My brother-in-law is a very cool guy. Disconcertingly eager at times, a much more talented artist than myself, but I just disagree with him about some things.
So, webcomics. I spent a few work hours reading up on Vanessa Davis' comics. It's a concise narrative journal comic about growing up as a New York Jew, then as a Jew elsewhere. It has all the normal comics about sibling rivalry and parental tension, but it's a nice change of pace from other mediocre journal comics (*cough*) by dropping 3 page self contained 'episodes.'
Yellow Peril bills itself as the only media with an asian protagonist that is drawn by Jamie Noguchi. Upon looking through his 'about' page looking for his last name for the previous sentence, I became aware that he was the artist for freakin Erfworld. If you follow webcomics at all, you'll recognize the name, as it shared a site with the Order of the Stick for awhile. No offense to the current artist, but I was disappointed when he left the project. Yellow Peril is placed in an office setting with all the standard jokes about endless meetings, unrealistic deadlines, and perhaps the occasional office romance. The archive isn't expansive enough to get a really good grip on where it's going, but it's drawn well and the dialogue does not offend.
Do you guys know about Adam Phillips' Bitey videos? He hasn't put up any recent videos that I'm aware of to prompt the sudden plugging, but a friend of mine was just inquiring about Newgrounds series to check out and I was reminded. They are extremely imaginative, funny, and gloriously animated. I can add more adjectives to describe it: mesmerizing, awe-inspiring, gasp-inducing. Just watch one.
03/11: Mute Button
Sad and Useless has a nice backlog of fairly interesting pictures, in addition to their standard blog.
The Board pictured is the PPC - an internet community dedicated to mercilessly ridiculing bad fanfic. I'm actually just getting into it myself.
03/08: Ground Rules
I would just like to say that I feel slightly guilty about not liking the food - but then she didnt' like any of the youtube videos I showed her, so I feel that my actions were justified.
I also feel that it is my duty to inform you that Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell. Being a mostly moral, socially upstanding everyman can only take you so far when you are responsible for making the Dalai Lama retarded. Darwin lives in a world where magical creatures are everyday creatures - he lives with several pothead angels and he has a pet Manticore. Skittles the Manticore is actually one of the main characters, and manages to pull off being both ignorantly cute and immortally wise. Overall the comic is drawn in a simple elegant style that is soothing to the eye, and the dialogue and story are easily passable. It's a nice way to spend an hour trawling through the archives.
I'm playing more Demon's Souls right now.
03/01: Leveraging Synergies
Fans of Oglaf will probably appreciate a comic like Curvy - mixing near equal parts of bizarre humor, fantasy, and sex. Anaïs is a normal girl in Boring World who is visited by a Princess of Candy World - hijinks (particularly the horizontal mambo kind) ensue. It's much more narrative driven than Oglaf is, with wacky candy-based puns and gimmicks giving way to relationship issues. Your mileage may vary, but I couldn't stop laughing until I hit the end of the backlog.
Someone linked me Loserz, an old comic that stopped updating back in 2007. I recognized the art style as the same as Slipshine's Linburger (I read it for the articles too). The most recent strips of Loserz are actually fairly entertaining - delve much further than that and you are treated to drawn out storyarchs revolving around relationships and nerd jokes. They aren't particularly funny, and the writing was not endearing enough to keep me interested in reading more. Linburger is a pornographic comic first and an interesting Fantasy/Cyberpunk story second. Combined with awkward poses and poor proportions, it fails to be very arousing, and the story and characters aren't good enough to tolerate multiple panels of phalluses that are as long as women's torsos.
02/25: Music Lessons
Quite a jump in theme, I think. I was probably going overboard with the generous use of Surprise Sex, and I'm sure my tiny tiny fanbase suffered for it. Well, time to alienate the ones who are left!
I've only got mediocre comics today. Commissioned Comic follows fictional character O, a comic version of himself. Whenever the comics doesn't revolve around him playing role playing games with his friends, he's taking them on outrageous romps into the wider world - that is, outside of his basement. This usually results in him making a mess or showcasing his amazing skills as a nerd (maybe both). The jokes heavily follow standard pen and paper rpg tropes, so if this is your first of such comics you may enjoy it, otherwise you'll find it a fairly well drawn derivative comic.
