Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
So Webcomic Week, eh? Not as popular as Comic Strip Week, I see. But… but webcomics are diverse, and unrestrained, and free, and everywhere!
Our featuredÂ strip of the evening isÂ probably theÂ most surreal autobiographical comic on the web. Don’t think too hard and we should make it out alive. (Archive.)
Jeffrey Rowland’s Overcompensating is, as the website calls it, “the journal comic with a seething disdain for reality.” True ‘dat, yo!
Overcompensating is a study in contrasts, and other thinks a stuffy old professor would tell you. It’s an autobio comic that is exceptionally unreal. Yes, it stars Jeffrey Rowland, a “cartoonist” who lives and breathes, and his posse of friends and archnemeses that includes a crazy dude named Weedmaster P, a dude named The Poopmonster (a.k.a. the guy who does Diesel Sweeties), an alcoholic cat, a few friendly ladies, his evil British counterpart, The Englishman (a.k.a. the guy who does Scary Go Round), and more. There are cartoonists, machine elves, an an homunculizedÂ Warren Ellis being who hangs out with a sparrow and attempts to propogate the Bird Flu. Oh, and Samuel L. Jackson has appeared a few times, because he can. And I haven’t even mentioned Jesus, yet.
Let’s see, further contrasts… hmm. Well, you’ve surely noted the smooth, charmingly cartoony art. Rowland has really refined his artwork for maximum comics awesomeness, and it’s really nice looking, filled withÂ elegant lineworkÂ and fun little details and some need photo stuff. An unfamiliar reader, at a glance, would see it, perhaps, as a happy work. The truth of it is, however, that the tone ranges from bizarre insanity to beautiful cynicism to, occasionally, the odd happy strip. The characters are slackers and weirdos and madmen in a world of slackers, weirdos, and madmen. It’s a strange world, and everyone has to live in it. Really, it’s a cool, hip strip. Well, it at least fits my definition of “hip.” And Rowland listens to Rilo Kiley, which makes him a good man in my book.
Overcompensating was also part of the Snakes on a Plane internet hype-splosion, what with the t-shirts and the muthableeping and the terrars. This would explain Sam Jackson’s appearances. Rowland got to hang out with Sam at the San Diego con and go to the movie’s premiere, and he shows up on the DVD. Awesome. (Snakes on a Plane is a wonderfully bad film. I love it.) You can read some SOAP-related strips here and here. There are several more; look for ‘em!
The universe’s most surreal bio strip! That’s Overcompensating for you. Also, it makes me laugh. In the end, that’s what really matters, right? The healing power of laughter? And also a mad druggie who travels back in time to screw with Adam and Eve? Yes.
Rowland also does another cool webcomic, Wigu. You can access it from his site.
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