Thursday, March 31, 2011

Webcomics: I Can Stop Anytime I Want

 I've written a bit about traditional comic books, but I've also spent the last few years following a wide variety of webcomics. The addiction started out simple. Checking PvP and Penny Arcade as two titans in geek culture, with funny comics about the things I like anyway. It never stops at just a couple, though. I very quickly went from a few, to a bunch, to too many webcomics, and over the years I stopped following a few because regular updates became erratic or I changed PCs, lost the bookmark for the comic and somehow never bothered to restore it.

A lot of the larger, well-established comics that I read, (Sluggy Freelance, Real Life, The Order of the Stick, Ctrl+Alt+Del) have already had many, many words written about them. I may someday return to this subject and give some of these bigger comics a full article treatment, but a short summary doesn't really do much. If you like webcomics, you already are likely to know that Order of the Stick is about stick-like figures in a Dungeons and Dragons type world, and if you aren't into gaming comics, a paragraph about them isn't likely to get you to check them out.

If I'm wrong about that, and you just started with this comic because of this post, then... you're welcome.

There are a few newer or, shall we say “less established” webcomics out there that I've grown to make a part of a daily or 3x a week regimen that I thought I'd share a few brief thoughts on. In order to keep my attention, usually updating like clockwork is an absolute requirement, and a comic really has to try a lot harder if it updates fewer than 5 days a week, and the first one I want to talk about is a once-a-week-only comic.

Manly Guys Doing Manly Things updates on Mondays, and features an “agency” of sort helmed by “Commander Badass”, a cigar-chomping, beer-drinking action-movie stereotype with a heart of gold. The agency takes ludicrously macho characters from popular entertainment (more than a few of them from video games) and tries to acclimate them into normal society. That is, whenever they are not saving the world, or whatever their personal destinies call them to, assuming that something isn't really conducive to holding down a day job. Sten from Dragon Age, Hannibal from the A-Team, Kratos from God of War, Duke Nukem, Robocop, they all make appearances alongside series regulars like Jared, a twentysomething Pokemon trainer whose “pet” got him in as an intern.

Kratos is frequently lampooned. In another comic he asks "Stop using me as an example." The reply... "Stop BEING an example."

The line art, coloring and scripts are top-notch, and despite the protests of “this isn't really another video game comic”, the point is well-taken that the over-the-top macho stereotypical characters are often found on the X-Box, PS3, PC and Wii, so those types of characters turn up a LOT. The strips themselves are mostly gag-a-day, with occasional advances in a series continuity that develops the characters unique to the comic and ties everything together. I'm looking forward to reading this for years to come, and will be very disappointed if life getting in the way, as it does, stops the flow of badass.

Least I Could Do is more established, with a readership very near some of the comics I listed above as “larger”, but it has come a very long way since its early days of constant sex-jokes focused entirely on the promiscuous main character, Rayne. Rayne's childlike geek fantasies are highlights in a strip that has come to be “about” a wide variety of different things, and if you read it in early years, and were turned off by sexism or dick jokes, it is worth another look now. Another comic by the same team of Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSousa is Looking For Group, the World of Warcraft inspired adventure/comedy told from the perspective of a Horde group of adventurers. Both comics update like clockwork, have solid artwork and writing, and are full color, which always gets extra points from me.

Pretty much impossible for me to talk about any of the work on these sites without a picture of Richard.

What are some favorites of yours I should be checking out? There's several dozen I haven't mentioned here that I either currently read or did at some time in the past, but I'm always up for new quality additions to my reading. (Note: I mentioned that there wouldn't be any April Fool's Gags here today, got my days mixed up... not doing that tomorrow, either.)
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11 comments:

Anita Johnson said...

Ah man I love reading web ccomix. Check me out, alphabetalife.blogspot.com

Jay.CA said...

oh man.. there goes the next two hours of my day..

Stare Dad said...

loved it

=dgrphx= said...

lol that picture of the order of the stick

Erika said...

There truly are some amazing webcomics out there that definitely do not get the attention that they deserve.

Electric Addict said...

haven't heard of these comics really but they look really good

Alpha said...

These look good, thanks for sharing.

Patti D. said...

I'm not into webcomics, but some of those that you have posted are quite good!

Jung said...

The only good webcomics are the amateur ones. Trollface and whatnot.

Granite_Grizz said...

Okay, this might be a long list, but I'll put them in a very rough best to less best (not mentioning any that have been previously mentioned):
Erfworld
Questionable Content
Something Positive (can be NSFW at times)
Dominic Deegan
xkcd
Sinfest
PS238
Oglaf (NSFW most of the time [really NSFW])
Perry's Bible Fellowship
Girl Genius
Shortpacked
Dumbing of Age
Guilded Age
Evil Inc
Darths and Droids
Rock Paper Cynic
A Softer World
Surviving the World
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (can be NSFW at times)
Yet Another Fantasy Webcomic
Ctrl-Alt-Del
Nodwick
The Devil's Panties

Finished, but worth a read:
Queen of Wands (Crossovers with S*P)

DocStout said...

@Granite - Truly awesome titles in there, I read about 75% of those, and emphatic agreement about Queen of Wands.

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