It’s Webcomic Wednesday again! Before I start the reviews, a question: have you checked out any of the comics I have reviewed so far? I would love to hear from you if you have, or if you would like to suggest a comic I should check out.
First up today is a curious post-apocalyptic comic called Derelict, which is written and drawn in full color by Ben Fleuter. Why do I describe it as curious? For one thing, I could not even tell if the comic was being updated at first. The commentary beneath each page of the comic is the same, one entry for “January 4thth- 2011” and one for “December 12th- 2011.” The only sign at first that the comic is still being updated is the fact that the copyright changes from 2011 to 2012 on the more recent pages.
Also, this is not a straightforward tale and it is not filled with a bunch of exposition to help the reader along. Lucky then that the artwork is so good and the story so compelling. You may not know what is going on or how it all fits together, or even what order the events occur in, but you want to keep reading to figure it out.
It also helps that our viewpoint character, Dang Thu Mai, seems like a real person dealing as best she can with an intolerable situation. She lives a solitary existence as a scavenger on her boat, barely eking out an existence (the girl has cat food and not much else in her cupboard). From time to time she heads on to land to scavenge, and neither land nor ocean is free of dangers, including other humans and also monstrous Gargoyles that are vulnerable to UV light. Are they aliens? Vampires? Mutants? Creatures that lived underground until after the apocalypse? All of the above? It is not yet clear.
To share more would be to give away too much of the story (but keep an eye out for that pinwheel on the left, it is kind of an important story element). Trust me on this one, just check it out. Maybe do like I did: give it a quick read-through, then head over to the forums to see the fans discussing each page and what secrets it might reveal, and then go back and read the comic more carefully. There are a lot of details and clues in the story, lots of mysterious unexplained happenings, and beautiful artwork throughout. I think you will find it intriguing. There is some graphic violence and nudity, so if that is not your scene, best to skip Derelict.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (henceforth DD) literally had me scouring the website for a link to buy this webcomic as a physical book. Sadly, it is not yet available, but the FAQ reports that, as of September 2011, an English-language version is in the works (and Book One of a French version was to be released in October 2011). So what had me looking for a shelf copy of this comic so quickly?
As written and illustrated by Tony Cliff, DD is a true delight to read. It is the story of Selim, a lieutenant in the Janissary Corp who is a gentle, refined soul who can make a mean cup of tea. His life changes drastically when he encounters Delilah Dirk, a world traveler and adventuress who I would describe as a more lighthearted version of Elektra from Daredevil. The story focuses as much on battles of manners as on battles with swords and cannons as Selim is unwillingly drawn into Delilah’s life of adventure.
Before I even got into the story, though, the artwork pulled me in. Each on-screen “page” of this comic is actually two pages at a time, allowing for expansive spreads, and DD starts off with a gorgeous two-page spread of Constantinople as seen from off-shore, with boats filling the water, and a partially overcast sky shadowing the city below. This first spread is a promise of a beautiful comic, and Tony does not break that promise. The dude can draw cities, boats, vistas, people, clothing, animals, intricate architecture… dude can draw! (For more of his artwork and some great DD posters, check out his Flickr, DeviantArt and Tumblr pages.)
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a fun-filled, action-adventure, historical romp. If the rest of this review wasn’t clear enough, I highly recommend it!
Here is another comic I found through Kickstarter. Modest Medusa is the story of Jake, who comes home on Christmas Eve to find that his toilet appears to have overflown. Except what actually happened is the cutest little Medusa you can imagine has traveled from her dimension to his via his toilet bowl (yes, the comic is that weird, and fun). The story and art are by Jake Richmond and he describes the comic as autobiographical “except for all the stuff with the Medusa.” The format is a four-panel, vertical, black and white comic that switches to color a short way in, to good effect.
While the comic is “autobiographical” in the sense that many of the characters are his relatives, the goings-on quickly veer into the realm of bizarre, and hilarious, fantasy. While the comic does have an overarching story, each page is often a gag in itself as Jake and the Medusa get used to living with each other and Medusa becomes acclimated to a life of Chocodiles, Pokemon, and an X-Box that does not work the way it is supposed to.
Overall, this comic is just so damn cute, mostly thanks to the innocence of the Medusa, that it is hard to resist. It does take a dark turn later on with the addition of Chainsaw Unicorn to the cast. Yes, the dark turn happens when a unicorn with a chainsaw for a horn shows up. Like I said, this comic is just that weird, and good.
Update on Battlepug
I mentioned Battlepug in my very first pseudo-Webcomics Wednesday (okay, I think it was a Tuesday and I hadn’t decided to do weekly updates yet, but you get the point). Anyhoo, the first year of Battlepug plus some extra material is being collected by Dark Horse Comics and is scheduled to be in stores on July 4, 2012. Congratulations to Mike Norton and the rest of the Battlepug team.