Friday, January 29, 2010

Most Popular Comic?

So the Washington Post put to a vote for the "Best Webcomic of the Past Decade," mostly because Girl Genius dominated a regular comic vote because, well, the poll was online.  Duh.  Anyway, after a nomination process, they presented a list 22 comics, they are thus:

Devil's Panties
Devin Crane, Comic Strip Ghost-Gagwriter
Eric Monster Millikin
Girl Genius
Girls With Slingshots
Hark! A Vagrant
Jesus and Mo
Kevin and Kell
Least I Could Do
Navy Bean
The New Adventures of Queen Victoria
The Order of the Stick
Penny Arcade (I won't link to this comic)
Perry Bible Fellowship
Questionable Content
Red String
Schlock Mercenary

Links from the article (except PA).

Interesting list, isn't it?  More interesting, Penny Arcade and Perry Bible Fellowship are duking it out for first place, and PA wasn't winning earlier, and was in fact behind.  The fact that the numbers changed so much is merely the result of the vote ending up on their main page I imagine.

Still, PBF is a DEAD comic.  Has been for, well, a while now.  PA updates constantly and has a steady, if quite mad, following.  Without them finding out about it, PBF, a DEAD comic, was beating the utter pants off of the entire list.  Yeah, PBF is that good.  Penny Arcade, well, isn't.

So what can we see about this list.  Well, I see three categories:  Comics that belong, comics that shouldn't but are popular so are and comics that really don't belong.

Comics that don't really belong include The Devil's Panties, which is a decent enough strip, but shouldn't even contend for the title of "best."  Nor does Girls With Slingshots, Least I Could Do and Sinfest.  These are good comics, but they aren't "the best" by far.

The comics that shouldn't be there, but are popular, are pretty easy to pick out.  The king is Penny Arcade, of course, a comic I have a pathological hatred for and will never review (mostly because I don't think you want to see that many cuss words strung together).  Questionable Content also does not belong, it's not that good, but is there by sheer popularity.  User Unfriendly and PvP likely fall into the same category (I haven't read them).  Oh, I suppose at one time some of these comics (not QC) might have earned a place here, but I doubt they can hold one now.

And finally the comics that definitely belong.  My vote went to Schlock Mercenary, probably the overall best comic on the internet right now in my not so humble opinion.  Hark, A Vagrant is right on the line of belonging, but given PA is on this list, I'll give this one a pass (that and the Canadians must be out in force as it has 9% of the vote at the time of this writing).  The Order of the Stick, I hear, is doing some very good things, and I might actually read it one day (not today).  xkcd is not a comic I'll be reviewing, but I could see it on this list if only because it is so recent.  And, of course, Girl Genius most certainly deserves a place on this list.

As for the others, I know little about them.  I think I've heard of Kevin and Kell and I believe I've seen an ad for Red String, but beyond that, I'm at a loss with this list.  Could it be that after 200 reviews, I just don't know that many comics?

I guess, but the LACK of some comics disturbs me greatly.  Errant Story and Gunnerkrigg Court are completely absent from that list despite being probably the best story comics on the internet.  The Adventures of Dr. McNinja and 8-Bit Theater are postive classics of humor are missing.  Zebra Girl, Count Your Sheep and, as always, Sluggy Freelance are all missing as well.  Oh sure, there are a couple that I read that didn't quite make the list (Templar, Arizona and Cat and Girl), but even those are really light weights compared to the ones I just mentioned.  Could it be that it's not MY horizons that need expanding, but the people who read and comment on the Washington Post's website?

Maybe a bit of both.  Either way, I did vote for Schlock, and while it likely won't win, it probably should.  Oh, PBF is good, very good, but it's DEAD.  I'll spell that again:  D.E.A.D.  I'd rather read an active comic.

And I won't read Penny Arcade if you paid me.

Unless you paid me a LOT, and trust me, you don't have enough.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

200th Wild Webcomic Review

Hey guess what?


