It's this. This is the saddest thing.
March 21, 2011 4:41 PM   Subscribe

"Another nagging idea which slowly grew from a whorl in the tub to a Pacific gyre was that, as I wrote piece after piece, it seemed like I was just imitating myself, if that makes any sense. I had always prided myself on not being formulaic (say, Monday jokes and lasagna jokes), so this presented a grave problem. I have always wanted Achewood to be something that didn’t exist before, including earlier versions of itself. ... Like a sparrow birthing a clenched human fist, Achewood must be reborn in strange ways over time to achieve this ideal." Chris Onstad announces an indefinite hiatus to the popular web comic Achewood.

An interview with Onstad here.

Achewood previously:
http://www.metafilter.com/21573/Achewood
http://www.metafilter.com/34171/Lyle-July-2-pissed-on-side-of-house
http://www.metafilter.com/75465/Ray-and-Roast-Beef-get-physical
http://www.metafilter.com/92373/Ballsout-Cuisine

Although the site's archives are down at the moment, they are usually accessible here. To the newcomer: every strip has its charm, but they get really good when the cats are introduced, strip 1/10/2002.
posted by codacorolla (137 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I DO NOT LIKE THIS NEWS NO THANK YOU
posted by palomar at 4:42 PM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is sad, but not unexpected. The last storyline wasn't as strong as past storylines. Onstad is making the wise choice in stepping away before Achewood turned into a pale imitation of itself.

So long, and thanks for all the awesome.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:44 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your main link loops back to Metafilter. You probably intended it to go here.

Mod-up on aisle 101740?
posted by m@f at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2011


Yeah, I mixed up the two links from the Achewood front page. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by codacorolla at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2011


Yeah, sad but expected - as far as I can tell his pace has slackened off considerably over the last year (or was that just my feed reader?)

Honestly, I think Onstad should be incredibly proud of what he's done so far.
posted by muddgirl at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2011


Whoops, pace was totally addressed in the new link... should have previewed.
posted by muddgirl at 4:51 PM on March 21, 2011


I'm a very sad cat.

:(
posted by Jimbob at 4:52 PM on March 21, 2011


It's admirable whenever a good artist/writer/athlete quits before their decline, but it's also frustrating as a fan.
posted by drezdn at 4:53 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Boo. We have a framed print of Mickey Mouse Pancakes on our wall as a reminder that nothing ever works out exactly as you hope.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:56 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great writing. Sad to see it come to a close.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 PM on March 21, 2011


There is a little list of websites that I hit whenever I open my computer, which is almost something of a personal mantra. Unfortunately, the first url on that list is achewood.com. And try though I have, for the past few months, my fingers just keep sending me there, strip or no. Then, defeated, I end up here.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:00 PM on March 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh fuck it we're never gonna find out how much cock Téodor is sucking now!
posted by The Whelk at 5:00 PM on March 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


It always felt like Onstad never knew how to resolve the whole situation with Teodor in the back of the van during the final arc. The pace of strips dropped off as the point where we'd actually have to get an answer approached, and then when it finally hit there were some sporadic filler comics and then... nothing. Now this.

More than anything else it feels like Onstad didn't know how to answer that giant looming question in a way he was satisfied with, and kept trying to push it off until he eventually had to call it quits.

A huge shame, really - Achewood was the only thing in webcomics that ever felt like it had something approximating genuine literary merit.
posted by Ryvar at 5:02 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway Onstead made the only webcomic that can INFECT MY BRAIN AND CHANGE THE WAY I TALK IF I READ TOO MUCH IT AT ONCE so if he wants to stop after oh so many wonderful years, I give him no ill will and say good day.
posted by The Whelk at 5:02 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Or what the Whelk said much more succinctly.
posted by Ryvar at 5:02 PM on March 21, 2011


This isn't unexpected, and I hardly blame the man, but I'm still sad. Achewood is not just one of the important webcomics, or one of the better strips of its day; it is one of the great comics, period. I think it's been as important to me personally as Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County were in their day.

I harbor an entirely selfish hope that maybe Onstad will use the time off to write a novel or something, but whatever he does, I wish him the best.
posted by brennen at 5:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


In some way, this is the perfect way for Achewood to end. Not with a bang but with an uncontrollable whimper and bottle of Old Crow.

