|A review of Shaw Island
by Kajamir the Giant
Shaw Island is an addictive comic. There's something about it, like a fine pina colada, that brings you back again and again. I spent 2.5 days reading the entire archive on and on, and I must say, I do not consider it a waste of time. This comic is funny, cute, and lip biting.
To start off, although there are several places bearing missing words and spelling mistakes, the writing quality is pretty powerful. The plethora of things the reader encounters is wonderful, from Gaming Jesus, to the Socialist Krab Party, to the simple conflicts of some ferryworkers, the design is fantastic. Writing content and wit is easily the most muscular part of this comic. I found myself at several times, relating to what the characters were saying, as well as seeing what was being played out, as modern situations.
The comic starts out on an on going trend. Disassociative modern relations, and plays this through to the end. This would get a little heavy, and at the beginning, it is very preachy for several comics. However, this is broken up by seeing what other island natives are up to, including the sentient talking animals, which makes a lot of difference. Once you get past that hump, the comic does a spiralling motion, playing on more serious things, to funny, then back again. It is a sort of yin yang quality that makes this comic seem fresh, even when using material we may have heard.
The art is nothing overtly amazing, but it can't be denied the artist does some really cute animals. In effect, it is acceptable imagery, but nothing too award winning. It is quite possible if it was more showy, it might feel a bit detracting from things. So as it is, it works.
There are times, when the images shown are repeated too much and things get a static look. I could have done with more facial expressions, but again, the writing is the main aspect of this comic. And for that alone, you will likely come back for more. Aside from the often unchanging imagery of the human characters, there's several times I found myself wondering, 'Is that a man or a woman?'.
Reading this comic, it's hard not to see something of yourself or your world in it. It plays along a lot of modern discontent; our relations with other people and the world itself. Shaw Island is its own little place and while fantastic in nature, there's also something quite real in it. I would find myself thinking 'I know what this guy is feeling' to 'I have a friend like this.'.
I really recommend reading Shaw Island. If you start at the very beginning, give it a little time, because there's a heaviness that alleviates quite soon. It periodically crops up again, but it is in minority compared to the wonderful nature of the rest.
You will be pleased you found a witty, urbane, and fun comic like this. This will definitely be on my favorites and I applaud the creator on the design and amusing content.
I rate Shaw Island 8 out of 10. Go read. Hamster Gandhi commands it!