Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 61 - 65

Did you have a good Christmas?  Get everything you wanted?  Oh, you wanted a new batch of reviews?  Well, you're going to be disappointed, as you won't be getting one this week, just some of the old ones.  Sorry kiddies.  ONWARD!

August 04, 2006

61. Scary Go Round - Usually, a funny/twisted reality comic has a kind of straight man/everyman that over time becomes accustomed to the weirdness that fills the comic. Scary Go Round skips this step. It's also one of the few comics I've seen where the death of one of the main characters isn't just remotely possible, but entirely likely to occur. Often multiple times to the same person. I like comics that do weird things like that. It's got a strange form of humor, which is actually humour since I think it's British. The weird things that just sort of comes out of the character's mouth's with no real encouragement are certainly my cup of tea, and probably yours too. I wish he would pick one art style or the other though, switching between the digital and pen and ink is irritating. At least the characters look the same.

TODAY - It ended and was replaced with a new comic, though the link will take you to SGR's archives.  It's a fun comic and while it was still wordy, it managed to keep the weird level at just the right level, and even had a rather uncomfortable moment when Micheal Jackson died (funny, but uncomfortable).  Worth the read for sure.  The new comic?  Haven't read it yet.  Maybe later.

August 09, 2006

62. girl/robot - This comic, I can't truly describe it. The guy on Websnark claims it is cuteness followed by abject horror. I don't disagree. I also think it's funnier than shit. It's worth it.

TODAY - The artist got married and the comic died, in that order.  No explanation, no comment, no hint that it would die, it just did.  I miss this comic.

63. Death to the Extremist - Simplest concept for a comic ever, well, sort of. You'll see. Anyway, you have two quarter circles, 1 black, 2 white (literally) saying strange things to each other. They fight, they love, they find a baby, travel through time, and rap. Simple, yet silly. I think you guys, especially, will like it.

TODAY - It ended only a few months after I found it, which is a shame.  That said, it was a dignified exit, and remained true to it's, um, weird nature.  I should go back and reread it some time.

64. The Pretentious History of Everything - There's a comic book out there called "The History of the Universe" or something like that. This is similar, but done faster and in webcomic form. It's different, and interesting, and fun in its own way.

TODAY - Hasn't updated in years, so it's dead.  No idea what the point of the comic was, I imagine if I looked at his other comic, the one this one supposedly tied into, I would get it, but I haven't so I don't.  Oh well.

65. Panel One - Remember when I said Death to the Extremist was the simplest concept for a comic ever? Panel one beats that into the ground. A comic panel, a dialog bubble and the alphabet battle the evil demon, Teh. Sadly, it's on hiatus after only 24 strips long, which is nuts given how simple it is. Whatever, it's funny, I hope he comes back to finish working on it.

TODAY - Never came back to work on it, so it's dead as a doornail.  Bummer.

Oh god, I just did an entire update of dead comics didn't I?  I haven't done that before, have I?  I'm all depressed now.  Let me see if the next batch will be better.

. . .

No, these are all dead too.  This makes me depressed.  And you know what I do when I'm depressed?  I go read webcomics.  New reviews will be up next week for the new year.  See you then kiddies.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 56 - 60

Another batch of reviews to post.  Hopefully I'll find the time to do some new reviews to add to this list.  Until then, here's some more.

August 04, 2006

56. Lowroad75 - The humorous goth, such a tired, worn concept. At least this is a touch funnier than most. There is an obvious character change as the comic goes on (as in, she grows big boobs, in this comic, it runs off this joke). And that's about it. Not great, but there are worse comics out there.

TODAY - Lowroad75 has changed since I initially read it.  First it ended the original story run and started a new one featuring a family that had to deal with inter-dimensional weirdness.  That was then ended in favor of the current one featuring a demon that isn't as demon as you might think.  Despite my less than stellar review for it, I still read it regularly and it's completely worth my time.

57. Terror Island - Here's a question: Is it really a webcomic if nobody draws anything? Answer: Sure, why the hell not? Two game pieces, Sid and Stephan, are fighting an eternal struggle to convince the other to go grocery shopping. That's it, that's the whole plot. Come on, the comic only 22 strips old, but that's all there is too it and I like it for its method. Reminds me of a certain forum I know in a lot of ways. . .

TODAY - It ended, and I miss this comic and ones like it.  There's just something about the simple chaos of these kind of strips that appeals to me.  It's a good read, so go take a look at it.

58. Contemplating Reiko - I seem to have a lot of comics where some sort of demonic/supernatural element in it. I have no idea why. This is nice and violent, and has a little girl doing unspeakable things to her classmates. It's so cute.

TODAY - This is one of those comics that I really just can't stop reading.  Getting a good chuckle out of it is easy.  Though you can switch it between black, white and red to full color by hovering your mouse over it, I often find the lack of color makes the comic better overall.  But that's just me and why I think the option is provided.

59. Devil's Panties - This should have been with the last batch of reviews but, um, I kind of forgot it. That's not to say it's unforgettable, I still have it on my reading rotation, but you won't find anything really exceptional about it as the run goes on. The early strips are actually some of the best, and it peters out as it goes on. It doesn't get bad, it just doesn't reach the heights of the earlier strips. Still funny enough to read. Oh, and don't talk to her about her spelling, she may do terrible things to you while you sleep.

TODAY - I'm still reading it.  Unlike a lot of other comics that lost steam along the way, this one manages to stay on my list by being inoffensive and not changing the very character of the comic for little to no reason.  It's enjoyable and the jokes are funny, but it's not going to top anyone list of "greatest of all time."

60. This Is Gravity - I have to hold my final judgment on this comic as it's actually very young (older than Terror Island, but not by a lot), and it has a large, arcing story going on, so it's hard to say for sure if it's really good or not. It has its funny moments, but it is meant to be more serious than not. I think. Like I said, it really only just started, so final judgment is kind of on hold.

TODAY - Dead.  Yeah, sad, but while it was going it was at least very interesting and fun to read.  Now though, it is no longer.  Shame, damn shame.

Two dead, three still on the list.  Very nice.  Remember this week there won't be a article post, but there will be one next week.  It might even feature pictures, if I can figure out how to get those to work.  Until next week kiddies.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Okay, before I get started on this, yes, I know the blog looks, um, not great.  I have no taste when it comes to colors and I really haven't played with the layout commands and such.  So as I give my thoughts on the layouts for COMIC pages, remember that any godawfulness of this site has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Let's talk about laying out webcomic pages.

Having gone through and visited so many webcomics pages, it's time I offer some thoughts on accessibility and presentation of a comic and it's archives.  Will this break a comic?  It could, if it's as godawful as this blog, but generally it just makes it frustrating to read if done improperly.  So let's go down the list.

1)  The comic should be the feature of the page, not a side bar.  Until recently, Wapsi Square had this problem, the layout pushing the comic down into the corner of the opening page.  It made the comic seem small and inconsequential.  Since the change, Wapsi seems bigger, fuller, and better than it had been.

2)  Hiding the comic can work, but don't bury it too deeply.  Our Time in Eden places the comic page separate from the main page, but it's easy enough to see the comic on the main page and promptly get to it.  Really, this works best for comics that display multiple pages at once, like What Birds Know, or if you have multiple comics like Nuklear Power, which has 4 comics including 8-Bit Theater.

3)  No, I don't WANT another window open.  Gods and Undergrads suffers this painfully.  Click on a chapter and it opens a new window.  Click on a 'page' and it opens a new window.  STOP!  I only need one window open at a time, I really do.  Very annoying.

4)  Either use the same previous/next button system as everyone else or label them clearly.  Normally, in the list of navigation the order is FIRST, PREVIOUS, NEXT, LAST/CURRENT.  Makes it easy to navigate the comic with this, but some comics don't do that.  Just Another Escape fails here, with the previous button being on the OUTSIDE while the first button is on the INSIDE.  Oddly, the opposing pair (Next, Last) are actually in the proper order, but these two are not for some reason.  Never understood that.

5)  If you have a cast page, update it.  My method of reviewing comics means I don't read the cast page until after I read the archive, but typically when I do, the cast page is usually out of date, by a lot.  Update it once every few months please.  Lots of comics do this, so I can't pull out a specific, but trust me, they're out there.

6)  Oh, I could go into so much more, but I think the best way to sum this all up is to KISS it and make it better.  KISS meaning Keep It Simple Stupid.  Don't go crazy with the layout, simple really the best option for a comic.  It makes it easy to navigate, find the comic, read the comic and enjoy it.

Alright that's enough of that.  I'll be skipping next week (Christmas, ya know?) but I will work on a something for the New Year.  There will still be a review update, but the article will wait a week.  Until then kiddies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 51 - 55

And back with another archive installment.  I hope you're not waiting for new reviews, I've been busy and haven't had the time to read new ones.  I haven't stopped looking for them, and suggestions are ALWAYS appreciated.  Onward!

May 4, 2006

51. No Room For Magic - This comic would be more interesting if it wasn't such a one joke comic. Hey, I know a comic can live off of having only one joke, but this one drains the joke like a vampire. The art is good, the ideas are fun, but in the end, it's just not that interesting. Maybe I have too high of standards on these things.

October 11, 2006 - It's updated I think twice since I wrote this review. Skip it, life is better spent on better comics.

October 11, 2008 - It was this comic that encouraged me do these re-reviews, not that it helped it any. This is by the same guy who does Count Your Sheep, which is a wonderfully sweet comic that will likely make you weep and cause your teeth to fall out at the same time. CYS is a damn good comic, possibly great. No Room For Magic is nothing like it. It actually has updated THIS YEAR, which is a shock, but not since August. Even so, it maybe has 20 strips since the beginning of the year (do the math folks, that's less than a strip a week). It just lacks, well, everything except maybe the art, which is about what you'd expect from this guy. I think he kind of realizes it too, as he only half-heartedly tried to restart it. Not worth even bothering to check if it updates honestly.