Circumstances man.
posted by The Whelk at 5:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are they planning to leave the archives up at least? I was an infrequent reader, but enjoyed visiting from time to time.
posted by evilcolonel at 5:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mentioned in the comics alliance interview: Onstad interviewed @ Google authors. From 2008.
posted by codacorolla at 5:03 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the fundamental problem is that overall there was no way for it to ever end except for everyone in the back of Nice Pete's van
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:04 PM on March 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


Are they planning to leave the archives up at least? I was an infrequent reader, but enjoyed visiting from time to time.

From everything Onstad has said so far, yes. Free comics will remain so, and some content will go in to the pay site. To summarize, he's working on different things but wants to revisit Achewood once he knows what to do with it.
posted by codacorolla at 5:04 PM on March 21, 2011


What he should do with it is publish a book from the archives.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:05 PM on March 21, 2011


F-f-f-fuckin' Onstead, is he t-t-tryin' to get clean or somethin'? I been dead for less t-t-time than this guy's been on his little vacation!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:06 PM on March 21, 2011 [18 favorites]


Achewood was responsible for one of my all-time favorite lines from any comic ever: "He has the sex appeal of a biscuit with two shits inside."
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Yeah the idea of the archives not being there is enough to get me to pull out the ol' money hinge and finally buy the books already.

I can't be held responsible for my actions if I loose access to the Fiesta name wheel.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2011


I think the fundamental problem is that overall there was no way for it to ever end except for everyone in the back of Nice Pete's van

Achewood ends with everyone in Pete's van. Forever. Hurtling toward nothingness. Without space. Or meaning.

Chucklebot has the last laugh.
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


dang it is raw as hell for a man to drop that he has ducked out of the game
posted by oneirodynia at 5:11 PM on March 21, 2011 [28 favorites]


The last REALLY good arc was the one with Cornelius and Polly. Aside from that it's been mostly a biscuit with two shits inside for a while now.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:14 PM on March 21, 2011


At least he has the courtesy to let people know that he's winding it down. My favorite Achewood-esque comic, Daisy Owl (previously FPP'd), was unceremoniously abandoned by its creator and the associated forum deleted with nary a word. It took me a few weeks to realize it hadn't been updating, and some esoteric Googling to find the one post from the author on a different, unrelated forum to figure out what the heck was going on.

Anyway, I never read Achewood regularly, so maybe now's a good time to start?
posted by Rhaomi at 5:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Achewood was responsible for one of my all-time favorite lines from any comic ever

Yes indeed. Welcome to the only game in town.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Oh uh wait hold on
How will I know if the hiatus is over


Don't worry, I'll give you a sign. The sign will be that life is awesome.
posted by Zozo at 5:17 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


YES.

Although it's hard to say where. i didn't like achewood until I had a sick day and just read everything from the comic sans strip onward and it infected my brain and became the most hilarious thing I had ever read.

Also, one of the only honest depictions of depression and anxiety I've seen in like fiction, let alone web-based comic strips.
posted by The Whelk at 5:18 PM on March 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have many, many favorite lines (SUPERMAN WOULDN'T WEAR A HAT!) but I think the best is the entirely of this one.

It was like I was reading my own Horrible Forbidden Nightmare Thoughts.
posted by The Whelk at 5:19 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have never understood Achewood. Every time I've been linked to it I've just hit a wall of in-jokes and non sequitur scatology and obscure references and bounced right back out again none the wiser.

I would like to understand Achewood, because people I like and respect seem so often to adore it. What am I missing? Where should I start?
posted by ook at 5:20 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


"This is just cola."
posted by brennen at 5:21 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't you do cocaine at ME!
posted by The Whelk at 5:21 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ray is high under the table.
posted by brennen at 5:25 PM on March 21, 2011


For me the winning part of Achewood was Onstead's continued obsession with the ugly (literally and metaphorically) parts of everyday American life - the chain stores - the shitty jobs- the poorly made houses and endless, endless highway leading nowhere - the shattered lives and screaming relationships and being a fuckup among fuckups and the terrible thought that NO THIS REALLY AS THERE IS.

