Koala Wallop and the Case of the Cyclical Catastrophes

Koala Wallop has always been one of my favorite collectives, featuring some of the most innovative and intriguing comics on the web. It has more than a few decent comics, but the three that really have always been at the top of my list were Minus, Dresden Codak, and Rice Boy.

All of which have recently ended or been hiatused.


In the case of Minus, an ending was always somewhat inevitable – from the very beginning of the comic, the author (one Ryan Armand) warned that the comic was only likely to last as long as he remained interested int it. With over 2 years and over 100 strips in the archive, his interest seems to have lasted longer than he expected – but, unfortunately, not long enough to keep the strip going on indefinitely.

Minus was a strip about a young girl with essentially god-like powers, who used them with whimsy and with child-like innocence. It dealt with the humorous and the absurd, but could also turn unexpectedly cruel – power like that, unrestrained, can very easily have very bad results. But in the end, the truly bad fates only go to those who truly deserve it… usually.

My favorite strips would probably be this one, which features the only logical response to an impending asteroid strike… and these three strips, a sequence that is immensely touching and heartbreaking at the same time.

But all things come to an end – and the end for Minus was clearly coming for months. In one sequence, the work of an itinerant ne’er-do-well results in Minus losing her nature as a child, and becoming more akin to a spirit almost entirely driven by pure whimsy… and from there, the strip loses its focus. Minus wanders about, her human contacts dwindling. And, eventually, Minus accidently kills off the human race – or at least, turns everyone into ghosts. Life goes on – in a matter of speaking – but there isn’t really much farther it can go within the strip.

And so it ends.

Dresden Codak

On the other hand, Dresden Codak has been felled not by a lack of excitement, but perhaps by too much of it – Aaron Diaz, the mad genius behind this work, was in a nasty bicycling accident and is in less than great shape. Nothing life-threatening… but injured hands and a damaged computer results in a comic on delay.

This is, perhaps, especially bad, given that last october, he decided to make the comic his full-time job. So long as readers keep up the purchase of shirts and prints, he aimed to make the comic a weekly strip, and even moved from his previous haphazard strips into a continuity-laden story.

Of course, even before the accident, updates had grown sporadic, as the weekly goal almost immediately shifted to an update every other week – and more recently, updates on a monthly basis. It should be noted that each update is an utterly gorgeous work of art, and the series managed to retain both its intensity, as well as its propensity for occasional brilliance.

But that said… even a weekly comic has trouble finding a hold in the attention-span driven world wide web, and a monthly comic is in a dangerous place indeed. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery all around – both for the creator and the created.

Rice Boy

The last strip on my mind, Rice Boy, had even greater chances than Minus of coming to an eventual end – what with being a story-driven comic with a specific end in mind. And end it did, with 439 strips to its name, and an excellent conclusion that probably shouldn’t have taken me by surprise – but did anyway.

And perhaps I still would have been distraught at the ending… save that the creator, Evan Dahm, almost immediately moved on to the next project, Order of Tales. It is something of a prequel to Rice Boy – or at least, another comic placed in the same setting, only earlier in time. It is only a few updates in… but it is enough to know that I’ll be enjoying it just as I did the previous work.

Which leaves me hopeful for Koala Wallop as a whole. Minus and Rice Boy have ended, and Dresden Codak is staggered and on hold… but replacements come, and not every hiatus goes on forever. The creators are the important part, and they’ve shown they are willing and able to create fascinating comics about fascinating things… and whether it is one comic or another, it seems likely they will continue doing so for quite some time to come.


2 responses

  1. Huzzah! Great to have you back.

    I never really could get into Minus or Dresden Codak. Both are comics that I want to like, but don’t for whatever reason.

    I’d not heard of Rice Boy before, though, so now I’m off to give that a try.

  2. Koala Wallop is interesting in a fey surrealist way but it has never had a flagship strip that could consistently draw the reader in. They pretty much chose ‘quirky’ over ‘character-driven narratives’ and there’s only so far that can go.

    Dresden Codak especially was a space/time experiment via a webcomic, I never really saw any emotions there.

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