Monthly Archives: October 2009
Danielle Dark, a webcomic by Jay Bradley, starts with our title character leaving the romantic, scenic, and culturally inventive city of San Francisco for a city that’s pretty much the polar opposite: Indianapolis. And with how well the Colts are doing, who can blame her? And, uh … there’s the Indy 500? (Holy crap, I just realized a racecar driving vampire on the Indy circuit would be a great idea for a webcomic!)
Danielle must move because if she stays in one place too long, someone might notice that she doesn’t age and you can only use the “plastic surgery” excuse so many times (though I’d think that would apply more to SoCal than the Bay Area). And with the emergence of Web 2.0, she has to be more vigilant about secrecy than ever.
Danielle however is taking a risk going to Indianapolis because she’s been there before. There’s a chance she might run into someone who recognizes her. But the city also has old friends. She runs into an couple of long-lived witch acquaintances at a Warlock’s Coffee (snarf snarf), where carrying a punch card means you are one of the damned. These witches practice White Magic, which makes them the Jedis of the haunted community. There’s Berniece, who is 470 years old and Talia, who’s 650 years old, takes Danielle in, and wears unholy gobs of Tammy Faye Baker clown make-up.
While not as old — compared to her friends, Danielle is young at 150 years — Indianapolis’ ties are strengthened by powerful memories. Once upon a time, she grew up tall and she grew up right as an Indiana girl on an Indiana night. This was the city where she was first turned into a vampire. This was the city where her husband was murdered.
Most practitioners of vampire fiction have deal with a sticky situation: how do you make vampires sympathetic when they’re murderers, cannibals, and rapists? Most sidestep the issue completely by creating vampires who prefer chocolates, vegetables, or synthetic blood substitutes. Others have their vampires drink prepackaged blood or emphasize that their victims don’t really die. And then there’s the ones whose vampires acknowledge that they can’t control their hunger, but devote their lives to hunting down and destroying their own kind, Daywalker style.
Then there’s the rare ones who write their vampires act exactly like how they should traditionally behave: demonic creatures who kill with neither pity nor remorse. Not surprisingly, the protagonists of these tales are pretty much the most despicable characters around. But hey, you’ve at least gotta credit Blood Bound for pulling no punches.
Before I start, I should tell you that, in all likelihood, Blood Bound is some sort of fetish comic. All the links in this review should be assumed Not Safe For Work. Also, Not Safe for Children. Now, I’m not exactly sure what fetish is being addressed here, but there’s a lot of boobies, one instance of a girl getting chained up naked and whipped, a few scenes where guys get humped to death, and one or two images of anthropomorphic-dog-on-woman action.
RKB at the Pigs of the Industry blog wrote a review of LaMorte Sisters, a Zuda instant winner by Tony Trov, John Zito, and Christine Larsen. How does one become an instant winner, anyway? The Webcomic Overlook suspects copious amounts of booze and incriminating photos of Ron Perazza with a lampshade were involved.
This comic has passed my notice mainly because it’s 8 pages with not much dialogue. Girl gets bit by vampire with pointy Gollum teeth, guy in a knight outfit comes to the rescue, knight whisks girl away with a witty quip … BONG … LOST. Er, I mean LaMorte Sisters. If it helps, I think the story does show plenty of promise, and the art, as most everyone has observed, is better than what you’d find in Black Cherry Bombshells (a Tony Trov and John Zito joint). There’s just not much to go on right now.
RKB also writes:
Do the girls at vampire school have to wear those uniform skirts?
So, here’s how the tally at The Webcomic Overlook stands:
- Eerie Cuties – Yes.
- School Bites – Not shown yet, but promo art says Yes.
- Annyseed – Yes.
- Juliette: Worst Vampire Ever – Cocktail dress present, but not school uniform. No.
So the answer is “Yes” if you’re dealing with the species of chibi vampires. Zuda vampires run a higher chance of not wearing miniskirts. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to the reader.
We begin our story with Laila McCarthy and her trusty pal Kimmy on the run from a crack squadron of the world’s most metrosexual vampires. When they finally corner the two girls, it turns out that they have a fairly reasonable request for Professor Laila: translate two tablets of hieroglyphics, or the girl gets it. Laila, instead, goes for Option C. Short of telling the guys that the tablets belong in a museum and not being a big fan of fellas with frosted tips, she hacks her attackers down with a big ol’ samurai sword. Hey, what’s the use of carrying a sword around if you’re never gonna use it?
