I am so late to this party.
It comes highly recommended from both way back (check out the text underneath the comic) and new. Partially, I was immediately struck by how pretty the strip is (I mean, look at this beautiful thing). But as I read through the archives (and it’s new enough that you can read through in one sitting, though you might not want to do so at work if you work in the States), I found myself far more captivated by the changes in style. Sometimes there’s some pencil extras, and I kind of love how she intentionally posts really different styles from time to time. Like this cool one. And sometimes in Swedish too! (and also here).
I’m having a tough time pinning down exactly what it is I like so much about Anders Loves Maria. It’s one of the few webcomics I’ve seen in a while where everything’s working together in a compelling, charming way. Much of it evokes other work I like; it’s a little reminiscent of Scene Language in the way the characters interact, and visually it’s a little like Scary Go Round in places. The characters are great, and I’m excited to be caught up with the archives since it seems like there’s a lot yet to come with the webcomic and with the story. (Go look already, willya? ‘Cause I’m not going to ruin how it unfolds; it’s best if you start at the beginning and work your way forward.)
I’m also totally taken with her writing. While there are occasionally a few minor errors, I think they completely add to the strip’s charm and take nothing away. I’m smitten with the strips written in Swedish, but let me just give you an example of her writing, because I think it’s beautifully written and speaks particularly well to the kind of vibrancy and personality you’ll see in her work:
Rene EngstrÃ¶m is a Swedish-Canadian cartoonist-lady living far too close to the arctic circle for her liking. Rene is (for all intents and purposes) married to a lovely man who has blessed her with 2 beautiful children. They all live together in a cute, old house in Brunflo, Sweden. They have a huge vegetable garden and apple and cherry trees and all sorts of berry bushes and a strawberry patch. So when Rene is not making comics, she is most likely catching up on sleep or playing with her family in the garden, picking fresh fruits and vegetables.
The cast page is one of the best ones I’ve seen in a while. Anna, the character you see above, reminds me a little of Sydney from Dykes to Watch Out For (that’s a good thing, folks). The design is crisp, the site easy to navigate; nothing’s overwhelming…and why aren’t you reading through her archives already?