TODAY - It continues to update, and readers of CYS are encouraged to read it and his other comic.  I still don't read it.

52. Sam and Max - This is not a review, just informational. There is a new Sam and Max comic being drawn, er, painted. You'll see. You'll probably have to skip some stupid flash ad to get to it, but it is Sam and Max, you cannot resist. Unless you have no idea what I'm talking about, in which case you won't like this comic. Remember to hover over the images!

October 11, 2006 - The updates are sporadic and the humor twisted just right, but it still heralds the arrival of a new Sam and Max game.

TODAY - Hasn't updated in forever, probably as it was just an ad for the game.

August 04, 2006

53. Voices In My Hand - Yet another comic trying to be like the Far Side and The Parking Lot is Full. Yet another failure. Honestly, it's not even as good as Edible Dirt, which only has a few moments of being as good as either of the other two. The artwork is nice though, but the humor lacks something. It also hasn't been updated since 2004.

October 11, 2006 - The archives for this comic are gone. I know, I said no updates, but figured you'd want to know about this one.

TODAY - And it's back.  Not that I read it, I actually only realized it was updated when went to check the link for this review.  I have nothing more to say about it.

54. Here There Be Robots - Pirates, aliens and robots. What could be better? Dunno, but this is pretty good as it is. It's funny and interesting and even destroys the world at one point. All it's missing are ninjas, but then, they might still show up, you never know.

TODAY - Hasn't updated in a while, though it was going pretty well for a while there.  I still check it at least.

55. Ice - From the same person who did Demonology 101, which means I'm already inclined to like it. And I do like it. Dystopia future, drugs, death and some humor round out this ongoing story. Shame her updates are going sporadic due to, you won't believe this, actual work! She deserves the money, her stuff is damn good.

TODAY - Still one of the best comics I read, though it does seem to be nearing an ending.  Of course, the delays are due to her actually working, so I can accept that.  Always waiting for the update.

Two still on the read list, despite really, REALLY long stalls between updates.  I've done worse, that's for sure.  Until next time kiddies.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Flash is an amazing tool.  I've seen people use flash to make amazing games, animations that would be almost impossible otherwise and even use it to convert actual video into an easy to view internet format.

So why not webcomics as well?  Flash is a can be used to do so many things, using it in a webcomic is pretty logical honestly.  It's odd then that I really don't come across too many flash based comics.  Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

I've only reviewed three comics that have used flash as more than a passing fancy, and only one of them can be called a full on flash comic.  The other two use it sparingly, and only in specific instances.

I will admit now that when it comes to flash in comics, I'm not that much of a fan.  It has more to do with hating flash ads than any thing else, and thus I usually disable flash in my browser (Opera), and turn it back on for specific instances.  This makes flash comics harder to read, especially long archives, as I have to keep switching flash on and off as I bounce between tabs.

Which brings me to the Teddy Bear Trauma.  Here we have that full on flash comic, every page of the strip is in flash.  As is the entire interface.  It makes navigating the strip a little difficult as the pages are typically larger than even a hefty screen resolution and you have to use the provided method for scrolling the screen, a bear in a hangman's noose.

But what hurts this comic in terms of flash is that, well, it doesn't take advantage of flash at all.  The strips could just as easily be presented as jpegs on a traditional html page rather than in flash.  There's no movement, no animation, no sound, nothing that takes advantage of the flash format besides the navigation stuff, and frankly, that's not that special.

I Am A Rocket Builder, on the other hand, uses flash far more.  The animated bits of the "Old House" segments are fun, interactive, and often have some sound at least.  This was, in fact, the first flash using comic I came across and I still find it rather innovative.  Of course, it doesn't use flash constantly, and the other segments of the comic don't use flash at all, but it uses it enough that it's effective and useful.

Which brings us to our last user of flash, City of Reality.  Like I Am A Rocket Builder, it isn't a full blown flash comic, but it actually fully integrated the flash element better than either of the others.  I can't really talk about it too much without spoiling it (go read this comic already), but the flash element is used as part of the story, rather than an add on, and while the interaction level is limited to start, later on it gets, well, weird.

With these three examples, I can say a few things about using flash:

1)  Flash for flash sake does not a good comic make.  Just using flash because you can doesn't help, it has to be important.

2)  Interactivity is fun.  Yes, giving people the option to "play" with your comic is viable and worthwhile.

3)  Make it part of the story.  You'll get more mileage out of flash if you do.


Sorry, the last one was more for me.  Anyway, flash is a wonderful tool if used right, so use it right already.  Hopefully I'll come across some other flash comics in the near future.  Until then kiddies.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 46 - 50

Once more into the breach, and hopefully I get the date set right for publishing.  I hope.

May 4, 2006

46. Cat and Girl - This would almost be a Calvin and Hobbes rip off, except it's not. Now that I have the box set of Calvin, I know for sure it isn't, but it does try. Mostly, it's simple pictures spouting various high minded bull that they quickly take down with a silly joke which may or may not be funny. It's uneven, but they do take a train backwards and forwards in time to have picnics. I like it enough to keep reading.

October 11, 2006 - I read it, I chuckle, I move on. I'm not sure why.

TODAY - It really hasn't changed much in all this time, and when it hits it out of the park, it hits it Pujols style.  Most of the time, it's pretty miss, but even then you might find something interesting in it.

47. Chugworth Academy - Apparently, the artist used to draw porn. Now, he draws a webcomic involving lots of crude sexual humor. The art is actually pretty damn good, the stories damn funny, and the updates, um, sporadic I guess. Anyway, it's good, dirty fun, but no nudity (pissing off many of the comic's fans I guess), but lots of innuendo. If you're so inclined, I suppose you can read it in the dark, you sick bastards.

I probably wouldn't blame you.

October 11, 2006 - He's having issues keeping regular updates, but it doesn't hurt it much. Go figure.

TODAY - It tried a reboot, got something like 5 strips in and then ground to a halt.  Will it keep going?  No bloody idea.  Oh well.

48. Edible Dirt - I posted this comic before but I guess you guys didn't like it for some reason. It does try to be like PLiF and Far Side, and on rare occasions actually makes it, so that counts for something. Other times, it falls flat on its ass. Still, for those brief moments of genius, it's worth keeping an eye on. At least, for now. But boy, is it ever slow to load.

October 11, 2006 - Still not as good as PLiF and Far Side, but again, there are moments.

TODAY - It's perhaps a bit gross, sometimes overly, but it's gotten pretty good.  Comics are frequently funny and while it will never live up to the greats, it's still good.  Just beware of the gross out factor.

49. I Am A Rocket Builder - One comic not enough for you? How about 4 comics in one? That's right, this guys is doing four separate comics that are quasi linked but all completely separate. He claims he did it to keep from getting bored, and if he keeps updating, I say more power to him. Be aware that at least one of the four comics is flash heavy and it works. Go figure. It's a young comic, so don't expect immediate greatness, but there's a lot of potential there.

October 11, 2006 - Long on updates, but when they come, they're usually something special. Worth reading through, for sure.

TODAY - It's dead.  If you managed to find your way to the main page (I linked to the comic direct for this) you'll find some odd things, but no webcomic.  I wish he had kept going, but I have a feeling he probably didn't have the desire to actually finish it anyway.

50. Kristy Vs The Zombie Army - Oh come one, just look at the title? If that isn't enough to get you interested, you are a worthless human being. The art style changes as you go along, the artist is pushing to improve himself/herself after all, but the level of humor and the ideas behind it remain the same. That and at one point Kristy gets a damn chainsaw. Read it already!

October 11, 2006 - Remains a fun read.

TODAY - Also dead.  Well, "extended hiatus" is a more proper term, but it's dead.  I think I started losing interest when the color ran out, it didn't feel as vibrant and alive after that anyway.  So while I miss it, I don't miss it THAT much.

Two still on the read pile, 3 dead or damn near dead.  Rare is the comic to last, I suppose.

Friday, December 4, 2009


In my Pairs Webcomicking article, I covered teams working on webcomics, and it's my opinion that they usually don't work out very well in the long term.  Which doesn't mean partnerships on a short term can't work, the can.  In the form of the crossover.

What is a crossover?  It's when two comic artists temporarily combine their comics to make a single story arc.  How well a crossover works depends a lot on planning and on the comics in question.

Crossovers have been around for decades.  Yes, decades, because newspapers have been doing them long before webcomics came onto the scene.  Those, though, were often more like extended cameos than what is now thought of as a full blown crossover.  It helps that most newspaper comics are fairly static in nature anyway.  TV shows, cartoons and comic books have done them as well, so it's no surprise that webcomics should play the role as well.

I suppose it should be no surprise that most crossovers actually stink.  Yes, they're generally terrible, and this is because its an attempt to meld two universe that probably have very little to do with each other.  The other failure is that the story is often unimportant to both universes in question.  This applies to ALL forms of crossovers, not just comics.

At least most TV shows and the ilk have an excuse:  Their crossovers are dictated to them, often from an editor or executive thinking it'll bring in more viewers or readers.  Webcomics have no such excuse, the creators are the ones that seek out the crossover, and as such when a crossover fails, they suffer the blame.

A successful crossover has to do many things to work.  First, it has to be plausable.  Simply throwing the characters together in any old way will not work, there has to be a good reason they're all in the same place at the same time.  Often this actually means setting up the crossover well in advance and drawing them to the same point, or establishing the universes in such a way that a crossover is not only possible, but likely at some point anyway.  Parallel Dementia and Emergency Exit did a crossover together, and their universes, which involve inter-dimensional travel, provided this as an excellent means to draw the characters together.

