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Eric: On the other hand, both strips are willing to make pants a plot point.

(From Questionable Content and Scary Go Round. Click on the thumbnails for full sized banter!)

We've remarked before on the similarities between Questionable Content and John Allison's Scary Go Round. Well, today's strip seems to highlight the differences far more than the similarities. There is, of course, a similarity of style of banter, though Questionable Content seems more focused on Story elements and a certain realism than Scary Go Round, which seems more and more idiosyncratic and stylized (which is not a knock on Scary Go Round -- it's simply an understanding of what Scary Go Round seems to be trying to do). However, the art highlights a serious difference between the two. Scary Go Round, even as it stylizes more and more artistically (there's an element almost of construction paper cutouts and paper dolls in the current style -- iconic figures instead of realistic ones) also buries itself into lush set designs. Shelley, Amy, Tim, The Boy and all the rest (remember when this strip was explicitly about Rachel, Tessa and their work for Len? And the Bobbins cast was explicitly in the background? Boy, that sure didn't last, did it?) exist inside of panoramas of color and darkness -- blood red Victorian clubs and crowded Tackleford flats abound, and when pretty girls wearing very little wander through kitchens, they have to walk around all of the stuff that's in the way.

Contrast that with Questionable Content. First off, the art is far cleaner -- the figures tend to the realistic (in fact, Faye, while a cute young lass, has a bit of a belly and is 'hippy,' particularly when compared to Dora. And let me just say how bloody refreshing it is to have a female lead who is supposed to be considered attractive who isn't a supermodel, a superheroine or nude all of the time in an online comic. Faye is pretty, and cute, without being drop dead gorgeous. Dora is the same way, in a completely different way. And I for one appreciate it), and the backgrounds, while certainly detailed, have more of an austerity. It's almost like the Questionable Content strips take place on stage (a comedy of manners, as it were) while the Scary Go Round strips take place in an Indy Film (chock full of set design).

When looking closely at the strips, you can see real divergance and a very different sense of the aesthetic. Yes, Jeph Jacques was clearly influenced by John Allison, and also acknowledges it, but Questionable Content is very much its own strip. And I think every so often we need to highlight that, lest we fall into the trap of considering it only by what it's like, not by what it is.

Reread that last sentence. I swear it makes sense. Honestly. You may just need more coffee.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 22, 2004 10:17 AM

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