Yes, that's right, I got to 200 before the end of January.  Amazing isn't it?  Well we're here now, some, uh, 8 years after I started this mess.  Okay, so it doesn't sound like I do a lot of these, but think of it this way:  I have a life.  Anyway, let's get going.

196.  Gunshow - It starts a bit slow, but by the end it reminds me of Hark, A Vagrant mixed with Ren and Stimpy.  A LOT of Ren and Stimpy.  There's a fun charm to the comic, and while it isn't super witty like a lot of comics, it is funny.  Some of the humor is a bit off center though, and if you're not a touch into it (like me) then you might not much care for it.

197.  So Damn Bright - Another of those post-college life comics that seem to be growing in number.  It's not bad, if rather young.  The humor is presented as that kind of dry wit you find in the less zany comics and it has a few moments.  I think the only down side is that it's updated only once a week and the style of comic might not get along with that schedule, but since it isn't seriously story dependent, it might not hurt it too much.  I'll be keeping an eye on this for a while.

198.  Back On Earth - And ANOTHER post-college life comic.  No, I don't go actively seeking these things, though this comic has been on my read list for a little while.  The comic actually revolves around the strangest creature I've ever encountered:  A seminary graduate geek.  Unique, I'd say, as I can't recall ever seeing one before (well, not in comics anyway).  The result of this combo is someone who is religious without being an absolute jerk about it.  Of course, after that point, there's the zany that comes with these kinds of comics and that pretty much supports the comic.  It's actually rather enjoyable and very funny at times.  Worth reading.

199.  Finder's Keepers - After all the complaining I did in the last new review set about Alpha Luna and Abandon:  First Vampire, it's rather a shock to find a comic that does all that stuff right.  Finder's Keepers manages to 1)  Give the backstory, 2)  setup the initial characterizations, 3) set up their relationships with each other 4)  keep the action going and 5)  contribute to the overall story all within the first 10 pages.  Damn impressive I'd say.  It's good too, fun and interesting, keeping you in the story without smacking you around with heavy, overblown exposition or explanation.  I do enjoy it and recommend it to just about anyone.

Okay, time for comic 200.  So what comic gets this honor?  How about one that's been on my Future Read list for a long, long time.

200.  Lizzy - And by "a long time" I mean a few years.  I found it through a ad link but decided to hold off reading it because it's done in flash.  I mean, in ALL flash, and as I said in my Flashing article, I typically keep flash turned off on my browser.  So I put it aside to read later.  Later is here and after reading the "non-flash" version of the strip (it's available) I decided I was missing something in the greater comic, so I actually went back and reread the entire strip in flash.  Totally worth it.  Where the other comics in the Flashing article use flash a little bit, Lizzy goes all out.  It's all built on a static comic base, but each strip is interactive on some level, there are animations, sound effects and visual effects that are only possible using flash.  All of this actually helps moves the story forward and keep everything together.  The story is a bit of a trip to follow, but once you get into it, it all makes sense, and the interactive elements actually give you more hints about what's going on.  The art is a bit strange, but almost fitting and natural, and there are homages galore throughout the strip to, well, lots of pop-culture stuff from the A-Team to Hellraiser.  I'm actually ashamed I put the strip off this long, but I'm into it now and I don't plan on going anywhere for a while.

And that's it, the 200th review.  Even better, all 5 strips will get a spot on the read list, which is something that I like to happen because reading bad webcomics sucks.  So how long until 300?  Well, I think the world will end before then, but you never know.  Until next time kiddies.

Friday, January 22, 2010


So earlier this week I dropped Zap! from my read list because I thought it was going to slow and wasn't interested in it any more.  Today, I explain what I mean, because really it's all about pacing.

Every comic, hell, every story, has a beat.  You don't hear it or anything, but the events unfold at a certain pace, one event after the other, and typically as the climax comes up, the beat gets faster and faster.

