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Real Life Comics is a Life Embellished webcomic by Greg Dean. It's not as faithful to real life as it claims, but the majority of the cast does consist of the Author Avatar and people he knows. The comic has been going since 1999, making it among the oldest webcomics out there, predating Keenspot, Megatokyo, and Bob and George.
The comic is updated on weekdays. Not to be confused with, well, Real Life.
- Aborted Arc: One arc was a parody of Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, but the Artist cancels it a few strips in because it would take forever and the movie wasn't all that interesting to begin with.
- AI Is a Crapshoot: Averted with the various computers and consoles that have gained sentience over the course of the comic, like Dave's PAL and Dreamcast, which are nice and friendly. Though when Dreamcast returns years later in an Aperture Science Personality Core, Greg briefly worries that there's a psychotic A.I. somewhere that wants to kill him. Tony says there is, because that's just what he does.
- Also, when Dave was experimenting with new voices and gave PAL the voice of HAL 9000, PAL claimed it was encouraging him to do terrible things.
- Alternate Universe
- Antidisestablishmentarianism: Greg says that he's switching his political party and becoming one.
- Art Evolution: Despite being a Cut and Paste Comic, longtime readers notice things like more detailed characters, detailed backgrounds, color being used for all the strips, etc.
- Author Appeal: When it's time for another Limited Wardrobe change, real Greg puts Liz in a bunny outfit, and comments "Fans be damned... this one's for me."
- Author Avatar: There is not only Greg Dean in the comic, but also the Cartoonist, who is usually portrayed as a disembodied god. When he does appear in-strip, he looks like Greg but with slightly longer hair and different clothing.
- BFS: First an Authentic Scottish Claymore. Then a full-size replica of Cloud's Buster Sword.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT ask Greg if he owns the Master Sword. Additionally, Liz threatened to kill Greg when he suggested that Walt Disney was a Fanfic author (she did it again when he said the Comic Sans font is genius, but his explanation makes perfect sense to her).
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Greg and Dave find a to do list on the table, judging by the things on it, it's Tonys
- Bilingual Bonus: The Shirt Ninja speaks in Japanese.
- Brain Uploading: Literally, when Dave's sentient computer PAL uploads itself to his brain to escape the self-destruction of Tony's space station. He later downloads himself into a new computer by having Dave vocally mimic a dial-up modem.
- Caffeine Bullet Time: "Note to self: Eat 8 Krispy Kreme donuts, phase out of existence."
- Cerebus Syndrome: Completely averted despite being such a long-running series. Although it's had short story arcs, they're never serious, and has managed to stay funny without ever running out of material. (Except for a few comics where the creator has no ideas for a strip, which still end up being funny).
- Well, the story arcs where Tony battles an FBI agent who wants Tony's tech for the U.S. government get kind of serious at times, but it's hard to worry that any major characters will die when you know that every one of them is based on a friend or relative of the creator.
- Closer to Earth: While this could always be said to have been the case between Liz and Greg, the comic has really started to abuse the use of this trope (and all that typically goes with it) in the last few years. Like, "Last season of Everybody Loves Raymond" abuse it. One could argue that Liz is, basically, a live-in Straight Man to Greg's wise guy, a role which used to be filled by Dave and Tony.
- Though Liz does have her moments too, like when she and Greg went car-shopping ("NewBeetleNewBeetleNewBeetle!" "Maybe we should get a bigger car?" "NEW. BEETLE.")
- Conversational Troping
- Corruption of a Minor: Dave complains when Greg plays Diablo 2 with his newborn daughter Harper in his arms, but he insists that it teaches her important life lessons:
- Creator Breakdown: A very minor version; when Greg's relationships with Crystal and Lizzie ended, he didn't do comics for a week, simply putting up a note saying that he didn't feel much like being funny at the moment. Of course, he got over it, and now that he's married it probably won't happen again. (Unless, God forbid, he gets a divorce.)
- Cut and Paste Comic: Most of the comics consist of the characters and backgrounds being cut and pasted with new dialogue put in. The creator sometimes makes a fuss about new backgrounds or objects.
- One arc, mirroring Greg and Liz' real world house-hunting, had a strip in which the camera suddenly refused to follow the characters. Then a note floated down from the cartoonist, stating that due to the flurry of new backgrounds he's had to make recently, he had decided to go into a coma.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Tony. He appears to have read the Evil Overlord List at least. Review his take on the Death Trap and Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him as an example.
- Death Ray
- Detonation Moon: Joked about in this strip
- Early Installment Weirdness: Early strips made more references to anime and really abused the Life Embellished concept, as seen when Greg goes on a date with Belldandy and Tony builds a Mechwarrior which causes his girlfriend to complain until the author bribes her with an Evangelion. After a while most of the unrealistic wackiness was confined to Tony and his Evil Overlord antics.
- Easter Egg: Repeated uses of the number 42.
- Evil Overlord: Tony.
