The webcomics blog about webcomics

Bad Advice?

Web Comics and advice columns, they go together… right?

Penny Arcade had one (though all evidence of it’s existence has been removed from the site as far as I can tell), Natalie Dee has one and Goats even had one once!

Seriously though, why an advice column? Well, I’ve been thinking about it, and I think that advice columns are just intrinsically amusing and intriguing. I, for one, read Dan Savage every week and even go as far as to peek at the “Dear Whoever�? columns in the local trash tabloids. Web comic advice columns seemed to tap into that potential comedy. I don’t know if Diablo’s contribution over at Goats (almost six years ago!) really counts since he doesn’t write the comic. Never the less, his “advice�? was, for the most part, harmless banter and a bit of fun – something in line with the whole comedy web comic experience.

Natalie Dee’s advice column is different in that she actually gives people advice. What a novel concept! Natalie seems to know a thing or two, and she injects her unique sense of humor into the column, but it seems to me that her advice can be a little shallow sometimes. Occasionally I appreciate the no bullshit attitude, but other times I worry that she might be really messing somebody out there up. It’s not like she’s a qualified advice columnist, but then again, who is?

One person who most certainly wasn’t (and, I assume, still isn’t) is Penny Arcade’s Batjew. Love and Hate was the advice column answered by Gabe’s wife Kara and Batjew. It was one part Diablo’s Goats column and one part Natalie Dee column. Kara would do her best to give intelligent considerate advice, and Batjew would recommend beating up Goth’s while singing bible songs.

Basically, I’m just not sure how all this fits into our general understanding of the medium. Interaction with the fans can be a big part of web comics, so why not try to dispense some good advice? Is it web comic creators with illusions of grandeur? Or is it just that advice columns have the potential to be entertaining and funny?

Maybe we should ask Dr Eldritch

Oh man you left out Ray’s Place! Ray’s Place!

yeah seriously egregious offense!

I always wondered why Love and Hate was cancelled so throughly and utterly. Was there a falling out between Batjew and Tycho? Or did everyone involved with the column simply grow tired of the endless “help me with my teenage love drama!!11@#$” appeals that popped up there every other day? The world may never know…

I’m taking Ray’s advice, so I can feel nice / And be myself, but I need Ray’s help!

I think you’re right, advice columns are inherently compelling; the reader can either relate to the situations, or think “I’m glad I’m not that loser!� I’m not sure why the overlap between advice columns and webcomics is so small, though. (I mean, who better to tell people how to live their lives than a webcomic artist?)

And thanks for mentioning my comic!

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