The simplest beat for a comic is the daily, joke-a-day beat.  Sinfest and Station V3 play that beat all the time, every day, without fail.  Joke, beat, joke, beat.  It's simple, and effective.  Whether the jokes are funny or not is a different story, but the pacing is easy enough to do it with these comics.  But this wasn't Zap's problem, because it was a story comic.

Allow me to present a hypothesis regarding story comics:  The value of a individual strip of a story comic is inversely proportional to the frequency of the comic's updates.  To make that simpler, the more strips a week you have, the less important the individual strips are, the fewer strips a week you have, the more important the individual strips are.

Let's look at an example of the former, Wapsi Square.  This is a long story comic that updates five times a week.  Each strip is about two panels long and might have one or two exchanges in dialog.  Each individual strip isn't really all that important, but a week's worth of strips can tell you a lot.  The comic's beat is weekly, and but the events have time to unfold and grow through that week.  And it's a lot better after expanding the size of the strips too.  It feels bigger and more epic that way.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Zebra Girl, a comic that MIGHT update once a week.  Sometimes.  One strip thus must carry an entire story on it's own.  Remove that one strip and the entire story line falls apart.  More in the middle is Errant Story and Gunnerkrigg Court, which update 3 times a week each.  This covers a spectrum of story pacing, which brings us back to Zap and why it fails at proper pacing.

It all reminds me of something I was taught about short stories:  Every word counts.  And for webcomics, the similar is true:  Every panel counts.  Zap's strips are about the same size as Errant Story or Gunnerkrigg Court, and does about as much in each strip, yet it only updates once every week.  So as a result, each panel should be worth more, should tell more story, but it doesn't.  Each strip tells as much story as ES or GC.

Look at Zebra Girl again.  Look at the most current strip and look at how much story is told, not just in the text but in the art.  It's detailed and not a section of the strip is wasted.  Now here's a strip from Zap.  Dull, huh?  There's some movement, but not much else.  Now if we compare it to a strip of GC, well, that seems about the same doesn't it?

Zap's pacing is off.  The beat of the comic is about a month apart!  Whereas comics with comparable designs are at about a week, and flow at a proper pace.

Now there could be any number of reasons why the comic is being released at this rate.  Maybe it takes a while to produce a strip due to either artist skill or real life, but if that's the case, perhaps it's time to change up the size and scope of each strip.  Make each strip worth more story wise, and it might be worth the effort again.  

Keep this in mind when doing a comic.  Give your comic room to tell the story, either by more strips or deeper strips, lest you lose your audience.  I also need to state again that Zap! is NOT a bad comic, and even when scrolling through the strips to find my example, it felt paced right, but this is about it's publishing date, which is why I've had to give up on it.

Alright, enough of this.  I might have my 200th review Wednesday, so see you then kiddies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Touching Base #1

Hey, wasn't I supposed to have another set of reviews up?  Well, yes, but considering I'm on #71 of only 170 or so that HAVEN'T been posted on this blog, and I do 5 a week, I'm going to run out of old reviews to rehash in the next 6 months or so, I figured it was time to start a new segment to fill in the gaps and pad out the rest.

Touching Base will basically be that, taking the comics I currently read and giving them a quick go over as to their status.  No spoilers, but I will make comments on trends and my own view, positive or negative, on them.  So let's get started with Touching Base #1.

I guess I'll start with Zap! and the fact that it's leaving my read list this week.  This is NOT a bad comic by any means, but it's just too damn slow.  It seems odd that I can find this fault considering the sheer number of comics I read that update once a week or even less frequently, but Zap! is a comic that BEGS to update 3 times a week, and it just doesn't.  The pacing of every page is geared toward more frequent updates, the stories, the size of the pages, the density of text, all of it demands that it be at least 3 times a week, but instead it pokes along at once a week.  I'm not even interested in the story any more it's so damn slow.  Maybe the best solution for this strip, if doing it multiple times a week is impossible, is to follow City of Reality's example and post whole chapters once a month or something, anything to speed this comic along.  As it stands, I really no longer care, and that's rather sad.

