Webcomic Book Club Reviews by Xenix

I'm not sure that "Nearly Forgotten" even counts as a webcomic. Sure, it has imagery and it tells a story, but it still feels a little weird to be calling it that. It seems less... personal than others. Photographs are nice, but they are images of extant scene, not the creation of such scenes. In my opinion, a webcomic should have something of the author in it, and it's just really hard to do that with what amounts to 'stock footage'.

Come to think of it, there wasn't much in the way of story, either. There were words, and they were pseudo-intellectual, but not really thought-provoking. At times, it seemed as if the author was trying to impress me with their ability to think through their own statements. I ended up letting the text fade into the background by the third or fourth page. Hrm... I did the same with the pictures, too... Nothing really jumped out at me and said, "Hey! I'm important! Look at me!" Rather blasé.

The navigation was irksome, mostly because the pictures would sometimes be scattered all over the page; I wouldn't know which way to go. I'm slightly biased against comics where things are all stretched out and wander aimlessly across the page, and while some can be very effective, others just flop. This would be one of those flops.

Nearly Forgotten gets a nice One out of Ten. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, and the only saving grace is that it ended quickly.
Tue Mar 23 2004 07:33 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Catharsis is a very low-thought webcomic involving some zany antics, some good lines, and some generally amusing scenes.

It's not a comic I read to think or to experience a good story. I have Kagerou and Jack for things like that. I read Catharsis because it makes as little sense as it does. It's a nice change of pace from everything else, in my opinion.

The artwork has definitely improved over time, although I willingly admit that the strips can be a bit wordy at times. You even get the occasional one that falls flat, but that's going to happen in any webcomic.

There is no definitive plot, per se, and I don't think that Catharsis seriously suffers because of it. The very name of the webcomic says it all. It seems to me that this is all about expressing ideas and emotions within a person. 'Airing them out', so to speak. Don't expect for it to always make sense, because it's not really 'for' you. It's for the author, and I'm happy just to tag along in case something interesting or particularly nonsensical ambles on by.

I give Catharsis Eight and a Half out of Ten. Good strip when compared to itself and what it is. When compared to other webcomics, it would almost invariably rank lower. Ah, well, such is life and perspective.
Thu Mar 04 2004 04:31 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

[OOC] *hums to himself, going about trying to get through a few reviews in his spare time* [/OOC]

Well, Unicorn Jelly was one of the webcomics that I nominated, and I'm a bit sorry that I wasn't here to give the review on time. ^_^;; However, better late than never.

I feel that Unicorn Jelly is one of the better thinking webcomics out there, if not one of the best. It starts off with a very 'fantasy adventure video game' style, but quickly takes off from there. What I found most interesting is how the story progressed from such humble beginnings to literally universe-spanning proportions.

The ideas and concepts increase in potency as the story progresses, constantly adding more and more levels of thought and meaning. Even somebody just reading webcomics for fun and the simple pleasures of story and art can get something out of Unicorn Jelly, which makes it rather unique in terms of webcomics. 1/0 didn't exactly have a 'soft and fluffy' side for more casual readers, and such a softer side broadens the base appeal.

The artwork was fantastic for being pixels and being in the style that it is. It makes the story read differently than it would with, oh, an anime look, for example. The 'video game' look lends itself well to the epic storyline and world-changing actions.

The background information... woo... I was blown away by what I saw there. Take a few hours to stroll through the entirety of the Unicorn Jelly site and you get a brainful of information not only on Unicorn Jelly itself, but also on the concepts embodied within and the thought processes of the author.

Overall, any webcomic can use help and additional work, and Unicorn Jelly is no exception. Despite its shortcomings, I still find that the underlying ideas come through and, most importantly to me, it tells a good story. I give it an Eight out of Ten.
Thu Mar 04 2004 04:17 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Ah, yes, I remember this webcomic from some number of months ago. I read it, saw that it updated slowly, and lost interest in following it. It's interesting to see it again as a reviewer and not just a reader.

Art: The art for "Flipside" is a little stiff at first, but overall very readable. It could stand to be better in some places, but it is, in general, very nice. My one recurring complaint is the way the author draws profiles. A head drawn in profile, especially Maytag's, seems to have a mouth and nose that jut several inches out of the rest of the face. It's a tad disconcerting to look at, is all. The colored pieces are very nice, and they give a good idea of what the characters should look like, which is a plus.

Characters: I like some of the characters, but others leave me wanting to try and look at them from the side to see if they're cardboard cutouts. Maytag seems interesting enough, and Moss has been intriguing from the beginning, but a lot of the characters seem only ankle-deep. The trio of assassins at the beginning, to name three. The sudden explanation behind why Moss is the way that he is and the manner in which he got that way is a bit... well, it's a bit of a let-down. That part of him could have been delivered better. Personally, I liked the husband-wife face-off and I feel that it, and all the little character details leading up to it were nice, if a bit heavy-handed.

