This comic comes directly from the Beat’s comment section, where a reader wondered why folks like things such as yesterday’s pick, Owlturd Comics. Reader Nico plugged “webcomic name” as a parody of three panel a day webcomic humor.
Webcomics name is pretty simple. A panel, a complication and the final “oh no” no matter what the situation. It is, indeed, a contextual critique of situational humor that’s saying it’s all, at the end of the strip, just the same thing.
Webcomic Name is the creation of English cartoonist Alex Norris, who also produces Dorris McComics, which is also,short humorous strips that meditate on life’s travails. Maybe a little David Shrigley is thrown in for good measure.
Reader Nico H wonders why stuff like Owlturd Comics is popular. I have a theory about that. Along with fantastic fantasy icons, the thing that the comics medium does best is deliver short, pithy jokes with a visual component.
And every decade produces its own language. In the 10s and 20s it was ornate 20 panel mini sagas that took up full pages of the paper, a spectacle for the time. In the 30s it was more pointed social humor about the family. In the 60s it was BC and The Wizard of Id and Beetle Bailey. In the 70s it was political humor again. In the 80s it was Gary Larson and throwbacks like Calvin and Hobbes. And now it’s just whatever sticks, anything goes. But, bottom line, people like a short laugh that reflects their live as it is lived. Hence The Oatmeal, Sarah’s Scribbles and instagram comics.
‘Webcomic name’ has a nice deconstructive quality, though. So many of today’s popular humor webcomics showcase either acute personal anxiety or else mass destruction and Norris’s set-up is am effective way to frame this preoccupation.
I don’t envy you kids today. I may have grown up with the threat of total nuclear annihilation, but it was very unlikely and never came close to happening. Today, the upheaval of climate change will cause drastic disruption- effects we already see happening today with droughts and flood plains – over the next 50 years, a period well within young people’s lifetimes; and income inequality with stagnant wage growth seems sunk in pretty tight everywhere for a similar period. That’s the liberal view; if you’re a conservative, terrorists bandits from over the border are going to burn down your houses and destroy our way of life.
Either way, the future sucks and black humor is a logical reaction.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.