Friday, December 29, 2017

Wild Webcomic Review Read List Roundup Part 2

Of course last week's update would get mucked up.  Anyway, here's this week's Read List Round up.


Between Failures - I still enjoy this comic.  It hits that sweet area of personal experience, real life and fun that I don't think I've seen from other comics in this style.  I still recommend it highly and likely will for a long time.

Bohemian Nights - Speaking of realism, a twenty-somethings comic like this sometimes crosses past that real part for a few weird moments, yet at the same time stays true to itself.  I'm not really in the target demographic for this, but I get it and enjoy it.

Bug Martini - I still call this just plain Bug, and it's just a silly comic that I don't understand why it went 3 days a week when daily is a much better fit.  Ah well, I guess if this isn't the main job I understand.  Worth reading.

Corridor Realms (Twilight Lady, Subhuman Sanctum) - While Twilight Lady hasn't gotten a proper update in quite a while, Subhuman Sanctum is still running and still pretty damn good.  I love the characters and underlining mystery of the whole thing.

Demon Archives - Nothing to do with demons, and everything to do with robots, computers, politics, post-apocalypse and humanity.  It really needs a better name though.

Gaia - There really isn't much mystery left here, except for how the it'll be resolved at this point.  I used to think it was REALLY good, now I know it's not so much, but I think the issue is that it moves counter to normal conventions.  It's good, yes, but in a different way than you would expect.  Worth reading, yes, but I can understand if it doesn't stay active forever.

Girl Genius - I MIGHT have tried a Long Series on this in the future, but there is SO much there, I'm not even sure I could.  It's good, very good, and worth reading.  And yes, if you missed it, they did get out of the castle.

Gunnerkrigg Court - I talked a lot about this comic here.  Yes, it's one of the best comics out there, and yes you should be reading it.  Go already.

Metacarpolis - See my review.

Sister Claire - This comic has come from such a different place from where it is now I'm not even sure this is the same comic it was when I first read it.  It's not bad, but don't read my old review to have any idea what it is NOW, because it doesn't even relate to it anymore.


Blindsprings - I still think there's more to the spirit thing than the comic has let on so far, but I also suspect that it's not going to be revealed for a long time now.  Still worth reading, that's for sure.

Blue Blaster - I think it's almost done, though I could be wrong.  It could keep going, but if it ends, I'll see if I can add it to my pile of promises to keep.  I still find it one of the better superhero comics out there.  And considering further down in this category is 2 more, that should say a great deal.  EDIT:  It did end, this week.  SURPRISE!

Devilbear - It's such a silly comic I just enjoy reading it for that.  That said, not terribly interested in the Teddy Bear Picnic parody going on now.  Minor speed bump, of course.

Menage a 3 - I don't think I was ever too into this wishfullfilment comic, and honestly it's gotten less interesting over time.  I mean, the characters are doing more, I just don't really don't much care for the rest of it.  Probably drop it at some point in the near future.

Namesake - Won't be dropping this any time soon.  It's still just as when it started and I find myself looking forward to reading it pretty much every week.  Hard to do that sometimes.

Not a Villian - See my review.

Paranatural - I get the humor, and understand the story, but it feels really slow right now, I'm not sure why.  Maybe it'll get better once it's out of this phase of the story.  We'll see.

Sandra and Woo - I have used the words "silly" and "enjoy" constantly in this thing, and I'll use it again, especially for Sandra and Woo.

Spinnerette - While I usually love this comic, the current storyline hasn't really grabbed me as well as some of the earlier ones.  Not sure why exactly.  Which isn't to say I won't still be reading it, because it is that good.

Strong Female Protagonist - Sometimes it's too preachy for it's own good, sometimes it's heart aching, and sometimes it hit's it's notes JUST right.  The last couple story lines have managed that perfectly and it's why I enjoy it

UnCONventional - I've read a lot of stick figure-esqe comics and this is the most detailed and well drawn of all of them.  It's another of those "I don't know much about this but am fascinated anyway" comics I have more than a few of on here, and worth reading for the strange twisting tale it tells.  It's funny too.


Cyanide and Happiness - I don't follow the video shorts much, sticking with the excessively crude, cruel and often hilarious comic instead.  Stick figure-esqe again, and done on purpose to make the jokes that much more dark, funny and mean.

Devil's Panties - Funny, this is probably the only "slice of life" comic I read out of the lot.  I enjoy it, no doubt, and but strange how it became the only one out of the hundreds that existed once.  Odd.

Dumbing of Age - Sometimes it needs to dial back the drama a bit, and I suspect that it can get on people's nerves who have been reading Willis' stuff for a while, but I still enjoy it.  The funnier parts especially, but when it gets a good drama beat going, I can dig it then too.

Girls with Slingshots - Still in rerun mode and I find I'm enjoying it more this second pass than the first one.  Is it the color or is it the pacing, I'm not sure.  Go ahead and read it, not like it'll hurt.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - On one hand, it sometimes hits that right spot of intellectual humor that can get a chuckle from me, and on the other it misses completely and hits a wall of "I know nothing of that."  Hit or miss on the jokes, but a good hit will make me chuckle but good.  That said, it's really, really wordy.

Schlock Mercenary - I think I've talked at length about this comic to the point that anything extra would be silly.  Why aren't you reading this?

Wapsi Square - (Wait, this doesn't come after. . .)  I still have the same problem with Wapsi I mostly outlined here.  I still read it despite that but it doesn't stick as hard if it's not focused and it's rarely focused.  Hell, I'm just barely paying attention to the current storyline, while the previous one I was.  Just settle down already Taylor.

The Whiteboard - It's supposed to be about paintball.  Kind of still is aside from the main character doing MORE than that on a regular basis.  Still, you don't need to know anything about paintball or anything else they're covering because the jokes are funny enough as is.

Stand Still, Stay Silent - This is one of the best comics out there.  Gunnerkrigg Court has a rival here and while I doubt SSSS will ever quite match GC, it's up there and should be read.  4 days a week updates, look at that thing and wonder how she manages to do it.  LOOK AT IT!

Sluggy Freelance - Since I started having a long list of comics to read, Sluggy has always been last, which often means skipping it, moving to the end and reading from the bottom up in the book marks (which are alphabetical).  It is and forever will be my Standard by which all comics are measured.  While I am not surprised it didn't end this year (disappointed I supposed, but not surprised), I find myself still reading it after all these years.  It is the second comic I reviewed and will likely be the last one I say anything about.  After all, I have promises to keep.

And that's it kiddies.  My run down of every active comic (though Blue Blaster surprised me by ending NOW of times, damn it).  Next week, I finish up my Can't Live Without series and then one last general post.  See you next time.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Wild Webcomic Review Read List Roundup Part 1

Today is a VERY special day.  When I started this blog, I had a lot of old reviews that needed to be covered and with each one I updated what I thought about the comic.  These were quick and often just a double check if the comic was still around.

Today, I go back to that kind of thing, but only for the comics on the read list.  Links will be updated and functional, and I'll try to say something interesting.

That said, there's a lot here and I've decided to split it into two different updates.  Makes life a bit easier for me.  So let's start with the first group.


Broodhollow - I keep hoping Kris Straub will get back to probably the only decent horror comic I've ever read.  It does so many things well the fact that he just stopped is disappointing on so many levels.  So it sits here, in Hiatus, hoping.

Commander Kitty - I'm not surprised this comic stopped updating, Scotty Arsenault, like all people, has to eat, and he makes more doing animation work than creating his comic.  It's been over a year so you'd think I'd ship it to dead, again, but I can't do it yet.  Yet.

Hark, A Vagrant! - Speaking of paying work, Kate Beaton always has something, and that means her webcomic suffers as a result.  So keeping it here until she's ready to come back is a good idea.

Little Guardians - Little Guardian's annoys me.  Not the comic itself, it's fine, but the way it's being handled.  It's seems that it was created JUST to sell books.  Nothing wrong with that, but they aren't making more comic pages in the interim.  The comic stops dead everytime they spin up to print a book and hasn't had a proper update in, well, forever it seems.  I leave it here, hoping there will actually BE a comic in the future, but I don't hold much hope.