Story/Writing: The plot is okay, I like some of the facets to it in regards to magic, and it generally has decent flow from chapter to chapter. Not the best, but very nice. The writing is also adequate, and I've not many comments on it, good or bad.

Overall: I like Flipside. It's a bit blotchy in places, but it's basically a work-in-progress, so a little dust is to be expected. The comments that the author gives help to show where they're improving or experimenting, as well as giving little insights into the mechanics of the world. Worth keeping an eye on, despite the flaws, as it has a heart and soul to it uncommon in today's webcomics. 7 out of 10.
Tue Jan 27 2004 05:32 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

[OOC] Please forgive this random note, but the new 2004 Webcomic Book Club picture is absolutely fantastic. Thank you Furilius and Denise. Now, back to your regularly scheduled review. [/OOC]

I've been following Wish3 for a while and my thoughts on it are a bit mixed.

On one hand, I love the idea of the plot and how it brings in all the classic elements of storytelling, such as external evils/pressures, true friends, fate, internal evils/pressures, action, background, destiny as something that is changable (i.e. failing when you're fated to succeed), and even some of the light beginnings of love.

However, some of the plot elements, such as Basil's family all being out to get him, seem a tad... forced, in a way. The evil sword is so stereotypical that I actually cringed when it first came out, but it is a reasonable human wish, when you think about it. I guess we're just stereotypical creatures.. >_>

Looking at the characters, I enjoy them, but they also seem a bit cut-and-paste at times. Not entirely, mind you, but enough that I could, with little effort, get them confused with characters from other manga-esque works. They do have their unique traits, though...

Moving on to art... I find it a bit confusing at times, especially in black and white. Not an entirely bad thing, and at least the panels all go in an expected left-right-up-down fashion. The art is usually clean, but can get very fuzzy and conceptually muddy at times, especially during action scenes.

My two main comments on Wish3 are in regards to the layout. First, I think that the comic could stand to be on its own page, without frames and just with a simple header and footer. Maybe it's just my current computer, but I was continually scrolling about and wishing that I could see everything at once, to truly get a feel for each page in its entirely, not just as a series of panels connected together. Secondly, the kanji characters used as speech, while interesting, became a little annoying after three or four pages of nothign but them for text. A translation, even rough, would have been nice, just to give a better idea of what is going on. In the Basil/Mitei fight, I don't know if Mitei is being arrogant, righteous, mocking, or just plain "I will kill you!", and some idea of her words would help a lot to set the scene.

Overall, I find that Wish3 is a generally good webcomic, and while I will continue to read it, it gets only a Six out of Ten from me.
Mon Jan 12 2004 04:48 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire is a webcomic that I happen to enjoy, despite the rough edges here and there.

Beginning with the most visually obvious rough edge, the artwork isn't the best out there, but I enjoy its sketchy lines and 'drawn in a notebook' style. Some comics use that style and just look lazy, but Dominic Deegan makes it look relaxed and easy-going. Even during tense scenes, I still feel as if I'm watching a cartoon on television: the action pulls me in, but never to the point that I am no longer aware of the distinction between myself and the characters. I happen to like this in this particular case, as I read enough other webcomics that are largely sympathetic in nature, pulling me into them.

Yes, the occasional missing background or confusion between who is who (I've had this happen a few times to me, but then, I have it happen to me a few times in almost every webcomic) is a bit distracting, but not to a major degree.

The overall idea of taking a main character and making him able to see the future is a new one, as the role of seer is typically reserved for a 'spear-carrier' character: somebody in the background who moves the story along some. However, both the limits that the author has imposed, as well as a clever idea of how Dominic came to be a seer have always interested me. These additions both remove what could be a major deus ex machina epidemic, as well as adding depth to the story.

I find the three brothers' reactions to their family's attack to be very interesting. There's a reason behind each brother's choice, and these reasons hold up even under some heavy scrutiny.

Moving away from the three brothers, the other characters have a healthy amount of life and individuality to them, allowing them to interact easily with each other. The depth of personality that Luna or Dominic has is nice, and there is a nice contrast between these complex characters and the simpler ones, such as Luna's mother, Sparks, and the two thieves that have been following Dominic around practically since day one.

Plot-wise, Dominic Deegan has been known to throw me for a loop now and again, but it is otherwise very inviting and once I get over the initial missteps, I can easily follow the story and action. Of course, the puns are just about my everyday speed. ^_^

In all, Dominic Deegan is an interesting webcomic with a relaxed feel to it. I give it Eight out of Ten, and if you don't go read, then... well... you'll just miss out, now won't you?
Sun Jan 04 2004 06:40 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

All in all, Teaching Baby Paranoia strikes me a lot like Something Positive. It's caustic, abrasive, and has some very strong views on some rather touchy subjects. Of course, TBP is also a lot like the old joke, "'Gullible' is written on the ceiling." This combination makes for an... interesting read, to say the least.

