Monday, May 4, 2009

Triple Review: LFG, Unwinder and QC

First off, thanks to Allan for linking me and not just posting the interview on his site so people were forced to visit here. I'm sure if I sold out and put ads up on here I'd have made enough mad cash to buy a meal at Wendys. Not a Baconator combo but enough off of the 99¢ meal to be filled. 

Also thanks to everybody who has been kind enough to chat with me on the chat box. I do look forward to no longer needing to just continuously say "Hey Allan reader!" though. The people who regularly read got a bit annoyed with me. Also, I've met a decent amount of webcomic artists asking me to review them so I must say thanks for that chance. 

Reception to the interview itself has been pretty positive though general consensus is to ask more questions and beatbox less. Good hints that I will keep in my for my interview with Chris of Cartridge (and Cartridge Comics). Send in or post questions if you have any.

Looking for Group by Lars and Sohmer Originally reviewed here

I dropped the comic a while back in December of last year because I found the comic was getting stale and was using the same gags (a.k.a. Richard a.k.a. seriously guys play a creative necromancer in my game, dammit, wait you didn't just... yeah you Rick Roll'd me... classy). I came back because my D&D group members along with the guy who I more or less work for (for free) asked me why I didn't like it. They promised the comic was still funny, they promised it was as funny as it ever was. To quote many movie taglines, they were wrong.

For those unfamiliar with Looking for Group, it is your more or less generic fantasy adventure based in a world that in many aspects is pretty creative. In fact, looking at it, the setting and character ideas are probably the most creative things about the series. The comic in a way is like a bunch of pretty bulbs on a Christmas tree ... that you left up for 11 months watering with weed killer. It has yet to follow the generic sissy elves idea, it avoids the generic harlot style female characters (though the comics are what you'd expect from the LICD guys) and overall it doesn't follow many, at least as far as I am concerned. There are plenty of tropes in the writing though and the writing is where the series falls apart, or the dialogue... hold on.

I'm going to stop here and say, as I think about, Looking for Group has all the makings to be a very good comic. The art is well done, the world is fresh and full of life, the character ideas are/were new but in the end it seems more like a frat boy road trip through a war torn country. There isn't much depth, its full of stupid humor and it wears thin fast plus it doesn't respect its background at all. The necromancer Richard who I have grown to hate is basically the joke in every single comic. It's like this:

Old Man 1: Our town has been ravaged by raiding monsters. My wife was killed and raped.

Old Woman 1: All of our warriors are currently battling hordes of monsters.

Good Guy: We will help you.

Old Man 1: Thank you sir.

Good Guy: I am simply doing my job sir.

Richard: Hey look at me! I'm doing something wacky!

Basically whatever emotional complexity starts to build up is ruined by the last panel or the sub story (within one page). I used to be very entertained with the series actually. I'd link it everywhere. Then they did a rick roll in the comic. Then they did several 300 references. Then the just seemed to make references that made no sense for a fantasy comic. I'd stopped laughing, I stopped being entertained. If the comic was serious all of the time, I'd actually like it a whole lot more. Sadly it is bipolar and won't give up on what it wants to be and that kills it.

TL;DR version: It's like you attend a beloved family member's funeral. Each member goes up and says some really heartfelt words about the deceased. After each person finishes speaking a clown throws a cream pie at the cadaver. It is funny at the beginning because you don't expect it but they you realize "Hey, that's pretty wrong" and it stops being funny. 

At least they have a catered meal afterwards. B-.

Unwinder's Tall Comics by Wilson "Eli" Parker

Unwinder's Tall Comics is a comic for the cynic, jerk and smartass within everyone. It does a beautiful job with hitting around all of the bases of comedy and comes with some of the sharpest wit on the internet. With that blurb said as a more or less favor, it is time for the review.

Focusing on Unwinder and his friend in a small suburb in Minnesota, Unwider paves a trail of genius. The writing is the main draw to the Tall Comics where everything is hit from memes, trolling, current events and more. Interspersed within the comic is it's own world of fake authors, movie script ideas and views into the dark id that the Internet age has inspired while definitely calling to mind Watchmen's tale within a tale storytelling.

The art itself is easily recognizable with a bright cast that seem almost like rejected Saturday morning cartoon characters. While the format does create a bit of panic as the comics are tall and intimidating they read easily enough and create a sort of faux zen to the entire layout.

Overall though, the comic is still young but if it keeps at the pace that it is going, it's going to get a lot more popular.

Also spend the time to read through the steampunk filler along with the notes. I'd love to play in that campaign.

TL;DR version: Don't be a lenient park ranger, just start reading this amazing and scathing review of pop and internet culture. A

Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques

Unwinder actually lead me into reading Questionable Content along with wondering who the bearded masked Twitter figure was the webcomic top tier seemed to be following.

Questionable Content is a comic that has aged very well. When I began reading the comic I was struck with what seemed like a horribly dense indie comic. Too many bands referenced, overused puns and art on the poorer side on the spectrum. It was almost like CAD but with indie music complete with an annoying and wacky robot. I was ready to quit reading it. I thought about it though and I decided to push through with the comic though as was my duty and it paid off in spades.

After a while Jacques definitely shows growth as both an artist and a writer eschewing the overused indie music references (for the most part - but I did know of most of the bands). The characters suddenly became real, their problems mattered and frankly, it did the anti-CAD. The characters became relatable and the humor changed from overly gag based to that humor that you share between friends. It felt more like a dramatic series but still allowed itself to let in the right bits of humor without it throwing pies at the proverbial corpse. 

For those unfamiliar, Questionable Content is a situational drama-dy focused around a group of friends in the indie crowd in a semi realistic word. As a warning against those with prejudiced music tastes, indie music is prevalent. In the beginning of the series, indie bands are thrown around more heavily than a medicine ball on Jupiter but they start to cut it out. The story almost evolves into a soap opera for the youth but the humor and writing are well enough to keep the comic going strong. 

TL;DR version: If you like indie music and can trudge through a slow start, you get well rewarded with rich characters and a realistic and personable cast. A

Next week I hope to have the Cartridge interview up, a rereview of Cartridge and one or two comics off of my list. Only if I am lucky though. It's midterms this week.

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