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"I am just a weak-minded child trying to survive in a culture where the highest thing a person can aspire to is knowing a lot about music."
Unwinder, a possibly non-canon, but still pretty accurate, self-assessment

Unwinder's Tall Comics is a metafictional Magic Realism Slice of Life webcomic by Wilson "Eli" Parker, also known as the creator of Powerup Comics. The comic is a satire of modern youth culture--particularly the oversaturation of trivialities and entertainment--and an Affectionate Parody of suburban Minnesota.

At the heart of the comic is Unwinder, a kid who's clearly a little too Genre Savvy for his own good: wildly inventive, yet completely incapable of recognizing the fine line between creativity and idiocy. He thinks rock bands should play pranks on the audience instead of music. He consumes entertainment solely so he can reference it in his conversations. He sends unsolicited scripts for TV ads to Taco Bell. He invents internet memes, then invents webcomics solely to spread these memes. He is, in short, a product of the Information Age Gone Horribly Right.

Rounding out the central cast are Unwinder's eternally cheerful girlfriend, Mildred; his friend and punching bag, Barbecue Sauce; and the Only Sane Man, Horse-Man.

There is no overarching plot, though the humor is becoming increasingly dependent on continuity. The comic updates irregularly, usually on Saturdays.

It also features what may possibly be the best parody of TV Tropes, ever.

Provides examples of:

  • Alt Text: Added when Parker revamped the website.
  • Art Shift: Honestly, it would be easier to list all the pages that don't feature this.
  • Anti-Humor: Unwinder's box of rejected ideas includes "Normal Al", who parodies Weird Al Yankovic by doing straight cover versions of every song that Weird Al parodied as well as rewriting Weird Al's original songs to be completely serious.
  • Back to Front: "The Accident".
  • B Side Comics: Apocalyptus: Thrift and Peril, Your Guess is as Good as Mine.
  • The Bechdel Test: Parodied in #100

 Unwinder: Ever heard of the Rastov test?

Barbecue Sauce: Is that like where a book or movie is only good if it has less than four warring factions, and they have to say at least one sentence that isn't full of made-up space jargon?


 Unwinder: Doc, pick a masculine thing to learn about, or I'll pick one for you.

Dr. Minivan: Well, I've heard good things about using duct tape for various tasks.

Unwinder: Excellent choice! Horse-Man, go over to Hardware Hank and get this guy a roll of duct tape large enough to compensate for something.


 Unwinder: Reading some manga there?

Barbecue Sauce: No.

Unwinder: Reading some non-canon comic continuations of old, canceled, BBC science fiction shows?

Barbecue Sauce: No! I mean, most fans consider them Canon, since they got some of the original writers.

  • Klatchian Coffee: "The Huffy Dimension".
  • Lampshade Hanging: Parker tackles the issue of "Why do Unwinder and Horse-Man spend so much time together?" by having the characters themselves ask the question and fail to arrive at an answer.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: Amy, preteen cracker.
  • Meta Fiction
  • Mundane Ghost Story: The dreaded Dying Alone Snakes.
  • Narrative Filigree: Cranked up to eleven by the in-story novel The Gun and the Grapes, a mystery story where every relevant detail is buried under a mountain of irrelevant ones.
  • Noble Demon: Spondulio Wealthmonger claims to be thoroughly selfish, and that his many extravagant acts of charity are just the first steps in elaborate schemes to make himself filthy rich.
  • Posthumous Character: Gary P. Rastov. He died before the comic began, but his legacy lives on in the War of the Seven Stars novels he wrote.
  • Only Sane Man: Horse-Man.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies of the After Dark series are super-handsome basketball players who can fly.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Deliberately invoked by Unwinder here.
  • Scare'Em Straight: Horse-Man tries to dissuade Unwinder from smoking pot by introducing Unwinder to Lion-Man's pro-weed blog.
  • Schedule Slip: Egregiously.
  • Shallow Parody: Discussed in The Rant and played with. In one strip, Eli Parker admits that he doesn't know very much about Lady Gaga at all--so instead of making a joke about Lady Gaga, he made a joke about his characters not knowing very much about Lady Gaga. Then for the strip about K2: The Death of Kane, Parker notes how many "Citizen Kane sequel that completely misses the point" jokes only seem to parody the plot points that have spread via Popcultural Osmosis--so Parker made his own version of the joke that only makes sense if you've actually watched all of Citizen Kane.
  • Shout-Out: Dr. Minivan shops at The Green Grocer.
  • Something Completely Different: Apocalyptus: Thrift and Peril, a story based on a Steampunk tabletop RPG session, was initially placed in the middle of the comic's main archive. But when the website was revamped, Apocalyptus was moved to a separate archive.
  • The Stoner: Lion-Man.

 Alt Text: It is not April 20th. The image of Lion-Man carries a powerful and mystic "4:20 aura".


 Other guy: OK, is it like a dream of yours to get booed off of a stage?

Unwinder: No, see, the real music is the jeers of the angry crowd! They are the true instruments, and you have been playing them from square one!