I typed and re-typed the beginning of this review a few times, because I simply couldn’t decide were to begin. Ultimately, I settled on this: In a word, I think Cheesebo is absolutely fantastic. Let me clarify.
In my humble opinion, Cheesebo does so many things right so frequently, that it is very difficult not to love this webcomic. The strips vary in nature, bouncing between a loose continuous storyline, to gag-a-day but using recurring characters, to gag-a-day that have nothing to do with anything. On the surface, this might seem confusing (something I’ll elaborate on below) but in practice it serves as a way to shake things up on a fairly regular basis. What will I find with the newest update? Who knows! And that is part of the fun.
Comic classification aside, creator Stephen Beals does an exceptional job of breaking the mold of the average comic. Panel & joke pacing often vary from strip to strip, as does presentation style. Beals frequently busts through his standard four panel setup with one, two, three, six or more panels. And, I’ve never felt that the choice war out of place or shortened/extended a comic unnecessarily. It always seems…just right. As a bonus, Cheesebo is funny. Not fall on the floor funny, but consistently chuckle producing, whether at the main characters incredibly unsuccessful job hunt or the longer form ‘this-happened-to-me-today’ type strips. Both are equally entertaining, and I am never disappointed when I find one vs. the other.
Visually, character and background complexity also vary. The pendulum swings between the very simple and the rather complex. Some of my absolute favorite strips are the long form, six panel plus comics. Even in that format, I’ve never felt as if quality degrades from start to finish; each comic feels entirely complete. Also, and perhaps this is just me, but I always get the sense that ‘something’ is happening in each panel; there is always the sensation of motion, even if it is just a character thinking to themselves. For whatever reason, I find that characteristic particularly enticing.
It is hard to find something negative to say (not that I was necessarily looking), but I would offer a relatively minor bit of advice: Incorporate the strip titles into or above the comic! The title appears with the blog post, and when combined with the somewhat varied nature of what type of comic a reader might be presented with on any particular update, there is a slight sense of confusion when first landing on the page. It certainly isn’t a huge deal, but to me, it detracts from a comic that is otherwise executed very, very well.
I suggest you add Cheesebo to your daily rounds, RSS reader, etc – I promise you will not be disappointed.