The webcomics blog about webcomics

If MacGyver Had Gills

The thing to understand is, we get a fair number of “Hey, please check out my comic that you’ve never heard of” messages coming to the authors link up there to the right; most of these are the email equivalent of cold calls, and the strips they reference usually don’t last a month. The good discoveries are usually word-of-mouth.

But there are good ones out there, and we got one for you today; it’s called Fish Tank, it’s by a guy named Carl Ray, and it’s got a breezy style (both artistically and on the writing) that I find really appealing. Just look at the title banner from the FT homepage, that insanely positive fish giving you the fins-up? That’s Ted. He’s got more bad ideas regarding technology than Wile E. Coyote, but Ted’s usually result only in setback, not utter disaster. The storylines careen from near-disaster to nearer-disaster as Ted, Angelo (a narcissist angelfish) and Hoover (a bottom-feeder — and proud of it — out for himself) start out with what seems like an ordinary situation and quickly find all rationality going out the window.

Case in point: having seen a nature documentary about salmon returning to Alaska, only to be eaten by bears, Ted is determined to help. He and Hoover end up (don’t ask) in Brazil, threatened by piranhas. How to get out of it? How about comandeering a satellite, James T. Kirk style? For my money, the best gag there isn’t the Wrath of Khan joke, it’s the exchange between Ted and Angelo:

T: I need you to punch up the data charts of the Iridium communication satellite’s command console.
A: The what?!
T: Okay look, just click “Start” and go to “Programs” …

This ends up with Ted and Angelo deorbiting an entire constellation of satellites into the Amazon basin, which would be the cue for any regular comic to say, Okay, wackiness complete, send the characters home and let’s pop a beer. Nope, Ray sends them on their
merry way to Alaska, where they have to deal with bears and … piranha?

Along the way, Fish Tank is chock-full of batshit insane, MacGyver/A-Teamesque concoctions like hypergolic spacecraft engines, homemade thermite, and a fascination with Lifetime TV movies, with a distinct Lord Flasheart vibe from time to time.

The strip goes color about 60 installments in, and it’s a nice addition to the artwork; Ray is on a hiatus for vacation, so you’ve got a good opportunity to catch up on the 130 strips in the archive. I imagine that some of it is probably funnier if you’re a “fish person”, but for my money, Fish Tank is pretty funny on its own.

RSS feed for comments on this post.