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Eric: You know, I have no real interest in a 3D logo....

Checkerboard Nightmare

(From Checkerboard Nightmare. Click on the thumbnail for full sized satirical action.)

Well, I suppose we all expected Chex would be back. Admittedly, this is sooner rather than later, but still. Here we are.

I'm actually kind of excited about this permutation. See, I was a Chex fan before, but to be honest I've preferred Starslip Crisis. As wild and wacky and schemeariffic as Checkerboard Nightmare has been, I just kind of felt that Straub did linear storytelling better when he had the focus and discipline that a "straight" (albeit gag-a-day) comic strip enforced on him. Starslip Crisis requires adherence to the rules of decent science fiction -- define (at least to yourself) your world, your technology, your technology's limitations and your premise, and stick with them as you move forward. Straub's done a good job with that, and as a result the character driven humor's been top marked. Two thumbs way up. Whoo hoo.

Checkerboard Nightmare, on the other, was anarchy. Anything could happen. Things could change wildly from one minute to the next. And that's perfectly fine -- but when you do actual storylines in that style, even if they're surreal and wild, it becomes... well, harder to maintain. I think he did all right with it, but as I said, Starslip Crisis was better.

Well, with this relaunch (if that's not too strong a word), Straub's going back to basics. Checkerboard Nightmare has always been a webcomic about webcomics. The premise was simple enough. Chex produced a webcomic that starred himself, and he wanted to market it to the masses. However, he was as stupid as he was enthusiastic, and he was as enthusiastic as a newborn puppy with a yeast infection. Hijinks ensue.

With the relaunch, Straub's not worrying about continuity or storylines. He's just going to put out a strip -- of whatever length is necessary -- whenever something happens (in webcomics, though one assumes he won't feel restricted to that) -- to properly comment on it. In other words, the new Chex is meant purely for straight satire and editorial commentary. There won't be extended trips into other dimensions, pregnancies, love interests and the like (unless there are -- this is Straub. He's not exactly devoted to rules -- even self-imposed ones), just lampooning of webcomics drama or other things Straub thinks he can make into a joke.

The folks who absolutely hate Kris Straub will almost certainly hate this new Checkerboard Nightmare. I fully expect shots at his traditional targets. (Targets, it's worth nothing, which might well include me.) However, folks who like his satire should like this quite a bit. I'm looking forward to seeing where he goes with it.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 29, 2005 8:42 AM

Comments

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 29, 2005 9:47 AM

And here I was thinking it was just to show up anyone who voted in favor of removing the comic from Wikipedia.

I kid, I kid.

I'll be honest, CxN was never my cup of tea, which actually kept me from reading Starslip Crisis. It was a case of me thinking, "I didn't really like it the last time I tried reading his work. Why will this be different?"

But then, if SC is in fact better, maybe I should give it a look.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 29, 2005 9:51 AM

It's not necessarily better, just different. It's like realizing Robert Shaw the playwright is the same man who played the grizzled old shark hunter in Jaws.

Comment from: Pseudowolf posted at November 29, 2005 10:08 AM

"It's like realizing Robert Shaw the playwright is the same man who played the grizzled old shark hunter in Jaws."

Wait, what??

Comment from: Aufero posted at November 29, 2005 10:08 AM

I'm excited about it - the shots taken at targets of opportunity were always Chex's best shtick.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 29, 2005 10:28 AM

Yes, the Tony Award-winning author of The Man in the Glass Booth is the man who traded scars with Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider.

Comment from: Pseudowolf posted at November 29, 2005 10:34 AM

You, sir, have just *blown my mind*! o_O

Comment from: HydrogenGuy posted at November 29, 2005 10:43 AM

But the question remains - whither Hard Action Squad?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 29, 2005 11:42 AM

Hard Action Squad -- IN INFINITE CANVAS!

Comment from: Factitious posted at November 29, 2005 1:52 PM

I get all my Hard Action Squad news from Hard Action Squad Insider: http://www.learnlink.emory.edu/~gcmorri/

Comment from: Phillip J. Birmingham posted at November 29, 2005 2:42 PM

Yes, the Tony Award-winning author of The Man in the Glass Booth is the man who traded scars with Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider.

Although people who are as easily confused as I am should note that this is not the same person as the author of Pygmalion.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at November 29, 2005 4:10 PM

I thought about holding off on this permutation of Chex until the start of the year, but in terms of dramatic returns, it wouldn't have done much for me to announce its arrival to the two diehards who are still looking at the site at that point.

I'm excited to return CxN to its roots again, and excited to not have to update it except when something strikes me. I think most people would agree that that's when it was good. I have stopped trying to make CxN evolve into something it isn't.

I'm a lot more excited about doing the projects that not having a CxN obligation has freed me to do.

Comment from: PatMan posted at November 29, 2005 5:16 PM

They look so funny in Starslip Crisis style! I want more!

Let's see... drama...

Pat Myers is a hack! Yeah, that'll do it...

Comment from: Dan Severn posted at November 29, 2005 5:52 PM

Also, George Bernard Shaw and Bernard Shaw were not the same person.


But maybe they will be one day.

Comment from: PatMan posted at November 29, 2005 6:27 PM

Also, George Bernard Shaw and Bernard Shaw were not the same person.

And Sebastion Shaw did not play the part of Sebastion Shaw in X-Men 2.

Comment from: Cnoocy posted at November 30, 2005 10:37 AM

Not to mention Maddy Prior.

Comment from: theliel posted at December 1, 2005 4:44 PM

check it out for some just in time snarking....

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