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"I love entertaining others with this stuff. And I'm always trying to make it better based on their feedback and what they tell me. People need to sit down to whatever you draw for a living, and know--just know--that they're going to have a good time. I don't care if I particularly liked a certain story. What really matters to me is if YOU liked it."—Peter Paltridge, in response to the FAQ "What's the ultimate advice an amateur cartoonist can get?"
The self-proclaimed "Site with EVERYTHING!", Platypus Comix is home to five webcomics, not to mention countless one-offs, all courtesy of one Peter Paltridge. Each is updated one whole story (or at least several pages) at a time, instead of strip-by-strip like most webcomics.
As if that weren't enough, the site is also home to slapdash humor and nostalgia, including TV Guide ad archives, trivia on the Warner Bros. Silver Age cartoons, and Strip Archives for Bloom County and U.S. Acres. Basically, it's just about anything and everything Mr. Paltridge likes, recapped in a slightly cynical, constantly entertaining fashion.
The Flagship Comics
The site provides examples of:
- Accentuate the Negative: Peter Paltridge has admitted that some of the things he makes Take That comics about, such as That Guy With The Glasses, aren't really things he hates.
- All There in the Manual: Paltridge has written short bios in order to properly introduce new readers to the main characters of the flagship series. Also, sometimes Paltridge shares details about characters on his Deviant ART page before putting them into the comics.
- Alliterative Name: Peter Paltridge, Keiki Kikilaka, Marie Magnolia (also from Keiki), Aerynn Arlia (from Electric Wonderland), and Lululu Lopez (also from Electric Wonderland).
- The Bechdel Test: Paltridge's comics often pass this test with flying colors, since four of the five flagship comics have main character rosters where the females outnumber males.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Several characters have demonstrated this ability. The main characters of Mulberry and Scrambled Eggs in particular act as Animated Actors.
- Christmas Special:
- Paltridge made at least one every year until 2008, and now seems to do so on a sporadic basis. Most of them are archived in Kristmas Klassics.
- Also, he has a special section for reviews of the good, the bad and the obscure of animated Christmas specials, dubbed "The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials."
- Cliff Hanger: Most of the comics are released in at least two parts, then the parts are merged together in the archive (unless the parts come from different seasons, such as the chapters of "Keiki's Huge Christmas Epic").
- Conspicuous CG: The backgrounds of some comics. Lampshaded in the Scrambled Eggs comic "Wack Friday" when the store sells "Extremely Fake Trees".
- Everything's Better with Platypi: Word of God says the name "Platypus Comix" was just something Paltridge thought would make a funny name for a comic company, and might have been inspired by a song one of his cousins sang.
- Invisible Parents: See each comic's individual page for more info. (Electric Wonderland does not have an entry for this since the main characters are older than than the other comics' characters. This could apply to Princess Pi as well.)
- Limited Wardrobe: The majority of recurring characters from each comic.
- Milestone Celebration: In honor of Platypus Comix's 10th anniversary, accessing the site during the week of February 7, 2011 brought up a page which resembles the homepage used in 2001, and links to old comics and articles through the Wayback Machine.
- Not Making This Up Disclaimer: Some articles and comics have such disclaimers in their respective threads of the Platypus Comix forum.
- Reality Subtext: Numerous examples, such as the Mulberry comic "Murphy's Lawn" (built up on Brittany Murphy's death) and the Keiki comic "Beefer in the Time of Cholera" (set during the economic recession of the late 2000s). Paltridge also traditionally makes comics about Dan Blather covering the Olympic Games and Mulberry trying to influence the Presidential Election.
- Refuge in Audacity: Usually by making the comics go over the top in terms of wackiness.
- Skintone Sclerae: Paltridge explained that adding white portions to his characters' eyes often takes too much time, and doesn't look good to him unless he manages to shape it into a perfect circle. (Although, characters drawn fairly recently sometimes have eyes with white or off-white portions, such as the stars of Electric Wonderland and Princess Pi.)
- Strip Archive: Most of the comics are archived in a pseudo-book form. The site also contains several archives of un-reprinted Bloom County strips and a large number of U.S. Acres strips.
- Stupid Boss: A recurring character: The Head Executive of Platypus Comix.
