Welcome back for another edition of Webcomics Wednesday. As always, if you have a suggestion or just want to say you were here, please leave a comment below. Now on to the show.
The Adventures of the 19XX is a dieselpunk webcomic by Paul Roman Martinez, and I am only covering Chapter One in this mini-review. The story takes place sometime in the 1930s, or 193X as it says in the comic, the X being a wildcard to give the story some leeway as to how much earlier than World War II it takes place, I guess. The 19XX is actually the name of an organization which I would describe as fighting the good fight against the forces of occult evil. This first chapter is a bit of an introduction to the characters and setting, but manages to include a couple of nice action sequences and a number of surprising turns right off the bat.
This is the type of fun pulp story that I love to read, like Lobster Johnson or the 1930s-era flashback Iron Fist adventures in the Brubaker/Fraction Immortal Iron Fist run. Like those stories, the 19XX have both magic and science on their side, including “mojo bags” that give their user some measure of protection against injury, and (my favorite), the world’s smartest rabbit. Of course, the evildoers have both magic and technology at their disposal as well, with villains like Demonhand and Aleister Gurdjeff (presumably referencing Aleister Crowley and G.I. Gurdjieff).
The art itself is mostly realistic, with special detail paid to period vehicles and architecture. It looks like it was printed on newsprint, which is a nice touch to make it feel more like a historical document. Under most every page, Mr. Martinez has some historical information or pictures that he used in the making of that page, even down to the type of paperclip that would have been used in the ’30s, and for me these are as fun to read as the comic.
All this adds up to a fun read and I am looking forward to catching up on The Adventures of the 19XX.
Tinkers of the Wasteland by Raúl Treviño. I am about 110 pages (out of 356 as of the time of this writing) into Tinkers of the Wasteland and I would love to unequivocally recommend it. But I can’t. I really like the art style and the action scenes in this post-apocalyptic tale; I even like the story, although it is oddly chicken-centric (you have to read it, I can’t explain it). But the dialogue in the story does not work for me. It’s supposed to be funny, but I just find the characters to be dumb and unlikeable. Maybe that’s the point of these characters. but that doesn’t mean it is fun to read about them. The dialogue is pretty crude, mainly consisting of cursing a lot and using homosexual epithets. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against R-rated comedy, but it falls flat for me here.
Yet for some reason I keep clicking, page after page, because of the car chases, fights, bizarre weapons and fighting styles, and the environments. Now that I think on it, the art and action actually make me think of a grungier One Piece, where part of the fun is seeing all the bizarre fighting styles.
So for now, I am continuing to check this one out, and I can definitely recommend giving it a look to see if it suits your taste more than mine, but if at some point the super-lowbrow (like subway level) humor doesn’t let up, I’ll probably give up on this webcomic despite enjoying the rest of it. Oh, and needless to say, it is NSFW.
Widdershins, by Kate Ashwin, is set in the 1830s and is done in a pleasant, cartoony style. It begins with the story of Sidney Malik, a wizard and magician (explained in a bit) who has been expelled from his wizarding university and is about to be evicted from his home. You see, Sidney can do magic tricks and some true magic (wizardry), but he has an unfortunate malady that got him kicked out of school and makes it somewhat difficult to even be a practicing magician. To give away his malady would be to spoil the fun; needless to say, it is vital to the plot, which is about bounty hunters, thieves, and of course, magic.
Per Ms. Ashwin’s commentary, Sidney’s story is just the first chapter and it will be ending this month; the second chapter will switch to other characters that are seen in passing during the first chapter. I will be curious to see where Widdershins goes next, as I have already become attached to Sidney and his associates and want to read more about them.
Two short bits to end this post:
I ran across a new webcomic and I can’t even remember how, but I wanted to mention it here. It is called Cocotte and it is written and lettered by Kat Vapid, and drawn and colored by Ryan Kelly. It is about a cook (not a chef!) at a restaurant in Minneapolis. No kung fu, no hidden world, no airships in the background. In short, nothing like anything else I am reading, so I thought I would give it a try. Perhaps you’d also like to get in on the ground floor of a new webcomic, too. Check it out and give the creators some love; starting a webcomic has to be a bit of a leap of faith, and knowing you have readers keeps you up in the air longer.
Lastly, I reviewed Plume back in the end of January, and I wanted to mention that the Plume Kickstarter funded successfully, tripling its $3,000 goal. Congratulations to Kari Smith and Plume! I also mentioned Namesake in the same post and you still have time to back Namesake Volume One on Kickstarter if you are so inclined.