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Welcome to the internet...of the future! It's evolved beyond its dimensions and become a fully immersive virtual world! Anyone can log onto this world from anywhere and take on any form or shape! Some only come to check their email or bank account...others spend much of their lives here. Some find jobs. Some find love. Some get robbed. Some get scammed. Some get ruined. And some do the ruining. The truth is that, no matter how advanced things get, the same problems of the past exist in the future.—Introduction to Pilot
Peter Paltridge, the host of Platypus Comix, created Electric Wonderland in 2007. Unlike the other flagship series, it has a strong reliance on continuity and connecting events. Set in a futuristic, Internet-based City of Adventure called "Nettropolis", the comic focuses mainly on the staff of the Nettropolis Free Press, which originally consisted of Intrepid Reporter Eileen "Trawn" Peccadillo, pompous ninja NJ, naive painter Shroomy, and unpredictable Magical Girl Aerynn Arlia. Although Trawn hopes to end corruption with their independent newspaper, the comic spends more time exploring the potential of a community evolved from Cyberspace.
- Accentuate the Negative: "The Nameless Decade," in which Lululu (an outside agent of Trawn's paper) takes a field trip to the Nettropolis Museum and learns about how society had decayed from 2000-2009, features this trope when discussing television, movies, and music.
- Action Girl: Trawn's friend Natasha Wing, who overthrows corruption by working for the Nettropolis Police Department.
- Affectionate Parody: "The Time That People Forgot" has a three-page opening modeled after Disney's "I'm No Fool" shorts starring Jiminy Cricket.
- Alliterative Family: Natasha and her parents, antivirus software developer Nathaniel Wing and his wife Nina Wing (CEO of Wing Antivirus Corporation), all have first names that begin with "N".
- Alliterative Name: Aerynn Arlia, Lululu Lopez
- April Fool's Plot: Celebrated in "Day of the Fools", much to Trawn's inconvenience.
- Art Evolution: The first issue was illustrated by one of Paltridge's friends, Jesse Barboza. Since he did not sign on to illustrate successive issues, Paltridge had to ease the characters into his usual style without deviating too far from the original designs. Compare this scene from Trawn and NJ's first meeting to the cover Paltridge added to the first issue in 2009, to this promotional drawing added to the Platypus Comix character bio page in 2010, to the last panel of 2011's "Day of Fools".
- Asian Airhead: Natasha kind of counts. She's quite competent at fighting bad guys, but she also got straight C's in college.
- Battle Couple: The Nettropolis Narvel and Girl Friday, both of whom first appeared in "The New Adventures of the Nettropolis Narvel."
- The Bechdel Test: Currently, the only times the lead females failed the test happened when Aerynn and Shroomy debated over the dependability of Shroomy's boyfriend, Parker, and the Valentines Day Episode.
- Berserk Button: Natasha gets enraged when someone asks to borrow some of the money her parents don't give her.
- Bittersweet Ending: By the end of "Wings," Natasha has proven her worth as a crimefighter, escaped her father's shadow, and become a full-time member of the NPD, but her newfound fame starts interfering with Trawn's attempts to spend time with her. (Fortunately, "LuLo" already showed that they eventually got back together.)
- Bottle Episode: All of "Valentine's Day Massacre" takes place either in or outside the Nettropolis Free Press domain (the protagonists' Home Base), except for the part where Trawn and NJ hang up a want ad.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Lululu Lopez
- Brick Joke: In "The New Adventures of the Nettropolis Narvel," Narvel asks Girl Friday, "Will you marry me?" right before entering a world in which he never became a superhero, nor developed superpowers. On the last page of the comic, Friday tells Narvel, " By the way...the answer is yes!" Narvel needs a while to remember why Friday said that.
- Butt Monkey: NJ rarely finds prolonged satisfaction or goes one day without enduring a spell from Aerynn.
- The Cameo: Sargent Squealy from Laverne and Shirley In the Army (which Paltridge called, "the worst TV show of all time") acts as a forum moderator in "In the Zone".