I'm also removing Lucid TV and Truck Bearing Kibble because neither has updated in a while and I somehow doubt either will.

Shadowgirls, after a several month hiatus (where they posted guest comics and pin ups, so not a complete hiatus thankfully) is starting up again.  The story itself should start this week, so that should be fun.  Also restarting for the new year is Angels 2200, which of course is starting with some exposition.  I think it's the comic's way of laying it's cards on the table, only to recollect, reshuffle and re-deal them for a new game, so it should be interesting.

Count Your Sheep is moving toward adding another character, finally.  Considering this comic originally had only 3 visible characters for a long time, and then only a few months ago added yet one more, having the cast grow to five is a miracle in and of itself.  It's still keeping the humor of the comic with it though.

Bunny is doing, um, something.  Blimps being attacked by tentacles which in any other comic would be weird, but in Bunny is par for the course.  And yet, it's still very strange for that comic, go figure.

Wapsi Square is finally wrapping up the entire calendar plot, which is odd because I thought it was supposed to happen in 2012. . .  I do think the point is to change the comic's dynamic (the calendar plot has basically sucked every thing into it) and it was time for a change to go along with the new layout.  Of course, it could also mean the end of the strip itself, which I find hard to believe given the new site design that just recently came up, but I've been wrong before.

Well that's enough of that this week.  There's no set pattern as to how often these will be posted, basically whenever I think something interesting has come up, so until the next time kiddies.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Most comic artists do one comic, and far too many struggle to do that.  So it's exceptional when an artist goes and does multiple comics at once.  Is it a good idea?  Depends on the artist.

I suppose the first question is why.  Why in the world would an artist attempt to do multiple, simultaneously updating comics?  Since I'm not a comic artist, I can only guess, but I think it comes down to boredom.

Imagine doing the same comic, with the same group of characters for 5, 10 or even 15 years in a row.  Yeah, that gets old after a while, boring to a fault.  Doing another project, anything can really apply, is a solution to this problem.  New characters, new situations, new stories, anything to get out of the same-old-same-old rut can help.

Which doesn't mean the new project works.  Infamous for this is the Oceans Unmoving storyline of Sluggy Freelance, which was actually pretty neat and creative on it's own, but it was PART of Sluggy Freelance, and had exactly ONE character (okay, technically two) from the main Sluggy storyline.  It irritated a lot of people, and brings us to the first issue with doing another comic:  Interaction with the original strip.  Oceans Unmoving was presented as a storyline for the main strip, literally part of it, but in reality had only a little to do with Sluggy itself.

Such a violent switch between these different projects causes fans of the normal strip to outright rebel and Oceans Unmoving was canned at the first available opportunity.  Other comics do better with the split personality thing.  Krakow, in it's first incarnation, split the strip into two, with the funny comic (Krakow 1.0) running MWF and the action comic (Krakow 2.0) running TTh.  Eventually, though, it was split up and even now there are at least 4 comics (three done) that can be considered Krakow and another "side project" in the works that will replace Charliehorse for a time.

Krazy Krow isn't the only one that likes running multiple comics.  8-Bit Theater is actually one of four comics featured on Nuklear Power, all four of which involve Brian Clevinger.  Involve, but he doesn't work solely on any except 8-Bit itself.  The rest involve other people and artists, just as Marilith and the new superhero comic will be written by Krazy Krow, but not actually drawn by him.  This seems to be a nice trend, actually.  Sorcery 101 features three other comics in the same universe, but written and drawn by different people than the main comic.  I'm sure there are other examples, but these seem to stand out to me.

