Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sandra and Woo

"Come on and take it easy, come on and take it easy
Take it easy, take it easy"

The Beatles - Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey

"Girl with talking racoon" sounds like a pretty straightforward Calvin and Hobbes knock-off but Sandra and Woo has managed to avoid copying not only Watterson but pretty much anything and everything I've ever seen. Webcomics have aged. They've surrendered their creativity of two decades ago in favor of nailing down specific audiences and servicing them in return for a stable Patreon income. Sandra and Woo is one of the few to have remained fresh. It occasionally comments on video games without trying to copy Penny Arcade, ladles on the carnivory/herbivory jokes without falling into Kevin&Kell's repetitiveness, gets nerdy without XKCDing itself to death. It's a crypto-graphic, art historical, math puzzling, multilingual extravaganza with talking mustelids on top.

It's creative, if anyone remembers that term, and it's willing to take chances. The few times it gets political it does so in a conscious, free-thinking manner irreverent toward both traditionalism and current fads. While on rare occasions its humor does not translate very well, its sheer variety can blindside you. Despite its fantasy-themed goofiness, its characters' interactions manage to feel much more "real" by refusing to ignore mammalian nature to kow-tow to some ideology. And, while pandering much less than many of its competitors, it's still apparently doing well for itself. Maybe there's some hope for the internet yet.

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