Category Archives: action webcomic
This is the part of The Webcomic Overlook where I reminisce nostalgically like an old man. My grandpa had World War II, my dad had his childhood in the Philippines. Me? I have video games.
I remember, way back when, as a bright eyed kid playing in the arcade. I remember playing Pac-Man. I remember playing Space Invaders. And I remember especially playing Frogger, which was the only cartidge I ever owned to play on our Atari 2600. I remember trekking Toys ‘R Us just so I could buy a Ninendo so I could play Super Mario Bros. (That Nintendo was later stolen by burglars who broke into out house in Detroit, but that’s another story.)
I even have fond memories of the Saturday Supercade. That was the Saturday morning cartoon series that featured the animated adventures of Space Ace, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Frogger. For some reason, though, I can only sorta remember the Q*Bert segments, which, at the time, I though were so very wrong because Q*Bert talked. I also remember the Pac-Man series, back in the day when Atari was still trying to convince us that the dude was had retro Mickey Mouse eyes and a hat.
What I’m trying to say is … I been playing video games for a long, long time.
And I have never heard of friggin’ Bravoman.
Hello, boys and ghoouuullls! It’s October. The time when we put pumpkins with grinning faces out on the porch. When we dress up in fancy costumes like “clown” and “sexy clown“. And when webcomic reading becomes webcomic bleeding. Welcome to the Webcomic Overlook October Spooktacular!
I’m your reviewer, Hell Santo. This week, we’ll be looking at several webcomics that are to die for! Creepy tales of witches, ghouls, spirits, and creatures that go bump in the night. Will they delight, or will they fright? There’s only one way to know if a comic stood a ghost of a chance!
We begin with a story of a young woman growing up in the Pacific Northwest. She’s a very quiet girl. Gloomy. Shy. Frightened. But deep down inside, there’s something wild just aching to emerge. You might say that this woman has … hex appeal!
Tonight, let’s take a look at Aaron Alexovich’s Heart Shaped Skull, which is also known as Serenity Rose. I have no idea witch one is correct. I’ll go with Heart Shaped Skull just to keep things simple.
I mean … sin-ple.
No wait. That one was a bit of a stretch. I apologize for that one.
I’m going out of town — actually, this country —- this weekend on vacation. I’ve been doing a lot of travel planning this week, trying to find the best deals, plotting out the best places to check out, etc. Long story short: I really hadn’t planned on writing a review this week. I didn’t have time to read any webcomics, let alone write a review about ‘em.
However, after posting a recent press release, I came to the creeping realization that, man, I have read a hell of a lot of Stephanie McMillan’s Minimum Security. This absolutely discombobulated me. Of all the things in the world to embed itself like a termite in the soft, spongy recesses of my skull, why this particular comic?
Fortunately, Minimum Security is concluding a self-contained story arc this week. Next week, it’s embarking on a completely different tangent. Something about proletariat theory. Does this mean we will be soon reading The Communist Manifesto as illustrated through panels of interpretive dance? Will the world of Minimum Security be consumed by an apocalyptic event where society reverts to an agrarian system, a la NBC’s Revolution? Will every comic panel just be a paragraph long dissertation with a tiny doodle in the corner so that, yes, officially this is a comic and not a logorrhoeaic blog post? Who knows? As Alice Morse Earle once said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
Now is as good a time as any to look back at the smiles and the tears from the last two years. So grab yourself some organic brown rice sandwiches, slip on some locally grown hemp slippers, put on the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi by Phillip Glass, ’cause we’re gonna take a trip down Self-Sustainability Lane and we just won’t stop until Capitalism is destroyed!
Some of you may remember comic book artist Travis Charest from WildCATs. I actually associate him with an earlier work, DC Comics’ temporary replacement for the Green Lanterns: Darkstars. One of these days, though, we may remember him for his webcomic, Spacegirl. Images burst with high adventure and Flash-Gordon-esque spacecraft as Spacegirl swashbuckles her way through the galaxy. it’s also delightfully retro: panels filled with bombastic expository boxes would feel right at home alongside the works of Alex Raymond, Hal Foster, and Milton Caniff. I gotta say, I’m excited for the inevitable Spacegirl Adventure Hour Radio Serial (sponsored by Lux Soap).