- Cerebus Syndrome: The comic has gradually become more dramatic than comedic. Paltridge acknowledged "Deviantaaargh", the fifth comic, as the start of the shift.
- Character Focus: Trawn's founding of the Netropolis Free Press sets the events of Electric Wonderland in motion, but some issues focus more on her allies than on her.
- Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the Oregon Trail test in "The Time That People Forgot", NJ purchases a piano for his group so they could have something to dispose later when the time comes to lighten the load. Later, he accidentally crashes his group's wagon into the river, so they use the piano as a backup vehicle.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Before Paltridge revealed Natasha Wing as a friend of Trawn with a detailed backstory, she was introduced in "The Search For Parker" as a random cop NJ unsuccessfully tried to report Aerynn's powers to. (However, she had already been Trawn's friend since high school.)
- Originally, Paltridge planned to gradually reveal Natasha's connections to Trawn, and how they got separated. However, he realized that in order to properly resolve "LuLo," he had to reunite Trawn and Natasha sooner. Thus, the readers learned about the connections much earlier than intended, leaving Paltridge to plan a flashback of her backstory for a later issue.
- Christmas Episode: "Inevitable Christmas Adventure", which (unlike most of Platypus Comix's "Kristmas Klassics") ties into the series' main continuity; Aerynn reveals NJ's real name (Nate), and some scenes set up a sub-plot regarding the disappearance of Shroomy's boyfriend, Parker.
- Circular Reasoning: According to "Day of Fools," 4chan memes get repeated by everyone because they're humorous, are considered humorous because they got repeated by everyone, and got repeated by everyone because they're humorous.
- City of Adventure: Nettropolis.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Nina Wing
- Covers Always Lie: "Formation Team Trawn" has a cover with Aerynn exclaiming, "I said I would shoot, but you didn't believe me! Why didn't you believe me??" She doesn't actually shoot anyone in that comic.
- Deliberately Monochrome: This page of "Valentine's Day Massacre", which closely resembles part of Scott Pilgrim.
- The Dog Is the Mastermind: Contrary to Trawn's and Lululu's initial assumptions, "the guy who yells a lot" did not bomb the Nettropollis Mall in "LuLo". His cat did.
- Drugs Are Bad: A subplot of "Shrooming with Shroomy" has Shroomy take some "Harmoxacil", to suppress her seemingly futile dreams of finding love. It causes her to take a level in jerkass.
- Dumb Muscle: NJ's friend Trevor takes the form of a bull named "Torro" and doesn't appear very bright.
- Dysfunction Junction
- Eating the Eye Candy: The new NFP cartoonist in "Valentine's Day Massacre" reportedly can't draw, and didn't even want to become their cartoonist (he only entered their domain because he got lost). Despite this, he still got the job, because he caught the eyes of Trawn, Aerynn, and Shroomy.
- Embarrassing First Name: At the beginning of "Inevitable Christmas Adventure," Aerynn explains to the others that NJ does not want anyone on the Internet to call him "Nate", so they should try to forget learning that is his name. She then proceeds to call him "Nate" at every possible opportunity.
- Everyone Meets Everyone: Electric Wonderland's pilot is currently the only such comic you'll find at the Platypus Comix website.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: As Aerynn demonstrates in "Friends of Lululu".
- Later demonstrated again in "Valentine's Day Massacre, but by someone else.
- Evil Is Hammy: Nina Wing in "Friends of Lululu", in order to evoke Rita Repulsa.
- Expy: Word of God says Natasha Wing joined the comic after Peter Paltridge got annoyed with Chuck introducing a strong Asian female, Anna Wu, then demoting her to extra.
- Failure Is the Only Option: After Lululu helps Trawn find the bomber of the Nettropolis Mall in "LuLo," Trawn and the others publish their discoveries and eagerly await the good publicity this will give their newspaper. Television reporters announce the capturing of the suspect, but only refer to Trawn as "an anonymous informant" who helped find him. He wasn't the real bomber either.