On the other extreme is Adrian Ramos and his trio of projects:  Count Your Sheep, No Room for Magic and The Wisdom of Moo.  Now I haven't read Moo yet, so I won't comment on the quality, but CYS is much, MUCH better than NRfM, and it's updated far more frequently.  But does that mean he shouldn't do it?  Well no, as I said, being able to get away from the main project (CYS here) probably helps keep him active and interested.  The problem is that Magic and Moo are both advertised through CYS in place of actual CYS strips.  Look, I know he wants us to read the other comics, but updating CYS by asking us to read the other comics instead is a form of cruel punishment.

Of course, cruel punishment can be exacted upon the comic as well.  Exploitation Now actually a good example of a new project that actually replaces the current one, but in such a way that it doesn't become obvious for a while.  The fun, relatively light comic that starts the strip fades away into the angst filled action comic that ends the strip.  The main characters in the beginning all be vanish by the time the comic ends (and even protest their lack of inclusion at one point).  At least Poe admitted to this fact, and shut it down in favor of Errant Story.

So is it wrong to multi-comic?  No, it's not, but decide where your loyalty lies before you embark on a project.  For all the complaining I did about Ramos, he does focus on Count Your Sheep above his other two comics.  Once you decide that, don't force the comic onto your current audience either by disguising it as part of the main comic or through very forceful ads.  Explain carefully about the new project and invite them to join you on this new adventure.  Be prepared to abandon it as well, after all, it's just a side project, something to get the creative juices flowing again.  And as always, have fun with it.

By the way, anyone get the joke of the title?  Bah, I bet you kids have no clue what it's referencing.  Ah well, I'm off.  See you next time kiddies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wild Webcomic Review, 66 - 70

Okay, back to the old archives.  Sadly, this one has some rather, um, sad results.  You'll see.

August 09, 2006

66. Acid Keg - Groovy. Yet modern. Go figure. The art style is very 60's, the characters are too, sort of, but not quite. There are spies, psychotic drummers and a glass armonica. Make sure you've got flash on, some of the strips are built for it for some reason. Worth a read at least.

TODAY - Died, about a year and a half ago.  Which didn't register with me because it slowed down to such a crawl I stopped reading it shortly after I wrote the review.  I don't even think it's the same comic anymore anyway.

67. 5ideways - No, it's not misspelled. It's about the end of the world, and physics, and well, just about everything. Weird things happen, there are monsters, and weapons, and the undead. How fun! I like the art style a lot for some reason. Worth the read.

TODAY - Also dead, but only by a year, and again, I stopped reading long before that because it was slowing down and becoming uninteresting.  This is getting depressing.

68. w e e p g i r l - Not a strip, per say, more like a short story in art form. I won't spoil anything, but it is quite interesting.

TODAY - It moved, but I found it again.  Short and sweet, so I'm not too depressed on this one.  But then, there are two more comics to go.  *sigh*

69. Gin and the Devil - I am bummed that this comic is effectively dead because once it got going (and it took a bit) it was pretty fun. I like the one character, Parker, because he kind of reminds me of me, to an extent. The hair is a bit long, but at least he has some standards. Oh well.

TODAY - MIA.  Gone.  No sign of the actual strip anywhere.  I need to drink more.

70. Firstborn - I love the concept of the comic. Some of the execution is pretty good too. After that, it's kind of odd. Some of it is outright broken (the archives were a nightmare to run through at times). The only positive bit is that it has nudity in it. You can see boobies! It also appears to be dead, hasn't been updated in at least 6 months. Kind of a shame, but at the same time, not really. I hate comics that don't make me hate or love it. It annoys me.

TODAY - Also MIA.  As in, completely gone from what I can see.  BAH!

Yeah, all dead, aside from weepgirl which was designed that way.  And two gone entirely, vanished from the greater internet.   Next batch isn't much better.  I am in the desert of dead comics, and I must drink.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sex and the Webcomic

If you've been reading this (and since I don't have AdSense on, I can only assume that SOMEONE is reading this blog.  Or hope) you may remember that back in November I had to stall an article because of the holiday and the fact that the article wasn't coming together.  That article was to be about comic gimmicks, and in the end I decided to divide up the various topics in that one article into several, many of which have now been posted.  This is one of those articles.

