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.