Prince of Minutiae (inkerx) wrote in wordballoons,
Prince of Minutiae

Acquired Tastes

I'm sitting here listening to the terrific new Aimee Mann album and remembering the first time I heard her. I thought she sucked. I was coming from a town with an endless supply of mopey women strumming guitars in cafes, and Aimee seemed like another one in the long line. I was ignorant, basically, and I shuffled her away without learning more. Years later, one of her songs somehow wormed its way into my MP3 playlist and she slowly became one of my favorites.

This has happened to me with a number of artists. Does it happen with Web comics? Yes. I've visited some sites once or twice, thumbed through the archives, maybe, shrugged and move on. Then, for whatever reason, I'll visit a few more times and get totally, helplessly hooked.

So here's a few Web comics that you may not like ... the first time you visit. Give them a chance and visit them a few times, though, and you may end up another slobbering fan/slave.

When I try to point out a great moment or two in this strip (or his previous strip) to someone who isn't a reader, they don't seem to get it, even after they read the archives. It's like sharing an ice cream cone with someone who has no taste buds! We're used to wry, sarcastic characters who insult each other, like everyone on television. WIGU's characters are cutesy, wide-eyed innocents in odd or horrific circumstances, doing awful things almost -- but not really -- by accident. Like exposure to a new style of music, it sounds tinny or confusing the first time, but it grows on you if you let it.

The Journal Comic
I've never really disliked this one, but I wasn't planning to visit again after I saw it the first time. Memoir comics are familiar territory to anyone who's spent some time watching small publishing, but we're used to the soul-searching angsty variety. Drew's got some angst, but mostly he's making light of his life. Since we're on LiveJournal now, I don't think I need to explain the appeal of a diary with a sense of humor. Sometimes the strips are mundane, but, for some reason, that makes it doubly addicting. It's another acquired taste.

Boy On A Stick And Slither
What the heck is the Boy on the Stick? Is that supposed to be a talking Pez or some sad, propped up quadruple amputee? Why's he friends with a snake? Is it their shared limb-envy? It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. The problem with starting out on the strip is that you might show up on the day where they do nothing but quote rap songs. If you read enough, you'll start to understand the format. If you accept it, you'll start to like it. Again, the humor is very different from the sarcastic jerks format that sitcoms have made so popular. It can be abstract, but it can also be brilliant. (Okay, so I only like that last one because it bashes Web personality tests. So sue me.)


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