A friend of mine showed me Venus Envy as a better example of one of the few comics that deal with transexual characters. It's apparently that or The Wotch (I'll spare you a link that will degrade your IQ). The comic follows Zoe, a girl that was born biologically a boy, and later Larson, a boy born biologically as a girl. While it deals with the fairly complex issues of growing up with the stigma attached to such situations, it starts poorly drawn and it's attempts at humor often fall flat. Alot of the plot lines follow Zoe drooling over boys, which is not a particularly thrilling plot in less unusual comics, and does no better here.The art has steadily improved, but if the current storyarch (involving a friend that tries to kill Zoe because she thinks Zoe 'is perfect and has everything handed to her') is any indication, the writing hasn't.
I have no current plans to change the name to Sexual Assault Comix, but I'll keep you posted.
I caught up to the archive on Eros Inc. Doing so always leaves you with a kind of mixed feeling, where you're happy that you no longer have more archives to trudge through, but that now you no longer have any archives to trudge through. Now you're stuck with waiting for the normal update schedule. Of course for me, since I have literally over a hundred comics I've read, I probably won't be coming back to this comic for awhile.
Just to fill up this blog space a bit more, if you ever get tired of using TinyURL, the website that Twitter has probably made famous, you can start using Shady URL - just like Tiny URL except it only shrinks the URL if you explicitly tell it too, and it makes your link 200% less attractive to click. Take the following link for example: http://5z8.info/bomb_f5o6o_open.exe
I realize the joke is effectively over since the Rose Parade did it, yes.
I blame the weirdness of this comic getting alot of the art done after midnight. Ominous (abstractly represented in the above comic) is hosting a game of Diplomacy for me and a few other online friends, so I finally took the time to learn about what Austria-Hungary was like at the turn of the 19th century. Then my roomates wanted to finish watching Zombieland.
I found a webcomic named Gun Show Comic - I'd been introduced to the author of it, KC Green, through another comic i had read before, Hate Song. It reminds me of a less depressing and more advanced art version of Pictures for Sad Children. Hmm, that doesn't sound like a very good comparison. However it's late, so I don't think i'll scroll down my list trying to find good parrallels. Gun Show is alot of one-shot comics (with the exception of his Anime Club storyline) of varying length. It's pretty hard to describe a comic that tends to change it's art style, format, and genre with every strip, so I'll just say check it out - it's one of those comics you'll either love or hate.
I haven't actually finished any comics this week - been hanging out with friends, visiting my parents, and spending alot of time messing around on Imperium Nova. But I have been reading a comic called Eros Inc., about a company dedicated to finding people love. Mot Fleishman is shanghaid into being a Cupid, which involves being delivered a name and then matching said name to a romantic partner. The task is often both education and taxing as Mot stumbles over her own problems with relationships (and soon with the company itself). With only this comic to spot, I better stop writing about it before it turns into what you'd read on a back-of-book synopsis.
02/11: Timing Off
Now I should make it clear that I'm not advocating making life difficult for service personnel that insist on enforcing trivial things that most likely don't have any impact on the business - okay yes I am.
Nerds of Paradise is by one of the makers of A Lesson is Learned (But the Damage is Irreversible), a fantastic webcomic of surrealism that discontinued some time ago. It has a mild surrealism about it that reminds me of Subnormality - just that it's an actual comic rather than a written work parading as a comic.
Dead Winter is another zombie comic - although not a post apocalyptic one. This is during the initial spread of the desease, with the city crawling with undead as a few survivors scavenge for shelter and supplies. It has an interesting 'larger than life action hero' attachment to it though, so you are following our waitress protagonist Elizabeth in parrallel to our anti-hero Black Monday, a mercenary who's been sent to the city for a 'game.' Halfway through the archive it's obvious that zombies are only a minor obstacle to what the group faces.
02/08: Parting Words
Pretty shitty art this time around I'm afraid. Kind of a rush job to get it done on time - I was preoccupied with Inglorious Bastands. Trust me, this is a step up from when I would have just skipped the comic entirely. Thus is my new dedication.
Several more webcomics this week - enough of them that I wonder if I shouldn't just save more of them for Thursday, since I'm not sure if I'll even be reading more of them by then. I read up to the archive of The Zombie Hunters some time ago actually, but tragedy struck, as is wont to happen occasionally: I forgot about it. I must have been removed from my bookmarks before it was properly archived. Not breaking new ground exactly with a new post-apocolypse zombie setting, but the art is good and the characters are fun.
