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Project for when I am bored: Go through the Questionable Content archives and figure out exactly how much time has passed within the comic since the first strip. The strip is great, but the pacing is very, very slow and the author, Jeph Jacques, is unusually consistent about having each series of strips occur on the same day, then moving on to the next day, and so on. The trick is, though, that the plot moves along in real-time, even as time moves slowly within the strip. It's jarring when a new day dawns in QC's Boston and you look back through the archives and realize that the last three months of plot developments all occurred in one day. Seriously, I'll bet the events of full four years of the strip thus far have transpired over the course of two weeks in the characters's lives. A month at the outside.

While we're recommending webcomics, I thought I should put in a word for my current personal favorite, Something Positive.

Something Positive's interesting and unique, as webcomics go. It started out as a fairly simple gag-a-day strip, but has gradually become a lot more serious and dramatic. That's actually not too uncommon; the same trajectory from funny-to-teh-drama happens in a significant portion of webcomics. The difference in Something Positive is that R.K. Milholland has managed to successfully transition from a pure gag-a-day strip to a strip with well-developed characters and an ongoing plot without sacrificing humor or changing the fundamental feel of the comic. The first strip is cynical and witty and it maintains that same essential tone throughout the whole run. It's a pretty rare strip that doesn't have some kind of joke, and the few that are pure drama are handled so well that it's hard to complain about them.

The strip started out with a fairly small cast of real characters and a coterie of cardboard cut-outs. Since then the main cast has grown and evolved, but done so in a very gradual way. Davan now is different than Davan four years ago, but it's not the result of any hammer-on-the-head life-changing after-school-special moments. And that's happened with all of the main characters. Meanwhile, the background characters have been developed and fleshed out into genuine people. It's weird to go back and read Monette in the early strips, where she's played as just a big dumb pseudo-lesbian, because now she's a full-on main character with emotions and depths. She's (literally) become a part of the family.

The plot's also well-done. Milholland does an excellent job of developing the story in a way that you don't necessarily expect, but he does it without cheating. The movement of the plot makes complete sense when you go back and re-read the strips, even if you didn't see where things were going at the time. Another unique thing about S*P is the way that a lot of the plot is told in a very subtle way. Milholland respects his audience enough not to hit them over the head explaining things. You're expected to pick up on certain plot points that happen in the background while the strip is looking elsewhere.

Reading through the archives, the strip starts out with a pretty vicious tone. The first strip is representative of the nastiness that was S*P early on. As the comic has evolved the humor's gotten a bit softer at the edges, but no less cynical. The surprising thing about Something Positive is that a strip that started off with a joke in astoundingly poor taste about abortion could evolve into what is probably the most emotional and affecting webcomic on the scene today. The characters are cynical bastards, but they're cynical bastards you come to really care about. So even if the early strips turn you off, I'd recommend plunging through and seeing if it doesn't grow on you. I'd recommend going through at least April 21, 2002. I also would advise against starting at the current strip and working backwards; there are a lot of spoilers in the more recent strips, and it'd be a shame to ruin some of the surprises. Also, don't read the cast page. It's up to date, which is nice, but that means it's full of spoilers.

Oh, also, Choo-Choo Bear. Choo-Choo Bear is impossible not to love. And that's good, because chemo-kitties need extra love!

Four Posts! One Day! No Real Content!


I see that Questionable Content is touching on the sexy librarian thing today. Having said that, today might not be the greatest Questionable Content for the first-time reader. As the drama has ramped up lately, the funny has gotten a tad stale. The artwork has gotten pretty amazing lately, though, and I quite enjoy the strip now, just in a somewhat different way than I did before. I think Jeph Jacques's doing a good job of keeping QC a gag-a-day strip, even as he moves it in a more serious direction and develops the characters. Things are sort of in transition now for the characters, and once things get settled again I'm confident the funniness will return to prior levels. In the meantime, I recommend going through the archives.

Though, having said that, my heart belongs to R.K. Milholland. If you only read one webcomic on my recommendation, read Something Positive. That is all.

Hello, Something Positive readers!

Man, I'm getting a hell of a lot of google hits from people searching for Something Positive Nancy. Which just goes to show that I'm not the only one who was confused by Milholland's pulling an obscure background character out of his hat. In any case, sit and stay for a while! This isn't a Something Positive blog, or even primarily a webcomics blog, but maybe you'll find something interesting. Feel free to comment.

Also, Nancy is one of Aubrey's girls from Nerdrotica. She first showed up in the Class of Ninety-Bore storyline, when she was one of the girls Jason brought down to help Davan show up his classmates. You'll note that in that storyline they hit it off, but it didn't go anywhere until now. Since then there have been a few mentions of her, for instance in the series around when Episode 3 came out Aubrey mentions her being the first one to get her alien request form in. Further, if you look at the post-its on Davan's desk from when he was working at the insurance company, they all say "Nancy Called," indicating that Nancy's been trying to contact him a lot and, until now, he hasn't reciprocated. Hope this helps!

Does anyone out there read Something Positive? Does anyone know who "Nancy," the girl who showed up in the most recent strip, is? Davan acts as though he knows her, and they have banter right out the gate, but I can't tell if this is one of Davan's friends who left Boston before the strip started or if this is just one of the many characters who have come and gone in the strip since the last time Milholland updated his character page. If she has appeared in prior strips, she probably had a different hair color. Any ideas?

UPDATE: Ah, found it. She was mentioned in this strip. For those curious, she's one of Aubrey's Nerdrotica phone sex girls. It's possible that she's made a physical appearance elsewhere in the strip, but she's only just mentioned in that strip. In any case, I think I can be forgiven for forgetting about her.

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