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Blank It: Screwing up the universe in ten easy steps

I usually try to steer away from web comics where the main characters share the names of their creators.  It’s nothing against the artists, but the comics that share this trend are usually weak, uninspired, and border vaguely on the realm of indulgent self-fantasy.  I’ve recently made an exception for Blank It, (located at www.blankitcomics.com) a relatively new comic created and drawn by Aric McKeown and Lem Pew.  There’s something unique about this comic that draws me in, namely the fact that I have no freaking idea what’s actually going on.  Well, to be fair it doesn’t seem like the comic’s title characters…  or anyone for that matter, can figure it out either.

The comic starts with two very confused guys who wake up one day in an infinitely empty plane, with nothing but white for as far as the eye can see.  Sharing the creator’s names, Aric and Lemmo don’t remember anything about how they got there, their pasts, or even their names, which Lemmo designates for the both of them in short order (Naming people is kind of his thing. It’s what he does).

www.blankitcomics.com

Lemmo meets the creepiest disguised robot I've ever seen.

The characters follow the mold that many two-person web comics follow.  Aric is the cynical, rational one who constantly reminds Lemmo what can (or should in this case) kill them if they mess with the way things are in the world.  Lemmo is the adventure-friendly free spirit, who seems much better at accepting the bizarre and unusual, though this may just be due to apathy.  It’s hard to tell.

With no purpose or direction, the two start wandering randomly through the pristine universe until, after several tests in their new landscape, they find a shovel just laying on the ground.  And then things start to go a little nuts.

By far, my favorite thing about this comic is the fact that you will not, and I repeat, will not  be able to figure out what is coming next.  Just when you think you’ve got a grasp on what, exactly, is going on, the comic will throw you a curveball, which tends to be pretty hilarious and extremely confusing.  From gigantic flying bugs to surly penguins, Lemmo and Aric encounter tons of strange crap in a universe that isn’t quite as pristine as it was at the beginning of the story.  By the end of book one, Lemmo and Aric (and you, coincidentally) are more confused than ever about what’s going on in the plot, which sounds awfully irritating but actually helps to add to the charm of the comic.

I don’t want to get too much into the plot in this article, since the little random plot twists are what help to drag you into the story.  I find it’s much better to go into these things without any idea of what to expect.

As for the negative parts of the comic, currently Blank It only updates twice a week on Monday and Thursday.  While I am pleased to finally have a comic that updates on Thursday, (most of the non-daily comics I check on a regular basis avoid Tuesdays and Thursdays like they’ve got some kind of disease) the four panels an update we get really have to build up to get the story moving at points, and there’s quite a few comics just of Aric and Lemmo walking through the empty wasteland, chatting about how screwed up life is.  Word on the street is the comic will someday update three times a week if it starts getting more people visiting each week.  So keep that in mind.

www.blankitcomics.com

The problem with self naming. Comic from Dec. 17 2009.

Okay, don’t look at me like that.  I admit it.  Over 90 percent of the reason I’m writing this is because I need more of this comic.  I’m not ashamed.  Don’t you judge me!

Something else to keep in mind with this comic.  Lemmo and Aric took a break from the main story at the completion of book one earlier this year.  To help pass the time for the comic’s loyal readers, the two created a short stand alone story, titled “Spilling the Beans” which touched on an important issue facing society today: who is a super hero, and can I borrow their lawnmower?  Spilling the Beans ran for about a month (eight comics), and Lemmo and Aric (the artist Lemmo and Aric…  man this is getting confusing) have stated the story is a complete stand along comic with no ties to the overall Blank It comic.  So put down the wild, insane theories about cookies and just enjoy the interlude at face value.

Blank It is just starting in its second chapter and the archives are still easy to plow through if you’ve got a couple of free hours.  This is probably the best time to pick it up, just don’t expect to really understand what’s going on.  You can’t, and that’s really what makes Blank It so fun.

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