Of Possible Interest: Three Panel Soul


Currently, there are only two web comics in my RSS reader: Three Panel Soul is one of them.

3PS is written by Matt Boyd and illustrated by Ian McConville. They used to do a strip called Mac Hall a few years ago, and I was a big fan. Mac Hall was initially set at the college that the creators attended and then followed them into the weird time right after graduation when you’re working and struggling to make sense of the world, now that you’re hip-deep in it.
McConville’s art is inspiring. It’s not always the most clean, the most perfect, but it conveys the tone, the action, the humor in most excellent fashion.
Boyd’s script is not always on the mark, but when it hits, it captures and distills a few of those moments of living in dorms, off-campus living with roommates, and your first steps into professional life.

The preceding addresses the pair’s previous endeavor, because there isn’t much of Three Panel Soul to talk about yet, and what’s there is still in the formative stages.

The subject matter of 3PS is a lot more autobiographical, and as a result, it’s a lot less accessible. Both writer and artist are playing with the medium again, trying to find the right voice for this retooling.

The most obvious example of 3PS’s search for solid ground is in Boyd’s true-to-life dramatization of his recent termination due to an indiscreet discussion of firearms in the workplace too soon after the Virginia Tech tragedy. To many, seemed an inappropriate public airing of grievances, but it made for interesting reading, despite the tonal difference when viewed next to their existing body of work.

There also some jarring shifts of artistic styles demonstrated by McConville. The majority of the strips are black and white triptychs, others break that pattern, falling back into the colorful, manga-influenced look that defined Mac Hall.

It is published on a more regular, almost weekly (sometimes twice weekly) schedule, which is always a benefit. MH was incredibly inconsistent, mostly due to the artist’s schoolwork interfering.

Is 3PS a perfect web strip? Nope. Is it as polished as your Penny Arcades or PvPs? No. But flaws aside, I like the strip, and I keep reading it. Which is rare.

Three Panel SoulMac Hall