Monthly Archives: March 2010
You know, it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that the person behind an infamous piece of Lady Gaga fan art (which Ms. Gaga posted on her Twitter) was none other than Yamino of Sister Claire (reviewed here)! The poster, by the way, is available for purchase at TopatoCo, so if you’re either a Little Monster or a little Sister Claire fan, you might want this hanging on your bedroom/door/rec room wall.
Let us pause for a moment to sing the praises of videogame webcomics.
You think me mad?
Think me foolish for reflecting on comics that fall back on cheap gags, like funny drawings of a fat Italian stereotype in a red jumpsuit? I reassure you, my fellows, no merry jest-maker am I!
Think back, if you will, of the decade long ago fondly called the aughts. Back in 2005, something rather incredible happened. People dared to call video games by the “a” word: “art.” It started, as most things do, with a review of the movie Doom. Roger Ebert, the doyen of movie critics, answered a follow-up question about why he didn’t consider video games to be art.
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I was first introduced to Evan Dahm’s Rice Boy about a year ago. Everything I’d read were nothing but highly positive reviews, gushing with unfettered praise. Yet, after reading the first couple of pages, I sadly didn’t feel all that compelled to check it out.
The opening scenes look like something straight out of the comic section in a mid-90′s alt-weekly. It’s one-on-one conversation at a bar, where the patrons are some of the strangest looking hombres around. One character looks like a featureless Grateful Dead bear. The other, which has a flashlight for a head that projects still images of movies and cartoons on his round face, is even more unsettling. Plus the bartender was some sort rejected character design from Klasky Csupo’s Aaahh!!! Real Monsters! cartoon. It’s the outsider look that someone like file under other‘s Shannon Smith would love. But me? Those stylistic flourishes actually turn me off somewhat.
Plus, there’s that “-” in the URL. I don’t know about you, but I’m psychologically predisposed to pooh-pooh anything with a “-” in the URL.
But then I reviewed Order of Tales and loved it. It turns out that Evan Dahm’s style was far more approachable than I initially suspected. At the same time, readers started to strongly insist that I pick up the far more heralded companion piece. (So strongly, in fact, that even Mr. Dahm noticed: “…it still seems like more people got excited about Rice Boy? But I don’t care because OoT will be the best comic I have ever done ever.”) So I decided to give Rice Boy another whirl, now buoyed by the bonhomie of the readers and my good experiences with Dahm’s world of Overside thus far.
Among my fellow Philipinos, it’s hard to find people who aren’t anime fans. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s dangerous to make generalizations about a race or nationality as a whole. However, my family, my wife, my wife’s family, friends and acquaintances, people I know living in the country itself … everyone I know born in the Philippines after 1965 is to some degree an otaku, with some taking their devotion to embarrassing levels. (If you’re reading this site, Jansen… Naruto sucks! Grow up already!) I include myself among the anime-devotees, by the way. Several readers take issue with my 5-star review of MegaTokyo. I, however, flat out stated that it was the kind of story anime fans zestfully eat up like it was baby back pork ribs slathered in honey mustard sauce or something. I shall defend that review to my death. It spoke to me. It SPOKE TO ME!
As the laws of nature go, anime fans breed anime-style comics. The most notorious Philipino webcomic creator is Vinson Ngo, a.k.a. “Bleedman.” I’ve covered extensively on this and other sites. However, it should not be forgotten that there are other webcomic artists hailing from the Philippines. One is Honoel A. Ibardolaza, creator of the webcomic By Moon Alone.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! St. Patty’s Day is coming along later this week, and I thought it would be nice to do a piece on a webcomic dealing with tiny creatures of fables central to Irish culture. Unfortunately, I think very few folks are very interested in doing a webcomic specifically about leprechauns, so we have to dig a little deeper into Celtic mythology to find other diminutive folk better suited for long term narratives: fairies.
Every so often, somebody comes along and tries to make fairies (or faeries) cool again. I mean, cool for people who aren’t pre-teen girls. And why not? Fairies were once the mythological creature of choice of the Celtic nations. They were either tiny folk who had been driven into hiding by humans or a race of spirits who lived in a parallel Otherworld that may or may not be the realm of the dead. There are already existing myths of people wandering into these magic worlds, which opens up a myriad of storytelling possibilities.
Modern writers are emboldened by how Tolkien took elves out of Santa’s workshop and turned them into stoic and sexy warriors with serious larper cred. But no matter how hard writers like Tad Williams and Susannah Clarke try, fairies are doomed to roam the world’s Trapper Keepers alongside killer whales, sad unicorns, and Edward Cullen. Perhaps Tinkerbell’s hold on the modern notion of fairies is too strong for even the Fairy King John Uskglass to break. Or maybe centering stories in a world where pain and disgrace are absent are serious handicaps when stories need conflict.
But that doesn’t mean writers won’t stop trying. Today, on the Webcomic Overlook, we’ll take a look at an attempt to put together a compelling fairy-centric story in webcomics: Xylia Tales, written and illustrated by Barb Jacobs.