Guido goes where he probably shouldn’t.
OK, here’s the last part of my look at webcomics that were sent to me by their creators over Twitter. Thanks to everybody that participated and I’ll likely ask people to shoot me some URLs again sometime next month for the second round. If you’ve not caught up, here’s part one and here’s part two.
Strange Candy by E.Snodgrass, A. Brownlow, K. Olympia, and J.Baird
A fantasy humor manga with no shortage of in-jokes and cultural references for those in the know. From someone on the outside looking in, it’s like a glitter-covered tax form: confusing and shiny. It has been going on for eight years, however, so there must be something going for it.
Strip For Me: Complex by Douglas Noble
Smart, apocalyptic science fiction with a rough-hewn look to the art that builds the mood very nicely. This one’s in its infancy but looks to have a lot of potential.
Supertrue!!! by Max Huffman
Max Huffman’s journal comics are a scream. He needs to do more. Someone get him on that.
Tech-Diff by Donna McGarry and David Shirley
This purports to be “A comic following the life and trials of Crag Smashface, his long suffering room mate Mel and his idol the world’s greatest super hero Emo Man.” In reality, it seems that there’s no real characters, no story, just “jokes” that frequently require an intimate knowledge of whatever the creators are into at any given time.
The Black Cherry Bombshells by John Zito & Anthony Trovarello
I’ve never quite clicked with this popular Zuda strip about post-apocalyptic Las Vegas and the titular girl gang. The storytelling seems very choppy to me, depending more on the next high concept than anything else and while the art has improved dramatically, it rarely manages to pull off the action sequences this series thrives on.
The Elves of Lleu Garnock by Irene Pitcairn
A longform, derivative fantasy comic. If the title appeals to you, then you’ve got nothing to lose by taking a look. I will say that the art gets cleaner and stronger over the run, reminding me a bit of both Linda Medley and Colleen Doran.
The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats by Adam Koford
An unstoppable juggernaut of meme-meets-classic-cartooning that I very much enjoy. It’s amazing how he’s built two characters that speak almost exclusively in sampled soundbites. I discussed Koford’s new book previously.
The Mighty Jambo by George Beedham
A superhero-slacker comic that, frankly, starts off pretty dire but improves massively once it becomes about the punching and shooting. Beedham’s art improves along with the story with his storytelling becoming stronger as the strip continues, but I will say that his adherence to comic book art makes for occasionally odd webcomic moments, such as the frequent double-page spreads that require the reader to click to view them in another window.
The Night Owls by Peter Timony and Robert Timony
Oh, this is a heck of a thing that the Timonys are doing. A retro strip that moves along at a fair clip, with each individual page containing at least one and sometimes multiple plot beats. It looks downright gorgeous too.
The Suckerboys by Jim Thorpe
A very nicely-drawn strip that doesn’t really do anything new, as it features two slackers with nerdy inclinations, but chugs right along anyway. Thorpe’s art is a high point: his facial expressions are dead on and his characters’ body language serves as a nice primer to other creators.
Things Change by Derik Badman
I’m sort of shocked I’ve never come across this one before. A thematically-dense comic that circles around the idea of metamorphoses with art that’s greatly accentuated by Badman’s use of two-tone color schemes on the majority of pieces. The beginning seems a bit “and now it’s time for the author to masturbate about how great he is,” but after that it’s a very engaging, very human piece of work.
Willow’s Grove by Karl Kleese
Cute animals get kidnapped by aliens and try to find their way back to Earth. The art seems a bit stiff to me, but there were enough chuckles to keep me going through the entire archive so far.
Xeno’s Arrow by Greg Beettam and Stephen Geigen-Milller
There’s something very 1980s-black-and-white-indie about this science fiction comic, and I mean that in a good way. The dialogue’s feels a bit contrived, the setting (a group of aliens escape a massive intergalactic zoo) a bit too familiar, and the art hits a lot of the same notes that Keith Giffen did after he discovered MuÃ±oz’s work, but it all comes together just so to make a comic that’s comfortable and interesting. Funny, how that works out.
Aaaand I looked at some more strips from people who submitted their URLs to my hateful gaze. You may want to also look at Part One. Part Three will be up on Friday hopefully.
Harmless Free Radicals by “Fenmere, The Worm”
I really enjoyed the strips I read from this (a chunk from the early days, and the last 30 or so updates.) The earlier strips have a “very good for a college newspaper” feel and while more frequent updates would really help the flow of the strip since it moved away from the gag format to a longform narrative, there’s clearly a lot of thought put into the characters and the art is very easy on the eyes.
I Can Draw Better Than This by “Fenmere, The Worm”
Another comic by the creator whose name makes my teeth grind like a motherfucker. I Can Draw Better Than This is experimental, sometimes funny, and occasionally a pure distillation of comics. I love the presentation more than the (good, to be sure) comics: it’s drawn on index cards and photographed, which leads to the only complaint I have: the comics should be larger.
