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Achewood Creator on NPR

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the stuff-to-listen-to dept.

Entertainment 104

On my drive in to the office today, I heard an interview with a comic creator. Since I started the car mid-interview, it took me just a few moments to figure out who it was: Chris Onstad from Achewood (NSFW some days. Possibly including today, depending on your W). He's plugging his book The Great Outdoor Fight. Since his comic is one of the favorites here, I thought you all might enjoy hearing the interview. Today's comic is especially amusing given that it will likely be read by a great number of those NPR types unfamiliar with the strip.

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pist frost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25192911)

frosty piss

Furry warning (3, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#25192927)

Do not RTFA, contains furries.

Re:Furry warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193163)

...

Have you read XKCD [xkcd.com] lately? I mean, I was hating furries before it was cool, but just because art is anthropomorphic does not automatically make it subject to fear and loathing. Mickey Mouse is a furry, and you don't see the internet boycotting disneyworld, do you? Leave the hate for real furfags, and let random amusement alone.

Re:Furry warning (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 6 years ago | (#25196317)

Um, contains furries AND anal play?

Re:Furry warning (3, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193617)

Could you please enhance your warning next time that these furries are not the naughty, hot, well endowed, luscious creature versions...

You got me all excited for nothing dammit!

Wow. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25192951)

Shame it's not funny or entertaining.

Re:Wow. (1, Informative)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193139)

You mean the Comic, or the Interview? The comic is hilarious, and (this being Slashdot) I haven't listened to TFA. Whoever modded this insightful, honestly, has no taste.

Re:Wow. (0, Flamebait)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193369)

I also found the comic to be borderline retarded. There are dozens if not hundreds of better comics out there. How did this idiot get on NPR?

Re:Wow. (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193443)

There are dozens if not hundreds of better comics out there. How did this idiot get on NPR?

Then recommend some, rather than flinging more insults, eh? Show me something you think is funny, because otherwise your point of view is "I hate things" to me.

Re:Wow. (-1, Flamebait)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193537)

No, the comic is shit... so un-funny it's making me regret clicking on this article.

I suppose as they say... small things amuse small minds... then again, this is retarded. I suppose the same works...

Re:Wow. (1)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193629)

Sinfest, Least I could Do, Penny Arcade, Player vs Player, Little Gamers, CtrlAltDelete, XKCD, Cyanide and Happiness. Those are just the 8 that I read regularly. I've stumbled across others that were good, but didn't make it into my regular reading list which I can't recall the names of at the moment.
Some of them you will find funny, some you will find retarded, but all of them are better put together than the Zippyesque drivel linked to in the article.

Re:Wow. (4, Funny)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193683)

In other words, you like Cyanide and Happiness and a bunch of comics where someone says something snide about video games every day.

Re:Wow. (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194077)

someone says something snide about video games every day.

(emphasis mine)

I wish.

Re:Wow. (1)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194229)

Some other non-gamer-related comics:

Dr. McNinja
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Dinosaur Comics
Least I Could Do
Transmission-X has a couple super-imaginative & well-done comics (less of a focus on humor) and a few clunkers.
White Ninja if you're in the mood for it.

Achewood never did much for me either. I've tried a few times.

Little Gamers suggested above... never heard of it, just looked now, and for today they have a storyline-only comic with "loose" instead of "lose". Not for me.

Re:Wow. (1)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 6 years ago | (#25200129)

Sinfest and XKCD are gaming comics now?

Re:Wow. (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194167)

I guess there's no chance of getting you to accept the fact that other people often have differing opinions, eh? I think that CAD is one of the worst things passed off as a "comic" that's still read by a large number of people. Achewood has made me laugh out loud several times. CAD makes me facepalm. I mean, really. The quality of webcomics overall is astoundingly low, and Achewood is a gem. When was the last time that you actually laughed (and I don't mean an "oh that's clever" chuckle) at a webcomic? Even Achewood's comics that aren't meant to be funny are brilliant - for those that can get it.

