What Did I Learn?
FNS has anthropomorphic mice that live in a little boys bedroom. The mice go through the day to day life that we humans do, with dating and popular culture being the focus. The latest storyline focuses heavily on the emotional drama of dating.
Since I’m an artist, I always examine the artwork as the very first thing. FNS begins with pure black and white linework which has some nice variation with lots of thin and thick transitions. Over time, blacks get added to the background which ties the comic together much better visually. There are a few color strips I ran across which I thought really suited the comic nicely. I’d like to see more of FNS in color. I can understand why it isn’t due to the time required for coloring comics. We’ve looked at the art, now let’s check out the rest.
The latest story involves the schemes you find in the high school dating scene. The previous storylines that lead up to this one include an arms race of mousetraps of mass destruction, mouse senators and government abductions. They also include a hefty dose of ‘this’ character has a romantic interest in ‘that’ character. Over time, these events have formed a fairly dense weave of history and emotional connections. The net effect is that things continue to become more and more complicated which allows for some nice character subtleties.
Don’t worry. Each strip is straight to the point and perfectly enjoyable without needing to know the big storyline going on. FNS has been updating almost daily since 2000, so there’s plenty to catch up on if you’re so inclined.
Just when you think there is something you can depend on, with all this history, new foriegn mice move in and the resident mouse genius loses his memory. Al is seemingly thrown forward in time to when he is an adult and learns how his life has progressed. I can encapsulate it by saying that things have not turned out so good and Al may not be able to fix it.
Everything is turned upside down. The more of the backstory I read, the more I appreciated the individual strips. It was at this point that I could make sense of the Spoiler page. (I tried to read FNS from the start but the strips kept jumping to the right and didn’t want to load properly. To review it, I had to start again from the latest strip and work backward.) Now that I had an overview of the strip I could also visit the cast page on the wiki. I could get a little info on any character I’d seen referenced. With so much history, a reference is needed.
Will you like FNS? You might, if you have a little patience to read through a number of strips and get the storyline. You’ll get to know the mice and you will find yourself interested in what happens next. I enjoyed the characters, dialogue and storylines even though long, long stories are not my preference. The characters are well developed and the story world stays consistent. I probably would have enjoyed FNS more if I could have read, say, five strips at a time. I don’t believe the site host allows for that option, unfortunately.
In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t happen to like the WebcomicNation site. It is slow and I ran into lots of page errors, probably due to the sheer size of the databases needed to hold all those comics it does. That has nothing to do with FNS itself, but it does affect the reader experience.
What Did I Learn?
If your readers need to understand the history of the strip to really get it, make sure to include some reference. FNS has a cast page, a new reader page and a separate spolier page. Since that much history is a deterrent to some new readers, make sure each comic can stand on its own. Further, make sure the reading experience is the best you can make it. Of course, keeping the storylines ongoing and circumstances changing goes almost without saying. Take advantage of the story depth you have to produce work that gag comics cannot, like FNS does.
Take a look at Freaks N Squeeks if you have a few minutes to kill. You might just find that you like it.
Freak N Squeeks
by the Marvelous Patric