Monday, April 27, 2009

Interview with Allan from Allan

This week I got to interview Allan from Allan and I asked questions you, the readers and followers sent in.

The quality is a bit poor due to the fact that I recorded my speakers essentially but it is hopefully informative for you or at least enjoyable. Thanks for Allan for helping with the editing.

Next week a Looking for Group rereview and something else.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mini Reviews Round 001

Wow, I apparently posted this article without typing anything. Danke Hot Keys! 

This week I decided to go ahead and take a break from web comics to try and see if I can attract a new crowd because honestly you Allan readers with your hats and emotional problems, well they get on my nerves (actually I love you guys, especially if you access the chat feature there. Its a project of my own, the world's most intelligent bot and such. Occasionally has downtimes though. . . . . rambling - its me there if you didn't know so feel free to chat. 

Anyway, along with ingesting copious amount of webcomics, drinking Wild Cherry Pepsi ® (working on a branding deal now), I also enjoy other things in life: cooking, print comics, alternative rock music and television. I bet nobody else has those interests. In the manner of the original posts and because I need to read and reread some more comics, I present a review of one item related to each of the 4 genres mentioned. It might be groups though.

First up:

The Chefmate Measuring Grater by Chefmate
Now, like most casual gourmands and munchers, I enjoy shredded cheese but I hate shredding it. You can buy it pre-shredded but it never melts the same (preservatives probably). Well, after my fiasco with my previous flat shredder (essentially a foot of metal with three grating styles), I decided I needed something with gusto, I was given the Measuring Grater as a gift and it is beautiful. Three full length grating sides and a 4th measuring side. That is right, no more shredding and them measuring! It has a removable bottom so you can see how much you made as you shred. The handle is also a soft grip and my god, if I were a masochist, I might make love to this thing. Instead, I will shred some cheese. A+

Graphic Novels
Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, Steve Bisette and John Totleben
I'm for the most part a large fan of Alan Moore. From him singing about sinister ducks to his graphic novels, he is a classic force in the genre. While some of his novels have last the omph over the ages (thanks to his influence) they still stand strong - except maybe Killing Joke. Saga of the Swamp Thing though was his DC starting place, taking a floundering character, bringing him back to land and then switching his organs for fun making an all new character. With a brief introduction, the graphic novel quickly catches you up to the world before almost rendering it useless. The comic is enjoyable, scary and full of decent surprises and a distinct lack of rape at least in the first collection. With cameos from Etrigan and an unnamed cameo by Constantine (and some hidden Sinister Ducks) the comic is great. The first part could easily be adapted into a great movie because frankly nobody knows the Swamp Thing (compared to other heroes). Overall, the collection is great and I'll be picking up the next edition next month. A+

Hazards of Love by The Decemberists
I've been a fan of the Decemberists for a good while now. They have shown that they have the musical chops needed to make a name for themselves. Hazards of Love feels like they tossed their chops up on metal floor, waited a bit and tried to swallow it back up. The album is pretty horrible, not even in a way that it can grow on me anytime soon. Essentially they tried to do hard rock (didn't they learn after the Guitarmageddon Challenge?) and its bad. There are only two memorable songs compared to the general 8 or so quality songs on the album. Couped with a continuous story instead of acting as an anthology as the normal albums do, the album is a depart from the norm on a trip I hope to end soon. The two quality pieces The Rake's Song and The Hazards of Love 4 save this from being an F album. Overall though, I'd almost like my $10 back.  D+

The Mighty Boosh: Season 3
In one of Adult Swims strange fits of hysteria (the same ones that lead to Tim and Eric), they actually picked up a great show and wanted the fans to catch up fast. They decided to help by starting with season 3 on The Mighty Boosh which is like some beautiful combination of Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Odd Couple. If you haven't already seen the show and are in the UK, buy it or watch it or find a live show. If you are over in the states head over to Adult Swim to watch it. The show honestly hooked me in the previews of the Eels episode and has entranced me far enough to consider creating a British bank account solely to be able to buy the first 3 seasons for about 5€ a season (thats the Euro sign I think) which is a great deal. I tried to hook up with no avail but the show is amazing and is beyond description. A+

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sin-S Paint Adventures

Early on in the days of the K-blog, I ended up doing a series of mostly spur of the moment reviews of webcomics. They were easy to do and I would often do then when tired or barely awake. This was  a bad idea because I might engage in a rant on some small facet of the comic or be prone to ill suggestions for ratings i.e. going soft. I have decided that in the course of the next few weeks, I shall be re-reviewing several webcomics and compiling a handy sidebar list for easy access to the reviews of the comics and the comics themselves - all because I care about the reader - supposedly. This week I rereview Sins and review MS Paint Adventures.