- Fridge Brilliance: In one strip, Greg suggests that the graphic designer of the much-reviled Comic Sans font was actually a genius, because it's basically a huge flashing sign that screams "I'm incompetent and need the help of a graphic designer." Liz is stunned when she realizes that it makes perfect sense.
- Fun with Acronyms: This strip. Try saying N.O.T.C. out loud.
- Fun with Subtitles
- Gender Flip: With alternate-universe versions of the main characters.
- Glasses Do Something Unusual: Dave's glasses have infrared, HUD, etc. which explains why they're not clear.
- Guest Strip
- Harmless Electrocution: Hilarity Ensues when Tony dials the home number while Greg works on the phone-line
Greg: "DO YOU MIND!?"
- Humongous Mecha: The arc starting here, where Tony builds a Mechwarrior and his girlfriend is given Eva-00 when she gripes to the author, resulting in an East vs West throwdown. The 'Mech destroys the Eva's power cable, but it doesn't have any weapons capable of penetrating its defenses so the whole thing ends in a draw.
- Insane Troll Logic: In one strip, Greg goes into a Dave and Buster's and orders a Pepsi, but the waitress refuses to serve him because he's not old enough to drink alcohol. Greg Dean has said this actually happened to him.
- Internet Backdraft: In-Universe example: In one strip, Liz tries to get Greg into Doctor Who; he refuses, citing his addictive personality and saying he doesn't need another show to obsess over. The very next day's strip has him telling Liz he'll give it a shot, revealing that he got so many emails from fans telling him how great DW is that it overheated and melted his computer.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night in a parody strip.
- Just One More Level: here:
Tony: How long have you been playing?
- And here:
Liz: Hey sweetie, I'm back- Good Lord, you're still racing on the same track!?
- And another one here regarding a "Quick game of The Sims", to which Tony says there's no such thing.
- Let's Meet the Meat: This strip:
Greg: Liz, it's smiling at me. Why is it smiling at me?
- Life Embellished
- Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded here.
- Medium Awareness: Liz has issues with the caption narrator.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Greg has an addictive personality, plain and simple. Especially in regards to Final Fantasy. Any part of it.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Referenced here.
- Nintendo Hard: Referenced on 30 Apr 2001.
- And more recently with an arc involving the first Final Fantasy.
- No Fourth Wall: The cartoonist has physically appeared in the strip, and occasionally talks to the characters from outside the comic. The Plot Hole arc had Tony climbing through a plot hole into the real world.
- Non-Indicative Name: The strip itself. Lampshaded often.
- Older Than They Look: Parodied on the Nov 19 2009 strip: Tony claims to be born before 1934, the year they published Superman, whose life story he was deliberately ripping off.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, since both Greg's wife and his previous girlfriend are named Elizabeth. His wife goes by Liz, while his ex is usually called Lizzie to avoid confusion.
- Only Six Faces
- Plot Hole: They're kind of cute, actually.
- Purple Prose: Sent up.
- Random Number God: Dean misses a stationary enemy because he failed to roll a high enough THAC0
- The Rant
- Real Life Writes the Plot: A particularly bizarre, recursive example. Greg met his wife, Liz, through the forums; their marriage and her pregnancy with their first child have been part of the comic. It gets silly when, in-comic, Greg shows his child the comic. In short, Real Life wrote the plot of real life, which was then written into Real Life, which was shown in real life to the daughter who exists as a result of Real Life writing the plot of real life, which in turn wrote a strip in Real Life.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The comic occasionally contains misspelled words. Greg has particular trouble with the word "caffeine."
- I notice he misspells "definitely" quite frequently as well.
- Schedule Slip: The comic will slip up on occasion, but it's usually pretty good about staying on schedule.
- Signed Up for the Dental: This strip.
- Sprite Mirroring in this strip. Though Dean seemed to have caught this and every instance of Crystal with Lain's hair bang doesn't do this anymore.
- Statler and Waldorf / Those Two Guys: Dave and Tony.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Accidentally invoked here, with 'Not Poison' bottled water.
- Taste the Rainbow: Literally.
- Tempting Fate: In one strip, Greg says he prefers Google+ to Facebook because it doesn't have any annoying things like people poking your or inviting you to Farmville. Dave immediately goes to his own computer and messages Greg, saying simply "*poke*".
- Time Is Dangerous: This strip touches this with discussion after time bubble were used to rapidly age mead 6 months.
- Time Travel
- Trademark Favorite Food: Pepsi. Apparently some guys from Pepsi looked the comic over once and didn't see anything objectionable, so they didn't ask Dean to stop.
- And why should they? He LOVES himself some Pepsi. He is not damaging Pepsi's reputation.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Greg, Dave and Tony. Over time they've become more vitriolic and less bud-like.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: Subverted.
- Write Who You Know
- You Have Researched Breathing. Parodied in this strip. Dean insists that he can pick up ore that Crystal can't mine yet.
- Yuppie Couple: Alan Extra