Next, the character interaction must be believable.  Typical encounters between groups of "hero" characters usually involves them fighting, then turning against a common enemy, etc, which is boring and cliched.  But that's not the real problem, the problem is that artists are drawing each other characters and probably writing dialog for each other.  Some attention must be paid to the script to make sure the characters stay in character.

Which brings us to plot, which has to be meaningful for both parties.  Either it pushes each story in a new, interesting direction, or it helps develop the characters in ways that would not be possible in the regular comic.  Again, a lot of this requires pre-planning, and most crossovers don't do that.

Finally staying "on model" so people can identify the characters should be a goal of both artists.  It's far too easy to slip into your own style and lose the defining characteristics of a given character or plot element.

So you'll note I only make mention of one crossover in this piece, and the reason is remembering crossovers is something I don't go out of my way to do.  They're often brief and really DON'T have any meaning for their respective comics in the long term.  Parallel Dementia and Emergency Exit (that latter of which I haven't reviewed yet) is just the most recent crossover, and one of the better done ones.  The only other one I can recall is from my review of College Roomies from Hell and it's crossover with Fans! which I declared the best I'd ever read.  I don't read either of these comics now, so that statement should be taken with a grain of salt and about 6 years.

Thankfully, crossovers very rarely have deadly consequences for a comic, and often they can draw people to reading the opposite side of a crossover.  I wouldn't have read Fans! if it wasn't for the CRfH crossover, and I do plan to do Emergency Exit in the future, something I likely wouldn't have done normally.  It's one of the many options webcomic artists have to expand their base and hook more readers.

Well, enough of that.  Hopefully I'll get a reworking of my failed article form last week for next week.  Until then kiddies.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 41 - 45

This was supposed to be up yesterday, but I forgot to hit "PUBLISH."  Whoops.

Another batch of past updates.  I go through these links to make sure the comics are still there, and today I am faced with a sad fate, one of them is gone.  Oh, the artist is still on, but his comic is MIA.  I am depressed by this.  I will still provide the available link, and you too can bitch and moan at him to put the comic back up.  Anyway, off we go.

November 2, 2005

41. Rugg - The main character of this comic is a headless chicken. Anything else I could say about this would be for naught, because that sentence describes everything you really need to know about it. The only problem is that it hasn't been updated in 13 months. (EDIT = It was nine when I wrote this thing. I miss this comic) This is a complete shame because it truly is one of the funniest comics I've read in a while.

October 11, 2006 - Yeah, this comic is very, very dead. Dead as a doornail. So dead it actually hurts to look at it to see if it updated.

TODAY - Still dead.  Shame, damn, damn shame.

42. Elsie Hooper - This really isn't a comic at all, it's a storyboard for a film that took on attributes of a real comic. It's dark, gritty, violent (excessively at times) with a dash of occasional humor thrown into the mix. It's a horror comic at its core, with a pretty decent story, if a touch slow moving (the artist is much more concerned about film aspect than the comic one). The art is unlike anything I've ever seen, and it has some fairly realistic characters and situations. Very good. (EDIT = The artist is actually pretty close to actually making this into a movie.)

October 11, 2006 - Yes, the movie thing is about as real as it can get, I think. He's damn determined to see the comic finished too, so go read it already and give him your support.

TODAY - So determined to get it done that he went out and made figurines of the characters, but not more strips.  The updates on this thing have slowed to a painful, almost unmoving crawl.  I keep hoping it gets back to regular updates, but I don't think it will.

43. The Pain: When Will It End? - This comic isn't for everybody, specifically not for any Republicans, conservatives, fundies and their like. This guy is as liberal as they come, and his "humorous insights" will be completely lost on anyone who isn't at least moderate in their views of the world. And yet, the guy is very, very funny, especially when he isn't attacking Bush and company. In any case, any man who has the balls to publish this, even a year later, deserves to be read, even if you're just going to write him an angry letter.

October 11, 2006 - Still the same, only more bitter. I think he wants to get away from the bitter stuff, not that I think he can.

TODAY - He found a way to get away from the bitter stuff:  Stop drawing the comic.  Okay, it's not officially dead, and he continues to claim he wants to get back too it, but without being paid to do it he finds it hard to find the time (this comic was published on paper apparently).  I think it will come back, but not right away.

44. Road Waffles - It's not one comic, it's three, with the third one just starting. (EDIT = A lot further along now, in a kind of hiatus mode at the moment though) Honestly, the first comic is great right up until he starts with the drama crap, the second one is kind of surreal with a slight Hunter S. Thompson (R.I.P.) vibe going on, and the third bulldozes the fourth wall (division between characters and reader) with high explosives. Something for everyone I guess. It is an interesting comic, with the real funny stuff in the first part, and if they had stuck with that it probably would rule. The second part is much more involved than the first, harder to follow, but with a similar sense of humor. Oh, and the whole thing is needlessly violent (there's an eyeball eating scene, for example), which actually is a positive. Have to hang on for the third part, as it's just started after all. (EDIT = Actually, the third part is pretty interesting if not outright weird. I enjoy it greatly.)

October 11, 2006 - Another hiatus. And yet, I still check it every day, hoping it will update. I do a lot of that.

TODAY - Meet our missing comic.  It WAS there the last time I checked, which was sometime last year, but it's not there now.  I want the comic archive you ass!  I don't give two shits about your movie reviews or your personal philosophy crap, give me the damn comic!  You hear me?

May 4, 2006

45. Achewood - This is one of the few comics I didn't immediately start reading from the beginning. This is because I was too busy enjoying the storyline called "The Great Outdoor Fight." When I finally got to reading the whole thing, it's pretty damn fun. It seems to enjoy playing with the unexpected, yet makes it seem completely normal. Do I make sense? Do I have to? The man owns Airwolf for pete's sake! Anyway, once this comic hits its stride (which takes a bit) it is thoroughly engrossing. And if you really want to have fun, go read The Great Outdoor Fight wiki. You won't be able to stop.

October 11, 2006 - Still a weird experience. Shame the GOF wiki stalled out, but the comic is still going strong, even when it's completely weird.

TODAY - The GOF is probably the highpoint of Achewood because, well, it's not nearly as good as it was during that story.  Oh, it's not bad by any stretch, but the updates are far more sporadic than they were (much of it is apparently pay only now) and the jokes lack a bit of the punch (heh) they had back during GOF.  I still read it, of course, but I'm not as enraptured by it.  Incidentally, the GOF wiki updated with the results of the last two years worth of GOFs.  I love that.

One dead, one missing, two hovering near Death By Hiatus and one updating, but only just.  I really am upset about Road Waffles, though.  I wanted to read it again.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Sorry, nothing this week

The holiday and the fact that the article I WANT to post isn't coming together right has prevented a new article from going up this week.  No fear, SOMETHING will be up next week.  Until then kiddies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 36 - 40

Back again with another re-post of old reviews.  This is also when you'll see the start and end points for batches move.  Sorry about that.

These reviews I actually lost and have no idea what they originally were, as such, I'll try to recreate them. Thus the date for these is October 11, 2006.

36. white ninja comics - I couldn't get into it. It's off beat, simple, got some good jokes, but I just simply couldn't get into it. I know people rave about it, but I just didn't. Color me weird.

TODAY - Still don't read it, but it has been published in actual paper books, so it has that.  Eh.

37. The Whiteboard - It's about paintball. And if that turns you off, then you need to reconsider. This comic is one of the most entertaining strips I read. From the paintball jokes revolving around rules and such to rebooting the OS that operates the nuclear reactor that powers the paintball gun (I am NOT kidding), this comic is just fun and interesting. Oh, and the one bear has more Dew in his blood than plasma.

TODAY - I love this comic.  No idea why, it's just fun.  Go, read it.

38. Gods and Undergrads - Another comic about Greek gods and goddesses living in our time. The difference from Sea of Insanity? It still updates, and it's in color. It takes a bit to get going, but moves much faster than The Front by leaps and bounds. I do enjoy it, and it seems to be telling a decent enough story. Worth the effort to read at least.

TODAY - My comment about color is moot at the moment, it's now in black and white.  It's still slow too, but things happen, but not really happen.  Hard to put my finger on this one any more, but I still check it weekly.

39. Perry Bible Fellowship - Perhaps the only comic on the web today that can claim the crown left by the Far Side and PLiF. It is that weird, and that wonderful at the same time. The format is completely different, but that makes it all the better. If you haven't read this strip yet, you're missing out.

TODAY - Dead, officially.  Which is a shame as it is one of the better surrealistic comics on the web today.  I miss it.

June 10, 2005 (November 2, 2005)

These reviews were posted in two different places on two different dates. This is the Nov 2 version.

40. Station V3 - This is a simple, light comic that's all about the daily joke. The art is simple, the jokes are simple, and everything is simple about it. This is not a bad thing. In fact, for a break from those comics that are just too serious for their own good, this comic is perfect. Light and at least mildly funny.

October 11, 2006 - It's still simple, it hasn't changed much honestly, and it's still on my daily run of strips.

TODAY - 4 years later, and I still read it regularly.  There's nothing heavy or insightful about it, it just tells simple jokes that could easily find a home on any comic page in the country.  The "story" is basically just an excuse to tell silly jokes, and that's about it.  Compared to the many story heavy comics I read, this one is the perfect contrast.

A lot of comics still on the read list here, and one of the ones not there is because the artist stopped it.  Not bad, actually.  See you next time kiddies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Format Changing

No, not mine, I mean the changing format of webcomics.  Which still sounds weird.  Let me try to explain this a bit better.

