"I dreamt of distant places, I dreamt of distant times. I dreamt of butterflies and barren deserts, and my own forgotten crimes."

So last week I used Starslip Crisis as an example of a comic with stellar pacing.

For the last few months, Anywhere But Here had decided to represent the other side of the road – the comics that don’t have a sense of pacing. The ones with interminably long, slow, dragging scenes.

In this specific case, we’ve spent the last several months watching two characters sit in the same place and talk.

And talk.

And talk.

Now, Siebels tells a good story. And I love plot. And characterization. And backstory.

But several months of blank exposition, flashbacks, and talking heads?


Now, for most comics, this sort of thing would be a mark against them.

But, see… Siebels recognized what he had done. He came forward, apologized. He didn’t intend it to go like this. But… life happened. (It tends to do that.) And he didn’t have the time, he didn’t have the energy, he didn’t have the life to devote to the strip, so he half-assed it for four long, painful months. He knew it was crap, he knew that we knew it was crap, and he was sorry.

It takes balls to make a confession like that, and he gets mad props for that.

And when I saw that admission, I was happy. I mean, the strip had been dragging, but here was a chance for change, and that’s all I was looking for – it was enough for me to know the strip would be leaving this stretch behind to the bowels of history.

But, see, he didn’t leave it there.

Apparently he decided to make it up to us, as his latest post is a 26 fucking page sequence.

And it isn’t just filler – this is a long, detailed, beautifully organic dream sequence. This is action. This is characterization. This is showing, not telling. This is the man at the top of his craft, and it is incredible.

I’d post a small sample of the strip, but Blogger is being a bit of a bitch. So just… go. Check it out.

Comics change. I can’t count the number of strips I read that no longer bring the same delight they first did. There are many strips that make me wonder why. Why do I still read this? Why do I cling to a vain hope it will return to its former glory?

And sometimes, every once in a distant while, I find an answer.

4 responses

  1. Yeah. That dream sequence was frikken brilliant.

  2. “Comics change.” Yes, but so do readers. Occasionally it’s us who have strayed from the path of the story, rather than the other way round.

    Not that that applies here. Siebels is master of his craft.

  3. Yeah. That dream sequence was frikken brilliant.

    Totally. I mean, it came as a complete shock – I show up at the site, and go, “Hmm, thats neat.” And then I notice the loooong scroll bar on the side. And to top it all off, it not only is a dream sequence, but it is one done well.

    Having crazy, surreal stuff randomly happen? Easy enough. Having it make sense, and seem to follow the strange sort of logic dreams like to play with? Thats the hard part.

  4. “Comics change.” Yes, but so do readers. Occasionally it’s us who have strayed from the path of the story, rather than the other way round.

    That’s a very good point. And sometimes the reading experience itself that makes the difference – a comic might read well when you go through the archives, but might not have the same spark when following along through regular updates.

    There are probably a lot of reasons why a comic – or our perception of it – might change.

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