Welcome back to Webcomic of the Month! This time we present September’s pick, Mitch Clem‘s Nothing Nice To Say! This was a comic I was reading back in high school and last updated about a year ago as of this post. I think I’ve dated myself since I must mention that this comic is over ten years old and I was reading it near the beginning. The comic is about punk music and the culture surrounding it, and making sure to point out its silliest parts.
One of the first things I remember about the comic was watching Clem’s art develop; his new art is somehow able to make me remember the older stuff in the new style. I think that’s impressive to have an art style that makes my memory retroactively change how I visualize the older strips. I think one of my favorite parts of doing this look at a series I’ve read for so long is getting to notice just how much the artist grew over the years. His work has come a long way from where it began with the bright colors to the black and white that is prominent in Clem’s present work. The art has less complexity than his other works; Clem currently has other works he does that can be seen at his tumblr, but they still have everything you need to get the point across.
Clem’s humor for the series is very clearly someone who loves the material but definitely sees the problems within. I think we can all sympathize with enjoying something but having to deal with the rough edges of our favorite things. He’s also able to call out when things are just plain wrong, such as taking dogs to loud shows. Clem could be poignant and silly in the same strip, or do entire arcs dedicated to a weird idea, and they’d end up being some of my favorites, such as the strange turn of the bicycle club. For the most part the series is usually one-offs involving Blake and Fletcher making observations about punk music or the community at large. Sometimes a story arc appears, sometimes other characters come in, such as an anthropomorphic gopher that is just accepted as normal, all the characters representing some facet of diversity within the punk community and life in general.
I know this comic had a lot of influence on people who are now getting into webcomics or art in general. One such person is Hammer Smith, creator and writer of Glam Rock Gorilla, who had this to say:
“Nothing Nice To Say was one of the first webcomics I truly cared about. When I was too young to relate to slice-of-life comics and too uninterested for the video game trough, Mitch Clem’s heartfelt critiques and caricatures of Punk Rock taught me that there’s room for parody in love letters.
If it weren’t for Mitch and NN2S (and Cecil), there may never have been a Glam Rock Gorilla.”
I know plenty of people who loved reading this series over the years, so many people who have come and gone in my life who’d share jokes from this and other works by Clem. The amount of times I ask Noam Chomsky what he thinks on a subject is because of Mitch Clem’s work. You’ll see his other work show up in here down the line.
So here’s another series that isn’t really updating, but who knows, maybe down the line we’ll be lucky enough for Clem to return to Blake, Fletcher, and the rest of the NN2S cast if only for a little while. Thanks for stopping by, now go read that archive.
Dr. Alexander Bustos