Friday, November 27, 2015

The Classic: Volume Seven

FINALLY I'm up to Volume Seven of Errant Story.  Sorry it took so long.  And of course, I may have screwed up anyway.

The last scene of Volume Six I talked about?  Yeah, it actually happened as part of the first chapter of Volume Seven.  Since there aren't any more volume breaks, or obvious ones anyway, it's kind of hard to tell.  I like my break better though, as it leads right into the real meat of Volume Seven, which is Meji finishes her school project.

Volume Seven also starts throwing random background information into the comic as side notes, and filler.  A lot of the really bad stuff to happen to Poe happened during this period, so the universe building filler helped pad the comic.  It's interesting, but not strictly necessary to the comic's story in the long run.  It does make a point though that the comic's universe was constantly being rewritten as the story went on, changing and modifying as the story required rather than being completely wedded to it.

I covered the final parts of the volume pretty well in my Retrospective on the comic after it ended, but the build up to there is quite interesting too.  The comic speeds along, most of the events taking place over the course of a few days at most.  Most of the cast spend their time in jail cells (where Sara juggles) while Meji is in bed.  Then a white room, where she encounters herself, from THE FUTURE!  Apparently the alt-text (which shows up early in the comic then disappears then reappears in the late comic) says people didn't like the scene, not sure why.  I guess I like it better because I've done scenes like that in my various stuff, so it didn't bother me.  There is a reason for it, and I'll get to the white room thing next time.

The final fights in this volume are, well, brief.  It's funny how little action there is in the comic, with most of the real heavy fighting off panel.  But the results are obvious.  The Elven city (whose name I can never bother to remember) is utterly destroyed, a disaster of epic proportions.  It's almost unnerving how quiet it is throughout the first few pages.  Then the explosions start.

Over on TVTropes there's a page dedicated to the headscratcher of the comic:  Why are they saving the elves?  They're complete jerks for the most part, awful across the board in fact.  They are horrible and terrible people from the long view.  Sarine gives her answer as to why in this Volume, because some of them ARE innocent, and if means saving the jerks to save them, then so be it.  The truth though, is that the elves don't matter.  This is all about Ian, and saving HIM is the point.  He admits, while he's beating up the one person he cares about that's still alive, that what he's doing is evil, but it's all he can think to do with his great power.  His naked form in the white room bitches about how he got the short end of the stick constantly, but really he didn't, he just didn't deal with the challenges in life in a meaningful way.  He almost forgot completely about those that cared for him, and in his blindness would have killed them all.

That said, I do still stick with my contention that this was more Sarine's story than either Meji or Ian's.  She really is the major mover of the plot from pretty much the get go, and she's the one who wraps up the whole thing at the end, finally healing, for the most part, a 1000 year old wound.  She also gets the child she always wanted, from Jon, which by this point should be no surprise.

The comic ends with the note that the world didn't END with the story.  Something a lot of people forget is that life goes on after the adventure, so Sarien and Jon's kid, Sara's wanderings and Meji's attempt to change the world aren't just an afterthought, but a full on story in and of themselves.  At the same time, Errant Story, the comic, does draw to a satisfying ending, and one I wish I could have been more timely about.

Next time, I wrap up The Classic.  Until then kiddies, and hope you had a happy Thanksgiving (for those who celebrate it anyway).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Best Laid Plans

I had time off this week, and then it went away.  Stupid work.

I really hate these posts.  I keep a category for them to remind myself that there are many.  Thus, more nothing.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Gunning of Age part 2 and Dumberkrigg Court

I couldn't help the title.

Despite the last few weeks being an absolute mess, I am making an effort to stay up on things.

Dumbing of Age more or less finished it's story about a father, his daughter and the gun he brought to drag her ass home.  It ended with Joyce punching him out.  I haven't read any of Willis' other works, but I do remember a panel I saw from Get Walky, I think, where Joyce was powered up like a Super Saien, so I suppose this is likely in character for her from that.  From DoA itself, it is more a sign that while she tries to be the nice girl, when push comes to shove, she will break you in half if you tick her off.

