Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cyanide & Happiness

Been a long time since I posted, so I thought I would write about a webcomic. Cyanide and Happiness is a webcomic run by 4 different artists who go by the names of Rob, Matt, Dave and the ever popular Kris Wilson. The first strip was drawn and written by Rob and was published on the 26th of January 2005. Heres the Strip:

The crude drawings were to become the staple and style of the comic, and has proven once again that the idea is more important than the image.

The other artists have similar styles but still manage to differentiate between each other so that one can recognize them.

Kris Wilson

The artist started of with some taller characters, but currently he draws them at a lesser size. A simple hand drawn round head, line limbs and dot eyes. Nothing fancy, and its not trying to be either. From a critical point of view it follows the same formula that most newspaper comics follow: Don't confuse the reader with intricate perspective shots, art work or dialog. You lose the joke otherwise. Kris also repeatedly uses this six panel layout, which makes it longer than most strips, allowing for more build up for the joke. However, Kris (along with the others) don't usually rely on simple humor, but rather on an awkward pause of sorts. Kris' comics are also some of the most surreal and abstract in terms of scenario and dialog.


Rob appears to be the most frequent artist on, updating 2 or 3 days in a row. He also experiments more with the comic medium and the infinite canvas available in cyberspace. He also makes some of the most gruesome comics, as well as heart breakers, and is responsible for quite a few super hero characters in the comic.


Mat has the most simplistic style of the 4. Usually consists more of a literary joke than a visual one, but has been known to surprise one such as with the Banana peel comic he made one time.


Dave has a great balance of visuals and words, but I can never pull myself away from the fact that his drawings look similar to Kris'. Otherwise he's one of my favorite of the 4.

As one might have seen from these examples here the jokes revolve around everything you can imagine. However, most of them revolve on taboo material, such as sex, drugs, alcohol, violence and medical sicknesses. The humor usually lies in the fact that they even dare to write and draw what they do, even if they lack more impressive artistic abilities. They also make heavy use of anti-humor, having comics with no punchline which in itself is a joke, and thus nurtures a laugh from the reader.

Cyanide and Happiness is a clever, hilarious and a perfect example of what makes the internet great: no censorship and complete artistic freedom if you choose it.

5 out of 5 stars

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