Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blank It Presents: Something Completely Different

Visit the webcomic Blank It
Hey, y'all. Today I wanted to talk about something new that's happening with one of my favorite comics.

If you follow this blog at all, you know I'm a big fan of Blank It. Its witty wordplay, dynamic and freewheeling storytelling, and general absurdist awesomeness led me to review it and interview the creators in a comic. It's like Waiting for Godot: the Manga--except that doesn't sound nearly awesome enough.

Last Thursday's installment wrapped up the first major chapter in the BlankItverse; after two years and 204 comics of shovel beams, mysterious robots, and militant cookies, its two protagonists lie down to take a nap. So, what's next? Artist Lem Pew writes:
Aric and I are going to take...a month or so to recoup and get a little break. ...[We] are still going to update the site every Monday and Thursday with a comic, but it’s going to be a totally different tale.

If you haven't read through Blank It yet, this is a great time to get caught up and--if you like what you see--to start tuning in regularly.

This blog is all about sharing good comics, and Blank It is a good comic. I highly recommend it, and I'm looking forward to seeing what further tricks Lemmo and Aric have up their sleeves.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recommended Reading

Hi, everyone. I just wanted to drop a quick post to let you know what I've been reading lately.

The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon: After having read the first volume of Scott Pilgrim, I am beginning to think that Jack Cannon is the best webcomic tribute to Scott Pilgrim I've ever seen. It's funny and freewheeling, with colorful, dynamic artwork, and it's got relatable characters in over their heads with weird events.

Marooned: You may recall that I reviewed Marooned not quite a year ago. I'm still reading it. The new storyline that began last week is a great place to jump in: all you need to know is that Captain John and Asimov the robot have been stranded on Mars and are presently surviving under the hospitality of Martians. Still wondering if it's your kind of comic? Check out my review.

Moon Town: Another sci-fi comic from Wishtales Publishing, Moon Town's artwork continues to blow my frigging mind. You've got a run-in between a rookie security guard and an ore miner on a lunar colony, and in the most recent chapter, you've also got a gigantic moon squid. Things are a little slow at first, but just pay attention to the gorgeous artwork and keep reading ahead. You'll get to the moon squid soon enough.

Axe Cop: Axe Cop is the latest big comic to hit the internet. It's the adventures of a superhero cop with an axe, drawn by a professional artist and written by his five-year-old brother. Like Dr. McNinja before it, it's an affectionate parody of superhero comics that will have you in hysterics at how stupid awesome it is. You probably read it already, but if this is your first time hearing about it, go check it out.

Odori Park: After stumbling across Odori Park a couple of different times, I found myself coming back on my own. It's an East-meets-West romance between a Japan-native bookkeeper and an American ESL teacher, told in newspaper-strip form. It's family-friendly, it's got sharp humor, and it brings the A game with its artwork. Check it out and give it some love.

Tuna Carpaccio, P.I.: Slow to update, but when it does, man is it good. I've also reviewed Tuna Carpaccio before, so rather than recapitulate all my previous praise, I'll just point you to the review. If you're willing to wait around for the next Dresden Codak, and you like a good gumshoe adventure-comedy, Tuna Carpaccio is also worth waiting for.

I always feel kinda like a salesman when I finish a post like this, but if time is money, that's what I am. Except I don't get paid for this.

Alls I'm sayin' is, these comics are worth my time, and maybe they're worth yours too. Only one way to find out, right? Check 'em out.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

C2E2: Part 3 of Is He Seriously Still Talking About This?

Hi again. C2E2 was two weeks ago, but I still have things to say about it. It was such a dense weekend that I feel I would run out of time for saying before I ran out of things to say about it. If that makes any sense.

So, here it is, Saturday afternoon, and I wanted to post some more about my C2E2 experiences and the cartoonists I talked to.

Of course, even though I focused primarily on webcomics, there was a lot going on at C2E2 beyond the world of cartoonists for whom the internet is their cartooning backbone. The big superhero-comic publishers, Marvel and DC and Image, all had a notable presence, with Marvel heavily promoting the upcoming Iron Man 2 movie via comic and video-game tie-ins. (The video game looks awesome.) Local Chicago comic shops occupied a large swath of the floor, and I bought a copy of Scott Pilgrim from one of them in anticipation of (once again) the upcoming movie. On the stage out in the hall, the local folk-rock-about-superheroes band Wednesday Heroes played a set or two every day. There was more to see and do than one person could even conceive of doing.

So, I did what I could. I attended a couple of panels--including one on black comic creators and black superheroes--and I watched the Iron Artist competition on Saturday evening, for me the highlight of which was watching Gordon McAlpin and Tom Brazelton draw their own interpretations of the theme "Snake Pliskin in Escape from the Princess Bride." On Friday night, there was a Webcomics Town Hall, which probably merits its own entry. So I'll save that topic for another time.

Before I go fold my laundry, I'd like to tell you about two webcartoonists I met at the con and about their work. (Actually, I'll tell you about them after I fold my laundry. You probably won't be able to tell the difference.)

Chicago native Sean Archer creates the webcomic Milo the Cloud, about a light-hearted cloud and his eclectic peers (including an aichmophobic balloon and a bazooka-toting cardinal). What struck me about Sean's work is the creativity that he displayed in merchandising and promoting Milo the Cloud. He had Milo figurines for sale at his booth, and he told me about the process of creating and painting each of them by hand. Additionally, he had an a capella CD of unofficial theme music for Milo the Cloud, which he created and performed with some of his musical colleagues. Milo the Cloud is a humor-based strip with some continuity and an idiosyncratic. It struck me as similar to Ed Contradictory, which I mentioned in a previous C2E2 entry, so if you like one of these comics, you should probably check out the other too.

I also got to meet Alina Pete, the creator of Weregeek. Weregeek has nothing to do with Werewolves--at least not directly. Instead, it's about otherwise ordinary people who, when the moon is right and mysterious forces align, are transformed into wholly different beings for their tabletop RPG sessions. It's a tongue-in-cheek look at the role-playing hobby from the inside out, and it's a lot of fun.

It can be a challenge to actually depict the imagined in-game world of an RPG in a comic and still keep it engaging, but Weregeek naturally moves between its characters' everyday lives and jobs and their in-game adventures. Kudos to the creative staff for pulling off that tricky balancing act! I'll have to read some more of this comic when I have the time.

Another thing that I will have to do when I have the time is blog some more about C2E2.