Wednesday, September 30, 2009

300 Wild Webcomic Review

"You're seriously using that tired old meme?  This is madness."

"No, this is


And luckily, you don't have to die for it."

Yes, here I am with another 5 (see, no 7 this time) webcomic reviews.  I probably should do 6 next time, just so I can end on a 5 or 0, but eh.  Anyway, here we go:

180.  Worst of the Time Lords - Yeah, those Time Lords.  It's one part parody, one part primer, and one part homage to the entire Doctor Who franchise, though most of the focus is on the most recent series.  So that means if you haven't seen it yet (and if you're a fan, why wouldn't you?) then you probably should avoid it for all the spoilers contained therein.  If you have seen it, or have no intention of doing so, then by all means, go for it.  It's only 260 strips long (they ended it after a year) so it's a relatively quick read.  Nothing wrong with that, it's still fun, especially if you are a fan.  So go on already.

181.  Return to Green Hollow - This is a short, fairy tale comic.  Short as in it's done, fairy tale as in, well, some kind of fairy tale.  My only complaint is that when I reached the end (which was a natural end, BTW), I was pissed that it didn't keep going.  Still, I understand WHY it stopped, I just kind of which it hadn't.  Still, for a short comic, it's very well drawn, the story is compelling and I was interested enough to want it to keep going, so it has all that.  Short, sweet, and worth the small amount of effort needed to go through it.

182.  Conny Van Ehlsing, Monster Hunter - A while ago, I did a review for a comic called Kristy Vs the Zombie Army which was a fun comic with a great name.  Well, that's been on hiatus since last year (meaning it's probably dead), so Conny here has stepped up to the plate.  I think it's more interesting than Kristy, but Kristy was more fun, which honestly hurts neither comic.  The art doesn't feel as "clean" as other comics, but it fits the tone of the strip much more than it would probably in others.  The story is a little girl challenging the monsters no one else can see (or wants to see).  I enjoyed it, though I'm not sure everyone else will, for one reason or another.  Give it a try at least.

183.  Aptitude Test - This comic started as a 3 chapter novel comic about one of those aptitude tests that they sometimes give in school (I never actually took one, probably would have said "internet dork" if I had) and the things that happened afterwards.  Then it kept on going.  The initial comic is actually very good, well thought out and writen, probably an ideal one shot comic.  And it really doesn't quite let up despite continuing beyond the original finish point.  Yes, there are more characters and new stories have to be generated with them, but I think it's quite fitting and doesn't break the original characters at all, which is something that could have happened.  Fun and worth the time.

184.  Girl Genius - Girl Genius has been in my Future Reads folder for a long, long time.  Why did it take so long to get to?  Lenght.  The comic is HUGE, and if you hadn't noticed, the other 4 in just this review set probably doesn't have more than 500 strips between them.  Girl Genius has strips from as far back as 2002, 3 times a week, meaning well over 1000 strips, and big ones too.  So it took longer, and it is worth it.  It's manic, funny, and has a epic storyline that practically defines the term.  My only problem is the characters.  Oh, they're fine, it's just there's no concept of "subtle character development" in this comic.  Hell, I don't think there's a subtle moment in the entire comic, it is VERY manic with just about everything it does (of course, it is a world run by mad science, so I suppose that makes sense).  The thing is, you never get any quiet, or low key at least, moments when characters can show that they've changed or grown in some subtle way.  It's not necessary, honestly, and the comic is just fine without it, but I'd love to see a bit of it.  Which is probably impossible because of my other problem with the characters:  There are so damn many.  There's at least 100 or more named characters (or it feels like it at least), all of which play their roles, but keeping track of them is a pain in the ass.  Near the end of the archives, I couldn't remember who one character, that suddenly showed up out of nowhere, actually was, or where he came from.  Once it was explained, I was fine with it (didn't help they implied he was dead), but until then, I was confused.  Still, it's a good, fun read and worth the time it took to read the damn thing.

Well, that's it for this week.  There will probably be a lull in new comic updates for a bit, but in the meantime I will continue to post old updates with my current thoughts.  Until then kiddies.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The List to Your Right

If you haven't noticed it by now, please direct your attention to the list of comics on your right.

This is my list of my "current reads."  I review all the comics I read regularly, and so each of these has "survived" my review process and have found themselves in one of these honored categories in my bookmarks.