Sins by Pip

Sins is a comic about the physical embodiments of the Vices and Virtues ( The 7 Deadly Sins and .. 7 Lively Virtues?). The basic idea stands that a long time ago, the Sins were attempting to more of less control the world through a pair of magical gauntlets that they gave to a warrior. Long story short, the Virtues ended up binding them to the gauntlets and forcing them to serve the controllers - to a point. 

The story itself stretches somewhere over 500 pages as of now with a mini comic that introduces the first story and gives a basis for the full series. Switching between controllers and an occasionally shifting group of Sins develops a story with its own rich mythology, an enjoyable plethora of surprises and occasionally some classic slapstick humor or a pun. The writing itself is crisp and the characters are well developed (no pun intended) and complex as far as webcomics go. Probably my favorite characters in the series are Greed and Murdoch (finally a non-cliche necromancer) but the cast is bound to have different favorites for everyone. The downside falls on the fact that the original chapters (in the Sins tab on the side) were drawn when the artist was beginning and are a bit difficult to follow. Rewriting and posting it as a bonus comic might be well appreciated by the readers so they also don't need to download files. The storyline also likes to switch around periods of time on you so it takes a bit to get a grip on just what is happening from time to time, eventually though you are able to fully understand. Overall the author does his best to avoid cliches and the writing is alone is worth at least giving the comic a try.

The art is complicated in its simplicity. While it certainly seems like something anybody can do, the author has done a superb job of creating his world in a minimalist style. The characters are more or less all color coded in one way or another and it stands to reflect personality and the quirks that the series has. While the art in the first four chapters is very poor, the author was developing his skill which he has more or less gotten down to a science. The first chapter of the actual comic also lacks a background but afterwards he ends up figuring out where he is going and how to construct his comic.  Speaking of figures, the females are curvy and the men are muscular (and all the children are above average) but it works for the material as ideals embodied tend to be the embodiment of ideals and such. The variety of characters though is fun though and while there is a slight anime-y form to the characters, it is nothing that cannot be overlooked.

Bonuses for the comic range from a handy Introduction and Characters list, a side comic that has its own merits and occasional reviews in the comic posts.

Overall the comic is worth a good deal more attention that what it currently garners so why not go and give Sins some love. 94/100

Original Review Link

MS Paint Adventures by Andrew Hussie

MS Paint Adventures is less of a comic and more of an infectious fad that actually has quality to it. The idea is that you are playing a text based adventure game and are able to submit commands that may or may not direct the flow of actions. While the most recent story, Problem Sleuth, is wrapping up chances are once the next one begins your words might have value and power. Now though is the time to get to reading.

Problem Sleuth, as the only comic that is actually developed and not scatological in nature or codpiece-centric, is the story of the intrepid young Problem Sleuth attempting to escape from his office. Long story short, you escape and shit gets real. When you consider the fact that game is 95% composed of reader action suggestions, you will be amazed by the ability the author has to create a coherent and downright hilarious story - once you get going. I'd originally tried reading the comic a few months back and got bored before ever being able to leave the office. Trust me though, you want to stick with the comic because it will reward you beyond your wildest fantasies blending physics, pop culture and board games into a brilliant mesh of psychosis. I don't wish to spoil the comic for those who may read though so I'll move onto the art.

The art itself is simple and done in Photoshop (yes the name is lie except for one comic). Never before though has such pixel-y brilliance been able to thoroughly convey a beautifully complex storyline. Long story short, tons of gifs and simple yet detailed pictures make the comic a masterpiece. I honestly can't say much besides that for the art.

As for bonuses, you have the two original test stories, Jailbreak and Bard's Quest. Both of them have references in Problem Sleuth and only take a bit of your time to read so give it a shot, it won't kill you - in real life at least.

Overall, with frequent updates, an enjoyable and long storyline and possibly some of the most creative blends of intelligence and psychosis I have ever seen, MS Paint Adventures gives back something lots of comics forget about - fan love. 98/100

Also, bonus fanmash