It's the End of (A Softer) World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine
June 1, 2015 3:00 PM   Subscribe

After 12 years and 1243 updates, Emily Horne & Joey Comeau's seminal photo-webcomic "A Softer World" has served up its last panels of "sad, weird, harsh and sometimes ridiculous comics", about a week after namechecking itself in a callback to one of the first strips. And with a parallel-timed (just closed) Kickstarter for a 'Best of' book that raised 10 times its goal*, this world ended, not with a bang OR a whimper but with a loud "thank you!"
But then, "because today is the very last day, they will sing forever."
[Previously (year one) and previously (year ten)]

Ryan North (previously here), whose deconstructionist Dinosaur Comics started about the same time, has a few words, and points to another friend-of-the-strip with an even more personal remembrance. The strip was even praised by Glamour Magazine in 2011.

And yes, there exists a "Making A Softer World" video.

The format of the comic has been parodied by other webcomickers and also "mashed up" with various pop culture entities, including Game of Thrones, Doctor Who (previously here), The Hobbit, Star Trek, Buffy, Harry Potter, Glee, Sherlock, Homestuck, Gravity Falls and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

*Since one of the 'stretch goals' achieved in the Kickstarter was "Hope for the future. 5 new A Softer World comics will be posted randomly over the next year.", it's not TOTALLY over.
posted by oneswellfoop (36 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a bit torn by the "Hope for the future" stretch goal, because the current final comic seems so appropriate.
posted by LiteS at 3:12 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was me
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:14 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've followed A Softer World for a long time, it's probably among the things I first plugged into an RSS reader oh so long ago. I can't say I'll miss it now that it's over, but it has provided compelling art for a long time and I shall always respect it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:18 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, I will miss ASW. It wasn't always funny, it wasn't always perfect, but it was always true, even when it was about zombies.
posted by Etrigan at 3:23 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am such a bad fan, I had no idea it was ending, I thought that countdown was book related.

.
posted by numaner at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2015


.
posted by webmutant at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2015


An early strip, still my favorite. I used to read A Softer World regularly but stopped when I decided I needed less wistfulness in my life. Haven't thought about it lately but some of them are still quite moving.
posted by mai at 3:36 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


My personal favorite because of the feels.

Oh No Robot (by Ryan North) has full transcripts of almost the whole archive for your searching needs.
posted by numaner at 3:46 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


The format of the comic has been parodied by other webcomickers and also "mashed up" with various pop culture entities,

Meanwhile, one of my favorite ASW moments ever was this dig on xkcd (playing off one of the best early xkcd strips, but also going after its occasional "omg geek girls are so sexy" tone).
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I used to love asofterworld!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2015


ASW was one of those things which I would never continually keep up with, but every couple of months or so I'd remember it and binge through some of the comics for a little while and it was always enjoyable.
posted by tealNoise at 3:59 PM on June 1, 2015


.
posted by acb at 4:09 PM on June 1, 2015


tealNoise, you and me both. Sad to see it go.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:29 PM on June 1, 2015


I've loved ASW in both its original and mashup incarnations since I first encountered it. I'm going to miss it. (And yes, I funded the Kickstarter.)
posted by immlass at 4:29 PM on June 1, 2015


I always worried whenever anyone I knew reposted it, because it always meant they were somewhere between sad and suicidal.
posted by Mad_Carew at 4:36 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


(NB for readers who are otherwise unaware of it: Mad_Carew is my off-Mefi spouse. I am not actually sad or suicidal, just love the comic.)
posted by immlass at 4:52 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I would rather die terrified, than live forever"

I wear that shirt often...
posted by The Power Nap at 4:55 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a book somewhere, that I got in the late 90s, at maybe comiccon, that was exactly like this. Found photos, iirc, with poignant quips atop. It was beautiful, and I gave copies to everyone, but cannot find my copy right now. I think the title had suicide in it, but cannot be sure. If I can find it, or that rings a bell with another person, I'm sure fans of this strip would love it. Also, if you can luck into a copy of Suite Venitienne/ Please Follow Me by Sofie Calle and Jean Baudrillard, I recommend it highly for fans of this type of art.
posted by dejah420 at 6:05 PM on June 1, 2015


people move fast
posted by Windigo at 6:28 PM on June 1, 2015


Alright, I felt bad about never actually supporting them despite numerous post to my social media, so I bought this shirt.
posted by numaner at 6:31 PM on June 1, 2015


Needs a truthandbeautybombs tag.
posted by byanyothername at 6:41 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I drove that car into the ocean.
posted by flod at 7:29 PM on June 1, 2015


Every couple of years I'd remember ASW and go back and read what I'd missed. Guess it's time to do that for the last time.

.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2015


ASW was always best taken in binge readings for me, because it wasn't consistently sad... it would go from tragic to silly to melancholy to absurd to depressing to heartwarming to batshit-insane (obviously not all in equal amounts and not in an obvious pattern). But if I can say anything "gives me ALL the feels", ASW did.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:52 PM on June 1, 2015


Every couple of years I too would remember ASW and go back and read what I'd missed. And then I'd reflect that it was written by Joey who had always mostly been the highly intelligent but maybe not so wise skateboard-toting security guard-annoying kid on the Helpdesk. I got off the Helpdesk by getting a "real" job in the telco. He (and apparently Tim of Quiet Babylon) got out in another way entirely. Hunh. Cool.
posted by tarnish at 8:02 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was introduced to A Softer World by an amazing girlfriend while I was going through my divorce. I had no idea about the Kickstarter or that it was wrapping up.

I'm sad to see it go.

Maybe it's time.
posted by meinvt at 8:37 PM on June 1, 2015


I've had A Softer World in my rss feeds for years and years, but lately it seemed like it was getting tired and I should just delete it. But then there would always be one where I'd go yeah, OK, that's fine, I won't.

So what I'm trying to say is... I should be totally OK with this? But I"m not sure I am?
posted by hap_hazard at 9:17 PM on June 1, 2015


I"m hoping this is just a pause for the movie to get made.
posted by happyroach at 9:56 PM on June 1, 2015


10 years in my RSS reader. Now it will be there forever, waiting for new entries that will never come.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:07 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


and then one day, after you've forgotten to even hope, one finally will, and you'll be all what, cool! but it'll be some spam blog about viagra and cell phone plans :(
posted by hap_hazard at 10:16 PM on June 1, 2015


And then I'd reflect that it was written by Joey who had always mostly been the highly intelligent but maybe not so wise skateboard-toting security guard-annoying kid on the Helpdesk. I got off the Helpdesk by getting a "real" job in the telco. He (and apparently Tim of Quiet Babylon) got out in another way entirely. Hunh. Cool

This is the most Halifax thing I've read in months.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:25 PM on June 1, 2015


Hap hazard - some times Perry Bible Fellowship updates For Real still.

I agree on the other side too - at some point in the last few years my sense is that it lost its vicious edge and became mostly wistful and sad. By the standards of newspaper comics it went out on top. By those of the relentlesly perfectionist web, less so. But my week will be diminished my its absence.
posted by wotsac at 11:41 PM on June 1, 2015


But did it wendell?
posted by ostranenie at 3:37 AM on June 2, 2015


Wondermark did a tribute today.
posted by numaner at 8:59 AM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


10 years in my RSS reader. Now it will be there forever, waiting for new entries that will never come.

Just like Achewood. Still waiting for the light to change.
posted by rtimmel at 11:15 AM on June 2, 2015


@dinosaurcomics:
('< - A Softer World has ended, so I guess that means their format is... UP FOR GRABS??

http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=2834
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:57 AM on June 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


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