Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kick Drum Style Reviews: Wigu/Overcompensating Review

I have been reading a lot but I ned to force myself to get back to writing the review portions. This week features two comics by Jeff Rowland, webcomicer and creator of TopatoCo, the webcomic store.

Wigu by Jeff Rowland
Wigu is a webcomic about a boy named Wigu, his family and his more or less inter-dimensional guardians, Topato Potato and Sheriff Pony. The comic revolves around the adventures Wigu has with his family that typically result in Topato and Sheriff Pony rescuing them.
The art is simplistic and childlike but it works for the story. The writing itself is equal childlike with a good sense of wonder and magic staying prevalent in the story. Additionally the comic is tamer that Axe Cop for example with death and violence being a more frowned upon subject which I can actually appreciate even though I was fairly desensitized by violence when a kid.
The comic works best coming off as a spur of the moment wacky adventure strip and rarely gets bogged down with continuity or flashbacks. A highly recommended read. A-

Overcompensating by Jeff Rowland
Jeff Rowland stars as himself in his semi-real autobiographic webcomic Overcompensating along with a small number of fake characters and filled with additional cameos from real webcomic people.
Overcompensating took me a bit to get into which is understandable since writing comics somewhat based on your life can be a learning process. The writing eventually picks up and leads to arcs.
Personally I love the strips concerning God and Jesus, who live in a nearby trailer park, since Mr. Rowland feels at ease to confront religion and faith head on, on a personal level.
The art itself is simplistic but it works keeping everything feeling organic and personal. Another highly recommended read. A

Next week, two more comics for my Road to SPX Road.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Octopus Pie Review

So begins the pre Small Press Expo where I review comics by people I hope to meet there, most of which I already have been through several times.

This Week:
Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran (@Granulac)
I've personally been living in the city for something like 2-ish years now (almost (in the fall it is official)) and life seems to have these miniarcs within them. Not that there were miniarcs of life out in the country but there they were stretched for unbearable lengths and only changed slowly. It is like comparing some slow moving tv show to a fast moving one. And sadly all of my tv references right now are horrible since I don't watch it.
Octopus Pie is based around Eve (Everest) Ning (Evening - It took me a while to get the pun) and he forcibly added roommate Hanna who acts as the pot smoking Jack to her Felix or the Olive to her Florence if you prefer the female version of the play.
The comics pacing follows a miniarc pattern with stories ranging from relatively short (page numberwise) to spanning and it can be a bit jumpy with each page somewhat functioning asa chapter instead of part of a whole.
Truth be told I was horribly confused the first time I read the comic but that was partially my fault since I was fairly out of it when reading the comic. Upon my rereading though I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The art in the comic is one of the better parts both highly simply and simply abstract and expressive. The character designs actually work well to reflect the characters and help to get the points of personality across without being overbearing.
The comic is a pretty great and deserves your attention.
Octopus Pie gets an A+

Also in case you need a gift for any relatives or friends moving to the city, Octopus Pie has a printed version out now so cop a copy of it as a gift to yourself or others. Cop a copy at most fine bookstores.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World Ramblings

Below are ramblings on Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. I wrote them at 1 am since the movie and a large Diet Coke have me cranked up.

