The strip sets the tone for future strips with its nonsensical humor and flat visual punchline. In this particular strip, Mr. However, Philippe is standing on it. The humor often depends on an in-depth knowledge of the characters and their interactions; a drop-down box on the lower right side of the home page entitled "Jump to a Story Arc" has links to the beginning of 46 story arcs from to Story arcs are often interrupted as the main action "cuts away" to the doings of other Achewood characters, which may or may not eventually tie in with the main storyline in progress.
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The strip sets the tone for future strips with its nonsensical humor and flat visual punchline. In this particular strip, Mr. However, Philippe is standing on it.
The humor often depends on an in-depth knowledge of the characters and their interactions; a drop-down box on the lower right side of the home page entitled "Jump to a Story Arc" has links to the beginning of 46 story arcs from to Story arcs are often interrupted as the main action "cuts away" to the doings of other Achewood characters, which may or may not eventually tie in with the main storyline in progress. The first alt-text was the word "snif" on Christmas, The first of the regular full-sentence alt-text appeared on January 2, , apparently excusing a weak strip: "whatever.
In their review of serializer. The column has developed characters, mainly as perceived by Ray. It also allows for an interaction between reader and character, a novelty in comic art. July saw the introduction of several in-character blogs.
The main characters all began writing using Blogger to speak to their audience. Onstad stated in an interview that he found the blogs easier to maintain than the strip, as they do not require as much refining. As of October , the character blogs have not been updated in over a year, with no comment from Onstad on whether he plans to continue them. In late , it was announced that Checker Book Publishing Group was to release a collection of Achewood comics later that year.
However, the deal was canceled soon after due to creative differences. The first title originated as a Roast Beef expression on merchandise. Time Magazine named Achewood its 1 Graphic Novel of As the strip has developed, individual comics have become generally longer, moving from three to four panels on a single line per comic to large comics incorporating dozens of panels on 10 or more lines.
On March 20, , Chris Onstad posted on his blog that Achewood would be on indefinite hiatus. This liquor would supposedly induce melancholia in the drinker, hence the name.
The underground has its own businesses and establishments that parallel those above ground, and its inhabitants often steal or borrow things from their human counterparts aboveground. Aside from Achewood, it is assumed that most cities around the world have their own undergrounds as well. He has expertise in such diverse fields as cookery , alcohol , underground street dancing, piano playing, entrepreneurship and women.
Ray made his first appearance on January 10, Along with his best friend Roast Beef, Ray has become the central character of the strip; their relationship lies at the heart of Achewood.
Ray can be identified by his designer glasses, his habitual wearing of a thong since the January 14, strip,  the occasional fur coat, and a gold medallion which once belonged to the fictitious Incan Fun God, "King Chochacho".
Ray tends to be rather lucky, acquiring money in a variety of ways, including a record contract with Sony after selling his soul to the devil for a piano that grants the buyer musical genius  , an auspicious eBay purchase of vintage erotica valued at million dollars, and various business ventures.
He enjoys throwing lavish parties with unusual themes. Ray drives a Cadillac Escalade. He is very generous to his friends and to people in general, but on an entirely random basis and interspersed with long periods of outright rudeness and total insensitivity.
He also has a very serious obsession with Ketel One and Zinfandel alcohols. Although Ray personally obtained his musical skills from a deal with the devil, there has been at least one other musical genius in his lineage: his paternal grandfather Antonyne Cheops Smuckles, better known as the legendary bluesman Rustmouth Chafings.
On the other hand, he has a weakness for gambling, and often loses up to thousands of dollars while playing golf and pool with his friends. Ray has a penchant for prank calls, whether outgoing Marmaduke , Cathy or incoming telemarketers. Although he has never openly admitted it, it is clear that he has a sexual fetish for women sitting on birthday cakes, as the subject has come up several times in connection with Ray.
Ray drinks alcohol throughout the day; numerous strips imply that he is an alcoholic, and his physician, Dr. Andretti, has repeatedly warned him that he is in severe danger of becoming diabetic.
Ray is somewhat overweight and potbellied. A few years into the strip Ray learned his father, Ramses Luther Smuckles, won the "Great Outdoor Fight", a fictional free-for-all combat challenge that allows only one entrant among three thousand to emerge victorious. Ray has at least one half-brother, named Dornheim Smuckles who is also the son of Ramses Luther Smuckles. Ray was originally introduced as a minor supporting character, part of a trio of cats along with Roast Beef and Pat who were always seen together, and fancied themselves "the dirtiest dudes in town" due to their reputed penchant for foul language.
The increasingly abrasive Pat remained in a supporting role, eventually turning the trio into a duo. It has never been explained where the "Roast Beef" nickname originated, though he was seen to have it in flashbacks to his early childhood. Beef, like Ray, is a cat, and is interested in computer programming. He has a wife, Molly Sanders, who he met in heaven during a near-death experience. Beef "visited" Molly there twice: once after being shot by Pat and once after driving a golf cart off a cliff while high on marijuana.
He does not like to discuss his childhood, generally referring to it simply by saying he is "from Circumstances". Recently however, his depression seems to have improved, particularly since he met Molly. Molly has also gotten him a light therapy lamp,  which helps when he remembers to use it. His speech balloons use a slightly smaller font than that of other characters and rarely include punctuation , to emphasize his timidity and unique manner of speech. Roast Beef possesses an impressive vocabulary and will, on occasion, sprinkle words such as "insatiable", "phenomena", or "corpulent" into his normally slang-filled dialogue.
