Elator's Archetype though, pegs him as being able to stumble his way through any situation none the worse for wear.
—Sal (who could be referring to anyone in the cast)
Dubious Company is an adventure comedy comic written by Ben Hsu (AKA Tagalong) and drawn by Elaine Tipping (AKA Tria). It ran from 2005 to 2014; the story is complete.
It follows Captain Walter Herindale and his best buddy Tiren as they build an assorted quirky crew in order to do... something, mostly heavy drinking. All the while they spoof and play with every trope, cliche, and genre they come across. Oh, and dealing with Emperor Kreedor's Elite Guards.
The archives can be found here
Comic In General
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male
- Aerith and Bob: We have Walter, Leeroy, Mary, Sue, Marty, Gary and (possibly) Sal mixing with Tiren, Elator (Elly), Izor, Kreedor, etc.
- Art Evolution: Compare This comic to this one.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Occasionally.
- Creator Cameo: Tria, Tagalong, and their webmaster occasionally appear.
- Five-Man Band: There are two bands; the Sky Pirates and the Imperials. More evident since On the Middle of Nowhere.
- Magic Versus Science: sort of. The Imperial Elites rely heavily on magic, with limited technological understanding. The pirates are heavy on the technology, and have no access to magic. Both sides are presented with advantages and limitations.
- Schedule Slip: In the beginning. Now is faithfully updated twice a week.
- Took a Level in Badass: Everyone, very subtlety through-out the run. Originally, the pirates were only able to defeat the Sues by attacking them in their sleep and still needed to fight dirty and outnumber them. During the rematch at Kreedor's castle, they were only slightly outmatched while going one-on-one.
Shipwrecked In Paradise
- Keelhauling: Walter claims this as a punishment, until Tiren deconstructs its usefulness on a flying ship.
- Ninjas VS Pirates: Averted, Walter and Tiren get along fine
- What Did I Do Last Night??: The series starts OFF with Tiren wondering that. Walter found her as a stowaway while she was sleeping. It happens a few more times in the story. (Hey, they're pirates. They get drunk)
Of Rescues and Mutinies
- Action Mom: Tiren's mother was also a ninja, based on this Survival Mantra.
- Born Lucky: Sal is the future high priestess of the god of Randomness, things tend to go her way.
- As the crew is nearby Sal, this is often extend to them. This includes suddenly finding cover in the middle of a fight on their own ship.
- Crash Into Hello: How did Elly meet Mary? Walter threw him on her.
- Walk the Plank: Walter subjects Barry to this. Tiren complains about doing it while docked.
Traitor In Our Midst
- Head Desk: Mary and Sue use their Twin Telepathy to debrief each other. When Mary goes off on a tangent about Elly, Sue does this to shut it off. It gets worse when Sue "calls" Mary and realizes she's talking to someone about when they went through puberty.
- Loads and Loads of Rules: Apparently students at Phred's temple play a game like this. See here
- Paper-Thin Disguise: What was Mary thinking? Oh right: Elly.
- Random Number God: Phred. The temple is a casino.
Get The Kitty
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Sal blackmails Leeroy into confessing to tampering with the engine room.
- Bad News in a Good Way: Sue acting as Uhura for Izor has bad news: Mary has captured Tiren instead of Sal. As she starts to apologize, Izor becomes overjoyed that the pirates defenses are now severed.
- Insult Backfire:
Tiren: I am going to kill your sister, first chance I get.
- Ironic Echo / Hilarious in Hindsight: Tiren drunk vomits on Mary much like she did with Walter shortly before they team-up.
- Looming Silhouette of Rage + Enemy Rising Behind = Tiren's sober.
- Mistaken for Gay: Sue thinks this of Mary until she learns Elly is male.
- This Is No Time For Drinking: After getting the tech needed to find Tiren, Walter goes on a drinking binge, much to Leeroy's chagrin. Several strips later, Walter reveals that the engine runs on drunkenness. So Walter needed to be sufficiently plastered to work with it.
- Noodle Incident: Leeroy did something with oranges and noodles. Lampshaded by Sal when she uses it as blackmail.
- The Scream: Walter waking up to the ruins of his ship. Cut to Tiren and Izor:
Tiren: Did you just hear someone scream?
The Empire Strikes... Next?
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Sue does not want to be rescued by Marty.
- Drunk Driver: Subverted. Due to Walter's quirkiness and Applied Phlebotinum, the Cool Ship can only be driven while drunk. And he flys it perfectly well, until Marty makes Walter fly with his hands tied behind his back.
- Enemy Civil War: a minor one between the Sues and Stus breaks out during a hostage crisis. The pirates are too stunned to take advantage of it. Also involved in-universe Ship-to-Ship Combat.
- Forgot You Could Fly: "I appreciate the thought lass, but I 'ave wings. Ye don't."
- Gene Hunt / Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Walter threatens the Sues with allowing Tiren to use them as stress balls. It works too well.
- Taking You with Me: Walter's plan for dealing with Marty.
- Word of Gay: Namely that Marty is straight. He's just absolutely sure that Elly is a girl.
Izor's Amazing Plan (Of Amazement)!
- Batman Gambit: Izor pulls this with Sal in order to overthrow Kreedor. It involved Sal being sacrificed only to be "reborn" as the spirit of a god to grant Kreedor godhood. Izor would later assassinate him while his guard was down.
