Monthly Archives: June 2009
Lately, I’ve been in the mood for some power. But not just any power.
Or, uh, GRRL PWWR. You know what they say: girls rule, boys drule. Amirite, ladies?
“Grrl Power,” not to be confused with “Girl Power,” was probably conceived some time in the 90′s, with the Spice Girls as the chief spokespeople. The main tenets of the Grrl Power movement seemed to be tights, tattoos, mountain biking, and rollergirling. It was a win-win scenario for everyone. Girls found a convenient template for which to indulge their fantasies about rebelling against authority without, you know, any of the actual rebellion. And boys got to stare at gals in bare midriffs and fishnet stockings. Win-win!
And you just can’t get more Grrl Power than the estrogen-fueled world of Zuda Comics’
The Black Cherry Bombshells. It’s set in the world where women are smarter, more courageous, and more athletic than men. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the men are all zombies.
And the literal kind, not the kind that watches the NFL all day and never takes out the garbage eventhough you’ve asked, like, a million times.
Before you pick up your guitar and play, get up on your knees and pray and check out some webcomic-related news and views:
- MPD57 has an interview (and photo progression of a comic panel being put together) with Daniel Govar, creator of Azure for Zuda Comics. I am very much in love with the play-by-play screenshots that show how a page come together. The finished piece looks fantastic.
- I’ve always wondered how some artists do their strips in Flash. I’m an old-schooler who does things with a pencil and a Sharpie pen, so new technology frightens and confuses me. Fortunately, Sandy Debreuil has a nifty “how-to” guide up on webcomics.com for anyone who was ever interested. While it really doesn’t matter what medium you use, as long as you can learn and improve your technique, I’ve always admired how the colors in Flash turned out so vivid and crisp.
Plus, if you haven’t checked it out yet, their series on word balloons was pretty illuminating. Ima try that sometime.
- Johanna Draper Carlson faces Goats at Comics Worth Reading. I disagree that it would be useless reviewing something this old. I mean, I can’t be the only one who hasn’t heard about Goats before today. Am I? I mean… why are there monkeys on the cover?
- Ping Teo’s Webcomic Finds is now called Lonely Panel! Man, but I do love that new name. It works on so many levels: a sorta pun on a popular travel franchise, a connection to Ping’s love of travels, a connection to comics… well done, lass, well done! I have half a mind to change the name of this site myself, but the cleverest alternate name I could ever come up with was Webcomic Fruit Salad. Also, it’s possible I’m hungry. Anyway, Ping, big thumbs up on the new name.
- The Beat mentions that it will cost $1.5 billion to renovate the San Diego Convention Center… and if the taxpayers don’t pony up the cash, San Diego Comic-Con might move from The City of the Big Zoo!
- Also, apparently some American Captain is coming back to life. It disturbs me that my wife thought this was breaking news, and I had to tell her I knew a week ago. I pray that my voice didn’t sound dismissive and Comic-Book-Guy-like.
NOTE: I have no idea who drew the picture leading off this post, but it’s a parody of this.
As I mentioned in my review of The Princess Planet, the Transmission-X webcomic collective has, in my admittedly cluttered mind, been batting at 1.000. Fantastic writing, fantastic artwork, and accessible, friendly creators. Transmission-X is the webcomic gold standard, an admirable example for creators everywhere.
And yet, I was STILL apprehensive about the content of the webcomic for this week’s Webcomic Overlook review. The Abominable Charles Christopher, Kukuburi, and The Princess Planet are all generally peppy, upbeat, colorful, and fanciful. I like those elements in a webcomic. It’s like Pixar in print form. Sin Titulo, by contrast, is dark, noirish, and grounded in the harsh light of reality. It even comes with a “For Mature Readers” tag. There’s nothing sexually explicit in the comic thus far, by the way; the warning is mainly for language and violence.
Also, while I love me some mystery, suspense, and hard-boiled detective novels, noirish comic books are just not my cup o’ Bourbon. I’m not that huge a fan of Sin City, for instance. (Miller sorta lost me with the ninja hookers.)
What to make of Sin Titulo, then? And, a more important question: how do you pronounce the second part of the title? (I’m personally going to go with “Tah-TOO-low.”)
How do you know webcomics are gaining ground on their direct market brethren? When the print versions of popular webcomics are starting to pop up with reliable frequency in the AV Club’s comic round-up. In the June 12 version, they have a review of Kate Beaton’s “Never Learn Anything From History,” as well as a bit of commentary on webcomics as a whole:
Webcomics have been a seriously mixed bag since their inception, and for every Achewood, there are two dozen shabbily drawn, incoherently written strips about videogames or anime. That’s why it’s all the more impressive when a talent like Kate Beaton emerges. The young Canadian artist has turned a history degree into a non-stop laffs-generating machine, as her book Never Learn Anything From History (TopatoCo) illustrates; the great leaders, military figures, artists, and philosophers of the past are her usual subjects, but they’re usually portrayed as consumed by petty ego and expressing themselves in the freewheeling, dismissive argot of snotty adolescents. Add to that a keen sense of the absurd (in her footnotes, Beaton herself cannot explain why a weeping Napoleon stuffing his face with cookies while Josephine carries on a wild affair is so damn funny, but it is) and you’ve got a book full of comics that are generally hilarious even for those who don’t fully recall the history behind the stories. Beaton’s art is likewise impressive; her neat linework and terrific grasp of simple caricature and facial expression sells a lot of the best strips, including Sasaki Kojiro meeting an undignified end, Jane Austen and Nikola Tesla being pestered by their fans, and Lord Byron muttering “Bitches, man” to a grieving Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her occasional non-historical comics (featuring mermaids, Tintin, and an evil Shetland pony) are likewise winners, and if American audiences don’t quite get the jokes behind her strips about Stompin’ Tom Connors, Newfoundland, and John G. Diefenbaker, at least they might learn something about Canada from reading them… A-
Hero spends about seven episodes training to fight an unstoppable villain. Hero and villain meet, and, after spending an inordinate amount of time staring at each other. They have inner monologues which last for several minutes on how they’re going to beat the other guy with their unstoppable techniques.
Finally, they fight. Which lasts for thirty episodes or so. The good guy and the bad guy trade the exact same punches for the first episode, after which the bad guy boasts over the next episode how he has this hidden technique that he hasn’t used yet. He spends the next three episodes powering up, where the heroes just sorta stand around with their mouths open. And then the villain unleashes his powerful move… which is totally ineffective because the good guy has his OWN unstoppable technique, which is, apparently, IMPOSSIBLE!
Congratulations. You’ve just watched an episode of Dragonball Z.
The show is quite infamous among anime circles for running, say, a string of 70 episodes with perhaps 10 minutes of actual content. Even the most diehard fans will admit that Dragonball Z was one of the dumbest things on TV. Yet, somehow, creator Akira Toriyama somehow created the most influential anime in history. Several anime, from Yu Yu Hakusho to One Piece, followed in its footsteps.
The show is a favorite on the internet, from popular memes (“Over 9000!”) to AMV’s (which range from gleefully ridiculous to surprisingly touching) to one of the most infamous webcomics of all time (which, incidentally, also inspired its own AMV).
Unfortunately, we’re not going to be talking about BUTTLORD GT. Instead, the Webcomic Overlook is reviewing a newer entrant into the burgeoning field of Dragonball Z parodies/homages/shameless rip-offs: Raven’s Dojo, written and illustrated by Raven Perez.