I find myself torn about some recent developments in some of my favorite comic strips. Namely, Shortpacked (in which the previously insecure Amber blackmails the typically evil Mike into being her boyfriend), as well as Scary Go Round (in which the whimsically nice Shelly starts a civil war so she can get laid.)
Now, both of these aren’t completely unreasonable developments on the part of the characters. But they are, undeniably, developments that make the characters… well, a lot harder to actually like.
The actual results of the storylines are interesting, setting up the stage for big changes to come. Both of the comics are hardly ones to shy away from significant sudden shifts in tone, or the sudden removal or addition of key cast members, or so forth. The storytelling on hand is very promising and has my attention…
…even as I realize the characters themselves, however, do not. The most engaging comics – at least for me – are the ones where I have some investment in the characters. I can laugh about a character like Mike, but it is hard to get me to care about him. Not impossible, mind you – as Willis has shown before the last time someone blackmailed Mike into a relationship. Equal promise might be seen in this story… or it could end up with me losing all interest in the cast.
No idea which way it will go, and I’ve got concern and optimism balanced in mostly even measure. So, with some trepidation, I wait to see what’s in store for these two strips…
A Moment of Zen
I have less concern about Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, which I’ve found to be at the height of its game lately – this strip in particular I found to be brilliantly executed, and his guest comic for Dinosaur Comics was a rare (and excellent) demonstration that he can keep the humor coming for far more than a single panel.
Reborn from the Ashes
Back to mixed feelings as I take a look at the latest offerings of Sluggy Freelance… in this case the result of me trying to temper the immensely awesome recent developments with caution, given how often the comic has fluctuated up and down thus far.
Nonetheless, today’s reveal was an incredibly satisfying payoff to many, many years of plot. I am very hopeful that this latest storyline will really follow through and actually wrap up Oasis’s arc that has been drifting back and forth for nearly a decade now. It has certainly been an excellent resource for Abrams to keep returning to… but I think the time has really come to bring it to a close.
That doesn’t mean retiring the character, mind you – but Sluggy has a lot of characters who can’t really move forward so long as they are mired in the same plot again, and again, and again. Here’s a chance to break forward and keep the development moving forward. I’m eager to see where it goes.