Things in Squares is a genius name for a comic. What could be more elegant, more elegantly true? For decades, the panel comic has used the things in squares format in the development of a common language widely understood by all of comic reading society.
But Things in Squares, by Cale, refuses to be limited by anything so mundane as reality or common language. In the very first comic the character, nameless faceless every guy, refuses to be constrained by his square and quite literally burns it to the ground. You know from the start you’re in for something very special, and the creator very modestly titles the post lame joke.
Over the course of the series, every man makes incredible journeys through time and space as the result of a a very singular creative mind. He also takes his dogs for walks and goes to the pharmacy and those strips are also the result of a singular creative mind. Everything Cale, the artist, does imbues his work with a soft, dreamy magical realist style that reminds me of Nemo in Slumberland conceptually if not stylistically. The style I find more reminiscent of some animated series. The line weight and colors seem Clerks the Animated Series. The soft, curvy shapes like the Powerpuff Girls.
Cale also in the Things in Squares site publishes the Once I Dreamed comics which are a great social collaboration. His readers share with him their literal sleepy time dreams and he illustrates them in his signature style. The more surreal the dream, the better it works, again just like Nemo in Slumberland.
Beyond the actual comic, the artist does some lovely things at his site. If you’re an aspiring web cartoonist (like, say, me), there are worse places online to make yourself at home. He has a blog where he clearly outlines the formulae that have lead to his online success and does his best to help you duplicate those steps. In the best tradition of artists, he is both constantly pushing forward and paying backward.
If you’re having one of those days and in need of a laugh, I recommend this as a place to go to get that microburst to get you through the next five minutes. Even the dark humor will make you feel ever so much lighter.