Weekly on Saturdays (That's, uh, more of a goal than a guarantee)
Unwinder's Tall Comics is a comic about funny, sometimes surreal characters passing time in small-town Minnesota, but it's also a framing device in which you'll see screenplays, passages from novels, fictional television and movies, other comics, short stories, blogs, video game cutscenes, websites, and news articles. That's not really an unusual feature for a comic, but here it happens constantly, often without explanation.
Unwinder is a very smart, sharp-witted kid who's completely wasting his potential. He consumes media obsessively, and uses his pop-culture literacy mostly to put down his friends. He dislikes certain things because he feels like he's supposed to. He likes other things for the same reason. He's desperate to become famous, or at least internet-famous, and only applies himself when he thinks that he might produce something that goes viral. Unwinder is an only child, and doesn't have very good parents. He spends most daylight hours out of the house, and can often be seen sitting in someone's yard using their wi-fi on his macbook.
Mildred is a very ordinary, very cheerful little girl. She thinks that pictures of chimpanzees wearing sunglasses are inherently funny, and believes that decorating her bedroom with a firefighter theme is a mature and sophisticated choice. She considers Unwinder her boyfriend, and follows him everywhere, and is always willing to listen to whatever trivial thing is on his mind. She is of a very giving nature, and is always on the lookout for an opportunity to brighten a friend's day.
Barbecue Sauce is Unwinder's best friend. The two agree on almost nothing, and Barbecue Sauce's temper doesn't always stand up to Unwinder's needling. Nonetheless, he is an absurdly loyal friend, and would do almost anything for Unwinder or Mildred. Barbecue Sauce is a huge geek, and loves animé, Nintendo, British comedy, and pretty much any science fiction or fantasy franchise. He prefers to hide most of his interests from Unwinder, who wouldn't understand anyway. Barbecue Sauce secretly nurses a crush on pretty much every girl he knows.
Dr. John Minivan is a scientist, though his field of study is unclear. He's a bit paranoid, and finds himself constantly in difficult social conundrums, most of which exist only inside his own head. Minivan is extremely averse to risk of any kind, and will do almost anything to avoid stepping out of his comfort zone. He doesn't own a car, or even have a driver's license, because he is uncomfortable with cars. The neighborhood kids often bump into him while he's out walking on errands. Occasionally, Unwinder serves as his laboratory assistant.
Howard is a responsible small business owner whose coffee shop is a social hotspot. A go-getter and innovator, Howard regularly introduces exciting and exotic new drinks to his menu, which amaze his customers. Though he's universally considered a pillar of the community, Howard is never too busy for a leisurely chat with a friend. Sometimes he gets lost in thought and loses track of the conversation, but no one begrudges this local legend his little quirks.
Horse-Man is a successful professional by day, and loves to tinker with his lawn and garden in his spare time, or just hang out on his patio. Unwinder regularly uses him as a sounding board for his wacky ideas, and Horse-Man always gives him straight feedback. Horse-Man is the most stable part of his dysfunctional family, and resultingly, he gets hosting duty for most family events. Horse-Man was divorced a few years ago, and hasn't really rebuilt his social life. Presently, he's in denial of the fact that his closest friend is the neighborhood kid.
Felicity Walsh is a home-schooler, and a rebel. Mostly she reacts against her holier-than-thou sister Prudence. Unable to fall in with a proper bad crowd, she often winds up socializing with Unwinder and his friends. She's significantly older than them, and often treats them condescendingly. She has her own comic strip online in which she treats everyone condescendingly (her little drawing of herself has its eyes permanently fixed in a rolling position).
Prudence Walsh is Felicity's twin sister, and a textbook perfect-angel home-schooler. She is completely immersed in Christian culture, and instantly distrusts any entertainment that doesn't regularly mention Jesus. She has a spiteful side, and it's pretty clear that whenever someone does something that bugs her, she silently pictures them being cast into hell. This is usually her sister Felicity.
Lion-Man is Horse-Man's stoner brother. He runs a very popular blog on the topic of cannabis. Since Howard has been kind enough to pull some strings and get him a job, he's been working in a warehouse for Minnesota Siding. His supervisor, Brian Rawturkey, respects his work greatly, and tries to stay out of his way.
Chad and Jason are two young adults who love making trouble. They're not very good at it. Online, they've inspired quite a lot of hate with their infamous Powerup Comics. Chad is the dominant one, and Jason very reluctantly goes along with him.
Spondulio Wealthmonger is widely regarded as a shining example of the good that can be done when wealth falls into the right hands. This so-called
Kingpin of Kindness insists that he does everything for selfish reasons, but somehow the poor and needy always seem to benefit from his convoluted get-rich schemes.
Amy Sauce is Barbecue Sauce's younger sister. Despite being much younger than the rest of the cast, she's kind of a genius. She's mostly known for computer programming and hacking skills, but she's also a regular accomplice in any scheme Unwinder cooks up, and sometimes she cooks up her own schemes to annoy other characters. Her sense of humor tends toward black comedy, and older characters are sometimes a bit disturbed by the
mature content in the comics that she sometimes draws.
Painburger is a terrible, violent creature of some kind who has probably killed people. She refers to herself as "Painburger the Mighty Hunter," and is loud and proud of her murderous tendencies. She should probably be in prison. Whenever she shows up, there is going to be trouble.
Gary P. Rastov was an eccentric writer of very dull science fiction from the 1970s. He was incredibly prolific, grinding out volume upon volume of stories that managed to turn impossibly vast interstellar conflicts into painfully mundane lists of statistics. Though he's dead by the timeframe of Unwinder's Tall Comics, his work is regularly referenced, and Unwinder personally has a very complicated relationship with his writing.
Wilson Parker is an overqualified convenience store clerk from New Brighton Minnesota, with a useless education in graphic design. He is currently in the process of getting his life in order, and becoming an actual adult. He likes most of the same geeky stuff that Barbecue Sauce likes, and expresses it kind of the same way Unwinder expresses himself. He honestly can't remember a time before he made comics, and he can't imagine ever stopping.
The Facebook page regularly features bonus mini-comics and behind-the-scenes material. Some of the bonus mini-comics are more popular than comparable full-fledged updates, judging by
likes. The Twitter feed occasionally has little original quotes from different characters. Both will alert you when Unwinder's Tall Comics has updated.
Some readers have made a wiki that contains some more information that might help you prepare for reading this comic I guess, if that's how you want to play it.
me at epparker dot com
©2007-2012 by Wilson Parker