Webcomic Wednesday

Phrigid promises he’ll write a post soon.

In the meantime, I’m attempting our first “regularly scheduled” segment: Webcomic Wednesday! (Ah, alliteration, so original).

The premise? Well, like all good hipsters-in-denial-chained-to-a-desk-for-8-hours-a-day, I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet, and I spend a lot of that time reading webcomics. So each Wednesday I’m going to share one of my comic bookmarks with you.

If you read Questionable Content (which you should, if you’re not), you saw the awesome guest comic on Monday starring “Hipster Batman”, written and drawn by Rene Engström. Rene has her own comic, Anders Loves Maria, which I dutifully spent the last two days reading the archives of.

The story centers on a young couple living in Sweden (don’t worry, only snippits of the comic are in Swedish, and she provides translations) who find out they are pregnant, and then go through a breakup. It’s not a story I recommend jumping into, you really need to go through the archives and read it through to understand the continuity, but trust me, it’s worth it.

The art (as you can see) is beautifully done, and reminds me of a combination of Craig Thompson’s Blankets and Scott Kurtz’s PVP.  It’s also reminiscent of the clean, retro-animated style we’re seeing a lot of in graphic design recently, but she doesn’t rely on Illustrator cut-and-paste jobs to get the work done.  There’s a span in the archives where all the comics are hand-drawn, and I personally found them the most compelling of all.  At the end of the day, this woman is an amazing artist.

The storyline relies a lot on Engström’s art style (many of the comics have no words at all) and it doesn’t give away too much, too soon.  Like I said, it’s a comic you need to dedicate yourself to, not one you can jump in and out of.  But I guarantee you’ll find yourself attached to these characters and compelled by the emotions Engström pulls out of them.

The jokes are there, and are of the 20-something, ironic, dry humour variety (with quite a bit of sexuality), but the main point seems to be character development and storytelling. Overall, it’s a webcomic that reads like a graphic novel, and while the art certainly reminds me of Blankets, think more along the story-telling of Box Office Poison, Any Easy Intimacy, or Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed.

Anders Loves Maria is what most would describe as “NSFW”, a large chunk of her comics include a healthy dose of sex, boobs, and penis, so if you have a monitor that faces your decidedly prudish cube-mate, you may want to hold off on this one until you get home. But it’s worth the wait.

–DB

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