Monthly Archives: August 2010
Drew Weing’s breezy, lyrical graphic novel Set To Sea (Fantagraphics) opens with a full-page panel of an enormous sleeping man, then pulls back on the next page to reveal that he’s asleep in a pub. When the bartender demands that he wake up and pay his bill, the man answers that he’s a poet, and will need a line of credit. Soon he’s kicked out into the street, where he’s promptly kidnapped and pressed into service on a clipper ship. And so Set To Sea continues, one full-panel page at a time for 140 pages, as Weing tells a simple story about art and experience, delivered in one-step-follows-another fashion. Weing’s cartoony figures and detailed backgrounds—rendered with precise cross-hatching—suit his one-picture-per-page format well, making Set To Sea look like an animated film slowed down to a slideshow. And while the book’s “you gotta live to write” message is fairly pat, Weing’s beautiful art and masterful pacing are so pleasurable that Set To Sea stands up to multiple reads. It’s a catchy little tune that sounds better with each spin… A-
Also loving Set To Sea? Brigid Alverson, who calls it “one of the most beautiful webcomics around.”
I couldn’t agree more: the online version of Set To Sea got 5 stars on this very blog.
Looking back at my previous Webcomics Are Sexy piece, I noticed two of the four examples were boob-related. Ooh, a bold statement: webcomics where girls have big boobs are sexy. Clearly, webcomic sexiness can be so much more. Webcomics are about stretching the boundaries, going to new frontiers of sexiness more fantastic than what we’ve seen before. So what do webcomics find sexy? Let’s find out… again.
I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “El Santo, why don’t you ever review comics about real manly men?” OK, so you’re really not saying that… ‘cuz deep down inside, you’re all girly men! *Grunt* Time to eat your vitamins and say your prayers, kids, because today we’re getting pumped up with Kelly Turnbull’s Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, where the punchline is machismo.
The sum of Ctrl+Alt+Delete‘s early run can easily be summed up by one of the most notorious advertising campaigns in video game history: the ad for Daikatana. So, basically, creator John Romero thought it would be a good idea to sort of do a parody of gamer talk. So he put together a simple red poster with a very simple slogan: “John Romero’s About To Make You His Bitch.” This was supposed to be ironic, of course.
It went over as well as you would expect.
So far, Buckley’s put together a comic about gamers being moronic troglodytes, emotionally stunted man children, and gamer girls with no personality, while each parody needs to be explained over and over again while the violent punchlines are pretty much telegraphed since panel one. Meanwhile, Buckley’s Mary Sue, Ethan, becomes crowned King of All Gamers, pwns all the world’s religions, and envisions a story where video games can save your marriage. Ironically, of course.
That went over as well as you’d expect.
But now it’s different. Now that Tim Buckley has crossed the bridge from wacky humor to maudlin drama, we’re now reading a totally new comic. the upgrade that finally makes CAD a comic that deals with serious issues.
Welcome to CAD 2.0.
I like Rob Liefeld.
It’s sort of an out there thing to say. Nowadays, when most people mention the name “Rob Liefeld,” they like to talk about pouches, no feet, ridiculous muscles on muscles, impossibly small waistlines on the women, and that one Captain America picture. I get that.
Still, if people were craving artists who drew in “How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way” dimensions, how come there’s no alternate movement to honor the likes of Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, or Jerry Ordway? What people are forgetting is that when Liefeld broke out onto the scene, the rigidly standard character designs were prevalent and, frankly, very dull. A style, though, that placed more value in the visceral over realism? The guy running the “I Love Rob Liefeld” blog summed it best:
I thought it was AWESOME. The energy, the power, the thrill of super-heroes beating the snot out of super-villains. I loved it.
I understand all the criticisms. I know Liefeld can’t really draw well. Look, you don’t have to send me that link to Progressive Boink. I’ve seen it. But I don’t care. Liefeld was one of the biggest reasons I started collecting comics, so he’s OK by me.
I mention Liefeld because, in a way, I totally understand what it’s like to be a fan of Tim Buckley’s much maligned webcomic, Ctrl+Alt+Del. Perhaps no other webcomic has been so widely mocked by critics and by fellow webcomic creators. Yet it still frequently pops up on a lot of people’s “Best Of” lists, including many people whose opinions I value.
Once upon a time, I called Tim Buckley “the Rob Liefeld of webcomics” … maybe he can’t draw, maybe he’s a bit of a hot-head, maybe a lot of his fans hate what he did to the genre … but if you ignore him, you’ll never get a full picture of what webcomics (or in Rob’s case, comics in the 90’s) were really all about. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s time to put that theory to the test.