Category Archives: romance webcomic

The Webcomic Overlook #175: Sluggy Freelance, Part 2 (from Oceans Unmoving I to Oceans Unmoving II)

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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.

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One Punch Reviews #40: Teriyaki Girls

Oh, Japan. Such a powerful pop culture force these days, yet also so misunderstood. If only there was a cultural guide that wasn’t as stuffy as the International Traveler’s Resource Guide! Fortunately, Seiryoin Ryusui of Japan and Kai Chamberlain of Canada are ready to bridge the cultural divide across the Pacific Ocean with Teriyaki Girls.

It is, not surprisingly, some sort of online manga.


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The Webcomic Overlook #121: Galaxion

This was the first year I’d ever heard of a little something called the Joe Shuster Awards. Like many people, I sorta did a double take and went, “Holy crap! One half of the creators of Superman was a Canadian?” Not to insult the Canadians reading this site (of which there are plenty), but the whole “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” motto kinda threw me. It turns out that Shuster immigrated to the US when he was 10, which does kinda make him as American as I am. Still, Canada has every right to claim him as a native son, especially since it turns out his cousin was none other than Frank Shuster of the famous Canadian comedy team “Wayne and Shuster.”

The Joe Shuster Awards have been honoring an “Outstanding WebComic Creator/Creative Team” since 2007. Previous winners have included the team of Ryan Sohmer & Lar deSouza (for Looking for Group and Least I Could Do) and Cameron Stewart (for Sin Titulo). This year’s crop of candidates is pretty impressive. The webcomic nominees this year include Kate Beaton (for Hark! A Vagrant), Rene Engström (for Anders Loves Maria), Karl Kerschl (for The Abominable Charles Christopher), Gisèle Lagacé and David Lumsdon (for Eerie Cuties and Ménage à 3), and Steve Wolfhard (for Cat Rackham). As much as I lauded this year’s Eisner nominees, the crop of webcomic candidates at the Canadian awards may be a better reflection of the webcomic market.

(Both the Eisners and Shusters also share the same candidates, what with Karl Kerschl nominated on both ballots this year, and Cameron Stewart nominated on the Eisners and winning the Shuster last year. I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Hey, American webcomics creators! Step up your game already!”)

There were also a few names I wasn’t completely familiar with. One was Tara Tallan, the creator of the webcomic Galaxion. I knew little to nothing about it, other than it was set in space and all the characters dressed like extras for Star Trek: Enterprise. How could I resist? I’m a sucker for a good space opera. The Joe Shuster nomination only whet my appetite.

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The Webcomic Overlook #113: Xylia Tales

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.


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The Webcomic Overlook #111: Las Lindas

There are two sure signs of getting older. The first is that your parents’ lame jokes are suddenly funny. The second is that when you start watching movies of teenage rebellion, you start identifying with the stuffy old deans.

Like the time when you realize that the free-wheeling Ferris Bueller is really just tiresome, selfish, and destructive. In a stunning reversal,we root for the principal, who wants nothing more than to take that preening snot down a peg. The kid from Where the Wild Things Are is an annoying little brat. The New Radicals don’t quite sound so radical. Evanescence is less a paean of teenage rebellion than it is music that is, like, so totally embarrassing. Even Luke Skywalker starts to sound a little whiny.

The sense of being powerless probably leads us to idolize rebellion. On the flipside, gaining power means that we’re more careful to practice it since we know what happens when that power is abused irresponsibly. Or, to put it more succinctly, we’re growing up, and that means identifying just the teensiest bit with the oppressor.

This is one of the many reasons why the main character of Gonzalo Reyes’ Las Lindas made my skin crawl. So disgusted, in fact, that it almost made me lose sight of the two things this webcomic is really about.

Now, most of the links in this review are relatively safe for work. There’s some nudity, but not too much. STILL, I highly advise you to click on these links from the comfort of home. With no kids around. In fact, this review should come with the following notification: “WARNING — LINKS MAY CONTAIN WELL-ENDOWED COWS.”