Dresden Codak - This used to be the comic with the best art I ever read.  Now, not so much.  Not that it's bad, hardly, but there is much better.  Still, it's artistically a very beautiful comic.  Milage on the story, however, will vary.  It's often obtuse, overly pretentious and kind of silly all at the same time.  It's followable, but still very strange.  It also doesn't update quickly but at least each strip is packed enough to warrant it.

Eerie Cuties - Right now this and Magick Chicks have this Archie comics style going and I don't know if I like it or not.  It's not bad, the stories are short and it's kind of funny, I just don't know if I LIKE it or not, especially compared to the previous versions of the comics.  Could be worse.

Gone with the Blastwave - I swear this comic updates once every 6 months!  It doesn't, really, it has a pateron where most strips go up first, then get released to the world.  It is a fun comic, but it updates so slow and there's so little going on, I'm not sure why I bother following it.

Head Trip - Updates for this have been, infrequent at best.  Still it does update, sometimes, though I wish it would do more, it was quite fun when it was going full speed.  Ah well.

Lackadaisy - I love the look of this comic, the atmosphere, the characters, the story, the art, all of it, except the update schedule, which is reasonable given the high levels of art, but then I look at some of the other comics on this list and wonder why they can't come out faster.  Great comic regardless.

Magick Chicks - See my comments about Eerie Cuties

Marry Me - Sporatic updates, probably beats every other comic on this list for that kind of thing.  I think it's becuase it's part of a larger site that has 3 other comics, so I guess when they update, Marry Me doesn't.  The comic remains one of the goofiest comics I read, bouncing through it's story line with the attention span of a kid with ADD.  And still manages to be quite funny between all the weirdness.  The update schedule really holds it back though, so it's hard to remember what was going on last time it updated.

Our Time in Eden - Hey, do you want to read probably one of the most depressing comics I have ever found?  Here you go!  Wow does it get dark (most recent page is REALLY dark), and yet I can't stop reading it.  There HAS to be a light somewhere, and I guess I keep reading it for that.  I like happy endings, or even heartaching endings, so I keep going with this one.  The art is pretty damn good too.


Ava's Demon - See my review.

Bloodstain - This one has stalled out a bit but at least there's still bits of art going up.  I liked the comic as it was running though and am waiting for the rest.  Those art updates is why it's still in the weekly category.  I do love how it connects to Sunstone in a weird way.

Bob the Angry Flower - Bob is still my go to for weekly humor.  It usually manages to hit a nice nerve and give me a good chuckle, and is probably the most "political" cartoon I read any more.  Still one of my favorites.

Brainslug - When I did my site maintenance, I was surprised how long I've been reading this comic.  It still doesn't update as often as I would like, though.  It's a fun comic that doesn't take itself too seriously and for that, it stays in Weekly, despite it updating less than so.

Cat and Girl - This comic hasn't changed, like at all.  And I love it for being what it is.  Honestly, I've been reading it so long I can't imagine not reading it regularly.  Well, I mean I CAN, I have a whole series of posts that says that, but that's only if I seriously limit myself.  Otherwise, Cat and Girl will always be there.

Cerintha - I really enjoy this comic, the story is fun, the characters are interesting, and there's more than just enough humor to make the whole thing completely enjoyable.  Updates are a little slow, but each strip is just strong enough to hold it up.

Chainsawsuit - Kris Straub's active comic is only KIND of active right now, which is why it's in Weekly now.  I wish it updated more often as he's got enough of an absurd sense of humor that he pulls it off pretty well.  Ah well, at least it updates occasionally.

Cosmic Dash - So this comic has an entire branch of itself that is a series of short written stories, not comic stories.  This is annoying as it keeps the comic from updating with any regularity.  When it moves, it's not bad, and my archive dive proved much more interesting than the actual regular updates.  Hopefully they'll update a bit more, but I don't think it will.

Dead Winter - I do still like this comic, just wish it updated a bit more frequently, and I think this hurts the overall production.  It has backed off the zombie thing, for now, but the deeper story that was being hinted at has kind of been put on a very back burner.  It's fine, for now, but again, update a bit quicker please.

Dark White - Still just as dark as the original review.  It has the same issue as Dead Winter and Cosmic Dash, it just doesn't update fast enough.  Consistent weekly updates would help, really.

Deep Fried - Since Weapon Brown wrapped up, Deep Fried has been trying to find another hook.  The parody Star Trek storyline looks interesting, but is still early, while the main Deep Fried comic is as it always was, and right now is getting a bit of the focus.  Still worth reading.

Demon Candy - Updates have slowed down to a crawl, to the point that even the art stuff doesn't go up as frequently as it used to.  Not sure if there's another site hosting, or if something else is going on, and that lack of updates have lessened my interest as a whole.  Ah well.

Derelict - It's pretty much on hiatus.  I mean, I SHOULD by all rights put it on hiatus, but truthfully I so enjoy this comic I don't want to forget it, which is what frequently happens with the monthly and hiatus strips.  So it remains here until it returns.  If it returns.  I hope it returns.

Does Not Play Well with Others - Hasn't really changed much, and I like it for that.  It's reliable in that way, even if it doesn't update with any regularity.

Exiern - I don't even know how many artists and comic runners this thing has had since I started reading it.  It's like it gets passed around to whoever wants to take a crack at it this week.  Hell, the current storyline doesn't even seem related to the original, or maybe it is and I just have forgotten a plot point.  Either way, it's one of those edge case comics, not sure I really should keep reading it.

Footloose! (Cherry, Blackmarket Magic) - Footloose is currently on hiatus, Cherry updates as it always did, once in a while, and the main focus is Blackmarket magic, which I haven't reviewed because, well bad timing honestly.  Still, I like all three comics, and I want to keep reading all of them.

Legend of Zelda:  El Rey - It's almost over, and while it isn't going the way I kind of wanted, I like where it is going.  Can't wait to see how it ends.

Licensed Heroes - It's still a fun little comic, and I enjoy it for what it is.  Wish I could say more but it really doesn't need much more, it's still enjoyable.

Pole Dancing Adventures - Still the only blog comic I follow, and it's still something I'm following despite no interest in the subject.  Says a great deal about how the comic manages to keep my attention despite that.

PopChormatic -  It's still on pause while they deal with life issues, but I hope it'll return soonish.  Early next year maybe?  I hope.

Romantically Apocalyptic - Recently I've become convinced that I've been missing something here and I probably should go back and reread it.  Still, it's one of the weirdest comics I read, and maybe I wasn't really missing anything, it just feels that way.  Still worth reading for sure.

Ruderk and the Bear -This is a bit ahead of Exiern on the edge of dropping readership.  It's okay, but just that, and doesn't update often enough to keep me really hooked.  I wish I could like it better but I really am not.

String Theory - It's gone places I was not expecting, and I'm still not sure what to really make of it as it goes along.  Some of my issues are the slow movement of the comic and forgetting who is who and what they did, aside from the main character for the most part.  Not that it's bad, but I basically should just re-read the comic if I want to catch up.

Sunstone - For once, I'll drop the NSFW flag because, seriously, if you've been reading this blog, you should know this by now.  The next volume (book?) of the comic has just started and thanks to the full run of the first storyline, it feels less like building and more refining the characters and story.  Worth reading, go.

The Meek - Long wait for it to come back, and still be pretty interesting.  It's still WAY too early in the plot to settle down completely and I'm waiting for the two paths to more seriously intersect.  There's a lot of elements there, and I still enjoy it.  There is another comic, but I haven't read it yet, likely worth it.

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella - Technically it doesn't get updated weekly, it's whenever the artist finds a funny joke to tell, which boosts the quality, and thanks to the nature of it, there's not much of a plot to follow so it works for it.  Still worth reading.

Three Panel Soul - It has multiple storylines that run around, none deal with the others, and it's still quite enjoyable.  It's simple, well drawn and fun.  I can't say much more than that because it is good.

Trying Human - I like the main plot.  I'm not super interested in some of the subplots.  Right now it's in one of those subplots.  Yeah.  Still, when it's on the main one, I find it interesting and want to see more.  Hope it comes back around soon.

