Flail doyou ?

These are the comics I used to read as often as possible. I'm going to revamp this page soon. Until then, as of January 27, 2003, I'm reading Penny Arcade, Soap on a Rope, This Modern World, In Contempt, Bruno, Soup, PvP, Bob the Angry Flower, Irritability, Gene Catlow, and whatever happens to show up at Absurd Notions. Just to whine for a moment, the reason I stopped reading most of the other comics is that they're on Keen, and for some reason anything on Keen takes days to load on my computer. The first section is comics I've had time to write up some thoughts on, in order of newness of thought-writing-up. Following that is a section of all the rest. A caveat - I do not necessarily like all these comics.


  • by Mark Shallow
  • Started: ??
  • Updates: M-F
  • My Favorite: Number 97. There's really a lot of this in there. It's no "A Modest Proposal," but it sure is fun.
  • Your Favorite: Number 185.

ADVENTURERS! is really something of a one trick pony, but it's a really, really good trick. The art works, but it doesn't really excite me. There is a story, but not so's you'd notice. Mostly, it's just gag after gag based on some semi-intelligent characters struggling with the reality of living in a console RPG.There are other strips that touch on this concept, and I seem to recall a few that focus on it like Adventurers! does. But Adventurers actually tends to bring some additional cleverness, which really freshens the joke. Anyone can point out how dumb some of the RPG conventions are. Adventurers! actually makes funny out of it.

Soap on a Rope

  • by Bob Roberds
  • Started: March 3, 1997
  • Updates: MTWTh
  • My Favorite: July 13, 2000. I can't explain it. I also can't read it all the way through without chuckling out loud.
  • Your Favorite: October 15, 1999. This is a hard pick. I can't find one that really stands on its own, is much funnier than the rest, and doesn't rehash an old joke.

What amazes me most about Soap on a Rope is its consistency, especially considering the fact that it's story-driven. I often find myself getting irritated with story-driven strips that always try to force a joke into every strip. With Soap on a Rope, I find it's more like the joke just appears - it almost never feels forced. Well, I take that back - a lot of the jokes themselves seem forced, which is part of what makes them funny. What doesn't happen is the feeling that the first panel is all that the artist can afford to actually advance the plot, and the rest is spent telling a lame little joke. It feels more like "People doing stuff while funny happens" than "People trying to be funny while doing stuff."

The art and the writing, both on a strip-by-strip and general story basis, have improved tremendously since the strip began. Bob Roberds likes to whinge that his art is lame, but I love it. He really knows how to draw for a comic strip. Some comic strip authors are great artists, and can put together some lovely drawings, but they look like drawings put together, not a finished strip.

Bob the Angry Flower

  • by Stephen Notley
  • Started: 1992
  • Updates: F
  • My Favorite: Sometime in 1999. This probably shouldn't be my favorite. There are others I enjoy on so many levels. But this one has MODOKMODOK.
  • Your Favorite: Sometime in 1997. This isn't the best one in there, but there's a lot in there, and this is the one that hooked me.

I'll handle the easy part first - I love the art up and down. There aren't many strips out there these days that so reek of design and style. It's great. As for the writing - there's better stories in some 7-9 panel strips than other comics manage in a week-long arc. Of course, doing a single 7-9 panel strip gives a bit of an advantage, because you don't have to waste time on exposition every third panel, but I'm still consistently blown away. It's hit and miss, but I'm fairly convinced that many of my misses are other people's hits.

Absurd Notions

  • by Kevin Pease
  • Started: June 20, 1999
  • Updates: MWF
  • My Favorite: October 10, 1999. I generally hate when comic strip characters are aware that they are comic strip characters. That's because it's not handled like this.
  • Your Favorite: December 12, 1999. I keep looking at this strip trying to think of something to say about it, and every time I do I start laughing and am struck speechless.

I don't think I have a favorite comic strip. However, if I were to select a favorite comic strip based on how much a strip is like what I wish flail were, this would be it. Everything that I hate about the comic strips I hate, Absurd Notions eschews. It's not pointlessly self-referential. The art is so consistent as to inspire terror. It doesn't resort. Ever. By which I mean that you could never describe it as "resorting to" anything. It seems as though everything it does, it does because that is the best way to do it. Gush, gush, gush.

And the rest...

These are the comics I read as often as possible, but have not yet written up any thoughts on. Right now, the list is sorted arbitrarily. Strips which are listed in bold are strips whose archives I have read in their entirety. That's really more for my benefit than yours. In fact, it's bloody annoying, as I'm sure you've noticed - I'm leaving it that way to encourage me to actually read the archives for the few I have left.

copyright 2000 Chris Koeberle