El Goonish Shive

From Egs Mayhem

The masterpiece of your Lord and Master. You know you love it.

El Goonish Shive (EGS for short) is a webcomic by Dan Shive, launched on January 21 2002 It depicts the lives of a group of friends who are currently in their junior year of high school. They are subject to mundane problems of teenage life including disapproving parents, nasty rumours and arbitrary school decisions, and also to problems involving magic, aliens, parallel dimensions and superscience. The characters are complex and believable presentation is attempted despite humorous undertones and a setting where, for instance, females can use Hammerspace. El Goonish Shive is set in the present but is not an editorial strip and doesn't comment on current events.

Storylines are usually long and involved, forming a continuous plot, rarely returning things to the way they were. The chronology of the strip has advanced by a few weeks in five years of production.

Elements of the setting are inspired by a multitude of sources in science fiction, fantasy and mystery, while the setting as a whole is organized and consistent within the comic. For instance, both the existance of transformation guns and that Grace can be a shape-shifting half-squirrel girl have eventually been traced back to the alien Uryuoms. Since the comic's launch, the nature of the humor changed from simple gags like references to “Clerks” or “Dude, where's my car” towards character juxtaposition and acute observations of character behavior.

El Goonish Shive has a small but vibrant Forum-based internet community on Keenspot (which it joined on September 10 2003), which contributes relatively large amounts of fanart and discussion on the comic.


Spoiler warning: Just scroll to the links below and read the comic. It's a lot more fun than reading an overview. Srsly.

Much of the plot is divided into story arcs, while stories of no or little importance for the main stories are narrated outside of the main context of EGS in El Goonish Shive: Newspaper. The most important story arcs are:

  • Introductions, non-canonical introduction in which Elliot, Tedd and Sarah first appear and Hammerspace is explained.
  • Goo, in which Tedd accidentally brings goo to life, and Elliot must destroy it. First canonical story.
  • Shade, introducing Grace.
  • Relations, in which
    • Tedd finds out that Grace “likes” him,
    • Justin and Nanase are introduced,
    • Sarah tells Elliot that she loves him and
    • Nanase breaks up with Elliot.
  • Catnip, in which the transformation gun is shown for the first time and Grace’s personality expanded.
  • Sister†, in which
    • Susan is introduced,
    • Elliot is transformed into a girl and subsequently, Ellen is created,
    • and the goo returns and is ultimately defeated.
  • Night Out†, which involves a humorous night at the movies in which Tedd and Grace have switched bodies, as well as a serious event in which Nanase realizes she is a lesbian.
  • Tam eh Tedd, in which the transformation gun is explained, and the Uryuoms first appear.
  • Painted Black†, in which Elliot is abducted by Damien and rescued by Grace, Ellen and Nanase.
  • Second Life, Ellen experiences a second life in her dreams, magically given to her by Nioi, who is from another dimesion.
  • Grace’s Birthday Party†, showing the celebration of Grace’s 18th birthday, a party for which the main characters (save for Ellen) switch genders. Towards the end of this arc, Ellen and Nanase begin to develop a romantic relationship.
  • Hidden Genesis, which takes place two years before the comic begins. This arc explains the origin and backstory of Magus, a shadowy ghost who is suspected to be manipulating events in previous story arcs.
  • The After Party, showing the various activities of the main characters since Grace's party, including revealing to the other characters the nature of Ellen and Nanase's relationship. Ellen and Grace begin attending Moperville South and Ellen, Grace, Nanase, and Justin discover Diane's unnatural resemblance to Susan.
  • Sister II: Awakenings, the most recent story arc, in which Elliot and Ellen 'awaken', or gain the ability to use magic: for Elliot, this manifests in him turning into a girl at random occasions, and Ellen's transformation beam is on a hair trigger.

†major story arcs with multiple parts.

Collected editions

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