Friday, October 30, 2015

Best laid plans

I WAS going to finish the Volume Seven of Errant story this week.  Then my week got wrecked by random jobs.  Horray?

I do have one bit of news:  Apparently Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks are NOT ending.  A kickstarter that I suspected was meant to save at least one, ended up saving both.  So I don't have to do retrospectives on them any more.  So there's that.

Next time kiddies.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Gunning of Age

So as I was finishing last week's edition of The Classic, I was reading my comics and I came to Dumbing of Age.

David Willis' comic is a quasi reboot of his many other comics, none of which I've read (I've seen maybe 3 strips of Shortpacked, maybe).  I say quasi reboot because he turned back the clock on all of them and sent them to college.  There they deal with the common tropes of college and a lot of LGBT stuff because. . . I guess because it's topical, but that's hard to say because again, I've never read any of the other comics.

Then someone pulled out a gun.

Backing up.  Becky is Joyce's is best friend from home.  Becky randomly arrived at the school to visit Joyce, but mostly she was running away after being kicked out of the all Christian school she was sent to because, well, she's gay.  Her father came looking for her and it looked, initially, like it would be a hijinks thing where he would nearly catch his daughter, but something would get in the way.  Pretty standard stuff, and if well done could be a pretty funny running gag.

Then he randomly spots her and pulls out a shotgun.  Considering this was just after a series of actual shootings on college campuses, I have to wonder at the timing of this.  I know most comic artists don't keep extensive buffers (Howard Talyor is an exception rather than the rule), so it's possible that Willis decided to change this route right after the real world events happened, it could also just be a coincidence.

It's kind of ballsy to take on such an event directly, even if the opening move was a Jurassic Park joke.  The point is that such tragedies are hard to joke about, at least right away, and given the more realistic nature of Dumbing of Age, odds are good this will not have a good ending, something even pointed out within the comic itself.

The storyline isn't over yet, but it's likely not going to have a happy ending.  I suspect that someone will be shot (not killed, shot, there is a difference), and originally I thought it might be Joyce, but that's probably a bridge too far at the moment.  Still, when it ends, I'll try to follow up on it.

Until next time kiddies.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Classic: Volume Six

Volume Six of Errant Story is the final chance to avert everything that will happen in Volume Seven, and of course doesn't avert it at all.  I know that makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

Throughout Volume Six, there are chances to make alternate decisions, easy decisions in fact.  And I don't mean ones from the various government agencies involved, as they are dead set to do what they will and while it wouldn't have been good, it certainly wouldn't have been what occurred.  No, the real decisions all came down to two people:  Sarine and Ian.

Ian's path is probably the most straight forward as he's been kind of deteriorating mentally for some time.  He's going nuts, and I think he knows it.  What control he has managed to lead him back to Leah and Riley (I think this is the last time they show up in the comic BTW) for a brief recovery.  For a moment he even wanted to go back to the healing thing, which nearly killed him last time but he's come around to the idea of not dying while doing it so that's good.

Then the bombshell comes that some of the people he healed the first time reverted, and at least one died.  I emphasis "some" because many, including Leah, are just fine.  Still, this is enough of a blow to Ian's already fragile mental state, so he decides if the only thing he's good for is killing, then he's going to kill people who deserve it, the Elves.  Once he decides on this path, betting that the's going to be killed in the process, he's off and that's all she wrote.  He could have not done this, of course, if someone, say Meji, had been there to slap some sense into him, but without a tether to keep him grounded (and now I'm mixing metaphors, I think), he might have been able to recover at this point.  He didn't, instead giving into his despair and rage.

The tragedy that forms the basis of Volume Seven is thus in motion, but the other half of the equation is Sarine, and for her the path was more desperation and atonement.  I wrote in the Retrospective that despite the title and every other indication, I think this comic is more about Sarine than anyone else, and this volume really gets to the point.  Meji, Jon and Sara likely would have walked away if Sarine hadn't been pushing them forward, even if not directly.  Sarine is desperate to prevent a massive tragedy, and despite the disdain she has for her own people, she doesn't want them to get all killed.  Yet every decision they make, to her, seems like they want to get themselves killed, or worse.

She has been constantly haunted by the events of the Errant Wars, and her role in it.  The fact that she preferred to leave her people and be a stranger in the world says a great deal about how she felt about it.  It's clear she tracked errants, but actually investigated them, tried to figure out if there was an issue then she killed them if necessary.  It's gotten to her, and she's trying to undo the damage in some small way.  She's the only one looking to talk to Ian, even knowing how he feels about elves in general.

