Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reading Materials: Webcomics

Haven't done one of these in awhile.  Might as well share something near and complex and somewhat close to what one might approximate as my heart: Webcomics.  Its a medium I love, and one of the main reasons I'm addicted to the internet.

Praise be the Internet.  So say we all.

Webcomics take what I like about comics and can use them to explore aspects of serial storytelling that you don't often get.  Comics in and of themselves are a meta-medium, where readers interact to a degree with the story.  The motion and movement of stories in comics often require the subtle and complicit help of the reader.

Webcomics excel the best when they explore things the internet does that you can't do in traditional media.  Themes, or ideas that no mainstream publisher would push.  Character directions or actions that don't conform to the norms of media.  Things like Respect for Women, or even better, changing your perspective in creative ways.

Also, they work when they are badass stories too.

Here are three of my regular Webcomic reads, to explain my point.  I'm not going to point art or anything,  check out the links if curious to what they look like.

Order of the Stick: Don't let the artstyle fool you, OOTS manages to go several layers deep, touching on not just traditional adventuring archetypes, but storytelling in general.  It also has one of the best statements I've seen in a story: a character is flatly told, to their face, that Redemption isn't something everyone gets.  Some people don't get to be forgiven, because, not everybody can be forgiven.  Awesome.

OOTS is fairly aged, enough that you can spend days reading pages of it.  Days.  Even though the art style seems simplistic, it does an excellent job of getting the story across.  Its a style that carries through brilliantly, especially in its consistency.

Olympus Overdrive: Okay, this is a young newcomer in my reading.  Olympus Overdrive brings back the characters of classic greek mythology, but embeds them into internet culture and modern culture.  A trojan horse (the viral email hack, get it?) leads to pairings of mortals and gods who fight one another in pokemon-esque fights.  Thats oversimplifying the story, really.

The kewl thing about Olympus Overdrive is how awesome its style is- the creators insert flash scenes instead of pages some weeks.  Flash scenes that play out like RPG scenes in a video game.  Its a brilliant way to handle dialogue intense scenes, and it uses an aspect of web to explore the story even more brilliantly.  Double Awesome.

Subnormality: This falls on the really creative side of things.  Like Olympus Overdrive, it uses an aspect of the web that webcomics can abuse to do things cleverly.  Subnormality, often, eschews the normal layout structure.  It uses the 'infinite' page approach, but not only that.

Also, it tends to make a good point about humanity in general.

Creative panel layouts and designs help deliver the point.  Its themes often are layered, and you often think you are reading non sequiturs or walls of text with no real point.  Then you get to the crescendo, the point of the page, and it clicks.  And its triple awesome.

There you go.  Three webcomics I frequent as part of my Internet addictions.  Tell me, any interesting webcomics you read?  I'm always eager for a new one to add to the list.