Multiplex is a Webcomic by Gordon McAlpin.
It's right over here.
Set in the (fictional) Multiplex 10 Cinema, the strip is an interesting blend of Comedy and Teen Drama, littered with lots of movie (and movie theater industry) commentary and criticism about everything from actual movies, to directors and actors, to the debates underlying certain documentaries. The various antics, misadventures, and industry-speak of the cast form the basis for a lot of the humor, and the entire basis for said drama (which thankfully comes in small doses).
The strip manages to create a good balance between all these elements, interspersing the movie commentary and relationship drama between lots of gags, more than one video game challenge, and a good dose of character development.
Despite its setting and the characters, it is very accessible, and the author is part of a podcast panel which goes into more detail on many freshly released movies, as just one of several projects.
The strip also has several things which make it easier to read, including a fairly helpful comments section, with a "related strips" sub-section, and it is one of the many webcomics starting to use a "tagger," which lets the reader cookie the strip they were reading.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Kurt's costume as "The Ghost of Girlfriends Present."
- Acceptable Targets: White people, as invoked by the black and Asian cast members.
- Author Allusion McAlpin makes numerous references to his (former) movie review site Movie Makeout.
- Armored Closet Gay: Chase, before an accidental threesome made him come to terms with his gayness.
- Art Shift: The standard style is vectorized characters and settings, but when the staff begins filming a zombie film the "camera view" is a sketchy black-and-white/gray-scaled graphic novel-esque style.
- Author Appeal: Movies
- His knowledge of the inner workings of movie theaters is actually pretty impressive considering he's never worked in one. He's just really determined to have accurate details.
- Bait and Switch Tyrant: Norma, whose strict adherence to company policy earns her the hatred of the staff who is used to a laissez faire management. She quickly proves that she truly cares about the staff, shows appreciation for a job well done, and even learns to loosen up a bit.
Melissa: (After Norma hands out promotions and raises to the majority of the cast) So... do we like Norma now or...?
- Better as Friends:
- Jason and Angie came to an agreement that his atheism and her Christianity was something he was incapable of getting around, and for the sake of keeping him from bickering about it, they broke up. They're still good friends and hang out after work though.
- Jason and Devi cycle in and out of this over the course of the strip.
- Beta Couple: Kurt and Melissa have dated pretty uneventfully for the entire run of the strip.
- Big No: ironically.
- Beware the Nice Ones: When Sunny finds out that Brian has been cheating on her with Gretchen for months, she snaps and decks both of them.
- Brick Joke: Melissa chews Jason out because she suspects he wants to hook up with an underage employee. Over a year later, he finds out Franklin did just that and calls Melissa in the middle of the night to simply tell her "I hate you."
- Jason promises to stop using "gay" as an insult and work the kiddie matinees as punishment if he slips up. Three months later, he can't help himself when he sees Chase's new Camp Gay persona and decides working the kids matinee is worth getting in the gay joke.
- Camp Gay: Chase, who finally comes out of the closet after posing as a macho womanizer, immediately turns into a camp gay. The other gay character (whose most overt homosexual characteristic is a penchant for pink shirts) goes back and forth between confused and offended.
- Character Development: Jason's been opening his mind to things that he's never thought to even give a chance before, after coming face to face with the idea of having to work in a movie theater the rest of his life. He's been reviewing movies for blogs and going to see movies he doesn't expect to be good.
- Whitey went from the Pretty Fly for a White Guy stereotype to a well rounded, intelligent and talented person.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Rookie's punishment for not doing the homework Kurt assigned him.
- Cosplay: One of the favorite activities of the staff is to dress up for big premiers.
- Curse Cut Short: This strip.
- Cutaway Gag: Discussed and parodied.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jason.
- Distaff Counterpart: Becky mentions that Lydia is like Jason with boobs.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Becky has Sunny do this to the Flickhead Video staff in Secret Weapon.
- Dream Within a Dream:
- Dumb Blonde: Sunny.
- Enforced Method Acting: Becky has an established weak stomach for horror gore. She's not faking it in this strip.
- Engineered Public Confession: Gretchen catches Brian this way.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Lizzie is among the men drooling over Ariela
- Fleeting Demographic Rule: Expect Jason to point out when this rears its ugly head in any new movie.
- Hate Dumb: In-Universe. This strip notes this in regards to Superman Returns.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Chase before he comes out and becomes the Camp Gay.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Jason and Kurt, to the point where Kurt admits after one week with Jason gone that his life is empty without him to banter with.
- Hidden Depths: Everyone. Particularly
- Angie: Believed to be an Emo Teen, turned out to be a Perky Goth who is a devout Christian.
- Sunny: Dumb Blonde cheerleader who dated Brian with major PDA and would sleep with him in the theater. Turns out she is also a devout Christian, becoming chaste because she wanted to focus on her faith, and aspires to be a social worker. Also, you should really watch out for her.
- Brian: The resident ditz. Turns out it was all a scam.