Lululu: Go figure, how could a day that starts with a deadly explosion possibly go wrong?
- Fiery Redhead: Trawn
Trawn: I've always dreamed of being a reporter, but not the kind the few conglomerate-controlled news outlets are currently looking for today! I want to print what they don't let me! I want to dig into the dirt and expose scandals at the highest levels of power! Nettropolis Free Press will launch a new era of hard-hitting journalism, unafraid of offending investors and losing advertisers! Within three years every corrupt member of government will fear us! That's basically it. What do you think?
NJ: I'm just...here to find a job. I think you need someone to talk to!
- Five-Man Band:
- Five-Token Band: The Eco-Teens (Nettropolis' equivalent to Planeteers) consist of American Skeeter, German Gretel, South African Squami, Korean Ling-Ling, and Hispanic Lululu (who left at the end of their first comic). Since Squami only has nine fingers and Lululu has a mermaid tail instead of mobile legs, they serve as Twofer Token Minorities.
- Follow in My Footsteps: Natasha subverted this by studying about antivirus protection, then entering the police force instead of her parents' business. However, she also served as spokesman for the antivirus software.
- Genius Cripple: Lululu can't walk because of her mermaid tail, but she knows a lot about bombs. She may also qualify as a Genius Ditz.
- Halfway Plot Switch: Seems to have become the norm for comics released in 2010 or later. "Wings," in particular, seems to do this three times: From Aerynn sensing impending doom, to Shroomy's lifelong dream getting shattered, to NJ's optimism getting shattered, to Natasha fulfilling her lifelong dream (that story takes up more than half of the comic).
- Hammerspace: Common since Paltridge's interpretation of a Cyberspace community has no physical boundaries:
- The Nettropolis Free Press domain is Bigger on the Inside. It resembles an old, abandoned building on the outside, and a comfortable, spacious loft on the inside.
- After Natasha graduated college in "Wings," her parents gave her a Bag of Holding resembling a cardboard box. She put all her belongings in it when moving out of the dorm, but a truck ran over it as she exited.
- Aerynn sneaks Trawn into John Quaff's press conference in "Friends of Lululu" by hiding her in her sombrero.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Torro allows the army to take him over NJ or Jodie in "The Time That People Forgot", and beats all the other Oregon Trail players as a result.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of "Friends of Lululu," the Eco-Teens turn against their founder, John Quaff, after learning about his oil spill.
- Hypocritical Humor: Trawn ends up in a domain containing nothing but amalgamations of pop culture references during one part of "Day of the Fools", causing her to complain about Internet comedians who uncleverly acknowledge popular media all the time. Never mind that her own creator made the references she criticized while unknowingly following his script.
- I Got a Rock: In "The Time That People Forgot", NJ gets assigned a giant rock as his report subject, and later has to play Iraq in Hetalia class.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: NJ uses the screen name "Night Ninja," and he has claimed his nickname stands for "NinJa." Ironically, he hasn't hasn't performed any ninja stunts since the time he saved Shroomy from a xenomorph in the first issue, and he frequently goes out in public during the daytime.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Trawn can occasionally seem single-minded and forceful in her movement for her newspaper's success, but she does show sympathy for Aerynn (due to her rejections from society) and Lululu (due to her household's state of poverty).
- Katanas Are Just Better: NJ and Natasha both sport some, but NJ rarely uses his, and Natasha's doubles as a Laser Sword.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: "Shrooming With Shroomy" has NJ and Aerynn try this in-universe, after NJ's deceased grandfather passes on some physical copies of movies and shows unavailable for streaming.
- Late Arrival Spoiler: Lululu having a mermaid tail came out of left field to people who read "LuLo" when it first came out, but people who read her bio (written about a year after her debut) beforehand won't feel too surprised.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Happened to Trawn, Shroomy, and Aerynn in "Valentine's Day Massacre".
