Yo Ho Ho

I think PvP has the best take on Talk Like a Pirate Day that I’ve seen to date. 

Meanwhile, Tycho’s ability to wax eloquent on the fundamentals of extraterrestrial erotica is downright frightening – and I’m referring more to the man’s command of the English language than the subject matter at hand.

But enough of random linkage to the kings of the field, however noteworthy their performances today. Let’s talk about Modern Tales, and the recent changes to the line-up; specifically, the addition of some very promising rising stars, and a farewell to a comic I am very sad to see go.

First up, the additions.

Little Dee is a comic about which I have heard a great deal. Friends have pestered me into reading it. Reviews have celebrated it. Fans have sung its praises. And yet, it isn’t actually on my reading list, largely due to circumstance more than anything else. The premise sounds remarkably Calvin and Hobbes-esque – which, when pulled off right, is generally a recipe for success. This is what newspaper comics should be, and even if it has parted ways from syndication, their loss seems to be our game – and it’s addition to Modern Tales seems to mean my turn to step up and join the readers cheering it on.

Planet Saturday Comics… well, I’ve mentioned them before, and my feelings on the comic remain the same – it is an elegant and gorgeously illustrated remembrance (and celebration) of childhood and family. Modern Tales is very lucky to add them to the collective – and hopefully this will help share their work with an even larger crowd, to the mutual benefit of everyone involved.

Gothbunnies I already reviewed last week, and was suitably impressed with.

No Stereotypes is one I’ve long been a fan of. It has also been a comic I’ve seen go through more changes and transitions than most, and while returning to Modern Tales only seems to be continuing that trend, it will hopefully only make the comic more accessible, rather than less so. No Stereotypes is one of those comics that manages to be both fully epic and yet staggeringly personal, and that is among the least of the great things it has going for it.

Finally, All Knowledge is Strange – a comic I haven’t heard of, by an artist I’m not familiar with, who has written other comics I haven’t read. Which, to be fair, isn’t a bad thing in any way – new material can be refreshing, and given my familiarity with most of the other comics added to the site, having a wild card is entirely welcome.

So, all in all, some fine new additions to the line-up. Unfortunately, their addition comes with sad news – the end of Where Am I Now?

Where Am I Now? has been on hiatus for a long while now, so it had already fallen off my radar in some respects. And yet, reading back through the archives (a relatively easy task, with under 70 strips available), I am reminded of why I so enjoyed it the first time I stumbled upon it. It is both beautiful and sad, joyous and melancholy, and I’m a sucker for any story that can blend those so effectively.

This comic is about a world where humanity has died off. The survivors? A handful of robots, artificial intelligences left alone in a world and unsure what to do other than pass the time from day to day. We don’t know specifically what brought about the end of the world – just that it happened, and it seems nearly complete.

It is a dark idea, but the comic is filled with bright moments and its fair share of humor. And it delves into some powerful and thoughtful philosophy. But it does have plenty of bittersweet scenes, almost heartbreaking in their subtlety. (“Real children, or robot-” “Real, robot children.” Now that is a well-put together moment.)

And… now it is come to an end. Not even a proper end, but a bittersweet one – a sudden stop, the story only partially told, the characters now left to linger in limbo forevermore. It isn’t as harsh as it could be – the greater story was never the focus of the comic, and regardless of the handful of hints of larger plot, it was a comic about people, and society, and ideas, and not about any specific tale I will suffer without knowing the ending.

But it is a sad goodbye, and in some ways, a grim reflection of the comic itself. Modern Tales may be gaining some bright new strips, but webcomics as a whole are losing a comic that could have been one of the greats.

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