Friday, September 19, 2014

Best Overall: Introduction

Last year, I spent far too long talking about Sluggy Freelance and how it is my Standard.  My goal was to show that for good and ill, the comic represents pretty much everything that makes webcomics, well, webcomics.  But the word "standard" has another meaning.

The phrase "a new standard" is often used to represent something as being "the best," the measuring stick against which all else must be measured.  Sluggy CAN be that at times, but it really isn't, and in fact saying that about any one comic is difficult at best because no one comic can be best at everything.

Three years ago I did a series of "quasi-awards" and gave out awards based on "best."  I created the categories based on what I think of as "best" parts of a comic.  Sometimes it's the art, or the humor, the story or the cast, and the winners of each category best represented, at the time, the best of the webcomics I've read.

Of course, there was a Best Comic category as well, but I kind of picked the winner for that pretty early on, probably before I even wrote the article series.  The description all but settles it:  Nominees must show general excellence in the fields of art, writing and publication over the length of the comic's lifespan.

Schlock Mercenary won Best Comic, and I STILL hold that it is the best overall comic I read.  That means it's good to great basically all the time, almost never dipping below average in any one category for any real length of time.  The worst it's been has been in its art, and that was only really at the very beginning of the comic, a period where most young comics are at their worst, and even then it managed to still be pretty decent.

And that's the point.  While Sluggy can and has achieved better heights, it's lows are really, REALLY low.  Schlock has had pretty good to great moments, it also has never dropped much below average.  The art is pretty damn good, the story is pretty damn good, the humor is pretty damn funny (got you there), and the characters are pretty damn good.  They're not all great, and often not all pretty damn good at the same time, but they don't need to be.

Oh and the comic updates every damn day.  I'll get into that later.

This will be different from The Standard in a few ways, of course.  There isn't a real "bad" story in Schlock, in fact I asked on a web forum I frequent for bad Schlock story suggestions and the few who responded just shrugged since they couldn't think of any either, so my format from the Standard (First year, best, worst, recent) wasn't going to work.

On thinking about it, however, I do have some categories, and so I will go over the four key elements that represent "the best" categories from the Quasi-Awards: Humor, Story, Character and Art.  I will then pick a story that best represent each of these and try to explain why.  Oh and then there will be something about updates.

That all begins next week with the subject of Humor.  Until then kiddies.

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