Shortpacked!

Shortpacked! (first strip) (mostly gag-a-day, daily M-F) is a comedy strip about a toy store taken way too seriously. The megalomaniac manager, the toy-collecting obsessed worker, the really creepy guy who doesn’t take a hint, and a guy who’s obsessed with ninjas all man the store, and entertain the audience by playing off of their (and other character’s) quirks. Most updates are a full color page, and there’s 539 pages in the archive. There’s several chunks of filler sketches, although most of them have some humor in them as well.

Shortpacked! is a comedy strip that has slowly added drama elements, occasionally to the point of excessiveness. It has a few characters that were carried over from David Willis’s previous strip, It’s Walky. It’s Walky was a comedy strip that slowly added drama elements to the point of excessiveness. It had a few characters that were carried over from David Willis’s previous strip, Roomies. Roomies was a comedy strip that slowly added drama elements to the point of excessiveness.

I would imagine people have sensed the recurring theme there.

David Willis is a bit legendary in the webcomic world for just that sort of thing, actually. He’s been doing this for ten years, and he’s done quality strips all through that time. His comedy is spot on, his characters are real and interesting, and the interactions between characters provide interesting advancement of plot while being smart and funny.

… and then he turns on the drama.

Now, the drama doesn’t seem forced. He writes it well. The characters are fleshed out enough and interact well together, so the drama works smoothly with the world that he’s created. The thing is, when he writes drama… he writes lots and lots of drama. Soap Opera, the comic strip? Here you go.

Okay. I think I’ve hammered the point enough. I’m going to go over the good points. I laugh out loud at his strips frequently. The comedy and characters are both extremely solid. He’s perfected the niche comic/cartoon/toy parodies, making fun of the ludicrousness of both the companies making them and the people obsessing over them both with casual ease. He makes the most serious of subjects funny, and they’re even more magnificent due to the contrast.

Unfortunately for readers who are jumping into Shortpacked! straight, the characters that have been carried over from It’s Walky have not been explained at all. So, to catch the reader up on things- Robin has sugar-fueled superspeed. Mike worked with her in government work to repel aliens. I _think_ that’s all that’s necessary to understand the main points. You could read through Roomies and It’s Walky to get the full backstory, but that’s ten years of daily comics, several years of worth are pure drama and not much funny. I’d do it, but then, I’m the kind of person that writes a comic review blog. Not advised for the casual reader.

I really enjoy Shortpacked!, especially the one shot comics where he just picks a current comic or toy or cartoon and does a strip in that continuity. David knows that not everybody enjoys the drama for his cartoons, and that people enjoy the one-shot gags. He has a character specifically designed to make fun of the fact that his strip is heading towards drama, for goodness sake. But you’ve got to write what you’ve got to write, and Shortpacked! slowly gets more and more drama-based, and I slowly get sadder.

The beginning is wonderful, though.

You should try Shortpacked! If you get through to the current strip and you still love it, try out Roomies. If you get lucky, there’s ten years of archives for you to enjoy. Give it a try.

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