"Raiders Of The Lost Arc"
Peter Paltridge called "Raiders of the Lost Arc", a comic from a discontinued series titled, Guava Guava, his favorite Platypus Comix story. His website only includes the portion written in the year 2001. A recap summarizing the parts written in 1998 explains that Joan of Arc had become a Fish Out of Temporal Water, risen from the dead, and fought Osama Bin Laden. As this part begins, Joan's period away from battle has led people to doubt her accomplishments and complain that she's not really as tough as they thought. She decides to prove them wrong by confronting Bin Laden again, who had just recently performed his infamous September 11 attacks.
- Cassandra Truth: Twenty-first century reporters who think Joan appears too frequently in the media begin doubting her achievements.
- Enemy Mine: Joan's companions in her fight against Bin Laden came from England, the country Joan saved France from.
- Gone Horribly Right: Joan's defeat of Bin Laden proves so effective, all the terrorists cease their attacks, and the US Army dissolves.
- It Got Worse: As the media tries to expose Joan as a fraud, Ivy assures her, "Things will be a lot better in the morning!" The next day, Osama Bin Laden attacks the World Trade Center.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Joan brings one with her to Afghanistan.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Bin Laden tries to exploit the fear of fire Joan developed after persecution by shoving her into a burning room. She makes it out alive, and proceeds to beat up several terrorists.
- Redheaded Hero: Joan
- That Was Not a Dream: Buzz expresses hope that the attacks on the World Trade Center turn out to be personal nightmares.
- Victory Is Boring: The comic ends with Joan unable to find any more terrorists to fight, and thus using her newfound free time to crochet doilies and organize her socks.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Joan has such moments when having to escape a burning room, and later, a burning building.
Peter Paltridge called 2008's "True Believers" his second favorite Platypus Comix story. The characters from the flagship comics have gone on strike, so the Head Executive tries to tide readers over with a Spider-Man comic, hoping he could get away with featuring characters he doesn't own when the characters he does own won't cooperate. The resulting story became Platypus Comix's Take That against Marvel Comics' reviled One More Day comic, which had concluded two weeks earlier. In a 48-page, two-month-long, Roger Rabbit-ish storyline, Spidey and Mary Jane Watson fight to save their marriage from being wiped out by their own editor, Joe Quesadilla -- a vicious Quesada caricature.
This comic provides examples of:
- Cerebus Syndrome: Peter Paltridge said that "True Believers" started out as a less dramatic story for the fourth week of the Character Strike. He first published the early chapters under the title, "Peter Paltridge, The Amazing Spider-Hack."
- Chekhov's Gun: After turning down the offer to become Jackpot, Mary Jane carries a stamp out of Quesadilla's office. During the climax of the comic, she presses the stamp against Quesadilla's forehead and Retcons his existence.
- Death Is Cheap: Comic book characters "always come back", as Mary Jane explains after a revitalization.
- Despair Event Horizon: After Spidey discovers that Quesadilla erased everything that happened in the last 30 years, he asks Dr. Octopus to kill him. He gets better, "five miniseries, three crossovers, and one apocalyptic battle later."
- The Final Temptation: During the climax, Quesadilla offers Peter the revivals of Uncle Ben, Richard and Mary Parker, and/or Gwen Stacy if he lets him erase the marriage. He nearly accepts, but after deciding he wants MJ to be happy, he asks her what to do, then follows her request to decline the temptation.
- Homage Shot:
- Precision F-Strike: After Peter tears up the paper Joe Quesadilla used to brainwash MJ, she tells Peter to, "Kick his ass."
- Reality Warper: Joe Quesadilla
- Ret-Gone: Joe Quesadilla and (unintentionally) Ben Reilly, after Mary Jane performs a retcon with the stolen stamp.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The story portrays comic-book characters as real people, and editors as their gods.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: As Peter dances with MJ the Friday evening after Quesadilla announces plans to erase their marriage, he points out the irony of the song's lyrics describing the "last dance with Mary Jane," but she informs him the song's actually about pot.
- A Wizard Did It: After Quesadilla's retcon drastically improves "the real world's continuity" and the comic book industry, Peter remarks that he can't believe the afforementioned Chekhov's Gun could cause such a great effect. MJ reminds him, "It's magic, Tiger," so Peter exclaims, "Yeah, it's magic! We don't have to explain it!"
- Affectionate Parody: "Schoolhouse Bootleg," of Schoolhouse Rock.
