I’m glad I stuck with Hijinks Ensue. The less schticky, more character driven strips of recent vintage are really good and just an approach that resonates much more with me. This one is a great example of layering in some clever pop culture references in a way that still builds the relationship between the characters.
Thanks xkcd! So it’s not just happening to me? I wondered if anyone else had this kind of thing happen to them. I have been included on family-wide emails to a clan of Mormons for years despite trying to explain to them that they HAVE THE WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS. I tried for a year or so to correct things — I certainly don’t want the email and I figured some relative was missing out on them — but it never seemed to stick so I gave up. I don’t read them but they do still come by on a regular basis.
(Read the comic in its full size glory at Boulet’s website here!) Yay me! I’m at home because the United States government can’t figure out how to handle the most basic responsibility of governance: adopting a budget! I actually was called into work the first week of the shutdown but have now spent a week and a half at home, knocking down long-delayed errands and house projects and getting a bit more exercise than usual.
I’m not sure what it is about this Boulet comic that is super appealing to me today. A comment on my life? A comment on my time at home during the shutdown?
I saw the story about the NYCC essentially hijacking a number of its guests (did it include all attendees?) social media accounts (the story seemed to be about tweets though so maybe it was only twitter). Crazy to think that anyone would think this would be okay. Where would NYCC have gotten the idea from? Certainly not Facebook or Google+ right?
Anyhow this recent Gutters on the matter is my favorite editorial comic of the month. Certainly funnier than any of the trite government shutdown comics I’ve seen.
The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth has a fairly basic story. Boy finds artifact and mysterious stranger(s) that lead him to a fantastical kingdom where he must complete his task to save the world. There really aren’t a lot of surprises here unless you’re totally unaware of stories of fairies and magic. But Ruth does add some clever details, from the initial appearance of an old tape recorder (which helps provide an opportunity for exposition through playing it’s old tapes) to the various animal creatures who appear in the story.
What really makes this book worth reading is the fantastically dramatic artwork which while almost too photo-realistic in places, is very expressive and just creepy enough to give the book some moments of anxious anticipation and dread. In fact, it’s is surprisingly well crafted as a horror book for younger kids — it’s never really as scary as its artwork suggests but I think scary enough all the same. So despite not being hugely impressed with the plot or characters I was wowed by the art enough that I would recommend looking for it. Ruth is a really good artist and there are some cool visuals in here.
I will note with some annoyance though that this book suffers from open-ended ending sequelitis — which is a given when publishers and authors are hoping to craft series of books, but still even that can be handled well or not.
Scholastic provided a free copy of the book for review purposes.
Sinfest is the one of the best newspaper comics that never got a spot in the newspapers. (Granted a few rough edges would have had to been smoothed down but at its heart this is a PG comic.) Rigorously following the format of the newspaper style and religiously updating every single day with a full colour extended Sunday edition, creator Tatsuya Ishida is talented and dedicated. Not much else is known about him. I tried to get an interview with in the early days of Comixpedia but never even made contact with him.
Nothing ever really changes too much in the Sinfest universe, except for one big change a few years ago where Ishida brought a feminist critique to his fictional world, challenging his own creations’ misogyny and general lad culture (read Shaenon Garrity’s review — it’s a great take on the evolution of this comic). It was a welcome change to a strip that needed a jolt and frankly brought a level of maturity to a strip that had long reveled in edginess for its own sake. Along with this change, Ishida introduced a storyline of a crush between bookish, naive Criminy and demoness (?) Fuchsia. In the strip, Fushsia works for the Devil (several religious deities are present in the comic) and has horns so I assume she’s some kind of demon but it’s also possible Ishida thinks of those working for the Devil as humans that had embraced evil. In any event Fushsia is clearly meant to be a character caught in darkness yet attracted to Criminy’s goodness.
Even this change though has become part of the template now and the comic has settled in. There’s a constant danger of stagnation when a universe is designed not to change much. Many of the comics while really good are essentially recaps of this basic template. Today’s Sunday comic is really nicely done but is exactly that, a summary of how Sinfest works now:
That is impressive skills on display and a really nice addition to the Sinfest universe. I suspect that Ishida will do something very similar many more times in the next couple of years though. On the other hand, Sinfest has always seemed to be about whatever Ishida is interested in so the possibility of surprise and new territory to explore is also part of the comic.
I still read it regularly — I’ve probably read everyone that’s been posted on the web (4785 at current count). I’d recommend it alone for the impressive craft on display but since it’s evolutionary shift in 2011 or so, it’s also become a more interesting meditation on the ideas Ishida is exploring and that has been a welcome change. I do hope he embraces additional creative risks as he moves forward. There are tremendous possibilities to explore if Ishida embraces the possibility of real change in his comic universe.