The characters are all fictitious (or are they?), but are typically linked together in multiple ways and most of them (or all, I'm not quite sure on a few) are facets of the author's personality. One part is his geekiness, another is his 'cool', and yet a third is his 'salty old soul with a burning hatred for the sea'. I imagine that the links would be fascinating to follow, had I not read things in pieces and gotten myself thoroughly confused several times. I did notice some of the links during my last reading session and following some of them proved most interesting.

The artwork is crisp, clean, and while the colors were often 'off' and threw me for a loop, I eventually got used to them. The scheme (especially when he used brownscale) was very fitting in regards to...

...the writing, which often took on a "Tales from History" theme. Of course, this is rather like the Fractured Fairy Tales from Rocky & Bullwinkle. TBP tells tales that ring of falsity, but then, they also ring partially of truth. The footnotes were interesting, sometimes useful, but largely a bit of a bother, at least in the 'weekly' display format that Modern Tales uses.

Due to the "moose and squirrel" sideshow themes, Faultish footnotes, and confusing colors, Teaching Baby Paranoia gets a 6 out of 10 from me. I liked it, but not enough to keep reading.
Tue Dec 16 2003 12:00 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

A bit of a shorter review this week because of the press of exams. No, not studying for them, but both of my Monday exams require work to be done in advance of the actual exam. ¬.¬

Enough whining on my part! ^_^ On with the review!

"Tween" was... odd. While I like the story, I can't help but feel that it could be made a tad more cartoony.

While the artwork is good, and while I always enjoy a good degree of detail, I believe that there is a point at which the level of detail becomes too much and begins to actually detract from the webcomic. This is one of those cases. The art isn't horrible, mind you, but it could stand to be a little less detailed, in my mind.

The classic 'great evil returning' fantasy story can be done one of two ways: good and bad. A story either 'has it', or it doesn't. Tween happens to have it in spades. I find the ideas of a banja bean-smoking old wizard and an evil minion wizard who realizes the datedness of 'evil' to be a rather original, cynical, and amusing take on an old story.

Speaking of the characters, I found some of them to be amusing, and most of them to be interesting. Pheebus is annoyingly naïve or paranoid at times, often alternating between one and the other in quick succession.

In all, I've seen better, I've seen better, and this story is just getting started. With a little effort, Tween could be the bizarre, underground version of a McKiernan novel. Keeping this potential in mind, Tween gets a Seven out of Ten.
Sat Dec 06 2003 02:01 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Review of "American Born Chinese"

Very interesting...

There are about three different plotlines: a monkey who wants to be so much more, a Chinese American kid growing up, and a television show about a stereotypical Chinese American. The transition is a little rough, but not entirely so. I enjoyed them for the most part, especically the Monkey chapters, but then... I'm weird like that.

The art is clean, smooth, and very descriptive. There is the occasional 'transparent' panel, the effect of which is very striking.

The characters are well-built, and I can get inside their heads. Even if I don't agree with their methods or ideas, I can see where they're coming from.

Overall, "American Born Chinese" seems to show the culture, the stereotype, and the reality of Chinese Americans. This is both very interesting and very effective. I've gained a bit of understanding that I didn't have before, which is always good. Eight-point-Five out of Ten from this corner.
Mon Nov 24 2003 05:59 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

You know, I didn't exactly find "The New Adventures of Death" funny. I didn't dislike it, but it just didn't strike me as all that amusing. Often, in any comic, there will be one or twelve strips that just aren't really funny, or are off-the-wall enough to just be interesting. It's a little weird to see an entire strip like this, though.

The art is clean, and I like the way that I can follow a story. There isn't much in the way of plot, mind you, and what there is isn't all that entertaining, but it is interesting. I think that the very nature of how the webcomic is sort of blasé is what makes it interesting to me. I don't think I'll continue reading, but it was a nice little side trip in the journey of webcomics.

I know my review is short this week, but things have been piling up and I'm hoping that Thanksgiving Break will clear up some of that nonsense. I doubt it, though. In all, I give "The New Adventures of Death" a Four out of Ten. Interesting, but not all that entertaining.
Thu Nov 20 2003 04:37 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

It isn't bad, per se, but it really isn't my cup of tea. I could deal with the comic better if it wasn't so... pushy. There's the ranting, the seemingly blatant anti-commercialism, and the 'ugly' artwork. It all screams that there has to be something more than what is on the surface; that there is some hidden meaning buried deep between the lines of dialogue and ink.