Which basically means I like reading these and still do.

That said, don't trust the subtitles there.  M-W-F does indeed mean Monday-Wednesday-Friday, but that's not necessarily when the comic updates.  Those headings generally just mean when I check those comics.

For example, Wapsi Square and Book of Biff don't update everyday, but only on Monday-Friday, but that's more frequent than the other three categories, so they get put under daily.  But comics like Achewood, which actually only seems to update once a week, still sit in the Daily spot because I'm to lazy to move them.  Others, like The Meek have varying update schedules (was three times a week for a while and now is back to once a week) so they are in places that don't even match their actual update schedules.

And let's not get into some of the weekly comics, madness lies there.

The vast majority of comics I read do, eventually, find a spot in my current read list, at least for a little while.  Some even leave the list only to return later as the comics status (and possibly style) changes.

The rest of the comics end up in one of three categories:

Hiatus:  Which is another way of saying "they haven't updated in forever, but I haven't given up on them yet."

Dead Comics:  Which means "I have given up on them," or "they were like that when I got here."  Damn, I seem to say that too often.

And finally, Non-Reads:  Comics I don't read for one reason or another.  

Most comics end up in the Dead category, but Non-Reads can also be dead ones, I just don't read them so I don't know.

There are two other categories, and they happen to be my favorites:  Future Reads and TBReviwed.  These are where the new comics come from.  I spot a link or an ad, look over the initial strip and then bookmark them if it looks like I might be interested.  Right now there are about 20 strips in my Future Read folder, and I usually add one every couple of weeks, so I'm not without comics to read, but I always take recommendations (unless you ask for Penny Arcade).

So I won't be posting those comics on part of my current read list as it would just make that sidebar far more cluttered than I would like.  In any case, I do read THESE comics, so I have to recommend each and every one of them, at least a little.  As I post the reviews, you'll see my specific opinions on each one, but please feel free to form your own with my token recommendation.

Well anyway, I know I should post something more substantial for my weekly examination, but since I often use my current reads as my references for things. . .

Ah, who am I kidding, I'm just showing off all the comics I read.  Anyway, next week will likely have 5 new reviews and an actual decent article, with the ominous title "Death by Hiatus."  Until then kiddies.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wild Webcoimc Reviews, 1 - 5

It all started more than 6 years ago now.  For this blog, I shall be adding some extra comments, and considering how long these "extra" comments are getting, it'll probably be the last time for many of these.

January 2, 2003

1. The Parking Lot is Full - Expect to see a few dead comics on this list, some of these are the best of the batch. And PLiF is my all time favorite. Not a pure webcomic (it was actually published in a periodical for a while), but it blows most of ones I'll review out of the water. The only comic I've ever found that can truly fill the shoes of the Far Side. They stopped making it about a year or two ago, but the archives are still there in all their glory. Read this comic, or die without truly ever living.

October 11, 2006 - Still one of the best. Has there been any comic that has even come close? No, not at all. But there is some good news, they've actually added older comics to the archive. That's right, there are sort of new strips. It's from the early days, but you might as well go enjoy them, it might make up for the complete lack of PLiF over the last few years.

TODAY - There really isn't much to add.  There have been pretenders to the throne of PLiF, but none have ever actually taken the crown.

2. Sluggy Freelance - Did you honestly believe this wouldn't be on here? You poor deluded fools. Probably the first true webcomic I had the pleasure (and insanity) to read, in a virtual marathon 4 day session. Was it worth it? Hell yes! The granddaddy of comics, it's got something for nearly everybody, and if doesn't have it yet, it will. My only issue is that I think that its time for Pete to start thinking about ending the thing. It's a great comic, but going out on top is the only way to go. I don't want to see it crumble too much before it dies.

August 1, 2003 - All round, probably the best comic on the internet. Like 8-Bit and Errant Story, a must read.

October 11, 2006 - Four years on and it's still in production. So much for trying to convince him to end it without him knowing who I am. My tastes in webcomics have changed slightly, so I wouldn't say Sluggy is the best any more, but it is the quintessential webcomic. Everything that a webcomic is or can be is more or less wrapped up inside of Sluggy Freelance, from the greatest heights to the most spectacular of failures. If you want to know what webcomics really are, just read this one. Hell, it's actually enjoyable too.

