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Applegeeks Issue 161
|Author(s)||Mohammad "Hawk" Haque
|Current status / schedule||On hiatus – Last update November 2010|
Applegeeks was a webcomic illustrated by Mohammad Haque, and written by Ananth Panagariya. The comic was usually updated every Monday and Thursday. A small, spin-off comic, dubbed Applegeeks Lite, was begun on April 18, 2006, and updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Applegeeks was largely based around the misadventures of "Hawk," a somewhat delusional college student with an unnatural fondness for Apple products; his aspiring writer friend, Jayce; and their friends and cohorts. The comic's format shifts between gag-a-day material to spurts of continuity, often dealing with material related to technological accomplishments (with unforeseen results), quasi-romantic unease, or situational comedic moments between the characters. It has currently shifted to a far darker tone with the beginning of the Exodus story arc. As of July 2012, the comic appears to be abandoned, given the lack of updates and statements made in October 2010 by Mohammad and Ananth.
In its early history, Applegeeks was often compared to another popular webcomic, Mac Hall, written by Matt Boyd and illustrated by Ian McConville. However, both comics have since taken different directions in both art and humor. Artistically, McConville has moved into a painted, cel-shaded style, while Haque has gone with a more traditional inked look and anime inspired coloring. In writing, Boyd continues to represent college dorm humour with the occasional video game reference, while Panagariya has produced humor based on technological blunders and lasting character relationships.
Applegeeks finished its first book called Applegeeks Volume 1: Freshman Year and includes the strips first two years of material. It is currently up for pre-order and is scheduled for release in early May 2009 . In late 2005, Applegeeks fan Chris Davis used the Lulu.com publishing service to publish his own trade paper back of Applegeeks comics. Haque and Panagariya expressed discontent, although they did not threaten legal action. Reportedly, the matter was later resolved, with Davis apologizing for his actions and admitting them to be in "bad form."
Plot and recurrent themes
Applegeeks' overall narrative primarily consists of the story of Hawk's creation, Eve. She is constructed from the remains of an Apple robot, which was originally intended by Hawk to make toast, although he gave up this plan after realizing that the robot would merely consume the toast itself. After its subsequent destruction at the hands of Ethan's X-Bot (both main characters from Ctrl+Alt+Del, a popular webcomic), its parts are used to create Eve – a feminine android, or gynoid. Soon after her introduction and minor development as a character, Eve's personality collapses and she destroys an Apple store. A battle ensues between Hawk and Eve in an attempt to subdue and capture her. While Hawk distracts Eve, Gina plugs her into Hawk's laptop and uploads a virus that shuts her down. Afterward, the inoperative body of Eve is stolen by Frost, due to his jealousy of Hawk's inventive talents. Hawk, Jayce and Gina travel to Japan to rescue Eve and in a climactic confrontation the warehouse where she was held is destroyed in a massive explosion. This begins the Exodus story arc.
Though having an overall narrative of a sort, Applegeeks additionally has several running subplots that appear frequently throughout the comic. For example, the romance of Jayce Wilder and Alice Fox subplot appears frequently – the two were childhood friends and despite early troubles expressing their feelings, both are currently engaged in dating; Captain Power (of no relation to the late 1980s show of the same name, nor to the toy line), the imagined superhero alter ego of Hawk, who somewhat resembles Stupendous Man from Calvin & Hobbes, and wears a Power symbol bandana down over his eyes (or more recently, a Naruto-style headband with the Apple "power" logo displayed); and Hawk's troubles during Ramadan, usually including hallucinations brought on by hunger, and Jayce tormenting him by eating large amounts of food in front of him. There is also a girl named Ashley who starts a vendetta on Hawk with the assistance of her partner Mistah Bear because he destroyed her tricycle.
