Webcomics You Should Have Read: Minus
One of the most endearing features of Calvin and Hobbes was Calvin’s overactive imagination, which created amazing scenarios of space battles, time travel, and talking tigers. What if it wasn’t all in his imagination, though?
Ryan Armand gives us a brief look at childlike innocence and imagination brought to life in the world of Minus.
Minus is a little girl who apparently can do anything she can imagine — she flies, creates worlds, travels in time, talks to spirits and grants wishes. And though this leads to the occasional retribution against bullies or mean adults, unlike Calvin, she also shares her gifts with her friends. Minus will offer someone a flying unicorn as easily as another little girl might offer a lick of her ice-cream cone.
Armand’s site also includes a serial comic called Socks and a collection of older stand-alone comics. He doesn’t have a storefront, though archived newsposts note that he used to do prints of Minus comics; he might be willing to start up again if requested.
- The Slow Path
- Exploring the Spirit World
- He followed me home! Can I keep him?
- The saga of the Dread Pirate, Minus the Black
- The adventures of Minus the Ghost
Drama: There’s always some drama when you’re tugging at heartstrings, but Minus’ world is not a world of adult problems and relationships; it’s a child’s world, where everyone eventually gets a happy ending, even if they’re occasionally bittersweet.
Humor: While many of the comics earn a chuckle, the focus is more on evoking a sense of childlike wonder. And it succeeds.
Continuity: Low to Moderate. Some strip string together in sequence, but knowledge of previous ones isn’t terribly necessary to enjoy later strips.
Art: Each minus strip is painted with watercolors on a 15×20" piece of Illustration board. The style implies an enterprising painter more than a traditional comic artist.
Archive: About 130 strips. Two years of weekly Sunday newspaper-sized comics, though many are several "strips" long.
Updates: "It’ll be updating every Thursday until I suddenly stop!" Armand stopped updating the strip in March 2008 and started updating Socks in monthly chunks.
Risk/Reward: Some comics are ongoing, telling complicated stories, the ongoing events in characters’ lives, or just a joke every day. Some comics say what they want to say and end. Minus ends on an up-note, keeping tone to the very end. It’s worth your time.