- Whitey/Dub: Seems like your average dumb stoner. Turns out to be a very talented funk & soul bass player with a bit more intelligence than his accent lets on.
- Hollywood Atheist: Jason had a problem dating Angie because he is an atheist and she is a Christian, and despite the fact that she has no problems with his lack of faith, he was always the one to bring up the topic and try to fight about it. It's justified, however--Jason is argumentative and opinionated about everything, it's his major character flaw and was presented as such before the subject of religion even arose.
- Hurricane of Puns: Kurt is enjoying his hand costume way too much.
- Hypocritical Humor: Melissa uses it to call Jason on some of his B.S regularly.
- I Call Him "Mister Happy": Jason has named his "The Night Projectionist."
- Ice Queen: Norma, who even looks a pale and frosty. Gretchen has several of the trope's traits too.
- The Jailbait Wait: Kurt and Hiccup suggest Jason do this with Jailbait (natch).
- And wait he did. Though it looks as though all the time he spent avoiding Jailbait has come back to bite him in the ass.
- Jerkass: Jason.
- Mama Bear: Norma is protective of her employees.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Invoked by Jason.
- Mr. Fanservice: Jamal.
- Naked People Are Funny: Used several times. Melissa sets Kurt up to walk naked into a theater and the punchline of this strip.
- Meganekko: Becky and her adorable glasses.
- Never Heard That One Before: Kurt, in the very first strip.
- Never Live It Down: In-universe. Jason checks out a girl's ass, not knowing that she's Melissa's little sister and 12. Melissa harps on it for years.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Brian.
- One Steve Limit: Discussed.
- Opinion Myopia: Jason believes Michael Bay is the devil and woe be to anyone who disagrees with him.
- Oscar Bait: Referenced, by name, in this strip.
- Papa Wolf: Neil, in this strip
- Paparazzi: Gretchen considers herself an "investigative reporter" in training. Really, she's just a completely unlikable gossip who is willing to sleep around and use minor blackmail to dig up dirt on the personal lives of her fellow employees.
- Perky Goth: Angie.
- Put on a Bus: Dom, and how. Introduced as a member of Whitey's band in the same strip he starts up a relationship with Becky, his time in the strip ends with her breaking up right after sex on Valentine's Day and then getting tossed out of his band for leaving them stuck playing covers because he doesn't practice.
- Queer People Are Funny: Neil is highly annoyed with Jason and Kurt's attitude toward using gay jokes and using "gay" or "queer" as an insult.
- Really Gets Around: Max.
- Running Gag: A few strips begin with this setting: "Someone left the west exit open. We need to check the building again."
- Shipper on Deck: Oddly, the whole theater staff seemed to join in on an elaborate scheme to help Neil hook up with his crush.
- Shout-Out: Constantly and everywhere about any movie they can reference - and it works wonderfully.
- Shown Their Work: The author has never worked in a movie theater, but he goes out of his way to depict a realistic cinema, including back room staff-only areas like the projection booths.
- The Snark Knight: Jason's taste in movies is what he would consider to be distinguished and high brow. He has no problem admonishing others for their choice of films.
- Stalker with a Crush: Keith for Angie. It gets so scary he ends up fired after he attacks Jason and frightens Angie. It's even hinted that he came back to get Jason with a butcher's knife, but aborted the plan when he found out Jason had borrowed the security guard's taser.
- Earlier in the strip, one of the running gags was Melissa's stalker, who was a much tamer version than Keith. He was more of an annoyance and faded away.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: Neil gets incredibly angry about the way Chase is such a flamboyant gay, and chews him out a lot for it, eventually causing Chase to have an emotional breakdown.
- Invisible to Gaydar: Neil. He wears a pink shirt, but besides that he acts like any other employee in the theater. He's also been trying to "fix" the Camp Gay character who endlessly frustrates him.
Neil: "Just act like a normal person!!"
- Take That: To AT&T.
- Teen Drama: In small doses.
- This Is Sparta: "Nobody. Screws. With. My. Kids."
- Trope Name: In The One About Shrek the Third.
- Tropes Are Not Bad: Kurt is trying to convince Jason of this while writing and shooting their zombie flick. He'd be a bit more convincing if he actually wrote the tropes in well.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Jason, and some other characters to lesser extents.
- Webcomic Time: Played with, in that McAlpin will generally inform us how long a story arc took and when we can start assuming its the present day again (as opposed to last Thursday or the previous week).
- What the Hell, Hero?: Becky chews out Jason for ditching his date because she was obnoxiously texting in the middle of a movie. Jason then responds by pointing out that Becky waited to break up with her boyfriend until immediately after she got one last sex out of him first. They then concluded that they're both jackasses.
- White Man's Burden: Tease gets irate and points this out about The Help.
- The Windy City: The comic is set in the northern suburbs.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Sunny thinks she has romance all figured out. Too bad she's in a humor comic.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: Pulled on Jason.
- You Have to Have Jews: The strip has been criticized for lampshading this trope.