Twokinds - It's an adventure comic.  There's an adventure, there are adventures and they do adventure things.  Half the cast are anthropomorphic animals, but they're just characters just as everyone else.  I like it enough to keep reading, if not a bit more.  Now things are coming back together and getting ready to push toward the grand confrontation (which may or may not be a climax).  Should be fun.

Zebra Girl - This one is finally winding down and will be wrapping up sometime next year.  It's completely worth going back and re-reading it, which I'll be doing soon. . .

Okay, next week, I finish this up.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Retrospective: It Hurts!

Yeah, I forgot about the Retrospective on this one.  To be fair, I was in the middle of a massive posting arc and contemplating the end of the blog at the same time.  So missing the end of It Hurts! isn't that big of a surprise.

Not that I really have much to say on it really.  I mean, I did like it enough.  My original review had the same issues, I don't know HOW to talk about it besides "it's okay."

It's vulgar, it's stupid, it does odd things, goes odd places.  It tells jokes that you need to read a second time to catch, while others are so obvious you don't eve need to read them.

The story was a weird thing.  It flowed pretty logically, which is weird since it went from middle school, to the apocalypse, to space, to hell, to heaven, to space and then back to the beginning.  Yeah, it did ALL that while making the main characters a cyborg, a zombie, a part of some supreme spirit and a demon.  Weird things, and the ending was, well, trying to say something.

The comic loved to drum up hope for the future, then squash it like a bug on a windshield.  The ending looks to do the same thing, except that DOES give that hope.  After pointing out how shit of a thing it really was that the only way to do it was to UNDO everything (um, kind of, more like remake).

I liked the comic, but I can see where someone else might not put up with it.  It's TOO vulgar sometimes, and TOO stupid other times.  There's an unevenness there that carries all the way to the end.  I guess if you can stand it through the beginning of the apocalypse arc, you'll probably enjoy it, but if you can't, don't bother, it doesn't change much.

Next time, my great round up.  Long enough I had to put it off a week.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cleaning Up a Bit / Touching Base #27

Funny how before we finished a move, we always cleaned the now empty house.  Except the last time, but that had other reasons.

In this case, it's time to clean up the read list one last time in preparation for next week's big post.  So let's get started.

From Hiatus, I'm pulling everything and swapping in some new blood, namely Broodhollow, Commander Kitty, Hark, a Vagrant! and Little Guardians.  All the old stuff is either dead, or dead and gone.  Yes, even Perry Bible Fellowship, which gets reruns on Go Comics, but that's about it.

Monthly sees the departure of The Wotch to Non-Read (I don't know what's going on with any more) and Out There to dead.  I've added Head Trip, but that's about the only addition there.

Weekly sees the addition of Chainsawsuit, Exiern and Ava's Demon (it's new and all).  I probably COULD move Derelict to Hiatus, but not yet.

Legends of Wholeterra had a website failure and is gone, so it gets pulled from T-Th-S, while Not a Villain gets added.

Bug Martini was daily but now is 3 times a week, so it went to M-W-F along with Metacarpolis.  It Hurts! ended (forgot to do a retrospective on it, whoops) so it's gone from the list as well.

Daily's biggest departure is Station V3 which never did answer the question what happened to it.  The other removals I've already commented on.

There are some comics that will likely be ending in the next few months.  Zebra Girl is nearly done but won't be finished until the start of next year.  Blue Blaster looks to be wrapping up it's storyline, so that's nice.  Marry Me, um, could be ending or it could just be taking a 2 year break, hard to say.

Eeire Cuties and Magick Chicks HAVE updated, but it's sporadic and looks like Archie comics.  I don't know if this is long term or not.

Cosmic Dash actually started putting up strips again.  I really don't understand how or why it updates the way it does, as in it doesn't.  Annoyed.

Sunstone (NSFW) has it's second, book?  Volume.   That sounds good.  Second Volume called Mercy finally getting back up to speed.

PopChromatic stopped updating in July due to life reasons.  They're hopping to get it up and running again in the new year.

Not much else to talk about honestly.  I do want to get back and do an It Hurt's retrospective, so I might do that as part of next year's final wind down (I definitely want to write about Zebra Girl ending).  It'll depend on if I get time.

Next week I'll see about doing that It Hurt's! retrospective.  See you then kiddies.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Last? Wild Webcomic Review

One last time, with feeling, it's


I say last, but is it really?  Maybe, probably, likely even.  As much as I would like to get to 300, well, I just don't have the time.  Still, let this not detour me from my duty today, and so I present, once again, 5 comics that I read and a shortish thing about each.  Let's begin.

281.  Not a Villain - My first thought on seeing this ad (and I got it from an ad, so they do work) is that this was some kind of superhero story.  It's not.  It's a post apocalyptic comic set in virtual worlds being the primary way of people interacting with each other.  There is a lot of character development throughout and I do enjoy the way it really highlights why the main character is doing what she's doing without directly telling every little thing, and that information is being slowly meted out through the length of the comic.  My favorite part is that this comic is actually developing over time.  The earlier strips are early artwork and while there is a reason for some of it, even as the comic goes on the art and story telling are developing.  Better yet, the alt-text for most of the comics is a self criticism by the artists, usually about how things could be done better.  I really like this comic and will be reading it for a while.

282.  Ava's Demon - Linked from a forum, I found this comic to be rather beautiful and the story is tight and well written.  I like that the about page points out the story IS done, it's just a matter of drawing it.  It is presented mostly as a single panels, which are posted in groups at a time every week.  Oddly, not every panel is "vital" despite the format, many are just  slight variations of previous panels.  And then sometimes it goes "beyond" the panel, presenting larger pictures, alternate minor images and videos.  Oh those videos are amazing to look at.  Yeah, they're just this side of a moving comic but the addition of sound and extra movement has made them really stand out and I'm quite happy with the comic.  That said I really am kind of annoyed by the archive navigation.  Oh sure, it works on a standard dive, but getting back to particular strips or videos is, well, a pain.  Other than that, a great comic, hopefully it keeps going.

283.  Broken Telephone - I don't remember where I got this, and the same applies to the rest of the comics on this list.  In any case, this was a group project while multiple artists (front page says 18 art teams, which is possible), all taking a single story and presented from different points of view for each artist group.  It's a fun experiment and I did enjoy how it all played out and connected together in the end.  The characters, even as the artstyle changed, were identifiable and I got what was going on.  Ultimately it was a fun, if short, romp of a comic that's at least worth spending a few minutes on, as it is complete.

284.  Metacarpolis - This is a silly comic.  The artists hints that the entire reason for the comic is to make hand puns and the fact that one of the past characters is wearing something Manos: The Hands of Fate should be more than evidence that this is not to be taken seriously, like at all.  I like the silliness though, as the characters seem to know it's kind of silly, and even comment on it but just accept it and move on with their lives.  The characters are fun, easily identifiable, and their motivations are pretty straight forward except when they're not and then it's silly.  It also has a robot with a brain of an advanced cockroach.  Yeah, it's silly and fun to read.

285.  Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life - It's JUST short of my 100 strip guideline, 99 in fact, but it's complete, so it counts.  It's a sci-fi comic that is about philosophy, purpose, friendship, and silly robots.  Lots of silly robots.  It does this weird thing where every other comic, almost, is flipped 90 degrees from the previous, so some are long vertical while others are long horizontal.  It varies depending on the topic of the strip.  The art is rather simple, but not stick figures, there's enough there to tell each character from the others while still being kind of the same (because robots).  It's nothing too verbose, though it could try to be, and I enjoyed it.  The last strip is actually quite fitting, not just for the comic, but these reviews as a whole.  Worth reading.

And that's it.  Like I said, it would have been nice to hit 300, but considering the 10,000+ comics out there, it's still pretty much nothing, and 15 strips more or less isn't going to change thing.  Add in all the comics I've read and not reviewed for one or the other, I'm still probably short, but that's fine.  I won't say this is for sure the last, never know after all, but I suspect it will be.  Thank you for reading and experiencing these reviews with me.

Next time, I've got some cleaning up to do on the blog.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Standard: Ending Not

I figured the next post of this series would be about the "end" of Sluggy Freelance.  HA!