- Clip Show: The Head Executive of Platypus Comix showed one during the first week of the "2008 Character Strike". This evolves into a BLAM Episode as the "clips" gradually give way to pictures from random sources outside the website.
- Crisis Crossover: "Riot Act #2" features characters from various Platypus Comix series, although several of these series have since been removed from the website.
- Dolled-Up Installment: The second week of the Character Strike brought a story titled "Terminator: The Mulberry Sharona Chronicles, which actually featured artwork from Shadowgirls.
- Follow the Leader: During the third week of the Character Strike, the Head Executive tried to create his own comic, starring talking pigs who engage in offensive activities, random cutaways, and liberal lecturing.
Head Executive: It seemed to test rather well among college males, and they're all that really counts these days! Next week we'll have something different, if I can find a non-union artist! If not, I'll probably just run this again and change a couple bits of dialogue. Those college boys don't really notice much.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: The fifth and final installment of the 2008 Character Strike featured the Head Executive replying to emails readers sent Peter Paltridge.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: The title character of "Awesome Blossom" exclaims "Heart Power!" every time she tries to solve a problem. It proves effective, but the second time she uses it angers others. In a possible subversion, her adversaries use "Liver Power!" and "Pancreas Power!" to get what they want.
- Hostile Show Takeover: For April Fools' Day 2006, Paltridge faked the site's absorption by CNet and created a comic in which CNet representatives interfered with attempts to read the newest Mulberry comic by hawking the benefits of donation.
- How the Character Stole Christmas: Spoofed in "How The Kvetch Stole Hannukah!", Paltridge's attempt to teach An Aesop about expressing diversity instead of homogenization during the holiday season.
- Life Imitates Art: "Nester and Wiiner # 2: No More Heroes," a story about Casual Video Game production causing a decline in quality Nintendo games, ended with Nintendo making plans for a game about breathing. Over a year later, Ubisoft announced plans for Innergy, a game about breathing.
- Ludd Was Right: The Retraux, Fifties-influenced "Vess MacMeal Starring in: The More You Know!" introduces a new gadget called the "Kimwon" to the people of Shiny Valley. Gradually, this North Korean product develops so many features, it takes over all of the duties Americans previously served themselves, granting world domination to Dirty Communist Kim Jong-Il.
- Mood Whiplash: The Cruel Twist Ending of "Vess MacMeal Starring in: The More You Know!" is immediately followed by the Title Drop, which comes in a simple picture of the logo seen in 2000s PSAs using the phrase.
- Pandaing to the Audience: "Rice Cub" stars a talking panda with a personality similar to that of Mary Lynn Rajskub, who played Chloe O'Brian in Twenty Four.
- Product Placement: The first issue of Paltridge's publication, BANG! The Entertainment Paper, appeared in "Schoolhouse Bootleg" at least six months before it became available in stores.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: After Paltridge learned of the existence of a website called "Platypus Comics," he wrote about his characters' reactions to the similarly named work and its debatably enjoyable content in "Riot Act # 2."
- Stylistic Suck: "Awesome Blossom," intended to feel like an unaired Filmation cartoon.
As a Couch Gag, Peter Paltridge regularly changes the banner at the top of the Platypus Comix homepage to say something new and funny.
Banners include examples of:
- Angels Pose: Starring Mulberry, Shroomy (from Electric Wonderland), and Princess Pi.
- Hostile Show Takeover: The week Princess Pi's first comic came out, the banner contained a picture of her using green paint to change the Platypus Comix logo to read, "Pi Comix".
- Hype Aversion: The overexposure of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic increased Paltridge's desires not to watch the show, despite the involvement of Lauren Faust, so he decided to boast that Platypus Comix has been "Pony-free since 2001".
- In Memoriam: Occasions that called for this include:
- Logo Joke:
- Milestone Celebration:
- Missing Episode: Several of the oldest banners got deleted to save space.
- Take That: Sometimes the banner at the top contains one.
- Mulberry offering a code for 100 free Disney Movie Rewards points and explaining, "I, myself, will never buy enough teenybopper garbage and Hannah Montana pantyhose to earn the one worthwhile item offered in this program, the DuckTales movie DVD."
- Disney's announcement of plans to buy Marvel Comics led to the creation of a banner featuring a demonic Mickey Mouse telling Spider-Man, "I want...our marriage!"
Mary Jane Watson: I think I actually prefer Joe Q!