As I said way back in my Webcomic Categories article, the Daily Comic format, 3 - 4 panels on the weekdays, is the most common and typical comic around.  But that format, 3 to 4 panels, is filled with inherent limitations.  Planning the joke and punchline within that small space is hard, filling it with art is hard and doing anything more with it is really hard.

I want to say now that I think limitations are a good thing.  Most people complain that any limitations at all will stifle creativity, and those people are usually wrong.  Creativity comes from taking what you have and making it do something great.  Great comics have been born in the daily comic format and thrived.  The best example is Calvin and Hobbes, which while it pushed the bounds of what newspapers were willing to put up with from a comic artist, it still managed to fit nearly every joke into 3 or 4 panels.

A great many webcomics have done the same, achieving greatness despite a self-imposed limitation.  Yes, it is self imposed because this is the internet, and it is there that one can find the infinite canvas.  This means that the daily comic format doesn't HAVE to apply at all.  Which is where we begin to see the concept of changing formats.

I said that people who complain about limitations are usually wrong, but there does come a point when said limitations should be removed.  Once a comic has done EVERYTHING it can within those limitations, it is time to move on and grow in a new direction.  This is when the comic changes formats.

Now, I'm not talking about story here, or theme or anything, I'm talking about the physical format of the comic.  Often it requires rethinking how the comic works.  A comic that classically told jokes in 3 panels now has 6 to deal with, what do you do to fill the extra panels?  It also provides the biggest chance of failure.

As much as I loath to say it, one of the best examples of panel expansion is Diesel Sweeties, which went from 6 panels to 9.  And failed utterly.  Okay, it had probably failed with me before that, but I know reading through the achieves that as soon as the number of panels increased, the number of strips I read in detail decreased by a lot.  Adding more words did not help this comic in the least.

Another almost failure is Zebra Girl, whose expansion really looks wonderful and didn't hurt the story at all.  Except it delayed it.  By a lot.  So much so that the artist started releasing parts of the comic at a time.  Guess what?  They were basically 3 panels long.

Okay, enough with the failures in format changing.  It often can be a good thing.  Take Sluggy Freelance, for example.  Here's a comic that thrived as a 3/4 panels strip for years, and then stepped off the path into larger strips.  Here it was very successful, rearranging it self to follow the new format almost without missing a beat.

Other comics take their format change in a different direction.  Dr. McNinja started as a black and white comic that is as zany as you can imagine from the title.  Then it added color, and uses it to great effect, especially in the most recent story that features a motorcycle with a rainbow on it.  It's a small change, but considering how limiting a black and white comic can be, adding color is a major change.

And then there's Wapsi Square, whose change is different, but not.  It grew bigger.  Still same number of panels, basically (2 is typical for it), but redesigned website allowed the artist to post MUCH larger panels.  Nothing else changed really.  But the size makes the comic feel, well, different.  Is it better?  We'll see, it's looking better at least.

All of these changes require rethinking on the part of the artist.  Bigger images mean more attention must be paid to the art and presentation.  Color can have worlds of effect on a strip that was previously devoid of it, and more panels increase production time and planning, but also allow for more jokes.

Changing a comic's format isn't the end of the old, usually, but the beginning of the next stage in a comic's life.  It can radically change the strip, or it can just enhance what was always there.  It shouldn't be done willy nilly, but carefully considered as the effects it will have.  Don't fear the change, but be ready to be let down by it.

Well, enough this week.  Until next time kiddies.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 31 - 35

After last week's batch, time for something a bit more upbeat.

August 1, 2003

31. Schlock Mercenary - When I first decided to write reviews, I asked for suggestions, and I've gotten Schlock more times than I can count, but I've avoided it until now. Why, you may ask? You see, when I was originally going to do Schlock, I had just finished Sluggy and GPF. Going one strip at a time (I didn't know what the W meant on Sluggy's calendar until after the fact, and GPF didn't have one at the time). So when I clicked on the W for Schlock, I had a heart attack with the god damn Keenspot Premium bullshit. So I put it on the burner. Then I read Earthbeta and with most of my soul still hanging from the rafters, I dove in for 1200 clicks worth of strips.

And I wish I had done it sooner. Schlock Mercenary is as funny as people say, probably funnier. Despite the war I fought with my modem to read it, I managed to find one of the funniest strips there is, short of 8-Bit of course. Read it, love it.

October 11, 2006 - Still going strong. If 8-Bit is the most consistently funny comic, Schlock is a close second. The fact that it updates every day, no matter what, makes it the king of updates.

TODAY - No other comic on the internet updates as consistantly as Schlock.  It is better written than most comics.  It's funnier than a vast swath of them.  The art's pretty good too.  Considering all the factors that make a webcomic, Schlock is probably the absolute best you will ever find.  If you aren't reading it and enjoying it yet, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

32. Jeremy - If there was ever a shrine for comics that shouldn't have died, Jeremy would be amongst the first nominees for the post. Not that he was exactly alive to begin with. This strip had a kind of sweet, horrible innocence that I can't recall seeing anywhere else. A kid made out of criminal body parts just trying to live. And keep the cat in the damn box. And make his own mommy. And hide from angry mobs. And fall in love. And. . . Just go read it already.

October 11, 2006 - It lived again! Then died again. It never stopped being a great comic, it just stopped existing. The world is a more terrible place for it.

TODAY - It took a bit, but I finally refound this treasure and now you can go read it yourself.  Go.  NOW!

33. 9th Elsewhere - This is what Megatokyo would have been like if it had been created by girls. And had an interesting storyline. It's got some good moments (look for the one with the coco packets), but there's also a lot of those 'anime moments' (you know what I'm talking about) that act as a slight turn off. Still, there's something interesting there that has me waiting to see how it's going to go. If you can stand the intense cuteness of some of the scenes, you might actually enjoy it.

October 11, 2006 - It's gotten a little more angsty for the same reason Megatokyo collapsed (lost one of the writers), but at the same time, it's still better than Megatokyo in every single way. The update schedule has gotten a little mucked up due to real life and such, but it's still worth the read.

Missing Reviews

These reviews I actually lost and have no idea what they originally were, as such, I'll try to recreate them. Thus the date for these is October 11, 2006.

34. Too Late to Run! - Strange group of roommates experience weird things. It was certainly more humorous than most comics of this nature, and doesn't take itself too seriously. Didn't take itself too seriously. The comic is dead and gone. You might find some hints of it via Google, but the actual archives have disappeared. Kind of a shame, it was interesting in a silly way.

TODAY - I did manage to refind this comic, on an old mirror site.  It is very, VERY dead, but what little is there is fun.  Might be worth the time.

35. The Front - Some comics take a long time to develop, I understand that, but the Front just took FOREVER to get anywhere at all. In the time that I read it, it updated about once a week at a pace that made my cry out in pain. I suppose it would be alright otherwise, and they may have even sped things up since I read it, but I just didn't have the patience to keep reading.

October 11, 2008 - Man, the difference a few years make. As in, I have a couple dozen comics that update maybe once a week now, and I couldn't stand how slow The Front took way back then. It's completed now, as a six issue comic set, and now I can read it at my own pace and I can say exactly one thing about it: I'm glad I didn't waste my time on it before. The problems I have with this comic are numerous: The "main" characters aren't interesting or developed in the least, the one relationship I though would do something is mentioned maybe twice after the first time, then entirely forgotten about, the background is laid all out in an uninteresting way (I kind of get why they did it that way, but I still didn't much care for it), and said background story was actually kind of stupid. As always, the villians were more interesting, and in this case actually kind of compentent, but the humor fell completely through and then disappeared completely at one point. I suppose it would be good as a comic, comic (which is what they did with it I think), but as a webcomic, where you could build stories and personalities over years if need be, it failed misserably. I wasted my energy on this one, and I'm glad I ditched it way back then, even it was for a rather silly reason.

TODAY - Yeah, no point saying much after that re-review of this comic.  All that needs to be said is there.

Schlock and Jeremy make up for all the issues in last week's batch, but of all of these, only Schlock still updates.  Until next week kiddies.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pairs Webcomicking

Most webcomics are one man/woman projects.  One person writes the story and jokes.  One person draws the strip.  One person colors it and posts it on the internet.

It takes a special kind of person to be able to do all those thing really well.  Sadly, I'm not amongst them, I can't draw for crap.  I'd love to do a webcomic myself, I have a great idea, several of them, but my lack of artistic skills renders that plan moot.  So what are people like me to do?  Find a partner to do what we cannot.

And it usually doesn't work.

That's not to say it never works, it has.  Parking Lot is Full was a team comic, as was Terror Island and Life of Riley.  Of those that still update, Brat-halla (which has THREE people working on it), Shadowgirls, Punch n' Pie, Footloose, Our Time in Eden and Cyanide and Happieness all have two people plugging away at them.  I'm sure I even missed a few.

But these seem more exceptions rather than the rule.  Typically two people working on a webcomic will more likely cause the comic to fail, or the team will break up before it ends and change the very dynamic of the strip.

Megatoyko is probably the best example of this, the separation of the real Piro and Largo (and I really don't know or care what their real names are) changed the tone of the comic in an obvious and dramatic way, eventually leading me to stop reading it.

9th Elsewhere, a comic I still think of as Megatoyko by girls, had the same sort of breakdown, the fun element that had driven the comic up to that point vanished with the second person and while it was still good, it wasn't as good as it had been.  And then it died of Hiatus.

One comic that SHOULD have worked was Metrophor, done by a brother/sister team.  Sadly the sister part of this pair came down with a serious hand injury.  And she was the artist.  Comic is effectively dead now.

Marilth, the sequel to Krakow 2.0, went through several artists, including one that did very little at all, before finally getting one that could finish the story.

