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This is old — in Internet time, Patrick Farley's The Spiders webcomic is aeons ancient. It hasn't been updated since 2003, in fact. We make a return visit about twice a year, hoping that some burst of interest has inspired Farley to return and finish, or at least add another chapter. No dice yet, so it's time to proactively evangelize to anyone who wasn't clued in long ago. Set in one of those nearby alternate future-history things, The Spiders concerns a post-9/11 American invasion of Afghanistan, courtesy of the presidential administration of Al Gore. Instead of shock, awe, or boots on the ground, the invasion is spearheaded by hallucinogenic weapons and a million tiny surveillance robots that anyone can control through a Web browser.
The idea of the spider-bots — unclear until it's too late for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden — is that their net functionality invites the entire world to remotely engage in the game-like hunt for terrorists. Despite quickly apprehending the ringleaders, a destabilizing insurgency gains ground, causing the Americans to secretly dose combatants with a drug that renders them incapable of violent behavior.
That's a pretty shallow summary of the plot, but at least half the genius of The Spiders lies in its visuals. Designed specifically for online perusal, the story spools out in a variety of trippy panels that literally incorporate the medium into the message. Less startling than back in the day perhaps, but still one of the most perfect executions of the form. The art itself is a mix of drawings and 3D, with frequent violations of panel borders and linear narrative. Despite all the flashy maneuvers, it's the simple, engaging storyline that makes The Spiders so addictive. If you read the first chapter, you likely won't be able to resist devouring the whole thing in one sitting.
The Spiders [Electric Sheep]