Comic Non-Sans: “Weesh.” and the Family-Friendly Webcomic

A common argument for why people enjoy webcomics over newspaper strips — both from the creators’ standpoint and the readers’ — is lack of limitations. There are no editors to answer to and no content control. You can get away with pretty much anything, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As a writer/artist, I personally appreciate the freedom of throwing in character-appropriate language or walking (and crossing) that thin line of good taste.

But then there’s the inverse to be considered. In an environment where creators have that ability and are expected to avail themselves of it, how well is a truly family-friendly comic strip going to survive?

Pretty well, actually.  There are quite a few thriving out there with impressive readerships, among them Dan Hess’s thrice-weekly “Weesh.”  You’ll likely know his name from his other projects, “Angel Moxie” (now completed) and “Realms of Ishikaze.”  “Weesh.” is, as stated on his website, rated A for All Ages, and while it makes the occasional over-the-head cultural joke aimed at older readers, it keeps strictly to its rating.

“Weesh.” is simple and straightforward.  Olivia, Tate, and Zoey Merle are three siblings with a magical friend named … well, Weesh.  Weesh is a weird little green rabbit mouse thingy who grants wishes in exchange for licorice whips.  Said wishes occasionally go awry, but all have humorous consequences.  And, naturally, the siblings’ dad can’t see Weesh.

In an interblag generally free of language and thematic restrictions, though, an “All Ages” tag tends to carry with it the stigma of vapidity — stale, bowlderized content to keep even the most easily-offended of mothers from writing Strongly-Worded E-Mails.  That’s very easy to do.  Annoying, but easy.  When one has to bring the funny with restrictions (self-imposed or otherwise) in place, that’s where the ability to write, and write well, comes into play.

On three high-quality updates a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) with no sign of running out of material, Hess is definitely on top of that.  Nor does it feel at all weird to have this on my morning webcomic roll in the general vicinity of “Menage a 3” and “Something*Positive” (NSFW, kids).  If you have anything of a sense of humor, no matter how wild and edgy you consider your tastes, “Weesh.” is the good stuff.

And by the way … Mr. Hess, if you’re reading this, I would totally trade a licorice whip for a kiss from Johnny Depp.  Where do I pay up?

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 00:06 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, Webcomics · Tagged with: , , ,