Thursday, March 12, 2009

3/12: Week in Review

Today is the first day of Animation and Gaming Ohio. I will be a guest there, talking about webcomics with a host of people who are there because they like video games and anime. Tough sell? Perhaps. But geeks are geeks, and let us not forget that there are manga-style webcomics and video-game webcomics as well.

It is with perhaps the most famous of these video-game webcomics that I begin today's entry.

For several weeks now, I have found Penny Arcade even odder than usual, and not especially funny. With tangents into 90s pop-culture figures such as John Stamos and New Kids on the Block, and a bunch of stuff that you probably won't understand even if you read the accompanying newspost, it's felt like Tycho and Gabe have developed their own language of funny that they babble incomprehensibly to each other. And it's certainly funny if you put forth the effort to study their new language--but such activity is anathema to the casual reader. Who has time to decipher their arcane ululations?

Well, I am happy to report that this week, there is no need to decipher anything. On Monday, PA pokes fun at the challenge of marketing books in a technology-driven age. Wednesday brings us a satirical jab at GameStop, the pawn store of video games. And today, our beloved comic does not disappoint, shamelessly mocking Fitty Cent's new game "Blood on the Sand." Krahulik and Holkins are really at the top of their game when they're lampooning the market-driven ridiculousness of the video game industry, and I think much of this past week's success stems from the fact that they're laughing at things.

And we're laughing too.

What else has made me laugh this week? Let's have a look.

Tuesday's Shortpacked looks at the worst jobs in Hollywood, delivering laughs in every panel, compounding the ridiculousness with each successive Bad Job and culminating in a coup-de-grace punchline. Did you ever think about the fact that someone had to render that thing? You'll laugh, because the only alternative is to weep for the guy.

Gill also brings the laughs this week, as Gill discovers a missing wallet and, guided by his television-weaned conscience, tries to convince his dad to help him return the wallet. In the process, he learns that reality seldom happens in the way that television often presents it.

Calamities of Nature breaks the fourth wall this week in order to open up the Reader Mailbag. Each comic features two of the main cast answering a piece of fan email to humorous effect. It occurs to me that the fourth wall with Calamities is more of a garage door that Tony Piro raises and lowers at will. But at any rate, I enjoyed all the Reader Mailbag comics, particularly today's, which incorporates an extended artistic gag.

Keong "speearr" Chan, creator of the now-retired daily comic T-N-T, launched a new comic this week: Terence N. Tijuana. His latest offering is a mix of art styles and subjects, loosely centered around non-chronological snippets from the life of its titular character. Topics include the well-meaning lies parents tell, mothers-in-law, and the future--all treated with a liberal dash of surreality. Give the archives a quick read and see how you like it.

Finally, I discovered a new comic with a truly bizarre premise this week. It takes the format of a reality TV show: Griffin Griffins is offered a chance to live rent-free for one year in a luxury condominium that exists outside of space and time. Sharing the living space with Griffin are four alternate Griffins from parallel universes, ranging from White Trash Alcoholic Griffin to Wannabe White Gangsta Griffin. It only updates once a week and currently has a small archive, but you've probably never read a comic like this, so it's worth checking out. Good art, too.

What did you find funny this week? What made you laugh out loud? Drop a link in the comments and share some humor with us.

1 comment:

DaveDwonch said...

Thanks for shouting out my comic, Space-Time Condominium! I'm glad you're enjoying it, but I have to warn you... it's going to get weirder ;)

Next up: Griffin from Earth-C, the world of talking animals.