I Rule The Night by Kevin Colden
You guys, I thought Colden’s Fishtown was good and showed a lot of promise but this shit is fire. I don’t want to say anything about the plot because, honestly, the initial reveal about the lead is too good to spoil, but the 21 pages on Zuda so far had me chomping at the bit for more, even if he’s working on themes touched on by creators Alan Moore and Rick Veitch among others. Gorgeous and blackly funny, it’s easily the best thing I’ve seen on DC’s webcomic site.
Kitsune Kiki by Samuel and David Thomas
Superbly polished, highly derivative American-made manga.
Nemu Nemu by KimonoKitsy Studios
If you can handle too-cute, baby-talking stuffed animals more than I can, then this manga webcomic is likely made for you. I just do not have that kawaii gene outside of Yotsuba and Hello Kitty, I suppose.
Not Artistically Strong by George Beedham
Truth in advertising, I suppose, but I actually was pretty charmed by Beedham’s very British (there’s enough Doctor Who gags to qualify this strip for the Gallifreyian Medal Of Nerditude,) occasionally very funny look at his life. Autobiocomics are a dime a dozen, particularly on the web, but it’s nice to see someone manage to be both self-deprecating and sure of themselves.
Par for the Core by “Fenmere, The Worm”
We’ll come back when he’s got more than a half-dozen pages up of this interesting-looking comic about parkour.
Requiem by James Roden
It’s a science-fiction comic done using CGI with a backstory that reads like it belongs in an RPG manual. It’s pretty much the platonic ideal of what I’m not interested in, but I can definitely see it having an audience out there among people who masturbate to Kim Stanley-Robinson and David Brin novels while logged into Second Life.Â (I’m teasing.Â Honest.)
Sam & Lilah by Jim Dougan and Hyeondo Park
A gorgeously-drawn, lushly-colored romance comic that is so damn celebratory that I can’t help but think it’s worth a look, even if my back teeth still ache from the over-the-top cuteness.
Shades by David Berner and Harsho Mohan Chattoraj
This ongoing superhero story feels a lot like an early Warren Ellis comic for Avatar, but without his trademark dialogue. (Speaking of dialogue, though, the writer admits that the latest installment features a near-direct lift from The Dark Knight Returns. I admire that sort of honesty, even if it seemed closer to a tribute than an out-and-out swipe.)
So, I asked people on Twitter to give me a shout if they made a webcomic.Â Thanks to “retweets” (blergh) by Deb Aoki and a few other people, I got quite a nice batch of responses.Â I’m going to divide this up into three parts so it’s a bit more manageable for everyone and hopefully you’ll actually click on all of the links that interest you versus being overwhelmed.
Abandon: First Vampire by Greg Carter and Eliot Dombo
Manga-influenced online graphic novel about a vampire who has adventures while confronting her past.Â There’s quite a lot of stabbing in the first bit, so I will probably go back to check out some more.
Alternate Delusions by Tim Volpe
One of those comics that feels very quaint, with the Zentraedi-like bulk of poorly-drawn, geek-centric strips like User Friendly looming over it menacingly.
Children of the Tiger by Melissa Stone
From the site’s “about” page: “It is a webcomic by Melissa Stone that is based on her novelette of the same name. It will be four parts in length.” That translates to “Not for Kevin, but if you like that sort of thing, you can do much, much worse.”
Cold Iron Badge by Stephen Geigen-Miller and Patrick Heinicke
A fantasy-world police procedural.Â Think Life On Mars meets Lars Brown’s NorthWorld.Â I imagine I’m in the minority when I say I like the earlier look of the strip compared to the more manga-influenced style being used right now, but I do like what I’ve seen of the characters and their world.
Construction Paper Angst by Topher McCulloch
It’s a semi-auto-bio-comic that’s been recently revived.Â Points for the clever use of construction paper, however there are penalties for the sporadic nature of updates and impossible-to-decipher writing that surely seemed funny to the author at the time.Â We’ll call it a wash.
Dark Side of the Horse by Samson
The wordless strips here really, really sing and I love the two-tone art.Â It feels very much like a classic strip that’s been unearthed, and that’s a good thing.
Dragon’s Fall by William Alexander Righetti and Irene Pitcairn
This hasn’t started yet, but the people involved mentioned it anyway.Â So, you know.Â There will be something there soon.Â The “cover” posted has nice coloring.
El Gorgo! by Mike McGee and Tamas Jakab
We’ve been over this before.Â This is better than you deserve.
Entry Level Hipster Garbage by Max Huffman and Ethan (Who Has No Last Name Listed)
When you go to the site, you get confronted with some page that is like “The series has launched,” but go and click on “First Comic” or “Latest Comic” and you’ll see that the title does a good job of explaining it.Â A lot of the jokes here seem a bit forced, but I really like Huffman’s facial expressions and how he conveys action in his sketchy style.Â It’s nice to see a comic that isn’t rendered to the nth degree.
