Web comic an odd retreat from the norm

Andrea Barnes

Andrea Barnes

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Greg Dean’s online comic, “Real Life” takes truths in the life of the author and twists them into a strange sort of fiction. The main character in the comic strip is?

Greg Dean, who offers up a unique way of living his “real life.” He is addicted to role-playing video games and Pepsi. His friends share these addictions, as they share their own place in his comic strip. There is something strangely appealing about the bizarre things Greg and his friends decide to do on a daily basis. They travel through time, to alternate dimensions, and to Renaissance fairs in elaborate costumes.

But, perhaps what I find most enjoyable is how frequently the comic tears down the fourth wall between entertainment and audience. The characters in the comic argue, bargain, and heckle the cartoonist. The readers are constantly being sucked into inside jokes, and random discrepancies?such as characters who have disappeared for no apparent reason?are questioned time and time again.

It isn’t that nothing is sacred in “Real Life.” It’s that everything is funny.

One downfall of “Real Life” is how much of it there is. The archive is huge. If you start from the beginning, it will take several hours of homework time to get to the current comic. Of course, if you haven’t got anything better to do and can’t seem to stop checking your e-mail, you don’t have anything to lose by jumping into “Real Life’s” archive.

Up until October of 2000, “Real Life” was also mostly in black and white, as are most syndicated daily cartoons.

The comics are found at www.reallifecomics.com and for any sword enthusiasts, Greg Dean also does a weekly comic for Swords Online in the same style as “Real Life.” You can find a link to this comic at the “Real Life” page. 3 1/2 Stars