Re:Wow. (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195585)

Hey, whatever floats your boat, man. And I'm sure if I looked at ALL of them, I might find something funny. . .. But after looking through over 30 of them, I gave up.

It's definitely not for me.

Re:Wow. (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195559)

Why do we have to prove that there's "funnier" comics out there to say that this one is NOT funny?

I just read through about 30 of the ones in the archive and I didn't even crack a smile once.

It wasn't even a LITTLE funny.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25198329)

Dinosaur Comics > all

Re:Wow. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194337)

This comic does not work if you jump into the middle of it. You have to read it from the start to get a good feel for the characters, as it is extremely character-driven.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193453)

Achewood is rarely actually funny, to me. It's mostly interesting, thought provoking and odd. The comic format is not only for one liners about lasgana.

Re:Wow. (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 6 years ago | (#25199243)

Achewood is rarely actually funny, to me. It's mostly interesting, thought provoking and odd. The comic format is not only for one liners about lasgana.

So it's about one liners about somebody standing on the manual for a drum machine? Or two liners on how -errm- "things" would rather spend 5 minutes alone in the bathroom with an FAO Shwarz catalog than have a smoke?

Re:Wow. (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195949)

Taste is subjective, so you can't say someone has no taste.

As for comics, what makes them funny, or exciting all depends. I've got a list of all sorts of comics [nystrom.nl] .that I've been reading some time before.
A dozen or so of them I still read, some are more for reference, and some I found funny once, but then it changed in a way that it lost its appeal.

Re:Wow. (1)

smurgy (1126401) | more than 6 years ago | (#25199117)

"X has no taste" parses syntactically, ergo one can say it. Being right or wrong is another matter.

The real issue is that the GP fell for an obvious troll.

I'm like you. Things go on my comics list (mine's on my flock RSS browser), some have stayed on for years, some stay on for a while - my tastes change, or they change for the worse, or they don't change (ie they reveal themselves to be one-noters).

FWIW my taste differs from yours from your list.

Re:Wow. (2, Funny)

sskang (567081) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193423)

You must be a forcemeat [achewood.com] .

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193503)

It must be frustrating for you that yours is not the only opinion in the world that matters.

Re:Wow. (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193545)

Yeah, I don't get it either. Can someone explain to me how today's strip is supposed to be funny?

When is NPR going to interview XKCD?

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

sskang (567081) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193707)

Can you explain to me how today's XKCD is supposed to be funny?

Re:Wow. (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194995)

Just below the Andromeda Galaxy, and a bit to the left of the Magellanic Clouds.

Well it did it for me.

Re:Wow. (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195609)

I never really found XKCD to be particularly good either. But, you can at least find SOME good stuff.

Re:Wow. (1)

Tyr_7BE (461429) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193717)

Today's strip is a continuation of a story arc that goes back a week or two....which is a continuation of another theme that was developed three years back or so. Achewood is something you have to know how to read. If you just read a comic or two here or there, you're probably not going to get it. You have to follow it for a few weeks before it even begins to make a little bit of sense. After you get to know the characters a bit, it becomes much more enjoyable.

XKCD is funny in a one-off, quick laugh kind of way. It's very clever, but there are no real characters. I find reading even a bad Achewood strip more rewarding than most XKCDs. To me, each Achewood character has their own voice, and their own personality - you feel like you personally know these cats.

I also find the dialogue between the characters hilarious, despite the seemingly staggering number of people here on Slashdot who don't seem to "get it".

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194059)

Today's strip is a continuation of a story arc that goes back a week or two

That's ok, but the strip should still stand on its own. Think of Calvin & Hobbes. There were story arcs in that strip that went on for weeks, but every single strip in those arcs was entertaining it its own right. And Watterson had just 4 panels to work with. This guy has an entire page to work with, and he can't even elicit a 'heh' without catching up on previous strips?

