Clay: that's me. When I was originally trying to come up with a concept to submit to the newspaper, I kept thinking of jokes where I could come in as myself in the tradition of Frank Cho of "Libery Meadows" fame. I liked these ideas so much I scrapped the original idea and decided to make it a comic about me and my life (albiet altered to reflect my very strange sense of humor). Most of the time, the character of me is stuck in horrible situations of my own doing, but at other times my ego shows through and the result is images like the first one. The second picture depicts my love for friendly fighting. And the third is shows I'm not very photogenic. eh. The comic that most accurately depicts my personality: Ninja. Surreal U is, at times, just a metaphore for my views on events in my life.

Rachel: My best friend in the strip. In the comic she has to put up with my insanity, just like in real life. In true life, Rachel is a lot sweeter, but no less frustrated. She prefers to be drawn with elvish features; I based her looks on the Ranma 1/2 character Akane when I started the comic, 'cause she looks relatively close to that in real life, as you can judge for youself based on this photo that I took. Isn't she cute? The comic that most accurately depicts her true personality: Interpretive Dance.

This is Kit, plasma physics major and martial arts mentor/antagonist. When he is around, there is usually a good fight. Kit doesn't like to fight me in real life anymore, cause I kinda... broke his elbow... um yeah, about that... it was all in good fun, I swear. Kit's role in the comic was recently more illuminated; turns out all of his fighting has a purpose behind it.


Yes, the villaness of the strip is real too. Of course, in real life, I do think of her as an evil genuis (ask her about her world domination plans sometime), but she's pretty sweet too.
And because people inquired, I must tell you that she is not naked in that pic, merely in a tubetop.
Julia's theme song.


Poe is Julia's familiar. She adopted him from Neko the kitty. Special follow-up comic to that on Neko's site here. Photo thanks to a fan.

There is an evil Clay from an alternate future where everyone has mullets. Evil Clay told us several strange things about the future (among them that Kit was now dead, possibly by Evil Clay's hand). As he is a few years older than Kit and myself, he was easily able to kick our butts. Thank goodness Rachel knocked him off the panel. He may still be around... nobody knows what happens off panel... Update: He came back for the Spring Break from Hell storyline and plays a prominent role in the Two Many Doubles storyline.

Jesus (or J.C. for short) is my roommate. I wasn't too thrilled about the deal but you can't really refuse God. Besides, he wards off Chthulu every now and then. I just wish he would stop eating my food. I am really proud about the subtle Nietze joke that I did during his introduction.

If you have Jesus, the Devil is sure to be around too, right? Lucifer would love to send me to hell again, so I've got to be wary of him. And his allies.

Regis wanted to be in the strip, and he wanted to do a stupid strip where he comes in and makes fun of me. Not gonna happen as long as I'm at the helm. See what I mean here. He also works for the student paper, writing a humor column. Some day we'll have to switch jobs. That photo is scary, I know, but so is Regis.


Ben Corley is known as Corley to avoid confusing him with another Ben (Sergio). He likes swords and booze. That's about where the charm ends.


Dillon is the uber-gamer. He has no life. I worry about him.


Jake is a hopeless romantic and very chivalrous. He's also one of the biggest nerds on the planet. He dreamed (literally) the halloween plot where I got shot.

Mark and Tessa were never really intended to be in the comic. But I named an extra Tessa without thinking about it, and well, things got out of control. Ironically, my relationship with these two in the comic isn't that far from what it is in real life. Since the naming is unintentional, they look nothing like the real Mark and Tessa.

Sergio is a man that vied for the affections of Rachel; unfortunately while I was stuck in her body. He is based in some ways around the guy that Rachel was engaged too(alas, no longer), pictured here with some modifications.

Linus is a wizened nerd of epic proportions. SCA veteran, D&D first edition roleplayer, and every table-top game is his domain. He's also a non-tradition student that befriended us.

Epstein: The caption in the first image explains it all. When I want to go the sci-fi rought, I usually call in Epstien, who is not based on any particular person in reality. Most of Epstien's science seems to be twisted towards the goal of getting girls. He is of coarse named after the guy from welcome back Kotter. As the comic went on, he became a lot cooler looking. His best comic is here.

Abra is Rachel's room mate, and Kit's ex-fiance (though that never really comes up in the comic). She is there to make terse remarks.

Cana: A beautiful former prom queen and cheerleader that I had the privledge to date first semester. But even better than her looks were her brains and sense of humor; she inspired a lot of comics. The breakup inspired the 3 foot ninja comic.

Tara: A friend of Cana's and mine. She loved the fame that being in the comic brought, too bad she won't be with us anymore; she's going to school somewhere down south. Her hair was actually quite curly, but that was to hard to make look good.

Jake:Based on a guy that actually lived on my floor, Jake actually called me the pimp (for reasons I have yet to figure out). In the comic Jake is slightly evil, as one would expect from a pimp. I have no idea where he is now. Look for the comic that "he" drew himself here.


Sometimes Rachel brags about being cute; so I couldn't resist the corelation with magical pricess animes. Rachel really hates being called Ray-Ray, so the cat girl probably won't come back, unless I want to risk my own life. Edit: She did come back... I'm still alive.

Mort: I originally intended Mort to be used in morbid jokes, but I decided to use him in a murder-mystery, which kinda spoiled that reoccuring character potential. Like Epstein, he is not really a person I know, but it was funny to have people guess who he could be.

Who knows? I think his name is Jon.

Surreal U is hosted on Keenspace, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics. I rock.

Semester Synopsises:

I never planned to have storylines at all in the comic really, but by the end of the first semester, they were starting to establish themselves. This is why Surreal U feels so strange, it was all done on a lark, and I often didn't even think of dialouge until I was typing it onto the image.

First semester: In this semester, I established some of the things that wouldn't really make any dent in the plot until much later, such as the fact that Wyoming is in the fifth strata of hell. Overall, this section of the comic is an embarrassment to me now, because I've improved so much since then. But there are some classics, such as the three-foot ninja.

Second semester: This one established more things that would really stay in the tone of the comic, such as the mocking anime homages, as well as the relationships between the characters. A very good semester.

Third semester: The Great Gender Missplacement is perhaps my most cliched one, but Surreal U thrives on using cliches, so it works really well. Some of my favorite jokes, like the fish in Regis' pants, are found in this one.

Fourth semester: Not much happened during this semester, due to several high level-classes I was taking, but it did leave a plot hole which I fixed much later. I found the concept of annoying the fans with an unresolved story amusing. My stupid editor did not, so I was fired from the school paper.

Fifth semester: Since I was no longer under the tyranny of editors, I started to experiment with what I could do. Some experements were better recieved by the public than others. Spring break from hell started to solidify the plot in my mind, and Julia made for a great villan.

Sixth semester: Plot, plot, plot. Things are getting heavy, and it all ends this semster.

Surreal U by Clay Barkdull