And it's so fucking funny. and somehow not mean. Just kind of resigned. This is the world. You can do nothing to change it. Best to find a nice girl From History and hang out with your friend who is somehow convinced the world is in fact, not a hobo's rotting sock.

Onstead apparently loves King Of The Hill and you can totally see why.
posted by The Whelk at 5:26 PM on March 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Since we're sharing favorites: when my best friend was thinking about finally asking his long-time girlfriend to marry him, I showed him Achewood in a roundabout attempt to get him to read these three strips. The last one had a definite, positive effect.
posted by penduluum at 5:29 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


For me the high point of Achewood was the huge creepy arc in which Nice Pete steals Phillippe away, promising to take him to "the super-secret ice cream shop," and parks the van at a seemingly abandoned shed in the middle of nowhere, which he then enters to reveal...it actually is a super-secret ice cream shop.

I'd been following the arc thinking that the only way he could end it without making me stop reading Achewood was for the crazy man to carry out the implied murder of Phillippe, but I hadn't even considered the possibilty of the ending he actually used, which redeemed everything.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:30 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


ook, while I loved Achewood immediately and mourn its kind-of-demise along with others in this thread, there's plenty of things that people rave about on Metafilter but that I just...don't...get. Don't let it get you down. If you try starting at the 1/22/02 strip as codacorolla recommended and read a few, but it fails to grab you, no sweat. Plenty other things in life that will fit your fancy (though not everyone else's, by the way). Different strokes, and all that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't think dialogue gets better this mini arc - Corneilus and Polly over at Ray's place for dinner.

1

2

3

4

Polly: Wow. Is he always "on" like this?

Cornelius: Oh, he's doing one of his alpha things. It's play behavior, like when a dog mounts a suitcase that's been getting too much attention.

posted by The Whelk at 5:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


...your darkest secret
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or just the single panel "Like when I got that magical realism R.V where it was always raining inside!"

Good times.
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on March 21, 2011


Mrs. Example and I still say "YOU KNOW I GOT NO SENSE OF EGGS" to each other. =( Here's hoping it's not all over just yet.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:37 PM on March 21, 2011


Nice dig at "Garfield".
posted by orthogonality at 5:37 PM on March 21, 2011


This is when I fell in love with Achewood. I needed a laugh.

And count me in the "good for Onstad for doing what he needs to do" camp.
posted by COBRA! at 5:38 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just for itsshay & igglesgay please consider my Mefi Achewood post from 8+ years ago for a little perspective.

Paging Stan Chin . . . "Achewood sucks?" Anybody? . . . Anybody? I've been on Metafilter far too long.
posted by jeremias at 5:39 PM on March 21, 2011


YOU KNOW I NEED A SPECIAL LAMP JUST TO LIVE IN THE WORLD!

DO YOU NEED ANOTHER LAMP TO REMIND YOU WHAT DAY IT IS?!
posted by The Whelk at 5:39 PM on March 21, 2011


I think The Whelk pretty much nailed it.

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English Achewood way.
posted by Golfhaus at 5:42 PM on March 21, 2011


For me the winning part of Achewood was Onstead's continued obsession with the ugly (literally and metaphorically) parts of everyday American life - the chain stores - the shitty jobs- the poorly made houses and endless, endless highway leading nowhere - the shattered lives and screaming relationships and being a fuckup among fuckups and the terrible thought that NO THIS REALLY AS THERE IS.

That is it exactly. He writes characters that don't always win (rarely, in fact) but cope with the failures of life, and the failures of the world, with humor and grace, if not always dignity. A lot of comics, even web ones, are a one trick pony, where it's all wacky, or all morose, or whatever, but Achewood isn't afraid to have his cartoon cats do real shit with real consequences, even if it's decidedly unreal, and like the best magical-realism it tells the truth better than anything can.

And in the strips where they do win it's fucking awesome, and you pump the tiny fist that lives in your heart with joy, because you see yourself in the characters.
posted by codacorolla at 5:43 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite moments:

I RIDE WITH RODNEY (I just broke away from the reading the whole Great Outdoor Fight arc. Nice try, Metafilter!)

