Webcomic Book Club Full Reviews
of A God's Life by Sylvan Migdal

A comic with an interesting concept. Unfortunately, like a Performance Art piece, the good concept falls a bit flat in the execution.

God's Life isn't necessarily a deep comic, and it never wants you to believe that. Although at first the material has a certain resemblance with Douglas Adams' and Terry Pratchett's works (complete with little footnotes that, were it Pratchett, would be tremendously witty but here they are just amusing sometimes), it quickly veers away from that approach. I was somewhat dissappointed at this, because as the story progressed I saw how the different tales could have benefited from a slightly more sardonic outlook. By itself, however, it's not unpleasant-- it is merely not very profound.

The issue that lies at the center of the comic is the relationship between a creator and his universe. In this comic, we bring the creator into the world he has created (or, to be more specific, the world that his uncle created and that it is up to him to manage) and allow him to experience the consequences of his actions (but mainly his uncle's previous actions). Very, but very vaguely reminiscent of a "Small Gods" premise, the storyline opts instead to veer away from any possible theological implications or polemic and instead deal with the Human-as-Creator... of course, at the end of the comic we meet the creator of the Human (the cartoonist), and of course we can see where that particular idea generates an infinite number of creators and sub-creations.

The concept, like I said, is interesting. The execution leaves something to be desired-- but it depends on what you were looking for when you came to read this comic. If you want a deep philosophical storyline, look elsewhere. If you want a bit of a not-too-deep adventure mixed with parody, then click right ahead.

The characters themselves range from bit parts to slightly more substantial . Strangely enough the main protagonist is pretty much indifferent to the reader: It's hard to identify with him because he's got very few traits that could be easily identifiable outside of his quips (an unfortunate underdevelopment which he shares with his now-unemployed colleague, Callae). Some characters do get a good trait or two that helps the character become a comedic gimmick, such as Benor's mention of Ferik and the bitter enchanted ruby-sword. The only character that I felt came close to being fleshed out was the mad prophetess (yes, I call her that because of the laughter).

Her background story grounded her (immortal, lost her beloved, the weight of immortality etc etc etc, the disillusion when she found out that the creator wasn't truly omnipotent) and gave her a finality... unfortunately the denouement of her tale is rather convoluted and not well-explained at all (why did rebooting the universe suddenly fix everything? That part certainly didn't make any sense, since the world was pretty much molded into that state by events. Perhaps "Loading" from an earlier 'saved' version of the universe {pre-change} would have made a little more sense), and I still am in the dark about most of the particularities of the QAs (Duh Duh DUH) but the ending of her tale was satisfactory, if underrated. The ending of the comic itself is also a bit rushed, but it was a good twist to end the story with.

Overall, God's Life was entertaining... it wasn't exactly an amazing read, but part of its problems stem from not knowing exactly what it wants to be: A satire, a philosophical story, or a fun and silly adventure. The mixture doesn't really damn it, but it weighs it down too much for an elegant execution.

The art isn't bad, at the beginning it is clearly very basic, and it gets better later on- nothing spectacular, but it is nice to see how the artist gets more comfortable with the world he's created.

At the moment, God's life is a bit too thin for me, but I can't say I didn't enjoy quite a few moments of it (The Psalm Pilot, for example). For a final score , I give it 5 over 10. The concept is good, the art is adequate... I would have liked a little more balance in the elements that make up the story, so you have serious and comedic elements balancing each other. As it currently is, it's halfway on its way to a good job: Right now it's not necessarily a must-read, but you will walk away with interesting ideas based on the original concept. (Note: Perhaps trying to tell the story with more detail and care? Of course it would take more pages than the ones currently employed).
Review by Maus MerryJest Sun Oct 24 2004 03:45 AM

It's somewhat crude at the beginning, and the ending is rather strange....but "A God's Life" does entertain, and ponders some interesting questions on the relation between the creator and his creations.

Art:Crude in the beginning, but it starts to improve. The backrounds and color are nice, and the whole time in Firmament was quite good-the sketchiness of the art fit in well with the location's nature. The only issue I saw was in the character design. Many of the faces in "A God's Life" were very similar, and were mostly distinguished by their hairstyle and color.

Story: A little dull, but with a quick pace to keep the reader from feeling bored. Certain elements weren't very clear, such as how the Qas worked....but the stories of how Ieris dealt with his creations were great, and the ending twist was very amusing. Unfortunately, those are the only elements that stand out in the story to me. After the first few chapters, the more serious elements take priority, which does make things more interesting, but we don't spend enough time on those elements to build any dramatic tension.

Characters: Spotty. Characters like Areqa and Saphr were interesting, since they were bound up in a lot of the world's history and had their own, distinct personalities, especially Areqa. Others, like Aerael and Callae, seemed ill-suited to being the main characters. Aerael in particular just doesn't get much definition-even the initial idea of "slacker" seems like a slapped-on label for easy identification. Ferik, on the other hand, is delightfully simple-he's a barbarian, damn it, so he'll be a barbarian in every way! It's a very simple gag, but it works because Ferik isn't stupid....just dedicated.

Writing: Interesting, but the creator mostly relies on witty comments to see them through the humorous parts of the story. It's a little hard to believe the characters can keep coming up with witty quips or non sequiters in every situation. However, the creator raises some interesting questions about the creative process. How seriously do we take our creations? How do they feel about us, and how would they feel if they knew how we treated them when they weren't aware? It's an interesting topic, and it's a little sad that we don't get to explore it further-but the comic also ends before it can become annoying.

Overall: "A God's Life" could use some revision and reworking, maybe a little extension....but it's a nice diversion, and talks about some interesting questions without delving in too deeply. 6 out of 10.
Review by Benor Fri Oct 22 2004 10:21 AM

That was unfulfilling.

This was clearly an early work, what with the blocky art styles, simple expressions and poses and off-kilter (if not just plain flat) perspectives.

Each joke felt like an unfunny bullet through my brain. Really, who on Earth still says, "That's my name, don't wear it out"? More often than not, the humor's random and weak at the same time. Humorous dilogue may have wanted to be here, but I think it took a detour off a cliff a few miles back.

Story? It starts out with a simple enough concept, a teenage diety decides to clean up a world that he's been given, and shortly after his girlfriend also poofs herself into that world, they get into all sorts of "wacky" adventures with horrible medieval stereotypes. Then it gets convoluted and even more uninteresting when they meet with these demigods(?) and one of them does some kind of bad stuff for some reason. Oh, and there's boobies and random swear words.

After everything seems solved, there seems to be another crisis on the world, but all it turns out to be is some suit in the God realm who somehow turns into a giant monster. Then the author steps in. The end.

Mnemesis seems better than this. Too bad I can't read the whole thing (credit cards are hard to get for me). Toward the end, it seems that the art and narrative had improved somewhat to the point of being tolerable, and I hope the author learned how to make a better webcomic.

As it stands, there are better things to do on the internet.
Review by Cobra Wed Oct 20 2004 02:28 PM

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