TODAY - And it still remains that.  As I write my examinations, I have a feeling I'll often point to Sluggy Freelance for examples of what to do, and what not to do, with a webcomic.

3. Jerkcity - This is a stupid comic, it even admits it. But it's also strangely alluring, especially after you're an avid reader of Old Man Murray forums (before it closed, now go to Caltrops). It's not nice, but it isn't explicitly vulgar, and one has to wonder if there's something in them that you're not getting. Don't bother with the archive, most of the jokes are the same comic to comic, but are occasionally useful during a flame war.

August 1, 2003 - Still stupid, yet I continue to read it. I don't know why.

October 11, 2006 - Still stupid, not reading it. It's not that the comic got bad, it's just that it's the same joke told every day. It does get old. I've moved on to better comics, but Jerkcity will always be one of those comics I remember.

TODAY - Again, not much to say, I will remember the comic, but only as it really didn't change much over the course of its continued existance.  Don't expect much from it, but it is what it is, and let us leave it at that.

4. General Protection Fault - It started as a pure hearted geek comic, evolved into something more, screwed that up, and fell back to where it belonged. Fun to read early on (with far too many geek jokes that I got, and that scares me), then he went and did his big story, which sucked! Jeff, my friend, DON'T DO IT AGAIN! Not like that anyway. I nearly stopped reading it over that thing. GPF's still not back up to where it was, but I'll stick with it for a while longer. For now.

August 1, 2003 - Gone. During and after Serendipitous Machines, the whole strip took a nose dive in humor and story. All the fun that was there early on disappeared in a flash of time travel. Even the Matrix/Tron/Reboot parody couldn't save it.

October 11, 2006 - Still haven't gone back to read it. I see ads for it once in a while, but I've never gone back. I hear he's doing a sequel to Serendipitous Machines, maybe he learned his lesson. Probably not.

TODAY - Jerkcity I stopped reading because there was nothing new.  PLiF just died.  But GPF is the first comic (as these reviews are generally in order of when I read them) that ever turned me away from it.  I could, perhaps, give it another chance, but I probably won't.  I've got enough comics on my plate, I don't need to worry about another one.

5. exploding dog - i wouldn't call this a comic, but i'm not sure if it's art either. the premise is simple, you send in a phrase or word, and the guy draws it. sort of. kind of. just go look at it, you'll understand. be ready for some strange things though (including a joke i've used in this entire review, see if you can guess it).

august 1, 2003 - riding the line between art and, er, something.

october 11, 2006 - i don't know why, but i just stopped reading it. probably the same reason jerkcity flee off my daily radar. it's just the same thing over and over again. doesn't make it any less surreal, but i moved on.

today - it is the same reason as i stopped reading jerkcity, nothing new.  that's nothing against the comic, it is what it is, but i just don't have the time or enegry to spend on it any more.  also, do you see the joke in the review for it?

Out of the first five comics, only one remains on my read list.  Considering I've read about 180 comics, and there's no way I can follow them all forever, I suppose that's quite alright.

Well, that's it for this.  I need to go read some more comics for a proper update in the future (as in, whenever I get done reading them), so see you next time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Webcomic Catagories

As my first examination article on webcomics, I'm going to divide them into catagories.  Four catagories to be exact.  Before I go much further, please keep in mind that not all comics will fit neatly into any one of these catagories, and several cross or straddle the lines between them.  But that's alright, because they do fit there in one way or the other.

So without further adu:

Classic Comics

The most basic and common comic is the Classic Comic.  These are basically the strips you find in the funny pages of your local newspaper, only posted on the internet.  Typically these comics tell a joke within 1-4 panels, each time, everytime.  If there are 'stories' they are usually limited to short one or two week arcs and when they're over, they rearly, if ever, have any continued effect on the comic.

And this is probably the most common of all comics.  When a person starts doing webcomics, they generally want to do comics that appear in papers, so these are everywhere, and they often die first.  It really is hard to come up with a good joke everyday.  Just read the comics page, and you'll see what I mean.

Probably the best example is Sinfest, which at one point advertised how many times it had been rejected by the Syndcates (companies that run the comics page).  There are many, many others, of course, and to list them all would take a while, so I won't.