I am a fan of the series though I didn't get into it till about 6 months ago. That seems right, I got the majority of the books around my spring break, I'd gotten book 1 sometime during the winter.
I have seen the movie twice. I love the movie. It is like the cookies and cream ice cream to the cookies that are Scott Pilgrim. You get a wholly different treat with a lot of good bits of cookies.
While I love the movie though, I can see where a lot of critics have problems. In many ways the movie cuts out a lot of the relationship and character development that made the series of comics so well respected and multilayered. In fact, maybe the ice cream - cookie metaphor should be reversed.
The film is an amazing thrill ride and summary (with changes) of the comics. It works so much better than The Last Airbender though since everything works and flows as an actual story. It works better than Watchmen since it is actually free from its comic book basis bonds. Watchmen was honestly a dead piece in a lot of ways, it wasn't given breathing room or life. It was just looking at what we saw animated.
Without the relationships though, the story becomes possibly too simple. Not too simple where it is a bad film but where it can honestly be critiqued as being a film with a simple plot (which make sense but is poorly worded).
If anything, the series could have made two movies instead and allowed for a more natural flow. Or I am hoping that the Scott Pilgrim Vs The Animation leads to either more animations or an entire series. From what I gathered everyone involved in Scott Pilgrim really enjoyed it and jeebus knows that Michael Cera could probably financially pay for the entire thing to be made based on profits from this film.
Another common complaint I hear from people against the film is that Michael Cera is in the film playing another awkward indie kid. Suck it up. You don't complain about pizza places only making more pizza. Scott Pilgrim is a better character than most and while it would be better if he were as developed as he was in the comic it would be an amazing role. Cera haters begone.
All in all, just see the movie, leave your preconditions at the door and laugh at some of the 6 Degrees Of Separation type relationships in the film. For example, the actress who plays Roxie played Ann (Who?) in Arrested Development. The person who plays Lucas "Crash" Wilson played Lefty in Youth In Revolt.
Also the soundtrack is pretty great and is the most I have enjoyed Beck in a while.
Sorry for the rambling, I wrote this so I could stop thinking about it. Now go see the movie, see it again or see it again again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Manly Guys Doing Manly Things Review

In prep for the Small Press Expo next month I will attempt 2 webcomic reviews every week! Hoo ah.
After that hopefully a review and an interview/other article every week.

Manly Guys Doing Manly Things by Kelly Turnbull
El Santo, the comrade in arms, reviewed Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, a comic about video games and the characters involved therein, outside of the gaming world. Sort of like a Who Framed Roger Rabbit world (which I have no doubt will be included in the most likely horrible upcoming sequel). I love the idea of characters not really being actors though and being exactly as they are in the games in the "real world" because our modern characters are for the most part so poorly thought out. Mind you, I gave up a majority of gaming upon the theft of my Wii and have only in the last week resorted to Gamecube gaming but I have a wide enough breadth of knowledge.
A lot of the older gaming comics focused as one shots about "what if so and so had to do a menial task" like what if Mario went to the grocery store and stomped on all the mushrooms. A sophomoric idea but it might lead to some more thoughts like how far does ones gaming related paranoia go. Is this a full trauma or a quirk.
Manly Guys Doing Manly Things takes this to the next logical step and does it with quality art and some mostly well thought out ideas.
Based around what is essentially a veteran's clinic for old game characters (helping them adjust to being out of war instead of the helping them poop type) run by the machismo powered Commander Badass. The early comics follow a mostly one shot gag but the ideas are fresh and generally unseen. The Big Daddy Daycare comic was originally what sold me.
When the ideas are further developed though like the following Poke'Mon story the comic truly shines.
El Santo sees the humor being hit or miss but I hardly see that as a negative, and I hardly see misses, though I guess I may be easily entertained. For me a rare gamer even if I miss the reference or didn't play the game (though missing references is now mostly impossible) the jokes still commonly fly for me.
Overall I have some hardcore love for Manly Guys Doing Manly Things and I look forward to the comic continuing to grow and add more characters since it is still relatively young. It has a bright future and if it keeps going with the same quality it has now it could easily be one of the big gaming webcomics.
Great art, above average gamer humor A.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Socialfist Chapter 2 is Go

Chapter 2 started last night/yesterday/Monday so all is somewhat right in the world.

additionally since my last conversation I have reentered the fascinating realms for the dungeoning dragons and the gaming videos so that actually increases my productivity when it comes to writing and work. The last time I really kept to a strict update structure was when I frequently was doing both (I want to say it was like 8 months ago before I moved out) so no matter what, production will slowly start flowing back. Comics to read, games to play and my hope is that at the Small Press Expo I might be able to snag some interviews so look forward for that.