Monday, March 1, 2010

Questionable Content

As many of you well know, I have recently become enamored with the WebComic “Quesionable Content” by Jeph Jacques. The world Jacques has created is truly a nerd’s paradise with attractive indie women and anthropomorphized computers. There are elements of virtually every geeky subculture from gaming to programming to music to fantasy and beyond, creating a world in which almost everyone (since we all have an inner nerd) can relate.

Even more impressive is Jacques’ successful blending of storyline and humor. As I raced through old editions of the webcomic, I found myself both laughing out loud more than I can ever remember, and frantically clicking “next” to see where a given story arc would lead. There is a humanity in all of the characters, and a familiarity as well. Certainly we can all think of a “Marten” in our lives, that geeky guy relegated to a dead end job where a mix of shyness and genuine compassion, an unwillingness to ruffle any feathers, often manifests as a lack of confidence and results in things not going his way. Or a “Faye,” the bosomy tart tongued companion who sews her jabs and insults with love…or so we think.

It’s the kind of art that’s far too good for conventional publications, and at times, far too vulgar. Calvin and Hobbes was never this funny, Brenda Starr or Rex Morgan, M.D. never had this level of storyline, and 9 Chickweed Lane is kept sufficiently “safe for work.” In this way, the modern era of internet publications is perfect for Jacques and his style. Were Jacques to be relegated to more “normal” publications, he would no doubt suffer under the disgraces of censorship and keeping things in tune with “family values.” One has to wonder, in previous years, how many talented people never reached their potential or a certain level of exposure because their dirty mind was all too prevalent. As I recently read on a plaque in hallmark this past weekend, “A creative mind is rarely kept tidy.”

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to check it out at http://questionablecontent.net/. Start at the beginning so you can watch the storyline grow and the art progress. I take special delight in watching the physical appearance change ever so slightly across a comic’s run, and Jacques has, and no doubt still continues to refine his work. Honestly, it’s probably one of the best pieces of art and literature I’ve ever encountered, on par with anything Watterson and Schultz had to offer.

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