Applegeeks also makes use of several running gags: the Shotgun Game, in which a person calls out "shotgun," but may be challenged for their position in the front seat by another individual, who does so by dropping their pants (but not undergarments), and in turn must respond by dropping their pants and racing the challenger to the vehicle (this has often made the driver pull away at an extremely hurried pace, even if he or she knows the people with the pants down); the plastic bubble that Hawk is placed in whenever he enters an Apple store, in order to avoid "mishaps"; and numerous references to other webcomics, often including cameo appearances by objects and characters from such webcomics as Megatokyo and Ctrl+Alt+Del. For example, the Megatokyo character Ping appeared in strip 273 of Applegeeks. Another example is when they try to rescue Eve and become surrounded by enemies, at which point they call Junpei and a Rent-a-Zilla to aid them.
- Hawk is Applegeeks' main protagonist. He is the happy-go-lucky technology buff with vast mechanical and programming skills, as is evident with his construction of Eve and his power suit. He is also an "Apple geek." He has the Apple logo tattooed on his right buttock and a barcode on his left arm, and has to be confined inside a large, plastic ball whenever he goes into an Apple store. Hawk's interests lie primarily with Apple related gear, but he likes girls as well, although he is a little unsure on how to approach them. His first appearance was in comic #1. After having disappeared in comic #300, Hawk reappeared in the Exodus saga with Eve.
- Jayce Wilder is the secondary protagonist and was once shown as general goofball, although compared to Hawk, Jayce's occasional boyish antics seem normal. He has occasionally revealed a personal dark side, which Gina has noticed. He clearly has a strong sense of leadership and can often be the most logical member of the group when the situation requires. He is an avid writer, and has a tendency to get nostalgic from time to time. He has been dating Alice Fox, his childhood friend. His first appearance was in comic #1.
- Alice Fox is the primary female cast member; often the voice of reason. She has been dating Jayce Wilder, having finally moved past the "close friend" stage after several years. Her first appearance was in comic #10. She is clearly the most caring in the group, though she has often shown to be very strong willed when pushed. For a time she and Hawk were at odds in relation to his treatment of Eve, but they have since then grown closer than before.
- Gina McQuarrie is a female model, strongly independent individual, and known for lack of academic motivation. Alice's best friend. Sometimes has an Irish accent. She also has a bad habit of smoking. Her first appearance was in comic #25. Following the group's trip to Tokyo and the disappearance of Hawk and Eve, Gina took a trip of self-discovery and possible self-destruction where she would compete in fighting tournaments which her parents had once been considered champions of. She has a strong bond and kind of a "free" friendship with Hawk – she helped him save Eve at both occasions, sometimes they both appear naked together and she let Hawk grab her breasts after getting back from her trip.
- Eve is a gynoid built with Apple aesthetic design sensibilities in mind. She has an extreme hatred for PCs – although considering that Hawk constructed her, this is not a surprising trait – and incredible physical strength. Recently, she has been kidnapped after being shut down by Hawk and then subsequently rescued. She is conceptualized in comic #138. After having disappeared in comic #300, Eve reappeared in the Exodus saga with Hawk in Japan.
- Mr. Squirrely is a squirrel with mysterious powers and the ability to communicate with Hawk. Possibly a delusion brought on by Hawk's Ramadan fasting, though there are issues that conflict with this idea.
- Frost is a supporting cast member who makes the odd appearance and was often the voice of reason when Alice was not around. Early on, he disappeared from the comics. He returned in issue 227, however, and may have been responsible for a rash of shotgun-game related murders (however, as the idea of this was Hawk's and Jayce claimed there had not been any strange deaths in the area recently, it is possible that this was simply a gag). Frost then proceeded to steal Eve in issue 250.Though he did this under the orders of Jayce's father, he appeared also motivated by jealousy of Hawk's inventive skills. His first appearance was in comic #2.
- Naku was originally a member of Applegeeks, but Naku's real-life inspiration went on to other projects. As such, her character was retired. She was a "tech geek" and attractive gamer girl during her tenure in the comic.
- Josie is a supporting cast member of Applegeeks, and much to his friends' surprise has a budding romantic relationship with Hawk (even Satan feels the effects). Not much is known about her except that she was an "Internet nerd" when she was younger, and is currently in a band called the "Capslock Love Affair." Her first appearance was in comic #239. She has reappeared in Japan, touring with her band, presumably to search for Hawk after his disappearance. This could be of course just a coincidence.
