Right then! Ann Apolis, M.D. again. I've finished the comic (or rather read up to the present day). Needless to say the art is a lot better, and we have NEW CHARACTERS who do DIFFERENT THINGS even if they are all neurotic.
Hannelore! The inconsistent OCD person. And Marigold! The stereotypical nerd person. Fans being fans their instant reaction to their introduction was "...and then they kissed?". Poor Jeph spends his time in the indie fandom, where that sort of thing doesn't happen quite so much*, so he was unprepared for this and it tears at his naive soul every time his forumites go "marten sucks we want HanGold lezzing". It's hard not to feel for him.
*I say that, I once ended up on a Radiohead fansite where every other link was to a piece of Jonny/Colin Greenwood slash. That was a harrowing week.
I have however noticed the unique inimitable QC Joke Formula which is as follows:
panel 1: some drama or something
panel 2: more dull banter
panel 3: more dull banter BUT SOMEONE MAKES A SIMILE OR A METAPHOR OR AN OFFHAND COMMENT
panel 4: this simile/metaphor/offhand comment is picked up on and extended and FUN TIMES ARE HAD BY ALL.
1275 (i suppose TECHNICALLY it has five panels but SHUSH)
1287 (the offhand comment happens in the SECOND PANEL! perhaps it was a mistake to choose these as my first two examples)
1329 (panel two)
Cue cuddlefish: "dude that's like you're criticising the comic because it has jokes in." No, it's criticising it because the jokes come in this now rather tired format. Remember how Brawl in the Family diversified away from "Kirby eats something, hilarity ensues" because it was getting a bit stale? That is Good Technique.
(The cuddlefish continues: "the only REAL criticism of QC is that hannah and mari haven't got it on yet". I'm still thinking of a response to that.)
Anyway. Nice things!
Jeph is more self-aware than most webcomic authors, as you can see from his newsposts, and the fact he puts up (and puts up with!) such hilar guest strips. Oh and obviously YELLING BIRD and the OMG Turkeys are the pinnacle of self-awareness and self-deprecation.
Also! Quite a lot of stuff with one-off throwaway characters is genuinely funny. Maybe the guy needs less plot. (I liked the stuff where Steve turns out to have been an international man of mystery while all the soap opera stuff happened, for instance, or Wil's journey across the States.)
Oh, and I appreciate the effort he puts into background details, too (like the specials on the coffee shop noticeboard). And the fact he does those alternate strips in the comments on occasion. There is a man who does his work before 11.45pm.
But the NICEST THING I have to say is that while I have gone "haha QC sucks" I also have a plan to fix it! Woo! Yeah!
Also this plan is not just "end QC".
Although admittedly that is the first step.
You see the webcomic format is a tricky one. Unlike a book or a film, the later parts of a webcomic are usually written after the earlier bits, and the result is that the webcomic as a body of work often lacks coherency. Similarly it's not really possible to go back and alter the earlier bits of a webcomic as new ideas strike you (unless you want to be accused of being... ORWELLIAN). This is one of the reasons for that Cerberus Syndrome people sometimes go on about - a webcomicist can start off writing a gag-a-day comic and then find that they want to do something dramatic: but they can't go back and redraft the early bits to make it dramatic, so there has to be a rather clunking gear change.
Another problem with the webcomic format as it applies to QC is that it updates regularly and in small bits. The result is that we HAVE to have four panels with something funny (well, something that's meant to be funny) at the end, which leads to the QC Joke Formula(TM) discussed above.
So Jephy should can it (can the comic! the comic!) and write a graphic novel instead. He gets as long as he likes to do plot! He gets to make stuff actually consistent and stuff and can foreshadow long and complex and DRAMATIC twists! He can let jokes arise naturally from the dialogue and give them different pacings as appropriate to them rather than having to shoehorn something funny into every fourth panel! EVERYONE WINS.
This is actually a genuine suggestion. I really, really think that if Jeph took a year off of QC and used it to write a graphic novel (possibly with characters called Baye and Annielore and Jarten), a graphic novel where he'd be able to plan things in advance, and change early stuff if it didn't fit right, and be able to pace stuff properly rather than having to crest and flow with the four panel format...
...I genuinely think it'd be pretty good.
Also read this http://www.scarygoround.com/sgr/ar.php?date=20060102
Oh! if you are a cuddlefish who likes Questionable Content for its OMG INDIEness (even though that OMG INDIEness seems to have more or less disappeared from the strip by now?) you will like "At The Indie Disco" by The Divine Comedy. IT'S A GOOD SONG YOU GUYS
In closing, time for RANDOM INTERNET COMMENT:
jeph draws imaginary indie girls talking about masturbation, the xkcd lout draws imaginary math women dressing down people spouting ridiculous strawmen and then he writes loves letters to them, the sort of notes that would result in a restrainment order in real life