- Mandatory Line: Lululu appears on the third-to-last page of "Day of the Fools" and asks Trawn what's going on.
- Her appearance on the third-to-last page of "Wings" might also count.
- Medium Awareness: In "Day of the Fools", Aerynn uses the chant, "Ala-Ka-Jeff Smith!" to change the font of Platypus Comix's word balloons.
- Medium Blending: During the beginning of "Wings," a fear of impending doom causes Aerynn to accidentally teleport into Alien.
- Meet Cute: Shroomy tried to invoke this in "Valentine's Day Massacre".
- Milestone Celebration: During the 10th anniversary of Platypus Comix's parent site, animation fan community Toon Zone, Paltridge released an Electric Wonderland comic ("In the Zone") in which the NFP staff ends up in Toon Zone's domain while pursuing a thief.
- Mind Screw: "The New Adventures of the Nettropolis Narvel" starts off with Narvel performing typical superheroic duties, only to learn he's not really a superhero, but a madman who lived his whole life in a simulation chamber, to entertain viewers of a Venezuelan TV channel. However, he discovers his life wasn't a simulation, but the world in which he had no superpowers was.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: One in "Inevitable Christmas Adventure," as NJ, Shroomy, Aerynn, and Beatrice (NJ's girlfreind) all head to the Cyber Middle East to rescue Trawn, and two in "LuLo," as the entire NFP staff rushes to investigate the bombing of the mall and later reports on the discovered suspect.
- Monster of the Week: The protagonists face a different villain every issue, unless the issue doesn't contain any adventures.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: The Eco-Teens' first attempt to summon a Giant Mecha gets interrupted by the monster squishing Gretel.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: John Quaff provides a pastiche of Ted Turner.
- Non Standard Character Design: Bruce Timm is drawn in Timm Style during his visit to Toon Zone during "In The Zone".
- Noodle Incident: NJ describes several when detailing Aerynn's abilities to Natasha at the end of "The Search For Parker".
- Odd-Shaped Panel: The taxi ride that Trawn, NJ, and Shroomy take in the first issue is drawn with tilted panels to simulate the bumpiness felt as the driver struggles to make his steering wheel reappear after a glitch occurs.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The characters page includes the real names of Trawn (Eileen), NJ (Nate), and Torro (Trevor), as well as those of five characters who already use their real names in Nettropolis, but lists that Shroomy's real name is unknown.
- Only Sane Man:
- "Day of Fools" turned Trawn into the only sane person.
Donut Saleslady: (after Trawn falls up and hits the ceiling) Want some donuts? Our store's different today!
Trawn: Here's an idea, how about something NORMAL?
Donut Saleslady: Normal? What kind of April Fool's Scrooge are you? I hope some night specters show you the way!
- Painting the Fourth Wall: After Trawn falls out of a ventilation shaft in "Friends of Lululu," she speaks in upside-down word balloons as she dangles out from the vent's opening.
- Parachute Petticoat: Shroomy's dress acts as one after she jumps out of a window in "The Search For Parker," but it collapses after Aerynn grabs her.
- Parasol of Pain: Aerynn gives one to Shroomy at the end of "Inevitable Christmas Adventure" after Shroomy realizes Parker didn't get her a Christmas present.
- Pet the Dog: Aerynn assures NJ in "Formation Team Trawn" that she'd never kill him or Trawn, since Trawn's the kindest person she met.
I'm not exactly bad. I'm just rendered that way.
- Punny Name: Nea Politan, the Dark Magical Girl from "The Search For Parker," who's part Caucasian, part African-American, and part Native American.
- Put on a Bus: Parker went absent around the time the events of "Inevitable Christmas Adventure" occurred, though Shroomy expected him to return eventually.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The staff of the Nettropolis Free Press.
NJ: Now we're gaining a girl with a mushroom on her head? Do you have any hiring standards at ALL?
Trawn: Of course not. I hired you, remember?
