Due to health problems and not being able to work earlier this month, I've been spending a lot of time catching up with old comics and trying out a few new ones. In particular I've been gorging myself on webcomics lately, and although I usually end up either underwhelmed by or outright disliking most of the webcomics that I try reading, there are a few that I fall head-over-heels in love with. So, here are some thoughts about some things that I'm reading right now, whether I've been reading them for years or have only recently discovered them, all of which I would recommend to the comic-inclined. Namesake
. Just starting reading this last week and have barely been able to
put it down
step away from the computer screen. A beautifully-drawn and fiercely feminist fantasy story about fulfilling roles in fairy tales and taking charge of your own destiny. And it does more to establish the heroine's complex and believable personality in the first six pages of Chapter 1 than most webcomics manage to do in an entire volume. I'm only pointing this out because that is definitely one of my number-one pet peeves in the entire "normal girl gets sucked into a strange world" genre of web comics: When the author doesn't establish anything about the heroine's personality before having her suddenly end up in the other world. Or even worse, when the author wastes time with page after page of scenes of the heroine doing "normal everyday stuff" in order to establish how normal
she is but STILL forgets to let her show any hint of a personality trait. This comic
is one of the worst offenders I've seen to date in that particular area. On the opposite end of the spectrum and as an example of Doing It Right, however, we have Namesake
and also animeshen
's delightful Wendy and Sully in Candlyland
, which takes a succinct eight pages to give the reader a solid grasp on Wendy and Sully's personalities and how they interact with each other, and does so in a fun and interesting way.Unsounded
. This comic is about a young monkey-thief who can swashbuckle with her feet
and who suffers from Black Star-like delusions of grandeur. If that isn't enough to of a selling point for you, there's also a mysterious and handsome zombie with a tragic past. And a magical mountain-shaped monster that befriends a blind boy and his assistance flame-monster. (Why have an assistance dog when you can have an assistance flame-monster?) Unsounded
is immediately engrossing and tons of fun to read, even if it does suffer from some significant flaws - namely that the overcomplicated artwork can sometimes get visually confusing, and the story throws a lot of made-up terminology at the reader without really pausing for some more comprehensible world-building. But those are really my only complaints about this beautiful, beautiful comic. Gunnerkrigg Court
. I've been hearing nothing but good things about this comic since it began in 2005, but I never got around to actually starting to read it until earlier this year. I wish I hadn't waited so long. It is every bit as good as everybody says it is. The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
. Young man calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his family, gets disowned, gets drunk, and wakes up the next morning with a *~quirky and free-spirited~* hottie frying eggs and singing in his kitchen. Oh, and apparently the two of them made a pact last night to drive across the country together. In the hands of a lesser writer this could have been every terrible gay-romance-for-straight-ladies cliche rolled up into a "wacky roadtrip" narrative. But somehow E.K. Weaver manages to infuse the story with actually believable characters, believable dialogue, and plenty of humor and warmth. Highly recommended.Patchwork and Lace
. The new-ish fantasy comic by furikku
(who is also the creator of Reliquary
). A pair of lady monster-hunters, a fantasmagoric set-up, and an intriguing fantasy world. Need I say more. Oglaf
. You may have heard of this one as "that epic fantasy porn comic that's actually really, really funny." A rare example of comedy porn that actually succeeds at being whip-smart and hilarious, while embracing a freewheeling variety of straight, gay, lesbian, vanilla, and kinky characters.The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
. Superhero parody comics come and go, but this one remains one of my absolute favorites and definitely the funniest. X-Men
canon: Keeping up with Astonishing X-Men, Exiled, Generation Hope, New Mutants, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men,
and Wolverine & the X-Men
. I dropped X-Factor
a while back after sticking with it for far too long. And I just can't get into X-Force
no matter how much I love Laura. But with the notable exceptions of a) all of X-Factor
, no seriously all of it and b) Forge's epic character derail in Astonishing
, I have to say: I LOVE the current X-Men canon, in a way that I haven't really loved the X-books since the early 2000s. I love all of the New Mutants
story lines. I love Hope and all of the 5th-generation X-Men. I love Logan's sixty-year character arc finally coming full circle. I love Scott and Emma. I love Rogue so goddamn much. I love Magneto's redemption arc. Everything about the X-Men universe is so much fun to read right now. I think that the overall tone of the X-books has finally settled on a comfortable level of danger/angst/darkness without descending too far into the boring-ass depths of grimdarkness, which is a MUCH needed improvement after the epicly stupid, epicly boring, and pointlessly grimdark mess that was Messiah Complex
and all of its aftermath. Buffy Season 9
. Much, much, much better than Season 8 so far. Much better. (Although I will forever and always love the Faith/Giles story arc from the beginning of Season 8
. Best and arguably the only solidly good part of that entire series, if you ask me.)Homestuck
. "There's not a lot of style to invisibility. Primarily because nobody gets to see how damn smooth you're being." Homestuck
, for all of its overhype and its failures and its flaws, is still just a goddamn delight to read with every update.
And as for DC Comics, well... I am taking a break from DC Comics for a while. Might try to reconnect with the Batfamily sometime later, but I don't know. I loved everything that Grant Morrison built up with the "death" of Bruce Wayne and the birth of Batman Inc
, and I'm still bitter about the New 52 just wiping all of those years of character development and storyline setup right out of the DC Universe.
Yup, that's how you know that I'm a mainstream comics fan: Still bitter about an storyline-breaking editorial mandate from over a year ago. Still bitter.
And as for what's upcoming that I'm the most looking forward to: It's the Adventure Time
spin-off comic about Princess Bubblegum joining Marceline's band.
Hell. Fucking. Yes.