The Comix of Les Inkwell

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This page is at the moment a Work in Progress!

When reviewing Les Inkwells production of comics there are some reoccuring themes; the presence of music, quirky humor, esoteric autobiographical elements, unorthodox storytelling, self - reference and community interaction.

Links to Comix, Music and Illustrations. Most linked comics are in norwegian.

1. Overview of Production.

1.1 First efforts, comic strips and failed commercial work: Slackers (1996 - 2002).

1.2 Pentel Pro Brush and An Unfunny Animal: Tommy the Cat (2002 - 2007)

1.3 Bouncing Ideas off a Creative Community in the Digital Underground (2007 - 2009)

1.3.1 The Usual Slackers: The Nofi Allstars (2002 - present)

1.3.2 Adventures of the Three Scoundrels (2008-2009)

1.4 Burning more bridges and exploring Poetic Anticomix (2008)

1.5 Les Inkwell declares War, gets political and leaves Nettserier (2007 - 2011)

1.6 Escapism, world building and the Hexland Herald Blog (2009 - present)


The main cast of Slackers: The Trekkie, The Gen-X, The Punk and The Freak.

The main cast of Slackers: The Trekkie, The Gen-X, The Punk and The Freak.

1.1 First efforts, comic strips and failed commercial work: Slackers (1996 - 2002).

Slackers (Sløvingene) (1996 - 2002) got a honorable mention in the annual comic strip competition of 1997 in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. This led to him getting the strip published in the monthly magazine “Larsons Gale Verden” (The Far Side by Gary Larson) by Bladkompaniet.

“The strip was not particularly popular, maybe the least liked guest series in the magazine. In addition I was young, naive, entitled, lacked digital tools, discipline and I couldn’t keep deadlines. I was a mess and even argued with the editors. In the end they ran out of patience and I was told that they would make sure I would never work in the comics industry again. They have kept their word…” (citation needed).

In the same period Slackers was also featured in the one- off anthology “Søppel” (Kick Ass Comix), but this 10 page series suffered from being part 1 (of what was planned to be 4 parts) - where all the other contributions was short stories.

“I had been drawing this longer non strip format story where the cast of slackers more or less accidentally kills someone and has to hide the body. My editor at Bladkompaniet didn’t feel this was a fit for the Larson Magazine. Then I was asked by Geir to contribute to his anthology. At the time I really thought that there would be more than one issues so I sent him the first chapter…” (citation needed).


Some unknown. street artist painted this Tommy the Cat tribute on the wall of Blitzhuset, Oslo December 2007

Some unknown. street artist painted this Tommy the Cat tribute on the wall of Blitzhuset, Oslo December 2007

1.2 Pentel Pro Brush and An Unfunny Animal: Tommy the Cat (2002 - 2007)

In 2003 he started experimenting with a new visual style using a Pentel Pro Brush resulting in the Krazy Cat inspired project. The first iteration was an attempt on a Gary Larsons “Far Side” style single panel format containing called “Knight of Diamonds” - with quite terrible cat based puns and visuals. These where collected in 2 test zines each 54pg A5 called “Knight of Diamonds 1 and 2”. The only thing worth salvaging from these zines was the character “Tommy the Cat”.

The next attempt was 1 page comix of the Tommy the Cat character. These pages where much more refined, focused and borderline funny. The pages where sent to many publishers, but at the time there was no interest in printing them in any magazines. They where eventually released in two Fanzines: Tommy The Cat Pages (2003) and Tommy The Cat AoxomoxoA Zine (2005) - both published as webcomix on Nettserier in 2007.

He also started working on a potential graphic novel featuring Tommy the Cat, but this project was never finished. Of the 9 scripted chapters only 5 was drawn and inked - and just 3 of these where digitalized, colored and published on the web: Tommy The Cat Graphic Novel chapter 1-3 (2004). Les Inkwell have on several occasions mentioned that he one day wants to finish this work - but no time frame has been put forth.

