Monday, 4 May 2015

Stuff I Like: Webcomics

Or here are some webcomics you might enjoy.

Before I was reading print comics I really enjoyed web comics of the joke-a-day variety. As an internet savvy undergad I enjoyed how accessible the comics were and how free to read they all were. Three panel strips about lulz video games and angsty heart ache where a fun way to kill five minutes before a class started on my brand new, first ever laptop, or something to ease myself into a study session on the pretty brutal library PCs before that. All of these webcomics were fun at the time, and I will forever hold the time spent reading them with a special nostalgia.

As time has gone by, I've fallen out of love with most of what I was reading. I stopped giving craps about video games or realized that the sort of edgy sexy comedy comic is actually wildly problematic. I saw comics I like end as the creators moved on to new, better paying projects. I saw comics get mired in bland repetition, or slow to an update schedule that was unforgivable, or just fade away. In one case I watched a creator clearly experience a break with reality. In another I watched with grim fascination as the geeks became business men who became just kind of total assholes. And in some cases my tastes just changed.

But there are still a few stalwart, regularly updating strip-style webcomics that I still absolutely love and think you might really enjoy. So, here are some Webcomics I can recommend without reservations:

Scary Go Round by John Allison: At the moment, I think the enterprise is called Bad Machinery, or maybe it's Bobbins (the new Bobbins, not the original one). It was just Expecting To Fly. It is sometimes Murder She Wrote and Giant Days, except now Giant Days is an ongoing from Boom Studios. For me, though, it will always be Scary Go Round. Or maybe more accurately, the amazing comics of John Allison. Because really all of the stories are at least loosely connected with each other and span, wow, probably at least a decade of storytelling. The Scary Go Round comics show a pretty impressive range of stories and characters but generally centre around the fictional northern English town of Tackleford and often involve some sort of Sci-fi or supernatural MacGuffin to drive the plots. (A favourite chapter for instance features The Boy (Le Garcon!) on a French exchange where he must resist his extra-relationship feelings for a cute French girl and expose the new French Easter Bunny as a Wendigo in disguise). Scary Go Round (etc) is just filled with fun, uncouth stories filled with wonderfully developed characters and a weird and inane sense of humour coupled to some of my favourite cartoon art in the world. It is endlessly fun and I cannot recommend it enough. Updates Mon-Fri and sometimes more.

Jumping on points: 
Recent continuity free Scary Go Round story: Expecting to Fly
Fairly recent reboot focusing on new characters: Bad Machinery
Favourite older Scary Go Round stories: Giant Days and The Bell

Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran: Remember those earnest television cartoons from our Millennial Youths? Those fun, but really dramatic cartoons that followed young teens as they learned about life largely by making mistakes? Well Octopus Pie is like the adult equivalent of these deeply important cultural artifacts. It stars a pair of 20-something women and their friends living in Brooklyn and trying to figure out life. But not in like, a super precious way: Octopus Pie has a certain self-deprecating charm that stops it from being obnoxiously twee. While Octopus Pie starts as a Nerds-vs-Stoners odd couple story, it grows and evolves into a story about really well developed young adults struggling with under-employment, being cash-strapped, relationship angst, and just generally being emotional dummies. I find the comic relatable, funny, and just filled with first-world tragedy and cathartic mini-triumphs. It's great. Updates once or twice a weekly usually.

Jumping on points:
The current storyline is mostly easy to pick up and is in colour: Go HERE.
A classic story that serves as a good intro to the world: Couch Sitter
A personal favourite of mine: Skate or Don't

Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell: Not all strip comics have to be humour focused. Gunnerkrigg Court is a strip based, serialized comic about two girls at a weird boarding school filled with magic and mad science and mystery. The plot centres around the two girls, Antimony Carver and Katerina Donlan, as they grow up, discover their aptitudes, and become embroiled in the complicated and contentious relationship of the structured Court and the surrounding magical denizens of the Forest. Gunnerkrigg Court is all ages in the best ways and is filled with humour, wonder, and discovery. The art is quite nice and is constantly evolving and growing along with the characters and writing. It's fantastic. Updates M-W-F.

Jumping on points:
Honestly, as much as the comic improves as it runs, I think you need to start this one at the beginning: Go HERE.

The Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch: This comic barely updates anymore, but for me it will always be, like, the ideal of gag strips. The comic features beautiful artwork and a warped, transgressive sense of humour. PBF also is maybe the best comic I've read at quickly establishing premises and delivering unexpected, clever punchlines. Every joke is different and worth at least looking at. Updates "wheneverly" and rarely.

Jumping on points:
Every joke stands alone so go to the home page (HERE) and just mash the "random" button and enjoy.

Post by Michael Bround

Stuff I Like: Podcasts

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