If it is there, I can't find it, and it's not for want of trying. I've heard other people go on about how great this cartoonist is and how wonderful his work is, so I tried extra-hard to see what there was in his work that was so appealing.

Now, this is just a small sampling of his work, but if it's representative of that work, I don't think I'll be reading anymore. I'm willing to take the small sample size into account, though.

"Hutch Owen - Public Relations!" by itself receives a 1 out of 10. Taken as just part of a greater comic whole that we haven't reviewed, however, it receives a 4 out of 10. Nice, but not my cup of tea.
Sun Nov 16 2003 05:32 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

I, like Benor, tried out Modern Tales right away. I also read VS right away. Before I finished my last review, actually.

I enjoyed Vicious Souvenirs greatly. The only thing I could compare it to is Rising Stars by J. Michael Staczynksi. You have a world where superheroes and supervillains exist; where people have powers beyond that of normal humans. Then you stick these people together in an effort to take over the world.

Now, it sounds a little corny, but stick with me here. This isn't your "I shall rule the world! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" kind of story, but the "Well, the current governments aren't doing any good, so let's make a system where every person out there is taken care of." Okay, it still sounds a little corny, but it's deeper than all that. It has enough intrigue and plot and wrong turns and double-backs to keep you guessing where everything is all leading.

Granted, the same things that make the story exciting also make it a little difficult to grasp at times, but the author is good at explaining things and catching you up (at least enough to not be stumbling blindly) within the first page or three. The plot has red herrings and dropped slippers that it hasn't even touched on, yet.

The characters read like real people. They're arrogant, mistrusting, happy, sad, sickened, guilt-ridden, and intrigued all at the right moments. They're more than just simple 'heroes', but humans who have more-than-human abilities. Of course, I may just be reading more into the comic than there is, but such is the nature of a critique. Most of all, I cherished the ability of the characters to be wrong. And not wrong in very grand ways or in very min or ways, but in that middle ground where things get really hazy. They have their ideologies, and their day-to-day goals, but thinking, oh, a month or two ahead, or pondering what the boss' past was all about, can see the characters wrong as often as right.

In a technical sense, I enjoyed the 'silhouette narration' of Wikkid is his older years (I assume older as he refers to the comic's events in the past tense) because of how it drew the story together. It links the various scenes together as parts of a single flashback.

The art was very clean and nicely done. there was a bit of copy/paste in parts, but it wasn't all that horrendous. Especially not with the dynamism that the animation provided. Each chapter had moving parts and panels, to show the world to you one frame at a time. It was a very nice example of how a multimedia comic can be crafted skillfully and still carry all the same punch of static versions.

Overall, Vicious Souvenirs is well worth the read. Sit down, check it out, and spend a little while in somebody else's world. Nine out of Ten from this corner.
Tue Nov 04 2003 03:17 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Well, with my busy week, I have little time to go through the entire archives, thus I shall review from memory! While always a sketchy proposition, it is made even more so by the medium of webcomics. Well, without further ado...

Clan of the Cats has fairly intriguing characters, a constant and readable style, adequate plot, and is remarkably light on the "Xian" bashing. The fact that the latter even needs to be mentioned should provide ample evidence as to my opinion of most 'wiccan' material. This does not mean that I cannot enjoy such 'bashing' pieces, merely that I have a bias against such. That is, however, a topic for a different forum, and likely quite off-topic.

The characters are more than just paper cutouts. They have a life of their own and react in very human ways. Paul's initial rejection and later "coming around" and Ben's reactions from the very beginning up to the latest strip are both very human and realistic. I have always been pleasantly surprised at the level of understanding of human emotions, reactions, and relationships that Jamie seems to grasp.

The current artwork is clear, realistic to a point, and certainly enjoyable enough to add to the story. Color is nice, although Sebastian has never really disturbed me as much as a blue cat should... >_> Taking a few moments to randomly glance into the past, memories flood back that this was not always so (the artwork, not Sebastian's coloring), but even back then, it had enough of a style and readability to be coherent. Not perfect, but decent.

The plot comes in arcs and the occasional crossover. Werebeasts, witches, and vampires... Oh my! There's also the occasional mage, elf, mutant, demon, extra-planar traveler, talking cat, or other oddball character to help liven things up. Personally, I enjoy the plot for being cohesive and well-thought-out, although there has been the occasional story arc that has left me going, "Huh?" The Alice crossover and the current The Dracula War being the two most prominent examples in my mind.

