Category Archives: 2 Stars
I think Homestuck is seeping into the most treasured crevasses of my brain. I had a generally busy October, which prevented me from updating this site too much. And while I can be a typical LiveJournal parody about how real life got in the way, and how I’m totally going to update and blah blah blah blah blah, but I won’t. I’m a bigger man than that.
I’m going to blame Homestuck.
Darius3 made a humorous comment that clearly Homestuck was the reason for lack of updates, and honesty… it’s not that far off. Not the way that you think, though. For one, typically I can catch up on webcomics by, say, pulling up my iPad or iPhone and reading on my free time. Homestuck is so heavily reliant on Flash that I pretty much have to wait until I get home… and honestly, that’s where I have the least amount of free time. Second, it’s very much a time investment. Someone mentioned it’s longer than the Bible, which I will not doubt for a second. However, reading Homestuck means not reading other webcomics, which, in turn has caused this here webcomic review site to lie barren and fallow.
As a result, I have resolved to take a short break from Homestuck and browse around the other fine webcomics available for perusal. Time for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! One that caught my eye on a purely aesthetic level was submitted for my “Shilled” drive and still has a link on the right sidebar. It’s a little thing called Olympus Overdrive. Created by Oskar Vega, it stars a guy … with the horns … and discolored skin….
Some time ago, I thought about revisiting webcomics that I’d already reviewed, since I was getting an increasing amount of email on it. Girl Genius. Spinnerette. Evil Diva. But I knew I couldn’t move forward unless I revisited this particular sore point.
The last time I reviewed Sluggy Freelance, I concluded it with the following:
(Part Two coming … in about two years. Seriously, when the hell is that damn space moose going to shut uuuuuuppppppppppp?!?!??!)
That was a joke. I was actually planning on reviewing the remaining comic in a couple month’s time. If you recall, I’d given my initial review of Sluggy Freelance a positive score. However, Ocean’s Unmoving II is when I decided I could go no further. Everything had gotten so bogged down by that point. I was perfectly, PERFECTLY happy to drop Sluggy Freelance and never, ever have to look at it ever again. Life was too short to have to deal with the talking space moose over again.
Well, it’s two years later. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies.
So here we go! The follow up review that dozens of readers asked for! Pete Abrams’ Sluggy Freelance — this time, covering the era in between “Oceans Unmoving” and “Oceans Unmoving II”, which spans from between 2005 to 2006. It inspires very polarizing opinions. Mention “Oceans Unmoving” and you will inspire either wistful remembrance or deep seated loathing. Admittedly, I’ve run across more the latter. “Dear Lord, Oceans Unmoving isn’t working”, says Websnark’s Eric Burns-White. “Somewhere around Oceans Unmoving II, I started forgetting to tune in weekly”, says Jackson Ferrell. But there are also some blog posts that I’ve run across that Oceans Unmoving is actually well structured, and overall a better re-read than the previous story (that I liked) where Torg was battling demons in another dimension.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Listen: Bun Bun has come unstuck in time.
There’s an old Cat and Girl comic that claims that hipsters don’t exist. “Everyone’s seen a hipster, but nobody is one,” snaps the girl. This idea was reiterated by a co-worker of mine, who insisted, every day, that there was no such thing as hipsters. They may as well have been ghosts or Santa Clauses or whatever. A mere figment of the imagination.
So… who were all these people I saw wearing trucker caps and Buddy Holly glasses, then? Was I … dreaming? When my brother calls himself a “hipster,” is he lying through his teeth? Maybe hipsters only appear if you say their name three times? No, wait… that’s Beetlejuice. Who, when you think about it, was sort of a hipster ghost.
These theoretical beings of light and illusion take center stage in the aptly titled webcomic Hipsters, by Adrian vom Baur. We follow these hipsters in their natural habitat of snark and loathing and … dinosaurs, apparently.
Nearly two years ago, I posted a link here to a critique of a comic called Roswell, Texas. In my mind, it was an innocent gesture. I like posting reviews to other webcomics in an attempt to further the cause of webcomic reviewing. It’s partially for selfish reasons. One of these days, when this blog ceases to update, I want to have a clear conscience, knowing that somewhere out there someone is still writing reviews of Ctrl+Alt+Del.