While I'm still not sure about whether it was meant to be a commentary on the shootings that happened right before it started, I think it was very well done.  No one got shot, though someone did nearly get crushed by a car, twice.  Fun.  The ending, though, was probably the most important, when Joyce say's she misses home, but every time it comes to visit her, she begins to hate it.  I have heard that Willis had a similar, general experience (Joyce is him working out those demons apparently), so this is probably very much what he felt during such a transition.  I really should read some of the other comics in group, just to see if that stuff comes to the surface there.

Gunnerkrigg Court, meanwhile, had Annie finally reunited with her inner flame and filled with determination, and fire, to retrieve Reynard from her father.  She banged on the door, demanded him back, and Tony gave him to her.  Chapter end.  Yeah, that was it, that was the whole chapter.  A title page and a single page.

I think it's partly a response to all the fan noise around the current storyline, and party an attempt to add some levity that has been sorely missing as of late.  I love the timing of it, the set up and all.  He even carried right on through with post chapter page.  And of course Coyote could be blamed for it all.

So while I'm still stupid busy (oddly this is the SLOW season), I hope to be back to do the last Volume of Errant Story and I hope to have it all finished by the end of November.  No promises, there's some job I may have to do which involves Walmart and Black Friday.  If I die, I'll have someone say something.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, November 6, 2015


So tired, but must go to work.  It's 4 am on friday, first time I've had a chance to write that I didn't have time for a post this week.  Weeeee. . . .

Friday, October 30, 2015

Best laid plans

I WAS going to finish the Volume Seven of Errant story this week.  Then my week got wrecked by random jobs.  Horray?

I do have one bit of news:  Apparently Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks are NOT ending.  A kickstarter that I suspected was meant to save at least one, ended up saving both.  So I don't have to do retrospectives on them any more.  So there's that.

Next time kiddies.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Gunning of Age

So as I was finishing last week's edition of The Classic, I was reading my comics and I came to Dumbing of Age.

David Willis' comic is a quasi reboot of his many other comics, none of which I've read (I've seen maybe 3 strips of Shortpacked, maybe).  I say quasi reboot because he turned back the clock on all of them and sent them to college.  There they deal with the common tropes of college and a lot of LGBT stuff because. . . I guess because it's topical, but that's hard to say because again, I've never read any of the other comics.

Then someone pulled out a gun.

Backing up.  Becky is Joyce's is best friend from home.  Becky randomly arrived at the school to visit Joyce, but mostly she was running away after being kicked out of the all Christian school she was sent to because, well, she's gay.  Her father came looking for her and it looked, initially, like it would be a hijinks thing where he would nearly catch his daughter, but something would get in the way.  Pretty standard stuff, and if well done could be a pretty funny running gag.

Then he randomly spots her and pulls out a shotgun.  Considering this was just after a series of actual shootings on college campuses, I have to wonder at the timing of this.  I know most comic artists don't keep extensive buffers (Howard Talyor is an exception rather than the rule), so it's possible that Willis decided to change this route right after the real world events happened, it could also just be a coincidence.

It's kind of ballsy to take on such an event directly, even if the opening move was a Jurassic Park joke.  The point is that such tragedies are hard to joke about, at least right away, and given the more realistic nature of Dumbing of Age, odds are good this will not have a good ending, something even pointed out within the comic itself.

The storyline isn't over yet, but it's likely not going to have a happy ending.  I suspect that someone will be shot (not killed, shot, there is a difference), and originally I thought it might be Joyce, but that's probably a bridge too far at the moment.  Still, when it ends, I'll try to follow up on it.

Until next time kiddies.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Classic: Volume Six

Volume Six of Errant Story is the final chance to avert everything that will happen in Volume Seven, and of course doesn't avert it at all.  I know that makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

Throughout Volume Six, there are chances to make alternate decisions, easy decisions in fact.  And I don't mean ones from the various government agencies involved, as they are dead set to do what they will and while it wouldn't have been good, it certainly wouldn't have been what occurred.  No, the real decisions all came down to two people:  Sarine and Ian.