I was looking for comics with a steampunk feel to them - I knew surprisingly few of them when I actually looked back. A friend of mine started pointing out several from a category list. And while the vast majority of the ones he linked were not in fact steampunk comics (a few rare steampunk elements at best), some of them were very good comics regardless. Red Moon Rising is one of those. RMR is actually a gritty fantasy setting where technology is driven by mages, which the government keeps a tight control of. The story itself follows Adrianna, a runaway mage who is picked up for her knowledge of her brother. The comic also has a gorgeous painted, faded look to it that matches the setting perfectly.
Eh, that's enough for today. More comics thursday.
Take That, American Elf.
I've been on a comic binge lately. I actually finished Machine Flower awhile ago, but wasn't updating the site when I did, so it got buried in my bookmarks. It's a Manga-style comic about a group of young children who are experimented on in order to unlock superpowers. The comic hasn't come far enough to really differentiate itself from similar stories of it's fairly obvious story and characters, but the main character is fun enough to read.
I actually just ran across Axe Cop while i was making today's comic. Since it has only a handful of comics, I finished it off in only a few minutes - the time it would normally take to read was probably quadrupled with the time I spent clutching my side from laughing so hard. If the credits are to be believed, while the strip is drawn by 29 year old Ethan Nicolle, the brainchild and writer of the comic is 5 year old Malachai Nicolle (from reading the blog, it seems that Ethan does some <i>interpretation</i> of the work, but it's mostly his little brother). As explained in his Q&A, Axe Cop became a cop by picking up an axe, walking into a police station, then going out to fight crime. Honestly, the strip speaks for itself far better than I could - take 10 minutes and go read it.
I also read through the relatively short archive of Guilded Age, a quite entertaining fantasy adventure comic. Unusual in it's surprising and successful attempts to subvert normal fantasy comic stereotypes, Guilded Age shows women in practical clothing, makes Dwarves and Elves vicious and feared by man, and has Berserkers that are cool-headed and contemplative. Each character has a backstory - some deeper and some more humorous than others - but each is unique, which of course leads to hilarious schenanigans. It also has alt-text - something I didn't realize until well through the comic.
I've actually been working this week mostly, so no webcomics read at work. Combined with helping a friend paint his house, going to a relative's birthday party, and watching Invader Zim with another friend, I haven't had time to spelunk webcomics in my freetime either. Well, I did get a chance to finally catch up on Lackadaisy Cats. It's always fun to read that, although it was of course disappointing that I caught up to a year's worth of comics in only a few minutes.
I've been reading a comic called Commissioned off and on. I could make some crude analogy that compared it to an amalgamation of a couple of other comics, such as saying that it has the zany yet contrived antics of Ctl+Alt+Del while revolving between a series of roleplaying storylines a la Irregular Webcomic, but I would never sink so low. Particularly noteable jokes are few, and none of the characters even try to surpass 2 dimensions, but there are certainly worse comics to whittle time away on.
Probably one of the most visually impressive webcomics I've read thus far is The Meek. It's not just detail or shading either - the characters have a unique style, action flows well, expressions are fantastic - this is to say nothing of the engaging story and characters. The Meek follows a young girl named Angora as she attempts to puzzle out a vague prophecy left by her grandfather. Her immediate goal is to find the "lost man" - a search that leads her to a drunk named Pinter. There's ample nudity as well (at least in the first chapter) if that's a draw.
In speaking of nudity, the star of tonight is actually Flipside. Not quite as impressive visually (although no slouch in the drawing department either), Flipside sports a long archive (much longer if you delve into Book 0, which could be considered "additional" material to the main comic, even though it's actually just the earlier archives). This gives alot more time to establish the extremely deep characters that The Meek hasn't quite had enough time to develop. Of course, by "extremely deep characters" I mean it's one main character, Maytag. The story starts out centered on a young boy named Chest, but Maytag quickly steals the show. By the time the story moves out of the initial town, Chest has become a supporting character.
While Maytag's bag of tricks (her most potent she doesn't keep in her extra-dimensional bag) and winning personality are a treasure to read, the world of Flipside itself is engaging. Political entities clash for power over the continent, and an enigmatic "Thin Man" threatens everyone with dangerous magical artifacts and constructs. The comic manages a fair amount of drama, which is often broken up by comedic "Intermissions" where a chibi-Maytag is hit by bricks. (Oh, and there's nudity in this too, since i didn't explain that too well in the beginning).