Maybe this is an off day? Do you have a better example? A personal favorite?

Re:Wow. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194389)

That's ok, but the strip should still stand on its own.

"Should"? Sure, it would be nice if it did, but who created this rule that this has to be the case?

As it stands, Achewood's reliance on extremely character-driven humor and themes developed over long times allows it to do jokes that are a lot funnier and more clever than what a comic of self-contained strips can manage. The downside is that it is harsher on a new reader, but if you make the effort to pick it up, it is far more rewarding than most any comic out there.

Re:Wow. (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 6 years ago | (#25198911)

I've been reading achewood regularly for a few years now, and I think the radio interview did well in pointing out that the comic is about the characters and dialogue more than complex artwork or the "heh" factor. C.and.H compares better to Sinfest, and those are very different types of comic. For achewood, the dialogue is the real nut meat and it really needs that many panels to fill its proper space. As chris says in the interview, it's the "sunday comics format".

During the interview (did you listen?), Chris talked about how the story arc for the book he's discussing went on for about three months. Sometimes readers lose interest in those periods, and so be it.

One could say Picasso is a bad artist compared to Rembrandt because his portraits aren't as realistic.

There's a link at the site directing npr listeners to reader favorites. This one is recent and stands well on its own. Philippe is such a heartwarming character:
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=08222007 [achewood.com]

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25202151)

I like this one [assetbar.com] ... it's the most XKCDesque.

Re:Wow. (0, Redundant)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195649)

Ohh, we "get it." Just because a story might be all character-driven and all that bullshit doesn't mean we have to like it.

But come on.. "No WONDER there's so many hotels!!!" Ohh give me a break - it's not even a LITTLE BIT funny. It's predictable and stupid.

Re:Wow. (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 6 years ago | (#25199925)

Not only is character-driven, but it relies on the subtleties of language. The dialogue is always thick with irony and metaphors that feel like they came from inside jokes between you and the other you that sees the world for how crazy it can be.

In other words, comics like XKCD (which I love) have their good days, but some of us have a lower 'LOLORZ cory doctorow rulz' threshold than others.

Achewood manages to be highbrow while keeping nothing sacred. It doesn't beat you over the head. It isn't about video games. It doesn't have the traditional sitcom snappy snarky stuff you saw coming from the first panel. There's no dinosaurs or anthropomorphic iPods or FF black mages. So yeah, while some of us find it utterly beautiful, it's really not for everybody, least of all not the /. crowd.

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194823)

When is NPR going to interview XKCD?

Not before XKCD develops such as huge following that Randall Munroe can quit his day job and publish a book of collected strips. Which is what prompted the Achewood interview.

I too find Achewood unfunny. (When I pulled up the NPR story, I was surprised to discover that the link to achewood.com was gray, indicating I'd browsed it recently. Must not have made an impression.) But I can see where it would appeal to people with a certain kind of evil sense of humor. Let's avoid the Slashdotter Fallacy ("What I like/need/approve of is what the world revolves around"), shall we?

Re:Wow. (1)

slarabee (184347) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195097)

I have no problem with that. Now can we convince any of the fanboys?

For the record, I did take one for the team. I read today's strip. I read back several days to gather context for today's strip. No chuckles or smirks. The fans propose the theory that this webcomic, unlike all those others, is simply deep and requires more reading to appreciate. Context will bring great rewards they say. So I read back about two months. I use the limited navigation abilities on the site and a bit of deduction to read the first thirty or so strips. I read the recommended one-off strips. No chuckles or smirks.

Save yourselves some time nonfans. If the one strip does not grab you, my research suggests a plethera of strips will likely not grab you.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25195485)

Not before XKCD develops such as huge following that Randall Munroe can quit his day job and publish a book of collected strips.

NYT reports XKCD is self-sufficient. [nytimes.com] A book is also reportedly in the works [feureau.com] .