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Beatrice gives NJ one in "Inevitable Christmas Adventure".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Nina Wing and Nathaniel Wing, respectively.
- Real Life Writes the Plot:
- Shroomy's flashback in "Wings" details her forming a life-long dream to work at the Imaginarium, only to find it closing down by the time she becomes old enough to work. Word of God says this was inspired by Paltridge forming a childhood dream of writing newspaper comics, only to find newspapers going bankrupt by the time he became old enough to work.
- It's not hard to draw parallels between the story of Barry Dootmayer, from "Shrooming with Shroomy," and the then-recent shutdown of Megaupload.
- Replacement Love Interest: Vicky becomes this for Narvel in "The New Adventures of the Nettropolis Narvel," since she resembles Girl Friday. The two of them eventually learn that she is Girl Friday, but became a Criminal Amnesiac after entering the Sim Life.
- Rule of Funny: Personified in Aerynn Arlia, Electric Wonderland's Magical Girl character with no apparent limits. Aerynn can literally do anything at any time, as long as it's amusing -- usually with NJ as the victim.
- Shaggy Dog Story:
- Aerynn and Shroomy (with NJ unwillingly providing occasional assistance during fight scenes) break into a database and face a Dark Magical Girl during "The Search For Parker," only to come up empty-handed after each place they visit.
- "Day of the Fools" ends with Trawn losing her Race Against the Clock to warn Aerynn about a scan for hackers and magicians, then learning that those scans never detect Aerynn's powers.
- Trawn's screenname and outfit are quite similar to those of the tile character of a certain Disney movie set in Cyberspace.
- "Inevitable Christmas Adventure" contains numerous references to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
- After Shroomy asks Aerynn if hacking into the Nonspecific Supply Co. database in "The Search For Parker" will prove dangerous, she answers, "It'll be Dangeresque..." Some Homestar Runner fans overhear and promptly decide to record this Shout-Out at the Homestar Wiki. (The comic soon did get mentioned there.)
- That same comic page also contains a quote from Ferris Buellers Day Off.
- Trawn organizes a celebration at "Weegee's Pizza" after catching the bomber in "LuLo".
- The guy at the "Make a You a Robot" booth in Shroomy's flashback in "Wings" looks bears a strong resemblance to Classic Robotnik.
- "The Time That People Forgot" reveals that NJ and Torro attended school at Julian Zavier's School For Ungifted Students.
- One of NJ's and Torro's classmates in "The Time That People Forgot", Jodie Vasquez, has the same last name and initials as Jhonen Vasquez.
- Lady Not Appearing In The Tenth Anniversary Ensemble: The drawing Paltridge made for Platypus Comix's 10th anniversary includes all of the NFP founding staff members, except Trawn.
- Skintone Sclerae: Comics written from 2009-2010 have the NFP founders rendered with eyes containing off-white portions surrounding the pupils. Peter Paltridge explained that adding a white portion didn't look good to him unless he could shape it into a perfect circle, but it didn't seem fitting to give these characters eyes with shades that matched their skin either.
- Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: It scores 6. Currently among the heroes, women outnumber men 5:2, and men always seem to get the worse character types.
- Speechbubbles Interruption: At the beginning of "In The Zone," word balloons from a conversation between NJ, Trawn, and Aerynn overlap the boxes recapping the comic's Cyberspace setting and main characters. Readers should know these details already.
- Spiritual Successor: One of the Platypus Comix books, containing stories Paltridge deemed too old and/or subpar to keep on his website, reportedly contains an unreleased Cyberspace-themed comic from the short-lived series Cocktails and Dreams.
- Stepford Smiler: Shroomy fits Type A.
- Super Senses: Aerynn grants Trawn the ability to hear the private messages people send each other in "Day of the Fools".
- Tempting Fate: NJ's flashback in "Wings" begins as he boasts that he earned a Master's Degree and can have any job he wants. Cut to three months later: a down-on-his-luck and desperate NJ applies for a janitorial job in a department store.
