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Moment of HonestyThis week: Joe the Circle!
Welcome back! I still don't have pictures in my reviews, but here's more text! Woohoo!

This week, I review Joe the Circle, by Mike Shapiro.

Joe the Circle was the first webcomic I ever read. I found the link on the home page for Bill Amend's Foxtrot, and I was amazed at what I found. The main characters are simply drawn -- a circle, a triangle, and something called a Boobian that looks... well, it looks weird. The drawings are in black and white, and the earlier comics are littered with scribbled side notes, apparently generated for readers of the strip when it appeared in a college newspaper.

The point of Mike's strip, though, isn't the artwork. And thank goodness, because most of the artwork could be done by a middle school kid with average talent. The writing, however, is hilarious. Joe, a greedy, gun-toting hedonist, spouts off such wonderful phrases as "Deep within every dilemma is a solution that involves explosives." Ronnie the Triangle serves as his best friend and conscience, although why Ronnie goes along with Joe's plans has never been fully explained. Bob, the Boobian, has a limited vocabulary -- mostly the word "Whoop" -- but an unlimited appetite. His mouth actually is an interdimensional portal. Other characters include Franko the Flying Fish (who experiences regular hallucinations, but is clairaudient -- he can hear the future) and Mattock Blork the Hexagon.

Mike is a nice guy, and he really does try to keep his readers happy, but I have been known to wait for more than a month for a new issue while Mike works on his real job -- he composes music for films. Another point of irritation is the message boards; for some reason, Mike's forum attracts a few really great folks, and a lot of losers. I still check the message boards on occasion, but I've grown increasingly disinterested in attempting communication there.

My recommendation is that you read everything on the site other than the forum, and play with his magic 9-ball. There's even a Joe the Circle screenplay (it's funny, but needs a little work). Just remember that the forum is mostly for asking Mike when the next issue will go up and/or dealing with 11-year-olds who can barely type, and also remember that you may have a long wait before the next issue -- so if you get hooked on the humor, don't say I didn't warn you.

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