- Ashley is the world's next great super-villain. Some day. For now, she is the little red-headed terror of a daughter to a single mom. After Hawk, in his Power gear, commandeered her tricycle and returned it as scrap, she swore vengeance. To that end, she and her henchman, Mistah Bear have been formulating a master plan to exact their revenge. After finding out who Hawk was, Ashley has expanded her evil to his friends including Alice.
- Old Mac is apparently either Hawk's first attempt at building a sentient lifeform from an Apple computer, or an old computer that somehow gained self-awareness after a long time in storage. He is an old Compact Macintosh (implied to be the original 1984 model) that apparently has the voice of Morgan Freeman.
The comic has undergone several subtle changes over its development. Initially, it was drawn in a looser, hand-drawn fashion with nondescript backgrounds and softer colour tones. This style was very similar to the one Mac Hall's Ian McConville was using around the same time, and as a comparison were drawn between the two artists. Issue 17 however saw Applegeeks take a stylistic change, adopting a softer, more brushed look, with thick ink work and a warmer pastel palette, due to writer Ananth Panagariya pulling double duty as writer and artist. This lasted until issue 21, at which point Haque was able to return and bring back his earlier artistic choices to the comic, albeit with a cleaner style.
Around issue 35, the comic began to develop a more polished look, with brighter highlights and sleeker lines. Onwards from 35, Haque has continued to develop this sleek, shiny appearance in the comic, lending itself to the establishment of such characters as Eve, who, being artificial, requires a slightly sharper, more technological look than the human cast. Also, as the comic progressed, the skin tones of several different characters darkened considerably.
Around issue 200, the comic made a dramatic shift in both its artistic style and storytelling, both becoming much "darker" and more mature. Individual strips still contained day-to-day jokes, but the storyline became far more sweeping and epic, in the style of printed comic books. Some of the artistic shift to pseudo-realism can be credited to Haque's interest in American comics, which generally have a grittier, harsher style than the Japanese anime and manga that many webcomics are based on.
At the end of the "Dark Eve Saga" arc (issue 218), the art style shifted back towards the more cartoon-like visuals, and the more humor-based storyline also returned. It later shifts back into the darker style with Eve's kidnapping and the following Exodus story arc.
After issue 300, the art style in issue 301 began to reflect the style of comic books that Hawk enjoys.
On April 18, 2006, the creators began a small, newspaper-like comic strip, along with the regular updates, dubbed Applegeeks Lite. These strips are designed for simple jokes and puns rather than any real type of continuity, in order to provide an "escape" from the complexity of a plot-based webcomic. Indeed, the strips often go so far as to break the fourth wall; in the very first issue of Applegeeks Lite (as seen to the right), Hawk addresses the forum members and instructs them on how to properly spell "Ananth" – the first name of Applegeeks' writer.
- "Applegeeks strip #1". Applegeeks. 2003. Archived from the original on April 22, 2006. Retrieved April 23, 2006.
- "Applegeeks Lite strip #1". April 18, 2006. Archived from the original on May 4, 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2006.
- Applegeeks blog
- "Panagariya comments on Applegeeks being compared to Mac Hall". December 16, 2004. Archived from the original on May 13, 2006. Retrieved June 21, 2006.
- "Applegeeks Volume 1: Freshman Year".
- Bailey, Jonathon (November 14, 2005). "When Fans Infringe Copyright". Archived from the original on March 17, 2006. Retrieved April 23, 2006.
- Panagariya, Ananth (November 13, 2005). "Panagariya comments on the LuLu.com publishing controversy". Archived from the original on May 6, 2006. Retrieved June 21, 2006.
- Mohammad, Haque (May 26, 2003). "Mohammad Haque announces temporary departure". Retrieved April 25, 2006.[dead link]
- Mohammad, Haque (July 8, 2003). "Mohammad Haque announces his return to illustrating Applegeeks". Retrieved April 25, 2006.[dead link]
- Panagariya, Ananth (April 18, 2006). "Ananth Panagariya comments on the launch of Applegeeks Lite". Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2006.