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

Despite beginnings, Strong Bad has emerged as a main focus of the Homestar Runner site

The villain Strong Bad has emerged as a main focus of the Homestar Runner site. hide caption

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Marzipan, left, and Homestar Runner

Favorite targets: Marzipan, left, and Homestar Runner. hide caption

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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.

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