Questionable Content is one of those delightfully wry comics that Eric Burns had to review several times on Websnark several times before I finally started reading it. What can I say, I’m stubborn when it comes to reading new fun comics. But it’s definitely worth it, and more than worth reading the archives.
The early artwork is rough, I’ll admit that. But let’s be honest: there are few brand new comics out there that are spectacular from the get go. The characters go from strange half-alien people who are all straight-lines and rectangular eyes to slightly-rounded-but-still-fairly-angular people (who looked less like alien-human hybrids, sorry Mulder!) and then continued to fill out, with rounded eyes (Faye though kept the rectangular eyes the longest, due to her glasses). And they got necks! (I wonder sometimes how they kept those huge heads on those spindly necks… I suppose Fox Mulder from the X-Files television show would be going on about alien telekinesis…) We’ve also seen an evolution of coloring (I swear, all cartoonists go through this need to properly shade things… not that I’m complaining. Just observing.)
The art format is also rather innovative – sort of like a wide-screened comic strip, with each panel below the last to avoid side scrolling. It’s a lot of work, but there isn’t a large diversity of backgrounds so it works fairly well. (I once heard it described as a web comic of a TV sitcom, and that description works. Like in so many TV shows, we only have a few “studios” which are used constantly. But that’s not a bad thing at all. The story is what’s important, not the scenery.)
Artwork alone doesn’t make a comic though. The interactions between Marten, Dora, and Faye are quite enjoyable, as well as the secondary characters. (And Pintsize, an “AnthroPC” which means they gave a computer arms, legs, a head, and sentience, is delightfully sardonic and destructive – sort of an intelligent puppy dog and about as cute.)
Tonight’s comic is a prime example. Marten has been interested in Faye for quite some time, but she continually pushes him away (though he need not feel bad, apparently she pushes everyone away). A couple strips ago Faye actually let her shell crack enough that she asked for a hug – as a friend. When Marten and Faye are walking down the street (which is, I think, a first for Questionable Content – different types of backgrounds for each panel), he jokes that since she’s feeling better, no more comfort hugs.
She laughs and says “Why don’t you try and see what happens.” And he thinks she’s joking until she says she wouldn’t have minded another friendly hug… well, go and read it for yourself. Marten’s not the only one wondering “was she serious? Or is she just joking?”
Personally, I’ve never been fond of mind games. Seeing I don’t have a mind, it’s kind of difficult to play the Game effectively. And we the readers can see that Dora is also interested in Marten… but doesn’t want to get involved with him while he’s interested in Faye… especially as she’s unsure how Faye thinks of Marten… well, I’m sure I’m not the only fan who would cheer if Dora asked Marten out again and he said yes.
Anyway, definitely go and read this comic! And then buy a t-shirt from him. Hey, anyone who can actually make a living doing web comics (in his case through the sale of t-shirts) definitely gets my approval.