Friday, May 22, 2009

5/22: Week in Review

Some webcomics--say, The Phoenix Requiem--are primarily story-driven, and each update follows consistent characters while developing an ongoing plot. On the other end of the spectrum, some comics--and here I am thinking of Chainsawsuit--deliver continuity-free updates of "disposable internet humor" and eschew even a recurring cast. In between, there's an entire continuum ranging from one-off strips to story-driven comics, and it's not too hard to find a webcomic that strikes your preferred balance.

Where am I going with this? Well, sometimes a one-off, humor-driven webcomic will establish a measure of continuity, not through a storyline, but through themes. Sheldon often does this: Dave Kellett will often do a series of strips on the topic of, say, houseguests, or what happens when one member of a hive-mind race gets a song stuck in its head. In strips like these, you have continuity of theme, but not necessarily narrative continuity, and it just so happens that a lot of comics are riffing on a theme this week.

Huh. That was a rather long introduction.

Anyway, The Book of Biff is already well-known for its "themed weeks." This week's theme takes the idea to its logical extreme: a single recurring panel with nothing changed but the caption, and Biff's shirt/pants colors, because it's a new day and ostensibly he would change his clothes. Stroke of genius, or simple laziness? You be the judge.

Real Life this week delivers a fresh take on one of its oldest recurring jokes. It begins when Liz finds Greg practicing his Japanese with the Rosetta Stone software. When Liz brings up Greg's flawless grasp of Japanese as the Shirt Ninja, Greg is quick to disavow all knowledge. "The What Ninja, now?" As Liz enlists the help of Tony and Dave, the attempt to expose the Shirt Ninja becomes increasingly ridiculous. I enjoy Real Life's humor most when there's some measure of connection between each day's joke, so this has been a good RL week for me.

Gill this week delivers a short storyline: when Gill beats his video game "King Mubo," he needs a new diversion. However, new video games run at least fifty dollars these days. So, he spends the week trying to convince his mom to purchase a new one. The story arc is of the sort often found in newspapers: largely present to deliver humor, and making no significant changes to the strip's status quo. But it's funny, and as a child of the 80s, weaned on the NES and the Sega Genesis, I could identify with Gill's plight.

Finally, I'd like to make a few quick notes unrelated to the topic of "themes"...
  • The Halfpixel Crew has a new contest for the musically inclined: create a dance mix prominently featuring the laugh(s) of Brad Guigar. The winner will receive one book from each of the members of Halfpixel. If you regularly listen to their Webcomics Weekly Podcast, you're already familiar with Guigar's ridiculous laugh. Check out the contest rules and the entrants so far.

  • Unwinder's Tall Comics has really been on fire lately. This comic spoofs popular literature of all sorts, from Twilight to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and culminates with Unwinder's truly inspired mash of classics with the horror genre. Also, the most recent comic delivers tall comics in a new medium: sidewalk chalk.

And that concludes this week's recap. What comics have you enjoyed this week? Share a link in the comments!


Bengo said...

I was just remarking to someone that Book of Biff doesn't get the coverage it deserves (though maybe I just miss it). Nice to see it here.


Jackson said...

I'm all about sharing good comics. I try not to be too effusive with my praise, but in my estimation, The Book of Biff is quite possibly the Far Side of the Web 2.0 era. I...uh...try to be just effusive enough with my praise. :)

fluffy said...

There actually were minor variations between the Biff panels aside from coloration.

Sara said...

i was thinking the same thing about unwinder recently. its been on a good streak i think since the watchman parody comic, really.