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"What if I left my memory in the future and I have to catch up to it?" - Dave's Ramblings [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Daveosaurus

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"What if I left my memory in the future and I have to catch up to it?" [May. 3rd, 2008|11:28 pm]
Daveosaurus
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[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |busybusy]
[music |Big Country - "Just A Shadow"]

The main event in this batch of comics is most probably Freak Angels. This is a story about what happens when a group of superhumans suddenly and messily come into existence at the same time. It's nothing like Heroes, though. Whatever it was that this batch did when they came into being, it fairly much changed civilisation forever. Now, in the derelict shell of what once was Britain, they try to live as normal lives as possible when they aren't trying to control minds or remember the future. The story is intriguing (and quite Vertigo in nature) and the script and art are excellent; in fact, if it ever got published on dead trees, Vertigo would be the obvious publisher.
As a whole, the comic isn't perfect - it's actually got a couple of notable flaws - but it's fairly darned good. The flaws are mostly that they don't seem to have quite got the hang of the little bits and pieces about publishing web comics that make them different from dead-tree comics (for example, this one updates half a dozen pages at once and doesn't have a detectable RSS feed for the story). But overall... if this is the sort of thing you get when "mainstream" (well, about as mainstream as Warren Ellis has ever been) comics creators get involved with web comics, then I look forward to more of them giving the genre a go.

Outsider is more science fiction, but very much Space Opera instead of Contemporary Thriller. It follows the tried-and-true formula of having Earth find out it's not alone in the universe... and there's a war on. The story hasn't got very far yet - we still don't know which aliens are The Good Guys or The Bad Guys, or if they're both best avoided completely - but it's shaping up quite nicely. Quite recommended.

Radioactive Panda follows a stereotypical mad scientist, his former colleague and now stereotypical head-in-a-jar (if there even is such a thing), and their somewhat less stereotypical assistant (a fairly good-natured Ordinary Bloke werewolf) through the normal sort of calamities that mad scientists attract. The style carries a distinct touch of Ctrl+Alt+Del, although the characters are, on average, somewhat less maladjusted (and thankfully so; one Ethan in web comics is plenty). The supporting cast are generally interesting, even the zombies. The story is generally classic-horror-movie-pastiche, and as for the radioactive panda of the title: I think I saw an occasional panda visit one or two comics, but he didn't really leave much of an impression on this reader (or the story as a whole), and did not appear to be glowing to any great extent, so I'm at a loss as to explain the name.

Code Name: Hunter is one of the classier comics out there. The whole basic idea seems to be: in a slightly different reality, the British secret service are out defending Britain from all sorts of ghoulies and ghosties. The characters are good and the artwork is superb, with a fairly much unique stained-glass look to it. Recommended.

In contrast, Furthia High is a particularly ordinary high-school comic. It may just be that it's been so long since I've seen the inside of a high school that the comic seems profoundly alien to me. It's quite odd that an M.I.5 vs. Things That Go Bump In The Night story seems more grounded in reality than a high school story; and the latter can't even use the "but it's anthropomorphic, so it's got to be less `real' " defence, because Code Name: Hunter is also anthropomorphic. Disappointing.

The End of Things is yet another anthropomorphic story set in a high school - or possibly a university, although the American education system is fairly much a closed book to me - and one of the better ones. The art is generally good, sometimes excellent (particularly in one sequence I can't navigate to easily on this internet connection, but which is set in an art class with a student doing a copperplate engraving) and the story seems to have a lot less flash and a lot more substance than the previous example. The main character, Evan, looks quite lugubrious on the comic masthead, but, unfortunately, he's more like just contrary and a bit of a prima donna. His friends fairly much just put up with him, occasionally trying to get him to act a little less annoyingly. Unfortunately there's an almost total lack of background information available - if there's a cast page, it's somewhere I've never managed to find - which, as it's also in black and white, means many of the minor characters tend to blur into one another. Still it's a decent read.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: warren_ellis
2008-05-03 03:28 pm (UTC)
The FREAKANGELS RSS feed is noted in the sidebar and detects in IE7 and Bloglines, at the very least -- I don't know how many other systems the team tested detection in:

http://www.freakangels.com/?feed=rss2

We also developed an RSS Window widget for webpages:

http://www.freakangels.com/?page_id=24

And, of course, someone turned the RSS feed into an LJ syndication:

http://freakangels.livejournal.com/

"flaws are mostly that they don't seem to have quite got the hang of the little bits and pieces about publishing web comics that make them different from dead-tree comics (for example, this one updates half a dozen pages at once"

I believe there's more than one way to do a webcomic. Simple as that. And we're hardly the only people out there releasing webcomics in weekly chunks.
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-05-03 11:12 pm (UTC)
Hi Warren

Many thanks for the link to the RSS feed. I couldn't find it a few weeks ago when I read the archive and forgot to double check last night.

The problem with large chunks updating at once is mainly an issue with the typical local internet connection rather than the comic itself. I know it isn't fair, but actual live writers and artists make easier targets than faceless telecommunications monopolies.
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