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A Softer World

First Appearance

February 7, 2003

Created by

Joey Comeau and Emily Horne


A Softer World is a weekly webcomic by Canadians Joey Comeau and Emily Horne. Earlier comics had been published, intermittently, in zine form. With the launch of the website, the comic has gained wider recognition, most notably when Warren Ellis linked to the comic on his blog, and then began to feature it as a "Favored Puny Human".

The tone of the comic tends to be slightly absurdist and dark, with the punchlines often being simultaneously funny and disturbing. For instance, the text of the strip from which the comic takes its name reads, "In the caves behind my house, I found a softer world./They understand what I had to do for love./They don't believe in restraining orders." [1]


There is no cast to speak of, as each comic tends to stand alone. The one recurring character, Baby Doom, was an infant that plotted to destroy the world. He has so far appeared in three comics, but was recently run over by a car, and, apparently, murdered.


With one exception of a double-length strip, each comic is three panels long. The three panels are made up of photographic art, either a series of three photographs, or one photograph that is spread over multiple frames, or repeated with different crops and zooms. The photographs are taken by Emily Horne, and then sent to Joey Comeau for text.

The text consists of several bars of typewriter-written text, forming a small narrative. The text is always in the first person, typically being the thoughts or narrative of the main subject of the photos. The situations are often surreal, including one strip about a werewolf who writes love poetry, and another about a curse that befalls humanity, making everybody go through puberty a second time.




The site includes Overqualified, an occasional series of satirical cover letters for job applications. These cover letters are generally written so as to reveal a degree of insanity in the imagined author. For example, one is a letter from someone applying to be a mall Santa Claus, in which he explains that, as a foreman at Mattel, he fired all the middle aged men and hired midgets who he forced to wear green costumes, and that, after being fired, he broke into houses to steal milk and cookies.

A Softer World News[]

Briefly the site also featured A Softer World News, a short-lived webcomic in which the photos come from news sources, and were based on news situations. They featured much of the same tone and sensibility as the main Softer World comics, but the creators found them difficult and unsatisfying, and terminated them after seven installments.

Lockpick Pornography[]

Finally, in a recent attempt to raise money for his tuition, Joey has written a novella, Lockpick Pornography, which was posted one chapter at a time as his fundraising goals were met. There are seven chapters in all, and Joey is also looking to expand it into a full-length novel to be published. The novella is a complete story with an ending, but the novel will be a more extended version.

External links[]