Re:Wow. (1)

rubah (1197475) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195433)

Sometimes mini story arcs are not as funny as they would be if you skipped back a week and read what came before. XKCD generally lacks any sort of overarcing story and is readily digestible in daily packets, whereas achewood story lines can stretch on for months.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25197529)

XKCD and Rebecca Watson [publicradioquest.com] mp3 link.

Transcript [publicradioquest.com]

Well, it's an interview with Randall Munroe done by Rebecca Watson while she was participating in the public radio talent quest. About as close as we've got.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193785)

Family Circus was pretty funny today though, eh?

Should have just called it "wood" (-1, Flamebait)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#25192963)

Oh, how unique! A comic strip that features jocularity with a sexual perversion theme!

"Much hilarity ensues!"

I'll bet this'll sell a MILLION, just on novelty alone!

Re:Should have just called it "wood" (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195739)

hehe I guess one of their five fans had some mod points.

Ye Gods. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25192985)

I suppose I could write it off to being old and jaded, but I swear I've seen about a dozen strips on the internet with the same general theme and lack of humor.

Just not for me, thanks.

Re:Ye Gods. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193183)

I suppose I could write it off to being old and jaded, but I swear I've seen about a dozen strips on the internet with the same general theme and lack of humor.

Just not for me, thanks.

I found a great one and ALL the papers and websites link to it.

It's called Congress.

Re:Ye Gods. (4, Insightful)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193433)

I'd say that you're very wrong. You're dismissing Achewood as a funny animal comic that features the odd bit of drinking and obscenity. That's only what it looks like if you're reading a few of the daily strips.

If you start reading from the beginning, what you find is a very rewarding set of story arcs where the characters become more and more fully realized, particularly Roast Beef, who might very well be the comic strip archetype for a Slashdot reader.

The humor in Achewood is found in small turns of phrase, in facial expressions and in knowing the backstory for the characters. If you just pick up and read one or two strips, you pretty much aren't going to be able to understand why it is so highly acclaimed by critics and beloved by its fans.

Re:Ye Gods. (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193739)

So what you're saying is that it's not a comic?

Re:Ye Gods. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193831)

I think what we're saying is that seeing your handle in this thread solely to gripe is becoming tiresome.

Re:Ye Gods. (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194025)

Achewood uses "comics" as a medium more than the end goal. Where the author differs from more traditional comics is that he doesn't feel the need to have each separate comic have its own completeness, basically meaning that you can't take any individual comic and have it make much sense on its own. Achewood isn't the first comic to work that way, but it certainly has trended away from it very strongly at times, with story arcs that have lasted weeks.

The bigger story arcs are sort of like a comic book, but there's just one guy writing it, and he dribbles it out a little bit at a time, as he gets each page done. That, plus there's a semi-rigid continuity that runs through the entire of the history of the strip. Not necessarily continuity of plot details, but more about the development of the characters.

It's not a comic like you'd see in a newspaper for sure, even if you could convince the author to leave out the profanity and other "inappropriate content".

Re:Ye Gods. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25195117)

So what you're saying is that it's not a comic?

What he's saying is that it's like opening the paper and reading Rex Morgan, MD for the first time right there, and thinking "what the fuck is this, who the fuck are these people, and why should I care?"

I don't have any answers for Rex Morgan, MD, but he just gave you the answers for Achewood.

Re:Ye Gods. (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193957)

I tried reading it from the beginning waiting for something worthwhile to happen but I just got bored. You probably get a laugh after a hundred posts because you already know the characters or whatever. Still, it's not worth it to read them all IMO. XKCD, questionablecontent, ctrl-alt-del, LFGcomic and others are good (funny or with interesting stories) from the start.