To this end, she begins a process of trying to talk the rest of the Elves out of, um, raiding god's tomb, then finding ways to convince them not to raid god's tomb, to just trying to get there first to keep them from raiding god's tomb.  I should note that Sarine has a lot of plans, and rarely do they go well at all.  When the talking doesn't work, she starts sacrificing things, starting with her loyality to the Elves as a whole, asking for asylum and hoping her information will, again, stop this from even happening.  When that doesn't work, she gives up personal mementos as bribes to keep things moving along just so she has a SHOT at stopping all this before it happens.

In the end, she even has to kill one of her friends and fellow rangers, Sarna and why couldn't they have names that don't look so similar with the font they use?  Dear god that could be confusing at times.  In any case, she continues to aim towards a higher end, but her actions move the players in ways they might not have done so without her machinations, or attempt at them anyway.  This lines everything up in such a way that when Ian finally bursts through the ceiling with Anita and an army of the undead (yeah, he's building one), things are going to go from bad to worse very quickly.  Though they also have a chance now, where before, there would just be a lot of dead elves.

Jon follows Sarine because he's in love with her, Sara follows because Jon is going and Meji goes along because she wants to save Ian, somehow.

And of course, the final scene has an elf mage trying to absorb Senilis, and that guarantees Volume Seven as a whole.

The final push to this ending is a bit frantic, but methodical.  The steps are there all along, and they seem to move quickly, but really it's not so much.  I think, and I could be wrong, but while there are more chapters, I think there are less pages overall through Volume Six, which makes it seem to go by much faster than it would have otherwise.  It helps that most of the dialog is unnecessary.

My last note here is that this is where a lot of filler strips, mostly featuring Bani and Sara, start popping up.  Poe had a lot of issues come up during this period and pushing into the next volume:  first his father died, then he nearly died in a car accident, then his WIFE nearly just died in something that is the most dramatic thing I have ever seen (she survived) so the fact that not only was Errant Story still updating, but Does Not Play Well With Others was going at the same time is just damn amazing.  The filler strips don't take that much away from the story, though they do pop up at inopportune moments, but it's clear keeping the coming going was the main goal, even if it wasn't the main story as such.

Next time, the end of Errant Story, but not the end of The Classic.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, October 9, 2015

And I thought I would have time this week

Joke's on me.  Oh god, the driving.  Next week, I hope.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Touching Base #23

I hate doing a touching base with so few articles and reviews in between, but my work schedule is a horrible beast of nastiness and I do need to catch up a bit.  And there's a lot of bad news to cover, though no dead news, so that's good.

Licensed Heroes is now officially on Hiatus while they sort out, um, issues.  It's not clear WHAT is going on, but it's something and it's completely derailing the comic for the time being.

Broodhollow is also on a Hiatus of sorts.  Straub put up a post that's it's almost purely mental issues related and he's trying to get back to a normal flow as quickly as he can.

Head Trip's issues are more physical.  First her computer died, then she was in a car accident and now needs physical therapy.  Yeah, that comic is down for a bit while she recovers.

Derelict's short hiatus is more related to setting up the next phase of the story than anything else it seems.  In the mean time, there is his new comic Sword Interval to look out, I have not yet as it's maybe a dozen pages long and I prefer 100 or one year, so it's at least 40 pages short of me checking it out at this point.  I imagine it's quite good regardless, so check it out.

The Demon Archives is just now coming back from it's guest artist binge it goes on between chapters.  I like it because it does expose less well known comics during these periods and that's more fodder for the Future Reads.

Magick Chicks is definitely finished, they have an epilogue page and everything.  My issue is Eerie Cuties which really didn't get that kind of ending ending.  Maybe it's that the comic isn't really ending or what, but I think I'll rethink my Retrospective plan to do both at the same time.  I'll give it a bit long and see what happens.

Legend of Whoelterra's updates have slowed WAY the hell down and aren't quite keeping pace with this new schedule.  I know I said I would drop it shortly after the review, but it's looking more likely now than ever.

The Fifth Circle's updates have been nonexistent for a while.  I'm probably going to put it in the Hiatus folder as a result.  I won't call it dead because, well, he's in AFRICA, kind of hard to maintain a website so far away.  Still will keep tabs.

One piece of good news is that Sluggy Freelance's summer schedule is over and it's back to 5 days a week, and beginning what is likely the final story of the comic.  Should be a fun ride.

That's enough for now.  Yes, I have finished Volume Six of Errant Story.  I just have to write the next part of The Classic, so hopefully that will be next week.  Until then kiddies.