Stories of disenfranchised youth are all the rage these days. None strikes to the heart as much as the story of a young greaser named Ponyboy. (I should probably make this clear in this day and age that he’s not named “Ponyboy” because he’s way into My Little Ponies.) The rich kids are known as the Socs — short for Socials. Early in the story, Ponyboy gets attacked. This bings to a head a class struggle set against a dusty Oklahoma setting. After a tragic incident occurs, Ponyboy soon finds himself many miles from home, trying to sort things out and in the processes becoming wiser than when he started.
Wait — what? It’s a different Outsider? …. With no “s”?
OK, look. Time out. Obviously I didn’t really mistake the infamous S.E. Hinton novel — whose movie adaptation launched the careers of Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Diane Lane — for today’s reviewed webcomic. I mean, geez, this isn’t Young Adult Novel Overlook. To tell you the truth, though, Jim Francis’ Outsider is not that much different. Just substitute Ponyboy for Alexander Jardin, the Socs and the Greasers with the warring Loroi and Umiak, and Oklahoma for outerspace. It’s fairly easy to confuse, admittedly, so here’s the big difference. The Outsiders is the one you were forced to read in junior high. Outsider — no “s” — has alien space babes.
There should be no question which one here is the superior product.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend in this increasingly global world we live in, but humor is very much tied to where you grew up. I think I mentioned it before, but whenever my wife tells me that she discovered a hilarious video that a friend of hers sent via Facebook, I cringe. I cringe a lot. That’s because she grew up in the Philippines, and a lot of the comedy seems to be rooted in terrible mangling of the English language… despite the fact that, from my ears, the accent is only slightly more atrocious that her own. And even if that were the case, why would I even find it hilarious in the first place?
There also seems to be a bit of a cultural disconnect with British humor. There seems, for example, to be a lot of comedy to be mined regarding mustaches. At least, that’s what I glean from Scott Ferguson’s Nerf This. Here, mustaches are featured prominently and often. Sometimes they just show up, and that’s apparently the punchline. Ah, to have been born on the British Isles. Perhaps I would’ve appreciated some of that fine honed humor rather than, say, watching a Filipina starlet humiliate herself on YouTube while mangling the lyrics of Air Supply’s “Can’t Live (If Living Is Without You).”
Ladies and gentlemen, I have some very sad news: I’m cancelling Mars Week. I knw you were looking forward to the parades with a giant Marvin the Martian balloons, a public reading of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, the contest to think up with a better Martian rover name than “Curiosity,” and free Mars Bars for the kids.
But I only have myself to blame, really. Earlier this week, I thought to myself: “Self, why don’t you finally review that other Mars-themed comic? Uh, what was it called? Red’s Planet?” It was a full-proof plan… until I reached the end of Red’s Planet and realized it had nothing to do with THE Red Planet. Fortunately, though, I have no regrets reading Eddie Pittman’s Red’s Planet. I’ll come right out and say it: it’s the most delightful webcomic you’ll ever read about Mars that will turn out to be not about that at all.
Recently, I’ve been reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, a fairly methodical (yet still enjoyable) novel about the colonization of Mars. The main theme that emerged throughout seems to be that Mars sorta transforms its inhabitants into adverserial jerks. It’s not the only book to come to the same conclusion. Edward Rice Burroughs’ Princess of Mars is populated by a bunch of irascible aliens. The aliens from Mars Attacks! are murderous pranksters. And so on and so forth.
I think much of that characterization is taken from the nature of the planet itself. It’s defined by the color red — which is the color of blood, passion, and madness. It’s dusty and desolate, reminding us of the hardscrabble life of the Wild West. And it’s named after the Roman God of War. Violence seems to be the logical conclusion. So it is in the world of Dave Pauwels and Nicolas R. Giacondino’s Free Mars, where the red planet seems to be in a permanent state of debauchery (NSFW) and revolution.