Sunday, August 25, 2013

Comic Review: Sandra and Woo

Awhile ago, I stumbled across a cute little webcomic about a girl and a talking Raccoon. It is hard to pin down why I like it so. On the surface, it looks like a simple newspaper comic strip, but it is surprisingly smart. It is not as mindlessly goofy as most, and it also avoids taking itself too seriously - even hitting itself on the forth-wall when it dose. Quite often, it brings-up some obscure little tidbit that the authors notes in the annotations. It tends jumps around with the focused character and story-arcs, but not in a way where the cast feels cluttered, nor the plots get confusing. Changes like those help keep the comic fresh.

There are many authors who reads the feedback and answers questions or address criticisms, but this pair - Oliver Knörzer and Powree - sometimes snaps back at criticisms in clever ways. For example, someone excused the comic for being too simple or not being smart enough. They replied with a comic in the form of an elaborate puzzle and challenged the readers to solve it. I don't think anyone could salve it fully. They also like to engage in clever fake-outs.

The strips are safe-for-work, the characters are mostly eccentric, it sometimes deal with tweenage (11-12ish) drama (fitting-in, young love, puberty, etc.) without it feeling like some brain-dead tween show, and much of he humor is nerdy.

Although some might get turned-off by "anime" styled art, this comic seems to freely mix western and eastern styles to where its hard to noticed. (Oddly enough, '80s cartoons did the same blending of styles, and yet, no one seems to notice.) One odd thing I have with tho look of Sandra, is that she looks so much like Penny Gadget (from Inspector Gadget), that the young, accented voice of Cree Summers (who voiced Penny back in the day) sometimes bleed into her voice as I'm reading her dialog in my head. XP

So here is Sandra and Woo. So enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Comic Review: Nevermind the Gap

When it comes to comic books, I like the odd and obscure. Unless it is cleaver and character driven, I generally avoid superhero comics. Instead, I tend to focus on offbeat stuff most comic book shops would throw in the bargain bins or among the "underground" shelf. Although, the internet is a great place to find offbeat comics. There are countless websites devoted for any aspiring comic artist/writer to throw their creations out in the digital world! Most people would not think too much of their work, some others would be put off them, while an unknown number of people would deeply enjoy them for whatever reason.

Nevermind the Gap is something I quite enjoy. It is about a girl and technician who live on a small, futuristic town. As a sci-fi, it likes to boast the high-tech toys, and tries to tackle social issues. In this world, people live among androids. Their CPUs are built on quantum computing, so they are complex enough to allow for human emotion. Throughout the story, you see how the robotic people develop, interact with their fleshy neighbors, and deal with robotic mortality. One of may favorite toys they have, is a cloth that can turn invisible and can appear as other clothing. (As a role-player, that would go great in a style-obsess cyberpunk setting.)
Beyond the sci-fi themes, much of the story is about romance. This comic is vary sexual! It deals with nudity in a casual way, but I don't see that as offensive, nor pornographic (in fact, I take offense to people calling casual nudity "pornographic"). It also deals with sex in a casual way - which is vary much pornographic. =P

Don't get my wrong. I do not like in-your-face smut, and I will get annoyed if a story is nothing but mindless fucking! Porn on the internet is like dirt you get on your shoes: it can be found everywhere, and you'll find a lot of it even while just strolling. And yet, this web comic somehow stays tasteful, and even funny at times. While a porno uses a "plot" to motivate otherwise normal (relatively speaking) people to fuck like tomorrow will never come, the sex in this comic is used to serve the story, and it is not the main focus of it.

The artistry of the characters are nice, in a semi-manga style. (The artist originally wanted to make them look cartoony, but had second thoughts, which was a good choice.) The backgrounds are not the best, but that is a major handicap for the artist. At times, you really have to keep an eye out for little details or read the author's annotations, as you might read the next page with no idea with what just happened. The pacing is slow, and the comic has a fairly good run (350+ pages). As much as I liked to story, I felt disappointed by the ending. Overall, I was quite hooked, but your miles will vary.

I could pour-out more texts about how good or bad the comic is, but I think I said enough for people to make-up their own minds about it. So if you like a smart and romantic sci-fi, and not bothered by nudity and sex, then check it out.

Say tuned for my next comic review, where I review a web comic that is smart and romantic, without being sexual.