As with many other projects, a soundtrack or theme song was composed and recorded to accompany the comix. There are two versions of this song - the first one was the song “Hello Kitty” from the “… from under ur bed EP” and later a 2007 acoustic remix of the The Soundtrack was also recorded for when the web comix was posted.


1.3 Bouncing Ideas off a Creative Community in the Digital Underground

An example of how Les Inkwell plays with self- referring to his back catalogue of work: in  “The Free New Theatre”  he mocks the Luke warm reception of “The Cage of Fear” comix serial as if it was a musical theatre production with characters from several other comix and serials playing roles as stage crew and musicians.

An example of how Les Inkwell plays with self- referring to his back catalogue of work: in “The Free New Theatre” he mocks the Luke warm reception of “The Cage of Fear” comix serial as if it was a musical theatre production with characters from several other comix and serials playing roles as stage crew and musicians.

After moderate positive responses from the Nettserier community when posting “Tommy the Cat” Les Inkwell started posting his comics on a semi regularly basis under the header “Sketchbook”. He treated this as a sand box where he could explore different concepts, characters, narrative & visual styles and different formats - from single pages, short stories to longer narratives. For several years he was a very active on the site, in periods updating daily.

“I have a love / hate relationship to the portal… Despite its many design flaws and horrible user interface I can not stress how important the community and platform was for me while I was active there… I am sure this goes for many other creators also... There are quite a few artists that are now becoming household names in the comics industry that started out on the platform, or used it for some time… Most profiled are probably Ida Neverdahl and Hanne Sigbjørnsen - but Uberpress creator Are Edvardsen and Ontonauts creator Lars Schwed Nygård have recruited from the ranks of artists that at some point was active on nettserier… Its actually not fair just mentioning these, the list of talents it has hosted is so long, and it seems to me that the platform never got the recognition it deserved… Where are the blogposts about this? Where are the magazine and newspaper articles? And where is Øyvind Holens book on this subject?” (Citation Needed).

It is useful to read many of these works in the context of the platform where they where posted and the community involved in posting and commenting. There are many examples of interaction with the readers through Easter eggs hidden in the text or drawings, where topics from the community discussions are addressed and the first strips of the serial “War” which was posted as some form of rebuttal to a surge of trolls spamming the site with crapy and lazy creations in MS paint.

An other common theme of his work on nettserier is the frequent self reference to older comix and a cast off reoccurring characters - crossing over from one universe to the next - often without any consistency to the internal workings of the different universes. The characters are in many ways treated as actors playing different characters in different productions - both in comix and as musicians.


1.3.1 The Usual Slackers: The Nofi Allstars (2002 - present).

First appearance of Les Inkwell from the inside cover of the Unfinished Tunes EP (2002).

First appearance of Les Inkwell from the inside cover of the Unfinished Tunes EP (2002).

The NoFi Allstars was heavily inspired by the virtual band “Gorillas” created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The NoFi Allstars was initially ment to be some kind of DIY LoFi low budget version of this mixed media cultural phenomenon, but over time the characters evolved into a cast of actors appearing in many different comix and musical projects.

The band consist of the following eclectic and colorful characters: The flower power stoner hipster Les Inkwell (bass and vocals), the old grumpy new age beat poet Bloody Hands Magnus (harmonica, keyboards and vocals), the supernatural Anunnaki magician Voodoobaby (guitars, strings and vocals) and the sentient and very sensitive robot KittyZen S4 (drums, percussion ands programmed beats).

The first time the name NoFi Allstars and one of the characters was featured in a project was the 2002 “Unfinished Tunes EP” where Les Inkwell was drawn on the back cover and featured in the narrative in the sleeve notes. In 2004 the character Les Inkwell released a dark singer/songwriter solo project called “Demonald EP”, and from February 2005 to September 2005 the other members of the group also released their own EPs - KISS style. Each EP has a distinct sound and feel that is ment to capture some of the characters personality and musical preferences from the piano based blues tracks of Bloody Hands Magnus via the quirky programmed electronica of KittyZen S4 to the Zappaesque sounding power pop of Voodoobaby.

