You know what I haven’t done in awhile? A webcomic review.
I read the backlog of Candi: A College Story some months ago, occasionally venturing back to catch up on the continuing hijinks.
You can summarize Candi pretty succinctly in one word: DRAMA. And such delicious drama it is. The comic centers around a group of college students who room together in one dorm: the titular character, Candi, is an optimistic, naive art-school major who frequently butts heads with her professor, who dismisses sequential art (Candi’s favored medium) as ‘commercial art.’ Candi’s friend Jon struggles with maintaining a long-time friendship with Candi, but desires a more intimate relationship, which is complicated by the presence of Candi’s self-involved boyfriend, Alex. Candi’s friend Linda has taken a fancy to Alex and has set out to steal him from Candi. Jessica, Trevor and Laura round out the rest of the cast with their own set of complex relationships.
The comic often keeps a gag-strip format, although the jokes oftentimes take a backseat to the ups and downs of individual character stories. Candi is notable for having a non-white protagonist (Candi has an unusual mix of ethnicities that are explained later in the strip), however there are virtually no story lines that hinge on it. The strip also goes out of it’s way to depict a variety of personality and body types for it’s female characters, and to respectfully tackle the complexities of open and homosexual relationships.
The biggest failing for Candi: A College Story is the presence of Menjou and the Squirrel Mafia stories that revolve around him. Menjoy the magical talking ferret is an obvious fandom-catching mascot whose very presence destroys the suspension of disbelief of the strip. Generally anything that is created for the sole purpose of joining a webcomic mashup crossover circle-jerk is not going to be good for a strip. Even worse, Menjou and his hijinks get more and more involved in the main story of the human characters as the strip goes on. I do my best to ignore Menjou.
Even with it’s ups and downs and occasionally questionable storyline, Candi: A College Story is a joy to read.