Let's talk about sex in webcomics.

Okay, actually this is more about the lure of sex and sexually pleasing images.  The internet is, of course, full of this stuff and a simple google search will turn up dozens of websites dedicated to pornographic comics and drawings.  So using sex in a webcomic as a lure seems a bit strange, but it has a long history, especially with comic books.  Let's be honest, the only reason the super heroine exists is to sell comics to prepubescent boys.  Add the fact that the first webcomics were mostly made by males, it should be no surprise that using sex to attract readers was amongst the first and greatest lures.

Probably the lowest tier of sex in webcomics is fanservice.  Basically it's when the artist takes one of their characters and draws them in a more, um, seductive way.  Typically it's one or more of the female characters.  The one that sticks out in my mind comes from, of course, Sluggy Freelance.  Oh, I can't remember exactly when it was, but it did feature the two main female characters (Zoe and Gwen) dressed in bikinis, and to a higher quality than the typical art of the time.  Fanservice isn't uncommon, and depending on the comic can be played for laughs as much as sex.

Of course, naturally sexy looking characters have always had their place in comics.  This typically requires the art to be, well, good, very good in fact.  Shadowgirls, for example, features naturally attractive characters (with some bits of fanservice once in a while) but given that this comes as the result of the comic's more comic book roots, this is not unexpected.  Other comics like Lowroad and Chugworth Academy play up the sexual angle for laughs, though the characters are very well drawn.

And then there are comics where sex doesn't just play a side or joking role, but is front and center.  I'm talking about Menage a 3, of course, a comic that comes about as close to being softcore porn as anything can get and not ACTUALLY be softcore porn.  And a few strips actually cross the line, including the first one.  It covers various fetishes without going too far, but there is nudity (mostly female, sorry ladies) and it skips the innuendo most other comics use.  A bit further back from the line are comics like Girls with Slingshots, of which sex is just one of many topics that comes up and acts as the fulcrum of the various story arcs.  It also covers some of the same ground as Menage, but in a far less graphic and direct manner, though I still wouldn't let a child read it.

Cross in the line into straight up porn comics is actually something I have never done for a review but know some that go into that territory.  Jack has several scenes featuring various forms of intercourse (one of the characters is the personification of Lust after all), but even that is relatively tame, probably just inside the realm of softcore (or it was the last time I read it).  There are straight up sex comics out there, and several of the artists of the more main stream ones actually have done them.  And you'll figure that out if you click on enough ads for some of the comics I actually read.  Typically, however, you won't find a completely free porn webcomic, but then, I also don't look too terribly hard either.

So as long as there is an internet, there will be sexually pleasing artwork on it, and many of them will be in webcomic form.  How far across the line it goes really depends on what the artist is willing to do, and what their host is willing to put up with.  It also makes an excellent lure to get people to come read your comic, but there are better ways, trust me.

Anyway, enough of this topic.  See you next week kiddies.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year Wild Webcomic Review

Hey everyone:


Okay, that sounded odder than it probably should.  Anyway, new year, new batch of five webcomics ready for review.  I read them over Christmas and after letting them stew for a week, let's see what I really thought of them.

191.  Hark, a Vagrant - This is a silly comic.  Yet it's a silly comic that involves history which makes it a very interesting silly comic.  The art style looks like it could have come from an old copy of MAD magazine, but the humor is decidedly modern.  It's fun, and I would recommend reading the news blurbs under the strips as they contain some further details about the historical events in the comics.  Though that's not all it covers, it also has that "slice of life" segments that are just as entertaining as the regular history strips.  Enjoyable and will likely stay on the read list for a while.

