns out, some were lied to by Bloo, and others were in for the revolution.
  • Time Skip: While Sandra was banished to the Subfusc for a few days top, time on Earth flew much more quickly. As such, exactly 1,666 days went by between her banishment and her comeback. Even Sam, who was skeptical about Sandra's return, is forced to admit that this is ominous enough.
  • Title Drop: Viv calls Sandra "Zebra Girl" during this comic.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Sandra big time during her Face–Heel Turn. It takes a while before she reverts back to a nicer persona.
    • Wally, post-timeskip, acts a lot more insensitive towards his friends (see Innocently Insensitive), and has no qualms about saying he is willing to destroy Sandra in front of her former friends. Said friends include his current girlfriend, Crystal, who he knows was Sandra's closest friend.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Both subverted and played with: just like with Sunnydale, most people seem to ignore that their town became a monster den. However, some humans (or, rather, some former humans in the case of Mike, who is now a vampire) are aware of the situation and of the return of Sandra.
  • The Unfettered: The nature of a demon, and what Sandra and Lord Incubus find so awesome about it.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Invoked by Sam, who is a giant anthropomorphic rabbit. He actually counts on people rationalizing him as a hallucination, some guy in a costume, or whatever they can think up. He has yet to be proven wrong.
    • Subverted by Sandra herself, who spends a good portion of the early comics just trying to be able to go out without attracting TOO much attention, settling on what is quite nearly an outright monk's robe with incredibly long sleeves whose hood completely covers her face in shadow. Anyone who DOES get a look at it, she explains away the facial markings as "make-up to cover up burns".
  • Webcomic Time: Given a nod in this strip, which was written almost 10 years after the comic debuted:
    Wally: Two years?
    Crystal: Not even that, but it feels like ten to me.
  • Weirdness Censor: Lampshaded: Sandra's house literally grew on its own, but people remained oblivious to the supernatural thing happening next to them. It also seems that most of them choose to ignore/forget what happened in the past, when Sandra went on her terror spree. The comic implies that most of them didn't notice their town slowly but surely filling up with monsters.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Lampshaded by Jack, who states that "magic attracts magic", and by Gregory, who explained that Sandra's very nature has this effect.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The bonds between the group are heavily damaged when Sandra turns on them, forcing Jack to banish her to another reality. During her stay in the Subfusc, Sandra is able to regain her morality and feels remorse for her actions, but she doesn't expect them to forgive her for what she did. Years later, when her former friends hear about her return, they are terrified (except Crystal, who still has hope that Sandra will go back to her former self, though she admits herself that she is at her limit).
  • Wham Line: A major one for the Crossover Cosmology nature of the 'verse
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sandra has a fit because Viv won't help her save Mabel from Incubus, but Viv throws it right back in her face, pointing out her concern that Sandra is no better than Incubus.
    Sandra: I thought we were friends! I told you what I was like as a demon.
    Viv: Yeah, and you told me how you treated your friends.
    Sandra: ...
  • White Gloves: Although Sam wears relatively realistic clothes, his gloves are a clear takeoff on the classic Mickey style. They allow him to slip his ropes when kidnapped by werewolves, because they didn't think about relative bulkiness of hands in gloves vs. ungloved. In his world, they're a religious symbol, with the lines representing the wounds of Saint Jiminy.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Crystal has this look when she is (presumably) falling to her death after being told that Sandra herself asked the vampires to kill her.
  • World of Chaos: The Subfusc, especially because of its inhabitants. When you have anthropomorphic psycho rabbits, nonsensical talking spiders from the moon and a flying doggy-snake thingy who is literally attracted to crucial moments, marriage proposals and other life-altering decisions, you begin to get the idea that this place is just downright bizarre. As for the location in itself, it quite obviously doesn't follow the usual laws of physic, and people there are able to float (not fly) if they let go of their concerns. There is also a place dedicated for people who feel at their lowest, adequately named "The Pit", and an healing river made by the flow of time... You get the idea. As a pretty pissed off Sandra said:
    Sandra: Everything in this place is a joke.
  • Worth It: Approached by a Giant Mook, Sandra fights back by throwing hot coffee at his crotch, he then throws her off a roof. Sandra says it was worth it.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: As of this strip, it has been confirmed by Jack that almost five years have passed on Earth, while Sandra was trapped in the Subfusc for a week or so at best. The possibility of this was discussed in dialogue between Sandra and Viv.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Becky, one of the vampires who turned on Zandra, is undergoing Stages of Monster Grief and wishing she was dead. Zandra notes how some of the other vampires follow her, and tells her she's stronger than she thinks she is.
  • You Remind Me of X: Viv says that Sandra reminds her of Lilith. In Jewish lore, Lilith was Adam's first wife, instead of Eve; Lilith left the Garden of Eden because she didn't want to be subservient to Adam, and may be the mother of all demons, which makes sense why Sandra now has her eyes.