Follow: Hashtag the Planet

Hashtag the Planet is a one pane webcomic from artist Ann Merritt. Meritt works in a very different style from a lot of other webcomic creators. Her comics are not narrative or sight gag driven. She develops an idea inspired by her life into simple representational text and imagery.

I had the chance to briefly meet the woman behind Hashtag the Planet at New York Comic Con last weekend. Her display was one of the more eye-catching ones in Artist Alley. The simple booth was framed with twin metal photography trees holding wrapped versions of her one pane comics. Her large black and white banner, candy-colored artwork, and bright demeanor were enough to draw a crowd for a very different style of art.

"I don't have a set publishing schedule," she said. "I try to get at least one a month, but sometimes can do one every two or three days. It really depends on if I'm inspired."

Hashtag the Planet is, of all things, a product inspired by Twitter. Hashtags (#[whatever]) are used to easily identify topics on Twitter. Some people use it to categorize all their posts, using Twitter as a micro-blogging server. Others use it to make jokes. Some have developed lives of their own. #FF, for example, stands for Follow Friday, where you tweet at users you follow to encourage others to do the same. Manufacturers and entertainment media creators encourage you to tweet certain hashtags for discussion and possible giveaways, such as #AGT for America's Got Talent.

In the earliest incarnation of Hashtag the Planet, Ann Merritt would title the comic after Twitter hashtags. The shifting titles have all but disappeared in the comics, but the shorthand used to save characters on Twitter is still there. Love is "lob" and friend is "fren." It's just more of a sign that this is a comic that does not take itself too seriously. The art is loose but identifiable and the ideas land on a scale between silly and relatable.

What it comes down to is this. Hashtag the Planet has its heart in the right place. It's a sweet little distraction that you can get whatever you want from. You can follow the Tumblr here (which seems to be where the comics are uploaded) and find all of the contact information on the homepage.

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