From November 2005 to June 2006 the band recorded 6 EPs. During this period their sound settled and became more distinct and recognizable, and their musical skills developed tremendously. The last of these projects “Obsolete Sumer Hits 2006” actually sounds pretty consistent and quite ok comparing to the earlier works. This period is documented in an actual autobiographical comix that is very different in style and narration than the usual style of comix made by Les Inkwell.

From early 2007, lacking a place to rehears and record rock music in the same way as earlier, the NoFi Allstars project evolved more into becoming more comix based and the music devolved into a more hushed acoustic style of songs much more similar to the early recordings.

Maxwells Daemon published from June 2nd 2007 on Nettserier. Experimental use of colors and the way music is stylized in the drawings, something that would be used in several other comix.

Maxwells Daemon published from June 2nd 2007 on Nettserier. Experimental use of colors and the way music is stylized in the drawings, something that would be used in several other comix.

Treasure Island Anoponei (in English!) published from October 2nd 2007 on Nettserier. This comix was released as visuals for a musical project with the same name.

Treasure Island Anoponei (in English!) published from October 2nd 2007 on Nettserier. This comix was released as visuals for a musical project with the same name.

“Surfs Up @ 5” is a further exploration of the visual presentation of music, a throwback to the early method Les Inkwell used when recording music and also  an actual song .

“Surfs Up @ 5” is a further exploration of the visual presentation of music, a throwback to the early method Les Inkwell used when recording music and also an actual song.

New Adventures with Quifteli was published from February 23rd on Nettserier and some tracks using this Albanian instrument was posted as a part of the iPOM- series.

New Adventures with Quifteli was published from February 23rd on Nettserier and some tracks using this Albanian instrument was posted as a part of the iPOM- series.

An other project where the characters from NoFi Allstars often popped up was in the “Illustrated Pice of Music”- series (#iPOM). This project is explored in more detail in the NOFI Recordings page, but a few samples are included here for the full context. Some of these are single illustrations - some contain several pages of comix.


“Liv B” was uploaded to  nettserier  and  urørt  on May 12th 2007.

“Liv B” was uploaded to nettserier and urørt on May 12th 2007.

“Waiting for the Nice Wave” (9 pages of comix) was published from the 10th of February 2008 to  Nettserier  and  Urørt .

“Waiting for the Nice Wave” (9 pages of comix) was published from the 10th of February 2008 to Nettserier and Urørt.

“Jesus Phreak” was uploaded to  nettserie r and  urørt  on March 2nd 2008.

“Jesus Phreak” was uploaded to nettserier and urørt on March 2nd 2008.

“Ed Weed” is an example of the many “illustrated pieces of music (iPOM)” -  an illustration posted to Nettserier  and a  soundtrack posted to Urørt .

“Ed Weed” is an example of the many “illustrated pieces of music (iPOM)” - an illustration posted to Nettserier and a soundtrack posted to Urørt.


From the autobiographical short story  “Love Song to Mary Jane”  Pg 1 of 4.

From the autobiographical short story “Love Song to Mary Jane” Pg 1 of 4.

It is worth noting that the artist using Les Inkwell as a pen name also inserts this character into the NoFi Allstars- project giving it some esoteric autobiographical elements.

“I really enjoy autobiographical works of comix along the line of Michel Rabagliati, Craig Thompson, Guy Delisle, James Kochalka - oh and of course heavy hitters like Harvey Pekar and Joe Sacco… They all have such clear and present voices - I love the way they use them to tell their stories… I have always had an ambition to do something along those lines myself, and I have made several attempts both writing and drawing more serious autobiographical works… but so far I have not found the voice I want to use… At the same time my comix are already full of fragments from my life, just not explicitly stated, but blended into the fiction…” (Citation Needed).

