Last October (2009 October), one of the first articles I wrote was on Letting Go, pulling comics that once held a high place on reading lists from those lists. It's a difficult process, comics are habit forming (which explains the zombies that dominate the newspapers). At the time, two comics dominated that idea for me, College Roomies from Hell and General Protection Fault. Today I add a new one to the list, however reluctantly:
I don't do this lightly, Achewood has been a great comic. The Great Outdoor Fight is probably one of the greatest stories ever told in webcomic form. I can think of few other storylines that even remotely come close to matching it, and I very much doubt any ever will. It held the internet by the balls, and everyone who read it loved it for that.
Now? Not so much. The comic has been in a steady decline for some time, occasionally reaching for those great moments and damn near catching them. But it never did.
The GOF storyline was so great, perhaps it should have been expected that it would never again hit that high note, and to be fair, I never expected it to do so again. Still it was enjoyable, for a time, and I kept reading. As of late though, the updates have become increasingly erratic. At one time I could expect two or three comics a week, though never sure on exactly what days, but now getting one a week is unlikely at best. Monthly would better describe it in many cases.
Achewood as a comic doesn't need or require this amount of time to build, not when the pace was much, much faster before. Maybe this is the result of the artist's family taking off, or perhaps the steady updates are being dedicated to paid subscribers, but for those of us who are fans and have no money (or a steady job), it feels as if the comic has come to a near standstill.
The humor, once a touch twisted, has started to fall flat. Oh, there are still moments, but for the most part, the comic has lost that spark that kept me enraptured. The characters feel tired and uninspired when once they were fresh and raw. Maybe I'm growing too old, maybe they are still the same as they always were, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm right.
The last few weeks have strangled the last bit of my enjoyment from the strip. It has lost me in a fundamental way, a way I'm afraid can't be recovered from. Onstead, the artist, once said he finds the joke of each strip to be funny, and if he still is, good for him. I don't, not any more at least.
And so my run of Achewood is being brought to a close. I'll probably go back and reread the Great Outdoor Fight again before I close the book on it forever, but after that, I doubt I'll return to the comic again. Letting go of a comic that held me tight for so long is hard, but it's time.
See you next time kiddies.