Eight Geeks

Friday, January 13, 2006

Webcomic screen

In the beginning, I was spending a lot of time on The Fantasy Powers League, and a regular there put up an ad in in his forum signature. The ad led to his webcomic Exploitation Now. EN was raunchy and hilarious; a real and popular triumph for artist Michael Poe. Former lawyer/pornstar Bimbo Moneymaker teamed with with small weird thing Ralph (for legal reasons, we can't call him a Moog -- er, little guy from Final Fantasy. You'll know when you see him). EN eventually found a plot and real character development, which is when most people felt the strip went downhill. The comic ended a few years ago. Several printed versions exist, although they were hard to get even when they were forst in print. There seems to be a new coffee-table color edition for sale. In all, I'd recommend it for a good, adult-themed read.

Searching for more items in that vein, I came across the early days of Megatokyo. Rodney Caston was still writing the strip with Fred Gallagher at the time. Megatokyo had good art, and a deep, funny plot. It ranged between gags and character development. Fred took over not long after I started reading, and the next couple of years were pretty good. He seems to have been weighed down by plot threads and self-importance. I still read, but stretched out storylines and constant lateness mean I'm more likely to read a few months in one sitting than check out its theoretical three-a-week schedule.

I drifted across 8-Bit Theater while searching links on Final Fantasy. A "sprite comic" that uses art from the original Final Fantasy, the real draw on this comic is the writing. Brian Clevinger, while very loosely following the plot of the game, has woven a deeply hilarious tale that is still ongoing. While many criticize the use of sprite art in webcomics, Clevinger has built some serious Photoshop skills over the years, creating a massive body of real art alongside Square Enix's sprites. It's a world that gamers, D&D junkies, or anyone who's ever liked a Three Stooges short can appreciate.

Clevinger's website also held a great deal of other comedy material, including columns written by "Red Mage", Clevinger's friend Brian Sosa. Sosa and others are part of their own website Side Quest. Side-Quest has a variety of comics, reviews, small games, and a set of forums that I am highly active on (see the blogroll). The real gem, however is True Life Adventures of Brian and Sosa, a crudely drawn, surreal romp. It's update schedule is approximately "never to sometime", but what there is constitutes a well of hilarity. Side Quest also features several other good comics, so be sure to browse around.

Another related comic is the weekly VG Cats by Scott Ramsoomair. Scott provides us with gaming commentary and humor that is both biting and hilarious, with some really skillful art along the way. My icon for this blog is one of Scott's characters, the recently deceased Dr. Hobo.

Speaking of gaming comics, we can't fail to mention Penny Arcade, the Gold Standard of webcomics. These are the big boys of the webcomics world, a tri-weekly force of nature that offers both satire and poop jokes, while raising more than a million dollars for charity in the past few years. Gabe and Tycho are the ambassadors for gamers and webcomics the world over. Whether or not that's a good thing, they haven't decided yet.

Jon Rosenberg's Goats is closing in on a decade of existence, and it's been great from beginning to end. I of course recommend reading the archives of every stip I've mentioned, but Goats is the most consistently funny. Be sure to have a lot of time for belly laughs set aside when you read.

Speaking of long archives, we can't forget one of the other leaders of webcomics in general, Scott Kurtz's PvP. Less consistently funny over the years, but capable of sustaining interest and reinventing itself on a whim, PvP is an indicator of where the webcomic winds are blowing. Kurtz is a master of promotion and controversy, but he turns out a consistent product, day after day, as well as rewriting and repackaging material for print publishing through Image.

One of the people teaming with Kurtz on those print comics is Aaron Williams, and experienced humorist and illustrator that publishes two print comics of his own, as well as strips for the D&D family of magazines. He also puts out two web strips: Nodwick (see the blogroll), a medieval/D&D romp that is also the subject of one of his print comics, and Full Frontal Nerdity, a weekly look into the lives of four gamers that turns a sharp wit on the worlds of gaming and geekdom. This guy is one of my favorites, both online and in print, and I encourage you to visit his site and buy things. Lots of things.

I'd like to end with one of the most consistent daily stips ever, a humorous and plot-driven strip called General Protection Fault. GPF is a great strip, deserving another long archive read. It's fun to note that the creator, Jeff Darlington, is married to a college friend of Coralius and myself. Jeff makes a great strip, and I encourage you to check it out.

Wow. Long post. That's what we're here for, though, so stay tuned! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!


  • Nice articles for those who weren't looking at webcomics from the beginning. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Steam, at 5:57 PM  

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