I beg of you, gentle ComicMix readers… take a journey with me back in time. Step one? Dust off a pair of “wide leg” jeans. Don your favorite pair of Airwalk low-tops. Grow your hair out a little, and put a Pearl Jam Compact Disk into your brand new Diskman. Step Two? Power up your personal computer. You know the one, with that brand new Intel Pentium chip the kids all talk about. Fire up that 14.4 Baud Modem, and hop on that newfangled ‘Information Super-Highway’. Welcome to 1993 folks! Now that you’re here, you should check out a little known webcomic called “The Parking Lot Is Full”.
The brief history on said comic comes from it’s own tombstone, procured from their site instead of that wiki-pedia thing you “next-gen users” all like so much…
“From 1993 – 2002, The Parking Lot is Full was the comic strip love child of artist Jack McLaren and writer Pat Spacek. Starting as crude little strips published in their university newspaper, the comic quickly took on a life of its own, eventually becoming one of the most popular and infamous comic strips on the internet. After nine years of ups and downs, the creators decided that they’d said everything they wanted to say, so the comic was wrapped up and all the toys put away.”
What made ‘PLIF’ (get used to this folks, cause “The Parking Lot Is Full” takes a while to type) so enjoyable was it’s fascinating combination of Gary Larsen-esque illustrations combined with sharp writing and a touch of the macabre. Unlike several previous recommendations here on ComicMix, ‘PLIF’ had no continuity really to follow. Yes, there are a few reoccurring sock puppets in the later half of the series, but there’s no backstory to follow (well, anymore…). And to be honest, the really juicy strips are true non-sequiturs.
I’ll be frank, folks, this strip features some of the most laugh-out-loud-but-frankly-I-shouldn’t-be-laughing strips I’ve had the pleasure to read for free on the ‘inter-webs’. There’s no need for lengthy exposition on the progression of the art; It’s crude, in gray tones, and unpolished as my car in February. There’s no need to wax poetic about the subject matter; Generally ‘PLIF’ stuck to a cycle of topics including childhood, sex, religion, and conspiracy theories (sometimes in the same strip!). Simply put, if the ‘Far-Side’ was rolled through a plate of broken glass, you’d have “PLIF”. Suffice to say the content can disturb as much as it can inspire fits of laughter… and that’s what I appreciate about it. Now to the cream of the crop (…ahem. WARNING. These Strips Are Not Suitable For Children, and most adults now that I think of it):
• Well, this settles an age old debate.
• Safe Sex, by PLIF
• A Failed Experiment, by Ray Croc.
• "I fell out of my chair the first time I saw this"… said my roomate.
• You know it’d be true.
• A lesson from the Street… Sesame Street.
• If this Pre-Dates Animal Man, Grant Morrison should be worried.
So there you have it folks. Kick off the Airwalks, swap that Diskman for an iPod, and plug back into a nice cable modem. This trip back in time is over. Sadly, there is no more strips to be had after you’ve been through their archive. Do yourself a favor though… buy a collection of them in printed form from the ‘PLIF’ store, and show your support for those who dared release this evil into the world.
Drama: Well, this is kinda’ dramatic…
Continuity: There’s some Sock Puppets that show up from time to time.
Art: It’s grey, it’s crude, and it’s wonderfully morbid when it needs to be.
Archive: From 1993-2002, you’re looking at quite a few strips. It looks like they didn’t update but several times a month at best… never the less, if you troll through it all, it’s a solid hour or two of fun.
Updates: Unless you suffer from that condition where you still believe it’s 1993-2002… alas, there is no more ‘PLIF’ to be had.
Risk/Reward: As always… it’s free… so there’s little risk involved. Unless you consider reading a strip like this to be dangerous. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.