Clan of the Cats is a webcomic that I will recommend to others. Not only does it possess good characterization and plot, but the artwork gets pretty nifty, too. The pros outweigh the cons, for a nice Eight-point-Two-Five out of Ten.
Tue Oct 28 2003 04:39 PM | Read All Reviews for this title


Well, it started a bit poorly and made me cringe repeatedly, be it with memories of past incidents, or just the banality of the entire piece. However, I did eventually realize that the entire webcomic is intended to be satire, and quite often, the kind with lots of sharp teeth. That, and it grew on me.

By the end, I was really getting into it. The characters had become more than just a collection of names and faces. The scenery had become more complex and detailed. The plot was rich, heady, and full of vive. One might almost analyze Elf Only Inn to be an analogy of our online lives with other people. First, there is the bland, nameless meetings, but as we go on, not only do our own online personas take on more life, but other people's personas become deeper and more real to us. We learn to see them as more than a handle. As we do so, the scenery of our camaraderie and relationships becomes richer and more alive! We met, grew, expanded, and we find that we truly live when with others. We learn from them, and from ourselves, the true meaning of what it is to be alive and aware!

Or, you could say that it's a fairly decent satirical webcomic that got better over time.

Personally, I prefer the former view, if a smidge toned down. I especially liked the 'Megan's Wedding' scene. It was touching in a way that the rest of the comic strived for, and made up for a large number of the smaller flaws.

In all, Elf Only Inn is a wonderfully biting comic concerning gaming, role-playing, online relationships, and it ended entirely too soon. Nine out of Ten.
Thu Oct 23 2003 05:10 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Eh, Spoiler warning.

As an artistic piece, telling a story from beginning to middle (it ain't dead yet, folks), Kagerou does a superb job.

The characters are stereotypical in some aspects, but very unique in others. After all, how many webcomics can lay claim to a hero with MPD? The feelings between Cho and Kano/Red/Kid are, at times, a little too cliché and overdone, but the manner in which Kagerou deals with that clichéness makes it a little better.

Speaking of that, I very much enjoy how Kagerou does acknowledge the overdone portions of itself, before moving right along. A particular scene involving a World Tree, Dinadan-in-a-human-body, and concerning a magical sword brought numerous chuckles forth from my lips.

The plot has been an equally curious combination of overdone and unique. There is your standard Good vs. Evil, but with a fair amount of twists and 'third parties' to keep things very much original and entertaining. I enjoy the morbid parts as much as the happy parts as much as the action-y parts. It isn't entirely what I expected, but that's not a bad thing.

Moving on to layout, I am afraid that the same stunning accolades can not be showered about onto this section of Kagerou. While I truly loved the used of color, and I feel that it was both innovative and a truly marvelous way of showing various characters and states of mind, it took me a few dozen pages before I got fully into it. Even then, there were a few pages that could have been made clearer. On a similar note, the lack of indication as to who is speaking what and in what order was confusing, but this minor flaw was limited mostly to the first three chapters; I don't recall many problems understanding the speakers after that. On a similar note (x2), the panel layout was equally confusing at times, and especially in the beginning. The addition of arrows helped, but it still jarred me whenever I came across it. It never completely disrupted the story flow, but it was definitely noticeable.

Artwork varies in places, but it is typically clean, pleasing to the eye, and conveys the story's non-textual components very accurately. The occasional bout of chibi isn't entirely inappropriate, and I didn't mind its presence, although others might.

Kagerou started off very murky and choppy, but it improved with time. While it is still somewhat murky by the nineteenth chapter, I, personally, happen to enjoy a decent level of murkiness in my webcomic plots. I feel that it adds to Kagerou's appeal. The art, characters, and plot are all wonderful, but the early hiccups combine with an over-all lack of clarity to give Kagerou (an electric manga) an Eight-and-a-Half out of Ten.
Wed Oct 15 2003 03:35 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

To begin with, this was not "Partially Clips", it was "Entirely Clips". It bears disturbing similarities to "Get Your War On" by David Rees. One is monotonously horrible and the other is horribly monotonous. While I have no real objections to clip-art work (other than the obvious plagiarism comment), some effort should at least be made to make the strip move.

Everything, and I mean, everything in this piece was driven by the text. That isn't a good thing when the text itself falls flat time and time again. I had to stop reading after the fortieth strip, and only one of those was even remotely amusing.

I can understand the appeal of an episodic clip-art comic. They have the potential to be quite entertaining, if executed with creativity and ingenuity. This piece of work, however, has neither. Text nearly worthy of the title 'drivel' is slapped onto bland and static art. Zero out of Ten. Do not click. Do not read. Do not bother.
Tue Oct 07 2003 06:16 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

This is one of those webcomics that I had seen before and even poked my nose into once or twice. I didn't stay with it, though. Reading through from beginning to end was a curious experience, though. Now, then...