The battle won, Laila turns her attention to the tablets. The writing turns out to be a love story between two ancient Sumerian demons. Their forbidden love, we later find out, is predicted to bring about the end of time. After some gratuitous girl-on-girl action (which is, tastefully, left mostly to the imagination), Laila becomes pensive.
For, you see, she may be mild mannered professor Laila McCarthy to her friends and colleagues, but in real life she is none other … *gasp* … Lamashtu, the first vampire!
Abandon: First Vampire is written Greg Carter and illustrated by Elliot Dombo. If the first name sounds familiar, it’s because Greg is a frequent visitor on this site. Not only has Greg been very illuminating on the subject of creating vampire fiction, he was also very gracious to include a link to this blog on his site’s Links page. While I’m tempted to go easy, there’s a reason this feature is called “El Santo Vs. The Vampire Women” and not “El Santo Takes The Vampire Women Out to the Chocolatiers for Fun Times.”
Just yesterday, Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content released his State of the Webcomics Union.
This is the democratic response.
Most of the stuff written was of the “Rah Rah Webcomics” variety like you see below:
• There are a lot more of us, and we’re a lot bigger now.
• The level of art has gotten a lot better. Part of this is old hands getting better at drawing, part of it is people with actual training in the visual arts getting into the medium. I’m glad I started QC when I did, I’d be hell of intimidated trying to start off now with my ’03 art skills. On the flipside of this, some of the very most popular comics have the most basic art (XKCD, Cyanide & Happiness, etc.) so maybe it doesn’t matter so much?
• There seems to be less “drama” going around. I think this is mainly because the more popular creators have wised up to smaller folks tryin’ to troll them, and a lot of the old-school internet jerks have pretty much wrecked their reputations by bein’ internet jerks. I hope this trend continues, I do not miss “flame wars” and “rude folks” at all.
• The sky is still the limit. We’re nowhere near saturation as far as potential audience goes. Back in 2003 I thought there would NEVER EVER be another webcomic anywhere near as popular as Penny Arcade. Now we’ve got XKCD and Cyanide & Happiness who are either as big or bigger. Anybody who thinks we’re all competing for some fixed amount of potential readers is completely mistaken. It’s not a zero-sum game, which is great because it means there’s plenty of room for everybody, new folks and old hands alike, to grow!
As another blogger once pointed out, I’m not really that in tune with the “webcomic community,” so I have no idea whether he above is true or not. Jeph has been around longer, so maybe he knows the score. However, one point ruffled me a little:
• The idea of critical analysis of webcomics has largely died out. Sure, people still blog about webcomics and “review” them and stuff, but it’s become a tiny, tiny niche sector. I think this is mainly because there’s not a whole lot of point to reviewing something anybody can go look at for free and make up their own mind about! Is this a good thing? I have no idea.
OK, I’ve only been running this site for a little over 2 years now. I have no idea if there was some sort of Golden Age of Webcomic Criticism that I missed out on. Maybe there was a fantastic era where webcomic critics were served the finest wine at convention and given the choice cuts of meats, but are now forced to live in tiny little hovels ever since the bottom of the webcomic criticism bubble burst and are now forced to toil in a tiny, tiny niche sector. Frankly, when I started blogging, I had the impression that Eric Burns of Websnark was pretty much the only game in town. Sure, his output is pretty much nil lately. But I think it’s a bit of stretch to say that webcomic criticism has largely died out because Websnark is, for the most part, dead.
But “a tiny, tiny nice sector”?
Here’s a quick rundown of a few I’m familiar with.
- There’s me, of course.
- Robert Howard at Tangents is still kicking around.
- Brigid Alverson, long before starting her new Paperless Comics blog, was (and is) making waves at Digital Strips and Robot 6 over at Comic Book Resources.
- Lauren Jane has been talking webcomics over at io9.com, showing, like Brigid, that webcomics can be covered in larger, more connected sites.
- There’s a huge wave of Zuda blogs (which include mpd57 and Pigs of the Industry).
- There are podcasts like The Dish and Webcomic Beacon and the various other blogs like Art Patient, Lonely Panel, Olaf’s Comic Blog, and Morgan Wick’s blog.