Webcomic: pictures for sad children
whatever happens you guys will do great-ish things, probably. unless you don't, like most people. but you will be doing it together. unless you get divorced.
describes the the toast he wants to give at his brother's wedding
i made this comic and i regret it, but i regret most comics and i regret most things. pictures for sad children
— john campbell
was a webcomic by john campbell, until the author removed all comics from the website and forfeited on her kickstarter
on february 27 2014.
the comic featured a minimalist style of art, humor, and grammar. originally, the comic also featured character-driven stories about a ghost and some other people
it used punctuation only sporadically which is why this article is written this way
not because we are too dumb to find the shift key. blame john campbell
the two main characters were paul and gary, although sometimes the comic would follow the other minor characters for a little bit
paul, who was a ghost
, who was wearing a bedsheet, died just before the first strip. he wore the bed sheet to look ghosty
of course. he hated everything and didn't care
gary was a grad student who worked at a call center that took the overflow of indian help lines. people called him and hilarity ensued
after 226 pages, the story of paul and gary came to a very abrupt and inconclusive end. since then, the comic continued as an unconnected series of surreal one-shots w/ sometimes story arcs but not as long as the big one
the world of pictures for sad children
. most of the characters were depressed even though they knew that they had no real problems. the main characters also resigned themselves to a life of unfulfilled dreams and crushing meaningless jobs.
there were many magic realist
elements to the world as well, like an ipod that played you your regrets, a family that had the powers of jesus, and passive-aggressive post-it notes that seemingly came from no one
in march 2014 the author suffered a mental and emotional breakdown
and tore down her entire webcomic page and burned the unshipped books she promised to her kickstarter backers.
this webcomic provides examples of:
- aerith and bob: afsheen and sara
- all lowercase letters
- and thats terrible: you are not dead you are just a bad person
- alt text: well, until the site moved, anyway. they're all gone now
- and now for something completely different: "up the mountain to see the dead man" was the first of several comics to experiment with medium blending and employ a significantly more surreal tone
- art shift:
- one comic is a sunday strip from a fictional syndicated version of comic, done in full colour (and complete with king features syndicate small print in the margins)
- also as part of the minor but protracted breakdown john campbell is posting her work in various media in place of regular comics
- barred from the afterlife: in the original and abandoned storyline, paul, who is a ghost, being unable go to hell is the main plot.
- bedsheet ghost
- blessed with suck: 212 HAPPY BIRTHDAY
- celestial bureaucracy: paul waits in line to get into the afterlife.
- coitus uninterruptus: "i'm ben franklin and i'm giving it to a french lady, this is what i do."
- corrupt corporate executive: one or more may be involved, not like it matters b/c the result is the same no matter what, there is no point in thinking about how many different ones there are in this strip
- crapsack world: it's not after the end or anything, everybody is just kind of bored and unfulfilled. also, gravity is just because atoms get lonely too
- death is cheap: best shown through paul who is killed by a car hitting him and simply becomes a ghost, and otherwise continues to live his day-to-day (un)life unchanged. then when his time of haunting is up he is forced into hell but ends up escaping it very easily
- deus angst machina: one strip features "impossibly tragic grandma", whose tragic backstory combines multiple mutually exclusive tragedies and historical events
- embarrassed by a child: played for surreal black comedy in one comic. a child points out a man on the street who has a large misshaped head and sharp teeth. the kid's mom just says not to stare at him. the man kills and eats a person right there in public and mom insists the child continue ignoring him
- episode on a plane: "we are all going down together" is a guest strip where paul, who is a ghost, gets annoyed with passengers on his flight and simply throws himself out of the emergency exit. a particularly stupid passenger is inspired by paul (who is a ghost and will emerge from the fall unscathed) and his lack of hesitation and jumps as well, to his death obviously
- fetish: "do you have any pornography that simulates having a significant relationship, that is my fetish"
- flat what: what.
- the fun in funeral: a beach funeral
- furry fandom: inverted the dog is a uh, reverse furry
- hell: apparently it is a hotel in latin america. ironic punishments are pretty lax and the wi-fi is slow and you have to pay for it
- hypocrisy nod
- imagine spot: gary imagines his horrifically unfulfilling future with a girl
- island help message: poor dfw
- jump off a bridge rebuttal: everyone is doing it
- kafka komedy: u may have been in this situation b4
- literary allusion title: so it goes
- metaphorgotten: in the alt text, in the text text
- mixed metaphor: lampshaded in the alt text
- mundane afterlife: hell is a hotel somewhere in latin america
- no punctuation is funnier: or i mean if you think it's funnier
- the plague: it is not very convenient
- platform game: this one contains examples of scoring points designated villain goomba stomp and for massive damage
- politicians kiss babies: this leads to a massive moment of that came out wrong.
- product placement:
- a small series of strips supposedly sponsored by fast food chain long john silver's features such ironic horrors as a frycook holding his arms in the fryer until they burn into "long john"-shaped crisps and also the ennui that pervades the rest of the comic
- another series has a woman working for an ad agency & includes nonsense like purina dog chow that makes your dog vomit up ads for purina & also inversions where chewing gum companies hire homeless people to advertise for their competitors
- racist grandma:
- religion of evil: there may be a pedophile priest involved but he may also just be a sinister minister, either way yr soul will be crushed
- robotic reveal: and it gives his room mate a bsod
- running gag: a character calls for help and reaches gary
- self deprecation: one comic's alt text
i can almost see something mediocre. it says pictures... of small children??
- serious business: don't talk to jeremy about saint shoot unless you want this
- suspiciously specific denial: an odd variation
- shout out: in early comics, to the love song of j. alfred prufrock
- suddenly ethnicity: everybody is an identical stick figure so this pretty much happens by default. paul (who is a ghost) is revealed to be chinese upon removing his bedsheet to wash it, while gary's ethnicity is "brown. ish."
- take that: huge slam on oklahoma out of nowhere
- talkative loon: one strip has a bird-man and his bird-son journey across the world to glean wisdom from a gigantic hermit in the mountains, but uh, see for yourself
lacking the hazy hooks of their debut, a pleasing middle ground between lo-fi and club, this folk ep will be making year end lists for the east coast shitgaze tropicalia no wave dubstep sxsw bedroom split single
- talking poo: the voice of reason
- the singularity: a rather cynical take
it's flying car bullshit: surely the world will conform to our speculative fiction, surely we're the ones who will get to live in the future
- who shot jfk: yr mileage may vary on whether this is black comedy or what
- you bastard: i am not telling a joke. you are terrible