To be clear, I am not surprised by this.  For one, it was always been clear that Sluggy 20+ would be "different" but not "over."  Secondly, there was no way Pete Abrams was EVER going to finish the mainline Sluggy story in the short time frame he had given himself.

Most of it comes from his own issues with keeping the updates rolling.  This ever present problem has kept the comic from really hitting any kind of stride and various failures (like Oceans Unmoving) can be traced back to it.  Once he started missing updates in the last year or so, I knew it would never quite make it.  It is a shame he has never managed to make a buffer of any kind to help him sort out this issue, so perhaps the new direction of the comic might help in that respect.

It didn't help that a LOT needed to be tied up in such a short amount of time.  So much to cover from Oasis to Chen, vampires and Kusari, Sasha and dig bots and I'm barely covering a fraction of everything.  And even at this point I don't think he can "finish" the story in 2 years from NOW.  Just too much to cover too fast.

So backing off, kind of, was a given.  In doing so he's given himself some room to work.  First he switched the update schedule from 5 days a week to, um, two I think.  Strips are at least twice as big, if not bigger in some aspects and there's more room for growth.

It also gave him breathing room to go ahead and keep developing characters again.  Torg and Riff aren't quite on the same page, even if they are on the same side.  Oasis is still dealing with her stuff and Sasha, is apparently a series of clones?  And Kusari!  Weird.

So some of the secrets are revealed, but not all, and the final resolution of the story is still a long way away.  Which means no "it's over" post from me.

My promise thus remains, to be there when it ends.  After a 20 year run, the comic is likely going for a couple more, at least.  While I likely won't update regularly after this year, I will be back for that ending.  Well, assuming I remember how to log into this thing.

Until then I'll be waiting.  In the mean time, I have more to talk about.  Until next time kiddies.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Retrospective: What Birds Know

I've been putting this off trying to finish up the Masterpiece, but it's time to get to it.

What Birds Know wrapped up in August and I only just went back and read through it again.  It's through this that I came to really appreciate it far more than I did on my first read through.

This is ONE story, start to finish, and really needs to be read that way.  Subtle hints and topics lose their meaning over the 12 year publishing span of the comic and I found myself realizing the importance of scenes at the end only after rereading the entire comic.

There is certainly a tragic nature to the comic, and as each of the main characters are given a bit of their backstory it reinforces the finale of the comic that much more.

Ultimately  Emelie Friberg and Mattias Thorelli manage to create believable characters with proper motivations for the actions that build up as the comic goes on.  There's a lot of emotion in this comic and while the story itself is strong, the characters hold it all together.

Artwise, they mention in their final blog post about doing some touch ups for a future published edition and while I suppose that's all well and good, I don't think it's necessary.  After reading through it again I think it managed to have a rather consistent art style and never really started on a bad foot.  Of course they only do say "touch ups" so maybe I'm just not as observant as they are (creators are their own worst critics I have found).

What I'm trying to say is that this is a good comic.  Definitely worth the time to read through and while I think it was probably hurt by the posting timeframe, now that it is complete the full story can and should be experienced.  I highly recommend it and look forward to the next project the pair get to, whenever it happens to be.

Next time, something else I've been meaning to talk about.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Masterpiece: The Last, Great Sprite Comic

We never did find that armor of invincibility.

8-Bit Theater ended with an anti-climatic clash, and the punchline from a joke established almost nine years earlier.  The final stab was White Mage using her connections to convince the world that the Dark Warriors, the band of boobs, were the ones to defeat Chaos, just so our "heroes" couldn't take the credit.

But that wasn't the last strip.  It was the SECOND to last strip.  The last strip came sometime afterwards, quite a bit if I remember right.  There is a reason for that of course.

The last strip is something different and very symbolic.  The reason it took so long is because, it isn't a sprite comic.  After nearly nine years, with only a few, very few, moments of non-sprite artwork in the whole of the comic, it ends without a single one.

The times had changed in that time.  For all the popularity of 8-Bit Theater, it would never, and could never, make Brian any money, because the art work wasn't his.  At one point there was a shop that had mouse pads and shirts, but that went away quickly because copyright is in full force, and these fell under it.  Ultimately the fact that 8-Bit finished it's story is remarkable since it was, at that point, more a work of passion than one of monetary value.

And really, there is only so much one can do with sprites, and Brian had done them all, possibly even inventing some.  Despite the actual ownership of the sprites, he made them into his own characters, and made their story memorable.  To the point that it became part of his resume and resulted him getting actual work in comics, including his next piece, Atomic Robo, which got a print version for a time.

The finale of 8-Bit Theater became a finale for a generation of comics as well,  It finished wrapping up the stories of the characters, showed how some jokes just don't end, and maybe, just maybe, left the door open for a sequel one day.  Maybe.

It represented the final transition between the wild west of webcomics and the beginning of the current era.  While the older strips like Penny Arcade and Sluggy Freelance might still be kicking around, the greatness of the comics had moved on and comics like 8-Bit Theater really didn't have a place to be any more.

The Last, Great Sprite Comic, that's a fine epitaph for 8-Bit Theater, but it was also a comic Masterpiece.  Nearly a decade in development, it's final page said more than just "this is the end of the comic," and drove home the point that webcomics, in whatever form, weren't just going to go away or get hid behind paywalls.  Nuklear Power, the website that hosts 8-Bit hasn't been updated in a few years now, but its still there, the forums still active.  All because of a silly comic based on video game sprites

And that's the end.  Next time, I have a lot of stuff to catch up on, hopefully I get some time to do so.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Masterpiece: Black Mage

I know the difference between right and wrong, I just don't care.

Black Mage is evil.  No qualifiers here, he is evil.  Totally and completely evil, and he doesn't mind that at all.  It makes him happy to be evil.

The only thing that keeps him from being the main villain in the comic is the fact that the universe works actively against him.  The main weapon is, of course, Fighter, who considers Black Mage his best friend, and BM can't kill him because of his armor.

The rest was handled by, well, everyone.  Watching Black Mage react with frustration to every other person is entertaining, but it's also the one way to keep BM from focusing on his evil quest to, um, well. . .

Look, WHAT he wants for his evil is kind of odd.  Mostly it's about chaos and destruction, but he doesn't seem to want to rule.  Well, he doesn't MIND that, for a short time he was in charge of the party and seemed to enjoy it, but it's not his goal.  He has no problem doing a "good" deed, if he it will personally benefit him.

Being evil, for evil's sake seems all he really wants.  Betray his party members?  Sure.  Oh wait, the other side plans to kill him too?  Screw that guy, let's get him Fighter.  He's fluid with his betrayal and willing to do it at the drop of a hat.

He's not above love, I should note.  There is a point where he leaves a letter for White Mage that states how much he cares.  She ALMOST feels sorry for him, right up until she finds out his most powerful spell is in fact weaponized love.  This is a spell that caused a global extinction event.

He is evil, and he's pretty smart, to a point.  He often calls out the other characters (especially Red Mage) for his stupid ideas (which again, work half the time, the universe works against Black Mage again).  His intelligence does not match his cleverness, as he doesn't have much.  His best insult DID kill someone, but that's because it was awful, not because it was effective.

Of course he also goes on to conquer Hell (he was overthrown shortly there after), commit so many atrocities that his confrontation at the Temple of Ordeals is met with himself (which he promptly extra horrifies then stabs in the back), and eventually turns against the entire party and has a dramatic show down where he almost wins.  Right until Sarda appears, the same kid whose parents, foster parents and orphanage Black Mage killed.

Ultimately Black Mage gets exactly what he deserves.  He's depowered and left to wander the world with the one person he hates more than anyone else, his best friend Fighter.  No better way to end his career.

That all said, he is memorable.  It's really hard to look at that iconic sprite and not think about his rampage through the Dwarf Kingdom or his attempt to turn a spell called "make Black Mage turn inside out" on Sarda, only for Black Mage to be turned inside out as a result.  He's the example of comedic evil character, so much so that I think most other comics try and fail, to copy it.

But I that's another story, one I will finish next time.  Until then.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Masterpiece: White Mage

I am White Mage, destroyer of worlds.

White Mage is good.  Not perfectly good, but as good as anyone in the comic has ever been or likely ever will be.  Considering that most of the characters are insane and horrible, that may not seem like much, but ultimately it is.

