Questionable Content

One of my favorite comics, and the most eyebrow-praisingly-named one. Considering the amount of comics I read, you’d think I’d do more reviews of them, but in all of the blog posts I’ve done I could only find one example of a webcomic review, and it was more in the linked-list style than in my book-review-style.1
But then, I just reread the entire archive of QC in this past week,2 and I’m feeling like I should try to get something vaguely productive out of all of that.
So I guess I’ll make an attempt to review a webcomic. Should be fine, right?
The front page of the site is the latest comic, which gives you a bit of a hint as to how long it’s been running – as of this writing, there’s more than 3100 comics in the archive.
The very first comic set an interesting tone – “get home and complain about work” is one of the more generic starts to a webcomic, to be honest.3 The twist is in who’s being complained to – a little robot named Pintsize. In rereading, I found that start a bit strange – it’s clear to see where his character would evolve from, out of that beginning, but the original Pintsize is a lot less… raucous than how I think of the character now.45 The actual main character is Marten Reed, indie-rock hipster extraordinaire.
Well, maybe not extraordinaire. Rather generic, in fact, but that’s part of the charm of the comic – taking some generic characters and making them more interesting, allowing them to grow over time.
Shortly thereafter, the comic introduces Steve, Marten’s best friend with some distinctive bro-like qualities, and then Faye, a sass-talking Southerner who packs a mean punch. She and Marten hit it off, and from then on out the real core of the comic begins to take shape. There’s a reason that Wikipedia refers to it as a ‘slice of life’ comic – it follows Marten and Faye’s daily lives. Over time, the cast grows, introducing an interesting range of characters – my favorite, Hannelore,6 philandering Sven,7 adorably-awkward Marigold, and a range of sentient computers that goes from ‘walking iPod’8 to ‘superintelligent AI running a space station’ to ‘bored death-bot.’
Those science fiction aspects are one of my favorite things about the comic – they’re worked in with a light touch, and from following Jeph (the artist) on Twitter, it becomes pretty clear that he’s put a lot of thought into how the existence of artificial intelligence would make the world a different place. It’s that little twist on things, combined with a level of ridiculousness in some of the situations that crop up, that help to keep the comic interesting through the years it’s been running.
That’s about all I’ve got to say – a great cast of characters, a well-thought-out twist on reality to serve as the setting, and an author/artist who’s also running a couple of other webcomics9 and doing a great job at all of them.
Go give it a read.

  1. It also handily predates when I started doing linked-list style posts, so that’s interesting. 
  2. I’m trying to distract myself from stressing about finals, okay? 
  3. Not that I read enough webcomics to recognize all the tropes or anything *sweats nervously* 
  4. “I’m a performance artist, and my medium is irate ladies.” 
  5. Actually, for a better ‘here’s how awful he is’ quote, have this one:
    “I will TOTALLY be your glorified dildo.” 
  6. “So you’re not only crazy as hell and richer than the average Saudi prince, you’re from friggin’ space?  
  7. “This is typically the point where my good looks and deep, soulful eyes compel the lady to kiss me.” 
  8. Fun fact: I have a shirt with a picture of him on it, saying “I am full of music!” It’s an entirely accurate description of me. In fact, I’m actually wearing it right now. 
  9. Alice Grove is a Terry Pratchett-meets-Iain M Banks sort of science fiction, with a lot of a mystery going on at the moment, and DORD is a ‘when he thinks of it’ jokes-only thing based on the news headlines a while back getting all excited about a superstructure orbiting a nearby star.