Your first challenge: BAKE A LOAF OF BREAD USING THE PROVIDED FLOUR, WATER, YEAST, AND SALT!
posted by mkb at 5:43 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is decent of him to say it out loud, even if we already knew. Achewood is one of those 'click' comedies - you don't get it, you keep reading, suddenly you click, then everything about it is hilarious. (I've felt the same way about early Aqua Teen Hunger Force, although that has more haters than Achewood.)

The thing I love most about Achewood is the prose, though. He manages to capture voice (in the literary sense) better than most - Chris must hang around all kinds of people, or just have an acute ear. This news is worst song, played on ugliest guitar.
posted by Paragon at 5:44 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]



And in the strips where they do win it's fucking awesome, and you pump the tiny fist that lives in your heart with joy, because you see yourself in the characters.

Like when they finally try to fix what has been broken
posted by The Whelk at 5:45 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This ain't a hat of computer people! Dan Rather cold sports this sick piece on a chilly day!

*pours one out for one of the good ones*
posted by furiousthought at 5:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wait patiently for the day when I can scream Ray's final line here in context.
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


There is not a single internet user who hasn't faced this cold, cold morning.
posted by The Whelk at 5:54 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The last strip--February 20, 2011--feels exactly like Achewood has degenerated into self-parody. It was so sad when I read it, and weirdly it makes me happy to hear that he's on hiatus.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:55 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would totally listen to his tiny ideas

Also I tried once, I think not badly, to re-create Achewood's famous voice.

God knows I've read it enough.
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on March 21, 2011


I donated to keep the servers running.

I spend a lot of time scanning things, and while I am sitting at my desk replacing pages on the platen, I have been discovering Achewood. I just finished the Great Outdoor Fight last night.

Some people up above mentioned the way he deals with so much of the crappiness of American life, and it immediately made me think of this strip.

Achewood is also one of the few things (besides Rifftrax) that actually makes me laugh out loud. I smile in appreciation a lot of things, but some Achewoods made me crack up:

Todd's opinion of birth control. Beef's face in panel 5 makes the strip.
Ray's opinion of Pat's Fries plus the final pun.
The Alt-Text is the key here.
I won't spoil this one.

I occasionally find myself saying "What in the dogg?"
posted by dhens at 5:58 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why can't I wake up with the gin already in me?
posted by nightchrome at 5:58 PM on March 21, 2011


Also, these two strips may be the best representations of panic/feelings of helplessness ever committed to visual representation.
posted by dhens at 6:00 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Am I craving chinese food because I'm dying ?
posted by The Whelk at 6:07 PM on March 21, 2011


You know, I never really got web comics. I've even been around for any number of the past posts on this guy's stuff and never found anything that struck my fancy.

But holy cow if I didn't just spend the last .5 hour laughing myself to tears. Thank you all for posting your favorites. And I'm totally using "go tofuck yourself" within the next 24 hours. I have cramps from laughing.
posted by nevercalm at 6:08 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


A turd with a bullet in it ain't exactly 5 O'Clock News Ray
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:10 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is your taco. The doctors did everything they could, I'm sorry.
posted by codacorolla at 6:11 PM on March 21, 2011


God, I love Achewood! This news is sad, but you know what? I'm glad. It's been going downhill for a while. Monthly posts are pretty rough on the faithful. I like seeing something close gracefully - though it must be said, maybe right after Beef and Molly's wedding mighta been a better time for it.

Now, folks, back to your nostalgic quoting. I feel re-welcomed to the only game in town.
posted by entropone at 6:12 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know Pat reads Metafilter.
posted by The Whelk at 6:12 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


FREE PUBLIC WINE
posted by The Whelk at 6:13 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I had seen a couple Achewoods linked to here before, but I didn't really take to them. The Great Outdoor Fight arc was the one that made me appreciate the rest.

