Category Archives: action webcomic
Nearly two years ago, I posted a link here to a critique of a comic called Roswell, Texas. In my mind, it was an innocent gesture. I like posting reviews to other webcomics in an attempt to further the cause of webcomic reviewing. It’s partially for selfish reasons. One of these days, when this blog ceases to update, I want to have a clear conscience, knowing that somewhere out there someone is still writing reviews of Ctrl+Alt+Del.
This particular post, though, caught some flack. One of the co-creators, Scott Bieser, took particular offense at the reviewer: Leonard Pierce, was a disgraced AV Club reviewer who lost his job after posting a review of a comic that hadn’t actually seen print yet. I believe in second chances (which I think Pierce was reaching for in his new blog), but there is still the lingering question of credibility.
More to the point, though: why wasn’t this stuff being addressed at Leonard Pierce’s blog? Why was all the stuff being brought up at this site? I felt like that one friend who’s stuck in the middle of a squabbling couple, and I’m stuck repeating lines like, “Well, she told me to tell you that if you’d just taken out the trash like she told you three days ago, none of this would’ve happened. Her words, not mine.”
With the link to Mr. Pierce’s article being dead, I figured that today’s the day to rectify the situation: The Webcomic Overlook is reviewing Roswell, Texas! Created by L. Neil Smith, Scott Bieser, and Rex F. May, the comic ran from 2006 to 2009 and is now available in print.
All vitriol, please direct it to this write-up now. Thank you.
I’ve read somewhere — perhaps on a Snapple cap — that to really put together a good satire, you sorta have to be half in love with material you’re making fun of. Makes sense. If you lack the in-depth knowledge it takes to be a fan, jokes can come off as fairly limp and groanworthy. Like, say, The Big Bang Theory‘s idea of what nerd culture is like.
Harry Potter is one of those properties that has so many odd details that it’s permanently ripe for parody. Now, I’m not a Harry Potter fanatic. I’ve yet to read the last two books, mainly because I was so disappointed by Ms. Rowlings’ awful writing in Order of the Phoenix. However, I’m knowledgeable enough about the world of Hogwarts to enjoy a good Potter parody.
Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, for example, is one of my favorite recent fantasy books, and at its core it’s a Harry Potter parody. Imagine the Harry Potter world, only the teenagers populating it more closely resemble the ones you see hanging around, say, Reddit: nihilistic and self-destructive and witheringly snarky… but at the core, really very scared. Grossman used the Potter foundation to create another fully self-realized fantasy world.
Harry Potter parody fiction lives on in webcomics as well with Wizard School, written by Kevin Kneupper and illustrated by Robert Rath. It’s not as good as The Magicians. Mainly because I have five words for you that should send chills down your very spine:
Rayne Summers IS Harry Potter.
“Aeria” is pretty unfortunate name for a fantasy realm. I doesn’t sound too bad at first. It’s got the “aerie” in the name, which is the nest of a hawk, eagle, falcon or other bird of prey. There’s an implication of loftiness and grim (some would say hawkish) determination. Since the world of Aeria is a bunch of islands defying laws of nature and physics by floating in the empty confines of space while somehow retaining an atmosphere, then it’s sort of appropriate, right?
It also sounds like “aria”, the musical composition made popular by Puccini, Mozart, and Bizet. It puts you in the mood for some classical music, an appropriate accompaniment when you’re traipsing around a fantasy world with a team consisting of a mage, a paladin, a thief, and a ranger.
And yet … it feels a tad unimaginative. I’m going to blame it on the fact that “Aeria” also sounds exactly like “area.” “Well, we’re going to start off in north area and journey down to middle area. We’re then going to go to west area so we can catch a ship heading over the sea of area until we reach generic brand islands.”
It’s middle of the read, which incidentally is also how I feel about this comic. Aeria is the title of the land and the name of the manga-style comic written by Fabian Rastorfer, illustrated by Songwut Ouppakarndee, and assisted by Kridsana Rattananen and Tim Harding. The comic is something of an international production. Mr. Rastorfer is from Switzerland (though studying in New York), and Mssrs. Ouppakarndee and Rattananen are from Bangkok, Thailand.
(It’s also alternately known as The Tale of Aeria in the browser header, but since the banner truncates it to the single word title, I’m just gonna go with that.)
There’s a great Patrick Stewart bit on Extras that’s become something of a major internet meme. Ricky Gervais plays a struggling actor, and he’s snuck into Mr. Stewart’s trailer. Mr. Stewart is game, and he starts giving Gervais some advice. He recalls his time working on the X-Men movie as telepath Professor Charles Xavier. He says it helps to envision what you would do with those powers in real life.
“I’m walking along,” Patrick Stewart says, “I see this beautiful girl and I’d like to see her naked. So all her clothes fall off. And she’s scrambling around to get ’em back on again, but even before she can get her knickers back on, I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen it all.”
The Extras version of Patrick Stewart sounds like the guy who would’ve written Banzai Girl. Surprisingly, it’s not. It’s actually Filipina writer, artist, and model Jinky Coronado.
Earlier this week, I mentioned how Bravoman reminded me of 80’s Saturday morning cartoons. I should have quantified that to mean American cartoons. It’s Shiftylook stablemate, Wonder Momo (written by Erik Ko and Jim Zub and illustrated by Omar Dogan) reminds me of the toons from the era that were viewed by our pals out in Japan.
While it looks modern for the most part, there’s a spot where the illustrations change to mimic the 80’s look. One of our characters sports an audacious Gundam helmet, which she uses in part to protect her impeccably fluffy and oh-so-80’s perm. Elsewhere, bits of the story are reminiscent from the schoolyard rivalry of the classic 80’s anime/parody Project A-Ko. And, finally, while I know this is going to make me sound a little gross, there’s the one thing that I remember being in just about every 80’s Japanese anime I ever watched to the point that it’s a little nostalgic: gratuitous panty shots.
(This just in! I just guaranteed myself 1,000+ search engine hits for this post just by including the words “gratuitous panty shots”.)
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!