192.  Emergency Exit - This is the comic that was featured in a pair of crossovers with Parallel Dementia.  At it's core it's a basic college student adventure comic in the vein of College Roomies from Hell, Too Late to Run and Just Another Escape.  This doesn't make it a bad comic at all, in fact it's fun and entertaining, though I have a couple issues with it.  The first is that the various characters in the cast don't get much individual screen time.  A lot of that is the result of the rather large cast.  Where most comics of this ilk provide one "set" of characters (typically the heroes), this one provides at least two sets (one being the self proclaimed villains) and giving each character their moment in the sun is rough and some of the characters seem to fade into the background for quite a while.  The second issue is the artwork.  No, it's not bad, far from it, the problem is that in reading through the achieves, the artwork changes rather abruptly not once, but twice.  Most comic artists evolve their style, here it radically changes and then you have to get re-used to the art and re-identify the characters.  Doing it once is annoying, twice is irritating.  On a personal note, I kind of prefer the second phase of the art, but I understand why the current version is here, it's more flexible.  Anyway, it's a good, fun comic and I think I'll be reading it for a while.

193.  Alpha Luna AND  194.  Abandon:  First Vampire - What's this?  Two reviews at once?  Why yes, for a couple of reasons.  First, they provide an excellent contrasts in styles and writing that it feels natural to review them together.  And secondly, one is about werewolves and the other about vampires, and for some reason there's a trend that they should fight.  So who wins?  Well, let's take a look.  There's a lot to cover here, so this might be the longest review I've ever done.  My apologies ahead of time.

First art.  Both are in black and white, but Alpha Luna is far more detailed, especially in characters.  Abandon is rather plain, giving characters and locations few details with which to differentiate them from each other.  It's not nearly as bad as some comics, you can identify characters, but there's nothing that stands out about any of them.  On top of that, positioning, framing and other elements of the art are all in Alpha's favor as Abandon feels less experienced in this field.

When it comes to getting into the story and getting going, Abandon is much faster and crisper.  The story gets active very early on and mysteries are presented that can get the reader excited.  Meanwhile Alpha Luna bogs everything down with an unnecessary flashback, and some overloaded and lengthy dialog.

But after that start, things in Abandon bog down.  The story covers a great deal of time and space but the comic actually has FEWER strips than Alpha Luna, so this grand, epic nature is compressed down and it ends up feeling as if there are several missing pages that might contain some information that isn't provided in any direct way.  Alpha Luna is much more compact and "tight" in this respect, limiting the scope of the story but really exploring this scope.

Of course, Alpha Luna also dumps information on you, not at the start but later on.  There's a lot of detailed text and while I can understand the timing, it does take a moment to really read through it.  Abandon has no such problem, mostly because it doesn't tell you anything.  There are moments, yes, but for the most part the reader is left in the almost complete dark about much of what's going on, even with vague promises of explaining things that are interesting.

So who wins?  The lycans win this round.  Yes, Alpha Luna has it's problems, but its tighter story and overall look will allow it to fix those problems faster than Abandon will be able to.  The biggest obstacle right now is that Alpha Luna hasn't updated since October.  Yeah.  Not that either comic is really worth the eff0rt to continue following.  Perhaps when they're older I'll give them another look.  And damn, that was long.

195.  The Non-Adventures of Wonderella - The alt-text for one of the strips says:  "For every creator who makes great strides towards webcomics as a viable literary and artistic medium, there is another one drawing pee monsters."  That sums up Wonderella pretty well.  It's a superhero comic about a super heroine who would rather watch Friends reruns than save the world from horrible space monsters, and often does.  It might look dense, but the jokes are obvious and funny as all hell.  It's very enjoyable and I wager it'll be on my read list for some time to come.

Well, that's it for this addition to the Wild Webcomic Review.  Maybe, possibly, I'll get to 200 sometime this year.  That would be nice, wouldn't it?  Until next time kiddies.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Can't Live Without

I've thought about doing a Top Ten list of comics, but that might just be impossible.  With so many different comics, deciding that 10 comics are the "best" would be very difficult.  But it's the end of the year, so I need a list.  I decided that the best way to do this is to pick out the 10 comics I wouldn't want to live without.  That means that the ranking here is basically arbitrary, so ignore it.  Incidentally, these are only ones that currently update, because I need to save something for next year after all.  Alright, so here is my 10 Comics I Can't Live Without.