Another one I liked: "Damn, this dude can't even eat lunch without destroyin' men and declarin' the death of God..."
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ahem! "Lyle took off his SaniTaco shirt to reveal a broad, strong chest. I pulled down my skirt and sat on the gleaming white food prep area. Lyle wiped two tortillas under his arms and put them back with the rest. It seemed to give him energy." *glare*
posted by infinitewindow at 6:20 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the last really good ones, in my opinion, and one of the ones I always show initiates: This is perfect! I have some friends who are real M&M people.
posted by heurtebise at 6:23 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


A wake for Achewood. Smoke it if you got it.
posted by The Whelk at 6:23 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will miss Achewood, although in the past year or so I've barely bothered to check it due to the rarity of updates. This is kind of like a break-up where the relationship has been going south for a while. It's not really an Event. I still have my "What we need more of is Science" pin on my coat though, in case any fellow nerds want to stop to chat about their favorite characters. (Todd!)
posted by troublewithwolves at 6:23 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Free public wine is a good example of why the comic is written well and others aren't. Ray comes out of the house with bags under his eyes, but he never has a "aw man, what a night!" thought bubble. The comic isn't broken if you don't get that he has a hangover - the sequence of events is still funny (and pretty fitting with Ray as the reader knows him). BUT if you noticed the hangover you realize: damn, that really is the sort of thing you think when you wake up feeling like shit 2 PM on Sunday morning.
posted by codacorolla at 6:26 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Achewood made me laugh like no other comic since Calvin and Hobbes. Seems fitting to go out, at least for now, on a similar note.
posted by chinston at 6:30 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dang, man! A Jehovah's Witness! Let me get the hose.

Home, she a funny theeng.
posted by jinjo at 6:31 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Molly: What the hell was that?
Beef: It's that thing you ladies do!
Molly: Osteoporosis?!

I had a friend or two, back in the college days, telling me to read Achewood on something like a weekly basis. This would have been at the beginning--the best would have been yet to come had I actually jumped on that bandwagon.

I didn't *get* Achewood until I moved to Oakland, California. Unwillingly unemployed and couch-surfing for months, I drank Bushmills and soda and got so stoned I would forget to breathe and ate burritos from a taqueria that couldn't even manage to have a level floor (we're talkin like 20 degree incline just to order). I had nothing to do but read books and send off resumes, fewer and fewer with each week looking worse than the last, wondering all the while why I had even moved to California in the first place. I had no friends and no where to go. "Fuck it, I'll just read Achewood, why not?"

I got to this strip and laughed so hard I pulled a muscle.

Achewood starts with poorly drawn non-sequiturs and ends up being so sophisticated, so refined, so perfect it's transcendent. It truly is literature, and Onstand has such a distinctive voice he can't even hide it (did anyone read his, what, New Yorker blog (??) series about the restaurant wars? Holy shit that was amazing).

Achewood has been dead for over a year at this point, in hospice care at best, so it's not like this is a surprise.

Still.
posted by hototogisu at 6:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite Achewood is the "sell your eyes" strip.

In one of the collections Onstad said that, as he approached the strip at the time of the putting together of the collection, that wasn't the kind of strip he'd do anymore. That seemed like a shame to me, at the time, and it still does, because it was fantastic.

I always kind of thought it peaked before the GOF, though.
posted by kenko at 6:34 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have successfully forced and badgered so many people into reading Achewood.

My sweetheart rolls her eyes incessantly when I slip into the dialect.
posted by entropone at 6:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Achewood never really clicked for me, although I always planned to buy the books and sit down and just have at it, because I hear that's what it takes.

But I keep a link to this one handy, for whenever Comic Sans comes up.

And a while back I bought Roast Beef's cookbook and IT IS SO GREAT. You should buy it, too. You will make the best hamburgers! Also, he fixed what was wrong with my home fries/hash browns. I think I will make some tonight, in tribute.

(I went looking for the link on his site, but I guess maybe he's not publishing it anymore? Which is a pity.)
posted by ErikaB at 6:43 PM on March 21, 2011


For Phillipe
posted by mkb at 6:44 PM on March 21, 2011


A bidet's only as mean as the guy usin' it.

Lyle was always the pimpest one. Even in the last strip.

Also, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO goddamnit. This is what filled to void left by Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes, and the Far Side for me. Just a brilliant oeuvre.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:12 PM on March 21, 2011


None of the self-published books are available anymore, including Cookbook II, which many people already paid for. I think the idea is that they're replaced by the Dark Horse books, but the delivery schedule on those is... not the most regular.