Re:Ye Gods. (2, Insightful)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194827)

If you just pick up and read one or two strips, you pretty much aren't going to be able to understand why it is so highly acclaimed by critics and beloved by its fans

I am sure I could find entertainment in soap operas if I started from the beginning and devoted myself to a season. In fact most tv shows recognize this, which is why the season premier usually tries to be a big blow out which also encapsulate the feel of the characters. It is not about alienating the viewer, which is what happened with todays strip.
Onstad knew about the interview long before it took place, it would have been a trivial task to set up a small arc to invite and welcome new guests to the world he created. That he chose not to seems immature at best, outright obstinate at worst. The internet is chock full of groups who shun and deride newbies and this feels like an homage to those groups.

This is coming from someone who enjoys this comic immensely (but I also enjoy Pictures For Sad Children, so take that with a grain of salt).

Re:Ye Gods. (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195691)


Onstad knew about the interview long before it took place, it would have been a trivial task to set up a small arc to invite and welcome new guests to the world he created.

Or, just as when NPR has interviewed other Webcomic creators (the example that stands out to me is Sluggy Freelance), Onstead decided to continue the story he had planned long before he was contacted by NPR and asked for an interview. Since NPR almost always directs listeners to its web site first, I'd say the burden of introducing the strip should rest with the person responsible for the write-up on the Morning Edition web page.

Re:Ye Gods. (0, Redundant)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195765)

He's very wrong that it's not for him?

So you're telling him that this coming IS for him?

I'd say that's just as dismissing as you accuse him to be. You are making assumptions that anyone that doesn't like this comic MUST have not read enough of them! That they MUST be humorless!

You sound kinda like a Trekkie, I'm sorry to say.

Read it from day 1 (5, Insightful)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193095)

The only way to understand and really dig on Achewood is to read it from the beginning. Character development is a lot more important than gags here, and not every strip has a punch line, but it's generally rewarding in the end. Achewood is one of the few web comics I can stand. It's up there at the top with Space Moose [wikipedia.org] for me.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193175)

I agree wholeheartedly. Achewood's most certainly not about the one-time gag. Despite its ridiculousness, the humor is often slyly sophisticated.

And, in case there are those of you out there who just "don't get it", if you find Tim Buckley's works, especially his material the last year or so, to be funny, you won't get Achewood. Trust me on this one.

Re:Read it from day 1 (4, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193657)

"The only way to understand and really dig on Achewood is to read it from the beginning."

Then that's a bad comic strip in my opinion. If I have to read more then 2-3 strips back to figure out wtf is going on then the author really chose the wrong medium.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193755)

You're one of those people who think comic books can only be about Super Heroes and comic strips should only have bickering spouses or funny animals, aren't you?

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193853)

> ...Super Heroes and comic strips should only have bickering spouses or funny animals

Hey, don't be dissing Super Squabble Squirrel.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193911)

No, I rather enjoy PBF and Cyanide & Happiness.

Re:Read it from day 1 (-1, Troll)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193819)

It is a bad comic. And, what morons listen to MPR anyway?

Re:Read it from day 1 (0, Troll)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195793)

Hey, let's not take this too far now. First of all it's NPR, and second of all, NPR is great radio. They have a lot of material and guests that you just don't get anywhere else. It's fun to listen to and you learn things.

NPR is good. Achewood is not.

Re:Read it from day 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193839)

Yeah, that Buck Rogers, Prince Valiant, Batman stuff will never be as deep, meaningful or as rewarding to read as a gag-a-day strip like Garfield. Garfield is one, maybe two strips, and you've got the meat right to the bone. Those others... Well, you actually have to wait for the payoff and invest actual effort in obtaining your prize.

I guess some people have too much attention span and can squander it on things like continuity, unlike you.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194169)

That's too bad, because you're missing out on some very entertaining stories because of an arbitrary value that you've put on the act of drawing inside little boxes.

If you only think of comic strips as tiny segments that you read each day in a newspaper before you throw it away, then your opinion makes some sense. But you maybe have heard of this cool thing called the internet, which allows someone to easily store information and almost instantly distribute it on demand.

You don't go to achewood.com to read just read whatever 3 panels are up today. You go there to read the latest paragraph in a story that you've been following for days/weeks/months.