Honestly the biggest moment that proves this is in the later half of the comic where Black Mage is "replaced" by White Mage.  The end result is that the rest of the party began doing good things, using their skills to help rather than hurt.  Upon Black Mage's return, they return to their unpleasant ways, but for that short period, White Mage's goodness overrides their own natural tendencies.

She isn't perfectly good, of course.  She can be driven to an almost murderous rage, usually by Black Mage.  She sours on the good thing for a bit, making that quote above as she begins her "fall" into evil.  It lasts like 6 pages, and ends when she's mean, slightly, to Fighter.  She felt bad about it.

Her introduction was meant to drive the group forward, fixing their "mistakes" and moving them to their ultimate destiny.  That went out the window quickly and instead she made her own way, trying to single handily fix everything, and try desperately to keep away from Black Mage's lecherous hands.

Eventually she even meets Sarda, the Wizard That Did It, and effectively the antagonist of the story.  Not villain mind you, that belongs to the party, but he is the one that pushes the party onto a particular path, mostly for revenge.  White Mage isn't a target of his wrath, so his reaction to her annoying him was to send her to the beginning of time.

Where she created the universe by accident.  And slightly before Sarda got there.  Then suggested he looked better with a mustache.

Eventually, of course, her final act in the main story was to fulfill the long joke, and she's the reason there's any form of an epilogue.  While her story arc is probably less developed, even including her "brush" with "evil," her role in the story is no less important.  She's the reason the group dynamic is the way it is, she's the reason the ending happens as it does, and the reason the universe exists at all.  She is probably the most important character in the story.  She's practically god.  Almost literally due to the universe thing.

But if there is a "god" in the comic, there must be a "devil."  Or someone who makes the devil look like a wimp.

Next time, evil  Until then.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Masterpiece: Red Mage

In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed.

Red Mage is insane.  Well, at times he's more lucid than others, but usually he's the one to most likely go above and beyond any form of sanity and logic.

The reason is that he is meant to represent the gamer, the rpg addict that attempts to squeeze out the most from the game, often by gaming the system itself.  The phrase "min-maxer" is used for this idea, maxing out certain powers while minimizing the penalties.

Which when playing, say, Dungeons and Dragons, is probably just fine.  There are a set of rules that govern the play order, powers, abilities and whatnot.  In a comic that is a "real" world, stuff like this gets really silly really fast.  At one point Red Mage rolls a pair of dice in order to escape being dropped into a pool of acid.  The dice fell in the pool of acid.

All of this allows Red Mage to do completely insane things that are only logical if you come at it from a game perspective.  It does, however, generates some rather ethical and moral issues.  When the character manages to do something so horrible that even Black Mage, the avatar of evil, is disturbed by it, it might be a bit too far.

The scary thing is, about half the time, his plans work.  The other half the time, though, it's completely stupid.  To the point that other characters, typically Thief, have to drag him back to reality.  Which is pretty temporary in most cases.

Ultimately, Red Mage came to know, um, everything, and while his plans for dealing with Sarda were still crazy, they were at the point where nothing less than crazy would work.  And it DID work.  Until it didn't, but that's part of the joke.

And a joke is what Red Mage is, well a joke dispenser anyway.  Whether he's rolling dice or attempting to generate quests to earn XP to level up, it's all about being him being at his most ridiculous.  The few times he seems rather lucid are often because other characters are being at their most insane, such as the Dwarven Genocide where he wanted to talk because he wanted XP while Thief and Black Mage wanted to kill and destroy.

In the end, Red Mage was a joke engine, there to make relatively normal, if silly, encounters into complete madness.  He doesn't have much of an arc, limited to his conflict with Black Mage near the end of the comic.  There is a hint of some morality there, he does teleport White Mage out just prior to that fight, and after the events of the comic, but his actions in the rest of the comic shows he often overrides his morality in the name of gaming the universe, and from there, the jokes come naturally.

Next time, god.  Kind of.  Sort of.  You'll see.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Masterpiece: Black Belt

You try walking a straight line without bumping into wave functions of neighboring realities.

Blackbelt is dead.  Twice.  Horribly dead twice.  Three times if you count being turned to stone first, then being brought back with part of his head missing as two deaths.

Of all the characters, it turns out I remember Black Belt the least well.  In fact, I was completely mistaken about him.  My memory of him is that he was Fighter 2, the sequel.  Just as dumb, if not more so, just a better fighter.  His death, my memory tells me, is because he wasn't necessary as they already had one Fighter and having a second one was stupid.

Most of that isn't true, it turns out.  In fact only one part of my memory was right, he was killed because he wasn't necessary, but not for the reasons I thought.

His role was simple:  be someone for White Mage to talk to.  She doesn't officially join the Light Warriors, and this leads to her being more off screen than on, and having someone she can walk and talk with as she chases the rest of the party around the world isn't a bad idea.  Giving Black Belt the ability to get lost walking in a straight line kept the two of them just behind the party, often able to witness only the aftermath of their passing.

That said, it turned out he wasn't really necessary.  After his death (second death), White Mage either was with the main party, talking with Sarda, the Wizard that Did It, or doing something noble (like creating the universe, we'll get to that later).  She didn't NEED Black Belt for that.

Later his death would serve a role in White Mage's character development, but beyond that, he wasn't needed any more.  Which means, sadly, there isn't really much to talk about with him.  He didn't undergo any development, have no story arc, or anything.  He was there for a few jokes and then gone.  Much like Dragoon, who was really just there to deal with Muffin, or Evil Princess Sara who, while having cameo appearances, is basically done as soon as the Light Warriors cross their bridge.

Would the comic have been better if Black Belt had more of a role?  Hard to say, as I'm not sure WHAT role he could have had.  Even White Mage, easily a main character of the group, was absent from most of the comic, and even missed the bulk of the final battles (aside from the important one).  In the mean time there were the Other Warriors who did many of the same things that Black Belt could have done, but were more entertaining at it, and then Dragoon who had ONE job, and did it once he realized his parrot was a dragon.  I will argue Sara could easily had more to do, but that's another story all together.

Really for Black Belt, he is but one of dozens of side characters who didn't get as much screen time as the main four, but ultimately didn't really NEED that time either.  Most of these characters are one note, one joke types and are there just to keep the rest of the story interesting.  Keeping the comic focused on the main cast kept it from wandering too much, and when it did wander, it was short, funny, and didn't over stay it's welcome.

Next time, the crazy one.  No, not him.  Or her.  Not that one either.  Yes, that one.  Until next time.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Masterpiece: Thief

Shut up and give me all your monies and fineries.

Thief is all in the name.  Well mostly.  It is true that Thief is what he is, and an amazing one at that.  Whether it's stripping the gold walls of a castle as they walk by, or stealing things that don't actually exist, Thief can and has lived up to his title.

Yet, he's also the only character that, at least initially, was actually on a heroic quest.  That quest disappears rather early in the comic, not because it was forgotten, but really because he completed it!  Yes, that's right, a Light Warrior, in a comic where comic failure is rampant, common and expected, actually successfully completed a quest without it back firing horribly or unleashing a far worse evil on the world. . .

Wait, it meant Thief wasn't bound any more.  Forget I said anything about that last part.

My point is when we're introduced to Thief, he is on a noble quest.  Doing it in the most Thief way possible, of course, but it is noble.  His father, King of Elfland, is ill, so he's out collecting funds to finance a cure.  Which only makes sense because Elf logic (serious, isn't pulling all the stops for a cure kind of the thing you do for a king anyway?).  He does this by stealing everything that isn't nailed down.  Then going back for the stuff that is.

Of course, eventually the quest is over, though not until after the worst pun ever kills the villain behind the King's illness.  At that point, Thief is freed from his obligation and he becomes the avatar of Robbery we all know and fear.

That said, of the all the characters, he is the most practical.  Yes, he leans heavily on the "can't have it, steal it" line of thinking, but you can't argue with how successful he often is in that regard.  He also acts as a moderator for the more, um, impulsive and insane ideas of the rest of the cast, giving them more focus when the time comes.  Then he takes off to hide because he knows he's just cannon fodder otherwise.

