The webcomics blog about webcomics

And Now For Something…Webcomic-ey

First, thanks for all of the interesting comments last week. I’m getting ready to talk webcomics with two folks who will surely have interesting things to say. They’re folks whose work I read both online and off, and have written about here on Fleen, so we’ll see how it goes. Watch for it in a few weeks. In the meantime, keep sending along suggestions. I was deciding what I wanted to write about this week since I’d gone looking for something very hypertexty, very different from some of the works I’ve seen so far.

I actually had a candidate in mind (who will likely be the subject of next week’s column) until I ran across Nobody Scores!, “a little comic about inevitable disaster.” Started about a year and a half ago by Brandon Bolt, the webcomic details the lives of four people living in the same building. One of them, Raoul, lives downstairs from the other three. Mostly he wants them to die; they’re terrible upstairs neighbors and he’s an academic with two doctorates, lots of articles, and a crappy adjunct teaching job.

The three people living upstairs, Sarah, Jane Doe, and Beans, in the words of their creator, “strive and dream in their second-floor apartment and unfortunately elsewhere as well, and see their dreams bear fruit, causing frequent death and millions of dollars of property damage. Exactly the way it is for countless young adults the world over! I think it should be real easy to relate to. Because I’m keeping it true to life.” Sarah’s the ‘responsible’ one of the group (and why the rent gets paid), whereas the other two are a little more slacker-ey. Still, I like them. It’s taking me some time to read through all of the archives, in part because these images are so densely packed with really rich detail that I want to read slowly and savor them. That’s a new experience for me reading webcomics, where it’s usually just, you know, click, click, click.

Bolt’s got an amazing page with explanations and character bios. He’s got colorwork which reminds me of Corey Marie Parkhill’s Scene Language and of Mice Luce’s Fite!, some images which evoke Cathy Leamy’s Geraniums and Bacon, and really cool lettering. I like the way the words look on the screen; all the different elements work together in what I imagine webcomics do best when they’re really well-composed.

Overall, the webcomic surprised me with how sassy and sharp it is. I like the characters even though they’re sometimes kind of mean. The characters are snappy; they snipe at each other, shirk on the rent (well, two of them do), freeload (ditto), try to parallel park (and instead ignite all the cars around them), and other sundry and strange things. Like turn into zombies. Or die.

Narratively, Bolt explains these things away pretty simply: there’s “no continuity in Nobody Scores! Unless specified by a handy sign that says “Part One” or “Part Two.” So when the world gets overrun by wombats or Sara becomes a vampire or Beans dies of consumption, everything goes rewind before the next comic, exposing our beloved cast to more horrible, horrible fates. Imagine Groundhog Day without a victory condition.”

Gotta love it.

Besides, how can you not love a webcomic which namechecks Homicide: Life on the Street? Come on. (Even more slick? Check out the names written on the board behind the characters.)

And Now For Something…Webcomic-ey

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