Chris Onstad’s wonderful world of “Achewood” resurfaces

by Alexander Brodsky

After several years of indefinite hiatus and on-and-off posting, Chris Onstad's massive web comic “Achewood” has started up again. Beginning in 2001, Achewood originally focused on a small cast of the stuffed animals that lived in Onstad's house. In the 12 years since its scope has grown immensely, encompassing a wide variety of cat, robot, squirrel and tiger characters. Despite the whimsical premise, the comic frequently manages to consistently pull heart strings and feature surprisingly poignant moments. Onstad possesses a level of word-smithing that could put Bill Shakespeare to shame. The artwork is consistently top-notch, as well.   


His attention to detail makes “Achewood” seem like a living, breathing world. Each character has a perfectly defined personality. Ray, for instance, is a millionaire playboy cat with a heart of gold and a fondness for “Braveheart. The speech bubbles of Roast Beef, a generally meek character who suffers from bouts of  depression, feature smaller text with no capitalization or punctuation. Liebot is, predictably, a robot who lies a lot. For a number of years, Onstad maintained Blogspots written in the voice of nearly every character.


Above all, “Achewood” is routinely hilarious. Binge-reading its massive oeuvre is an amazing way to spend any downtime.