He is the team's leader, despite the fact that he got that role by stealing it.  He is very effective at it and the group dynamic kind of needs him or they might just not make it all.

Which isn't to say he's a good guy, oh dog no.  Evil might be a stretch, but he is classicist, racist and arrogant, to a hilarious degree.  And he can be influenced to feed into his lesser desires.  His hatred of dwarfs combined with Black Mage's desire for death and destruction resulted in a campaign of genocide across the Dwarf Kingdom.  Given the lack of any kind of law enforcement in a small town, he took on the role, of a mob boss.  Placed on the kind direction of White Mage, he's actually develops an excellent economic restoration program that doesn't involve stealing anything from anybody.  Truly he was cursed.

Ultimately, he gets what he deserves.  The only Light Warrior to not really earn his class change, he is made to pay for it at the worst possible moment, but having it stolen from him, by himself, from the past.  Only fitting I suppose.

Thief does get overshadowed by the other cast members though.  He is often the straight man to their madness, and as straight man, gets more forgotten than not, but when he shines, he shines, and that will likely cost you a small fee to witness (it was in the contract he forged your signature to).

Next time, the character who can't walk down a hallway without getting lost.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Masterpiece: Fighter

Also, I can block any attack and kill anything that bleeds.  Hint.

Fighter is stupid.  Well, kind of.  He's certainly naive, and he has his stupid moments, but he's not completely stupid.  He's not Bikke for dog's sake.  But he isn't smart, that's for sure.

In a comic where "stupid" is the standard, Fighter isn't really that high on the list.  Oh, he's on it, but there are far, far worse.  Bikke, I mentioned, is one, Dragoon is pretty dumb, and King Steve is, um, well he's probably inanely stupid.  Most of the unnamed characters are pretty oblivious to things going on around them, which doesn't make them stupid per say, but they might as well be in terms of the comic.  Which actually makes Fighter pretty smart, all things considered.

Fighter is a master of the physical arts, even before his class change he was a whirlwind of death and destruction.  He has some education, he can read, and write, and is smart enough to know he isn't that smart.  Still, the other characters often treat him as stupid enough to be an actual threat, to the point that they tell him to go bother Chaos in the hopes that the stupidity will kill it.  It doesn't work.

When it comes time for quick thinking though, he can do it.  Sure, it's probably not the best thoughts at any given moment (Mr Pibb and Dr Pepper are not a conspiracy, really), but it can work.  His magnum opus is blocking the ground so the party survives a massive fall.  His logic is impeccable, if improbable, still, it was his thought, no one suggested it to him or anything, he just did it.

That's because he is a hero, the stereotypical dumb hero.  He WANTS to do the right thing, and as long as the people who he considers friends tell him it is, he'll do it.  Of course his best "friend" also happens to be the most evil person on earth, so you can see where this can go wrong quickly.  Despite this, he is genuinely a good guy, and ultimately the architect of the entire comic.

It is HIS decision to try to become a Light Warrior that starts everything off.  HIS vote allowed Red Mage to join the group, and his insistence that Black Mage be part of it, rather than White Mage, likely changed the entire path of the story.

He was rewarded, eventually, he got to wander the land with is best friend.  Of course, that also became Black Mage's punishment, but that's another story.

That said, throughout the length of the comic, Fighter did get dumber, but given that it's a comedy, I suppose that's a given.  Even so, there is some depth to him and he's not just a dumb meat shield.  I mean, he's MOSTLY a dumb meat shield, but when push comes to shove comes to hack and slash, he's not the dullest knife.  Mostly because he has swords, lots of swords, and he knows how to use all of them.  Honestly, he's probably the most dangerous character in the entire comic.

Next time, the one character you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, without a lawyer.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Masterpiece: The Introduction

My favorite joke is the one played on the reader.

When webcomics began their massive growth at the turn of the 21st century, lots of people wanted in on it.  It was new, exciting, an infinite canvas upon which new worlds and creative works could grow and expand.  The problem is a lot of people can't draw.

The age range of these people were all in the same area, college or post college students, and they had nostalgia for the things of youth, namely video games, and the old 8 and 16 bit games of the early 90's.  The sprites of those games, well, that's a ready made source of characters for a comic.  This doesn't take into account copyright and such, but the early days of the internet didn't pay heed to that kind of thing.

So sprites made it easy to make comics, right?  Quite the opposite because there were only so many poses to pick from, so to make any action the comic creator must compose the image and write and, well, then it gets hard.  The result was that most sprite comics, as they came to be known, were pretty bad.  In fact, of the four I've read, two were some of the worst comics I have ever read.  The other two, though weren't bad.  Bob and George really isn't that terrible, fun even, but definetly of another time.  The other one. . .

Every comic I've done one of these long reviews for is, at least to me, worth reading.  They highlight the highs and lows of every comic in some way shape or form.  The Standard covers most of the lows of not understanding the audience, but also not taking chances, all while linking a massive cast and story together at the end.  Best Overall points out how the sum of a comic's parts, and a regular update, can make an above average comic into something great.  The Classic shows how old ideas can be changed and updated, even if there's an overload of dialog at points.  The Successor takes the same approach, only expands on it and goes on to point out the flaws in the fans as well as in the characters.  All are the masterpieces of the creators, the best they've done, at least for now.

For sprite comics, however, there is only one Masterpiece.  It captured the spirit of what these comics were based on and coupled them with wit and humor that is actually hard to match even against those previously mention comics.  Brian Clevinger took the sprites from the early Final Fantasy games and create something that practically redefined the very game it was poking fun at.  It helped that it was based on the original game, which had virtually nothing in terms of characters or dialog and make something wonderful out of it.

The result is something that transcends the comic itself.  Most people hear the name "Black Mage" or "Fighter" and they picture Brain's reinterpretation of them.  The comic is called 8-Bit Theater, the idea was that he would move from game to game, but in the end, it was just a comic about the original Final Fantasy game, and that's all it could really be.

It's harder to talk at length about this comic as it is a humor comic, it's all about the jokes.  Humor is subjective, of course, but the core of each joke is the characters involved, and while they're not complex, they are are the center of attention.  Whether it's the Light Warriors, Dark Warriors, Other Warriors, the Fiends, or even King Steve, it's all about the next gag, and about that one, long joke.  So to cover it, I will talk about the jokes of each of those iconic characters, or try to at least.  Through them, I hope to establish that this is The Masterpiece.

So next time, we talk about swords.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Future of The Wild Webcomic Review

So I meant this for the beginning of February.  I also meant for the Dr. McNinja Retrospective to be at the beginning of February, but bleh.

If you hadn't noticed, I've been kind of falling off updates for the last couple of years.  My job is SO chaotic in it's scheduling even a "regular" set of hours can range from 10 to 50 if things go rotten really quickly.  I honestly spend most of my off time staring into space because I can barely move.

That's not a bad thing, really.  The reason this blog exists at all is because I got laid off from a 5 day a week job and I needed something, ANYTHING to do besides stare at the computer screen.  First thing I did was travel cross country, then I started a blog about webcomics.  I had lots of topics, comics I wanted to review, things I wanted to say.

Ultimately, though, I've just about run out of topics.  That plus the job that requires more attention and energy anything I've done before has made it so I just don't have much to say or time to say it.  Which has made me very sad, actually.  I love doing this, but in the end, I'm near the end of it.

I'm not ending it NOW, obviously.  That's silly.  I have a promise to keep, to write about Sluggy Freelance when it ends (well, kind of ends, I really don't think he's going to wrap it up by August at this rate).  And I want to squeeze in ONE last set of reviews.  Nothing special, of course, just 5 comics that catch my attention (I've got two so far).

Also, I've got one more long series I want to do, which will dominate the bulk of the year.  Then, that's it.

The blog will stop regular updates probably at the end of the year (one last Can't Live Without post).  Will I never update again?  Can't say.  Something stupid is bound to happen.  Maybe I'll actually sort out the articles into topics so I can find them easier later, or not.  The point is, I won't be going out of my way even for a monthly update.

So now you know the plan.  I've enjoyed doing this and will have a nice big long thank you thing at the end, but for now, this is the plan.  And hey, things could change.  I could get fired tomorrow and have nothing better to do again.  We'll see.