1/0 is a story, first and foremost, but it was a tad unique in that it truly does explore self-referentiality. The story starts off in a rather, to put it bluntly, stupid manner, and the artwork is of about the same quality. The latter improves, but not by enormous margins. I won't hold that against 1/0, though. There are times when the art doesn't matter as much as the story, and this is one of those times. It could have stood to be better, but that would merely be icing on the cake.

The former, however, grows. I feel that this webcomic is a superb study in self-reference. Why? Because the more of it that there is, the more complex/defined/undefined/etc it becomes. It has actually become something by the very last strip, although exactly what it has become is up for debate. The change is clearly noticeable over time, however, and any stops and starts are to be expected from any being developing itself from the ground up.

**Beware the Spoilers of Doom***

The internal plot is curious and waxes and wanes as far as how interesting or entertaining it might be. A few of the arcs piqued my interest, especially the rather large one starting with Marcus fourth-walling. I didn't catch the little 4s the first time around and had to back-up a few strips when they were mentioned by another character. The climax was intriguing, although not entirely unexpected. The reasons for its conception are equally intriguing and just as semi-expected. One strip shortly after the aforementioned climax, really stuck with me.

The characters... Ah, yes, the characters. Two were stolen, three were 'Eden'ed in, one was spontaneously created, three were born from the death of another, and four were built from the environment. All had personalities, of a sort, and many of them grew and changed as the strip went on. Maybe not the deepest of characters, but then, maybe they're deeper than most other webcomic characters, in some ways. I like them, at least.

To repeat myself, an excellent study in self-reference, a story without compare (for, truly, you cannot really compare a story to anything besides itself), and an experience that I feel I am all the richer for having had. Grab a link, settle yourself in for some bumpy sections, and remember that it is not where you get, but how you get there that matters. Eight and a Half out of Ten.
Mon Sep 22 2003 03:31 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Well, when I first saw the title, I thought, "Oh great. It's that stupid saying again." From the beginning, I was slightly biased against this work. I think that lasted until about halfway through the first panel.

This isn't so much a comic as it is a graphic novel. The only true difference between the two is not length or style, but the type of story they tell (or if they even tell a story).

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of "Same Difference", was the natural flow of conversation and events. I could read a chapter and then successfully imagine me and my friends having the exact same conversation. It didn't seem stilted or scripted, like many webcomics can. The actions the characters go through flows smoothly from one event to the next to the next. 'A dynamic work', as my my theatre professor would put it.

One part that really stuck with me comes right in the beginning, where Simon speaks of his high school's Sadie Hawkins dance and his would-be date. It just seems... very human. The feeling continues later on when they meet again. Perhaps I am succumbing to the mass belief that something must be sad or depressing to be 'realistic'; it happens quite enough in my field, truth be told. I do not, however, feel that such invalidates my opinions, nor does it oppugn the over-all humanity (to over-use a word) of the story.

Done very stunningly in grayscale (maybe brownscale, as I trust not the combination of eyes and monitor), "Same Difference" has a very clean and readable style. There are some of the typical 'anime' additives, such as sweatdrops, tension Xs, et cetera, but they add to the effect, rather than detract from it. In all, it is a very human and realistic work, artistically, with enough small 'cartoony' visual cues to make up for not being face-to-face with these characters. (Indeed, I often find myself mentally adding such subtly-perceived cues to my friends' faces at certain moments, but that is a discussion for a different topic.)

"Same Difference" comes to a close with... well, closure, which is a perfectly uncommon and pleasurable occurrence. It leaves me wanting more, but not entirely upset if there isn't any more to be had. Mr. Kim did a superb job of telling a story; not just reciting a series of events for others to listen to, but actually telling a story. It falls somewhere between Nine and Ten out of Ten.
Tue Sep 16 2003 03:06 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

As Luthorn said, this is not your typical webcomic. Therefore, it does not get your typical review.

I read through the entire archives in two sittings (took a break for dinner) and, well, it made little to no sense at first. Well, that's not entirely true. It made some degree of sense at first, sparking thoughts of, "Oh, this is going to be one of those comics." The kind that leave you sitting there wondering where the joke went and hid itself.

As I read on, however, it made even less sense. Of course, by the time I reached the strips requiring large amounts of scrolling, I began to realize that I was going about this all wrong. It was not the comic that made no sense, it was the way in which I was trying to read it. Looking back, some of the strips still make little sense, but a lot more of them click if I throw out my preconceptions about what a comic should be and do and is.

I don't think it will permanently change my way of living and experiencing comics, but it did make me think, and that is, after all, a noble and worthy end. By the end, I was really getting into it. I was hooked and a little disappointed.

And now to the portion resembling a typical review...

