Monthly Archives: September, 2007

More Endings and Beginnings

Another comic that, sadly, appears to be drawing to a close is Get Medieval. I mentioned this strip a month ago, and spoke highly of it – thus it should be obvious while I am sad that it is heading towards what appears to be an ending.

It isn’t an entirely a surprise – the comic has a moderately intact storyline, and such things usually come with endings. But this is one of the webcomics at the height of professionalism, that does just about everything right, and it is always a shame when one of them walks off the stage.

(And, of course, it might not be ending – I’m merely basing that off of where the narrative is going, and it is certainly possible I could be completely and utterly wrong.) 

But either way, I am excited – because the creator of Get Medieval is involved in launching another comic, and one that looks awesome.

There is, currently, one strip available for Knowledge is Power, so I can’t really make much in the way of judgement calls.

There is now a co-creator, so we’ll see how that pans out. But I have high expectations thus far – especially as KiP has a nice, proper webpage, while I was never quite as satisfied with Get Medieval being hosted on livejournal.

Additionally, the word on the street is that the comic is about superheroes in college, or something along those lines. Given that some similar comics are among my favorite webcomics out there, I’ve got a good feeling about this one, too.

So, now that I’ve spent a post mourning a comic that may not actually be ending, and reviewing a comic that has only barely begun, I’ll leave with a promise for something a bit more eloquent next time.

Endings and New Beginnings

Stuff Sucks coming to a close took me by surprise – and though it was sad news at first, it helped me realize a number of things about the comic, and for that I am grateful.

I hadn’t seen the ending coming – or even suspected one was in store – because I had become accustomed to the many, many webcomics out there with perpetually ongoing plots. Stuff Sucks, I naturally assumed, would be another such comic – the characters would continue to have wacky hijinks and interactions, relationships would hover up in the air, and resolutions would only come one small step at a time.

Instead, however, the comic has a cohesive storyline that has been heading for a very specific end. It reached that end perhaps sooner than intended, but the ending is a genuine one nonetheless.

It may not be an entirely satisfactory one – there are some open-ended questions, some plots left unresolved, some characters ending up together in a fashion that is both jarring, and yet all too tidy. And yet… I found I didn’t mind.

I realized that the story has never been what drew me into the comic. This isn’t to say the story was bad – but it was the art, the character designs, and the everyday extraordinariness of the scenes and concepts that won me over. All elements that will be just as fascinating regardless of what story is being told.

The story was a perfectly fine vehicle for delivering all these excellent moments, and phrases, and personalities – but I didn’t need it to be anything more than that.

Which just means that while I may have had a moment of sadness at seeing the current comic come to an end, I am all the more eager to see whatever Liz Greenfield comes up with next. Cause let me tell you – I’d bet good money that it will be awesome.

Meanwhile, DM of the Rings has come to a close as of today (and while the final comics were inevitably anticlimactic, I do fully approve of the farewell speech given, and wrapping things up with precisely one hundred and forty-four comics.) With this close, however, we immediately are moved forward to the new comic – Chainmail Bikini: The Nightmarish Legend of Deuce Baaj.

Right off the bat, it is clearly a different creature than the previous comic by Shamus Young – but the work of the new artist, Shawn Gaston, is quality, and the same irreverant humor is immediately present. While the LotR jokes may be left behind, this may open things up for more general commentary, and I suspect this strip will be a top-notch addition to the likes of Order of the Stick, Goblins, and Erfworld.

The first page itself certainly isn’t bad, and had some solid humor present – but it is the character profiles that already has me eager to see what comes next. The site is a little hard to navigate – but I’m willing to give that a pass on the first day of the comic.

For now, it’s got potential, and that’s all that really matters on day one.

Triumphant Return

This was the first time I truly enjoyed flying.

Now, to be fair, it is only the third time I have flown. The first time I was 10 months old, so I doubt I was even aware of the fact I was hurtling through the sky a phenomenal distance from the ground. The second time was only seven years back, and was plagued by delays, detours, and other assorted bad things that begin with the letter ‘D’.

The third time I flew… was this weekend, on the way to and from Dragoncon. I had a window seat – but was above the wing, so my view was not all that amazing. Despite this, the flight was comfortable, quick and not much else – and there is something to be said for simple pleasantness.

Especially given where I was heading – Dragoncon is anything but simple.

It was an enjoyable convention, as always. An exhausting, draining, painful sort of enjoyment by the end of the weekend, but it was there, nonetheless. Gaming, panels, concerts, costumes – the great part about the con is simply the sheer amount of activity packed into a handful of days, far more than any single person can absorb. But I had what fun I could… and I was pleased that fun with webcomics was among the highlights of the weekend.

Awesomeness the first: Order of the Stick Costumes! A couple of my friends went as Xykon and the Monster in the Darkness (I’ll try to coerce some pics from them), and later had a showdown with a Haley and an Elan they found roaming around. Sometime later, whilst I was in the gaming room, another pack of costumers wandered in, and I spotted Roy, Redcloak, Thog, and another Monster in the Darkness – and while the costumes were cool, the true highlight was watching gamers suddenly gravitating towards them from across the room, setting down dice and characters for a chance to see the OotSers in action.

Awesomeness the second: Webcomic panels! I have to admit, the large majority of webcomic panels I’ve attended in the past (at previous Dragoncons, at Otakon, etc) have been somewhat… lackluster. This was occasionally due to it being late in the con, and the panelists being exhausted, or due to exceptionally small audiences because of scheduling issues. Whatever the reason, these sort of panels haven’t stood out in the past… but this year, I was astounded.

The big panel I saw featured a pretty stellar cast – Pete Abrams, Jennie Breeden, Rob Balder, The Gneech, Indigo, Bill Holbrook, John Lotshaw, and Kittyhawk, from what I can recall. This wasn’t just a large panel, but also a lively one – having so many creators on stage meant both a wealth of information and different perspectives, as well as a fast-paced, joking atmosphere that emphasized that these are all exceptionally smart, funny and talented people. There was a lot of banter, and the panel was as much about entertaining the audience as enlightening them.

Another panel followed shortly thereafter, and was something of a smaller event – which ended up meaning it focused more on some of the technical aspects of the webcomic process. (Which, for my money, was a worthwhile follow-up on the previous panel.)

All in all, despite the fact that webcomics are just one small element of the countless topics that make up Dragoncon, I felt their presence was strong and successful, and that was a pleasant thing to recognize.

I’ll be back with proper comics discussion tomorrow, once I’m completely caught back up on things. There are a lot of topics floating around I want to mention (including a number of webcomics that have recently come to a close), but for now, I’ll just direct folks to Sam and Fuzzy, whose recent storyline was a brilliant example of… well, of everything the comic has been doing right for the last few years.

The arc doesn’t involve any great world-altering changes or epic battles… but it does highlight adept characterization, undeniable humor, and some subtle messages about life in general. (And, of course, maintains the usual standard of quality art and reliable updates while doing so.)

There isn’t much more about it to say, other than point out a job well done. When a webcomic can pull something like this off in less than a dozen strips, I’d say it’s most certainly worth a mention.