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.