Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fluble: My Gateway Drug

Normally I use this blog to highlight shiny and new comics -- or at least comics that are currently running -- but I recently stumbled across the archives for a blast from my past I'd like to share.

When I got to college, I hadn't had a whole lot of exposure to comics. There was no comic book store in the town where I went to high school (in fact, the town's first comic shop opened just this past October), and thanks to a crappy ethernet connection, I was only able to view webcomics during visits home. And oddly, one of the first webcomics that I sampled over the dial-up was The Thin H Line, now better known as Sexy Losers (Warning: link is nine kinds of NSFW). Life was better when I spent my final term interning for a congressman in DC, where the Internet was plentiful and I could use part of my food allowance to buy manga in Georgetown.

Thankfully, in college, I made friends with a floormate and self-described fanboy who loaned me his copies of Judd Winick books and Squee! and Sandman (the later of which I failed to return). Plus, five a days a week, there was Fluble in the Brown Daily Herald.

Fluble, created by Brown student Chris Mastrangelo, was, in a lot of ways, a sort of proto-webcomic, filled with the sort of sad sack characters and generally inanity that would come to dominate a good chunk of webcomicdom. The titular character is a genetically engineered frog who, despite a general lack of ambition, manages to conquer Luxembourg and cross his universe's various cosmic forces. There are conspiratorial penguins, evil bunny rabbits, several characters who happen to be hallucinatory, the depressed ruler of Hell, and a smiling fish that never speaks, but is often seen hanging out in the background.

There were essentially two types of folks at Brown: people who thought Fluble too crowded (too much text, too much weirdness to follow) and those who thought it utter genius. Me, I was rapt; I had to read Fluble at lunch every day (I'm sure to the chagrin of friends who were trying to have actual conversations). The tragedy of Mastrangelo's graduation from Brown (we only overlapped by a year) was softened when I discovered the entire Fluble archive online.

In fact, I rather blame Mastrangelo for this whole webcomics obsession of mine. Once I got through the archives, hungry for more little tiny words spoken by insane fictional people, I made the mistake of clicking the "Links" button (back when every site had a "Links" button). From there, I stumbled into College Roomies from Hell, which in turn led me to Fans!, and, well, the rest is history.

Maybe Fluble will similarly ruin your life. Or maybe you'll just ruin your eyesight.


Duncan said...

Stumbled on Fluble while dredging through network traffic in 2002. Loved it and Fafblog too! Wish there were more.

Brooke Alvarez said...

CHRIS MASTRANGELO is the fakest name I've ever heard.

It has the words STRANGE and ANGEL in it, and simply moving the T gives you CHRISTMAS.

What does the triad unconciously cue? Hint: CHRISTMAS --> SANTA --> _____


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