Ian's path is probably the most straight forward as he's been kind of deteriorating mentally for some time.  He's going nuts, and I think he knows it.  What control he has managed to lead him back to Leah and Riley (I think this is the last time they show up in the comic BTW) for a brief recovery.  For a moment he even wanted to go back to the healing thing, which nearly killed him last time but he's come around to the idea of not dying while doing it so that's good.

Then the bombshell comes that some of the people he healed the first time reverted, and at least one died.  I emphasis "some" because many, including Leah, are just fine.  Still, this is enough of a blow to Ian's already fragile mental state, so he decides if the only thing he's good for is killing, then he's going to kill people who deserve it, the Elves.  Once he decides on this path, betting that the's going to be killed in the process, he's off and that's all she wrote.  He could have not done this, of course, if someone, say Meji, had been there to slap some sense into him, but without a tether to keep him grounded (and now I'm mixing metaphors, I think), he might have been able to recover at this point.  He didn't, instead giving into his despair and rage.

The tragedy that forms the basis of Volume Seven is thus in motion, but the other half of the equation is Sarine, and for her the path was more desperation and atonement.  I wrote in the Retrospective that despite the title and every other indication, I think this comic is more about Sarine than anyone else, and this volume really gets to the point.  Meji, Jon and Sara likely would have walked away if Sarine hadn't been pushing them forward, even if not directly.  Sarine is desperate to prevent a massive tragedy, and despite the disdain she has for her own people, she doesn't want them to get all killed.  Yet every decision they make, to her, seems like they want to get themselves killed, or worse.

She has been constantly haunted by the events of the Errant Wars, and her role in it.  The fact that she preferred to leave her people and be a stranger in the world says a great deal about how she felt about it.  It's clear she tracked errants, but actually investigated them, tried to figure out if there was an issue then she killed them if necessary.  It's gotten to her, and she's trying to undo the damage in some small way.  She's the only one looking to talk to Ian, even knowing how he feels about elves in general.

To this end, she begins a process of trying to talk the rest of the Elves out of, um, raiding god's tomb, then finding ways to convince them not to raid god's tomb, to just trying to get there first to keep them from raiding god's tomb.  I should note that Sarine has a lot of plans, and rarely do they go well at all.  When the talking doesn't work, she starts sacrificing things, starting with her loyality to the Elves as a whole, asking for asylum and hoping her information will, again, stop this from even happening.  When that doesn't work, she gives up personal mementos as bribes to keep things moving along just so she has a SHOT at stopping all this before it happens.

In the end, she even has to kill one of her friends and fellow rangers, Sarna and why couldn't they have names that don't look so similar with the font they use?  Dear god that could be confusing at times.  In any case, she continues to aim towards a higher end, but her actions move the players in ways they might not have done so without her machinations, or attempt at them anyway.  This lines everything up in such a way that when Ian finally bursts through the ceiling with Anita and an army of the undead (yeah, he's building one), things are going to go from bad to worse very quickly.  Though they also have a chance now, where before, there would just be a lot of dead elves.

Jon follows Sarine because he's in love with her, Sara follows because Jon is going and Meji goes along because she wants to save Ian, somehow.

And of course, the final scene has an elf mage trying to absorb Senilis, and that guarantees Volume Seven as a whole.

The final push to this ending is a bit frantic, but methodical.  The steps are there all along, and they seem to move quickly, but really it's not so much.  I think, and I could be wrong, but while there are more chapters, I think there are less pages overall through Volume Six, which makes it seem to go by much faster than it would have otherwise.  It helps that most of the dialog is unnecessary.

My last note here is that this is where a lot of filler strips, mostly featuring Bani and Sara, start popping up.  Poe had a lot of issues come up during this period and pushing into the next volume:  first his father died, then he nearly died in a car accident, then his WIFE nearly just died in something that is the most dramatic thing I have ever seen (she survived) so the fact that not only was Errant Story still updating, but Does Not Play Well With Others was going at the same time is just damn amazing.  The filler strips don't take that much away from the story, though they do pop up at inopportune moments, but it's clear keeping the coming going was the main goal, even if it wasn't the main story as such.

Next time, the end of Errant Story, but not the end of The Classic.  Until then kiddies.