Friday, October 31, 2014

Best Overall: Everyday

I learned from The Standard not to "conclude" these big pieces, so this isn't an official conclusion because I'm sure I'll be coming back to talk more about Schlock Mercenary in the future.  But I do have to wrap up this string somehow, and it brings us back to the question of Best.  Because while I really enjoy Schlock Mercenary, it isn't the best in any one category I've talked about.  It's not BAD in any of them, but it's not really best.

The art in Schlock is good, but it can't compete with the real powerhouses like Dresden Codak, Sunstone (NSFW), Zebra Girl or Derelict.

The story is engaging, but compared to Gunnerkrigg Court and Gaia are far, far better.

The humor is good, but a real gut buster has to come from The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Dr. McNinja and Bob the Angry Flower.

And there are good characters, but against Between Failures, Spinnerette and, honestly, even Sluggy Freelance, it kind of lacks.

But those are the big guns.  Competing with ANY of them is hard, but Schlock can be at least thought of in those categories.  Mostly it's "well it's not as good as" but it's there, which is more than I can say for a lot of comics.

There is, however, one area where Schlock is king though:  It updates.  Every.  Single.  Day.

None of those others can claim that.  Most of them can't even stick to their official schedule regularly.  Long breaks are often set between chunks of content, or guest strips, or some random silliness that takes the place of the regular comic.

Not Schlock.  It has updated, everyday, without missing, since it was created.  That's kind of unbelievable.  That is 5255 days as of the day of this being published.  That means 5255 individual strips, plus any bonus stories he added to books.  The fact that he has at least a month's worth of strips as a buffer means he could break his arm and STILL not miss a day until the cast came off.  Well, maybe.

The point is almost no other comic does this, unless you get into the newspapers.  So why does Howard Taylor?  I suspect it's because he thinks of it less as a hobby and more as a lively hood.  Yes, he had a regular job when he started the comic, but I think he always thought that the best option was to keep it updated so fans would stick around, and he kept a buffer so there was less stress on him to write and draw on a daily basis.  It was another kind of job to him, and when it officially became his job, he had to keep fans coming back, so everyday it went up.

That's a big factor in why it's Best Overall.  Dresden Codak can claim better art, but it updates once very 2 months, maybe.  Gunnerkrigg Court manages to update 3 days a week, but even that takes occasional breaks with "funny face" filler strips that aren't really the comic.  Wonderella is STILL on break for the Kickstarter event it had (so he could fullfill the kickstarter).  And Sluggy, well, I think I've talked enough about that.

Schlock does all the things those comics do at least well, if not quite good, and it updates everyday.  That is why it is my Best Overall, and likely will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

And that's enough of that.  Next time, um, something.  Until then kiddies.  And I do hope Howard doesn't break his arm, I'd rather we not test that buffer. 

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