1.  Sluggy Freelance - This is the comic that introduced me to the greater webcomic world and while it isn't the BEST comic on the web, it certainly holds up even after all these years.  When I was on a modem, it was the last thing I did before logging off for the night, and it remains the last comic I read even with broadband.  I certainly wouldn't want to live without it, even after I suggested ending it before.  Yeah, yeah, I know.

2.  Schlock Mercenary - Schlock is probably the best overall comic on the internet, hands down.  Oh, other comics may be funnier or better drawn or have better stories, but Schlock does all three really well at the same time.  Oh, and it updates on time and everyday, something a LOT of comics can't do at all.  If you aren't reading it, the real question is why?

3.  8-Bit Theater - 8-Bit is the only sprite comic I read, but it's also the one comic I'm guaranteed of getting a laugh out of.  Every strip makes me laugh, maybe only a little, but it's always there.  It's slowly coming to a close, but that's alright, I imagine that the ending will have me rolling around on the floor with laughter.

4.  Errant Story - I've been reading Errant Story for, well, years, it was one of my earliest reviews, and it still holds up after all this time.  There are few comics that come even close to matching it for epic storytelling.  It is certainly one of the great comics of all time and while it will eventually end, until then I couldn't live without.

5.  Gunnerkrigg Court - Speaking of comics that can stand with Errant Story, there's Gunnerkrigg Court.  The simple artwork belays a wonderful and imaginative story that is nearly peerless in it's scope and unfolding nature.  It's younger than Errant Story, but no less of a comic and certainly one of the best on the web.  Go read it already!

6.  Punch an' Pie - This is probably the most realistic comic I would keep.  There's no ghosts or aliens or gods or anything, just normal people living normal lives, and it's great.  I guess it's a "chick comic" because it's about relationships and such, but it's so well done I have to keep reading it.  Hell, one of the characters kind of reminds me of my sister.  Kind of.

7.  Nobody Scores! - While 8-Bit may be the most consistently funny comic I read, Nobody Scores! makes me laugh the hardest.  The little comic of eventual disaster has caused me to slip into uncontrollable fits of laughter for most of the day after reading some of them.  While this list has a lot of comics that are funny, when it hits the mark, nothing is funnier than Nobody Scores!

8.  Blip - One of the more recent entries on my read list, Blip is like something I want to write.  Yeah, there's supernatural stuff in it (witches, vampires, cyborgs, angels, devils, etc), but the main character is unaware of any of it and there is little evidence that she ever will be.  While other comics revel in their weird stuff, Blip keeps it away from the main character, making her reactions more like a real person's.  I just love the idea, and I really want to see how it all plays out.

9.  The Whiteboard - It's about paintball, which I know little about, and yet it's easy to get into and enjoy.  There are no 'great' adventures compared to other comics, but it still has that wild nature of a polar bear that has Mountain Dew for blood and a nuclear reactor powering his paintball gun.  It's fun and I enjoy it probably far more than I should.

10.  City of Reality - This is such a different comic than anything else I've read, and even as the story evolves it still manages to stay that way.  From updating a CHAPTER at a time rather than one page at a time, it feels more complete than most other comics.  It uses flash in ways other comics don't, the story is fun and interesting and it twists your perception of the world in a way that's really hard to describe (he actually spent a couple of chapters on that very subject).  Though one of the newest comics on the read list, I suspect that it could be here for a long time indeed.

Special nods go to Ice, Count Your Sheep and Zebra Girl, all three of which sit right on the bubble and could easily slip into this list if one of the others went dead.  I really had to debate with myself when it came to those.

Well that's my list.  Hopefully I can think of something new to write for next week.  Happy New Year kiddies.