Costume Catastrophe

8-Bit Theatre, by Brian Clevinger, is regarded as one of the most successful sprite based webcomics on the net.

Like many sprite comics, the characters are ‘borrowed’ from a video game – the original Final Fantasy game for the nintendo, to be specific. The story from the game is retold with much more laughs, chaos, hijinks, and so forth. Various characters are given distinct personalities – red mage is the rules lawyer; thief is, well, a thief; fighter is really dumb; black mage is pure evil.

By and large it is pretty good, even if sometimes the humor is often the same joke about those personality traits.

The main problem, though, is the art.

Now, being a sprite comic – being, in fact, an ‘8-Bit’ comic, means the art has obvious limitations. And sometimes Clevinger transcends those limitations and does impressive stuff with the art.

Unfortunately, sometimes he… doesn’t. And the art makes it really hard to tell whats going on.

Recently the characters ‘powered up’ and got all new outfits, most of which look bad-ass.

Unfortunately, Black Mage got an outfit that makes him look like a clown. Or something. I can’t really tell what the outfit is supposed to be, other than making it look like he is running around without any pants. No pants! That is simply disturbing.

Making use of a limited medium doesn’t mean the art has to be weak or confusing. Order of the Stick, as I mentioned before, does amazing things despite being a ‘stick figure’ comic. A Modest Destiny (sadly no longer viewable directly on the site), was a very good sprite comic when one looked past all the drama that surrounded it. Good clean art. Distinct characters, backgrounds, layout.

8-Bit Theatre is a good webcomic. It will continue to remain popular. Story can surpass art.

But please, in the name of all that is good in this world, give black mage his pants back!

2 responses

  1. Actually, another fairly superb sprite comic is

    I stopped reading 8BT some years ago – the plot went nowhere, and the pixels are too big and harsh – forget 8 bits, there’s more like 3 bits of colour.

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