|A review of The Morning Improv
by Kajamir the Giant
By my standards, I'm not particularly a fan of Scott McCloud. I think he's insightful concerning the medium of comics and people's prespectives on them, but I don't necessarily agree with him, or find his reputation as overrated. However, I welcome the experiment of The Morning Improv as at least being interesting. It's a mix of inspiration, technique, content, and randomness. Sometimes it works well, others, not really at all, in regards to it's consistent appeal to be interesting/amusing. The idea behind the comics seems interpretive, so you can't quite read it straight and say "Here is the plot, here are the people, here is the church, here is the steeple..." Rather, take each comic as it is and think about how it works for you or not. Because it changes itself up in every new improvisation he makes, it lacks the shallowness and monotony of other one shot based webcomics.
Though I had to root around a little to see the apparent idea behind this, Scott is given a list of titles by his readers and goes to work from that, making a short comic pretty much as he sees fit. Some of these comics have continuations in them, but nothing that requires anything more than the slightest committment to read. Improvisation is an amusing thing, one I know better from my old days in drama class. Doing it in comic form was rather intriguing. Alas, there are exceedingly few comics to read in The Morning Improv, so it must certainly take Mr. McCloud a lot of effort and time from his schedule.
Two comics in particular stand out to me; Meadow of the Damned and A Bucket Full O' Kittens. I liked how they presented an underlying message without seeming too trite or typical. A lot of what the reader gets from The Morning Improv is implied and again, interpreted. You can read them straight on, but the experience would likely be rather lacking, I think. The Morning Improv offers the reader a little more in terms of something to think about if he chooses to pursue it.
There's a lot of other good comics on here too. Uninformed Bob uses repetition, experimentation, and ultimately, existentialism. It's a mix of creepy and humorous. Junk Bar is patently ridiculous yet shows a viewpoint of the changing times. Somnivore is unsettling by concept. And while I didn't like looking at the basic imagery in The Parallelogram's Revenge, I guess it goes to show a story can be told with very little visual effort. This is a feat of design, considering there is no text whatsoever and only geometric shapes to look at.
While there's mostly good comics here, some don't do much to prove interesting. I would probably estimate my dislike of these was I felt they were too random even while they contained an underlying meaning. No One Tells Interesting Jeff What To Do!, Robots Love to Dance!, and I am The Most Beautiful Dog in The World, occured to me as being kind of weak. Monkey Town was a mix of amusing and annoying in and of itself. I couldn't help but think Dragonball Z looking at it. Maybe that was the idea, but it was kind of cliche if that was the statement. I imagine it's intended to be predictable, but it's important for something to be interesting to read too. The art was at least, decent.
The Morning Improv is extremely short. Really, you could go read all of them in about a half hour's time, so it's easy for anyone to check it out. Further, the comic's seem to load fairly quickly, perhaps thanks to the quirky layout? So, while I'm not by rule a fan of Mr. McCloud's work as a whole, The Morning Improv proved to be a pleasant experience. I give this slice of experimentation an 8.5 out of 10 stars. Not bad, not bad at all.