(The strange thing is that it sounds like the second cookbook was basically done a year ago.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:13 PM on March 21, 2011


why you even got to do a thing
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:25 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh...god...I'm 16...Flaming Carrot is talking to the floating head of Silas Marner...Bob Burden is about to disappear for a million years...I can't have this feeling again...not my Achewood, noooooooo...

(although seriously that chinchilla shit was going nowhere)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:32 PM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've always found Trouble Man and No-No to be oddly haunting.

And I love the phrase at the bottom of the page.

Get Out of Here
Achewood is not for readers under 18 years of age.

posted by Existential Dread at 7:37 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, what's up with both Achewood and Homestar Runner basically stopping ("end" isn't the right word) around the same era? Unkind, internet. Unkind.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:38 PM on March 21, 2011


... I shouldn't have yelled at him. That was uncalled for.

I kind of get the haters- I used to hate too. But damn: this particular strip has like 4 punchlines!

Also, from the comicsalliance interview linked in the post:
"I am certainly not finished with the Achewood characters, by any stretch. I just need to grow them a bit. I've been writing them since a time when I was a very different person, and they need to evolve to reflect that."

So- hooray!
posted by hap_hazard at 7:40 PM on March 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd just like to say that I don't understand Achewood, and the extent of my lack of understanding is as great, or possibly greater, than my lack of understanding of Inverse Space Arabic. Which doesn't actually exist.

That said, it isn't anywhere near as ragingly fucking annoying as XKCD or David Foster Wallace. So there is that.
posted by Decani at 7:42 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know if you're past convincing, but start here and try to read for 3 weeks. Probably the first really great set of story arcs.
posted by codacorolla at 7:50 PM on March 21, 2011


I love Philippe, love it when he runs for president. Favorite is the guest strip "Hugs Not Bombs".
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:00 PM on March 21, 2011


"Some nights I'd go home with Dolphin burns over 80% of my chest."

"If gonnorrhea was a piano Todd would be considered a bold and unpredictable new talent"

When Mayors Aren't Enough: Coping with Mayor Fascination and Fallout

"God, I've never wanted to start a joint company less in my life!"

posted by Iridic at 8:04 PM on March 21, 2011


Lyle was always the pimpest one

That's very true. I always have to fight off the urge to answer ask.me questions in Lyle's voice. Things don't just happen by not caring.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:09 PM on March 21, 2011


Moar favourite strips please!

I never really got into Achewood while it ran (and I am sorry for it) but am immensely enjoying the links now. Thank you!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:24 PM on March 21, 2011


The report also states that you declared yourself to be "all punked up on Jupiter oil" and claimed to "roll fifty deep"...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:28 PM on March 21, 2011


Daaamn! That answer could use some work!

A surprisingly accurate description of the food service industry.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:29 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lots of cool metaphors in this one
posted by codacorolla at 9:11 PM on March 21, 2011


B&Bs
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 PM on March 21, 2011


I am getting into the bed because that is what Jack White does
posted by Spatch at 9:15 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have used this line of reasoning before.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on March 21, 2011


It is important to eat healthy
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on March 21, 2011


Man, I been in chat rooms, just RUINING nerds' lives.
posted by Spatch at 9:29 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Predicted Chatroulette YEARS before
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on March 21, 2011


I cannot brook the gossamer bloatee
My go-to shank
Who's gonna look slicker in the casket - Johnny Cleanslice, or Timmy Headloaf?
What's it like to kill someone, Pete?
Oh how he thrashes in the cold cold water of Texture Creek
Hella yellin' about the sex
Shoes which are still at the store and not sold and I am driving away at kind of an angle to the store
posted by Paragon at 9:37 PM on March 21, 2011


Oh fuck yes. "What's it like to kill someone" is a great, great strip.


I don't know if you're past convincing, but start here and try to read for 3 weeks. Probably the first really great set of story arcs.