Successful teams usually are people who are physically close (they live in the same town), have similar senses of style and humor and are able to deal with each other in a civilized manner (which makes me wonder why I said Metrophor should have worked, siblings after all).  Finding that is HARD though, and led to several comics just folding.  PLiF died because of distance, Megatoyko's issues came from personality conflicts, and Marilith's problems were just terrible.

So yeah, it looks like there are many more successful pairs comics than failures, but I haven't reviewed every comic out there (and I only include the ones I read for these articles).  The pitfalls are more numerous, and it's amazing that so any survive, let alone be successful.  Still, of those successes, the comics that are done by one person alone are often far more successful and better done.

As much as I would love to write a comic, I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my story and vision and I'm sure it would fail utterly.  Still, it's nice to dream about it, even if I know the dream is doomed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 26 - 30

The one advantage to having such a huge review backlog is that you get at least one update a week.  The downside:  I have to convert the damn thing.  Moving on.

July 7, 2003

26. File 49 - Psychic powers, government conspiracies, and square eyes. This slightly less than dramatic tale follows a trio as they try not to get killed. What webcomic doesn't nowadays? There's a touch of humor in this piece that helps bring you in, but the in-depth story is there hold you tight. My only complaint is that most of the characters look the same! I'm not sure if this is by design or accident, but whichever the case, at least the artist was smart enough to work it into the story. Even then, though, it's often hard to tell who is who, or worst, what sex they are. No matter, it's not a bad strip at all and something worth a weekly update.

October 11, 2006 - Completed. The artist moved on to other things, but actually managed to finish a major part of the storyline, which included redrawing half the comic. It ended with plenty of mystery left, but unlike Timescapes, I wasn't depressed to see it go. It served its time and the world is a bit better for it.

October 11, 2008 - File 49: Book II - Okay, it's not REALLY a re-review, but as I checked my pile of dead comics to confirm that the comic was still dead, and existant, I stumbled across this. It is the same thing, basically. The humor aspect is kind of gone now, but that's alright, it's probably for the best now. The characters do still look similar, but I think that's because a good chunk of them come from the same genetic stock (serious about this). I think the restart of this is a little jerky and not strictly thought out, but I think it'll get through it and there is some logic to the whole thing. I'll be reading it for a while, that's for sure.

TODAY - File 49:  Book II was the first of a re-review batch I did (which I will post more of as we go along).  It also hasn't updated pretty much since I reviewed it.  I'm not sure it ever will.  Ah well, at least the first one was decent enough to make up for it.

27. Small World - All comics evolve. Some do it slowly, over a great deal of time. Others you can point to the exact moment when the change occurred. Small World falls into the second category. It's primarily a blog comic, a comic for the guy's weblog, and it starts off kind of fun. Short little strips about duels with computers, the mall, the girlfriend and life itself. Then the strips doubled up. After that, it was no longer a cute, fun little comic, and instead became a highly editorial piece where the artist tries to inject common sense into the world. I don't mind the political style comics, I even agree with what he said, but it feels like he wants to beat his ideals into my head with a large hammer. This might be a result of the archive tunnel vision, or simply the fact that he apparently publishes in real newspapers, but I don't like that feeling. If you don't mind the editorial style strips, go for it, otherwise, avoid.

TODAY - I took a quick look at when I was writing my article about Bad Comics, and immediately realized why I stopped reading it, and haven't gone back since.

28. Commander Kitty - After the headache of Small World, I needed something funny. And Commander Kitty was there! This is a funny strip, there are no buts about it. Every page has at least one joke, if not more, and the bulk of them will drop you to the floor in laughter. The only strip I know of that beats it consistently is 8-Bit Theater, and that's only because 8-Bit has been around longer. If you read any of this batch, read this one, you won't be disappointed.

October 11, 2006 - This is a cursed comic, I think. The archives are effectively gone, it hadn't been updated in years even when the archives are up and the story was slowly treading water toward, um, nothingness I'm sorry to say. Dead and buried, and that's probably for the best.

TODAY - And it's back from the grave, very much alive, it even updated recently (like within the last week).  I'm shocked, and I might actually have to take some time to reread it and post a proper rereview for it.  It's been a LONG time since I read it and I'm kind of glad it is, but also fearful that it may not be what I remember.

August 1, 2003

29. Under Power - Violence, sex, game based characters, humor, stereotypical heroes and an elf with the personality of a blender. A shame I didn't find this one earlier, it's got everything I love about webcomics. The cat girl throws me a bit (in fact, the whole concept is just plain confusing, could anyone explain it to me?), but not enough that I can't enjoy it. The only other problem is the update schedule, which is anything but stable. But when it does update, that's when the magic happens.

October 11, 2006 - Comic? What comic? It's mostly art pages any more. Yeah, he keeps saying he's working on it, but he never delivers. And yet I keep checking it every MWF hoping the story will start moving again. That's how much fun I had with it.

TODAY - "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" says the image now up on the page.  That image was put up over a year ago.  Says a lot about where Under Power went.  This comic, more than any other, created the concept of Death by Hiatus, and it still pains me to know that it faded away in such a terrible, terrible way.

30. Earthbeta - A bit ago, someone said they read through Anime Moments and declared it the worst comic ever. My response was that it does require a certain sense of humor to enjoy, and it does. However, no sense of humor will help with Earthbeta, it. . .

What the hell am I kidding?! It's the worst comic ever made. Awful, terrible, bad, horrible. Folks, when they make jokes about the comic not being funny, and those jokes aren't funny, you've got serious problems. And worse yet, if you were brave enough to read today's strip, that strip is actually an IMPROVEMENT! I don't want to go into the Mario strips; I might just have another bout with suicide. Avoid this strip at all costs.

October 11, 2006 - The art improved, slightly, so now instead of my eyes bursting into flames I'm compelled to stab them with pointy sticks to make the pain go away.

TODAY - When I did the rereview of File 49, I tried, hard, to give Earthbeta a second chance.  I couldn't do it.  This comic tramatized me so much I can't even look at it for more than half a second without hiding under the bed with canned food and a shotgun.  I would dare you to try, but that's not something I would even wish on my worst enemy.  And my worst enemy is Earthbeta.

This is a depressing update.  NONE of these comics are on my current read list, of course Commander Kitty is there because it was DEAD for so damn long, the rest, ugh.  Will there be better ones next week?  YES!  Much, much better ones.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Giving Up

My earlier article, Letting Go, covered when a webcomic reader should stop reading a webcomic, particularly one that they enjoyed originally.  This one goes with it, as its about when the artist should stop the comic.

I imagine that this is the hardest decision any webcomic artist has to make, and I've only seen a few examples where it's explicitly stated that the artist did decide to stop the comic, often the comic just simply dies or there was a planned ending already.  Still, hard as it is, often it is the best decision for the artist and the comic.  So here are some questions the artist should ask themselves before ending a comic.

1)  Are you making money off of it?  More specifically, enough to LIVE off?  If so, congratulations, you have a JOB, and you probably shouldn't give it up unless you have another JOB all lined up.  So no matter what you answer for the rest of this, stopping your comic will likely be a BAD thing, especially for you.  Of course, this coming from the guy who quit a job without another job lined up, but man, that job SUCKED.

2)  Is the story going the way you want?  I've had this happen myself, where the story gets away from you and goes somewhere I didn't want to go, or often I didn't have the skills or knowledge to make it go in that direction.  To go along with this question, there is the question of whether the story is at it's natural end or not.  Some comics do reach this point, like The Call of Whatever, and when that point comes, it's time to consider ending it.

3)  Do you have the time to continue it?  Webcomics are mostly a hobby, and if you're too busy with real work or life, then the comic should be on the list of "things to drop."  This, I think, is the general cause of Death by Hiatus, and while I weep for lost comics, I understand the reason.  Of course, just putting a comic on hiatus and NOT admitting to your readers (and yourself) that it might be the end is perhaps the worst thing you can do.

4)  Do you still have the will to draw it?  Are you still having fun?  Two questions that mean the same thing, and it is the deal breaker for continuing a comic.  If you can't sit down at the drawing board or wacom and draw the comic, it's probably time to give up.  Without the will to continue, there really isn't one.

If you do decide to end the comic, TELL YOUR READERS.  You don't HAVE to tell us the rest of the story, if you have it, but at least don't let the comic fade into nothing.  Of course, there is one advantage to ending a comic:  You can start another one, and I'm willing to bet your new comic will be much, much better than the previous one.

Well, that's enough for now.  Until next time kiddies. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 21 - 25

This entry is going to be a weird one.  First we have two comics that are actually the same comic, but four comics at the same time.  Yeah, it's odd.  And then there's one that won't be around much longer, but not for the reasons you might think.  Let's begin, shall we?

February 21, 2003

21. Krakow - Basically, this is a college comic, the kind you'd find in a college paper. Or it was until recently. Pretty basic idea, two guys living life, perhaps in college, maybe not, hard to tell. Eventually they add on a succubus, and hijinks ensue. It's funny, sometimes, but nothing to write home about. But like I said, it was the two comics together that were great, speaking of which. . .

August 1, 2003 - Went to Hell, literally. The evil demon polishing the shotgun was a nice touch.

October 11, 2006 - Went to Hell again. This comic is still weird and funny, and definitely worth the read, if for the off beat humor and all.

22. Krakow 2.0 - Also a pretty basic comic about an assassin for higher. Unlike 1.0, its nearly all black and white (except for the assassin's eyes and the blood), contrasting quite nicely with 1.0. The plot is nice though, the assassin, in the quest for cash, kidnaps wealthy daughter from private school with guarded by several heavily armed nuns. . . Uh, anyways, she gets the kid out, and hijinks ensue. With lots of violence. For something similar, dig through Poe's (Exploitation Now and Errant Story) archives and look for Babylon Jones. Very similar in ideas, except with out the immortality thing (though it does have a joke with an arm).

