The webcomics blog about webcomics

Anno Mirabilis

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: The Fight is done, The Acres are ruined. There will either be no winner in 2006, or co-winners; the Ruling Body has had their rules upended along with their infrastructure. All that is left is a rapidly receding plume of smoke in a rearview mirror.

We’re nearly there. We’re nearly finished. There is only the travel home and the hero’s welcome and the wind down; except there was no wind down.

Something changed in Chris Onstad after The Great Outdoor Fight; he’d been on a hot streak of classic stories for a couple of years, but the Fight was a different thing altogether, and any of the stories came after would have ranked with the very best of the strip but for their immediate predecessor. Let’s break it down:

  • The Great Outdoor Fight — 11 Jan to 30 March; 43 strips
  • One intercalary strip on 3 April

  • The Couch Saga (incuding Ebay Platinum Reserve) — 5 April to 16 May; 21 strips
  • One intercalary strip on 17 May

  • Magic Underpants — 18 May to 7 June; 10 strips plus 2 pages from Beef’s zine
  • The Badass Games — 8 June to 23 June; 8 strips

That’s a pretty much unbroken string of six months of stone fucks (as Ray would say), and then got followed up with the introduction of the Mexican Magical Realism Camera which came back two months later to propel:

  • Ray’s Mexican Magical Realism Adventure — 21 September to 25 October; 17 strips, plus 4 unrelated strips sprinkled in

And then at the end of the year, you get:

  • Mr Band — 11 December to 22 January; 21 strips, plus one unrelated

That’s the better part of a year of sheer brilliance, a run that wouldn’t be matched again (although a year and a half later you did get Cornelius’s New Laptop followed by Greeting Cards For Guys followed by Beef And Molly’s Wedding).

Those 120 strips made Achewood a deeper, weirder place, laying down ideas that have persisted for the ensuing decade. Until the Fight, high points were shorter arcs or single strips (I’m looking at you, The Bead Shop), or scattered over time (Beef Goes To The Moon ran from June to September of 2002, but was interspersed with many unrelated strips).

Not that Achewood was a fallow strip before the Fight, or after Mr Band, but this was the period when everything was firing on all cylinders and five years worth of excellence got crammed into one year. It was the best, weirdest time, and though we could see that something was changing even as it was happening, it’s only with the distance of years that we can see how much changed.

Without Achewood in January 2006 to January 2007, a lost of subsequent webcomics just don’t happen; the fact that Fight itself contains approximately as many strips as the entire run of Achewood for the past five years should serve to tell us only one thing: we were incredibly lucky to get that story and the year that followed it. And if every subsequent day has not always lived up to the new tradition, we will always have those 43 morsels of perfection.

Plus, and I don’t know if you noticed, but Ray ripped a guy’s face off.

Spam of the day:


Best regards,
Cedric Atizado

That was oddly efficient.

RSS feed for comments on this post.