Art: The art wasn't the best in the world, but then, it didn't need to be. I felt that it fit very nicely with the story and the overall theme. I refer to both the drawn art and the organization of it upon the page. It made for an interactive experience, and one which I enjoyed. For all the good of it, however, parts of it just rubbed me the wrong way a little. I'm not sure why, but some of the strips just don't... click. Two for Three.

Character: There was only one real character and his reality was questionable, just like any person's. In a way, the narrator is the only character, and that's about as (sur)real as you can get. Three for Three.

Story: Was there one? Maybe, maybe not. The only plot seems to be that of the author himself. The only story is his own. I'm not about to judge a story like that against anything other than itself. Three for Three.

Overall: It was Magic Inkwell Comic Strip Theatre. It was a rather unique experience that I much enjoyed, despite (or because of) the hiccups here and there. It's one of those that makes you think and live and wish for more, or maybe it's just me. Nine for Ten.
Mon Sep 08 2003 02:24 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

Ghost Cat

Characters: The characters are, well, a little weak. I enjoy them in the way that I enjoy many comic characters, but I find that they feel 'cookie-cutter-ish' to me. I dislike saying bad things about another's work at any time, but Ghost Cat's second biggest flaw is the characters. They can be funny, yes, but in a forced sort of way. One out of Three.

Plot: And here is the biggest flaw that I see in Ghost Cat: there isn't any. This isn't a bad thing, especially given the 'Sunday funnies' feel of the strip, but the entire premise and how all these weird things are just thrown together and happen randomly just seems to grate on my nerves. I'm the kind of person who likes a back-story that makes sense and is believable. The way that a lot of the individual strips are set out as stand alone comics works nicely, but I still have misgivings about Ghost Cat's overall depth (or lack thereof). Two out of Three.

Art: The artwork is very nice, however, and very fitting for the comic style. Clean lines, decent coloring, and clearly identifiable objects/places. Three out of Three.

Overall: Personally, I enjoy Ghost Cat. It isn't my favorite comic, but it can still bring a smile to my face when I read it. For that, it gets my bonus point. Ghost Cat receives a Seven out of Ten from me.
Tue Sep 02 2003 02:38 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Haven't finished reading the archives and I'm already sure that this will be a regular. ^_~

Characters: Warrior, Mage, Cleric, and... Henchman!? Thus is the cast of Nodwick, who are very human in their stereotypes. I like it, especially in their interactions. Three out of three!

Art: The artwork is crisp, clean, and possesses all the detail I could want, but then.. I'm not picky. ^_^ I enjoy the occasional special effect and the uncluttered look that it brings across. Three out of three.

Plot: Well, there isn't much of one. Broad story arcs get lost or waylaid by trolls, but that's okay. Personally, I like story arcs, but this comic does very nicely without them. It establishes itself superbly as a "here's a scene from the lives of these people" type of comic. Very good for Nodwick. I especially enjoy how it is centered around not just a band of adventurers, but around a henchmen, who are often woefully under-publicized. Three out of three!

Overall: Well, well, well... Um.. I love it. I can't wait to find time to finish the archives, but if I do that now, something else will fall behind. Probably next week's review. :P In all, Nodwick gets my bonus point for a stunning Ten out of Ten.
Fri Aug 15 2003 01:04 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

The Spiders

Overall, I'm in love.

Characters: The characters were nicely developed, and seemed human, which is how they should be. Real loves, real problems, real lives, real heroes, real commoners, and real jerks. I enjoyed seeing the detail given to them to bring them out, especially in how a character seen as 'evil' was just doing what he believed was right and just. Three out of three,

Plot: Superb, in-depth, and -most of all- believable. More than believable, realistic. I enjoyed the multiple storylines, as well as how there are various sub-plots only half-seen and never really fully explained. This doesn't keep them from being an integral part of the story, though, nor does it detract from the story at all. Three out of three.

Art: The art, while I like this style of webcomic, can be a tad confusing at times. One particular point in Chapter three was difficult to keep track of because there were three things going on at once and I was trying to keep track of all three at the same time. Nothing can be perfect, and this was likely as much my fault as the layout's, but it still gets the art a nice two out of three.

Overall: As before, I'm in love, which gets The Spiders my bonus point. Both readable, entertaining, and educational, this webcomic gets an enthusiastic 9 out of 10. Now to go re-read!
Sat Aug 09 2003 11:35 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

A Review of "The Life Of Riley"
By Xenix

Well, this is another one of those comics which I have already been following regularly. The good news is, I don't have to read an entire archive (or most of it) in order to properly reply. ^_^ The bad news is, I have to think harder about it.

Well, the characters are... developed. They seem to be a little fixed in their niches at times, but otherwise have some nice background and depth to them.