In any case, next time I begin my next and last long series of a comic that I love, and actually finished rereading very recently.  Hopefully it goes well.  Until then kiddies.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Retrospective: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

EDIT:  Okay, I'm dumb, I forgot to actually schedule this to be posted.  Only didn't notice until now.  BAH!

Well, I was going to talk about the blog, but wouldn't you know it, Dr. McNinja ended right as I nominated it for Best Overall Comic.

I knew it was ending when I made those nominations, of course.  And by the time the articles were going up, I knew it would end the week of the awards.  Still didn't award it, but not because it failed to win, but mostly because the actual winner did so much more.

I figured 2016 to be the year of all the comics ending, with Dr. McNinja going first, but instead it hung on into the new year.  And it was a great final story.

Much can be said about the run of McNinja, from it's humble beginnings as a joke to a time traveling epic that went from the moon to the Radical Lands, featuring characters from all over the map, and nearly all are memorable.  It's only in the last chapter, though, did all of them come together to make one hell of an ending for such a great comic.

Not that it was always great all the time.  King Radical, despite being the main villain of the comic, got old after a while, and only by revealing who he really was did the comic finally find a good use for him.  And no, I don't mean him being from the Radical Lands.  But the duds were often out shined by the fun and awesome of the comic.  For every repeated King Radical story, there was one where McNinja surfed on an robotic Dracula back into the Earth's atmosphere.

The comic tried to be outrageous, and yet kept things reasonably grounded.  You could believe these things could happen, ALMOST, which is the best part.

The ending, as I said, was perfect.  King Radical died in the most radical way possible.  Dracula finally met his end, thanks to hacking, and Dr. McNinja retired from the ninja life to be just a doctor, with his new name being the perfect choice given the history of the comic.

It'll be hard to fill the space on the list where Dr. McNinja enjoyed his adventures.  I still find myself reflexively visiting the site, even though I know it's over.  Christopher Hastings, the creator, artist and writer and moved on to print comics, including Gwenpool and Adventure Time, and I'm sure his time with the irish ninja who happens to be a doctor helped him immensely to get those jobs.  I wish him the best of luck in the future and I might even try to read some of his books if I get the time.

And money.  Stupid video card is dying.  Bleh.  Anyway, until next time kiddies.

Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 Wild Webcomic Quasi Award Winners

Welcome to the 2017, and perhaps last, Wild Webcomic Quasi Awards.  This post will pass out the awards to the comics that excel at the categories for which they were nominated.  I give these awards out myself, based on my own judgement from my time reading these comics.  This year's nominations can be found here, with the rules for this contest posted here.  Without further ado, the first award.


Best Black and White Art

There are lots of reasons to award Our Time in Eden, from it's excellent writing to it's character development, but the art truly stands out.  Especially when it comes to those characters.  There's a hauntingness to each character that is hard to really describe.  They look like the world has crushed them under it's weight and they just want it to go away.  Ben Steeves' art truly makes the sad tale written by Gibson Twist to life in a way that likely wouldn't come across the same way in a purely written format.  There isn't much action, if at all, but each page is filled with details, large and small, that give an amazing sense of detail into the events described no matter how small.  It is a wonderful looking comic, despite it's less than happy story.  This has earned it the award for Best Black and White Art for 2017.

Winner:  Our Time in Eden


Best Color Art

Last year, Stand Still, Stay Silent was the winner of the Best New Comic award, one it earned based on it's updates, story and especially it's art, and in the last two years, it never let up.  The art itself may have improved, but since it was already amazing, it's hard to see how much it could have.  Characters are easy to identify, colors are bold and used with amazing effect, and some of the monsters are just downright terrifying to see.  Minna Sundberg is an amazing artist and her level of production at such a high level cannot, and should not be ignored.  Even cutting her production from 5 days a week to 4 just so she had time to focus on a video game side project didn't slow the comic down at all.  It is by far one of the best looking comics on the web today, and thus the winner of the Best Color Art award for 2017.


Best Gag Comic

Kris Straub has issues with his larger comics, but the one comic he hasn't slacked on is his gag comic, Chainsawsuit.  It's topical, without being insulting, silly without being stupid, and funny while being, well, funny.  It's never the same thing twice, with rarely a repeated joke, or if there is, the joke is that it IS a repeated joke.  Kris has a definite grasp on comic timing and silly comments, so while his darker, less funny comic might have stalled out, he can at least fall back on his silly strip named after an idea he's mentioned maybe twice over it's life time.  The award for Best Gag Comic in 2017 is given to it with no reservations.

Winner:  Chainsawsuit


Best Shortform Comic

There's a cartoony feel to David Davis' Cosmic Dash, one that might throw off those looking for a more serious science fiction comic.  The thing is, that it IS serious, but it's not dark.  Each of the shorter tales through it are very positive in attitude without being silly or goofy.  There is drama, but it doesn't crush the comic, and the positive mood of the comic keeps it fresh and interesting.  The sheer number of shorter vignettes keep the comic moving and fresh.  Some are only a few pages long, especially compared to the larger segments, but all are positive, all are fun, and all are some of the best science fiction out there.  Cosmic Dash receives the Best Shortform Comic of 2017 on this positive attitude.

Winner:  Cosmic Dash


Best Longform Comic

It might be a cheat to talk about Pete Abrams' Sluggy Freelance in terms of "longform" since early on it wasn't such a comic.  The last few years, and it's attempt to wrap up the various loose ends, have changed the game significantly.  Now old plot points are coming back from the dead, to finally be put to rest, old ideas and theories are being brought in, up and finished and the comic as a whole has taken the light feeling of an epic and really expanded it into a grandiose piece of fiction.  It's not a comic that anyone can come into and pick up, not easily or quickly, but the overall plot for those who are long time fans is a wondrous thing to see in action.  It helps that this is likely it's last, regular updating year, and with that in mind, the award for Best Long for Comic of 2017 goes to webcomic that set the standard by which all comics are measured.

Winner:  Sluggy Freelance


Best Cast

Giving each character time and development is something that, at the very least, is hard, and gets worse with every additional character.  It helps to have a basis to connect them all, and Jackie Wohlenhaus' Between Failures has that linkage, a failing entertainment store.  From here their stories can be explored and examined, their relationships built and expanded upon, all while not strictly forgetting the rest of the cast exists.  The fact that Jackie keeps creating characters that sit on the edges of his central cast and keeps them interesting and fun is something that cannot be ignored.  This fact alone is more than reason enough to award this comic Best Cast of 2017.

Winner:  Between Failures


Best Character

Corridor Realms has quite a collection of comics, and through them some more than interesting characters.  Blake J.K. Chen's creations range from the alien, to the, um, inscrutable, but probably one of his best is Robert, or Bobby, from Subhuman Sanctum because he is, ultimately, the most human.  He has no real special powers, though he can fight when needed.  He's no special snowflake, often getting in more trouble than he intends, and he falls for a girl who is probably an out right alien.  Well, that's probably special, but the way he handles it all comes from a very human place and make him the winner of the Best Character of 2017 award.

Winner:  Robert from Subhuman Sanctum


Best New Comic

The very premise of a comic can often make or break it for a reader before they've seen a single panel.  Even after that initial hump, the premise can still haunt the reader and turn their opinion against the comic even if it probably shouldn't.  Which makes MJ and Jesse Fanta's PopChromatic a unique piece as it's very premise can be poisonous to most people, a comic about a pop star competition is less than appealing to many, yet manage to make it entertaining and engaging.  Sure that competition is the core of the comic, but realistically, it's about family and their relationships with each other, whether it's between Jade and her twin sister Amber, or Justice and his father.  This elevates it above the basic premise and makes the comic far better than many would assume it should be.  Because of this, PopChromatic gets the Best New Comic of 2017 award.

Winner:  PopChromatic


Best Completed Comic

I'm going to slip out of award mode for this one.  The last two times I did these awards, Michael Poe's Errant Story was nominated, but never awarded.  It was less because Errant Story failed in some way, and more that other comics, at that moment, deserved it more.  I have covered, in detail, why I think this is one of the best comics ever.  I really don't have more to say about it than that.  If this really is the last time I do one of these awards on my own, then now is the time to officially give it the respect and award it deserves.  As such, I am giving it the Best Completed Comic of 2017 award, and no you can't stop me, it's my award thingy.  Now back to the award mode for the final category.

