The Life of Nob T. Mouse is a surrealist science-fantasy comedy webcomic. Created in 1996, it is the oldest British web comic and, according to research by The Webcomics Company podcast, either the 16th or 17th webcomic ever created.The strip began as a series of hand-drawn and hand-lettered comics, coloured in coloured pencils and updated intermittently before the creator, Zoe Kirk-Robinson took an eight-year (unannounced)hiatus. She picked up where she left off in the middle of 2007 and began co-writing the strip with her partner, Jennifer Kirk, in 2008. This has the odd effect of making it one of the oldest continuing webcomics, but not one of the longest-running.The premise of the comic is to subvert the standard view of reality and make a joke while doing so. Plot points range from the totally random to discussions on how a child might explain the world if she had overheard half a physics lecture, missed the point and then tried to explain it to someone else, who wrote it down.While clearly influenced by the dadaist and surrealist movements, the artistic style also mimics children's pictures by ignoring perspective to a great extent, using primary colours and containing an army of characters that are, effectively, splats of colour with feet.The comic was originally the sole purview of one writer-artist, Zoe Robinson, but now the writing duties are shared between Robinson and her partner, Jennifer Kirk, while Robinson continues to produce the artwork on her own.
All There in the Manual - The website has little biographies hidden on it, accessible by accessing individual blog posts and then clicking on the name of the post's author. These biographies give a little insight into the world of the comic. According to the website:
Robinson did not create the Nob Mouse universe, she won the rights to the characters and supplementary material off Hubert Schlongson when she beat him in a drunken game of poker.
Schlongson originally wrote the Blobland Band stories to pay his gambling debts.
Continuity Nod - Series Two and Three often make passing references to previous stories, such as:
In Pie Noon, Doctor Franky arrives in Blobland using a Phase Induction Bubble first introduced in Parallel Land.
Nob Mouse and Co. visit Memory Lane to figure out why Emily and Tesrin arrived in Blobland.
The door to Frederick's secret lab in Pie Noon is covered in the same 'warnings' as his original secret lab in Nob & The Pies.
Cross Over - Although the characters don't meet save for a cameo, the Nob Mouse story The Great Tea Adventure crosses over with the All Over The House story Homeward bound. Both act as lead-in stories, for their respective characters, to the crossover story All over the mouse; which ran in tandem on both comics' sites.
Crisis Crossover - The All over the mouse storyline and its lead-in stories almost certainly qualify here.
DadaComics - arguably the whole comic is one big example of this.
Invisible Anatomy: How else would Jip put his hat on? Averted with Wilf and Frederick however, as these guys use prehensile ears to manipulate objects.
It Runs on Nonsensoleum - The comic is the epitome of this. One example in many is that waving a jelly on a stick with pink-icing buns stuck on it will summon a letterbox that lets you post yourself to another universe.
Little Known Facts - which, in an almost inevitable inversion, sometimes turn out to be true.
The Multiverse - subverted through Quantum History, in which every point in time is effectively a separate reality. Also, played straight through the multiple alternate universes and, arguably, alternate continuities shown throughout the series. Examples:
In Parallel Land, an entirely separate universe with its own history is shown. This universe reappears briefly in Pie Noon
In Nob Trek and itssequels, the Blob City denizens live aboard a starship shaped like a giant cheese with oars.
In Nasties! there are at least three other universes, with at least two of those having a separate history.
Odd-Shaped Panel - Skewed ellipses with part of a character popping out of them occur so often they are almost a signature effect in Robinson's long-form comics.
Older than They Look: The Memory Lane story makes it clear that Nob Mouse was born prior to the founding of Blob City but in The bureaucratic empire a Blob City law is mentioned that is dated to 244. If the dating used in Blob City is based on the year the city was founded, that makes Nob Mouse over 240 years old.
Power Walk: Used when Wilf, Franky and Bricky head into battle against the minions of Grandfather Time.
Promoted Fanboy: In-universe example. Zoe was a fan of Hubert Schlongson's Blobland Band stories and originally made The Life of Nob T. Mouse as a fanfiction comic, before meeting Schlongson and winning ownership of the copyright to the Blobland Band franchise off him in a game of poker.
Weird Science - Anything Frederick and Doctor Franky create will undoubtedly fit the bill.
What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs? - Although the warped logic, surreal look and unconventional use of language in the series suggests it is influenced by LSD, Robinson is teatotal and created the comic simply as a way of letting off steam during exam revision.