Friday, October 8, 2010

Webcomics: Achewood and A Softer World

Alright, I've gone through quite a few webcomics. Some are good, some are bad. The ones that are bad, I don't read through. The good ones, I read every single comic from start to finish. I'm through twelve of them now, and I've got the skinny on each of them, and highly suggest that you check them out.

This is my first of a series of posts on webcomics that I've read. I'll cover two in each post. This week, I'm spotlighting Achewood and A Softer World.

by Chris Onstad
Achewood is one of those comics that either you LOVE it or you HATE it. There really isn't much in-between on it. It chronicles the adventures of a group of stuffed animals based off of the stuffed animals of Chris Onstad's wife. It mainly focuses on Ray Smuckles, a multi-millionaire cat that has gotten his fortune through his record company and sheer luck, and his best friend Roast Beef, a horribly depressed cat who Onstad explains is from "Circumstances". Other characters include Philippe, an otter that is stuck as a five-year-old, and Téodor, a bear that is probably the most normal of everyone in the comic (which isn't saying much).

  • A lot of comics - Achewood is nine years old, and for a long time had updates three times a week, meaning there are 1000-1500 comics for you to enjoy.
  • Very story-driven - Onstad consistently goes off on funny arcs that explain the characters' personalities and backgrounds.
  • Character development - As you read through the comic, you start to identify with each character, which can make Achewood's humor even funnier.
  • Extra content - For $2.99 per month, you can get extra updates. Blog posts from each character, special comics, Onstad's tweets, and more.
  • Alt-text
  • Inconsistent updates - As of late, Onstad has neglected to make comics. In the last six weeks, he has made four comics. He used to update three times a week, so you have to wonder what happened.
  • Very story-driven - If you like your comics with just a punch line, Achewood has them, but it has a ridiculous amount of stories lasting weeks at a time. If you don't like the story, you miss a lot of comics. 
  • Not a pick-up-and-read comic - If you don't start reading from the beginning, you lose a lot of info compared with if you start with comic 1.

A Softer World
by Joey Comeau and Emily Horne
A Softer World is a photographic webcomic, meaning that instead of drawings, the artwork is photographs. Emily Horne takes the pictures, and sends them to Joey Comeau, who comes up with the text. The humor is dark, one of the darkest on the internet, but it's ridiculously funny, especially with the picture in the background complementing it.

  • Punch line - Since there's no continuity, every comic needs to be funny, and most deliver, with the ones that don't being meaningful in their own way.
  • Photo background - It gives A Softer World a feel that no other comic can match.
  • Pick-up-and-read - You can read just about any comic and you don't need to know anything about any other comics.
  • Extremely quotable - At least 10% of A Softer World's 600 comics are something that you could easily use during a stand-up comedy routine.
  • Updates often - Updates multiple times per week.
  • Alt-text
  • Extremely dark humor - Some of the comics are so dark they make you cringe and wonder why Comeau would write that.
  • Sometimes isn't funny - It's rare, but sometimes these comics typically make you think about other things, including life and death.

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