Road Waffles is one of the early webcomics, started on November 8, 1999 by Eight. (Eight's homepage)
It joined up with web publisher Keenspot in early 2000 and got its own domain name.
The first series ran from 1999 to about mid-2001, and was then 'finished off' with 4 strips in 2002 to give the story some closure.
The sequel started a year later, introducing a slew of new characters and founded on the same premise as before.
It is notable in that the story actually ended properly.
The third installment of RW began merely three months after RW2 ended, and began as an experimental premise
based on the two most prominent themes from the first two; fourth-walling and the narrator speaking to the characters.
While RW3 got off to a rolling start and developed into a full-blown story, it was cut short and never finished due
to circumstances in the artist's life at the time.
The fourth episode began on what would be RW's 11th birthday, on November 8 2010.
Interwoven throughout the web existence of Road Waffles have been
many other comics authored by Eight, usually
never run in parallel with it but in between the years when it was inactive. Many of these are short stories,
one-shots, or unfinished experiments.
And now, a more detailed synopsis of the series!
This may contain spoilers. I warned you.
Each of the comic's incarnations have a few traits in common. The characters, to some degree, are aware of
their existence as fictitious beings, and with that knowledge the boundaries of reality within fiction are
stretched or given a good kick - there are often self-referential jokes, sudden plot changes, time lapses,
and characters experiencing death and reinsertion in various forms.
Aside from self-awareness, many of the storylines are parodies of movies or popular media, which also serve
as a target for comical quips such as 'This reminds me of a movie I saw.' - 'I think all the main characters
died in it.'
Another theme started in late-RW1 and RW2 was the introduction of alternate-universe versions of past main
characters, opened up by the universe war which was detailed in the latter halves of RW1 and RW2. The known
main characters to have alternates in all three incarnations are Haley, Elegeia, Bruno, and Tash, while a
handful of others are in two, including a small group who even 'crosses over' to the third installment using
a time machine.
One of the most common themes in all three is the presence of a disturbing amount of wanton violence committed
by either the main characters with little or no consequence or by an antagonistic force with no clear motive save
A secondary theme that began in the latter half of RW1 involves the insertion of an unrelated storyline featuring
different characters, mostly because the artist was bored and felt like being experimental.
All three stories are notable for having these offshoots running in tandem with the main story during updates.
In mid-2006 the final strip of Road Waffles 3 was posted on the internet, and the following lack of updates
unofficially ended the comic and left the readers hanging.
In 2007 the homemade archive scripts began to malfunction, associated with the upgrade from PHP4 to PHP5
which left older scripts running on upgraded servers prone to displaying syntax errors. Though the site
still worked for several months it was a hassle for readers to scroll through the PHP errors to read
the comic, and it seemed as if the site was no longer being maintained.
In mid-2008 the "smarchive" script succumbed to several final PHP update errors and the site closed,
as the comic could not be read other than by manually typing in the comic date.
In late 2009 Eight edited the code to fix the PHP errors that caused the site to go offline.
The site then ran as it had prior to the 2008 code crash and viewers could read the comic albeit still with
PHP errors showing up.
As of the 2010 release of RW4, smarchive has been fully upgraded to no longer display any errors.