One Punch Reviews #17: Ding!
Kurtz, Kurtz, Kurtz!
What is it with all the Scott Kurtz stuff on this site, anyway? First his lampooning by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, then his comments about webcomic critics, then his Webcomic Weekly counter-agruments about the comments from webcomic critics. Is there any way to escape form Scott Kurtz? In short: NO! Absolutely not! This site is going to feed you more Kurtz than you can possibly stand! For you shall have so much Scott Kurtz it will be coming into and out of your wazoo. YOUR WAZOO! It’s almost Biblical, if you think about like, the the copious amounts of quail the Israelites had to consume in the Wilderness.
If you think this is the lead in to a PvP review, well… I don’t every really plan on ever reviewing that comic. Frankly, PvP Makes Me Sad does it better. (Despite the title, PvP doesn’t always make blogger “Fake Scott McCloud” sad.) And, besides, the site’s archives are a murder to waddle through. You know, I get Scott’s mission statement that his strip is supposed to be read like one you’d find in newspapers. That is, miss the daily strips, and you’re out of luck until the book compilation comes out. But, c’mon, man, this is the age of the Internet! Instant Getification and all that.
Anyway, I’m taking on the far more managable Ding!, Kurtz’s take on the World of Warcraft culture. I might be out of my league here, by the way, since I don’t even play World of Warcraft. Heck, I hardly play MMORPGS. My only exposure is the low-tech, highly text-based variety where your character in the world map is represented by a generic Men’s Bathroom icon.
Is this fair, to review something with specialized in-jokes tailor made for fans? Hey, you’re reading the site that once dared to review a webcomic created for Transformers toy collectors. Let’s continue.
So did that South Park episode of “Make Love, Not Warcraft” make you think, “Man, that was a great episode! You know what would be great? Webcomics dedicated solely to stories about gamers living in their cartoony fantasy world! That would be hella cool!” Believe it or not, you wouldn’t be the only person inj the world thinking such perversions. There are so many WoW-based webcomics out there that they could qualify as a whole subgenre of its own. I imagine that one day, Scott Kurtz took a look at these webcomics and said to himself, “Lookit these newbs! Like it’s hard to do a webcomic about Warcraft. Maybe I should show them what a webcomic would look like in the hands … of a true master.”
And thus Ding! was born. Hosted at the Crispy Gamer site (your place for “essential, independent video game coverage,” apparently), Ding! follows the adventures of a young player by the name of Kissybear. (Instant Demerit: use of an ironic, cloying name for a tough guy. it’s been overused ever since Little John.) Kissybear is an undead … something… who operates in the Horde with a female elf, some troll that collects sheep, and his RL dad. The comic runs the gamut of MMORPG jokes that are at times familiar yet humorous and a other times not so much. It’s World of Warcraft themed comfort food.
But it isn’t all about one-off jokes. Midway through the checklist of gags about gaming addiction (check) and server disconnections (check), Kurtz tries his hand at an ongoing story. Kissybear’s shenanigans start to tick off his group. Motivated by spite, our hero switches sides and joins the Alliance. As you can guess, the Horde realizes that they need him back. It all ends up being a minor story, but it’s probably a sign of things to come. If PvP is any indicator, Kurtz is more comfortable writing long story arcs. I expect Ding! to similarly be more story-driven in future installments.
The thing that sets Ding! apart from other WoW comics is the art. Now, I happen to like Kurtz’s style. (Yeah, i know a lot of you readers — especially the “PvP is the Garfield of webcomics” crowd — are going to part ways with me over this.) And his style has never looked better than the full-color illustrations in Ding! Kurtz’s characters are simple and cartoony, yet they feel solid and distinct. Like Jeff Smith’s characters, they look like they’re built for epic storylines.
In the end, I’m going to have to go down the middle with Ding! It’s an OK read, even if I’ve seen the gags done a hundred times before. Would it be funnier if I had a World of Warcraft account? I’ll never know. Hey, I HAVE a life!
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Posted on August 25, 2008, in 3 Stars, adventure webcomic, comedy webcomic, fantasy webcomic, One Punch Reviews, The Webcomic Overlook, video game webcomic, webcomics and tagged Ding!, Scott Kurtz, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.