I’ve always loved comic strips. When I was young it was Garfield, the Peanuts, and whatever else was in the newspaper. Then I graduated to some more mature humor in the Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, and televisions The Simpsons (which is not a strip, but is very much in that vein.) I discovered Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks in college and was blown away by what the medium could accomplish. When I met my wife, she was working for a comic strip publishing agency, which I took to be just about the coolest possible place that existed to work.
In a world where print media has been in decline for a full decade (and in rough shape well before then), there was the fear that we would lose things like comic strips. They are such a slight form of narrative and humor that they don’t seem built to last. Where other forms of art aim to elicit pathos or joy or belly laughs or intense tears, a comic strip is looking for “heh.” Just a little chuckle. It’s a small thing, but it’s also a lot to lose.
And yet, around a decade ago, a wonderful thing happened that often does when we fear we are losing something precious from the world: it shows up again where you didn’t expect it. In this case, the form came to live on the internet in a new way with fresh perspectives and altogether new life. Now there was xkcd, hyperbole and a half, and, weirdly, Calvin and Hobbes (again).
I was reflecting on all of this because, there’s this great new web comic by artist Nathan Pyle. In it, a group of either aliens or some kind of featureless post-humans dialogue in extremely literal terms about ordinary life like getting tanned when the weather changes:
This comic seemed particularly appropriate to Unitarian Universalists who, of necessity, spend a lot of time around candles and other flames.
If you have a love for comic strips, but don’t know much about web comics, there’s much out there to discover. On top of the ones I mentioned above, take a look at everything by Sarah Andersen, Awkward Yeti (especially Heart and Brain), and the Oatmeal. Or you can explore. There’s so much out there to find!