This month we’re going to do something a little different, instead of the usual great webcomic with an interview, we’re going to take a look at a comic that has either ended its run or is on hiatus. These are still great comics and what’s even better is that you can usually read a huge catalog of strips. For this month, I’m going to be taking a look at the wonderfully absurd, Achewood, a series about some talking animals and their bizarre lives.
This comic can be explained in such simple terms as a talking animal series with robots but it is missing out on so much of the weird that is Achewood. Created by Chris Onstad in 2001, the series follows the lives of an ensemble cast in the fictional town of Achewood, California. The series exists with the idea that there is an Underground, a place where animals, stuffed animals, robots and more can hang out in places similar to what we have. Sometimes we’ll see Ray and Roast Beef (two cats who quickly become a strong focus of the series) driving a human sized car to places like strip clubs and fancy restaurants.
The series can go from the utterly ridiculous (Ray becomes a successful pianist thanks to selling his soul to the devil) to the very unnerving and terrifying (Téodor and Nice Pete go for a late night Taco Bell run, it’s some of the darkest stuff this series gets into and this is a series where Roast Beef has been shot on more than one occasion, those tend to be played for laughs.) You can find some really insightful comments with some of the silliest wording or see the sadness of one character compared to the goofiness of another.
The cast ranges from cats, otters, robots, and stuffed bears to name a few and Onstad takes the ideas we have about stories involving those creatures and decides to just tell the stories he wants. I can’t recommend this series enough, it is so wonderful and weird. There is over 10 years worth of comics collected for you to read, from the site, you can buy them directly from the site, or you can pick up a couple of the stories collected into books by Dark Horse comics.
The series is very much for adults so don’t think that a bunch of talking animals will be perfect for kids. Phillipe may be the closest to kid friendly and that’s only in some stories since while he’s innocent, the other characters are not. Go check out the series, while it’s on hiatus right now, there is possibility that it gets an animated series that they have been showing test footage of.