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In the spring of 2006, after Infinite Crisis, most of DC Comics' series jumped forward in time, in an event called "One Year Later." In the Robin series, Tim Drake suddenly found himself fighting a surprising villain, the former Batgirl, Cassandra Cain. Not that a Face Heel Turn was out of the question, but the character had undergone other, more inexplicable changes.
Once near-mute and barely able to read, Cass was now loquacious and literate in Navajo. Her stated motivations directly contradicted the continuity of her own recently-ended series, and in general many fans felt unhappy with the sudden change in her character.
One such fan, codenamed Espanolbot, created what amounted to an editorial cartoon in which Cass herself complained about her treatment. This struck a chord with other fans, and similar strips were soon created. Eventually they became a running feature on several forums, known as Cass Toons.
While the original focus was on the supposed mistreatment of Cass, the strip soon widened up to make fun of events not just in The DCU, but also in the Marvel Universe (especially the Civil War event) and comic books in general. From there the strips grew to encompass satires on real-world events and themes, movies, videogames, even creating satire on itself and its creators/illustrators/writors.
The art of the early "main" strips were created in Paint, resulting in the style's gradual transition to a Pixel Art style before Espanolbot changed to Free-Hand sketch and scanning. Other strips consist of varitable styles but most were made using the Free-Hand sketch and scanning method.
Unlike most webcomics, Cass Toons doesn't have its own website. Comics are made and posted to relevant threads in various forums. One such forum is in the website www.superdickery.com - There's the official forum which is the most up to date or the spinoff forum which archives a few Casstoons as it was a temporary thread created after some problems with the original. An "official" archive is maintained on deviantArt - available here.
Tropes used in Casstoons include:
- Animated Actors: The characters may have to follow the scripts they're given "on screen" but interact very differently when they're "off duty".
- B Side Comics: Many people posted their own cartoons to the Cass Cain thread, and these are compiled at the Deviant ART archive along with the "main" Casstoons. Usually, the side comic is named after the handle of the person who posts it, unless the series comes with a natural name.
- Back From the Dead: Many recurring characters are favorites of the writers who have died in the continuity from which they come. Sometimes, the strip will have an explanation for why the character was Not Quite Dead in the first place; said explanation is usually a joke in itself. Other times, the character will explain that they've been ressurrected somehow. Still other times give no explanation whatsoever. Two characters got an entire arc to explain how they came back.
- Butt Monkey: Kid Devil, deliberately flanderizing his status in the comics.
- Casanova: Tim Drake.
- Evil Twin: Evilcass, created as a possible explanation for the Not Himself behavior seen in Robin.
- Flanderization: Many of the characters have had their personalities exaggerated for comedic purposes. For example, Supergirl's then-obnoxious personality was blown up to Heroic Sociopath levels. As her canon personality mellowed, so did her depiction in Casstoons. Then there was Batwoman...
- Kid From the Future : "Cass Daughters", a running gag developed over time. There currently exists an entire "League of Cass Daughters"
- Infinite Canvas: Strips run for as many panels as the author wants. Since the strips are originally posted on a message board, this format is fairly natural.
- Meta Fic
- No Fourth Wall: Often times characters will talk directly to the fans. Writers have even appeared in-strip as well, such as an appearance of Anne Onymous of "The Wotch" acclaim, as a thank you for her mention of Casstoons in The Wotch, or the appearance of writer Micheal Dark as a telepathic letter in one strip.
- Pixel Art Comic
- Ripped from the Headlines: In the sense that the strip keeps track of and regularly comments on recent developments in comics. Many of the storylines are parodies of unpopular or poorly written recent comic stories.
- Robot Girl: Lovecass, created by Tony Stark when the real Cass wouldn't make out with him.
- Stillborn Serial: Although Cass Toons itself has too much material to be considered "stillborn," the Deviant ART archive includes the B-Side Comic "Starba Toons," which unfortunately wasn't illustrated more than once. However, the scripts were still written and posted, as well as included in the Deviant ART archive.
- Take That: Many, mostly directed at Dan Didio and other MeddlingExecutives
- Those Two Guys: Several, actualy...Deadpool and the third Blue Beetle, but before them Dual-Kavorka Men Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen.