It is time again for Webcomics Wednesday! Let me start off by stating the obvious: I am having a blast finding and reading webcomics. I love the variety of genres, the unique stories that are being told, and the varied art styles. I like when creators have comments underneath each page, whether it explains that day’s comic or just shares some insight into their lives.
I am checking out a lot of comics in order to find ones I like and that I want to share here. Some work for me, some don’t. Likewise, I imagine some of the ones I share here might have you scratching your head. That’s why the sheer number of webcomics out there is great; there’s something for everybody. That being said, I looked through a lot of webcomics this week that just didn’t spark for me, but still took me a lot of time to look through, so I only have two to recommend right now: City of Cards, and The End.
City of Cards, written and illustrated by C.J. Joughin, is a black-and-white webcomic set in a Kafka-esque future where everyone is controlled by the system/government/corporate entity. The story starts off with Plato, a kind of shlubby guy who is running a nightclub called The Cave, which he is barely keeping afloat. He cannot get his liquor license until he is able to show that he can run the nightclub profitably, but he can’t make a profit without a liquor license. Enter Ace, a mysterious young man with amnesia and no official ID. Plato starts to take care of Ace out of the kindness of his own heart or perhaps more likely an attraction. It soon turns out that Ace, even though he can’t remember who he is or how he got there, knows things he shouldn’t. Perhaps he is psychic, perhaps there is something deeper going on. I mean, “Plato” is running a place called “The Cave” and the Allegory of the Cave is quoted at the beginning of the comic, so we are primed to doubt the reality of the world we are reading about straight from the get-go.
City of Cards has a kind of slow, gentle feel to it, even in the most recent pages which depict a fight scene. The characters, almost all of whom look kind of stocky and solidly built to me, talk a lot and kind of meander through life, while we learn bits and pieces about the world they exist in. I normally don’t go for this slow of a pace in a story, but it works well here, as I kind of feel that I am along for a ride and I am intrigued as to where it will go and what sights we’ll see along the way.
The End, written by Cory Brown and illustrated by Ran Brown*, is in full color and is the story of an alien race, the Fiah, who collect sample populations from planets that are about to be destroyed. The latest mission brings Navigator Endi and Monitor Ethma to Earth to nab some specimens. And not just anywhere on Earth, but a comic-book convention. Part One of the story is all about the setup of who will be collected by the Fiah, so we jump from one group of characters to another, getting small glimpses into their lives before Part Two, where the action moves to outer space.
It’s a simple enough setup, but there appears to be a lot going on under the surface of this story. Without giving anything away, the end of Part One kind of changes the whole ball game, and the intermission between Parts One and Two introduces even more questions about what is really going on.
The End looks great; it is really well-drawn and colored. There are some scenes where the characters are backlit and I had to strain to see the details of their faces, so I felt it was a little too dark, but that could just be me or the gamma correction on my monitor. The story seems very deep, and you can tell from what Mr. Brown has shared of his world-building notes, that he has put a lot of thought and energy into this setting.
The End is exciting, fun, and looks to be full of mysteries and secrets to uncover. I could easily see this as being an ongoing TV series, sort of like Lost, except in space instead of the Island. Lost, in Space. But not, you know, Lost in Space. Okay, you get the point, go check it out.
*I am assuming from the comments I have read that Cory writes and Ran illustrates, but I could not find an “About” section that explicitly stated this.
On a final note, I am always scanning Kickstarter for more comics and this time Gastrophobia Volume 2 caught my eye. I only read the first few pages of the webcomic and then opted to pledge for the PDFs of Volume 1 and 2, because the story and art seem fun and it’s a good price for the 2 PDFs. As it says on the Kickstarter page, it is “about a single mom Amazon in Ancient Greece and her less-than-athletic 8-year-old son.” Hilarity ensues. Check it out.