Fera by David Shirley
“Follow the adventures of this rag tag group as they travel the lost planet of Mu.”Â Imagine my disappointment that this is not about the KLF having said adventures.Â Not my cup of tea at all.
George by John Norton
It’s interesting that I read a big swath of a comic with the exact style of face that I hate (see also: User Friendly) and jokes that were pretty hackish without really feeling like I was wasting my time.Â Maybe it was the Two And A Half Men effect, where things are moving along just enough to keep you engaged even if you know there’s better out there.
Hamstah Powah by Samuel Boyd
It’s about hamsters having crazy adventures with “jokes” that make no sense.Â I’m sure it’s wildly popular with a certain sort of person.
OK, so a few weeks ago I had one of those brainstorms that occasionally happens when I’ve been seriously caffeinating and thankfully, I was in touch with my frequent partner on things writerly Josh, who agreed to draw it. We were going to do a series of (let’s call them) tributes to the great adventure strips of the 30s and 40s except, instead of featuring Dirk Chinley or Roger Handsome, we’d use a man who’s always innovated, fought for what he believed was right, made women tremble just so, and most importantly, dressed amazingly.
I was going to write a webcomic about Prince as a CIA agent in the 80s. Morris Day was going to be his Felix Leiter. Prince would only speak in lyrics to his own songs. It was going to be a black-and-white comic that was spot-colored purple. It was going to be a loving genre pastiche that served as an appreciative, humorous panegyric to a musician I held no small amount of respect and awe for.
Then, he said this:
Recently, Prince hosted an executive who works for Philip Anschutz, the Christian businessman whose company owns the Staples Center. â€œWe started talking red and blue,” Prince said. â€œPeople with money—money like that—are not affected by the stock market, and they’re not freaking out over anything. They’re just watching. So here’s how it is: you’ve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.” He pointed to a Bible. “But there’s the problem of interpretation, and you’ve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn’t. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re, like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.”
When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, â€œGod came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ “
And, well, that was that, then. We shut it down. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to give any more money to him as well. If he can be judgmental about things like basic human rights, then I can be judgmental about how I spend my money and energy.
He probably would have sued our asses off anyway, huh?
(Yes, I’ve heard that someone in his camp told Perez Hilton that he was misquoted, but forgive me for believing The New Yorker over that twat, at least for now.)
In addition to their pay-to-download comics available through EyeMelt, Slave Labor Graphics has joined Top Shelf, BOOM!, and a few other publishers in offering free webcomics that will appeal to their customer base written and drawn creators whose books they offer.
The site navigation’s a bit odd: while the first page is fairly straightforward, the landing pages for each strip are confusing and don’t offer the latest installment, only a way to get there with another click. This is likely due to their website’s content management platform, which is more retail and general-information oriented. Worringly, I can’t actually find an link for the new webcomics in their sidebar or through the top navigation bar, and the link to “Eyemelt – Comic Downloads” on the left (the easiest cross-sell they’ve got for the webcomics) goes to a paltry selection on the Slave Labor site, not the actual EyeMelt.com store, where quite a bit more is on offer.
(Tangent: That right there is something that a lot of publishers do: they don’t canonize a version of a product or service and stick to it. The EyeMelt.com site uses “EyeMelt” while the SLG site uses “Eyemelt.” It’s something that subliminally wears your brand down, even if it seems like it’s no big deal.)
“If You’re So Smart” is really, really clever and made me laugh out loud. It should also be noted that it’s supremely easy to navigate and doesn’t require a special reader or Flash or any of that junk. I like that.
(I think one of my Cthulhu Tales stories will be online soon-ish. Maybe.)
- There’s a new Thingpart collection that can be yours for $5. You know what to do, right? Right? Quietly, this has become one of my favorite comic strips on the internet.
- New-ish pal Paul Horn does Cool Jerk, a comic that I’ve come to love for its sheer disdain for what’s “hip” and instead following Paul’s insane muse. (No, Darlene, I’m not talking about you.) The interface on his website is amusingly Web 1.0, but it’s worth the multiple clicks just to check out his linework and fantastic cartooning. You can also buy his books, which I think are well worth it.
- Have you checked out Comic Critics, the webcomic about people who read and comment on comics? You should; I’ve talked about Brandon Hanvey’s work in the past and really liked it.
- I really need to email Joe Infurnari back, so to remind myself, I’m sticking this link to the stunning The Transmigration of ULTRA-Lad here. Find me a better-looking webcomic and I’ll say it’s a goddamn hoax.
This is probably the best 24-hour comic I’ve seen.
Also, you might not actually be able to read this complete Afrodosiac-meets-Dracula comic because of the tiny, tiny images used, but at least you know it’s out there and will appear in the upcoming Meathaus anthology.