Webcomic of the Week – Everything Jake

It’s still November technically.  Okay, last special WotW for this month.  It’s a big one for me, so bear with me.

The first webcomic I got seriously into was Everything Jake by Mike Rosenzweig.  I read it all throughout high school, and in a lot of ways it prepared me for college because that’s what it was: a comic about a guy named Jake that goes to college.  At least that’s how it started.  From the beginning it seemed like this was just a little story about what it’s like to be clueless and trying to make your way through school, and what was most interesting is that this was a concept that flipped off and on.  It wasn’t always just a story about trying to get laid, or trying not to fail classes, or to strengthen friendships.  Jesus, sometimes it isn’t even a comic.  There was so much going on with this story that I was amazed by it, and it played a part in my understanding that you don’t need to stay cemented to one particular genre or means of storytelling.

So yes, Jake Bruno is a student in college, who becomes best friends with a guy named Kelly Rose.  He runs into old friend Faith, and meets new friends like Megoth.  All basic things to be found in a college story.  There’s love, and weed, and getting your ass kicked.  All the good stuff.  But then before you know what’s about to hit you, robots.  And psychic powers, and alternate realities, and spirit quests.  The story really goes kind of crazy, but in a very good way.  It doesn’t keep itself stapled to any one idea, and it does so in a way that allows it to shift its focus like an on/off switch.  It goes straight from the comedy and drama of a college story to the action and adventure of a sci-fi thriller.  It was something that I didn’t expect, but damn, it was amazing to see when I first started reading.  A robot hybrid of Wolverine and Pikachu attempting to kill everyone is a good concept for me, and fortunately things go deeper from there.  But in-between each of the stories of fantasy and excitement, there is all the comedy and romance to be found in a story about young people who just want to have sex.

What I truly love about this comic is, as I said, it isn’t always a comic.  There have been periods where Mike didn’t feel like drawing, or just didn’t have time, or just felt like certain parts didn’t call for it.  Therefore, every now and then an update would consist primarily of a short story about the character, furthering the story as far as he needed it to, and then the strip would return.  Despite typos, both in the short stories and the comics, it keeps that same enjoyable tone that is made prevalent from the very beginning, except for those moments when things get serious.  There was a lot going on to give it that tone of seriousness, too.

Deaths.  Fights.  Responsibilities.  National tragedy.  Every now and then Everything Jake would hit you with something that made you feel the shift in a powerful way.  You manage to see serious change happen to the characters, though not without some struggling against it.  So much happened and was included and changed up in the story that I learned a lot from how it was written and what it meant for the characters.  Fortunately, I managed to talk to Mike Rosenzweig online back in high school and I also learned another important fact: you can create a webcomic and not be a dick.  He was such a nice guy.  He really encouraged me along and I told him I enjoyed how he did what he did and it was great.

I even contributed to one of his old fan submissions with a very amateurish work that had a lot of mistakes.  He, in a small way, included what I wrote in the canon of the comic.  He told me he figured I’d like to see that.  He was right, I was amazed that he liked my terrible writing even a little bit.  I was just amazed that anyone could like my work, and Mike Rosenzweig took the time to not only say thanks but to include what I did for his site into a following work of his own.  It was a small thing but it was what I really needed when I was that young to be motivated to write.  Original works, rather than more supplemental Everything Jake writing.  He was a really great guy, and if there’s anything I can do it’s to recommend you read an amazing webcomic on which he has worked very hard.  Trust me, Everything Jake is worth reading, and it’s hard to read it without learning something from it, in some way, shape or form.

Trust me.  Read it.  It’s an amazing comic.

You can visit the site here.

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