- Mulberry dressing as Jason and preparing to kill Flo, the Progressive Insurance Girl.
- Aang punching M. Night Shyamalan after the release of The Last Airbender.
- One banner proclaimed, "Click here to access a special optimized version for iPad owners!" Clicking it caused no changes except for Nelson appearing to taunt, "Ha ha! You paid $500 for something that can't even take a flash drive!"
- Mulberry once displayed the cover for Lady Gaga's Born This Way and commented, "Really? That's kinda sad."
- Octus from Sym-Bionic Titan once showed up to announce that he had taken over Cartoon Network, and had decided to renew Titan for "...approximately 107 more episodes! It is the only logical thing to do!"
- Viral Marketing:
- Some of the banners displayed in Fall and Winter of 2010 have the number pi displayed for reasons that didn't seem very clear until New Year's Day 2011, when Paltridge released the first Princess Pi comic.
- During the week of April 15-21, 2012, the banner featured a working countdown to midnight April 23 ET, at which time Peter Paltridge would make "the most important announcement in Platypus Comix history." Paltridge extended the countdown, then shortened it, then revealed that he plans to collect stories and comics for an independent publication: BANG! The Entertainment Paper.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: "The 'X' [in 'Comix' stands for XTREME!]"
- Actually Pretty Funny:
- "World's Most Baffling Garfield Strips" ends with Peter Paltridge clarifying that even though a number of Garfield strips rose too many unanswered questions, he still loves the comic, and Garfield and Friends.
- The review of For Better or For Worse: The Bestest Present dismisses most of the special as sappy and predictable, but praises some of Mike's snappy remarks.
- Beary Funny: Averted in a 2008 installment of "The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials." Paltridge deemed The Great Bear Scare "the King Moonraiser (sic) of the misfits" due to its very cheap animation and nonsensical story elements. (The networks that syndicated it didn't even air it during the proper holiday, as it was originally intended for Halloween!)
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked in the review of the Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer special and the review of The Hudsucker Proxy.
- Call Back: Part 2 of the ABC Afterschool Special ad gallery references one of the oldest specials when Paltridge jokingly remarks that the 100th special, The Gift of Amazing Grace, could have benefited from Timer the Cheese Guy exploring Tempest Bledsoe's brain.
- Caption Humor: Articles that rely on this include those included in "The Lost Art of 'TV Guide' Advertising", "Things You Can't Ever Have" (found in the Interactive Entertainment Celebration Section), and "What's Powell's Throws Out" (found in the Oregon Survival Guide).
- Chuck Norris Facts: Of course.
- Continuity Nod: A 2011 update to the menu for The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials added references to Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, Up on the Housetop, Robbie the Reindeer, The Great Bear Scare, and A Wish For Wings That Work.
- Deadpan Snarker: Peter Paltridge.
- Forced Meme: Errors in Corporate Judgement included several failed attempts for entertainment materials to appear relevant to late '80s-early '90s children. Among them, a Magic Eye puzzle using "Froggy" as a synonym for "awesome." Paltridge subsequently decided to close the article by declaring "Froggy" official slang for his website.
- Funny Aneurysm Moment: Lampshaded in "Walt Disney: One Man's Nightmare." The TV special Paltridge reviewed in that article came out in 1981, and had Michael Landon as a host. In one of the segments promoting Epcot, concept art for an airplane capable of space travel appears, and Landon says, "Hope I'm still around," unaware he would die only 10 years later.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Lampshaded:
- One of the pictures in Volume 3 of "The Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising" promotes a Love Boat episode, in which several Miss America winners gather to honor the then-newest Miss America, Vanessa Williams. Peter Paltridge subsequently asks, "Why do I get the feeling this episode was going to live in infamy for a while?"
- The Neil Goldschmidt quote in one of the TV special ads included in Volume 6 of "The Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising" mentions giving teens "special attention." Below the ad, Paltridge comments, "...Neil Goldschmidt really meant it when he talked about giving teens special attention."
- Hilarious in Flashback: In "The Lost Art Of TV Guide Advertising: Spring 1997", one of the ads shown was for the series premire of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was annotated with this:
"Not sure what this is. Something about a cheerleader? I'm sure there's something about it in a couple places on the Internet. I think there was a 1992 film by the same name, and then the guy who wrote it didn't like how it turned out and made it as a series instead.....who knows how it'll go. Maybe the geeks will get into it?"
