Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chris and Smith

I've always suspected it. There have been hints and clues along the way, even one or two personal experiences. This week, my suspicions were confirmed. Canadians are freakin' nuts. The final nail in the loony coffin? Chris and Smith.

Probably best described as a gag-a-day comic, this thing is all over the place in a zany, completely insane way. It's not entirely nonsensical, the characters have distinct personalities and the environment is basically stable, but complete consistency of plot is clearly not the goal here.

In a nutshell - take every bizarre, caffeine and/or alcohol fueled conversation you've ever had with your friends after a day long geek inspired movie fest and throw it in a blender. Add some pigment, a maple leaf, a touch of political commentary, and a communion wafer and you've got Chris and Smith. Aside from it's random humor, Chris and Smith is also an excellent educational tool. For example, I now know that JFK was, in fact, assassinated by a large purple triangle and that Bronson Pinchot knows the only way out of hell.

A proper reflection of reality isn't intended in the art any more than it is in the writing, leading to an appropriately cartoonish style. Though somewhat static, the artwork conveys both emotion and tone, providing a suitable base for the dry humor. Taking a look at the first strip and the latest strip side-by-side the first clear improvement lies in the addition of backgrounds. A closer look reveals a number of more subtle improvements including more pleasing line work, panel design, and composition. The text bubbles and lettering have also become blessedly clear over the years, leading to a much more polished look over-all.

It is my understanding that the website is currently undergoing some changes, so please take the following with a grain of salt:

For most of the comic's history, navigation buttons were absent... now they're there but are a bit of a mess. The First button brought me either to the current or the latest comic, but the others work as expected, at least where they're available. There is a nearly complete archive, but each comic opens as a stand alone image, which leaves you hitting the back button after every archived comic. Adding to the archive difficulties is the lack of change when a link has already been followed, forcing you to try and remember which number you were on. The Links button doesn't seem to be functional either. Other than that, *coughs*, the website design is clean and the comic takes center stage.

Updating Sundays and Thursdays, Chris and Smith offers more than just an odd-day webcomic read. It offers an odd experience, and more than a few "what the...?" chuckle moments. You're clearly a weird man, Mike Thomas, keep up the good work.