- Three Dimensional Episode: The covers to every issue are in legitimate 3-D, and work with either red-blue anaglyph glasses or a Nintendo 3DS.
- Fourth Option Love Interest: "Valentine's Day Massacre" ends with the girls' crush flirting with Lululu.
- Throw the Dog a Bone:
- Shroomy gets one in "Deviantaaargh". After she goes from woefully overlooked on Deviant ART, to receiving two consecutive Daily Deviations, ( both of which came as a result of Aerynn's hacking) to falling from a brief and high jump in fame, Moth-Grrl (one of deviantART's most popular artists of the time) still puts Shroomy on her friend list and congratulates her achievement.
- Trawn arguably got one in "LuLo". The Nettropolis Free Press failed to become more famous because of the other reporters referring to her as an "anonymous informant", but she at least reunited with Natasha, and the two of them and Lululu got to capture the real bomber because of Trawn's Eureka Moment.
- True Love's Kiss: In "The New Adventures of the Nettropolis Narvel," Narvel's goodbye kiss to Vicky helps the two of them return to the real Nettropolis.
- Tuckerization: Word of God says when defining the character of Trawn, Paltridge decided to model her in part after his friend Eileen Cruz, who founded Toon Zone. Cruz and Trawn have the same first name as a result.
- Also, Trawn's last name, Pecadillo, rhymes with Eileen Cruz's maiden name, Delgadillo.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: "Inevitable Christmas Adventure" has two subplots.
- Unfortunate Implications: Ling-Ling lampshaded in-universe the potential connection between her yellow costume and her race, and also pointed out that Ling-Ling isn't her real name.
- Useless Useful Spell: Aerynn casts one as she and Shroomy investigate a database in "The Search For Parker."
Shroomy: Why can't you just make us invisible, create a sound-muting field so no one can hear us, and make us transparent so we could walk through walls?
Aerynn: Yeah! Why don't I?
(Aerynn casts the requested spell on herself and Shroomy, causing both of them to fall out of the building)
Aerynn: ...Right. THAT'S why I don't do that...
- We Could Have Avoided All This: After the close call with Nea Politan in "The Search For Parker," Aerynn re-reads the post that caused them to search in her domain, and realizes the author was actually named, "Porker".
- Wham! Line: What Natasha says in the third-to-last panel of "The Search For Parker", after NJ tries to turn Aerynn in:
You wanna fool someone, call a rookie next time. I'm rank AAA. I've fought at least a hundred magicians and taken a history course on thousands more. And I've never seen the fantasy you just cooked up. Ever. I've also studied the physics code for the Internet and over half the powers you told me are impossible. IM. POSSIBLE.
- Aerynn gives another one in "Day of Fools".
- Whole-Episode Flashback: "The Time That People Forgot" fashes back to when NJ, Torro, and their classmate Jodie had to survive The Wild West while playing an immersive version of The Oregon Trail.
- "Wings" consists of four flashbacks, one of which encompasses more than half of the comic.
- Whole-Plot Reference: "Friends of Lululu" serves as a parody of Captain Planet with a dash of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This was reflected in its working title, "Commander Eco and the Eco-Teens."
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: During Parker's two month absence, Shroomy continued to deny the possibility that Parker didn't love her, even after he admitted coming back into her life for selfish desires.
- Willfully Weak: Aerynn admits at the end of "Day of Fools" that she practices a unique brand of magic, and often feels too scared to use its full potential.
- Witch with a Capital B: NJ used this insult on Aerynn in "Formation Team Trawn".
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Lululu receives a wheelchair in "Friends of Lululu," but it gets stolen from her as she uses it outside for the first time.
- You Don't Look Like You: Compare Natasha's appearance at the end of "The Search For Parker" with the design used from "LuLo" onward.
- Zeerust: Sometimes, characters use technology dated by 2000s standards (such as Betamax tapes). Paltridge reportedly hopes that this will prevent any references that will date in the future from sticking out.