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"The disastrous rise of a supervillain superstar."
A webcomic about the life of Dr. Herville Schtein, an abnormal scientist who descends into a life of supervillainy. Think if a Start of Darkness was the first book in a series that you read, and it starred someone who was a Jerkass Woobie scientist, and you've got the right idea.
Set in an alternate timeline in the 2057-2060s where the Cuban missile crisis was never averted, the world in String Theory is recovering from a major war which split the world between capitalist and communist super powers--with the scale tipped a little in the USSR's favor.
It updates Wednesdays and can be found here.
Also, while String Theory is not R rated, it nevertheless contains adult concepts and is written for adult sensibilities.
Now has a character page.
- Absent-Minded Professor: Osgood, somewhat.
- Abusive Parents: Schtein's mother, both mentally and physically. She believed showing your children affection gave them unrealistic expectations of the adult world. Might not be so far from the truth considering what kind of world they live in.
Marcus: Hey, did you know Dr. Schtein can dislocate his shoulder really easily? It's 'cause his mom pulled his arm out of its socket so many times!
- The Alcoholic: One of Schtein's many, many problems.
- All There in the Manual: Schtein has a formspring account, where he discusses a lot of his past including his divorce with Janet and relationship with Alice, weeks before it was really talked about in the main comic.
- Art Evolution: Of the usually dramatic kind as the creator gets better. Perhaps most noticeably, however, is the change in Phineas, who goes from scrawny to quite buff. Perhaps he's simply been working out in prison?
- Biological Mashup: The man-kitties.
- Black Eyes of Crazy: Actually, they're just prosthetics. Foreshadowing though, maybe?
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Phineas. (And even Schtein before he went grey!)
- Breakout Character: Marcus was first intended to be one-time-only, but fans liked him so much the artist decided to make him a recurring character.
- Buffy-Speak: Schtein, surprisingly enough, is quite prone to this when excited or upset.
- Cast of Snowflakes
- Days of Future Past: It's set in the 2050's, yet society is that of the 1950's.
- Dirty Communists: How everyone views the USSR. We haven't actually seen any yet, but considering the above trope...
- Disappeared Dad: Dr. Schtein has an estranged daughter named Alice. Schtein's father also died soon after he was born.
- Divided States of America
- Dr. Jerk: Schtein, though he's Not That Kind of Doctor.
- Electronic Eyes: Dr. Herville Schtein
- Evil Genius: Schtein's future. At the moment he's just on the 'genius' side.
- Eye Scream: The comic starts shortly after an accident that resulted in Schtein's eyes melting out of his head. Laurence had an eye gouged out by a so far unseen character.
- Flat What: Schtein's reaction when he's been told that he's been assigned to the garbage duty at the prison.
- Foe Yay: Dr. Schtein and Dr. Benjamin Langstrom have this in spades. Even as a delirium tremens-induced hallucination, Langstrom has a tendency to address Schtein as 'Hervy' and 'darling'.
- Given that it has been revealed that Langstrom was secretly homosexual, the subtext is probably intentional.
- Schtein's interactions with Aryan thug Drew MacManus have a bit of this as well; both get very handsy with each other, even the germaphobic Schtein. Schtein even straddles him right before the stabbing begins.
MacManus: You disrespected me, so I'm not really content with merely beating your ass, boy. I'm pretty much gonna have to break you. By the time I'm done, you'll be begging for more beatings.
- Not to mention, Word of God says that Langstrom had an odd attraction to Schtein.
- Foot Focus: Schtein's bare feet show up quite frequently.
- Foreshadowing: Schtein slowly obtaining, by natural and unrelated events, the hallmarks of a stereotypical mad scientist. The gloves, through his phobia. The cat, through the stupidity. The eyes, through the accident. Also foreshadowed with his controversial political opinions.
- Geeky Turn On: Schtein falls for Delia the moment she suggests a way to improve the station's plasma fusion generator.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Parodied when a forced evolutionary virus creates "man-kitty-things" that get into everything. Schtein also keeps one as an adorable pet.
- Hallway Of Overheard Insults: Complete with Evil Plan Exposition via Exact Eavesdropping.
- Hates Being Touched: Schtein
- Hidden Supplies: Phineas gives Schtein a weapon to defend himself against the other prisoners, and tells Schtein to hide it inside his mattress.
- Hot Scientist: Osgood. Schtein for some.
- Insufferable Genius: Schtein and Langstrom
- Jerkass: Benjamin Langstrom and Schtein.
- It should be noted that Langstrom was civil (even cloyingly nice) to Schtein when they first met, until Schtein pissed him off. Schtein is definitely a Jerkass to everyone he meets; that's probably not the case for Langstrom.
- Drew MacManus. After pages of him beating and otherwise tormenting Schtein that lead up to a very disturbing rape threat, readers are actually rooting for Schtein to kill him.
- Licensed Sexist: Schtein.
- Likable Villain: Schtein, though he hasn't reached the villain bit yet.
- Mistaken for Gay: Phineas.
Phineas: No, no, no. Don't. Be. Dense. I know you, Dr. Herville Albert Schtein.
Schtein: Oh God. You've got a weird crush on me, don't you?
- The Mole: 
- No Sense of Personal Space: Osgood.
- Oh Crap: Schtein's face when he hears the name Warden Langstrom.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: Osgood is horrified by Schtein's opinions.
- Prison Rape: Narrowly avoided, to Schtein's relief.
- Panel four is highly suggestive of rape.
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Schtein uses it on Krow, one of Drew's men. Krow doesn't react well.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The irises of Schtein's new eyes. Foreshadowing?
- Right-Hand-Cat: Marcus.
- The Rival: Langstrom, to Schtein.
- Rival Science Teams: The U.S. Government intentionally sets this up, thinking it will make the scientists work faster. It backfires.
- Schtein's attempt to sabotage Langstrom's team jump-starts the plot.
- Scenery Porn: The artist really likes to go all out on backgrounds.
- Shoe Phone: When Schtein sarcastically asks Phineas how he communicates with his employers.
Schtein: How, exactly, are you contacting them? Telepathic waves? Cloned messenger pigeons? Secret phone in your shoe?
- Shout-Out: You can see Andrea working as a prison guard and Dr. Drakken in a prison outfit in the first panel of page 47.
- Sinister Schnoz: Schtein.
- Slasher Smile: Mostly used by Phineas.
- Start of Darkness: The comic is billed as "The disastrous rise of a supervillain superstar," so this really shouldn't be a surprise.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: First panel.
- Talking Animal: Marcus, the result of a genetic engineering experiment.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Schtein (and Langstrom's rival division) is trying to build a functioning matter teleportation device. So far he has gone through a lot of guinea pigs.
- Villain Protagonist: Schtein
- Younger Than They Look: Schtein is thirty-four.