Here's the intro to a nice long interview that just went live on The Oregonian's Web site....
Brandon Bolt may be one of the best-kept secrets in webcomics. By day, the Portland resident is a commercial illustrator. By night, he produces "Nobody Scores!" -- one of the smartest, angriest comics on the Internet.
The strip's premise is simple. Four damaged people -- frustrated intellectual Raoul, corporate whore Sara, starving artiste Beans, and wild girl Jane Doe -- share a house and get into all sorts of R-rated trouble. That "trouble" is fascinating for a couple of reasons:
- It tends to be unusually well-observed, furious cultural criticism that's unlike anything in webcomics. Sara embarks on get-rich-quick schemes that lethally exploit the other characters' weaknesses. Jane Doe goes to absurd lengths to try out the latest "alternative" crazes -- including riot-grrl roller derby and parkour and casual cynicism -- and leaves apocalyptic destruction (and more than a few bodies) in her wake. Beans is cursed with a fatal sense of Gen-X entitlement without any talent to back it up. And Raoul mostly regards the others with over-intellectualized disgust.
- Also fascinating: the comic's complete ignorance of any sort of continuity. Bolt gleefully and violently kills every character in the strip over and over -- only to hit the reset button for the next installment. A lot of popular webcartoonists fall in love with their own characters and universes, maintaining increasingly unwieldy continuities that are more confusing than satisfying. Not Bolt. He wrecks the joint, repeatedly.
It's all beautifully written and drawn -- really, "Nobody Scores!" is one of the most expressively drawn comics anywhere right now, full of wild emotion and a brilliantly restrained color palate. It evokes nothing so much as the anarchic, ska-influenced comics of early-'90s small-press creators like Evan Dorkin.
It's a raging tone that would be difficult to sustain, but Bolt has somehow done it for over 250 strips since 2006, several times a week -- even though several of these single strips are longer than an entire week's run on most other webcomics.
I caught Mr. Bolt in IM a while back for a long chat about "Nobody Scores!" You can read an edited (but still ridiculously long) transcript of our conversation at The Oregonian's Web site.
Q&A: 'Nobody Scores!' cartoonist Brandon Bolt (OregonLive.com, May 19, 2008)