|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2011)|
|Current status / schedule||Monday, Wednesday, Friday|
|Launch date||January 2003|
Suburban Tribe was a webcomic written and illustrated by John Lee launched in January 2003. The comic alternates between story arcs that further plot and character development and stand-alone jokes. The comics tend to be relatively risqué, with bodily functions and sex often part of the humor. The longer plot arcs focus on the characters' love lives (usually failures), the frustrations of the corporate workplace, and the rivalry between Dave and Caesar, a super-intelligent cat.
A printed volume of the comic was released in May 2006. Lee originally tried to have the comic published in newspapers, but all five comic syndicates rejected it. A local newspaper ran a story on Lee and his comic in June 2006, and this was followed by an interview with a television outlet.
Caesar and Dave first cross swords during Dave and Alan's attempt to market catfood to unsuspecting single men under the name "Bachelor's Bounty". Caesar, frustrated by the fact that Alan and Dave have purchased all the catfood in Louisville, foils the scheme. Along the way, Dave discovers Caesar is a literate genius.
Shortly thereafter, Dave loses a lot of money to an online casino, but he discovers that Caesar is responsible and refuses to pay him. After the enforcer he hired fails to disable Dave and Skip, Caesar plans to kill Dave by hijacking a satellite and making blue ice fall on him. At the same time, Tiffany and Alan are chosen to chisel the Cheez Whiz logo into the moon's surface.
Dave arranges for Caesar to be kidnapped, but he escapes and hacks into a satellite to call in more blue ice. The satellite veers out of control towards Tiffany and Alan's space shuttle, and Alan destroys it. Carol, who was attempting to rescue Caesar, ends up in the Arizona desert, where the wreckage of the satellite Alan destroyed lands on her.
Caesar hacks into the American military's database and steals an intelligent can opener, but is caught and The Pentagon recognizes him as the result of an experiment they did many years ago. The head of the National Security Agency arranges for Caesar to be kidnapped.
Meanwhile, Alan has become a big fan of a new music star, Haley Bhairavi. He obtains a backstage pass to her concert, and Haley is immediately taken with him. After she becomes Alan's girlfriend, General Armbuster calls Haley (an agent for the NSA) to take Caesar, his owner Tiffany, and her friends prisoner so they can be questioned. Distressed by the position she has put herself and her friends in, Haley resigns. It is revealed that she is actually Carol, rescued from the fallen satellite wreckage and transformed into Haley by means of a computer chip. The Pentagon releases her, her friends, and Caesar.
In the aftermath of the Haley fiasco, Alan is heartbroken and Carol's efforts to get his attention fail. Seeing that Haley is going on another tour, Alan buys tickets and falls in love with the new Haley while Carol watches helplessly.
Meanwhile, Dave and Skip release highly classified information, and the new Haley decides to kill them in order to plug the leak. General Armbuster arrives, explains to Carol that the new Haley is a rogue agent, and implants a copy of the Haley computer chip in her. Dave and Skip destroy the classified computer program, and Armbuster kills the other Haley with Carol's help.
- Alan Woods is art director for the advertising firm Yesman & Puckerup. He is Dave's roommate, Jessica's ex-boyfriend, and Carol's crush. Continually frustrated in his quest for a girlfriend, he was introduced 20 January 2003.
- Carol Bradley is attractive but thoroughly stupid. At one point, she was Alan's girlfriend while disguised as Haley, but has been unable to attract his attentions as herself. She was introduced January 20, 2003.
- Tiffany Dawber is materialistic and nearly nymphomaniacal. Alan's friend and Account Executive, she lives with her cat Caesar. Currently, she is estranged from her coworkers and friends due to her behavior in and out of the workplace. She was introduced along with Carol and Alan January 20, 2003.
- Dave Jablonski is a computer programmer and Alan's roommate. A surly bachelor, he is considered crazy by his friends because he thinks Caesar is hyper-intelligent. He was introduced 29 January 2003.
- Caesar is Tiffany's ingenious cat. Literate and well-connected through the internet, Caesar drew the attention of the Pentagon (who originally made him super-intelligent via an implanted computer chip) when he hacked into its computer and stole the plans for an AI can-opener. Dave and Carol are aware of his intelligence. He was introduced 13 February 2003.
- Skip Peters is Alan and Dave's friend. Coworker of Dave, he is a newlywed and a conspiracy theorist. Possibly bisexual, he is unhappy in his marriage, although that might change since he has seen the consequences of Roger Thornhill's continuous infidelity. He was introduced preparing for his wedding on 12 February 2003.