He has been shot at least four times. One shooting  lodged a bullet in his spine, which grants him permanent wireless Internet access though this has only been mentioned once  since, and he still uses physical computers to access the net.
Another shooting resulted in his cardio-pulmonary system being replaced by that of an AIBO. He likes Stella Artois beer and Guinness. He fully accepted the fact that Ray would have to beat him senseless in order to win, and was shocked beyond belief when Ray destroyed the Fight rather than fight him.
Roast Beef has written a number of poems, both in the strip and on his blog. Poems not utilizing the theme of weapons concealed in food do not correlate with the above exclamation, indicating that Roast Beef has a distinct fear of food weaponry.
According to Onstad , Roast Beef is one of several important foils to the increasingly central character of Ray. Regardless, the two have been close friends since childhood, and it may be observed that as the strip progresses, each occasionally adopts the attitudes and perspectives of the other. Bear as a stern but gentle father.
He is separated from his mother, who lives in Ohio,  but they talk on the phone frequently and have a close relationship. At the time the Achewood cookbook came out, she was in Iowa. He is implied to be of French descent, and to have fought in a war as a youth. A strip which revealed the future of the Achewood characters  showed that Phillipe will still be the same age, even after the other characters grow old and die.
A later comic has Phillipe returning home to live with his mother once again, with further evidence toward his agelessness.
Bear and "Connie" by Ray , he is a scholarly and fatherly figure to much of the cast, being much older than most of them — he was married to his first now deceased wife, Iris Gambol, sometime before It has also been implied that he has been imprisoned, and has had German, French and Austrian cellmates.
He wears pince-nez and is most often attired in an elegant dressing gown. Bear originally lived on Roxx Street in Cambridge. Bear now lives at 62 Achewood Ct. In , Pat shot Mr. Bear, who survived.
Cornelius has been seen driving an Austin Mini with a Laphroaig tap on the dashboard. He also owned and presumably played a French horn, though Ray wound up stepping on it by mistake. Bear seems to command respect from nearly every member of the cast — with the noteworthy exception of the brash and petulant Lyle.
This can be seen in almost every strip in which they both appear. Bear seems to have surprisingly low standards when it comes to employment.
At various times, he has been a writer of genre romance novels ,  a closed captioner for the Spice Channel,  and a paid reader of pre-prepared lectures for Mensa International.
The naming of said pub has been the subject of much deliberation between the two characters although at the time of writing it was designated "The Dude and Catastrophe". She is literally half his age, but appears to be far more socially adjusted than expected, and this openly baffles the rest of the cast. He recently returned from Scotland where he meant to learn how to make scotch , but instead became trapped at a finishing school , where it was revealed that when he is not completely soused, Lyle is surprisingly intelligent and erudite, concocting an elaborate plan to escape from the finishing school that involved spicing the bland meals in the cafeteria to make them more delicious, so that the staff would feel more relaxed before he even attempted to leave.
Despite this, he is clearly far more comfortable with himself while intoxicated; the blog entry that confirmed the success of his escape was supposedly written from a bar, and was a barely legible mess. Due to a combination of an illegal u-turn and some word salad, Lyle is a Registered Asshole in the State of California, complete with card and legal obligation to inform all neighbors within a five-block radius of his new status  He is an extremely heavy drinker, who often vomits around the house after drinking, sometimes deliberately.
Lyle is close friends with Todd T. Squirrel, who shares his love of inebriation. He and his family originate from Minsk, Belarus his father was an actuary and is apparently of Jewish descent. He was originally quite crazy and uninhibited, exhibiting nudist tendencies   in early Achewood strips, though he seems to have calmed down a bit over the years. These days he is probably the most "normal" out of the entire Achewood cast, though he is definitely not without quirks of his own such as his passion for risotto [ citation needed ].
He had an online relationship with a girl named Penny, but it is not shown how the relationship ended up. Over the years, his role has receded into the background, but his is still a notable presence. He is a generally unpleasant character — he typically plays the antagonist — and seems to hate anyone that does not live up to his impossibly high standards of behavior. He seems to suffer from Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and has some anger management problems, for which he attends a support group.
His elitist, negative attitude extends to a particular focus on barbers and hairstylists, whom he absolutely despises, for reasons that are never made clear, as well as toll booth operators, Mexican motorists,  and employees with disabilities.
He is technically on the run after escaping from jail he was convicted for shooting Roast Beef, and later shot Mr. He lives quite comfortably on the lam with Peter "Nice Pete" Cropes, a serial killer he met in jail. Nice Pete also attends his support group, implying that the two are quite close. After being electrocuted due to a prank by Lyle and Philippe, he temporarily became much nicer.
The strip sets the tone for future strips with its nonsensical humor and flat visual punchline. In this particular strip, Mr. However, Philippe is standing on it. The humor often depends on an in-depth knowledge of the characters and their interactions; a drop-down box on the lower right side of the home page links to the beginning of 46 story arcs from to Story arcs are often interrupted as the main action "cuts away" to the activity of other Achewood characters, which may or may not tie in with the main storyline.