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Strong Bad Walks in Footsteps of Darth, Lex, J.R.

Favorite targets: Marzipan, left, and Homestar Runner.
Favorite targets: Marzipan, left, and Homestar Runner.
The villain Strong Bad has emerged as a main focus of the Homestar Runner site.
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The villain Strong Bad has emerged as a main focus of the Homestar Runner site.

There are lots of nasty characters lurking in the shadowy corners of the World Wide Web. But Strong Bad is just awful. And he's awfully funny, too.

Strong Bad sports a Mexican wrestler's mask and wears boxing gloves all the time. He's the bane of Homestar Runner's existence. And who is Homestar? He's a slightly dim high school jock with a bowling-pin-shaped girlfriend named Marzipan.

Did we say bowling-pin-shaped? Yes, because Strong Bad, Homestar and Marzipan are all cartoon characters residing at homestarrunner.com, a flash-animation Web site created by brothers Mike and Matt Chapman. Out of their basement. The site is visited by more than a million viewers a month, and updated weekly, as John Ydstie found out in a visit with the Chapman brothers.

Homestarrunner.com may remind some of the foul-mouthed animated TV comedy South Park, which also draws its charm from cleverly executed bad animation and irresistably amateurish voices. But these toons are mostly G-rated, and more interested in goofball humor than gross-out comedy. So it attracts a lot of younger fans.

Parents will want to take a look to make sure it's right for their youngsters, but they are likely to find themselves equally amused.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.