NORTH LOMBARD — Here’s how abundant Ximena Quiroz loves the batty cult-hit webcomic “Achewood”: It’s blame 10 p.m. on a Thursday night, and the 31-year-old boom artisan is finishing the inks on an “Achewood” tat on Matthew Mercer’s appropriate accept at The Urban Soul.
The Urban Anatomy bankrupt two hours ago. And Ximena (pronounced “he-MEN-uh”) is alms her casework chargeless of charge.
In fact, she’s alms chargeless “Achewood” tattoos to anyone who wants them, for the blow of September.
“Ximena’s a fan of the strip, and she had the able abstraction to boom up business with this promotion,” says “Achewood” architect Chris Onstad via e-mail. “From what I understand, it’s a repeat-driven business. She sends me new photos every added day or so. We haven’t got a red rotary blast or anything, but it’s befitting her busy. We accept a aerial cardinal of readers in Portland due to the ample amounts of drugs that are consistently actuality captivated there.”
Mercer is the sixth being to booty Ximena up on her offer, and here’s how abundant he loves “Achewood”: He and his wife Sarah Day are en avenue from Boise to Vancouver, B.C., branch to Matthew’s new job in computer networking. They took a one-night detour into Portland to accommodated Ximena after-hours.
“Achewood” tends to affect this array of behavior. If you’ve heard of it, you ability appetite to skip bottomward to the Q&A with Onstad afterwards the jump. If you haven’t, an attack at answer its address anon follows.
Okay. If you haven’t heard of “Achewood,” actuality goes:
Imagine Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Now. Empty it of all the ambrosial blimp animals adversity from ennui, honey-cravings and airy weather. Then re-populate it with blimp animals adversity from analytic depression, biologic cravings and airy rageaholic vegans.
Oh, and accomplish the Hundred Acre Wood a burghal California house.
That’s “Achewood.” Array of.
It’s a brilliant, aberrant little banana band that debuted online (the alone abode it could exist, really) in 2001 and boring congenital an admirers calculation in the hundreds of thousands. Onstad now makes a active allowance affairs amalgamation apparel, books, prints and accessories alignment from umbrellas to aprons to hot sauce.
The band itself — supplemented by a dozen argument blogs accounting by assorted “Achewood” characters — follows the travails of talking animals who live, die and disclose in California. They are clashing any talking animals in comics. There’s a cat called Ray who awash his anatomy to the devil, started a almanac company, and bought Airwolf on eBay. There’s Ray’s best acquaintance Roast Beef, a depressed computer adept who met his fiancZ Molly in the afterlife during one of his abounding near-death experiences. There are lying robots; a 5-year-old otter Onstad loves to punish; a active buck who writes affair novels and affecting closed-captioning for the Spice Channel; a bashed tiger; and a base accumulate who snorts cocaine and drives a tiny van.
The strip’s aggressive hard-R amusement comes beneath from punchlines and added from Onstad’s adroitness for artifice twists, marrow-deep assuming and relentlessly adroit turns of phrase. “Achewood” isn’t for everyone: You charge to apprehend a brace of weeks’ account of strips to abatement into its rhythm, if you’ll abatement at all. I acclaim starting with the “Roast Beef goes to the Moon” storyline or, alike better, the berserk accepted “Great Outdoor Fight” storyline — a mini-saga (starting here) in which Ray and Roast Beef attempt in a hilariously bloody, audacious tourney spanning “3 Days, 3 Acres and 3,000 Men” (with the “men” disposed to be talking bodies with tough-guy names like “The Latino Health Crisis.”).
Matthew’s boom depicts Roast Beef captivation a babyish onesie emblazoned with the words “Future Dead Person.” (Here’s the band absolute the image.) Matthew says he best the architecture for its allegorical statements about action and death. “Also,” he says, “it was chargeless this month.”
Onstad offered added e-mail thoughts on this subject:
THE OREGONIAN: Will you be accouterment custom designs for free?
ONSTAD: I ambition I had the time to accommodate aboriginal designs, but I don’t. It’s been a abiding affair — bodies address in allurement if they can agency something, and I mull it over, but in the end I am never able to accomplish the time to what I anticipate is the affection of assignment that they in about-face should accomplish assuredly to their skin. I alone ask that if bodies get Achewood tattoos, they accept the artwork done such that if they get ailing of Achewood about bottomward the road, the art can calmly be adapted into a admirable coiled gecko or bedlam shamrock.
THE O: “Achewood” generates a lot of fan action — apparel contests, rogue forums, a pillow action in t-shirts, an amazing MC Frontalot song, and added than one wiki, including a fan-written “Great Outdoor Fight” history. But there’s article so … PERMANENT about ink. It’s absolutely a few leagues above “Web 2.0,” audience-participation-wise. Does that put any array of burden on you as a architect — to accumulate accomplishing the strip, say? Or do you aloof acquisition the accomplished affair amusing?
ONSTAD: It doesn’t put burden on me. Achewood is six years’ account of actual — 1300 strips, calmly a thousand accounting pages of appearance blogs, fifteen apprenticed publications, and aristocrat knows how abounding added accompanying projects. If I were to bang off tomorrow, an Achewood boom would still advertence a apparent anatomy of assignment to which I accept committed appealing abundant the accomplished of my developed life. I’m appreciative of it. Abounding things which wind up in ink accept had beneath acknowledged runs than us.
THE O: I apperceive one of the approved posters at The Official Unoffical Achewood Message Board has a rather chic boom of your “rabbit ambulance” on his leg. (I’m academic this has never happened to “Hi and Lois.”) Any added fan tattoos of which you’re aware? Are we at the point area a “most accepted boom subject” is emerging?
ONSTAD: I haven’t apparent that. There are abounding tattooed fans, but there’s no axial athenaeum for seeing their ink. Maybe afterwards Ximena’s advance addition will appear up with a way to do it, like alpha a accessible Flickr album.
THE O: Do you, yourself, accept any tattoos? Would you anytime get a boom of a admired animation character?
ONSTAD: I acknowledge a beautifully advised and accomplished boom as abundant as the abutting fellow, but it’s not my thing. I had earrings in college, and for a while I hated the government, but that’s about it. For now I’m agreeable to sit about and scowl at the calorie advice on bales of gouda.
THE O: Here’s a adequately blah observation: It strikes me that a boom artisan authoritative this action and the artist himself allowance get the chat out and admirers discussing designs and journalists contacting you in the amplitude of a few canicule is article that could alone appear with a webcomic. Are we, as a culture, accomplished the point of absorption on how awe-inspiring and accelerated this is?
ONSTAD: I anticipate you could book “PAST THE POINT OF REFLECTION” on millions of terrycloth headbands, air-drop them over aerial academy graduations, baseball games, Olive Gardens, and cartage jams, and accept yourself a tidy little situation.
Want a chargeless “Achewood” tattoo? You can acquaintance Ximena at The Urban Anatomy (8416 N. Lombard, Portland; 503-419-9769).
— Mike Russell: www.CulturePulp.com and [email protected]
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