Sunday, October 18, 2009

An Introduction to Eben07 (Now with More Musings!)

It's been about a month and a half since I started my full-time job, and lately I've felt unsatisfied about the quality of the posts here at This Week in Webcomics. It's Sunday afternoon, here I am sitting down to write a post, and I can't remember the last weekend where I wasn't putting together something at the last minute. I suppose it's to be expected--I have less time to work on the blog now, especially if I have a busy weekend, and I guess that's as it should be. But none of that means I have to feel completely at ease about it.

I just wanted to get that off my chest, and it also sets the tone for the upcoming post, which will discuss the comic Eben07, specifically the chapter "Operation Mongoose."

As the Guy Who Does This Blog, sometimes I get press releases from various cartoonists. There's a side of me that feels kind of weird when I do, because--tying into the quality thing I discussed before--I'm not doing serious journalism here or anything. I'm just a guy who can't shut up about webcomics. Still, it's cool to catch word of new it's not as if I don't appreciate the press releases.

As you know if you've noticed the You-Choose-the-Reviews polls lately, I've been batting around Eben07: Operation Mongoose as a possible subject for review, and on Friday I received a press release announcing that the print edition of Operation Mongoose was up for preorder. I figured it was as good a time as any to finish reading through the chapter and give my assessment.

First, though, a word of introduction for the comic Eben07.

Eben07 is, in essence, a comic about a secret agent janitor. Its titular main character works for the Intelligence Cleaner Agency, whose task is to ensure that the classified operations of America's intelligence operatives stay classified. The Eben07 website presents itself as an official publication of the ICA, disclosing to the American people the information that it is required to disclose by an obscure clause of the Patriot Act. In the form of a webcomic.

A bizarre hook if ever there was one, but it certainly is inventive.

I've seen Eben07 a number of times across the internet, first finding it through the now-defunct comic site At the time, the website was a confusing mess of HTML, and the "Official Declassifications of the ICA" presentation did little to alleviate my confusion. The site insists on presenting the ICA as a real entity, and framing the comic in a reader-friendly way without breaking character has always been a challenge for it. I've seen the website go through several versions, each one an improvement over the last, and the archives are now accessible and navigable. Presentation-wise, the current version seems to know what it's doing.

Which, in turn, makes it eminently possible for me to review

Full review to follow Monday evening; it's been a busy weekend. Be sure to check back then.

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