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A Graphic Novel by Brian Tarsis.
The story starts out as the original version of Sleeping Beauty, but quickly get some strange twists. For starters, the prince is riding on a bat-winged black horse. And he choose to kidnap the princess, instead of allowing her to come with him consensually. Then the princess wakes up again, this time in the real world. It was All Just a Dream... Or Was It a Dream?
City of Dreams takes place in two worlds: The waking world and the dream world. The later is a real place, where real people can live real lives... As gods, since dreams are indeed created by the minds of humans. There are two ways to travel to the dream world: Dreams and portals. Travelling through a dream, you leave a sleeping body behind, and you have limited control except for the ability to flee by waking up. Portals works differently.
The dream world has many realms. This particular story takes place mostly in the city-state of Morrigon, a thriving counter-reaction to the waking worlds sexual repression and moralism. In this dream world, the princess is pursued by two princes, as the dark prince who kidnapped her is opposed by a gallant prince dressed in white...
City of Dreamshas examples of:
- All Just a Dream - subverted.
- Alternate Self - the protagonist is quite different in her dreams comapared to her waking world self.
- Bound and Gagged
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Heavily subverted, since the white prince's goodness and righteousness is his OWN dream, and he fails to drag the princess into his narcissism.
- Corrupt the Cutie: The whole story is one big deconstruction of this trope, with the "corruption" actually being a good thing and only "corrupt" in the eyes of the local Heteronormative Crusader.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The prince is a "villain", but only because it's cool.
- Deity of Human Origin: Some people have power over dreams to the extent that they are virtually omnipotent in the dream world.
- Entitled to Have You: The white prince seem to have more then a little bit of this mindset, but this turns out to be caused by the fact that he actually IS her boyfriend - yep, Christine's sexually repressed Heteronormative Crusader real life boyfriend is a dreamer too, but as much as he'd like to tell himself he's only there to rescue her, he did in fact end up in Morrigon of his own accord...
- Fetish Fuel Future: The dreamworld itself has no focus on erotic dreams, but it contain many specialized realms. And much of the story just so happens to take place in a city focused on sadomasochistic dreams.
- Heteronormative Crusader: The white prince, trying a little bit too hard at the Knight in Shining Armor routine and coming up as nothing more than a selfish, conceited, jealous, self-righteous, patriarchal... well, you get the idea.
- Knight in Shining Armor: The white prince is a subversion. See Heteronormative Crusader above.
- Light Is Not Good: The white prince, the princesses' would-be rescuer turns out to be a conceited Hypocrite.
- Living Dream: Not only can humans enter the dreamworld physically as well as in their dreams - but this works both ways. People they created in their sleep have a life of their own and may walk through the portal into the waking world.
- Love Transcends Spacetime - the prince and the queens appear to be visitors in the waking world, coming there only for the protagonist.
- Mischief for Punishment:
Princess Christine: What a wonderful place! I hope you'll send me here for punishment some time.
Dark Prince Egon: You'll have to be awfully bad...
Princess Christine: Oh, I will be!
- Planet of Hats: Various themed realsm within the dream world.
- Romanticized Abuse - subverted by Doublethink
- Safe, Sane, and Consensual - indirect: Much is done without formal consent, but dreamers can always wake up. Subverted in two different ways towards the end.
- Safe Word - indirect, in the form of waking up.
- Spank the Cutie