It is possible to read most of his body work as some kind of autobiographical rebus or Easter egg hunt, one just need a key to start deciphering it. Some of these clues can be found in the visuals, some of the clues can be found in the narrative. Some pages are 100% authentic slice of life visually, but with narration that has nothing to do with the authors life - some pages have actual biographical narration over unrelated visuals. A curiosity, or example of the way he plays with the genre, is that “Love Song to Mary Jane” the one published short story that is stated explicitly as autobiographical is actually more allegorical.

Other examples where the authors life bleeds into the fiction is through the music. “New Adventures with Quifteli” came about when Les Inkwell was gifted an ethnic instrument from a patron at his work, and the song “Jesus Phreak” was a result of him finding a 12 string guitar while dumpster diving.


1.3.2 Adventures of the Three Scoundrels (2008-2009)

According to Les Inkwell the serial about the three unpleasant raconteurs is one of his most important works.

“The three main characters are ment to be representations of different attitudes and outlooks of life. You have the happy, careless & optimistic Skull, the angry, worried & pessimistic Morgenstierne and then there is Floss being a traveller of the golden middle way… yeah, and just to make it more interesting they are also complete assholes and sociopaths” (citation needed).

Indie Woods (7pages). Published on  Nettserier  from October 13th 2008.

Indie Woods (7pages). Published on Nettserier from October 13th 2008.

Poetic Justice (9 pages). Published on  Nettserier  from November 1st 2008.

Poetic Justice (9 pages). Published on Nettserier from November 1st 2008.

Under the bridge (unpublished) (6 pages)

Under the bridge (unpublished) (6 pages)

The Cursed Island of Hats (16 pages) Published on  Nettserier  from May 1st 2008,

The Cursed Island of Hats (16 pages) Published on Nettserier from May 1st 2008,

Lighthouse my Fire (24 pages). Published on  Nettserier  from September 1st 2008

Lighthouse my Fire (24 pages). Published on Nettserier from September 1st 2008

The Storm (18 pages/panels). Published on  Nettserier  from March 3rd 2009.

The Storm (18 pages/panels). Published on Nettserier from March 3rd 2009.


1.4 Burning more bridges and exploring Poetic Anticomix

In the community around Nettserier there was an ongoing conversation about the way newspapers and magazines discovered new talent. At the time many of the comic artist on the web site argued that it seemed like the only way to get anything published was through the annual comic strip competitions hosted by Dagbladet - and that the only format accepted was “funnies” and comic strips. Despite all the discontent, most artists in the community still participated in these competitions, and as a reaction to this Les Inkwell decided to make an anti- contribution: “The Cage of Fear” which he never entered, but symbolically started publishing around the deadline of the competition..

“I ment to highlight some of the talking points discussed on Nettserier at the time; that the comic strips where crammed into 2/3rds of a page, that there was only room for 5 daily strips - but at the same time the journalists and commentators often had huge portraits next to their texts, but also that the only format the readers wanted was traditional funnies and comic strips. My point was that.the editors had a rigid mindset, displayed huge amounts of cowardice when it came to give alternate voices and expressions a chance… in fact, I don’t really think they want anything else than to preserve the status quo. If Fredrik Stabel was a contemporary, would he even be considered or given a chance today?” (citation needed).

In this web comic he tried to break as many of the written and unwritten competition rules as possible: a single panel, no punchline, written as cryptic poetry in dialect, with cursive hand writing, drawn in black and white with a lot of hatching and crosshatching and nude characters. Needless to say nothing came of this unentered anti contribution, and most of the regulars on Nettserier didn’t care much for it.

“I think “The Cage of Fear” is my single most ignored comix of all time… and with the track record of my back catalogue that is quite an achievement…” (citation needed).

Link to the original postings of The Cage of Fear (2008). Like so many other of his comix this serial also got its own Soundtrack.

