Friday, August 29, 2008

Welcome back to This Week in Webcomics! Today I, Ari Collins, will be your guest host. I'm just gonna go through what particularly interesting things happened this week in the comics I read. Numbered-list-style, baby. Enough intro - there are comics to be weekified!

1. Order of Tales, for those who don't know, is a comic by the guy who did Rice Boy, a 439-page epic that nonetheless almost felt too short to me. Well, writer/artist Evan Dahm must feel my pain, because Order of Tales is set in the same strange (and I mean strange) fantasy world, but in an earlier time, and so far it seems more plot-oriented than the original.

This week, another five or so pages were added (it's updated like that, in spurts once a week or so), and the big surprise (that I won't spoil) is that a character from Rice Boy shows up! This old/new character and our main character, Koark, sit down to swap tales, and Koark is immediately told he won't be able to tell a tale the new/old character doesn't know. What tales will Koark try? Will he re-tell his tale from the first 40 pages or so, or is the mysterious Order of Tales to which Koark belongs more than just a name? Writer/artist Evan Dahm has made reference to next week's update being tedious to draw because of "calligraphy", and that sounds more than worth waiting another week for.

2. Not Included updated just in time for this post, and it's quite a doozy. The final, epic frame of this latest installment of Tyrus Peace's whimsical and beautiful comic is so goofy and awesome-looking and BIG that Tyrus offered it as a wallpaper, and I gleefully accepted. Content-wise, NI's newest update gives a big and unexpected and suspenseful twist to the Time Cop storyline. Check it out.

3. That old standby, Dinosaur Comics, had a goofy and entertaining two-part comic this week that starts here. The plot is like so: T-Rex writes a story called "The Woman Who Woke Up As A Man, which begins, "Once upon a time there was a woman who woke up as a man! That's her. Pretty tough, right? Frig!" In true T-Rex style, it sounds like it was written on the spot. Utahraptor (rightly) points out what's wrong with the story, and T-Rex's response is basically to ignore his advice. But wait, there's more! In the very next comic, Utahraptor rewrites the story, now entitled "Tina's Curse". The great thing is, while it has none of the problems of T-Rex's story, it's also smarmy and unoriginal, with lines like, "being a man was like being a woman, she figured, only with more prostate exams." T-Rex then complains and rewrites the story again, as ""TINA, THE DUDE WHO PUNCHED THE FUTURE". This one I will not spoil in the least for you, as it needs to be read to be believed. While the story is pretty terrible in its re-rewrite, it's also wildly entertaining.

As an aside, here's one thing I love about Dinosaur Comics. Not only do you get additional content in the alt-text (the text you see when you put your cursor over the comic's image), but if you subscribe to it in RSS, you get another sentence or three in the form of the RSS update title! More Ryan North is better Ryan North, I always say. Or did just now anyway.

4. I recently checked back in with The Boids, which I had enjoyed greatly in its early incarnations (when it was a small comic, like Jackson's been talking about). But when I went to the newest comic - whoa! Boid is fighting space aliens? Really?

For those who don't know, The Boids is a comic about a robot bird who escapes from the lab and helps some non-robot birds escape from trouble. Most of what I liked about the comic is the look of the robot birds, who have a lot of personality in their geometry (not aerodynamic, but whatchagonnado), and also the Autumn color palette, which stands out from the usual webcomic crowd. (Trust me, I don't usually talk about a webcomic's color palette, but this one stands out.) Well, the geometric robot birds are the same, but the artist is now doing bright colors for the alien "Glurr" who are attacking Earth. And that's the major difference now - instead of friendly idiot birds that Boid has to protect, he's now in a video-game like space battle.

Good changes? Bad changes? At first I said "Nay!" to this new look and storyline, but the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. The friendly-idiot-birds storyline was getting a bit stale, as you can only make jokes about how stupid a couple characters are so many times (something the "funny papers" never seem to learn). I applaud Steve and Larry for going out on a limb (no pun intended, Jackson). Even if I miss that Autumn color palette. Sniff.

5. This week saw another long-awaited two-page update of Goblins. Goblins started as a parody of Dungeons and Dragons, seen through the eyes of Goblins in a village raided by heroes. It pretty quickly turned into a heart-wrenching and ambitious tale of violence and loss and prejudice, and the art has improved dramatically since the early goofy black-and-white days.

So what happened this week? Well, the impending duel between Captain Goblinslayer and Thaco the Goblin (again, don't judge the story by that ridiculous D&D in-joke) seems about to commence, but first we're treated to a bit of humor at Goblinslayer's expense and a little violence involving Kin, Goblinslayer's magical prisoner. We've been waiting and waiting for Kin to do something, and... well, I won't spoil it for you, but it promises to be a fun update next time. Damn you, Mr. Only Updates Once a Week or Two!

6. Last but certainly not least (maybe even best), Legorobot finally finished its latest storyline today. This storyline, a hideous tale of a man taken underground and mutated by bizarre giant mosquito creatures, came as a complete surprise to me when it debuted, since Legorobot is usually a cross between xkcd and Bob the Angry Flower. In other words, usually it's silly violent humor crudely drawn, and with little worry about continuity or storyline. Then, alluva sudden, bam! You've got a serious and disturbing sci-fi tale with gruesomely detailed drawings. Came as quite a surprise. Anyway, this week's update, which took at least three weeks to come (I don't even remember at this point, and they're not date-stamped), was a great ending to the story, bringing it full circle with a surprising twist. One of the best things I read this month. I heartily recommend.

I hope that you've been entertained and perhaps even elucidated. Tune in next week when Jackson probably re-takes the reins. Maybe I'll do some reviews now and then. Seriously, how does he do this every week? It's exhausting.



Jackson said...

Thanks for the guest update, Ari Collins. I'm finally getting around to reading Rice Boy, and it's off to a great start for me. The messiah-searching dealie is an intriguing situation, and as far as character design goes, T-O-E is totally great.

I've never really been able to get into Goblins, though. I mean, I like the premise of the self-aware D&D "enemy" goblins and the somewhat sociopathic PCs, but for some reason the comic as a whole never "klikked" with me. (Groan.) I think part of it is that I'm not sold on the art style. It's kinda lumpy.

Also, I know I mentioned it to you earlier, but I would just like to go on record as saying that LegoRobot AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAA AAAA AAAA AAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAA. ::twitch:: aa.

abbreviatedman said...

Yeah, I can understand that reaction. I did warn you. Maybe I should put a bigger warning on that post. Still, I loved the storytelling.

So glad you like Rice Boy. I think it's right up your alley. Actually, now I wanna re-read it.