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Action! Adventure! Excitement! Geometry! All this and less can be found within the virtual pages of Joe the Circle, the only psuedo-science-fiction comic that takes less than five minutes per episode to draw!
The Adventures of Joe the Circle was an early Science Fiction Web Comic by Mike Shapiro. Originally printed in Shapiro's college newspaper in the early '90s, it first appeared online in 1995. It followed the adventures of Joe, a violent, gun-toting circle, along with his companions: Ronnie, an even-tempered triangle; Bob the Boobian, a dimwitted . . . thing with a gaping maw and limited vocabulary; Franko, a clairaudient flying fish; and Bert, a laid-back gearhead who provided the crew's transportation.
The comic was rather crudely drawn, but made up for it with freewheeling storylines, goofy humor, and extremely quotable dialogue. Most of the comics can be found at www.joe-the-circle.com, with a few older issues accessible through archive.org.
- The Ace: Joe sees himself as this. Others, not so much.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Mattock Blork the Hexagon.
- Ancient Artifact: The Pickle of Power.
- Later, the Soulwhomper of Klaaaarr.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Action! Adventure! Excitement! Geometry!"
- Bag of Holding: Bob, whose stomach is composed of an entire dimension, is a living example.
- Big Eater: It would be quicker to list the things Bob won't eat. See Bag of Holding.
- Bigger on the Inside: Bert's car.
- Calvin Ball: Zorgellian Mega-Poker requires various Noodle Implements, as well as a working knowledge of the laws of thermodynamics.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- The Conscience: Ronnie and Franko try (and usually fail) to be this to Joe.
- Couch Gag: For a large part of its run, the comic had a different alliterative byline (such as "Arthritically Ascribed by Mike Shapiro," "Raptly 'Ritten by Mike Shapiro," etc) on every page.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ronnie.
- The Ditz: Franko.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Planet of Unmanageable DOOM.
- Fan Community Nicknames: The message board was called the "mOb" ("m" for "message," "b" for "board," with Joe's silhouette in between). Posters sometimes referred to themselves as "mObsters."
- "Circlefriends" was also sometimes used.
- Kick the Dog: Invoked and lampshaded by the commander of the Anti-Joe Armada, who drops an anvil on a subordinate to demonstrate his evil.
- Kudzu Plot: Lampshaded and averted at the beginning of Volume 3.
The story so far: WHO CARES? That's right! Last year's storyline has been abandoned due to its horrible complexity. We now present you with something considerably more violent and acerebral.
- Lampshade Hanging: One of the comic's primary sources of humor.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Definitely a 1 on the scale. Rule of Funny trumps Science every time.
- My Beloved Smother
- Noodle Implements: Besides the normal cards and chips, Zorgellian Mega-Poker is played with a compass, tidal chart, and anvil.
- Only Sane Man: Ronnie.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Joe makes it past the AJA with nothing but a beard, an accent, and a Suspiciously Specific Denial. Not that he needs anything better, since all circles look more or less the same.
- Schedule Slip: It was not uncommon to go weeks, months, or even years between updates. In fact, the series never officially ended - it just hasn't updated since 2007.
- Lampshaded in Shapiro's bio: "Mike continues to produce Joe to this day, pausing only for occasional three-to-four year stretches of indolence and ennui."
- Self-Deprecation: Often showed up in the Couch Gags.
- Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes: Joe is a pretty solid Type V, but Played for Laughs.
- Space Is Noisy: Averted and lampshaded early on. Otherwise played straight.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Joe's preferred problem-solving method.
"Deep within every problem is a solution involving explosives."
- This Isn't Heaven: It's Purgatory.