Agreed.
posted by kenko at 9:47 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the strip that defines Ray
posted by Paragon at 9:56 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Roast Beef helped me get through some rough thoughts while I was in college. It sometimes made me feel better, and sometimes much, much worse, to know that of all the conceptual beings in the world the one that seemed to Understand the most was a cartoon cat. And after college, when I moved to Palo Alto and quickly learned that I really was not a fan of Palo Alto, one of the few positive points I could cling to was that Achewood was Palo Alto in disguise. It never felt quite right, though, because Achewood feels emblematic of life in the San Fernando Valley to me.

This strip is sad sad sad, but (along with the ones someone else posted upthread with the panic-induced sadistic Tetris pieces) it hit me so close to home and described my feelings so much more accurately than I knew how, that it has become a personal touchstone for me. I've never seen the way I experienced depression described better. No self-destruction, no histrionics, just losing hope in the middle of an easy, everyday activity and failing to complete it.

I've missed you guys for a long while now, Achewood gang, and I'll probably keep missing you for a long while more, but thanks for being there to get me through the hard times, and for sticking around for the good times too. As a work of literature I'd say Achewood has meant more to me than most books I've read, and I wish Chris Onstad all the luck in the whole damn world at whatever he chooses to do next, whether it involves cartoon cats or not.

Plus, dang, the Great Outdoor Fight was the first and last time I ever bought a t-shirt about an internet phenomenon. I remember at one point discovering that like half the people I knew at school were reading the Great Outdoor Fight as it was happening and we were all so, so excited about it. It felt like we were little victorians straight fretting over what was going to happen to Little Nell. Special moments, Achewood, and good old times. Thanks again, I really mean it.
posted by troublesome at 9:56 PM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Nicely said - reminds me of another strip with the same 'message' (inasmuch as Achewood ever has a message, that is).
posted by Paragon at 10:04 PM on March 21, 2011


Mommy, Mommy, ...I'm in trouble
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 PM on March 21, 2011


The B-side of Puff The Magic Dragon. More Lyle.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:19 PM on March 21, 2011


AGH I am SO CLOSE to figuring out how to get syndicated.
posted by kenko at 10:24 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shit, I wish I could get my hands on a copy of that Cookbook II. I feel like if I mailed Onstad and asked about it I'd get a witty, entertaining story that would have nothing to do with cooking, and if I pointed that out to him in a subsequent email, he'd reply with the electronic equivalent of a sad face drawn in pencil on a not-so-sticky Post-it.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:31 PM on March 21, 2011


It's not really gone... Philippe is just standing on it.
posted by so_gracefully at 10:51 PM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


That program is the bitch ... I want to type through a napkin.
posted by dhens at 1:09 AM on March 22, 2011


I always loved quoting Ray in Panel 5 of this one: "you didn't know I was paying attention because you weren't PAYING ATTENTION". (The next one has a great exposition of the Ray/Beef relationship).

Hoping that Onstead will eventually regain his desire to write Achewood. Relieved, because I thought the paucity of strips might indicate something more seriou, like health problems at his end.

(Oh, and Achewood won't end in the back of Nice Pete's van: it will end when every single character (except maybe Phillipe, he's only five) has come out. Look at the evidence: Chucklebot, Pat, now Teodor. Ray was certainly curious when Pat came out...).
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:13 AM on March 22, 2011


Damn.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:22 AM on March 22, 2011


Miss ya, buddy.
Thank god I still have xkcd, overcompensating and dresden codak.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 1:30 AM on March 22, 2011


Mr. Spiff and I were very heavily into Achewood when we first met and going back through the archives always succeeds in making me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

For instance.

And again.

The next time I come across some Kettle One, I'll pour a little out for all the Achewood inhabitants.

One more time.
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 5:17 AM on March 22, 2011


(Oh, and Achewood won't end in the back of Nice Pete's van: it will end when every single character (except maybe Phillipe, he's only five) has come out. Look at the evidence: Chucklebot, Pat, now Teodor. Ray was certainly curious when Pat came out...).


wait now what did i miss a thing? Teodor's gay?
posted by entropone at 5:45 AM on March 22, 2011


Well, there was that scene in the back of Nice Pete's van. And this. Maybe not conclusive evidence, but there's an implication there. Maybe.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:23 AM on March 22, 2011


It is true. Achewood was an enormous part of our early relationship. For it to go on hiatus two months before our wedding should be considered a bad sign, most likely, but the strip's been on fumes for at least the past two years, and we've managed, so, fingers crossed.

