Don’t forget that at 2PM ET this afternoon I’ll be doing a live stream in the hopes of getting my last debt paid off. There is a tab up there to check that out unless you’re reading this after the event.
Roomies or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Beer
SECOND PUBLISHING DATE: March, 2009
WRITER/ARTIST/PUBLISHER: David Willis
Roomies (not to be confused with at least two other webcomics I know of with that or a similar name) was a college newspaper strip featuring characters Willis had created for his high school newspaper. The series was later put on the internet and gained a decent following. The follow-up series, It’s Walky, is the most popular (at least with me) series in the franchise, getting this continuity dubbed the Walkyverse, and occasionally came back to these characters (one of them part of the new comic) before dragging them into the attempts by aliens to take over the world. Interesting for what started as the silly adventures of a bunch of college students. Two more spinoffs, Joyce & Walky and Shortpacked, continued the Walkyverse while Willis’ current series, Dumbing Of Age, re-imagines everyone back in college, but without the space aliens and talking cars.
The focus characters for the series are Danny and Joe, two people from the high school comic, now freshmen in college. Danny is a very reserved person whose moral viewpoints can ostracize him from others. Joe is the complete opposite–a hormone-ridden mess who is secretly a technological wizard. Danny’s high school girlfriend, Sal, has problems going on behind the scenes that are hinted at (and involves space aliens) but wouldn’t be fully realized until the second series. Mary, also from the high school comics, acts like she’s the bastion of purity but as time goes on she’s proven to be a hypocrite.
At college Danny and Joe meet a new group of friends. There’s Joyce, a child in an adult body who may be worse than Danny (and she’s also comically stalking him because you could still make that joke–heck, it was half of Steve Urkel’s persona) her snarky roommate, Sarah, Ruth and her brother Howard, their hacker neighbor
Alex Darkpower451, and Billie, a party girl friend of Ruth’s. Meanwhile, Sal meets Jason, who works for a government organization called SEMME that tracks space aliens. It would later be learned that both Joe and Joyce have a connection to the aliens.
In addition to the newspaper/webcomics, this collection features original stories published in a series of Roomies comic books (that also collected the strips) and an attempt by then host Keenspot to break into national newspapers. By then Willis had ditches his Conservative Christian views for Liberal Atheist, and the difference isn’t too big because the characters all acted on their own, with only Danny at the time potentially a mouthpiece. Danny gets a bad rep in my opinion. Some of his views are, granted, rather extreme (as were Willis’ at the time due to his upbringing) but he’s hardly the evil monster fans and even Willis himself nowadays paint him as. He was young and thought he knew it all, and soon learned he didn’t. Instead of being the moral core of the group he had his own issues like everybody else.
Not surprising considering the comic was started in 1997 and this is 2015 when I write this review, Willis’ style and skills have change along with his world view but seeing where he is today and looking at where he was here as far as drawing talent the stories still hold up for the most part and are a good read. The two volumes of Roomies currently published (along with collections of his other strips, except oddly It’s Walky, which is currently being re-uploaded and “remastered”) are available through his online store and while our world views are far different when it comes to Dumbing Of Age either is still good for anyone looking into tales of college days.