Koltreg, who once regularly blogged about webcomics and even did an interview with me once (the poor sap), is raising awareness of some lesser known webcomics at his main webcomic site, Socialfist. There are some titles in there that I’ve never heard of but would love to check out. Titles like Awesome Hospital, which takes the whole “random” thing to such an extreme that it more or less qualifies as ironic detachment. Anyway, give it a chance and check it out if you’re feelin’ the hunger for some webcomics.
Monthly Archives: February 2011
I’ve made no secret on this site that I admire NBC’s uber-cheesy superhero TV show, The Cape… even though I know that it’s a pretty bad show by most measures of quality. Why? I think the AV Club’s Todd VanDerWerff summarized it best:
The Cape is awful. It just might be the worst TV series you see all year, and the year is only nine days old. It’s bad enough that you can watch it, proclaim it that, then feel fairly confident in saying so, even with the other 356 days to go. And yet something about it is so watchably terrible that I can’t wholly pan it. I can see why some critics I really respect kind of liked it, almost in spite of themselves. Somewhere, buried deep within itself where it’s almost afraid to even admit it exists, The Cape rather knows that it’s this bad, and it’s having fun with the fact that it exists and made it to network television at all.
That’s about right. The cheesiness is what makes it special. I love the silliness of the main character’s powers. I like the awful one liners. I like the colorful Carnival of Crime, the Merry Men to The Cape’s Robin Hood who are led by the sonorously voiced Keith David. I especially love the villains, who have names like Chess, Scales, The Lich, Dice, and Goggles and Hicks. They have silly Dick Tracy-like gimmicks and are, for the most part, surprisingly well acted.
Also, Summer Glau.
Unfortunately, I’m probably only one of a very infinitesimal group of The Cape fans out there. The show hasn’t been doing spectacular in the ratings. It’s original season has been cut from 13 episodes to 10. The very last episode may air next week… if the networks even allows for that small shred of dignity. Thus, right now is perhaps the last time in history fans can revel in all things The Cape.
One of those things you can skip, though, is The Cape online graphic novel. I’d heard about this project when browsing through the Wikipedia entry for The Cape. In fact, the article called it a “webcomic.” “Hooray!” I thought. “What a very convenient opening for me to go off on a related tangent for the sole purpose of discussing my love of The Cape on my webcomic-related blog!” It turns out, though, that Wikipedia has, once again, lied to me. This is not the panel-by-panel webcomic that we all know and love. Hell, it doesn’t even live up to its official categorization as a “graphic novel.”
Instead, it’s the dreaded “motion comic.”
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.
While it’s rare, there are times a webcomic becomes so popular that its fame eclipses any and all critical analysis. Around this time last year, Axe Cop was one such comic. The comic is famously written by a then 5-year-old kid, Malachai Nicolle, and illustrated by his older brother Ethan. Axe Cop went online in the waning days of the last decade (December of 2009). In the days that followed, it rocked the internet like a hurricane.
The initial reaction was overwhelmingly positive… sometimes, too positive. If you dared to mutter a bad thing about it, you incurred the wrath of rabid pro-Axe Cop fans, who — like a bunch of pre-teen girls reacting to Esperanza Spalding’s Grammy win — would label you as a bitter contrarian or a big meanie-head for picking on a sweet, innocent kid. (I should note that creator Ethan Nicolle was not one of them; from what I’ve seen, he’s far more receptive and accepting of criticism.)
But, as we all know, good times only last so long. Let’s face it, every single person who read Axe Cop thought, “Amusing, but no way this doesn’t get annoying after a while.” Eventually, the whole “playa hata” syndrome set in. Sentiment swung the other way a bit. People who liked Axe Cop were derided for being suckered into a cheap gimmick, and that the whole “child writer” thing was just a timid excuse for tiresome “random” jokes. So it goes.
She was too late to be the first female superhero. Though she debuted in 1940 a full year before Wonder Woman, whom most people would name if asked who the first female superhero was, she got beat by Thrilling Comic‘s Lady In Red and Fletcher Hank’s Fantomah. She can’t even be considered the first ever superhero crossdresser. Although, when in costume, she was often mistake as a man, previous Know Thy History subject Madam Fatal managed to beat her to the honor by questionably fighting criminals while dressed in old lady clothes.
Oh well. That’s a lot of near-firsts, anyways. The Red Tornado, a.k.a. The Red Tomato, a.k.a. Abagail Mathilda “Ma” Hunkel can claim that she starred in one of the first superhero parodies.
If one were to put together a list of Hall of Fame webcomics, A Lesson Is Learned But the Damage Is Irreversible would easily be a first ballot inductee. It was surreal and dreamlike, pessimistic and funny. After a two year run, though, creator Dale Beran put the comic on hiatus. It was the Buddy Holly to Perry Bible Fellowship‘s Elvis, blazing the trail before the whole genre of surreal webcomics really caught on.
Dale Beran never really disappeared, though. His work went on in The Nerds of Paradise, which is a lot like A Lesson Is Learned only that it sometimes updates instead of never updates.
Remember that Tim Burton movie, Alice In Wonderland? You know, the one with a grown-up Alice? The one where Wonderland (or Underland, whatever) got transformed into some sort of Tolkienesque fantasy world? The one where Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter did that stupid dance at the end? Of course you remember it, even if only barely. It was, after all, the 5th highest grossing film of all time.
While there are several factors in play here — the price inflation of 3-D movies being one of them — I think audiences just like new spins on old familiar stories. There’s a reason why there’s a new Little Red Riding Hood movie coming out this year where the wolf is of the were-variety. Because … why the hell not? And, as stupidly “internet random” as it was, there’s a reason why readers embraced Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. It’s fun to mix things you associate with your younger years (classic lit and fairy tales) and mix it with stuff you enjoy today (stupid action movies). It’s the right mix of ironic cheesiness and unironic glee.
Writer Benny Powell (along with penciller Weilin Yang, finisher Youjin Yang, and colorist Kun Song) attempts the very same thing in Wayward Sons: Legends, and …. Wait, is that really the title? Wayward Sons? Oh no. Can’t get tune out of my head. This is bad….
Must… resist… Kansas references….
Phew, that’s over. Anyway, the comic starts off as a sci-fi type story, but eventually it transforms into another fractured fairy tale of the world’s most ancient legends. Which ones, you ask? Well, if you carry on to my review of Wayward Sons, maybe you’ll find peace when you are done.
I get not-unreasonably excited whenever there’s a Nedroid/Emmy C. collaboration, and this time’s no different. Thrill as the two get together to write a story about a boy who is half horse (and maybe half eagle) in “Laserpony Studio Presents The Horseman’s Tale.”