One of my favourite webcomics out there is A Softer World — it’s sweet and acerbic and uses real-life photographs in place of drawings. Also, it’s done by two excessively talented individuals who are unfurling their artistic fronds in multiple directions. Transplanted Maritimer Emily Horne (pictures) is currently a photographer, blogger and graphic designer in Victoria. Her Toronto-based cohort Joey Comeau (words) has published novels and short story collections. That’s totally part of what I love about this burgeoning scene of online comics, that their creators are rarely anything but jacks- and janes-of-all-trades, unafraid of new territory, as well as constantly propping up any neat work their colleagues are doing.
But back to A Softer World. Emily takes pictures and quite artfully zigzags them into panels (sidebar: nothing like the “Comic Life” application that comes on the new Macs, if that’s what you’re picturing). And Joey writes words over them. The result is dark and adorable, and often LOL funny.
Also on the site is “Overqualified”, ostensibly a collection of job application cover letters to major corporations. This premise is more of a front than anything, however, for Joey’s inappropriate existential musings. As he sees it, “looking for work is an exercise in selling yourself. You write cover letter after cover letter, listing the parts of you that you respect the least, listing the selling points that make you valuable in a buyer’s market … And then maybe one day you just snap a little. You sit down to write a cover letter, and something entirely new comes out.”
Here, Joey urges BBC to can the kookiness and glamorize Scrabble and cold beers for a change.
Here, Joey tells Google executives the story of how his grandmother coerced him into signing up for Gmail.
Joey’s most recent collection of short stories, It’s Too Late to Say I’m Sorry, came out this summer. Right now he is working on a novel called The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved, “about a young boy with special powers and a young lady who is perhaps too violently enthusiastic about environmentalism.” He’s also working on a book based on the Overqualified letters, which he finds a ridiculous idea, and one that he believes has been going very well. Joey will be reading from his recent work at Canzine in Toronto this Sunday (the 28th) at the Gladstone Hotel. It sounds like a scene, and totally worth it — either he just photographs well, or Joey’s actually hell of cute. Trust me.
photo by e. horne and j. comeau
Nora Tennessen is an ex-pat Nova Scotian and current This Magazine intern. She likes science fiction and comic strips and sexy, sexy secularity.
Current boycrush: Michael Cera
Current girlcrush: Ellen Page
Political compass: Economic: 8.38 Political: 6.31