Adventure Comics

Adventure Comics are like Classic Comics, only with much longer story arcs and are far less likely to have daily jokes.  Typically the focus on a group of friends, relations or whatnot that go on, well, adventures through their world.  Maybe they'll be fighting demons with puns, sealing vortecies of evil or racing cross country.  Usually there's some "weird" element either within the group or in the world that dictates the play of events.  The arcs aren't terribly long (a few months worth, depending on the update schedule of the comic) but certianly not short and quick.

Frequently, they evolve from a Classic Comic.  This is more the result of the artist discovering that doing a Classic Comic is very hard, but they still want to keep going with something similar but more involved.  Longer stories usually result with deeper characters and generally a much more fullfilling comic develops.  They seem to reflect television shows of various degrees and even comic books at this point, and often can get just as convoluted and unfollowable if the artist isn't careful.

Sluggy Freelance is pretty much a classic example of this, though it's been changing recently.  Many of the comics on my lists are adventure strips and they are generally my favorite type as they often provide the best balance between story telling and humor.  Of course, it's also easier to screw it up as well.

Epic Comics

The evolutionary process usually starts with the Classic Comic, then changes into an Adventure Comic, and finally into an Epic Comic.  Epic Comics usually mean there is a major story arc behind all the minor arcs of an Adventure Comic, a "big bad" that is the driving force for all the adventures our gang of heroes has been exposed to until now.  Often it is more an afterthought rather than a planned event by the artist, which is why Adventure Comics can turn into Epic Comics.

Epic also means that the comics become very, VERY long lived as the artist tries to tell some grand, sweeping story.  And it is also the most prone to both failure, death by hiatus, and just plain disappointment.  Often in pursuit of the epic story, the comic shifts it's focus from the old core cast and moves to other characters that may or may not be more interesting.

Examples of Epic Comics include Wasapi Square, Parallel Dementia, and The Wotch, all of which feature some major force behind the many and varied adventures.

Novel Comics

Finally there are Novel Comics, which are different from the others as they are meant to have a beginning and an ending (even if it takes a long time).  The other three often have no set "ending," though they might do so anyway given enough time.

Novel Comics are usually planned out fairly well from the beginning and are written as a single story.  Typically they are done in larger pages and are less likely to have random stories or odd events running through them.  The downside is that it is rare that these comics actually finish, often because they are so long and detailed, the artist either can't find the time or will to complete them.

Broken Mirror (no link, comic is MIA), Our Time in Eden, and Hopscotch (which is very short compared to other Epic Comics) are examples of this style.

Now do all comics fit neatly into these catagories?  Hell no.  Errant Story is, at its core, a Novel Comic, but the exact direction was never really established so it's really kind of an Epic Comic, whereas comics like Sluggy Freelance are slowly pushing more towards epic status while still being very much an Adventure comic.  There are also a few weird comics, like Apophenia 357 and exploding dog which ride the line of actually being comics at all.

In general though, comics can pretty easily be dropped into these four catagories, and I'll probably use these titles when I refer to them in future posts.

Enough of this, next week comics 1 - 5.  Until then.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Birthday Wild Webcomic Review

It's my birthday and I'll


I'd repeat that, but it's a mouthful.

Well today is my birthday, and this blog is my present to the world.  What do I have for you?  Why I have 5 (7) comic reviews!  Er, that 7 has a point, but let's ignore him for the moment.

Today's group of 5 (7) comics is my most recent set of reviews, just finished, uh, about 5 minutes ago.  Ignore bad spelling, but the links should all work, so go and read the ones that catch your eye.  There's no set pattern or anything to these reviews, other than they're typically in the order I read them.  After that, I ramble a bit.  Also, ignore the spelling/grammatical errors, I'm don't spell check my stuff.

So anyway, let's get started with this blog's first 5 (7) comics. Stupid 7.

175. Lucid TV - This comic asks the following question: What's the worst way for a doctor to tell you bad news? Then before you can answer it responds with "This is worse." That's it, that's the whole point of the comic is a series of really, really black jokes about people dying and such at a hospital where patients who go in rarely come out. And it's all because the doctors don't give a shit. It's dark, and I can't help but like it.

