The Webcomic Overlook #142: Scout Crossing
So, if you’re like me, you woke up this morning and asked yourself: “What the hell is a ‘scene kid’?”
Fortunately, Yahoo! Answers — the tool for permanently befuddled old fogeys like me — had a fairly elaborate answer:
The word “scene” coves a large spectrum throughout recent history, but its most modern definition is used to describe certian subcultures and movements. The most notoriously famous and targeted is the alternative music scene, or more specifically, branches of the alternative music scene such as hardcore, indie, fashoionxcore, etc. A breed of scenesters (people on the scene) has begun to come to the forefront. These scenesters are usually very music-savvy and loyal to a few specific genres (typically hardcore, metal, indie, retro, 80’s new wave, classic rock, etc. to name a few), of which they dress to exemplify.
Recently internet revolutions like myspace.com have provided a new means for the ideas of scene culture to be spead, for scenesters to find new friends, bands, and activities. Scensters design stylish and graphic profile pages to both draw attention to themselves and to find others like them, and many people have joined up with the scene fad due to internet advertising.
The downside of many scene atmospheres is that some scene kids tend to develop a superior mentality. Some who are especially popular and affluent can make it harder for the younger, yet-aspiring scenesters to join in with the subculture.
Ah! It’s all so clear now!
So if I understand it correctly, “scenesters” are basically “hipsters,” except perhaps without the sneering, coolly cultivated veneer of being too cool for anything. Plus they also dress up like they stepped out of Final Fantasy, which means they’re way ahead of hipsters in the style department.
I first came across the term when it was mentioned in Scott Ferguson’s Scout Crossing. The characters are all “scene kids.” If Yahoo! Answers is true, that means that the air of arrogance carried by this particular subculture makes them ripe for mockery.
You wouldn’t know it if you saw the first few pages though. Finn Callaghan provides the art for the first few pages. Callaghan’s style is more rounded and less harsh than Ferguson’s angular anime-inspired output. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it looks a little like Anders Loves Maria. Don’t be fooled, though: we’re not headed down a path where Scout Crossing (yes, it’s the title character’s name) sleeps with every woman on the illustrated page and his roommate, Lizzy Bell, has to deal with pregnancy complications.
In fact, it seems that Scout and Lizzy aren’t even in a romantic relationship … perhaps stemming from Lizzy’s dislike of Scout’s blazer. Rather, they share a platonic friendship. They have no problem doing stuff together, like, say, hanging out with the scene kids at the local cafe. Things gets complicated when it turns out that scene kids …. DUN DUN DUN…
… have superpowers.
The two run into Laylor Tisney, who bears a pompous frown of indifference, an authentic work jacket from someone named “Abel,” and limited edition neon colored sneakers (which were limited because they were ugly). But that’s not all! You see, with a flick of his hair, Laylor can control any woman with his charms … including poor, unguarded Lizzy.
An epic battle breaks out, with combatants tossing about moves like the Pretentious Punch and Critical Hits like it were some sort of video game. Fortunately for Scout, it turns out his old flame, the blue-haired and very capable Penny Smashworthy, owns the cafe, and she busts out a mean smackdown of her own.
It turns out Scout Pilgr—…. uh, Crossing has made a few enemies among the scene kids. He’s soon confronted by another of the Six Evil Ex—… uh, Kings. Of the City. Six Kings of the City. This time, he gets an invitation (via snail mail and not by Facebook, as is the tradition with these scene kids) from Boyd G. Pizzly (with his Pizzly Bear). He meets Scout at yet another trendy cafe, where he reveals that Scout’s fate is tied to the death of his brother, Chance Crossing. It’s a sad incident that seems to have changed Scout irrevocably, turning his from an outgoing bon vivant to “the Winnie the Poo of bitches.” (Seriously, no matter what I think of this comic overall, I’ve got to hand it to Scott Ferguson for that line.)
Touche, Boyd G. Pizzly. Touche.
Scott Ferguson’s art is a mixed bag. The good: I like his coloring. It’s generally muted and earthtone, which makes his scenes feel musky and intimate. Appropriate for a webcomic that typically takes place in the dim confines of a cafe. Plus, Ferguson returns to a favorite character design: fuzzy animals with big mouths. The cigarette-smoking Pizzly Bear is perhaps his best iteration of the theme. All in all, I prefer Ferguson’s dynamic style to Callaghan’s, which somehow made Scout Crossing look like a grouchy old madame.
The bad: as in Motokool, Ferguson struggles with depicting action scenes. Most postures are drawn either in front view or side view, which makes characters look stiff and unnatural when someone is, say, throwing a punch. As you can imagine, this becomes something of a problem for a comic where “epic” fights between scenesters break out at least once per chapter.
And then there are the directions that characters are taking which are haphazard at best. Take Lizzy, for example. She seems so chill at the beginning of Scout Crossing. By the time Scout fights Six Kings #2, though, she’s unraveled mentally. “We’ve been friends for over a year,” she yells. “A year! And you never felt you should share any of this with me?!” To which Scout looks all mopey and despondent. When Scout asks her to help him with an injured Penny, Lizzy just slaps him and walks out.
I call BS. No one in this situation is acting naturally at all. First of all: is it so bizarre that there might be things you don’t know about a friend, who, we’ve established, you’re not romantically involved with — especially if you’ve only known them after a year? I mean, you can go ten years without knowing important details about someone you know. Secondly, how immature is it for Lizzy to walk out on someone who’s bleeding to death? Upset or not, that’s just cold. And Scout shouldn’t be standing there looking guilty and about to cry… he should be pissed. I noticed that Mr. Ferguson tries to cover this with Lizzy having little control over her feelings, but her monologue about feeling like she has no friends in the world feels like a cop out.
Despite the missteps, though, I have to admit that there’s something that draws me to Scott Ferguson projects. I may not think his comics are the most polished webcomics online. However, I can’t deny that Scott’s having fun with the comic. It’s positively brimming in every page he draws, where he’s barely restraining himself from bursting out and sharing his surplus of high-concept ideas to the world. Yes, Scout Crossing is sloppy … but it’s also, in a way, sort of infectious in its enthusiasm.
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Posted on November 10, 2010, in 3 Stars, action webcomic, adventure webcomic, comedy webcomic, manga style webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Big Review, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.