Clicking on ads is always a crapshoot. More often then not you end up either looking at a poor attempt at entertainment or some depraved form of scorpion teddy bear porn. Luckily a couple of weeks ago I found Riotfish instead of god-knows-what.
Let me just say Riotfish is awesome. It surprises me at every turn. It has reinvented a tired joke and managed to make it into a thrilling serial that shows no signs of slowing down. So for those of you who hate reading just go here. The link takes you right to the beginning which is exactly where you should start.
Riotfish actually publishes a bunch of comics but they all manage to live in the realm of Newspaper Comic Strip. Now, I have no idea who the first artist was to break the fourth wall (you should probably ask Chris Ware or some other art historian) but I can say that it’s nothing new. What makes Newspaper Comic Strip so special is that you find yourself in the shoes of the protagonist who is himself the only one to realize he is indeed in a comic strip. After a while you begin to feel like a true paranoid schizophrenic. Time and dimension become fuzzy and distorted as this poor amnesiac tries desperately to make sense of the situation. He struggles with the pacing of his three panel strip, discovers he’s not the only comic on the page and loses track of time when he forgets to count sundays. Add to that the “Logo” perceived as some sort of big brother corporate oligarchy and his distrust for other characters in the strip and you have a sort of Truman Show of the ink and paper variety.
If all of this sounds a bit too stressful for your morning coffee, it is. Fortunately, Riotfish publishes a number of other strips that fall under the “syndicated parody” category. Comics like “Hobbled” a take on the goofy dad sitcom strip, “Retarded” which feels like a cross between early Non-sequitur and Bizarro and “WW2 Anachronisms”, a dark single panel cartoon that finds humor in the Holocaust among other things.
Artist Justin Pasieka and writer James Randall have built a truly amazing anthology. Do yourself a favor; brew some wicked tea, turn up the heat and settle into a comfy chair. You could be there a while.