- Roger Thornhill is the boss of Tiffany, Alan, Carol, and Jessica. He is a middle-aged, philandering George W. Bush supporter. Carol's boyfriend at one point in time, he lost his front teeth after he hit on Jessica and she responded by smashing a wine glass against his face. He was introduced 12 March 2003.
- Alice is a secretary for Yesman & Puckerup.
- General Armbuster is formerly the member of the United States military in charge of the National Security Agency. After being framed for the murder of his friend Dr. Sadarski, he lost his job and was imprisoned. He did, however, manage to escape and kill the true culprit with the help of Carol.
- Britney was Alan, Tiffany, and Carol's boss at Yesman & Puckerup. She was known for doing ridiculous things, like firing Alan after she had made a mistake and attempting to find and clone a dinosaur after the characters in Jurassic Park. She was fired for sexual harassment of Jessica, and was last seen managing Alan's favorite coffee shop.
- Candi is Alan's ex-girlfriend. She hired him as an employee for Victoria's Secret after Britney fired him.
- Jackie Dallas was a stripper who fell in love with Dave. She died when Carol unwittingly made her a dinner full of things she was allergic to.
- Haley Bhairavi is a classical cellist, Alan's occasional girlfriend, and secret agent. In reality, "Haley" is a computer chip designed by the United States government as a secret agent. Currently, Carol Bradley is able to transform into her at will.
- John Sadarski is the Pentagon's specialist in science and technology. He was murdered by Anna Kerruish after attempting to curb her behavior.
- Anna Kerruish is another secret agent for the American government. She replaced Carol as Haley, but she became a rogue agent. After murdering Dr. Sadarski and framing General Armbuster for it, she burned a priceless painting to impress Alan and attempted to gain control of a world-controlling computer program. After Carol prevented this from happening, General Armbuster killed her.
- Shaggy McWhiskey is a Leprechaun. He was captured by Caesar and Dave, but escaped when a potato gun smashed his physical form. He has since returned and is presently living with Dave and Alan.
- Jessica Mancini is a former paleontologist and a shameless flirt, also Alan's former girlfriend. She has an uncanny ability to know when someone else is having a party. For a short time, she pretended to love Alan in order to get at his money. After she was fired from her paleontology job, she was employed at Yesman & Puckerup in spite of her lack of experience because Britney was attracted to her. She was introduced 14 January 2004.
- Alan's nephew is an extremely sheltered boy. Every once in a while, Alan babysits him. On one such occasion, Dave told him that Santa Claus is not real. After seeing his nephew's distress, Alan forced Tiffany and Dave to kiss in order to "prove" Dave's earlier statement wrong.
- "Halloween Month" occurs once every year. During the month of October, the normal storyline is suspended and horror stories are told. Anything, including the deaths of characters, is possible in these stories. For example, Dave and Alan were sacrificed by two demons in 2003 and a possessed doll killed Jessica, Carol, and Tiffany in 2005.
- "Ask a Suburban Tribe Cast Member" is an occasional feature in which a single day's comic is devoted to answering a question e-mailed to Lee.
Indefinite Hiatus and Return
On Friday, August 17, 2007, Lee officially announced he was taking a break from producing new comics, deciding to instead focus his energy on other endeavors. According to his newspost, Lee cited less-than-satisfactory viewer statistics (in the form of page views) and a general lack of interest from the webcomics community as two motivating factors for taking a break from the strip. To back this claim, Lee noted 'that none of the major webcomic news hubs has registered my announcement one week later—after I've published 860 strips over nearly 5 years—kind of sums up the situation.' However, Lee seems to have instead adopted a less rigorous schedule, releasing a new comic every Monday, featuring his core cast of characters in an alternate time line of about 5 years ago.
- "Publication of Suburban Tribe #1". Archived from the original on 2006-06-24. Retrieved 2006-06-05.
- "Newspaper Article". Archived from the original on 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2006-06-28.
- "Introduction of Alan". Archived from the original on 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2006-06-05.
- "Introduction of Carol". Archived from the original on 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2006-06-05.
- "Introduction of Tiffany". Archived from the original on 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2006-06-05.
- "Introduction of Dave". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Introduction of Caesar". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Introduction of Skip". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Introduction of Roger". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Britney fired". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Britney managing Alan's favorite coffee shop". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Leprechaun being captured by Caesar". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Leprechaun taking up residence in Dave's house". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Introduction of Jessica". Retrieved 2006-06-05.[dead link]
- "Hiatus of SuburbanTribe". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-28.