The Joe Comic

What Did I Learn?

weekly webomic reviews by Delos

This week’s review is on The Joe Comic by Kurt Harder. It’s a black and white newspaper style gag strip with no dialog – and it uses stick figure art. It self describes this way: “The Joe Comic started out as drawings on a piece of paper, and grew into a small site with updates weekly. Joe is a stick figure who wears a top hat and travels the world, meeting new friends, enemies and other fascinating things.” Add things together and you have some interesting artistic restraints.

With stick figure comics, the writing has to be especially clever and funny to offset the impression of the art. The writing of the Joe Comic was hit and miss for me. Some of the comics I found amusing and others I could not get the sense of. Here are a few that I found amusing:

The Joe Comic arcade-game

The Joe Comic time-travel

And here are some that leave me puzzled:

The Joe Comic robber-man

The Joe Comic wax-museum

I assume that my sense of humor simply does not match up too well with the artist’s. I say that because I am aware of a few comic message boards where the Joe Comic has gotten good comments from admirers – including the comics I found puzzling. And on the Joe Forums, some have made fan comics. More than a few. Interestingly, the comic inspires strong reactions in everyone who views it.

To be fair, even if you don’t like the comic, think about the self imposed restrictions. No color or form to hang your visuals on and no lengthy storyline or dialog to work in more subtle gags. And you can show character but no development due to the gag nature of the work. It might be a difficult comic to create, really. Just the opposite of what you would expect.

What Did I Learn?

Despite appearances, no comic is easy to make. Further, few comics will appeal to a wide section of the potential audience. It might not hurt to examine our artisitic restraints we place upon ourselves and give them a tweak. Head over to check out The Joe Comic for yourself.

Note: This comic, as of this review, has a flash interface that I found to be slow and unwieldy. I’m not a fan of flash websites as a general preference, so I offer that simply as a data point for you.


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