I just reread the very first “case” of John Allison’s Bad Machinery (which lasts until comic number 108). Kind of a revelation actually — reading the whole thing from start to finish at once makes such a better experience than I remembered the initial serialization. I liked this a lot — it totally clicked for me that this is also something my kids would really like as well.
I remember being mostly confused the first time I read it and not keeping close enough track of the plot to feel much satisfaction at the conclusion of the mystery. I also paid too much attention to Ryan and Amy, the two carry-over characters from Allison’s previous serialized webcomic, Scary Go Round, instead of realizing they were not what this new webcomic was about. Now reading it anew, it’s much easier to see how Allison is actually doing a great job of introducing us to the six primary new characters of Bad Machinery.
In retrospect, the kind of story Allison wants to tell with this webcomic is probably a tough fit for the daily update standard typical of so many webcomics. Which is why I think the book versions that Allison will publish with Oni Press next year (2013) will do much better and hopefully get his work to a new and broader audience.