She also ordered a signed print of this one, which she linked above, and gave it to me as an early present.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:33 AM on March 22, 2011


Pat's New Pork Pie Hat has always been my favorite Achewood strip. I liked it so much that I bought a framed print of it, and it still makes me laugh when I read it. And even though I love it so much, I'm still not sure I understand it.
posted by Nedroid at 6:48 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


...in case any fellow nerds want to stop to chat about their favorite characters. (Todd!)

Todd is f-f-fricken funny, man. But Philippe is my favourite. He breaks my heart every time.
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers at 6:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading this thread and knowing that this artwork has affected so many people the way it affected me was wonderful.

That said, I can't believe I'm the first person to mention the character blogs! (Unless I missed it in which case apologies.) I loved each one of them, and some of the subscriber-only "From the Desk Of..." posts have been incredible also. I think Onstad's future in prose could be very bright.
posted by Jorus at 7:09 AM on March 22, 2011


This is why sometimes I deny my IT profession: it's just too hard to explain to some people. The new computer's here!

Better to burn out than to fade away, I guess. Good luck, Onstad, wherever you go next!

Weird to see all of my favorite comics named above: Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes, and even Flaming Carrot. Ut!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:40 AM on March 22, 2011


Nobody seems to have mentioned so far the Chris recently moved to the Pacific Northwest.

You can expect anyone to get a serious depression during their first winter here (my city, the one he moved to, Portland Oregon, was recently named "the saddest city in the US"). After the first winter of SAD you at least know what to expect, which improves things a bit.

Maybe he is turning a corner creatively, maybe he just needs a lightbox.

we also tied for "second most lustful city"
posted by idiopath at 8:04 AM on March 22, 2011


Roast Beef's S.O S.A.D lamp has been a part of the series for a while now.
posted by The Whelk at 8:08 AM on March 22, 2011


Yes indeed. Welcome to the only game in town.

I ain't even listen to the guy's stuff but for some reason I'm doin' a thing
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:46 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


They haven't done that for the last half hour though so if these guys are kidding they are like Andy Kaufman good
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2011


posted by Nedroid

I like your comic, dude.
posted by kenko at 11:25 AM on March 22, 2011


Holy shit, it's that Nedroid? Beartato probably ranks up there with Achewood in terms of readable humor comics on the web.
posted by codacorolla at 12:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you only do one thing today you need to eat some god damned peanut butter

I will miss this strip.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe the best sumation of Ray's character

"If they say I'm gay, I'll just sit here being straight and they'll be wrong."
posted by The Whelk at 6:36 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


wait now what did i miss a thing? Teodor's gay?

First hint of Teodor's sexuality?
posted by Existential Dread at 7:01 PM on March 22, 2011


Also I AM CONVINCED this was the origin of The Magicians
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2011


Look, I might as well say this here, because I'm not going to say it anywhere else:

It's 9 p.m. I just popped my third piece of government-issued nicotine gum, and am wondering whether it's too late to sit under the light lamp, because I haven't showered in four days, and I really need to shower, so I can go watch a bad movie and drink a beer with friends. I was going to shower yesterday, but the apartment downstairs had a leak, so the super came over around 11 a.m. with a plumber, and the guy had to work for like three hours in and out of my bathroom while I pretended to "work from home" on my computer. At the end, the plumber asked if I could get him a paper towel, to clean up the plaster and grout in the tub from when he had to bust some stuff out of the wall. I thanked him profusely, and told him that he shouldn't worry about it, because it was nice of him to work as hard as he did, and I could handle it.

But it was a lie. I could not handle it. I could not clean out the tub last night, and I couldn't do it today. So I missed my therapy appointment, and now I'm sitting here, thinking about taking my meds, "parking" my drug gum, and avoiding eye contact with the paper towels.

I miss you, Roast Beef, and I should really print your flow chart and tape it to the wall.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:10 PM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


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