Dark Horse Books, $16.99, 136 pages
Portland-based comics artist Chris Onstad recently announced that his cult-favorite web comic Achewood has gone on indefinite haitus. For fans of this legendary strip, Dark Horse Books has produced a collection: A Home For Scared People. Achewood follows the absurd, non-sequitur adventures of Ray, Roast Beef, Phillipe, and the gang as they do odd-ish stuff. The author has added his thoughts at the bottom of most pages; generally these are ‘making of’ or “What the heck was I thinking” postscripts. They’re not deep words of wisdom, but it’s like having a clever person read over your shoulder, very amusing. This book collects the strips from May to November 2002, including the ‘roll over’ text, beneath most strips.
Physically, the book is terrific; the paper makes the black and white drawings pop. If you’re a fan of Achewood, and ready to invest in a collection, this quality book will ensure that you’ll have it for years to come. If you’ve never heard of Achewood, imagine an avant-garde Garfield, and you might not be too far off of the mark. If that statement doesn’t scare you, and you don’t mind a comic strip that doesn’t much care if there’s a punchline, this frequently brilliant collection is right for you. New readers should think about starting with Volume 1 The Great Outdoor Fight.
Reviewed by Brad Wright