The Weird World of Webcomics: Gabe Swarr’s “Life in the Analog Age”

The 1980s might be long gone, but Gabe Swarr does an excellent job of making the decade feel just like yesterday in his excellent webcomic Life in the Analog Age.

The weekly comic strip (interspersed with poignant animation shorts) is an autobiographical retelling of Swarr’s developing years, before “digital dominance and information overload.” Swarr has a keen sense of nostalgia for such childhood touchstones as playing Atari video games, watching Back to the Future, and finding out that pro-wrestling might actually be scripted, but the comic doesn’t merely rely on nostalgia to tell a good story. Each strip features a slice-of-life event that any child or adult can relate to. What makes Swarr’s work especially impressive is his ability to tell a compelling and often times funny story without a hint of irony while avoiding the sort of saccharine sweetness that this style of storytelling could easily devolve into.

Life in the Analog Age is also unique among webcomics for its choice of color pallete: oranges and blues. At first blush such colors may seem a little garish for a story based on random reminisces about childhood – but Swarr pulls it off. The dark blues help Swarr’s art pop off the screen, and the oranges further the story’s retro-cool vibe – like an old shag carpet.

Swarr is best known for his online comic – Big Pants Mouse. However he retired the character a couple years ago to focus on Life in the Analog Age and I’m pretty glad he decided to, because Life is more than just a weekly strip – it’s a weekly reminder of how being a kid can be both simple and complex – sometimes at the same time.

So be sure to set your dial to Life in the Analog Age each Tuesday, and be charmed by Swarr’s entertaining comic at

Written by Will Penny

Will Penny hails from the cornfields of Iowa, but calls the sunny beaches of Southern California his home these days. When he’s not out surfing you can probably catch him at a local coffee shop doodling away at another creepy picture for his webcomic Sex and Monsters.

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