- Irony: Two of the channels listed in "Cable Networks That Never Made It" still exist, but have undergone Network Decay since they began. MTV's inclusion was Played for Laughs ever since Paltridge first wrote the article, but he has admitted that he didn't learn about CBN's transformation into ABC Family until after the article's publication.
- It Got Worse: Why I Couldn't Update This Week! details a week in which Peter Paltridge had to stay in a cheap hotel during his house's remodeling, then got sick. Fortunately, it has a Throw the Dog a Bone ending.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: For "The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials," Paltridge once decided to review two specials that copied Its a Wonderful Life: It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (reviewed here), and It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special (reviewed here).
- Kids Are Cruel: "Kellogg Middle School: The Happiest Place on Earth" epitomizes this trope completely. As such, it's one of the darker articles on the site.
- Mood Whiplash: Happens in the "Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising" installment about ABC Afterschool Specials, as ABC's fluffy children's specials give way to Darker and Edgier, teen-oriented stories.
- MST: Every now and then, Paltridge will do a humorous summary of a So Bad It's Good or completely awful movie. Also played to the letter in his review of St. Helens.
- Name's the Same: Lampshaded in "Nemi vs. Nemi"(short for, "Nemi Montoya vs. Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato").
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Paltridge has acknowledged "Failed TV Pilots," a recap of an ABC special about failed TV pilots, as a negated moment:
Unfortunately, after [a Lost promo] the tape ran out and I didn't get the last quarter of the program. And it's a real shame...If I had been able to give you the full scoop on that one pilot about the midget private eye in Las Vegas, that would have pushed this page into "Greatest Page On The Entire Site" territory.
- Older Is Better: Before listing his favorite Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Edition DVD or Blu-Ray box sets, Paltridge begins "The Five Best Sets Ever" by noting that old DVDs often have better picture quality and more bonus features than he might get if he streamed those movies and shows instead.
- A chance exists that this trope doesn't apply 100%; he says these qualities of streaming media could bring people back to the "primitive lifestyle" of VHS.
- Older Than You Think: Volume Six of "The Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising" included a cover promoting a 1988 TV movie of the novel The Bourne Identity, prompting Paltridge to remark, "Everything's a remake these days."
- Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity: "Magazine Alley" warns that Highlights For Children can cause this if you read it too often.
- Shaggy Dog Story: One of the entries in "Big Fat History Of The Arcade: Volume One" details Paltridge's struggles to find a home copy of Roadblasters after a local pizzeria replaced their arcade cabinet with a different game. Finally, his stepfather ordered him the game from Yahoo, but the pizzeria brought back their Roadblasters game the following week.
- Spiritual Successor: Paltridge once wrote one for X-Entertainment's recaps of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- The Stinger: Most of the articles hosted at Platypus Comix itself end with two links: one that leads back to the home page, and one that varies on each article, leading to a page that has either an adequate or nonexistent relation to the article's subject. Articles written on Paltridge's Toon Zone blog bear neither links.
- Stylistic Suck: Like several of the amateurish articles RetroJunk features, "Retrojunk's Greatest Article Ever" contains plenty of bad spelling and grammar. Also, its attempts at Fetish Fuel fail since many of the "Top Ten Hottest Cartoon Women Ever" have inadequate pictures, the top two choices are male, and the # 1 choice is not a cartoon character.
- Time Marches On: "Why you may never see some of your favorite childhood shows on DVD" originally included The Real Ghostbusters among the shows whose fans needed to Keep Circulating the Tapes. After Time Life went and released all the episodes on DVD, Nicktoons and Re Boot took its spot on the list. Later, Shout! Factory managed to release DVDs of those, so they got removed from Paltridge's article without any replacements.
- Totally Radical: Totally Rad Videos!
Oh, and if you want to know the names of everyone in that picture:
Second Row: Jennifer (from Henry and Jennifer), Henry (from Henry and Jennifer), Lillian Muck/Ivy (from Guava Guava), Buzz (from Guava Guava), Lana Ying (from Guava Guava), and Dan Blather (from various comics).
Front Row: Joan of Arc (sitting, from "Raiders of the Lost Arc"), Aerynn Arlia (from Electric Wonderland), Quint (from Scrambled Eggs), Tiff (from Mulberry), Tuan Nuaghen (from Scrambled Eggs), and Mulberry Sharona (from Mulberry).