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This week, I review Spare Change, by Warren Lawrence.
When I first found Spare Change, it was by looking through the mega-huge Keenspace comics list for titles that intrigued me. For some reason, "Spare Change" fit the bill. I found myself chuckling at the comic, and figured I'd check it out a few more times, and if I liked it, I'd keep it on my list.
To my surprise, this simple little comic rapidly became one of my favorites. The drawing style is simple, much like my own (except always in black-and-white); the characters are off-beat -- especially Rhett (more later on him); and the humor is somewhere between clever and zany. There's no real "plot" to Spare Change -- it's basically comedy based on bizarre characters. There have been character developments, including some complex morality issues: two characters, Trudy and Phil, began dating while she was still married. However, the comic doesn't dwell on issues like that, preferring to keep the humor flowing.
The cast page gives a basic introduction to the wacky folks you'll meet; the "main" characters seem to be Phil, Rhett, and Trudy. Phil, a mustachioed ponytailed computer guy, seems to be an everyman character, blessed with above-average intelligence that's occasionally hampered by the fact that he's still a boy at heart. Trudy is his occasionally overbearing live-in girlfriend, who tends to serve as a representative for the female gender. (There is another female character -- Amy -- but her appearances are somewhat infrequent.) Rhett... well, Rhett's another story.
Rhett is a programmer, which implies intelligence (at least to us non-programmer types). It's hard to tell at times if his inherent wackiness is based on conscious whimsy, or if he's a couple pineapples short of a luau. I always enjoy reading strips that feature Rhett, and I never know what to expect. I give a lot of credit to Warren Lawrence for being able to come up with a character as oddly endearing as this one; my favorite strip so far involved Rhett re-living his childhood by ordering a kids' meal at a fast food place... and much to Phil's dismay, enjoying it while sitting in a booster chair.
The art and web design are misleading; a first glance at this comic wouldn't suggest a lot of potential. But this comic has consistently impressed me with its ability to make me laugh, and it is steadily climbing on my personal list of favorites.
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