August 1, 2003 - Coming to an end? I hope not, it's too good to die yet.

October 11, 2006 - Well, it didn't really end, it just ceased being Krakow 2.0. It became Marlith (which is the link I used above) and went through at least a couple different artists with the same writer as before. It is still pretty awesome in that way. Go, read, enjoy.

TODAY - Krakow and Krakow 2.0 were, originally, released side-by-side.  Two comics for one price.  All on the same webcomic page.  Two comics that are one, got that?  Well, then he "spun" Krakow 2.0 and created Marlith, which is the next chapter of Krakow 2.0.  Marlith went through several artists and ended about two months ago.  Then Krakow ended shortly thereafter and he started his current comic, Charliehorse, which I haven't officially reviewed yet.  Why not?  Because it's basically Krakow, just with different characters and a bit more story.  So here we have two comics that are actually one comic that spawned two more comics bringing the total to four.

Luckily for you, this is as complicated as webcomics get.

23. Sinfest - Ever wonder what Calvin from the classic Calvin and Hobbes would be like if he grew up? You neither? Well, I think he might be something like Slick. In fact, Sinfest is, in my opinion, the only comic I've ever read that can even remotely claim the space on the funny pages left by Calvin and Hobbes. Of course it's different (it could never be exactly the same), but the style is very, very similar. Hell, the artist even admits the influence, and after the first strip you'll agree with me. A wonderful comic, and I encourage all of you to read it, at least once. You won't be disappointed.

August 1, 2003 - I've come to the conclusion that it has one joke. In spite of this, I can't get enough of it.

October 11, 2006 - My conclusion was wrong, it has more than one joke. At least one of those jokes is on me. I'm not as enthusiastic as I was about it, but I still enjoy it enough to look forward to reading it every day.

TODAY - I still read it, I still enjoy it.  I highly recommend it.

July 7, 2003

24. Ordinary Day - This comic represents the greatest problem on the internet and the world. NOT FINISHING WHAT YOU START! The strip is good, funny, violent and all, but when it stops dead after 15 pages and barely updates (added two pages in a separate storyline) in two months or more, all I can say is RAARGH!! I wish it would get going on a more timely schedule so we could enjoy it more. Until then, it'll have to sit in my Dead Comic folder in my bookmarks. A damn shame.

TODAY - This is the comic that is going to die completely:  It's on Geocities.  They're shutting down the old website network, so this comic is going to vanish forever shortly.  It also NEVER updated again, which tells you a lot about it.  Still, I went through and saved all the pages (because I'm tired of comics disappearing forever), and then discovered there is a different "Ordinary Day" out there.  Might read that sometime.

25. Timescapes - Like a PG version of Errant Story. Perhaps that's not exactly fair, but that's all I kept thinking as I read through it. And that's not a bad thing folks. The similarities are there, and anyone who's been following Errant Story should see them right away, but the differences are pretty stark as well. And it works in a fun, interesting way. This one you should watch, I think it could get up there pretty quick.

October 11, 2006 - It died. Damn was that depressing when she wrote that it was ending and that she was sorry. I understand why she did it, real life got in the way and it wasn't coming to together as she would have liked, but I still miss this comic. It was wonderful. I might go back and read the archives again just because I miss it so much.

TODAY - Another one of those that I should go back and read through.  Still, I remember enough to see where it went wrong (the story meandered too much) and while I morn its loss, I feel good knowing that the artist called it off in the end and told everyone.  Better than a lot of comics I know.

Sinfest and Charliehorse/Krakow stay on the list, with Krakow 2.0/Marlith having just ended.  Typical of my 5 comic groupings, I'd say.

Until next time kiddies.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Show vs Tell

As an amateur (meaning I don't get paid) writer, there is a constant push to "show don't tell" when writing a story.  Mostly that means don't SAY someone is angry, have that person do or say things that SHOWS that they're angry.

Which is where webcomics have an advantage:  They have art to SHOW such things.  Sadly, comics that successfully show rather than tell is a small group indeed.

So what goes wrong?  Well, it's difficult to really say, but I think a lot of it comes from the fact that the artist has a story they want to tell, and they want to get it out there as quickly as possible.  Pictures, while they can deliver a story, take MUCH more effort than banging away at a keyboard for five minutes.

Avoiding this is the topic of the day, so let's begin.

First of all, don't force feed the reader character descriptions.  During my review process, I NEVER read the cast page for a comic until after I've finished the archives.  The reason is so that I can see if the character I discovered in the comic matches the character in the description without my perspective being poisoned by the description first.  The artist should be able to make the character live WITHOUT posting the description at all, let alone as a strip in the comic.  I'm looking at you Pure.  Comics are ART primarily, so let the art take the burden and have them move and act in such a way to help describe their character.

This isn't to say you shouldn't find a way to describe less than obvious character points.  The Meek's Pinter is actually a good example of this.  Upon his return to the story after initial contact with the green haired, and very naked, protagonist, he doesn't remember her.  It's not obvious why either, though hints are there (he drinks too damn much and forgets things), but it should probably be stated SOMEWHERE in the comic as to why that happens.  Of course, it might happen later, in which case that's fine, but at the moment it's just confusing.

Next is the backstory of the comic, which for a detailed story comic can be pretty damn important.  However, writing a five page text crawl describing everything for a COMIC is pretty silly, and is exactly what turned me off of Daniella Dark.  Working this kind of thing into a comic is actually pretty difficult and requires some tricky writing, however, so I can't fault Daniella too much (though the character description block was PART of the backstory, which made the whole thing worse).  

leveL likewise had the same problem, though it put off most of it until about halfway through the comic and did so in a way that was teaching the CHARACTERS the backstory rather than just presenting it to the READER.  Angels 2200 actually pulls this off vary well by spreading out the basic facts of the story's backstory throughout the comic via personal accounts and such without it becoming a full on history lesson.  In fact, I never read the comic's "briefing" page, yet had more than enough information to figure out the background from just the comic itself.

And finally, let the reader piece the story together, or if there must be a leap of logic, then try to present it in a way that makes the most sense.  That last part is actually kind of hard to pull off, actually, perhaps almost impossible.  I'm not talking about recapping events, though it is a related phenomenon, I'm talking about drawing all the various pieces of the story together and telling the reader WHAT has been going on the whole time.  This is especially prevalent in epic comics, and as the story goes on often only gets worse.

Surprisingly, the guiltiest party I can pick out is a comic I read, Waspi Square, which will spend a week just summarizing what has happened, conjecturing on the future, and even doing new revelations in bouncing dialog between two characters.  It seems natural, but it's also not that interesting and takes a while to read through it.  The upside is that the story is actually interesting and while the comic doesn't show as much as tell it, it's at least interesting.  I would also like to point out when the comic does show, it shows it very, very well.

Waspi also shows that even if you ignore the "show don't tell" aspect of story telling, doing the telling WELL can be just as effective.  So show vs tell almost always comes down to a draw, if the writer and/or artist is up to the task of pulling it off.  That doesn't happen often, but when it does, you're looking at something special.

Well enough of this, see you next time kiddies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Wild Web Comic Review



My what scary costumes.  Yes, I've somehow managed to whip up another batch of reviews just before I go out and beat children up and steal their candy.

What's more, I've got 6 reviews!  (5)  No, 6.  (7?)  NO, 6, six reviews.  Now shut up.  The reason for this is that my 200th review is coming up, and the way the numbering works now, it would START that review batch.  Can't have that.  So six reviews it is.  Oh, and if you're curious as to whether I'll actually get 200 before the end of the year, don't count on it.

On top of that, I have 3 older comics and 3 practically brand new comics.  Harder to judge new comics because there's so little to go on, but let's see what comes from them.  Ready?  Too bad.

185.  String Theory - I think at it's core, this is actually a relationship comic rather than a mad science comic, but there's plenty of that there too.  The relationship is awkward as the main character hasn't attempted dating, well, ever, hates human contact and, right from the start of the comic, has a pair of evil looking artificial eyes.  And if you think that's a lot, keep in mind there have been only 38 strips at the time of this review.  Yeah, it's young, but I see potential to be pretty good here.

186.  Hanna is Not a Boy's Name - The first thing that stands out is this comic is colorful and bright.  And for a comic that's basically about the supernatural, that's a nice change of pace.  Oh, and the main character is a zombie that's bored.  Hanna, on the other hand, is his boss.  The comic takes advantage of the "open canvas" of the internet, and breaks traditional panels and framing to make fun and interesting to read comic.  There's also a a decent sense of humor to go along with it.  Not nearly as young as String Theory, but pretty damn close and just as interesting looking, if not more so.

187.  Angels 2200 - Look, a comic that isn't less than 6 months old.  Actually, Angels 2200 has been on my to read list for a long, long time, and like Girl Genius, it stayed on the backburner due to lenght.  And like Girl Genius, I'm glad I read it and will continue to, whenever it gets back from hiatus (if it gets back).  It's good, to be blunt.  There's no mountain of backstory shoved down your throat, the character reactions are reasonable and natural, and the story is very well told.  The downside is some of the action, and being a comic about space fighter pilots there's a bit of it, is sometimes hard to tell what's going on.  Still, even if you don't SEE what's happening, the way the characters react to it will tell you everything you need to know.  In fact, I'd almost say that this comic has some of the best characters I've ever seen in a webcomic, and considering the sheer number of comics I've read, that says something right there.  Downsides I see, aside from it being on hiatus right now, is that it seems to have about two weeks between updates, which might effect the pacing a bit.  When (if) it comes back, we'll see how it works, but I'm betting it won't be nearly as bad as some others.  Regardless, the archive is worth the read, so go to it already.

