I’ve previously mentioned the internal thought process of whether or not newspaper comics I read online should count as webcomics. However, like I said, any comic strip and long-form comic I read regularly on the Internet that’s available/published on the Web is a “webcomic”.
I think I was exposed to Stone Soup when I first found out about the newspaper cartoonists’ collective The Cartoonist Studio. Stone Soup creator Jan Eliot was on there, and out of curiosity and an appreciation for the short art samples I saw on her profile there, I checked out her comic.
Stone Soup is about Val Stone, a single mom with a large blended extended family around her. Besides her mother and two daughters living with her, there’s also her sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, her brother-in-law’s nephew/surrogate son, not to mention her policeman boyfriend. It’s a fairly hectic world, but Eliot’s work makes each character unique, from the dog Biscuit to Val herself.
At it’s heart the strip’s about the modern American family, the kind that is rooted in more than just standard nuclear structure. It’s a family of both blood ties but also ties of dedication, friendship, and love. And yeah, it can definitely sound a little cheesy, especially in a world of genre-bending and groundbreaking comics and strips both in print and online, but good solid storytelling always stands out, as does the ability to find those stories in everyday life without resorting to shoe-gazing introspection that bores you to tears.
I don’t know what it is about a comic strip about family life that appeals to me, but I really love this comic. It’s honest, heartfelt, and touching while at the same time funny and smart. The fact that Jan’s art is pretty amazing, a fluid cartoon that manages to be both eye-catchingly simple but still detailed enough to stand on its own doesn’t hurt either.
It’s available to read and subscribe to at GoComics (as well as in your local papers!) on a daily basis, so definitely check it out. As cheesy as it is, I fell in love with the Stone family, and I think you will too.