Category Archives: all ages webcomic

El Santo on Robot 6: Webcomics are for the children

New article at Robot 6 is up! Here, I discuss Stripped‘s subtext about comic strips and childhood, and I theorize how Penny Arcade‘s recent moves may be steering things that direction in the world of webcomics.

EDIT: Also they decided to publish my review of Pole Dancing Adventures, a webcomic about pole dancing. On the same day I did that piece on kids’ webcomics.

WHEEEEEEEEE!

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WCO #236: Camp Weedonwantcha

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I have a startling confession to make: I’m a pretty big fan of the probably cancelled NBC series Siberia. (I was also a fan of The Cape, so maybe I’m just attracted to failure.) Siberia starts off by fooling viewers into thinking that they’re watching a reality show. Contestants are dropped off via helicopter into the forbidding wilderness of northern Russia. Like all reality shows, they start things off with a silly challenge. Race to the cabins! The last two get eliminated! The trappings are familiar to anyone who’s watched TV in the last decade. There’s filmed confessionals to flesh out character personalities, alliances being formed, and mugging for the unseen cameramen.

Show’s true format and statement of intent reveals itself by the end of the first episode, though. One of the contestants is presumed dead. Brutally mutilated. It slowly dawns on the characters (and the viewers) that nothing on the show is as it seems. Slowly but surely, the safety net disappears. The characters arrived in Siberia with the assumption that, no matter what goes wrong, there’s a support team hiding just out of view to deal with the really serious stuff. Like food rations, medical care, or keeping away dangerous animals or people. Scary moments are initially brushed off as just being part of the show. The real horror creeps in when the characters suddenly realize that nobody is in control, and they are all at the mercy of whatever dark, unspoken mysteries lurk just beyond the campgrounds.

The same sense of primal eeriness permeates Katie Rice’s difficult to spell webcomic Camp Weedonwantcha. (“Weedonwantcha” is a play on words: it’s both a parody of camps that takes on Native American names and what Avengers director Joss Whedon says when he wants to pick up chicks.) The encroaching sense of desperation isn’t at the forefront, though. This is primarily a humorous comic about kids having adventures at camp. One that they seem to be unable to leave. And not because the crafts classes are super fun.

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WCO #233: Little Guardians

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Fantasy is rooted a little bit in actual history. Most of the time, this means the European Middle Ages. Knights in shining armor, kings and queens, towering castles, and legends of dragons and elves. King Arthur stuff. However, there are tons of challenges in setting things at a certain era. As fantasy writer Poul Anderson once elaborated in his essay “On Thud and Blunder,” “Beneath the magic, derring-do, and other glamour, an imaginary world has to work right. In particular, a pre-industrial society, which is what virtually all hf uses for a setting, differs from ours today in countless ways.”

One of the things that writers often do is just ignore the historical nuisances. Don’t worry about people’s hair not looking perfect; just assume that everyone has access to soap, mirrors, and plumbing. Pay no attention that there are no city lights; our heroes can travel by night just as easily as by day. One of the biggest historical running blocks are the roles of women. Joan of Arc aside, women in the Middle Ages were typically not trained to be warriors. It was dudes. But, since in these days it’s not in the writer’s or the reader’s best interest that the adventurers be one big sausage party, fantasy authors tend to either ignore or minimize male chauvinism. Lady warriors just show up dressed in trousers made for men, and the townspeople rarely bat an eye.

The limited opportunities for women, though, is the driving narrative in Ed Cho and Lee Cherolis’ Little Guardians. The story centers around two characters: Subira, an unassuming shopkeeper’s daughter who has great potential, and Idem, an unlucky boy who’s training to be the next Guardian.

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One Punch Reviews #86: Girls of Monster Paradise

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Welcome, boys and ghouls, to another frighteningly fun edition of the Deadcomic Overlook … um, Hotel! Ha ha ha ha ha! This is your ever fiendish host, El Satan, bringing you another chilling review of …

Wait.

Is it November already?

Well, pilgrim, get ready to feast on another review. This time we’ll be looking at a little giblet of a comic called Girls of Monster Paradise by Stephanie Gladden. Will this webcomic leave you feeling thankful, or will it be turkey terrible?

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The Webcomic Overlook #228: Oyster War

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Out of the Eisner-nominated titles, Ben Towle’s Oyster War is probably the one we’d most conventionally associate with the term “webcomic.” By that, I mostly mean the layout. This Will All Hurt is a metaphysical zombie comic where all the pages of the chapter are laid out vertically. Bandette is available as a digital comic on Comixology, the preferred format for the big piracy-averse publishers and arguably not really a webomic. Our Bloodstained Roof is a short story (most webcomics have runs longer than four installments), and Ant Comic is a bizarre little creature that looks like it would be more at home in the pages of an alternative magazine.

Oyster War, on the other hand, is a webcomic webcomic. Handy navigational buttons at the bottom of the page, familiar layout with a snazzy title header and sidebars, and a sensible pace of one page per post. It’s about as standard-looking as you can get on the no-frills WordPress format. There’s benefits to trying something new — in fact, it could be argued that because they’re more experimental, that they’re more deserving of award attention.

Oyster War shouldn’t dismissed, though. Mainly because it seems to have earned Eisner consideration on the merits of it being good.

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One Punch Reviews #84: Wuffle: The Big Nice Wolf

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Some weeks ago, I solicited the readers for links to their comics or recommendations to webcomic that they liked. There were plenty of fantastic entries, some which I mentally bookmarked to slot for a review some time down the line. This is the first one, recommended by reader
IsharaDragone.

Why Piti Yindee’s Wuffle: The Big Nice Wolf? The reason is perhaps quite shallow: it was really, really pretty. I mean, the header shows a big yet cute cartoon wolf with a white volleyball under his arm that turns out to be a chicken. Look, people, there’s no big secret to getting me to pay attention: I’m like a moth to flame when it comes to cute things.

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The Webcomic Overlook #226: Ellie on Planet X

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After man first set foot on the moon, young kids dreamed of voyaging to other planets. After all, if human beings can put their footprints on soil not of this earth, how hard can it be to, say, go to Mars? As it turns out… very hard. Universe Today estimates that the journey would take 250 days. And that’s the nearest planet. How long is it going to take to get to the moons of Jupiter? To the rings of Saturn? Heck, are we even going to get out of the solar system?

So we resign ourselves to the fate that most deep space exploration is going to have to be conducted by robots and computers. Like Voyager 2 and it’s ground breaking tour through the outer planets. Or Mars rover Curiosity, journeying the red planet to unearth new scientific discoveries. Is it as thrilling as Neil Armstrong hopping off a lunar lander? Maybe not. At the same time, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a pang of empathy when the Spirit rover got stuck in sand. Sure, it was just a piece of machinery. And yet, it had sort of anthropomorphized into a poor little explorer stuck on a weird alien world.

James Anderson’s Ellie on Planet X is the story of one such space probe. this one, though, is a whole lot more adorable than anything assembled by NASA. Well, maybe except for Sojourner. That one was pretty darned cute.

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The Webcomic Overlook #215: Bravoman

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.

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