188.  Eerie Cuties - Eerie Cuties is another young comic done by the same person that does Menage a 3.  Only with color, and less sex.  And demon girls of various types.  It is DIFFERENT, but not that much, and the humor is about the same as Menage, just with less sex.  Basically the comic is the artist's attempt to do something different, and I think it's going well so far with interesting ideas and just the right humor to keep it going.  If anything, it's worth watching to compare it to Menage a 3 and see how two very different comics work when they come from the same person.

189.  Three Panel Soul - This is the successor comic to MacHall, a comic I mentioned remembering very little about in my review reposting.  Which means I really didn't have any expectations going into it.  It's not bad, the jokes are good, the art varies depending on the nature of the humor the comic wants to present and it keeps being entertaining.  Not much really to say here other than it's been around a while and I think I heard about it once a long time ago, but only recently actually read it.  Go figure.  If you liked or remembered MacHall, this is probably a comic you'll enjoy.

190.  Girls with Slingshots - Questionable Content is a comic I reviewed some time ago (it's number 133, so you won't see it for a while), and this comic reminds me of QC, only without the neuroses that seem to dominate QC.  In all, I'd have to say it's better than QC in nearly everyway because it doesn't dwell on the characters being "off."  Yes, a few of them are a bit weird, but they don't harp on it and often break out of it in an effort to grow.  They do grow too, and become different, for better or worse, something I'm fairly certain QC never did.  It's an enjoyable comic and will probably stay on the read pile for a while.

And yes, you read that right, all six of these comics will stay in the read folder, which means I need to find some terrible comics for the next batch or two to balance it out.  Shouldn't be too hard to find, right?  Well, that's all for today, see you next time kiddies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sometimes Bad is Bad

It's hard to criticize someones hard work.  It's even harder to sit and listen to your work being criticized, and the internet is even worse for both as people are more than willing to say "It's great" when it isn't and overreact like a mob when you try to explain that, yeah, it's not good.

But as the song goes, sometimes bad is bad.

It's hard to decide which of my 184 reviewed comics truly gets to be called "bad."  Well, not too hard in many cases, but a lot of the problem is that once I finish a comic, if I don't follow it, I kind of forget it exists.  In some cases I wish they didn't exist, but that's more my problem than yours.  Well, unless you actually read them, then you'd agree.  Anyway, after scouring through my review archives, I've got at least 6 (well, there WERE 7, but then The World Explodes had to go and get good, go figure) that would require an act of God to make me read again, with one exception.  So here's our lucky losers:

Dungeon Crawl Inc
Diesel Sweeties
Small World
Luz, Girl of the Knowing
Daniella Dark

These aren't in any particular order, except Earthbeta which is by far the worst of the lot.  But this isn't really what this article is about, it's about WHY these comics are bad.  And surprisingly, the reasons are very different from each other.

Crime:  Too Damn Preachy

Offenders:  Luz, Girl of the Knowing, Small World

With Luz, it was "beat the message into your skull," with Small World it was "I disagree and you're not giving me a reason to agree."  The internet is about standing on a digital soapbox and making your case (raises hand), but it doesn't mean you should take that sign you're holding and smack the person walking by with it.

Comics CAN be preachy and get away with it if they have a good story or are funny.  Luz and Small World do neither, and so as they scream their message, they override anything positive about the comic and bury in a pit of awfulness.

Crime:  Bad Art

Offenders:  Earthbeta, Dungeon Crawl Inc., Daniella Dark

Daniella is a bit of an exception as the art isn't godawful like the other two, but it's not anything great either.  Earthbeta and Dungeon Crawl Inc., however, are just unpleasant to look at.

Bad art makes it hard to read a comic, and will turn readers away before they begin.  That said, bad art doesn't necessarily mean a bad comic.  There are many, many examples of comics with simple or not necessarily great art that are surprisingly good.  These comics frequently have something else to lean on:  a good story or good humor.

Of course, if the art is REALLY bad, almost nothing can help it.

Crime:  Not funny.

Offenders:  Small World, Dungeon Crawl Inc., Diesel Sweeties and Earthbeta

Comedy is hard, very hard.  Getting a few chuckles isn't impossible in most cases, but when you can't even do THAT, then your comic is in trouble.  It can be resolved by falling back on a good story or good art, but if you're not funny, and you have nothing else, your comic is bad.  Diesel Sweeties is PAINFULLY not funny, it's almost unfunny (as in, anti-funny), and then there's Earthbeta.  Let us not talk or think about Earthbeta much.

Crime:  Bad story.

Offenders:  Dungeon Crawl Inc., Daniella Dark and Earthbeta.

Yes, Earthbeta has a "story," but it involves and evil version of Kermit and remembering it makes me ill.  Now, I won't comment TOO much on Daniella Dark because I really didn't read it much, but what I saw I wasn't impressed with.

Stories are easier than jokes, but it still take some talent and skill to build one, and failure is pretty easy.  A bad story can take even an interesting concept and good art and destroy a comic.  Bad stories can have many reasons: being poorly told, half told, bad characters, poor settings, silly plots and just plan stupid stories.  Execution is the hardest part, and the part where most of the comics fail.  Get over that hump, and the rest can be given a pass.

These are the major reasons, but not the only ones.  Diesel Sweeties has walls of text that isn't funny, Earthbeta and Dungeon Crawl Inc. were sprite comics for a time and did them poorly, and Daniella Dark failed to even begin to grab my interest, so it never got a chance to prove itself otherwise.

Bad comics can come back, though.  The World Explodes was terrible when I first read it, but I decided to give it another go, and the move from a daily comic to a more adventure comic did wonders for it.  Dungeon Crawl Inc. improved when it switched from sprites to (not very good) art, but it still isn't that good.  I'm sure other comics have improved.

That said, there are other comics I consider bad, but I haven't reviewed.  This is mostly personal bias against those comics that I'd rather not get into, and there are even more I've never even read.  Still, bad comics are out there, and sometimes it just needs to be pointed out.

Well, that's enough for this week.  See you next time kiddies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 16 - 20

I'm not sure how my numbering system got so out of wack, starting on 5 or 0 instead of ending there.  I'll have to fix that in the future.  On with the reviews!

January 4, 2003

16. Bob the Angry Flower - This flower is damn angry, and insane, and well armed. Every strip is something different and unique, covering things from global politics to quantum mechanics, and usually resulting in the complete destruction of something, usually Bob, the angry flower at the center of it all. Hell, he is the one banned by the UN from using a tank. To open jars. Did I mention he was insane? Well he is. Just go read the damn thing, or else an army of robots will be visiting you in the near future.

August 1, 2003 - Still angry, still a flower, still funny.

October 11, 2006 - Format changed a bit, but the comic is still basically the same. I've heard some say the humor has fallen off a bit, and perhaps it has, but it's still significantly better than most comics on the web today.

TODAY - Yes, I still read Bob, and yes I still enjoy it.  No problems with it at all.

17. Choppingblock - Butch is a killer, a very tortured killer. It's hard to be a killer in this day and age, after all. This comic is morbid, twisted and at moments damn funny. Violence, death, dismemberment, cannibalism, cruel mothers, hockey masks and whatever else the twisted artist can come up with, it has everything a growing boy needs. Girls too. It's funny, but your sense of humor has to be touched warped to truly enjoy it. I, of course, loved it.

August 1, 2003 - Artist got a new addition to the family a couple weeks ago. No, the kid's name isn't Butch.

October 11, 2006 - This comic has gone on mini-hiatuses so much, I actually stopped reading. It also seems to have lost a bit of its punch.

TODAY - I think it's updating again, but I can't be too sure.  The point is, I stopped reading it and tracking it not because it's a bad comic or anything, but because there's only so much you can do with a killer like Butch, and I think he did everything, so what was the point on still reading?  There wasn't one, so the last hiatus meant I really didn't care any more.  It was fun while it lasted though.

18. Demonology 101 - This is the only other comic on this list that fits into the "drama" category more often than not (the other is Jack). It takes its cue from Buffy, then goes its own way. The plot is long term, usually requiring several months to fully develop, and even then the main line has just begun (similar to how Sea of Insanity is going). The characters are pretty depressing on a level though, almost always harping on the unfairness of their simple existence. Angst is annoying after a while folks. Still, it's not bad, and deserves at least an initial read through of the first episode. Though those noses are damn weird.

August 1, 2003 - It's coming to a close, and it's probably at the point where that's a good thing. Faith has started a new comic, but you have to pay to read the archives, so I'll give this one a pass, I'm afraid.

October 11, 2006 - It's still one of the better comics of its type I've ever read, so go read it if you haven't. As for that new comic, it went to free not too long ago, so now you can catch up on that. In fact, I reviewed it, so look for Ice on the list here.

TODAY - Not much to say here aside from Ice being a much tighter story than Demonology.  Does it mean you shouldn't read it?  Hell no!  I should go back and reread it some time as well.

19. College Roomies from Hell - Finally, the last one. Where Machall screws up the college angle by having too much college, Roomies has no such problem. College is more along the lines of a white noise that only rises to the surface when the regular stuff takes a nap. The regular stuff is out there. Mutations, curses, possessions, the devil, and evil siblings run amuck through this thing. And it's all done with a shrug and a smile. Sort of like Sluggy (a lot like Sluggy in fact), only with fewer aliens, and no Bun-Bun (though they have replacements for him). And it's nearly as old. If you love Sluggy, this will either feel like a rip off, or like home away from home.

