A Softer World
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|A Softer World|
|Author(s)||Joey Comeau, Emily Horne|
|Current status / schedule||Updating every Monday, Wednesday and Friday|
|Launch date||7 February 2003|
A Softer World is a thrice weekly webcomic by Canadians Joey Comeau and Emily Horne. It was first published online on 7 February 2003. Early comics had been published, intermittently, in zine form. With the launch of the website, the comic has gained wider recognition, most notably when Warren Ellis linked to the comic on his blog, and then began to feature it as a "Favored Puny Human". The comic won the first Web Cartoonists' Choice Award for photographic webcomic in 2007. It often appears in The Guardian and was profiled in the September 2007 issue of the Australian Rolling Stone.
A collected edition, A Softer World: Truth & Beauty Bombs (ISBN 0-9739171-1-3), reprinting 180 strips, was released in June 2006. A second collection, Second Best Isn't So Bad, was released in 2009.
With occasional exceptions of a few double-length strips, each comic is three panels long. The three panels are made up of photographic art, either a series of three photographs, or one photograph that is spread over multiple frames, or repeated with different crops and zooms. The photographs are taken by Horne, then sent to Comeau for text.
The tone of the comic tends to be slightly absurdist and dark, with the punchlines often being simultaneously humorous and disturbing, occasionally with overt sexual content. For instance, the text of the strip from which the comic takes its name reads, "In the caves behind my house, I found a softer world. / They understand what I had to do for love. / They don't believe in restraining orders." Recurring themes include sexuality, accidents or disasters, and zombies.
Hovering one's cursor over the comic will prompt the image title to appear, which acts as text for a fourth panel or commentary related to the strip overall. In May 2010, a feature was added to display this text when clicking or tapping on the comic image, for users on mobile phones and touchscreen devices, which lack a "hovering" function.
There is no cast to speak of, as each comic tends to stand alone. There are two recurring characters however. The first is Baby Doom, an infant that plotted to destroy the world. She has appeared in three comics, but was run over by a car, and, apparently, killed off. Also, there is a black cat, Wednesday, who is featured in several of the strips. Some models can be spotted repeatedly in many strips, and are friends of photographer Emily Horne.
Other features of the site
"i blame the sea" is Emily Horne's photo journal, added to the site in 2008 and updated weekly.
The site also includes "Overqualified", an occasional series of satirical cover letters for job applications. These cover letters are generally written so as to reveal a degree of insanity in the imagined author. For example, one is a letter from someone applying to be a mall Santa Claus, in which he explains that, as a foreman at Mattel, he fired all the middle aged men and hired midgets who he forced to wear green costumes, and that, after being fired, he broke into houses to steal milk and cookies. Overqualified was published in book form in 2009.
"i am other people" is a series of interviews that Joey conducts with people.
In an attempt to raise money for his tuition, Joey wrote a novella, Lockpick Pornography, and released it in a micropatronage form on his website. He posted the first chapter for free with a PayPal donation link, telling his readers that he'd release each additional chapter after he'd raised a couple hundred more dollars through donations. Response was so enthusiastic that he posted all seven chapters within a week. Loose Teeth press has since published the novella with an additional three chapters. The full book is now available as a free download from the Lockpick Pornography website.
- asofterworld.com – official homepage
- Lockpick Pornography
- Maximum Fun article by Aaron Matthews
- "Comic Mix" interview by Rick Marshall
- Comic Book Resources article by Alex Dueben
- "Best Webcomics of 2005" list
- Late Night Jengajam Interview conducted by John "Jengaship" Edathil, 27 September 2007 on Talkshoe; 1 hour.
- Infinite Comic – a softer world generator
- A softer world in TV Tropes