Snake Pit 2008
Art & Story by Ben Snakepit
Many people have blogs.
Very few people have interesting blogs.
But really, how can they? For the vast majority of the people in the world, one day does not vary greatly from another. A person gets up, has breakfast, goes to work, has lunch, works some more, comes home, eats leftovers, watches tv, then goes to bed. Every so often (usually a Friday or Saturday, there is some variation. Lunch or dinner might be swapped out for a BBQ at a friend’s house. Work might get swapped out for mowing the lawn. There might be an ill-conceived attempt at physical fitness. But, overall, one day is just like the next.
Most blogs die out in under 3 months because people realize that they have nothing new to write about.
Now, imagine a comic book that was just like one of those blogs…..but it just wouldn’t die out. Snake Pit is that comic.
The concept of Snake Pit is simple: Ben Snakepit draws three panels a day that represent his entire day. that’s it. That’s the entire comic.
It would be one thing if Ben was a world traveler, or if he were a soldier on the front lines, or even a long-haul trucker who filled his days on the road and at truck-stops populated by colorful people. But Ben isn’t any of those. He works at a video store (where apparently nothing interesting happens). He has a girlfriend (who is remarkably normal). He plays in a garage band. He has a dog. there you go. That is Ben’s entire life in a nutshell. And, for 365 three-panel cartoons, we get to see his boring life repeated (365 times).
It is not uncommon to see an entire page of comics where the first panel is identical in each strip. While this may be real-life, it does not make for particularly interesting reading. For better or worse, comics are entertainment. Reading a book where nothing really happens just isn’t entertaining…it is soporiferous.
I believe part of the problem is in the design. I’m sure that there are some interesting people who come in to the video store. Entire movies have been built around video store denizens (see Clerks and Film Geek). But in both of those cases, time was allowed to show the characters and the situation to develop. The form of Snakepit does not allow for that.
Additionally, Ben plays several gigs with his band that he claims are really exciting or good. However, again, we only see one panel of him playing drums. Where is the awesome part??? Want to see some awesome concert action? Check out Young Liars or Scott Pilgrim.
All in all, Ben Snakepit leads a life like you and me. Each day is just like the other. Unfortunately, that just does not make for a very interesting read. Skip this book and go have an adventure of your own.