Friday, November 7, 2008

I Read Webcomics Religiously

So, what's up in webcomics this week? Religion.

(There are some other things that are up in webcomics this week, like the election results, but frankly I am pretty tired of politics, and this blog is nothing if not biased. I don't even read Octopus Pie regularly, what the crap kind of webcomic enthusiast am I. But anyway. Religion.)

This week marks the long-awaited return of Tyler Page's Nothing Better, a serial tale of two reluctant college roommates with a lot to learn from each other. Pretty much the instant I discovered it, NB became firmly cemented in my "comics I can't get enough of" list: it regularly delves into issues of religion, life, and meaning that most other webcomics would treat with an innocuous quip, and what's more, it manages to be thoughtful and sympathetic in its treatment of its characters' deeper convictions. This past Wednesday, the first page of Chapter 13 dropped readers into the middle of what I can only guess is a weird dream for Kat, unless the roof actually did come off their dorm in the middle of the night. I'm interested to see where this goes.

Page is also beginning a daily feature, Page-a-Day, for those of us for whom one or two weekly pages of Nothing Better is not enough. Woot!

I also made a new discovery this week: Evangeline. Originally debuting as a print comic during the 80s, Evangeline chronicles the adventures of a nun who tackles missions for the Vatican in the 23rd century. The creators were dissatisfied with the simplistic, "nun-and-gun" turn the original storyline took, so they are rebooting it for the web, with the first three chapters as the base. On their site's About page, Chuck Dixon & Judith Hunt state, "We...wanted to do a fun-to-read comic with some serious thought behind it."

The art is solid, and definitely reflects the 80s comic-book ethos; you can tell it's from the same period as Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen. So far, the story looks like it may tackle the theme of how personal faith can survive and persist in the face of religious corruption. We'll see. In the meantime, it's updating with a page every weekday, so check it out.

More "restarts" news: on Monday, You'll Have That creator Wes Molebash announced that he will be concluding his comic on Friday, January 2nd, 2009. This is sort of sad news, as Wes will be wrapping up his comic's loose ends and bringing everything to a conclusion, but he also promises: "In February of ‘09 I’ll be launching a new comic feature here at this site." I'll miss YHT, but I'll also be glad to see what new project Wes has in store.

One thing I appreciate about Wes' work in YHT is the subtlety with which he addresses religion. One can infer from certain comics that focal couple Katie and Andy are Christians, but the strip is never too overt about it. The two never beat their friends and acquaintances over the head with religion; instead, they simply try to live and love in a manner consistent with their faith. Wes himself is a confessing Christian, and if Angie Kurokami from Multiplex is an example from a non-christian's perspective of a Christian who's unobtrusive about her faith yet takes it seriously, then Andy is the same, but from a believer's view. The parallel just now struck me, and I find it kind of interesting.

I'd explore it in greater depth, but I have a headache from searching through the YHT archives on my slow-as-Christmas internet connection, and my brother and I are going to eat lasagna and watch some Heroes this evening. So, that's a thought for another day--or perhaps left as an exercise for the reader.

So, that's all the religion-in-webcomics news this week (unless you've got something to mention in the comments, which is of course always welcome!). A few quick shots of funny, and we'll call it a wrap.

So that's that. Be sure and tune in sometime this weekend, when Ari Collins will deliver a post as well. No, really.

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