- Dare to Be Badass: Part of Izor's We Can Rule Together speech to Sal. If she follows his plan, the world conquering stops, if not more people will die.
- Properly Paranoid: Kreedor knows that Tiren is the best fighter. So, she is locked in a metal box, with all her weapons removed, and that box is suspended in air.
- Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Compare here to here. Only Leeroy and Sue end up fighting their 5-Man-Band Counterpart while Sal and Izor work the Xanatos Speed Chess.
- Raccoon In The Works: Not only does Izor's plan go horribly wrong by the timely intervention of the raccoon, but by himself when he alters an overly complex ritual. Izor knows nothing about magic theory. Unaltered the ritual would have killed Sal and nothing more. By altering it, the pirates' intervention, and the raccoon becoming an accidental substitute for Sal, the ritual flung everyone into another dimension and caused... well... we still don't know.
- Storming the Castle: The pirates try this after breaking out of the dungeon to save Sal from ritualistic sacrifice. It would have been easier if Kreedor's Haunted Castle wasn't The Maze.
On The Middle of Nowhere
- Bridal Carry: Walter to Tiren when they needed a flying escape.
- Costume Porn: invoked by Mary. But then again, who didn't want to see everyone in their Victorian formalwear?
- Dare to Be Badass: Played straight, yet inverted by, of all people, Elly to Sue. He dares her not to be a badass while fleeing.
Elly: "You're welcome to join if you don't want to die!"
- Walking Fanservice Scene: Mary becomes a Walking Swimsuit Scene and, much to his irritation, Izor becomes a Walking Shirtless Scene.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: the exposition on the island's inner workings. Which may justify the walking fanservice scenes and delve deeper into the psyche of certain characters than they may wish.
Back To School
- Cat Fight: Between Tiren and Sakura. Subverted in that it happens off screen.
- Brought Down to Normal:
- High School AU
- Manipulative Bitch In Sheep's Clothing: Mary and Sue meet Sakura and instantly hate her. So they yank at Tiren's newly developed heartstrings with bad dating advice. That way Tiren will take Sakura out without them getting their hands dirty. Sakura herself did nothing to deserve her mistreatment, short of being Genre Blind.
- Ship Tease: Walter/Tiren, Leeroy/Sal, Izor/Sue, Mary/Elly, Marty/Elly, & Tria/Elly.
- Sitting on the Roof: Used by Tiren and Fumiko in the High School arc. It is at this point Tiren realizes she has no idea who Fumiko is.
Festival Of Veils
- Cat Fight: Between Mary and the Queen.
- Cutting the Knot: When dealing with A king and a look alike who are identical and who various people what to kill for various reasons What does Sal tell them to do? Take off their hats!
- Death Glare: between Mary and the Queen.
- Doomed New Clothes: Mary is going to have to burn that Pimped-Out Dress.
- Reality Ensues: Sal just revealed who was the real king after the Queen threatened to kill the imposter. The first thing the Queen does is order Elly arrested to face trial (and death)
- Tennis With The Bosses: Between the King and Queen with the poor guards as the ball.
- Title Drop: "I forsee this coming Celebration of Veils will be beset by... Dubious Company."
- Victim Falls For Rapist/Double Standard Rape (Female on Male): Invoked and played straight by Raque on Elly, but it is swiftly averted and deconstructed. The readers are left feeling deliberately uncomfortable.
Star Something? (Title pending)
- Big Red Flashing Button: They litter the control panel to Sal's frustration.
- Continuity Nod: Izor still doesn't have a shirt.
- How Do I Operate Myself?: We could read the manuals, but someone's trying to kill us now.
- Indirect Sex: Leeroy interprets Sal becoming the ship he is in as indirect intimacy.
- Involuntary Voyuer: Sal's new form lets her see and hear everything that happens on the ship, whether she wants to or not.
- Phlebotinum Analogy: Sal tries explaining her predicament to the crew, but given they're all from a High Fantasy setting, she doesn't have the necessary knowledge base to get a proper analogy going.
The Evil Tower of Evil
- Combat Pragmatist: Tiren has never been shy about her love of fighting, but she kills the villain by taking one of the Prince's swords and kills the villain in mid spellcast
- Evil Laugh: "Right on Cue"
- Marriage to a God: Sal guesses this may be the reason why she and Tiren were captured.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Lord Nefarious
- Stalker with a Crush: The princes towards Tria and Sal
Supplemental and Filler
- A Form You Are Comfortable In: Phred visits Sal and Leeroy as a pair of sweatpants.
- Buffy-Speak: When the server crashed in September 2011, a picture was thrown up as a stop gap. In it, Tria can be seen saying "It went splody"
- Extranormal Institute: Walter's elementary school.
- Kill It with Fire: both of the Sues and Stus were subjected to this in their Troubled Backstory Flashback ™. The Sues' family and home were burned down three times. Gary's face was burned while protecting Marty during a fire fight with Nonspecific Evil Mage #157675. The culprit is still at large.
- Memetic Mutation: An errant comment that one of Sal's poses looks like a pin up has lead to a discussion about doing a pin up calender for the Crew.
- Shout-Out: Tria uses the Buster Sword in an early comic.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Pirate Barry. Word of God says he'll show up soon.