Winner:  Errant Story


Best Overall Comic

Stjepan Sejic has created quite a few comics, all very good with fun dialog and interesting ideas.  Several have been published, but despite that, his most popular comic is the one that started as a series of erotic bondage pin ups, Sunstone.  That identity, the bondage pin up thing, really is just the hook for readers, because the comic itself doesn't dwell on it much.  Oh it's there, but the comic is really a love story, a romance, between actual characters for whom the bondage thing is a hobby they enjoy.  It's about these characters, their flaws and triumphs, and their relationships so that bondage thing almost becomes background noise.  Even now, with the completion of the first volume of the story, it carries on with another pair of characters and their rocky relationship, and it looks to be just as interesting and engaging as the first.  With it's amazing art, dense updates and great story, it is with no shame that Sunstone, a comic that isn't quite safe for work, is awarded the Best Overall Comic of 2017.

Winner:  Sunstone (NSFW)


And that wraps things up.  As I said earlier, this likely the last time I will do this award thing on my own.  While I have enjoyed doing it as an exercise, honestly I just don't read enough comics to do this even every two years.  Still, I hope that you found it interesting and maybe encouraged you to give a few of these comics a read, either the winners or the nominees.  That is the point of all this after all.

Next time, February 3rd for those keeping score, I'll be posting about the future of the blog.  Then, well, I have an idea, but I need to sit down and reread the damn thing.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Wild Webcomic Quasi Award Nominees

Welcome once again to the Wild Webcomic Quasi-Awards.  The goal of these awards has always been about recognizing the achievements of the various comics out there.  When the field numbers in the tens of thousands, standing out with great art, great story, great characters or just being great in general is difficult.  So here, at least, there is some recognition.  That said, as I am the lone judge and nominator of these awards, only comics I have read and reviewed for this blog will be considered and only my opinion will be used to determine who gets the award.  On to the nominees.

Best Black and White Art - Nominees should express great use of line, form, shape and shading using a mostly monochrome pallet on a consistent basis.

Blue Blaster - Despite the title, this comic manages to show superheroes, villains and everyday people in great detail without ever actually showing the title character's true color.
Namesake - A multitude of fairy tale worlds come alive through the sparing use of color in this epic adventure.
Our Time in Eden - The characters in this long running comic carry a weariness that is hard to match in any other comic.

Best Color Art - Nominees should express great use of line form and hue using a multi-color pallet on a consistent basis.

Stand Still, Stay Silent - Color plays a important role in this post-apocalyptic comic, often setting the tone of a scene as much as the action and words spoken.
Paranatural - The cartoonish look of this comic allows for flexible characters that move and flow to enhance any and every joke that it puts forward.
Blindsprings - Great pains are made in the art of this comic to show the break between the colorful spirits and the depressing reality in this fantasy tale.

Best Gag Comic - Nominees should express excellent use of timing, word play and humor within a single strip or page on a consistent basis.

Three Panel Soul - While only weekly, this comic manages to get a laugh nearly every time.
Chainsawsuit - Never quite the same thing twice, except for Two Cops, which is.  Silly and fun.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal -While often dense and hard to understand, the jokes, in the end, are just what is needed for a daily dose of chuckles.

Best Shortform Comic - Nominees should be able to tell coherent and independent stories based around a small cast or idea without requiring an overarching plan or story to the comic as a whole.

Broodhollow - While there is an overarching mystery to the town of Broodhollow, each chapter covers a small corner of it effectively.
UnCONventional - The stories aren't as distinct as they could be, but they are broken up in reasonable ways as it follows the various people running a convention.
Cosmic Dash -  Serious, yet light and fun, each chapter of adventures of the Lucky Strike and it's crew is a wonderful romp through space.

Best Longform Comic - Nominees should be able to tell a coherent and consistent story over a long period following a character or cast from the first strip to an eventual last strip in an interesting and engaging way.

Girl Genius - Yes, they are out of the castle, have been for a while, and it's still fun to read.
What Birds Know - Nearly finished, this epic tale of birds, gold, greed and rage is worth the time it takes to read.
Sluggy Freelance - Tying up the loose ends of this long running comic finally turned it into a more epic piece than anyone ever imagined.

Best Cast - Nominees should have a cohesive cast of characters who support and build each other in ways that make each essential to the other and creating a great whole from the sum of their parts.

Dumbing of Age - David Willis manages to take his various characters across multiple comics and brings them together into a single, new comic that explores them in new ways.
Between Failures - A varied collection of characters all work or are related to a failing store, but it's a positive look at their lives.
Bohemian Nights - 20 somethings spend their off hours partying, drinking and having fun, but it doesn't always go positively

Best Character - Nominees should be a single character that stands out from the rest of the cast with a strong personality, history or story, but also one that drives the story through their actions.

Joyce from Dumbing of Age - Wide-eyed and innocent to start, being exposed to the world changes her view on the life she once knew.
Robert from Subhuman Sanctum - Former street thug is exposed to hippie aliens and finds a new, more interesting world to be part of.
Arron Rung from Blue Blaster - Super powers do not a hero make, at least not strictly, as Arron struggles between using his powers for heroics, and making a bit of cash on the side.

Best New Comic - Nominees should show general excellence in the creation and publication of a new comic starting between now and the previous nomination announcement.

PopChromatic - Jade doesn't like pop bands, but the things she'll do for her twin sister.
Namesake - Storytelling comes to life in a magical journey Ellen take through those stories.
Paranatural - Ghosts, magic and weird conspiracies dominate the world Max suddenly finds himself in.

Best Completed Comic - Nominees should be naturally completed comics that stand out as great pieces of fiction and art.

Errant Story - The fantasy epic that is the classic of webcomics today.
Skullkickers - Baldy and Shorty (they have actual names) fight monsters for fun and money eventually resulting in a battle to save the multi-verse.
Punch an' Pie - A loving relationship fails, and the story follows as the two characters move on with their lives.

Best Overall Comic - Nominees must show general excellence in the fields of art, writing and publication over the length of the comic's lifespan.

Derelict - The post apocalyptic tale of strange creatures, the sea and young woman alone in the world is something that should be read.
Sunstone (NSFW) - It may have started as a series of fetish pinups, but this tale of love and misunderstanding deserves the time to read through it.
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja - He's a doctor, a ninja and a hero in this amazing comic that is only just winding down.

Next time, the winners.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The 2017 Quasi-Awards Pre-Award Post

Wow, that's an awkward title.  Okay kiddies, it's time for the 3rd, now biennial (yes that's a word) Quasi-Awards.  For those unfamiliar, this whole mess started way back here, with another site's webcomic awards, which annoyed me because it was unclear what was going on.  No rules, explanations, no nothing.  The result was, well, a whole category on my blog for A) trying to fix it and B) doing my own version.  Twice!

And as will the last awards given out in 2015, I will start with a review of the rules and any changes.  So let's get to the rules:

1.)  Comic can not have previously won in the given category.  Comics also cannot win more than one award per award event.

2.)  Comic nomination must be for the award period (in this case the last two years).  Things like "best new comic" have to be within a very specific time frame, other comics can cover longer periods

3.)  Comics must be active for the length of the award period.  This means the comic updated regularly over the award peroid.  Only exceptions are for the "completed comic" award or the "short comic" award.

4.)  Comic must qualify for the given category.  A primarily color comic cannot be entered in the black and white category, for example.

5.)  If a comic wins "Best Overall" it cannot be nominated for another category ever again.  Unless it's a special "legacy" category.

As with last year, there will be only 3 nominees per category as I am the only judge and it's hard to nominate from my rather small pool of comics.

Not any other serious changes.  That said, I suspect this might be the last time I do one of these.  Mostly because my pool of comics isn't deep enough to support a fourth edition.  Hell, I'm surprised I can do three!

Next week, and yes, I said WEEK, the nominations for the 2017 Wild Webcomic Quasi-Awards!  Until next time kiddies.