The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Semi-Annual Web Comics Review

Just a quick "catch up" on my list of regular webcomic reads (and my take on their storylines and/or recent strips):

Evil Inc. - Brad Guigar's strip about the real "Evil Empire" of Evil Atom and his minions hasn't been stellar as of late, but he's right in the middle of a very interesting storyline about possible corporate espionage within the ranks. Evil Inc. is finding itself being challenged by Oculore and his new company, Villain Zone - and it appears that Oculore (a former employee of Evil Inc.) is getting "inside info" to thwart Atom's plans for world domination (and making the shareholders happy). - If you have been following this comic at all, you know three things have happened: first, Brent and Jade finally got married; second, Skull has left since his "job" to give Brent's life "meaning" was finally over; and third, Francis and Marcy (the two teenagers of the group) finally "got it on". Any other web comic that tried to do all that in the space of about a month of strips would probably self-destruct from readership not being able to follow things. Somehow, Scott Kurtz has not only made it work, but he's made it kick ass and take names. Now he's trying to deal with the aftermath of Skull's disappearance - which may or may not be permanent.

Sheldon Comics - When you can write comic strips that involve the Lord of the Rings, Lewis and Clark, "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?", horseshoes, SkyNet and Indiana Jones - all within the space of two weeks - you know you're dealing with a very diverse strip. Either that or an artist in desperate need of Ritalin. Dave Kellett isn't in need of Ritalin (as far as I know), but he has the most fun he can get out of his merry band of characters. In a strange way, Sheldon is more or less the Seinfeld of webcomics - a small main cast (Sheldon, Arthur, Gramps, Dante, Flaco and Oso) who just go about deconstructing modern society in an extremely funny way. And maybe Dave just needs his HobNobs instead of Ritalin.

Starslip Crisis - The War With The Future (tm) is over - for now. However, a certain curator for a certain Terran Astry ship is still looking for his beloved Jovia - and our man Vanderbeam has made the connection that the time suit of the defeated Katarakis may be the answer to his search. Never mind that Holliday's got a crush on him, Cutter (who is taking over the Fuseli) is still half in-the-bag and reluctant at his leaving, and Mr. Jinx is confused as to why Memnon wants to take over the SaiKan. It's a storyline you know is going to end in hilarity, but do remember that this is Kris Straub we're talking about. You know, the guy who wrote Checkerboard Nightmare, the webcomic that parodied webcomics.

Tux and Bunny - One panel, lots of fun. (Part of me wants to make the comment about "Not bad - for a girl - hell, that's not bad for Rambo!" here, but I don't think it'd be appropriate.) Our intrepid owner of stuffed animals has apparently switched fonts for her strip, but the punny humor is still there. As a Canuck, I should warn her that she's going to be getting a lot of five-minute majors for serial punning if she keeps this up.

Candi Comics - I'm gonna admit something to Ms. Hodge: as much as I recognize the perils of Spring Break (which has been going on for what, six months now?), I guess as an old fuddy-duddy 40-year-old, "damn kids get off my LAWN!" guy, I'm not connecting with some of the characters - and I'm also having trouble trying to remember/figure out who's who and with whom. I do feel for Candi, though; the unwritten Seventh Law of Applied Terror is definitely true here. (That would be, "The project that is 90% of your final grade will be due the day after you return from Spring Break.")

Girl Genius - While Agatha's running around trying to get "her" family castle back up and running, the rest of Agatha's troupe is running around in the cellars of Mechanicsburg, trying to help Gil get better after his little lightning show - and find a way of keeping the city from being Toast on a Stick, thanks to his dad's desire to eliminate The Other (who, conveniently, resides within Agatha). The Foglios continue to impress with their storytelling - and make no mistake, this is part of a larger story that's pretty much already written. One thing's for sure: there will be explosions. Oh, and blood, perhaps, too.

Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto - The latest storyline has Hazel getting dumped by her Object d'Affection, over her perverse sexual lust and his lack of willingness to go further than hand-holding. The amusing thing is that this strip is so based in sexual overtones (not that that's a bad thing, Danielle) that a character like Hazel's beau Zach is the fish out of water in this strip. How Haze is going to handle this is going to be fun to watch.

Pibgorn - I gave up trying to understand this strip years ago. I just read it more out of habit than anything. Oh, and I guess I harbor PSL for Drusilla.

Real Life Comics - Greg Dean is really playing up the "fish out of water" angle since he moved to Texas from the Bay Area. The people in his new home eye his strange ways (waiting in line for a new iPhone three weeks in advance) with the same look they give Okies from Muskogee. And Greg still hasn't comprehended the fact that it gets HOT in Texas during the summer. Which, by the way, goes from May through October.

Sequential Art - My only question about this comic is, how often does this guy believe in updating? The current storyline, involving Kat with one of her college GF's who is now a big-time gothic novelist, seems to have started... well, back in like February. I don't know if he actually updates his website once a week, once a month or... well, I'd just settle for a little plot devo.

Shortpacked! - I'll admit something: Willis just doesn't do it for me anymore. I like the forays into comic, pop culture and toy humor, but as a whole his universe is too complicated for me. He's a bit like the anti-Buckley (and anyone who reads the PVP forums knows that's not necessarily a good thing).

Times Like This - There are times when Tom makes me scratch my head, wondering WTF he is talking about. Of course, this is usually when he's referencing some obscure piece of 80's pop culture, like NOFX writing "Shut Up Already" (thanks to Cassie's sudden outburst at Matt). The rest of the time, though, it's comedy gold. Of course, I'm such a geek about this strip that I've not only made Cassie a "friend" on MySpace, but I've even written some fan fiction. (I'll save that for some other time - pardon the pun.)

XKCD - Not much you can say about a cartoon with stick figures; however, the gags are pretty much at the point where you have to understand the geekdom behind them. Which means, of course, that they're perfect for someone like me. My favorite part of the website is the random strip button. Don't like today's strip? Hit this puppy and you're bound to find one that'll have you LOL.

Wapsi Square by Paul Taylor - If I say anything bad about this comic, I'm just plain lying. I mean, I like this strip so much I wrote fanfic about it (look around in the archives of this blog for that). Yeah, the story's about a bunch of babes, but c'mon - it beats watching Lost. There's been a brief lull in the storyline, as the "magical tapestry" has suddenly become a full-body tattoo on Shelly. Still, you can't live on worrying about the calendar machine 24/7 (there's another pun in there somewhere), so who cares when we suddenly see Bud and Brandi soaking up the rays on Lake Calhoun's beach? I'm just jealous that they still HAVE a beach, of course.