Monday, August 21, 2023

Strong Six: The Strongbad E-mails That I Will Quote on my Deathbed

 There was a somewhat obscure but mighty internet phenomena in the late nineties and into the early two-thousands that developed a cult following which remains strong to this day. The site was called, and its flagship series was a webtoon called Strongbad e-mails. The site itself is full of hilarious content delivered through original characters, brilliant voice acting, innovative animation, and humor that threw out the rails from the beginning and makes a solemn vow never to get back on.

I am curious if anyone else runs into this phenomena with entertainment we discovered as kids. It's that hope that just maybe, when we find someone who has never heard of something we loved, that they will love it like we did and do. But then you show it to them, and find an unbridgeable gap. Sigh.

Yet, even as an adult, the humor and craftsmanship of hasn’t died at all. As Brandon Sanderson would say, I do not believe the “Suck Fairy” visited Strongbad emails across the years. In fact, my appreciation for the quality there has grown with time. Not only do I still find it funny, I admire what the Brothers Chaps created, knowing it was before internet content was such a huge market.

Matt and Mike Chapman, the creators of all things have quietly and very successfully uplifted big IPs such as Gravity Falls. They have done numerous other things from website creation, voice acting, writing, directing, and producing all kinds of content, including work under a contract with Disney XD. They seem like the sort of flexible and highly talented people who were in the perfect position as the internet was exploding. It always does my heart good to see the creators of content I love actually continuing to grow and develop more great stuff, including holding their own amongst the bigwigs of commercial entertainment.


I remember my first time watching a Strongbad email. I was at my sister’s in-laws’ house and her husband’s younger brother was with me and my older brothers. I’m not sure what the first episode I saw was, but I know that we were all hooked for good from that moment forward.

My brothers and I have been leaving voicemails in the voices of our preferred characters with quotes from the site for years. We really can’t have a conversation without quoting something from Strongbad. It’s such a common part of the fabric of our shared vocabulary that I’m not sure how to state the depth of our indoctrination into the Strongbad email subculture and do it justice.

The most recent Strongbad e-mail was released a year ago, and the website continues to get improvements and little updates here and there.

Here are six of the Strongbad e-mails that get quoted most often by me, to this day, and which would be a great intro if you need more zany internet content to waste your time with:

Sbemail #120: Radio

The appearance/voice mismatch, and the spot-on characterization of public radio, drive-time morning show, and college radio stick in my head with ferocity. Strongbad’s various characters within characters really shine in this one. Matt finds different characters and colors through Strongbad and makes the toon way more effective than it has any right to be. Stay tuned for partial excitement!

Sbemail #6: Depressio

A very early episode, the gag in this one never stops making me laugh. Strongsad, Strongbad’s sensitive and painfully disempowered younger brother is too fun not to make the butt of the joke, but the added bonus is the way the toon has fun at the expense of the individual who submitted the e-mail to SB.

Sbemail #45: Techno

Very popularly quoted. Strongbad demonstrates how easy it is to create a techno dance hit with electronic rhythmic layers. Unfortunately, the Cheat learns that he is not allowed to throw lightswitch raves.

Sbemail #57: Japanese Cartoon

People often quote the blue hair moment as Strongbad transforms himself into an anime character with some resemblance to mega man. There are many episodes like this that break down the essential building blocks of a genre from entertainment and give it a delicious SB twist. 

Sbemail #121: Part-Time Job

Strongbad talks about his part, part, part, part, very part-time job. And we see Bubs’s management skills at work. Also, remember, pictures with the tragic clown-dog ain’t free!

Sbemail #58: Dragon

Trogdor seems to be the most popular episode people quote when Strongbad comes up. If they haven’t seen anything else, they have heard the Trogdor song. Those peasants aren’t going to burninate themselves. Some dragon has got to do it.

If you haven’t yet, set aside some time to go to the site, or the youtube channel, and prepare for some quality vegging. There are so many layers, from the random rabbit holes of each episode, to the easter eggs at the end. Maybe it's the voice-acting nerd in me, or the kid who was just discovering the endless entertainment of the internet, but I will certainly always have and SBemails kicking around in my brain.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this! I am 40 years old and a nerdy fan of Homestarrunner. I’ve introduced it to my kids and they love most “Teen Girl Squad”. There is hope for this generation yet!