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El Santo vs. The Vampire Women: Danielle Dark

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Danielle Dark, a webcomic by Jay Bradley, starts with our title character leaving the romantic, scenic, and culturally inventive city of San Francisco for a city that’s pretty much the polar opposite: Indianapolis. And with how well the Colts are doing, who can blame her? And, uh … there’s the Indy 500? (Holy crap, I just realized a racecar driving vampire on the Indy circuit would be a great idea for a webcomic!)

Danielle must move because if she stays in one place too long, someone might notice that she doesn’t age and you can only use the “plastic surgery” excuse so many times (though I’d think that would apply more to SoCal than the Bay Area). And with the emergence of Web 2.0, she has to be more vigilant about secrecy than ever.

Danielle however is taking a risk going to Indianapolis because she’s been there before. There’s a chance she might run into someone who recognizes her. But the city also has old friends. She runs into an couple of long-lived witch acquaintances at a Warlock’s Coffee (snarf snarf), where carrying a punch card means you are one of the damned. These witches practice White Magic, which makes them the Jedis of the haunted community. There’s Berniece, who is 470 years old and Talia, who’s 650 years old, takes Danielle in, and wears unholy gobs of Tammy Faye Baker clown make-up.

While not as old — compared to her friends, Danielle is young at 150 years — Indianapolis’ ties are strengthened by powerful memories. Once upon a time, she grew up tall and she grew up right as an Indiana girl on an Indiana night. This was the city where she was first turned into a vampire. This was the city where her husband was murdered.

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El Santo vs. The Vampire Women: Abandon: First Vampire

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We begin our story with Laila McCarthy and her trusty pal Kimmy on the run from a crack squadron of the world’s most metrosexual vampires. When they finally corner the two girls, it turns out that they have a fairly reasonable request for Professor Laila: translate two tablets of hieroglyphics, or the girl gets it. Laila, instead, goes for Option C. Short of telling the guys that the tablets belong in a museum and not being a big fan of fellas with frosted tips, she hacks her attackers down with a big ol’ samurai sword. Hey, what’s the use of carrying a sword around if you’re never gonna use it?

The battle won, Laila turns her attention to the tablets. The writing turns out to be a love story between two ancient Sumerian demons. Their forbidden love, we later find out, is predicted to bring about the end of time. After some gratuitous girl-on-girl action (which is, tastefully, left mostly to the imagination), Laila becomes pensive.

For, you see, she may be mild mannered professor Laila McCarthy to her friends and colleagues, but in real life she is none other … *gasp* … Lamashtu, the first vampire!

Abandon: First Vampire is written Greg Carter and illustrated by Elliot Dombo. If the first name sounds familiar, it’s because Greg is a frequent visitor on this site. Not only has Greg been very illuminating on the subject of creating vampire fiction, he was also very gracious to include a link to this blog on his site’s Links page. While I’m tempted to go easy, there’s a reason this feature is called “El Santo Vs. The Vampire Women” and not “El Santo Takes The Vampire Women Out to the Chocolatiers for Fun Times.”

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El Santo vs. The Vampire Women: Juliette: Worst Vampire Ever

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So if the last few entries of “El Santo vs. The Vampire Women” have had you feeling like a pedophile, I offer you a deep apology. It really is not that easy finding comics about vampire women where the main character doesn’t look like a preteen. That’s pretty much the case, at least, with any webcomic where the styles bear overtly Japanese influences. To find stories with more mature looking vampire ladies, we have to turn our attention overseas.

OK, so technically the protagonist of Juliette: Worst Vampire Ever is still in high school. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, though. She looks like she’s being played by someone over 25.

Zuda Comics seems to be committed to becoming DC Comics’ reigning horror division. So it should be no surprise that a lot of the Zuda contestants take the horror route as well. Juliette is but one of many examples residing in the vast grave yard that is the Zuda former competitors archives. The comic didn’t fare well in the Zuda competition, finishing tenth place in its group. It hasn’t surfaced anywhere else online since its loss, so the continuation of this particular webcomic series may be in doubt. It was created by Cedric Poulat, a French artist who specialized in really nice cheesecake illustrations of popular superheroines. Oh, Zatanna… you can shuffle my deck anytime.

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