Re:Read it from day 1 (0, Troll)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195829)

Sounds like an extremely frustrating story to read.

Again, it's not for me, and it's not for a lot of people. That doesn't make your beloved achewood any less meaningful to YOU, so don't bother trying to convince anyone that it's some amazing art that everyone should love.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195925)

Fair enough, I'm not suggesting that everyone should love it, merely that they should try it. The post that I was responding to sounded like someone who was dismissing it without even giving it a shot, based purely on their preconceived idea about how a "comic" should work.

It took significant pestering from me to get my wife to spend a little bit of time reading through the Achewood archives, and when she finally did, she wasn't as amused by it as I am. And that's fine, but I'm glad she gave it a shot.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194231)

Start reading Watchmen from the middle and you'll soon realize how wrong you can be.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194393)

Chris Onstad has been a real ground-breaker in terms of not only stretching the limits of the web comic medium (which itself stretches the limit of the daily comic medium), but also into coordinated work in many media. The Achewood characters have blogs. One had an advice column for a while. There are "non-fiction" writings about Achewood the town, about a century-old fighting event. There is a lengthy tribute to Hardy Boys classics, the Nate Small stories, themselves referenced in the comic. There is painted and sketched artwork. This doesn't even get into the above-average merchandising, including hand-screened shirts, signed strips, posters, cookbooks and kitchenware.

I consider Onstad's refusal to "color within the lines" of traditional daily comic format to be to his credit.

Re:Read it from day 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25194415)

So it's homestar runner without the funny?

Yes (1)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194909)

It is just like Homestar Runner. It is exactly like that. That is what Achewood is like.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195703)

I'm fond of the cookbook, myself.

Re:Read it from day 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25195847)

i bet you probably think xkcd is a good comic

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

SamSim (630795) | more than 6 years ago | (#25196343)

I fail to see how "a series of web pages, each with one page of the story on it in image form" is a poor choice of medium for a story consisting of a series of images.

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 6 years ago | (#25199001)

If I have to read more then 2-3 strips back to figure out wtf is going on then the author really chose the wrong medium.

Yeah, why can't all comics be as good as beetle bailey?

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 6 years ago | (#25199229)

"The only way to understand and really dig on Achewood is to read it from the beginning."

Then that's a bad comic strip in my opinion. If I have to read more then 2-3 strips back to figure out wtf is going on then the author really chose the wrong medium.

I would argue that that's the only way to read a normal comic strip; however, webcomics have the unique ability to keep a complete chronological archive of strips readily available to new and old readers alike.

I stopped reading Achewood a while ago, myself -- it just wasn't as funny and offbeat as it used to be, for me. But if continuity is an issue for a comic writer, then webcomics may be exactly the place he/she needs to be.

Wrong wrong wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25199615)

So because you don't get it in the ~25 seconds it takes to read 2-3 strips, it doesn't succeed as a comic? All you're costing yourself by judging it cursorily is a rad and enjoyable experience. The payoff is in the evolution of the characters and the way the back-stories play into what unfolding, like Arrested Development or the British Office. If what you want is three panel soundbites, buy a newspaper. And know that you are enjoying Garfield at the expense of art, you ignorant ass.

Re:Read it from day 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25200769)

"The only way to understand and really dig on Achewood is to read it from the beginning."

Then that's a bad comic strip in my opinion. If I have to read more then 2-3 strips back to figure out wtf is going on then the author really chose the wrong medium.

No, you totally don't understand. Be a little open to looking at a smattering of the comics-- via story arc or random comics-- before you see if you dig on it. And how do we know you aren't simply one of those people who never really knows "wtf is going on"?

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

ooutland (146624) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194121)

Agreed - I discovered this after Choire Sicha on Gawker announced its greatness. Since I was indeed totally not gettinig it just "dropping in" on that day's strip, I went back to the beginning and spent some wonderful days getting lost in a fully realized world. These days, any day Chris "fails" to post sucks for me.

