User Friendly

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    With its tagline of "Impairing productivity since 1997", the webcomic User Friendly covered the antics of the staff at a small ISP and frequently brought current events in the IT field into its strips. As well the comics themselves, the site became known for its "comments" section, which grew an active and friendly community that outlasted the strips by some years.

    Similar to Ctrl+Alt+Del and PvP, it became a bit infamous for its egotistical creator, J. D. "Illiad" Fraser, who has been very outspoken on several topics about both webcomics and the computer industry. Much of it came from perceived laziness, since the strip very often did cop out when it came to fresh content.

    The strip provided a new comic every day from its launch in 1997 until 2009, when Illiad took a sabbatical and the site re-ran old strips. The last original strips were published in 2010, thus it counts as a defunct web comic. The site was shut down in February 2022 after an announcement by the author. At that point, at least some of the comics were available on

    Tropes used in User Friendly include:
    • Affectionate Parody: Gentler than most -- it chides nerddom and programmers now and then when they become too obsessive or Slashdot is in uproar over something trivial.
    • Art Evolution: Surprisingly averted, whether intentionally or what. Rather sadly, there has been very little change in Illiad's art style from his very beginning strips to his most current - in almost 13 years his artistic style has remained very ... rough.
      • Even averted in the occasional "Illiad for a day" competitions, where fans submitted their own strips. The rules stipulated that they must use copy-pasted art from old strips rather than drawing anything new.
    • Author Avatar: Illiad's paper-bag-over-head character, though he rarely interacts with the day-to-day plotlines.
    • Benevolent Boss: The Chief, though he's a little more world-weary and underhanded than others.
    • Bring My Brown Pants: AJ, for good reason.
    • Butt Monkey: Stef, usually. Also almost every Microsoft employee that was featured.
    • Caffeine Bullet Time: "I JUST REWROTE THE ENTIRE LINUX KERNEL!" "When did you learn how to code?" "TODAY!"
    • Cerebus Syndrome: Later story lines included Sid getting cancer, and A.J. joining the army and being sent to Afghanistan.
    • Deadpan Snarker: Erwin the A.I.
    • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Several of the main cast, and with Cthulhu himself even! He still maintains his malevolence.
    • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kuan. See Speak of the Devil, below.
    • Due to the Dead: Certain celebrities beloved by the author have received memorial Sunday strips. Chuck Jones, E. Gary Gygax, Mary Travers... Major Tear Jerker territory.
      • Every Veterans' Day strip.
    • Instant AI, Just Add Water: Or in this case, Dust Puppy.
    • Filk Song: Illiad occasionally uses the Sunday side story for these. E.g. "My Blog", to the tune of "Lump".
    • Karma Houdini: Pitr sexually harassed Miranda (passing off shower photos as space pix), and Sid murdered an intern by proxy. They both still work at Columbia Internet.
    • Leisure Suit Larry: Stef, just Stef. Has a thing for butter and Miranda. In that order.
    • Lzherusskie: Pitr, because the book he read said evil geniuses are supposed to have a stereotypically villainous accent.
    • Misery Builds Character: Sid claims that obsessive addiction to Nethack is a good thing because it helps build character.
    • Monkeys on a Typewriter: Referenced in this strip.
    • Must Have Caffeine: Manifests in many forms, including a Kool-Aid Man parody that haunts Greg with bizarre "you need caffeine" strawman arguments.
    • Nerd/Geek: Nerds and geeks, meet A.J. He is now your leader. So stereotypically nerdy, he inspired the creation of Sex Tips for Geeks.
    • Nerds Are Sexy: Miranda.
    • Old Master: Sid.
    • Reality Ensues: A Very Special Week reminding us about Remembrance Day and how it's not just about World War I and II's dead any more. In this and the next five strips, no-one's laughing, least of all Sid. Another story line deals with getting cancer. A later story has A.J. joining the army, and being sent to Afghanistan where he is wounded in action.
      • Much earlier, following the September 11th attacks, the techs pulled out of their remote office in an old missile silo. "After the last few days, living in a missile silo just isn't cool anymore."
    • Reset Button
    • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Team Pet Dust Puppy.
    • Running Gag: Several.
      • Stef being useless at Quake and blaming it on "packet loss".
        • Stef falling in the lava in every game he played, even if the lava is supposedly inaccessible.
      • AJ's inability to talk to Miranda. Eventually Averted.
      • Within the comments, any actual discussion of the strip was marked "OT" (On Topic) and frequently followed by the question, "There's a comic?"
    • Schedule Slip Very notably averted, with an update every single day for over a decade, until personal issues forced Illiad to take a two-month break in 2009. Now taken to severe extremes, as a new strip has not been posted since 2010, just reruns.
      • With only three weeks of actual new strips (in November 2010, and discounting some user-created ones) since December 2009, it has officially entered Orphaned Series territory.
    • Speak of the Devil: Hastur. Yes, Hastur. Yes, that -- oh no you don't! Too late. I was in the next room.
    • Team Pet: Dust Puppy, an innocent, adorable ball of fluff with feet and big eyes who happens to be a God at Quake.
    • The Poppy: Appears on Veterans day.
    • Tropes for Dummies: How Pitr started on the path of evil genius-hood.
    • Unsound Effect: code code justify code.