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Subculture: Webstrips Vol 1: Wrath of the Geek

Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011
By: Felicity Gustafson

Kevin Freeman
Stan Yan
Ape Entertainment
Instead of the epic plot of a superhero comic, Subculture: Wrath of the Geek relies upon witty excerpts and inside jokes that’ll have any nerd or geek cackling with glee. I think I even got a little Wrath of Khan reference from the title of this first volume.

Subculture originally started out as a simple Web comic miniseries and gradually morphed into something bigger. Each page consists of one panel, usually made up of three drawings, and a sentence or two underneath commenting on the unfolding stories. The comments helped greatly with the flow. They either explained the inside joke, pointed out a particular detail in the art (generally a t-shirt that was usually a joke within a joke), or went into more depth on the making of Subculture to give the reader a better understanding of how and why the creators did a particular scene.

The story revolves around a bunch of friends--of the nerd persuasion, of course--and their day-to-day life. Writer Kevin Freeman and illustrator Stan Yan have managed to turn what would normally sound boring into a captivating, comedic comic. The witty banter between the characters is relaxed and amusing; it really gives off the sense of a few friends just hanging out. In fact, the introduction even states that Subculture is based on the lives and interactions of the creative team.

Basically the book is by geeks for geeks. While reading Subculture, I couldn’t help but compare many of the happenings to my own interplay with friends, which is one of the main attractions to this comic for me. It’s funny because a lot of the content involves things the average person does.

For instance, who of us have worked in retail and hated our boss? Who has a coffee addiction and is willing to pay $5 for the perfect java fix? Hell, who has walked past Bath & Body Works and either fled from the assault on their olfactory senses or melted from the heavenly scents wafting from the interior of the store?

Everyone can relate to something in this story.

The artwork is in the style of an American cartoon that has a hint of something old school--like the 1968/1969 The Archie Show. Additionally, the way Yan draws his facial expressions are priceless--especially the little perverted ones whenever someone makes a sex joke. I was also giggling over the owner of the comic shop’s resemblance to the character Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. The aged, balding, fat man who’s into comics seems to be a standard now.

As I mentioned above, one of the hidden gems in this comic is the t-shirts. There are so many designs that inspire laughter that I found myself inspecting the shirts before I read the verbal bubbles. A favorite of mine was the two 20-sided die over the . . . ahem . . . chest area that read something like, “yes, they’re natural.” The comment below the panel even pointed out the shirt and referenced a Web site where something similar was made.

Overall, Subculture comes off as a dramatic story for geeks, which I will admit to being sucked into. I truly enjoyed reading the book. It’s a light and simple read that’s plain comedic fun at its best. I’d easily recommend it to pretty much anyone--even people with shallower leanings of the nerd nature who don’t normally read comics. There’s a joke inside for everyone, which makes Subculture a rare treasure.



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