Cardboard and paper are more than just the medium for the My Cardboard Life. The webcomic imagines that its characters are actually beings of cardboard and paper – with all the powers, limitations, and silly jokes that go with it.
Along with Marlowe the Monster (previously), Philippa Rice's My Cardboard Life is one of the craftier comics online. But where Marlowe was about creating dramatic scenes with cardboard and clay, Rice uses My Cardboard Life to explore the metaphysical possibilities of her medium. Her comic operates under the conceit that her characters – and everything around them – are actually made of paper, cardboard, marker, and pen, and explores what life in that universe might be like.
Sometimes there are groan-inducing puns; when paper Pauline gets her hair highlighted, it's with actual highlighter. When cardboard Colin gets a dog, it's a Cardboarder Collie. But as Rice riffs on her paper people, she comes up with plenty of thoughtful gags. When Pauline gets a bad haircut, she simply tapes her hair back on. Her mother is a paper airplane, and Colin's nieces and nephews are wrapped gift boxes. The recycling sign is this world's most offensive symbol, and when it rains, everything crumples and melts – even the umbrellas.
But Rice doesn't merely constrain herself to jokes about cardboard and paper. She'll introduce other crafty characters – coins, cookies, a doctor made from a single adhesive bandage, and a polar bear who behaves more like a polar bear than the characters tend to suspect. And sometimes she just plays with the personalities she's created, and the office-supply scenes are just another delightful aspect of the comic.