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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Dubious Tales

a webcomic written and drawn by Andrew James

What’s It About?
22 Barton Terrace, Ruskton-Over-Routhe: a typically run down student house with some pretty damn odd students living in it. Meghan wants to forget her old life; Owen is looking for a purpose; Caitlin may or may not have spent her youth fighting demons made of tin foil; Sarine may be more than a little dangerous; and Darren has a tragedy mask permanently superglued to his face.

Dubious Tales combines relatable stories of a group of students making do and getting by with more surreal and supernatural elements creeping in over time.

What’s Good About It?
Dubious Tales combines the mundane and bizarre quite well. The more mundane level of the series follows the relationships of the students at Barton Terrace, some friendships, some romances and some good, old fashioned getting on each other’s nerves that’s all part of living in a student house.

Fittingly, the more bizarre storylines seem barely believable compared to the mundane relationship dramas. They are utterly surreal: the aforementioned Tin Foil Men ir a cryogenically frozen Soviet spy brainwashing British students. These storylines usually ran alongside something simpler like the students trying to paint their front room. This isn’t a world where the bizarre is not an everyday thing, the situations Meghan, Owen and the others find themselves in are as unbelievable to them as they are to the audience.

Finally, there’s the fact its all over with. If you want to read a comic for free, which is the main selling point of webcomics, but don’t like the micro-serialisation of a page every couple of days then Dubious Tales offers a series of complete stories to read at whatever pace suits you.

What’s Bad About It?
Book Five ends on a note to leave things open for a future revival. That was in 2007 and since then the only additions James has made to the site has been to upload the contents of a print-only special he made during the webcomic’s run. It isn’t the worst unresolved cliffhanger in history, in fact it isn’t a cliffhanger at all, but it might leave you wanting to see what happens next.

What’s the Art Like
Andrew James’ art style is surprisingly consistent throughout the run of Dubious Tales. His style does develop but in subtle ways, tightening up an already well-formed style. As ever with webcomics, follow the links to the art examples.

An early example from Book One, as Meghan narrowly misses meeting Darren, one of the more unusual residents of 22 Barton Terrace and from Book Five after James had worked out the kinks in his style. Very similar to his earlier work but smoother and more precise. One aspect of James’ art that was definitely good from the beginning was in the expressions he gave his characters, as you can see in this scene between Owen, Gwilym and Sarine. Finally, for a taste of the more surreal aspects of Dubious Tales, a fine example of the Tin-Foil Men, Caitlin Roesbuck’s immortal nemeses.

Other Information
All five main “books”, the stories from the print Special and the text story Caitlin Roesbuck And The Foil Men are available for free from the Dubious Tales website. The text-only Book Four is available for download from the site in Word format.


  1. It's gone! If you go to the Dubious Tales website it's gone... anyone know where it can be got?

  2. Darn it, you're right, it has gone. I tweeted a request for info but got nothing back. What a shame. :(

  3. would love to find this again, i've been trying to remember what this was called for years, and i found a flyer advertising it on CD. thers a feature here on Andrew James, including a early page from Dubious Tales.