I've also bought two t-shirts - support artists where it counts - with your $$!

O.

"Good prose is like a window pane." - G. Orwell

Re:Read it from day 1 (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195233)

I can respect that the author was trying to build something with character. However, reading the initial strips indicates to me that he was going for a comic that was traditionally funny. Absurdist, yes, but one-off funny. It was ok, but not gut-bustingly funny (to me).

I call this Rolling Stones syndrome. Make enough comics for long enough, and you will have hits eventually. Is there a possibility that people are just mapping humor onto something, much like people map profundity onto modern art? "Oh, you're just not sophisticated enough."

I bring these up not to be a bastard, but as someone who decided to go back and begin reading Achewood from the beginning to see if I find it funny.

Honestly? I really dislike bulldogs. I don't care if they're cats, or rats, or whatever they're SUPPOSED to be, they look like bulldogs and it's been a turn-off. I'm giving it a chance anyway, as someone who has read Achewood before. I can see where the author was trying to make some humor, but to me it falls completely flat.

However, it takes every kind of people as they say.

I'm the Guy Who Sucks, Plus I Got Depression (4, Insightful)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193179)

Here's the thing about Achewood: it has a very large cast of characters with very distinct voices. COMPLETELY distinct. These characters have been developed in ways that comic strips running for decades have not managed.

It's not uncommon for me to read a whole archive of webcomics in a single sitting. I read all of "MacHall" on Saturday. By the time I went through all four years of strips, there were only two characters I could identify as having distinct personalities. Everyone else spoke with the same voice.

That's how most comics are. Someone says something stupid or controversial. Drinking or violence ensues.

Achewood is the opposite; the characters are so fully realized that they BLOG in their distinct voices. The interview touches on this with the two main characters, but it extends to literally all the characters in the strip.

Achewood's humor is wry and absurdist. It's not the humor of a newspaper comic strip and it's not the humor of a typical webcomic. It's off in a space of its own. It's a bit like watching the best bits of Seinfeld after a 24 hour marathon of Golden Girls. Some people say that Achewood isn't funny, but all I can say to them is that there's a 1982 Subaru Brat waiting for them when they get to hell [assetbar.com] .

Re:I'm the Guy Who Sucks, Plus I Got Depression (1)

eagee (1308589) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193223)

So, what I think you're saying is that people who found arrested development and wes anderson movies funny would get this? B/C if so, I'm going to go give it a second chance - I like jokes I have to think to get.

Re:I'm the Guy Who Sucks, Plus I Got Depression (1)

_jameshales (983564) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193321)

It's not really that you have to think to understand the jokes, mainly you have to know the characters well.

Re:I'm the Guy Who Sucks, Plus I Got Depression (1)

Tyr_7BE (461429) | more than 6 years ago | (#25200889)

Follow it for a month or two. That's about how long it took me to sort of understand what was going on (I was bored in a mostly do-nothing job :) ). Or go down to my other post in this article and check out some of my recommended arcs. For the first few weeks I had no idea what was going on, but the more you read the more it grows on you. I've come to see Ray and Beef (two main characters) as sort of old friends. As someone who likes Arrested Development and Wes Anderson movies, I highly recommend Achewood. And I think all three appeal to the same part of my personality.

Re:I'm the Guy Who Sucks, Plus I Got Depression (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#25198483)

"It's a bit like watching the best bits of Seinfeld after a 24 hour marathon of Golden Girls. "

Quite an accomplishment!

I'd be too fapped out after that much Bea Arthur.

this is awesome!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193187)

this is great! i dont know if achewood belogns on slashdot, but now i know what i am going to spend the next hours reading..

i never understood why i liked this movie [animasher.com] before, but now i know.

NSFW (1, Informative)

Thrakamazog (794533) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193409)

(NSFW Somedays. Possibly including today depending on your W).

