Web Crush Wednesdays: Oglaf

There’s a certain level of adulthood you reach where you realize that filthy humor really is hilarious, and you’re not fooling anyone by pretending it isn’t. Unfortunately, this realization tends to come at a time in your life when you’ve also realized that things like misogyny and racism are both incredibly shitty and incredibly prevalent. You want sex jokes, but you don’t want rape jokes, and you want to acknowledge that butt stuff can be hilariously awkward, but you also get furious when people are homophobic. Where can you, an adult with a refined palate for filthy humor, turn to satisfy your deep, aching need for inclusive, witty garbage? Esteemed readers, consider Oglaf.

Yes, it is a competition.

Yes, it is a competition.

Extremely NSFW images under the cut.

Oglaf is a weekly webcomic, written and illustrated by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne, that posts loosely related single-page comic strips every Sunday. Occasionally characters will recur and occasionally a story will be told in two or three parts, but besides mostly sticking to the same pseudo-medieval fantasy setting, the primary thematic constant is absolutely graphic, unabashed filth. The difference between this filth and most other internet filth, however, is that Oglaf comics are incredibly consistent in being inclusive and non-prejudicial. There are Black characters, there are Asian characters, there are chubby characters and buff characters and scrawny characters, there is gay and lesbian and poly sex galore. There are women obsessed with sex, there are men disinterested in sex. It’s a smorgasbord—an orgy, if you will—of unapologetic, unexplained and totally diverse trash.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 1.18.23 PMIt is especially nice to see so much diversity in specifically this type of pseudo-medieval fantasy universe. Artists, writers, and their fans often fall into a puzzling notion of “historical probability” when they choose fantasy settings to work with, claiming things like there were few Black people in medieval Europe (a flawed notion to begin with), or that lesbians could not possibly have been accepted in society. This is nonsense, considering that the “rules” of any fantasy setting are governed entirely by the creator, regardless of what region and time period it may have been inspired by.

Not only does Oglaf include a delightfully well-rounded cast of characters, the creator feels no compulsion at all to justify why they’re there. In a single-page comic, there’s no time to explain why a Middle-Eastern woman is patronizing an Asian cobbler, or to get into the social implications of the fact that these two women are now having sex in public. Each story, and the tone of the comics overall, actually benefits from this brevity. The characters’ races, body types, and inclinations become secondary to the punch line, and in that way become highly normalized. It now actually gives me pause when I see an Oglaf comic with only conventionally attractive light-skinned characters.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 1.17.17 PMOglaf does occasionally offer some social commentary, but only in the most lighthearted, irreverent way possible. Religion is lampooned pretty frequently, like in the case of the deity Sithrak, whose holy “Book of Dismay” turns out to just be some angsty stuff he wrote when he was a teenager. His cult members, of course, don’t believe him and carry on worshipping his great terribleness. In another comic, a priest gets the attention of God by threatening to have anal sex with a man, which God (being that he’s omniscient) hates watching enough to show up and tell them to cut it out. The men then use the opportunity to bargain for military victory.

The bite-sized snippets that Oglaf comes in also make it very easy to browse through without committing to a plot-driven webcomic that will eat up a lot of time. Beyond the aspects of social progressiveness, the art and writing are also exceptionally good in their own right. The jokes are as genuinely clever and creative as they are filthy, and the art is particularly high quality, especially considering it’s a weekly comic. If you’re feeling adventurous, do check out Oglaf on its site or on Twitter, but you might want to be mindful of where you are and who might be able to see over your shoulder.

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3 thoughts on “Web Crush Wednesdays: Oglaf

  1. I’m so happy you wrote about Oglaf! It’s seriously one of the best comics out there and deserves all the love.

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