Angus on Quad Espresso [Free For All]

That feeling when you FINALLY locate a hidden gem that’s the basis of a key inside joke based on a comic strip from 1999….

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you one of my favorite comic panels of all time, from the one-year run of Free for All, by Brett Merhar.  I’ve forgotten nearly all of the details two decades later, but I know the main character (who’s kind of a loser 20-something) has a pet ferret (remember when those were a craze!) who was a lab testing animal.

Angus, the ferret, is….. special….. in many ways.  But my favorite way was his reaction to caffeine.Free for All comic Angus on Quad Espresso

© 1999 – Free for All, Brett Merhar. “Angus on Quad Espresso”I myself may or may not resemble Angus on any given day….. lol  Also, the comic writer called Starbucks Fourbucks Coffee (IIRC) and that’s somehow so pure and delightful now that no Starbucks drink costs less than $5.

I was sad when Free For All got canceled after just a year.  This was an odd time in my life when reading the newspaper (yes, the actual paper) was part of my actual job as a reference librarian. We kept a “vertical file” of clippings related to recent news, mostly local and state, that my student workers would photocopy and organize by topic, because no digital archive could provide that coverage (except LexusNexus which cost more than a small car as a yearly subscription fee – what?!)

I would flip through the paper daily, annotate the articles (date, source), and cut out the ones I figured would be useful to students doing papers in future years.  That duty gave me the good excuse to also review the daily comics, and I became quite the connoisseur of Baby Blues, Free For All, Boondocks, Zits, and a few other great strips running at the time (or still running).  (RIP Calvin & Hobbes!)

The Internet has gotten so much dumber in the past 10 years (strangely coinciding with Google turning into a “monetize my eyeballs for ad revenue” company instead of a search engine public provider), so my only record of my favorite strip from Free for All was a very yellowed and brittle clipping that I’d taped to the wall above my desk.  Faded by fluorescent lighting and doomed by the high-acid content of cheap newsprint, I figured I’d never see it again.

But here we are. 🙂

I have no idea if the actual comic is worth reading, but you can buy the collection hereFree for All comic strip collection book cover

Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PflYPj