August 1, 2003 - The charm of the early days are fading, but there's enough to keep me interested, for now. Think of the term "on the bubble" and you'll have a much better idea what I mean.

October 11, 2006 - That charm that was fading basically curled up and died. I haven't read it in, well, a while now. I don't really miss it, honestly.

TODAY - I still don't miss it.

February 21, 2003

20. Fans! - I wanted to like this comic, I really did. After reading the College Roomies from Hell crossover, the greatest of all the crossovers I've read, I had high hopes for Fans. They were far too high. Perhaps I'm not geek enough for it, or just too overly burnt out from webcomics to appreciate its finer points, but it didn't grab me, at all. The characters weren't as interesting as I thought they would be, the various story plots didn't seem to work very well, and the art. . . Let me stop there and say nothings wrong with the art, as long as they stick to the original artist! Guest artists, in most comics, rarely lasts more than a week, then its back to the traditional style. Fans! uses their guest artists for entire chapters, and it hurts. Of all their guests, I think only one of them fit the general style any, and that was the second one. Beyond that, I went into a depression when they switched artists. Of course, I'm a freak, so you might like it. I, however, slid it into my "Non-read" folder.

TODAY - I suppose I should probably give Fans! another shot, it has been, what, six years since I did this review.  But not now, I've got other fish to fry.

Of this batch, only Bob remains on the read list, while Demonology 101 ended, the others all went into the non-read pile.  20 down, 165 to go.  This is going to take a while. . .

Friday, October 16, 2009

Letting Go

Webcomics are a terrible habit.  I should know, I read a ton of them, but I really don't read THAT many.  See, there is a point when a comic that you've been reading for literally years just doesn't work any more, but you keep reading it anyway.  Why?  Well, let's discuss that.

I've given up a lot of comics.  Many I had to, they just don't update any more, or died, or worse, but there are more than a few that I read for quite a while and then stopped.

There are only two comics that really deserve mentioning here, though the list is quite long.  I don't regret ceasing to follow these two, but I do pine for the good old days when I cared about them, and it hurts a bit to think of how they turned me away.  They are General Protection Fault and College Roomies from Hell.

Both were amongst the first comics I read, and both were also the amongst the first to slide into the Non-Read column well after I started reading them.

GPF was the first and most rapid fall.  Don't let my review dates fool you on it, I didn't review it until January of 2003, but I had been reading it well before then.  Still, it was very, very fast fall, and I blame his great story, Serendipitous Machines.  In truth, both comics started out very similarly to the one that really started the ball rolling, Sluggy Freelance, and if any thing, GPF was much closer.  The thing is, Sluggy developed from it's daily comic roots into a full blown adventure comic very gradually.  I doubt you can point to a specific moment when it switched over.

With GPF, the change was much more radical, and happened within one story line of Serendipitous Machines, the storyline that set it up.  I don't mind changing the nature of a comic, in some cases it can have a very positive effect.  For GPF, though, it did not.  The comic, once funny and lovable, turned into a rather dark tale and then into a quasi-action comic that probably would have been fine if it had STARTED as one, but instead, the established humor characters were thrust into a new role.  It didn't suit any of them.  Sluggy's characters evolved into the people they are, GPF mutated them with green ooze.  It wasn't pleasant, and even when he tried to get back to the old roots, it just never fit again.  So I stopped reading it, and moved on to greener pastures.

Which included College Roomies from Hell.  CRfH's change actually was gradual, just as the art changed over time (go ahead and compare an early strip with a current one, and then tell me they're from the same comic), but in the end, it just didn't change in a way that kept me interested.  Like GPF it got darker, but unlike GPF, it didn't do it radically, but it still didn't fit what I wanted to see in the comic.  It wasn't like GPF where I went away disappointed in the comic, and a bit angry, but it wasn't something I really wanted to continue reading either.  Still, it took 3 years after I realized it wasn't going where I wanted it to go to finally stop reading it, a sign that I was still hoping for a turn around.

Sluggy Freelance, incidentally, has changed just as much as CRfH, and I even compared the two in the original review.  The changes in both, though, seemed very different, where CRfH drove me away, Sluggy drew me deeper in.  That's not to say there hasn't been a few times when I've wondered why I was reading Sluggy (Oceans Unmoving, anyone?), but it seems Abrams (the artist) got the same vibe and scaled it back.  CRfH, I suspect, may have done the same thing (I don't read the comic, but I do read other review sites), but I haven't felt the need to go back in quite a while.

Now these are just the earliest comics to push me away, there have been others, but I do understand how hard it is to finally drop the link from the bookmarks and move on (you should SEE my bookmark file).  So here's what you should ask yourself when you think you might want to give up on a comic:

1)  What caused you to start reading the comic in the first place?  Did the art catch your eye, or perhaps the characters?  Think hard about what force started you reading.

2)  What kept you reading all this time?  The story grab you?  Maybe you just had to see what happened next, or the sense of humor or general tone of the comic just felt right.

3)  Did either or both change for the better, or the worse?

4)  Do you think either will change back?

The last two questions should answer your question if you should give up.  Yeah, the last one is kind of loaded because some comics do come back from the brink, but you have to be honest with yourself and what you know about the artist simply through the comic itself.  You'll find the answer there, I assure you.

It's hard to give up on a comic, but sometimes you have to.  I know, I learned the hard way.

Until next time kiddies.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wild Webcomic Review, 11 - 15

So what's next on our review list?  Let's take a look.

January 2, 2003

11. Anime Moments in History - The complete and total opposite of Megatokyo and Life of Riley, and damn proud of it! This is an angry comic that directly attacks anything and everything, especially anime and the like. It reaches out and drags the absolute worst of the genre, and the fandoms that worship it, out into the open, and proceeds to beat on it. One strip even raised the ire of a number of anime boards, encouraging John (one of the creators) to enter the fray, not to defend it, but to spread racist remarks. These are people who don't care who they piss off or how, they just plain enjoy it. And so do I. (Note: I doubt John is actually racist, he did it only to get a rise out of people. He's an Old Man Murray alum after all.)

August 1, 2003 - Looking for a new artist as the old one is moving. Oh well, it was funny while it lasted, if you like that sort of humor.

October 11, 2006 - This comic was dead for a long time, until John decided to start drawing it himself. Now, it's, well, it's awful. The early stuff is still pretty good, but don't even bother reading it regularly.

TODAY - I actively seek out this kind of comic, and don't find it very often, sadly.  There is a quasi-spin off, but seriously, if you don't like this comic, you really won't like Troll Police.  Hell, even I don't read that.

12. Exploitation Now! - Remember how I said there were three categories? This one straddles all three at once. It's designed to be funny, and insulting, while the undercurrent of a greater story is bubbling up from underneath (which makes sense if you think about it actually). As the comic goes on, the initial supremely funny aspects fade away leading to the more dramatic (so much of a fade that the main characters virtually disappear from the strip). Even Poe (the artist) recognized this, and it probably led to his decision to end the strip, for the best I think. Still a great comic to read (my favorite being the graffiti one).

TODAY - Another one of those comics I really should go back and re-read some time.  It's a classic, you should read it.

13. Errant Story - Poe's newest work. It's still pretty early, but it's shaping up to be very recognizable to those who read through Exploitation Now. It's got the same types of humor, with the more dramatic pits still there in force. It'll be quite a ride when it finally gets going, though. I'm almost sure of it.

February 21, 2003 - Well, it's finally starting to hit its stride, so I figure I'll reevaluate the strip. Still pretty good. A little long and drawn out, but still good. Poe's humor still shines through, making it a joy to read, but its slow in developing. Really, really slow. I think it's finally starting to pick up speed though. Still worth a read.

August 1, 2003 - One of the greatest comics on the web. Read it or weep.

October 11, 2006 - Are you still not reading this comic? Are you sick? Are you crazy? Dear god, it is the best and if you aren't reading, you have issues. GO ALREADY!

TODAY - Speaking of classics, Errant Story is a living one.  It is also the only comic, out of the 190 or so I've read, that I actually gave money to.  I got a pin, which was awesome.

January 4, 2003

14. Machall - Had I stumbled across this comic several years ago (before it existed, I might add), I would have loved it. Back then, you see, I lived in a dorm very like this one. In fact, some of the same characters were there, something I find quite disturbing. Yet, despite the similarities, it just didn't impress me. I think it's because all the humor was built around the dorm and the people there, and I outgrew that long ago. If you live in a dorm, you'll love it. Otherwise, skip it.

October 11, 2006 - Still haven't read it since this review was written, aside from a few sporadic links.

TODAY - I remember so little of this comic, I almost forgot I read it.  Not much of an impression, eh?

15. Sea of Insanity - Perhaps its because I lived in Greece for several years, and as part of my childhood education, got a crash course on Greek mythology, but I love this comic. Gods, demigods, nymphs and the lot running around causing the leading male headaches just appeals to me. And having immortals dropping by, man does that suck let me tell you. Anyways, the art is the most realistic of the batch, which makes it look kind of flat at times. Beyond that, there's a long term story going on, though most of the details haven't been given away, yet. Though two years old, it hardly feels like it's begun at all. I can't wait for the story to really hit.

August 1, 2003 - The Gods bless this strip with an interesting tale, but curse it with an author who issues run the gambit from swollen wrists to siblings crashing cars. It's a miracle he can put out two comics a week, I swear.

October 11, 2006 - Last September was when it updated last, which was nice as it was kind of a birthday present for me. Hasn't updated since. It makes me sad.

TODAY - And then it started updating again, some 2 years later.  Remember that bad luck?  It got worse, but he came back and is updating at a more or less constant rate.  I am happy once again.

Sea of Insanity and Errant Story remain on my read list, while the others are all dead.  No matter, more next week.