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Yet more web comics [Oct. 8th, 2007|09:49 pm]
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[mood |busybusy]
[music |Split Enz - "Semi Detached"]

The absolute classic of this batch is Get Mediaeval. Like Freefall, it's a fairly basic strip comic telling a continuing story. In Get Mediaeval's case, the daily punch-line very much takes a second priority behind the continuing story.

This doesn't mean it's all story, though. There are a lot of "special occasion" strips scattered throughout the story, ranging from character pin-ups to major projects such as the "Battle of Hastings set to the tune of Jack and Dianne" sequence I linked to a couple of weeks back.

The story features most prominently a group of aliens, humanoid to the extent that they're indistinguishable from regular humans. This is probably a Good Thing as, while on the run from the intergalactic Mob, they crash-land in 14th-century France. Which is probably a fairly good idea on their part (the 14th century being about the last time in history the French are more civilised than the English...) Other aliens end up scattered about the place (one in a prison in Constantinople, one in rural Japan, etc.) and much of the amusement of the story comes from their attempts to Fit In to the (comparatively) backward planet they've landed on.

One recurring theme of the series is how that nothing has really changed all that much. The Mob the aliens are running from isn't all that different from the Mafia of popular stories. Celeste, probably the most consistently entertaining of the mediaeval part of the cast, isn't really all that different from a certain type of Young Lady today in her wearing of black and overly dramatic behaviour (She's Going To Be A Nun And Never Get Married).

One thing I do notice is that there's a complicated balancing act going on between historical realism and the story being a fairly light and comic story. The writer/artist definitely has a serious knowledge of history, and doesn't compromise from a fairly realistic portrayal of the Middle Ages, but unlike many modern writers, doesn't dwell on the negative unduly. Most of the mediaeval characters end up being fundamentally decent, especially for their era.

But it all boils down to this being top quality entertainment with a bit of interesting mediaeval history thrown in for good measure. It's regular (unusually for a web comic, it updates every day, and there is very little "filler" - and most of what there is, is "special occasion" bonus type material) and it's got a set finishing point (some time in the not too distant future, the story is going to end). Highly worth reading.

Short notes on a few other comics I've read and enjoyed:
Altermeta has only just started, and I've not really got much of an idea where it's going to go yet.
Lytherion Legends is not much further in to the story, and it looks like it could be interesting - apart from the dialogue, which I'd guess to be a translation of a German original (the ".de" in the URL is a bit of a giveaway) and which I'd also guess to not have been checked by a native English speaker.
Lunatic Chaos is another werewolf story, this one with distinct Alpha Luna influences (which aren't evident in the current page, which looks rather hastily sketched...) and with teenage characters who are less obnoxious than many such.
Carpe Diem is an anthropomorphic soap opera, and isn't a bad story, although its archive can be a bit annoying to navigate (the pages seem to jump large parts of the story at random; I found it easiest to keep the archive index open and check now and again that I'd not missed any sections). Caution: some of the main characters are gay and this is reflected in some of the sub-plots. If this sort of thing is likely to put anyone off reading the comic, they'd be better off finding something else to read instead.
Cross Time Café is nonsense. Deliberately so, therefore it's not a bad thing. It's random characters from half a dozen or so web comics (the only one of which I'm familiar with being Freefall) moonlighting at running a Café. Amusingly (and deliberately out-of-continuitily). It's most amusing when the shenanigans involve Sam Starfall (actually knowing what the character's like in-continuity helps). Going by the copyright disclaimers, most of the people who's characters are being pilfered have pitched in with stories at some time or another, and the general atmosphere of "let's be silly with our characters" makes up for all the jokes and character bits I don't get. There's only one caveat about this comic, but it's a big one: a lot of the archive pages appear to have multimedia content which tries to load players or suchlike onto my computer, and when it realises I don't have them and am on a s-l-o-o-w connection, immediately reverts back to the previous page. Those pages need some fast work with mouse buttons to navigate through.

[User Picture]From: siraj
2007-10-08 10:42 am (UTC)
Altermeta is made of win and awesome, and I'm proud to personally know the artist and creator, Caz. Love the adorable Kuvvies, for they have ass-pants! (or at least Josephine did...)

Carpe Diem is easier if you get the comics sold by Rabbit Valley... it doesn't seem quite so jumpy.

Cross Time Cafe is always fun to read.

I also recommend Never Never. It's done as a collaborative effort between Sue Deer (of A Doemain of Our Own) and John "The Gneech" Robey (of The Suburban Jungle). Take all the old things you know about Oberon and the fae folk and the legend of King Arthur... and give it a tumble in a dryer's spin cycle. It's a very fun read, and it gets into some other fun creatures, like Pookas.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-10-08 11:03 am (UTC)
Haven't really got Altermeta figured out yet... will be keeping on keeping track of it and might have another run through the archives once there is more to read. It's definitely got style already.

Getting hold of dead-tree comics from anywhere that isn't the latest "Previews" is fairly much impossible over here unfortunately. I didn't have any problem with the pacing of "Carpe Diem" (it's fairly traditional soap opera storytelling, which I don't have a problem with - a dead-tree comic I quite enjoy reading is "Noble Causes", which fairly much sprang from the idea that traditional superhero comics are fairly much soap operas anyway, so the creators may as well go all the way and do one as an actual soap opera); it was actually something about the archive that skipped whole issues while I was trying to navigate through it. Once I figured out what was going on and got caught up in actual order the story wasn't a problem.

Will add "Never Never" to my list to investigate (the others mentioned are already on the list... and I've caught up to date with "Suburban Jungle", which I enjoy quite a lot even though my unfamiliarity with "The Prisoner" is making some of the references less obvious than they should be...)

That icon... is that the dreaded "Plot Bunny"?
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[User Picture]From: siraj
2007-10-08 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yes it is indeed a plot bunny... though, as a fellow writer friend of mine calls it, it's a plot bunny bastard.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-10-09 07:42 am (UTC)
I managed to catch a plot bunny once. Ended up managing to spread it thin enough to cover an entire nanowrimo. It's probably the one thing of any serious length I've ever managed to finish a first draft of.

Have added "Never Never" to the infamous list. Got any other recommendations? I like: plot; action; drama; character; or, failing any or all of the above, complete and utter insanity.
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[User Picture]From: siraj
2007-10-09 09:45 am (UTC)
they do tend to breed, don't they?

Hmm... try General Protection Fault, Ctrl+Alt+Del, and Penny Arcade.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-10-09 10:17 am (UTC)
Have added them to the infamous List. Looks like a decent sized chunk of reading.

I have the opposite problem with plot bunnies. I have few ideas and no originality.
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[User Picture]From: siraj
2007-10-09 05:08 pm (UTC)
mwaha... they'll keep you busy for a while...

my plot bunnies breed just fine... it's the motivation for writing that I lack...
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2007-10-10 07:06 am (UTC)
well the infamous List has taken me about nine months to get to the stage it has (and that's after I already had a head start in half a dozen or so of them) so it's not as if I haven't ALREADY been busy... I'll have to be a bit more careful what I do for new years resolutions in future...
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[User Picture]From: siraj
2007-10-10 08:20 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: aeb
2007-10-11 05:55 am (UTC)
I thought that nanowrimo story turned out pretty well. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
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