One Punch Reviews #18: Chainsawsuit
On one of Halfpixel’s Webcomics Weekly podcasts, Kris Straub identifies with an e-mailer who claims that he has way too many ideas to contain in one comic. (The person who sent the e-mail got roundly mocked by everyone else at Halfpixel, though in a playful manner. At least, I don’t think Dave Kellett actually wanted to beat the snot out of him.) Now, he might have been facetious, but I imagine Kris Straub really is a man of a million ideas. He is, after all, responsible for comics with high concept ideas, like the one about a starship that displays art exhibits (Starslip Crisis) and a band that’s resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll never become famous (F Chords). Straub also does a third strip, one that’s more conventional and far less polished. It may, however, be Kris Straub at his funniest. Today, One Punch Reviews basks in the deliberately low-tech glory of Chainsawsuit.
Perhaps the title, Chainsawsuit, refers to a metaphysical suit of armor — the author’s way of processing criticism aimed at his person by simultaneously defending and attacking his tormentors. Or it could refer to, I don’t know, an actual suit made out of chainsaws. For protection against zombies. That right there should give you an idea what Chainsawsuit is all about, my discerning readers: total nonsequitors. The art is of the stick figure variety, yet the humor is so loose and breezy that it reminds me of entries for 24-hour comics contests.
Put that in your promo quotes, Straub: “The carefree spirit of 24-hour comics, only institutionalized!”
And, yes, it’s funny. Incredibly funny, in that “teasing yet self-mocking” way. That’s the joy of stick-figure comics, isn’t it? Half the joke is how the artists gets away with pictures a kindergartener could draw. A lot the humor gravitates toward the kind where problems are resolved with crazy, disproportionate violence, but it’s inflicted and suffered by stick figures, so it’s OK. (By the way, Straub’s trademark “fish-lipped, no nose, no neck” style hardly makes an appearance, so if that character design tends to fuel your darkest nightmares, you should be fine here.) It should be noted that, compared to his other works, the art in Chainsawsuit tends to be more fluid and action packed. That’s sort of a requirement if you want to milk humor out of a guy getting decapitated by a pizza. While there are recurring themes, Chainsawsuit is entirely plot free: Straub’s version of a stand up act.
Chainsawsuit follows no rhyme or reason beyond the three- to four-panel shenangians from top of Kris Straub’s mind. Maybe he wants to comment on the ridiculous vitriol of critics. Maybe he wants to write about action-packed adventures of a lazy cat. Heck, maybe he wants to do a long running Lifetime movie parody. Whatever. As long as it’s short and sweet and the punchlines flow freely and naturally like honey from a honeycomb.
For my money, though, Straub is best when he’s poking fun at his own kind: comic artists. I got big laughs from his xkcd spoofs. Even the highly revered Perry Bible Fellowship is fair target. And if you’re not hopelessly immersed in the minutae of webcomic trivia but are instead a cultured metropolitan socialite (and God bless you, you productive member of society), Straub’s got your back, son: he even pokes fun at the New Yorker in a strip that probably going up at my work cubicle. There’s also a spoof of some minor webcomic about indie musicians, though I doubt there’s actually anyone out there who’ll get that reference.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
The first person who says Kris Straub is ripping off xkcd gets the El Santo Malocchio of Doom.
Posted on September 9, 2008, in 5 Stars, comedy webcomic, One Punch Reviews, spoof, stick figure webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged Chainsawsuit, Kris Straub. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.