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A sample page from “The Cage of Fear”. The text reads: “Unambiguous it is manifested, like Glyphs that can be interpreted …if one want to”.,

A sample page from “The Cage of Fear”. The text reads: “Unambiguous it is manifested, like Glyphs that can be interpreted …if one want to”.,


1.5 Les Inkwell declares War, gets political and leaves Nettserier

Translation: “This is your web comic with: Panel 1) pencil, pen and supplementary work in photoshop elements… Panel 2) …Paint Panel 3)…(A) think for yourself!”

Translation: “This is your web comic with: Panel 1) pencil, pen and supplementary work in photoshop elements… Panel 2) …Paint Panel 3)…(A) think for yourself!”

Sample from chapter 2: Simon in kindergarten, just an ordinary kid, almost just like us.

Sample from chapter 2: Simon in kindergarten, just an ordinary kid, almost just like us.

The last major work he published on Nettserier was the several chapters and installments of the comix “War” (the first installment is more or less unrelated).

The first part of this webcomic has to be seen in the context of the platform it was published on. In September 2007 there is an influx of troll posts on Nettserier - containing mostly provocative, immature and obscene content - made in ms paint. This sparked much community concern and discussion on how to handle the situation, and as a tongue in cheek comment Les Inkwell made 31 comic strips loosely commenting on the situation. In addition to the current community commentary the strip also uses a lot of self - reference to earlier works and a cast of characters from several of his earlier comics. At one point one of the characters dig up a crate of “old underground comics”, including the Kick Ass Comics anthology Søppel, where upon another character say “there is probably a reason why they where buried in the first place”. Original posting with comments on Nettserier.

In march 2009 he started publishing new content under the same header. This content initially had a very different tone and visual approach than the first part, but as the comic develop one can see that there are several elements from the first installment that are returned to and explored more closely.

“You can see the influence of The Cage of Fear in the first 70+ pages of War II, and is in many ways a different approach to the same idea - trying to make an alternative to the daily newspaper funnies with a cheap recycled punchline. I wanted to make something more poetic and narrative driven, but not a long format just divided into strips. The ideal was that each page should be able to convey something as a stand alone product - but at the same time, when read in bulk, tell a more epic story. I don’t feel that this project was a 100% success, but I don’t think it was a failure either…” (Citation needed).

Krig II is divided into chapters with a specific theme and feel. Chapter 2 starts out following the young kid Simon in his day to day life in the small town Softville where most people are employed at the factory with produces parts for missiles used in the war. The chapter gets quite political before it descends into conspiracy theories towards the end. Original posting with comments on Nettserier.

Chapter 3 shifts to a nameless character finding a pair of swimming googles that makes him able to see that all of humanity is infested with an alien brain leech - and how he adapts to a world full of alien controlled puppets. Original posting with comments on Nettserier.

In Chapter 4 one meets the grown up version of Simon trying to convince The Pulp Writer to join Paradise - the next level of human evolution - a completely regulated, safe and inclusive network of cities. This theme revisited and elaborated in a contribution to the anthology “Truth and Dream” (Nynorsksenteret Oct 2011). Original posting with comments on Nettserier.

The next installment, “A Flicker of Darkness”, is a strange short story where a teenage / young adult version of Simon is approached by a girl on the subway. According to Les Inkwell this chapter shows an attempt by The Resistance to lure young Simon with a honey trap in an attempt to corrupt him before he joins the Paradise Cult. Original posting with comments on Nettserier.

The last installment, “War III”,

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https://nettserier.no/krig/comic/17639/ Krig 3

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https://nettserier.no/krig/comic/26437/ Dystoutopia

nevertonunited.com/krig1 Archive of chapter 1https://nettserier.no/krig/comic/5354

nevertonunited.com/krig2 Archive of chapter 2 https://nettserier.no/krig/comic/14801

nevertonunited.com/krig3 Archive of chapter 3 https://nettserier.no/krig/comic/15329

nevertonunited.com/krig4 Archive of chapter 4 https://nettserier.no/krig/comic/15740

nevertonunited.com/krig5 Archive of chapter 5

nevertonunited.com/krig6 Archive of chapter 6

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