The story... jumps. Looking back, I see how the various pieces-parts link together, but while reading it, I remember that it seemed to jump from one thing to another. Even now, I recall a major jump from a "computer/video geek"-based webcomic like RealLife to a "superhero-ish save-the-world"-ish webcomic like F.O.G. Club. Still seems like too much of a stretch. Oh well, it's a comic.

The art is not perfectly crisp and organized, but it has its own style which I find refreshing at times. Emotion is better displayed sometimes, yet it still seems to lack something when compared with something deemed more 'professional'.

All in all:
A very nice webcomic with some downright hilarious moments. A tad flimsy in places, but I enjoyed it as a casual read. Six out of Ten smiley T-shirts.
Sun Apr 13 2003 05:56 PM | Read All Reviews for this title

The Phantom Critic said:
"There are numbers that would show up on assorted panels like the "22" here that seemed to make no sense. Maybe they are leftovers from some print version.

For Phantom Critic and any others, those numbers bring up the full quote in question, other such bibliographical information, and the occasional anecdote/explanation.

Now then...

Review of "A Drug War Carol"

I often hear very logical and convincing arguments for one thing or another, and so I tend to stop and think when things are shown to me in a perfectly reasonable manner. Thus, after reading A Drug War Carol, I stopped to think. A lot, actually, but those thoughts are for a different forum.

The Story, The History, The Propaganda...
The "A Christmas Carol" look seems to fit for the statement they're making, and it certainly aids a little in the storytelling, but perhaps a different work might have been parodied to better effect. What especially sticks with me is how unbalanced it seems, with the Ghost of Christmas Past's visit being longer than the other two Ghosts put together.

The characters themselves are a little too flat and cookie-cutter-ized versions of people for my tastes. Given that it is a parody, these caricatures are understandable, but they still seem a bit too extreme, and the author's bias shows clearly in show places.

As a history lesson, it seemed to be very factual and well researched, even if I can't shake the feeling that this is only one perspective of the situation. It did give out information in a logical and easy to grasp manner, though, which was helpful to somebody who had never really thought about the subject before.

As propaganda, it was convincing up until the point when the Ghost of Christmas Past spoke of "idiocy". I didn't completely close my mind, not in the least, but it did serve to remind me that this was indeed a propaganda piece and that the author's bias was going to show through. It was a nice reminder, even if unintentional.

Visual Design
The visuals are nice and crisp. They tell as much, if not more, of a story as the wording does. Nothing was ever superior to what I might see in the Sunday funnies, but everything was drawn and colored competently, giving the entire comic a degree of respectability. Mostly, it allowed me to not be distracted by phenomenally good or bad artwork and focus on the story itself, which seemed to be the overall point.


Overall, it was a very nice read and I'm glad I took the time to do so (even though I should be heading off to see about getting registered for two classes in another 10 minutes). Not the best propaganda material in the world, but definitely above par. 7ish ectoplasmic beings out of 10.
Mon Mar 31 2003 05:15 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

Erm... I hope I'm not intruding here. I would've joined earlier, but time constraints prevented me from any "excess" webcomic reading... ((says the boy who reads close to 40 updating on various schedules...)) Things seem to have slowed down, so I'll try to catch and keep up. ^_^;;

A review of Ozy & Millie

Well, I may be a bit biased, as I've been reading up on the exploits of this particular vulpine duo, but I'll do my best to analyze why I like them so.

To begin with, the entire strip takes a stab at fads and the idea of some people being mindless drones. Extremist characterizations are thwarted with deft logic and precise wording by those less 'influenced' by the world at large. Granted, I feel that most of these characterizations are deliberately taken from the fringe edges of society and based at least partially on the author's bias.

That doesn't necessarily make it any less fun to read, though. Everything from political commentary to intellectual/spiritual concepts to near-slapstick antics is sprinkled throughout the archives. Despite the rather eclectic nature, or perhaps because of it, this webcomic serves a broad spectrum of tastes. In example, I came across things during my first reading of the archive that only made sense after I re-read those same comics a few months later.

Such a system pleases most of the people some of time, letting them know that if they tire of the slapstick comedy, something more sating to their palette will be coming along in but another day or two.

The characters, I find, are fairly well-developed, if a few of them do echo strongly of stereotypes. Of course, the characters could be intended to be such extreme "cookie cutter creations," and their presence lends to the overall effect.

While lacking a world-spanning story, Ozy & Millie does have its occasional large story-arcs, while still keeping pace with modern events.

Ozy & Millie is a dynamic comic of satirical and slapstick humor; a lighter version of Non Sequitur, if you will. While all of the characters are unique in their own ways, I find a fair number of them to be almost too stereotypical for my tastes. Not enough to stop me from reading, but to a degree that I think they could use a tad more depth, but that's just me. I'll give this webcomic an 8 out of 10.
Tue Mar 25 2003 05:10 AM | Read All Reviews for this title

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