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Achewood Creator on NPR 104 104

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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Achewood Creator on NPR

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  • Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29, 2008 @09:24AM (#25192951)
    Shame it's not funny or entertaining.
  • Ye Gods. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29, 2008 @09:28AM (#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.

  • Read it from day 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krog (25663) on Monday September 29, 2008 @09:42AM (#25193095) Homepage

    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 [] for me.

  • by slaker (53818) on Monday September 29, 2008 @09:51AM (#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 [].

  • Re:Ye Gods. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slaker (53818) on Monday September 29, 2008 @10:15AM (#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.

  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Monday September 29, 2008 @10:40AM (#25193657) Journal

    "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:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sskang (567081) on Monday September 29, 2008 @10:46AM (#25193707)
    Can you explain to me how today's XKCD is supposed to be funny?
  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday September 29, 2008 @11:15AM (#25194059) Journal

    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. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Monday September 29, 2008 @12:23PM (#25194823) Homepage Journal

    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 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:Ye Gods. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe Snipe (224958) on Monday September 29, 2008 @12:23PM (#25194827) Homepage Journal

    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).

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"