Yeah, NSFW today mmmmkay.

Pretty good. (2, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193491)

I've been following the strip off an on for quite a few years now. I guess it's amusing enough that I generally remain interested. I agree that the characters are generally well-defined but I wouldn't necessarily say they have much depth. It isn't like there's much character development going on. But then, it is just a comic strip.

In general I find the humor a bit dry, but every so often there's a genuinely funny strip. One thing I sometimes find it difficult to get past is the odd dialog. I'm not quite sure what Onstad is going for. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be slang or an attempt at play on words. But for me it comes off as awkward at times.

Still, I have to give credit where it's due. I think Achewood is a step above the majority of other strips. There are too many poor comics out there with lame writing and crappy illustration. Chris Onstad has been at this for years and his writing is interesting enough that it more than makes up for the art. Actually, even the art has it's own character.

Re:Pretty good. (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193621)

I think the odd dialogue is coming from some particular Californian mid to late-80s subculture. Beef and Ray grew up together and they're the guys with the generally odd sentence structure.

I know there was a particular way that kids in the neighborhood I moved to when I was about 14 spoke, that I never really grasped. It's just how they grew up speaking to each other.

Re:Pretty good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25193795)

I know there was a particular way that kids in the neighborhood I moved to when I was about 14 spoke, that I never really grasped. It's just how they grew up speaking to each other.

Wow. Maybe they used proper sentence structures.

For fans of Achewood (1)

Tyr_7BE (461429) | more than 6 years ago | (#25193733)

If you're like me, and want to show why this comic is so fantastic, post your fav arcs / one-offs here:

Great Arcs:
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=05182006 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=04052006 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=03212007 [achewood.com]

One-offs:
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=07192006 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=02112008 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=02072008 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=07032006 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=08252006 [achewood.com]
http://achewood.com/index.php?date=09192006 [achewood.com]

Medical Term? (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194733)

I thought "Achewood" was slang for "priapism"...

[duck/cover]

Basically clueless but not bad. (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 6 years ago | (#25194839)

I don't have anything against the guy, and I surmise that his comic is probably fairly representative of the genre, I'll probably check it out now. But as usual, this is another one off report from NPR trying to show they can be hip. What about Phil and Kaja Foglio and Girl Genius for example? And Penny Arcade, which you can hate all you want, but they are their own community and an example of a blockbuster in this medium. This piece sounded like they called up a few people to hash out a rough idea "Ooh.. webcomics!" and the Achewood guy is the only one who returned their e-mail.

Re:Basically clueless but not bad. (2, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195093)

I think it's more that the creator is out doing a national book promotion tour. That's how you normally get slots like this on these shows.

Re:Basically clueless but not bad. (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195693)

Now that is what bugs me about Achewood. I love the comic, but it's not the only thing out there. Yet whenever someone in non-Internet media talks about webcomics, Achewood is their golden example.

A great strength of webcomics is diversity. No matter how strange your tastes [elgoonishshive.com] , there's probably someone writing a comic for you. Why not show off some of the variety? There's so much range, from a comic where one of the protagonists is part of a hive mind [project-apollo.net] to comics with stick figures and nerdy jokes [xkcd.com] . Achewood alone can't show all that.

NPR Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25194843)

Ever notice how horribly they skew their election coverage in McCain's favor? I used to like NPR until I noticed this.

I heard the interview (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#25195831)

I thought it was interesting that the interviewer made a comparison to Bill Watterson and Gary Larson and then asked if he was going to quit anytime soon like they did. Doesn't he need to gain widespread recognition first? Kind of like comparing Michelle Wie to Annika Sorenstam (no, maybe more like Jack Nicklaus) and then asking if she's going to retire soon.

Pretentious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25196567)

Achewood is bad because its fanbase is so god-damnedly pretentious.

Re:Pretentious (1)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#25198035)

I don't think 'pretentious' is quite the right word, but holy hell, fuck everyone on Assetbar.

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