176. Pure - When I review stories (which I haven't done in a while) I usually comment on block descriptions of characters, where the author tries to describe everything about a character all at once. Guess what this comic starts with? I actually put off this comic several times because of that, but even once you get past it, it really doesn't get that much better. I like the concept for it, but the execution is both painfully slow and not all that interesting. The art has improved, a bit, since it started, but since it started in 2002, I would hope so, but despite the time length, the archieves aren't deep and updates appear to be sporadic at best. I like the concept for it, the idea, but the comic as a whole just isn't worth the time.

177. Deep Fried - This is a review of 3 seperate comics, that all happen to share the same website.

The first is Deep Fried the political comic. I'll be honest, I skipped most of it. It's not that I don't like political humor, I read The Pain (currently on extended hiatus) after all, but the jokes are worn and old at this point and bring up memories I'd rather not dwell on any more. It's also wordy as hell, which in my opinion hurt a good political comic. Still, some inspired ideas, like depicting Dubya as Lord Humungus, come through and if I had run into during the middle of the run, I'd probably have read it closer.

Next is Deep Fried the stand alone webcomic. Here, the "main" characters from the political strip are given their own lives and jokes seperate from the poltical world, and it's actually pretty good from that standpoint. There's jokes about drugs and slackers and other less than legal activities, but nothing too foul or unpleansant, and certianly nothing I haven't seen before. If it run longer, I would have happily read it.

Which brings us to Weapon Brown. As in Charlie Brown. Characters from the funny pages are thrust into a post-apocalypitic world, and stuff gets crazy from there. I would love to go into examples of what makes this comic so great, but it would spoil it. If you read any of Deep Fried, read this, and do it now. Sure, it's over the top and campy, but that makes it awesome. Go already!

178. Menage a 3 - I would say that this comic is full of sexual ennuendo, but ennuendo would be mearly suggesting sex. This comic is blatent about. Hell, the first strip has the main character walking in on his male roomates having sex in the living room. And it only gets rauncher from there. If you're not puratanical when it comes to sex and can stand the almost constant crude humor, you'll probably like this comic. Also if you're into cartoon titties, you'll like it too. No full frontal though kids, so run along. It is rather funny outside of that, but nothing superspecial in that regard.

179. City of Reality - SUEPR defends the city of Reality from bad things. Now parse that for a second. Especially the first word. I'm pissed I didn't catch it earlier, but it explains, for the most part, the entire concept of the comic. Reality is damn near perfect, everyone is happy and carefree all while SUEPR watches the city and is damn near perfect in everyway too. How and why? No idea, but it's definetly different from the surge of dark, edgy hero stories. It's light, fun, and strangely well thought out. Unless it gets overly stupid (which could be hard), it'll be on to hang on to. Two things before you read: It's updated a chapter at a time, so don't wait for new strips to trickle out and two, there are some flash comics in there (and those are actually really creative).

Well, that's it for this week.  Next week I'll post from the old archieves as it takes a while to read through the archieves of even 5 (7) at a time, and would that 7 leave me the hell alone!

Till next time kiddies, later.

Welcome to the Wild Webcomic Review

Hello all you lucky people, welcome to the Wild Webcomic Review.

What makes it so wild?  Nothing at all, it just sounds good with the word 'webcomic.'

Okay, that's not entirely true.  I've been reviewing webcomics on forums for the last six years or so and my method is sharp and to the point:
  1. Read the comic from the very begining of the archieves and nothing else
  2. Tell you what it's about (roughly).
  3. Tell you if I liked it.
  4. Tell you why you might like it, or not.
Okay, yeah, that sounds normal, but I'm not going to fill an entire blog post with the review of one comic.  Instead, just a few sentences on each and usually about five at a time.  About, it'll vary a bit.

So here's the plan:  About the middle of the week I'll tap my archieve of reviews (174 or so comics right now) OR post a new set of webcomic reviews, and on the weekend I'll do something more indepth.

No, no plans on deconstructing individual comics.  I plan to examine the entire webcomic phenomenon and industry using my reviewed comics as examples and such.  Will it be interesting?  No idea.  But hell, I've got to do something.

At the very least I have about 35 weeks worth of reviews (five at a time) to post, so at least you'll have a steady diet of content.  I hope.

So welcome again to the Wild Webcomic Review.  Hope you enjoy the ride.

Hell, I hope I enjoy the ride.