Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beautiful Drawings, Questionable Content

Today's Questionable Content was good. The first panel is taller than usual, and Hannelore is seen in unusually pretty clothes. The latter panels are just Hannelore being awesome. I love this character and the jokes based on her personality.

I read this comic every day, and have for... how long now? Two years? It's strange, because I don't actually like it very much. The "slice of life" quality can be frustrating when nothing much happens. Or it could work if the comic were more philosophical in nature - pondering on being a human being in general. As it is, with the puns and the dating and drinking and sex jokes, it doesn't really go anywhere. This is a very popular comic, and one of the best-looking ones for sure. The drawing style and coloring has developed in leaps. Jeph Jacques clearly puts a lot of effort in the drawings. But, with the exception of Hannelore, I don't find any characters very interesting. They all seem like copies of each other, only Hannelore has a voice of her own.

One problem is that the comic attempted to be character-based before it had developed any characters. The humble beginning was this, Marten and his little robot. (I'm definitely not one to carp on humble beginnings, by the way.) The first strips are really just a bunch of hipsters sitting around talking about music. Faye and Dora were introduced before they had backstories and personality, so the "Faye's father killed himself" story seemed to come from nowhere. Many of the side characters have disappeared - Sara, Raven, Amanda, Penelope, etc. - and/or replaced each other. You don't really notice, because they all have a similar voice and place in the strip (employee at Café of Doom, Marten's friend).

Another issue is the juvenile type of humor. I don't think being drunk is cool. Fun, but not cool to read about. I also don't think it's particularly cool to make crude sex jokes the whole time. It gets old very quickly.
Marten's Mom being a dominatrix? Also not cool. Weird and a bit disturbing, maybe. Not in a dropping-my-monocle kind of way, more like "Marten would be more frakked up than this".

A lot of the strips are just people bantering about indie music/sex/other stuff. The art quality would support nice action strips and interesting creatures*, so the talking heads feel dull. For instance, why did they have a discussion about starting a music review blog..?  I know Jacques started one, but this is the stuff you advertise in the sidebar, not put in the comic.

But there IS Hannelore, and other occasional glimpses of creativity - Hi Randy, for instance, and the sequel with Shelby the dog. And this is probably what still draws me to QC: it has promise. I feel like I'm watching someone's talent dawning. It's growing and trying at different styles. I'll be very curious to see Jacques' future work.

* = I seem to recall action strips about the "VespAvenger", as well as some fun tequila hallucinations. But I can't find them now because there are so many strips, and the titles are usually jokes. It's hard to find anything.
Edit: aha, my girlfriend, being more nerdier than am I, found some on google. VespAvenger, hallucination reading "Drunken Hallucinations Weekly". The VespAvenger storyline also found a way to use the often neglected robots. This is good stuff.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very much sold on the phrase "dropping-my-monocle."

    People love QC here, at my uni. I've never personally got into it, and I think you may have nailed why. For something to be relentlessly on humans, it has to be ABOUT humans, in that psychological/philosophical sense.

    Still, I think you're very right about the drawings. Seeing work be done is pretty awesome.