An Addictive Generator For 'Oh No' Comics? Oh Yes!

After years of charming the internet, Alex Norris’ disconsolate blobs will finally grace the pages of a paperback this week as we celebrate the release of the Webcomic Name book "oh no".

Just over a year ago, "Code Monkey" and Ravelry co-founder, Casey Forbes created "webcomicname-mashup". An app that enables you to make your own versions of the popular Webcomic Name comic strips.

For those unfamiliar, Webcomic Name parodies the relatable 3-panel comic format. There's the setup, things happen, but they always end with the same little celebration of failure: 'oh no'. But don't let the simple format fool you. The comic's gloomy reflections on life have a self-conscious charm and wit that can be both funny and thought-provoking.

"Webcomicname-mashup" puts Norris' back catalog of comic strips to work. You can generate a random comic, or carefully click through the panels until you settle on your own 'oh no' masterpiece.

“This mashup generator makes better comics than I do,” Norris remarks. From reflections on our productivity-sapping obsession with gadgets to poignant comments on the state of discussions of identity and gender, the results can be en pointe.

"I was inspired to remix by an invitation [from Norris] to do so," says Forbes, "My first version was 99% other people's work, glued together. After that, I started adding comments and other small features"

"I love the Glitch remix app because it shows that even an algorithm can make comics to a similar standard as the Webcomic Name comics I actually put effort into writing!" quips Norris. Adding that "a lot of people who would never post art to the internet have made their own 'oh no' comics, so I’m proud that I’ve made something that encourages people to make art and share it with people."

And today, Norris' has something else to be proud of. Webcomic Name is now available in paperback with the release of "oh no". Published by Andrews McMeel, it brings together all the series’ greatest hits as well as dozens of never-before-seen comics.

Landing just after April Fools day, the timing of the book's launch is apt as Webcomic Name is the result of an April Fools joke itself. In 2015, Norris faked that 'Dorris McComics', another Norris web comic creation, was becoming a trite relatable comic with 8 updates per day. "I aimed to make the worst and most generic web comic," Norris tells us. And of course the internet loved it. Norris has been creating hilarious, cliche-filled, blob-based works of art ever since.

Inspired to create your own? Norris leaves us these suitably dour words of encouragement: "Anyone can become an internet artist, the bar has never been lower!"

Norris’ book "oh no" is out today.