This particular post, though, caught some flack. One of the co-creators, Scott Bieser, took particular offense at the reviewer: Leonard Pierce, was a disgraced AV Club reviewer who lost his job after posting a review of a comic that hadn’t actually seen print yet. I believe in second chances (which I think Pierce was reaching for in his new blog), but there is still the lingering question of credibility.
More to the point, though: why wasn’t this stuff being addressed at Leonard Pierce’s blog? Why was all the stuff being brought up at this site? I felt like that one friend who’s stuck in the middle of a squabbling couple, and I’m stuck repeating lines like, “Well, she told me to tell you that if you’d just taken out the trash like she told you three days ago, none of this would’ve happened. Her words, not mine.”
With the link to Mr. Pierce’s article being dead, I figured that today’s the day to rectify the situation: The Webcomic Overlook is reviewing Roswell, Texas! Created by L. Neil Smith, Scott Bieser, and Rex F. May, the comic ran from 2006 to 2009 and is now available in print.
All vitriol, please direct it to this write-up now. Thank you.
MS Paint Adventures has become such a resounding success that I’m surprised there aren’t that many copycats. It could be the sprite comic for the 2010′s! I imagine, though, that Andrew Hussie’s series only looks effortless, and the final product actually takes far more man-hours than a comic with “MS Paint” in the title would let on.
That said, I’ve encountered a couple that try to ape the style. There’s Prequel, which reaches back to the origins of MSPA with a story that’s driven by commands from users at the MSPA forums. There’s also the subject of today’s review: Aushweeptz, a.k.a. Copypaste Adventure, which was sent to me by a Twitter user who goes by Blandy Fox.
I’ve read somewhere — perhaps on a Snapple cap — that to really put together a good satire, you sorta have to be half in love with material you’re making fun of. Makes sense. If you lack the in-depth knowledge it takes to be a fan, jokes can come off as fairly limp and groanworthy. Like, say, The Big Bang Theory‘s idea of what nerd culture is like.
Harry Potter is one of those properties that has so many odd details that it’s permanently ripe for parody. Now, I’m not a Harry Potter fanatic. I’ve yet to read the last two books, mainly because I was so disappointed by Ms. Rowlings’ awful writing in Order of the Phoenix. However, I’m knowledgeable enough about the world of Hogwarts to enjoy a good Potter parody.
Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, for example, is one of my favorite recent fantasy books, and at its core it’s a Harry Potter parody. Imagine the Harry Potter world, only the teenagers populating it more closely resemble the ones you see hanging around, say, Reddit: nihilistic and self-destructive and witheringly snarky… but at the core, really very scared. Grossman used the Potter foundation to create another fully self-realized fantasy world.
Harry Potter parody fiction lives on in webcomics as well with Wizard School, written by Kevin Kneupper and illustrated by Robert Rath. It’s not as good as The Magicians. Mainly because I have five words for you that should send chills down your very spine:
Rayne Summers IS Harry Potter.
There’s a great Patrick Stewart bit on Extras that’s become something of a major internet meme. Ricky Gervais plays a struggling actor, and he’s snuck into Mr. Stewart’s trailer. Mr. Stewart is game, and he starts giving Gervais some advice. He recalls his time working on the X-Men movie as telepath Professor Charles Xavier. He says it helps to envision what you would do with those powers in real life.
“I’m walking along,” Patrick Stewart says, “I see this beautiful girl and I’d like to see her naked. So all her clothes fall off. And she’s scrambling around to get ‘em back on again, but even before she can get her knickers back on, I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen it all.”
The Extras version of Patrick Stewart sounds like the guy who would’ve written Banzai Girl. Surprisingly, it’s not. It’s actually Filipina writer, artist, and model Jinky Coronado.
When reading Barry R. Hoare’s Ends ‘N’ Means, I can’t stop thinking of the phrase, “Hey, Lois, remember the time…” I have no idea why. What Lois am I thinking of? Lois Lane? Lois Maxwell? Lois from work who does database management? Why am I asking her to remember anything? I don’t even work on the same floor.