BooksOfTheMoon

Questionable Content, Vol. 5

By Jeph Jacques

Rating: 4 stars

And so the great Questionable Content binge comes to an end. The fifth volume of QC shows an artist who continues to mature in his storytelling as well as introducing some new characters (Cosette, although not by name, and Marigold). Sven gets an intern/conscience and Faye starts to open up some more. There are several laugh out loud moments, including the last comic in the collection, featuring Pintsize and Momo.

The themes that I know will be coming up are still being explored, including Marten and Dora’s relationship and Faye’s drinking. And here’s me thinking that webcomic writers just made stuff up on the day ;-). There are seeds being sown that will be reaped hundreds, if not thousands, of comics down the line. It’ll be a while before I get to binge on paper again since, as of the time of writing, volume 5 is the latest paper collection available (and also, I know what to expect at the end of volume 6, so I may well wait until the one after before buying more).

But for now, I was trying to persuade myself that I have many real books to read, but who am I kidding, I’m going to go online and pick up from where this leaves off.

Book details

ISBN: 9781936561315
Publisher: Topatoco
Year of publication: 2015

Questionable Content, Vol. 4

By Jeph Jacques

Rating: 4 stars

Volume 4 of the esteemed Questionable Content has an immediate difference over its predecessors: it’s a completely different format. Rather than a large square book, with two comics to a page, it’s a much smaller but thicker book, putting a single comic over each two-page spread. This undeniably makes it easier to read (with less squinting over the text), but it does mean that the books will look different on my shelves, something I detest (I’m looking at you, Laundry Files and SF Masterworks).

As for content, this volume collects comics #900-1200 and both the storytelling and art continue to mature. We see Hannelore’s mother for the first time, and while we don’t see her father, he’s definitely involved. Marten and Dora’s relationship matures, as do Dora’s insecurities. Speaking of insecurities, we also get to see a different side to Steve as he worries about his relationship with Meena. Faye’s drinking gets spotlighted as well, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a lot of laughs, especially where Pintsize and Wimslow are involved.

Some of the author commentary is quite interesting as well, especially where says that he wouldn’t do a joke like that again (often to do with trans issues) or where he disagrees with his characters. I’ve been binging on QC as I got the whole lot of paper collections in one go. So I’ve got one more paper collection to go, and then it’s back to just one strip a day :-/.

Book details

ISBN: 9781936561216
Publisher: TopatoCo Books
Year of publication: 2014

Questionable Content, Vol. 3

By Jeph Jacques

Rating: 4 stars

My Great Questionable Content Binge continues with the third collection of the slice-of-life webcomic. So Marten and Dora have become a couple, but it’s interesting to see just how early that Dora’s insecurity over the situation raised its head. I had forgotten about that, from when I was reading it online. I had to skip ahead on the webcomic to find out when they broke up, and it’s not until about #1800 or so, so there’s a good couple of more volumes of Marten/Dora coupledom to come, but if he sticks with the 300 or so comics to the collection, volume 6 will end on a downer :(. It’s also interesting to see how early the seeds of Faye’s hard-drinking and her friends’ worrying about it were sown. That’s something that will get reaped 2000 or so strip down the line. Blimey, that’s some forward planning, going on there!

The enlargement of the cast continues with Penelope (or is that Pizza Girl?) joining the Coffee of Doom crew as well as Tai and Angus making their d├ębuts. QC has turned from a will they/won’t they romance into, effectively, a humorous soap opera, albeit a soap opera with murderous scooters, mischievous PCs and semi-feral roombas. It’s a lot of fun to read, and so much quicker on paper than on-screen (those waits between page loads cumulatively add up).

Book details

ISBN: 9781936561704
Publisher: TopataCo Books
Year of publication: 2012

Questionable Content, Vol. 2

By Jeph Jacques

Rating: 4 stars

The second three hundred strips of the excellent Questionable Content see the format shift. We finally get a resolution to the will they/won’t they thing between Faye and Marten and the introduction of the rather awesome Hannelore. The art starts to mature as well and by the end of this volume we start to see the characters as we know and love them today. The cast also starts to expand as not only Hannelore appears, but we start seeing the family of our already established cast, with Marten’s mum, Dora’s brother and Faye’s mum and sister. This starts to make our cast start to feel like rounded people with real lives that we care about (especially after we find out about Faye’s history) and this is something that Jacques has been very good at maintaining to this day. So still early days but evolving rapidly.

Book details

ISBN: 9781936561964
Publisher: TopatoCo Books
Year of publication: 2011

Questionable Content, Vol. 1

By Jeph Jacques

Rating: 4 stars

I’ve been reading Questionable Content for several years now and have read it start to end online a couple of times since then, but I’ve decided to splurge on paper copies. The book is physically attractive, being a good size, although I was disappointed by the size of the comics within, with the text sometimes making me squint a bit (especially in some of the wordier ones). But QC is a vertical strip, so having two strips side by side like that on a page seems like the best way to make it work. The art is a bit wobbly in this volume, a long way from Jacques’ later work (as seen on the cover and some of the early strips here, where the originals weren’t of good enough quality to print, so he redrew them) but something I always like about webcomics is the way that we can literally see the artist getting better in front of our eyes.

The plot concerns indie kid Marten and his pals (including sociopathic AI pal Pintsize) just trying to get on in life, find love, a job that they don’t hate and talk a load of crap about music. I’d forgotten just how much time the early comic spends talking about music and bands that I’ve never heard of. Thankfully, this fades away later on, but if that’s not your geekdom, those strips are skippable. I’d also forgotten just how small the cast is at this stage. QC’s cast grows arms and legs over the years, but here, it’s pretty much just entirely Marten, his flatmate Faye and her boss Dora forming the core love-triangle cast, with Marten’s friend Steve and Pintsize as the supporting cast.

The book is funny, interesting and shows flashes of the greatness to come, but it’s still definitely worth reading on its own merits.

Book details

ISBN: 9780982486252
Publisher: TopatoCo
Year of publication: 2010

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