There is, of course, a huge market of the comic industry I’ve been ignoring in this blog, and I apologize for that, however, I just haven’t really found the means to proper express some of the things that I enjoy about it. And that aspect is, of course, the webcomic industry. A lot of people might look to me and say to me “Well, you know, they are a kind of separate thing” or tell me in various terms that they feel webcomics aren’t “real” comics, because apparently a digital re-imagining of the newspaper strips everyone grew up with is something that is no longer relevant. But since I’ve just strawman’d myself, I think I should actually talk about what I’m going to talk about.
I love webcomics. I have a section in my Google Reader that has at least ten webcomics that I follow regularly, and I constantly look for more to read. I have no preference for what I read, so long as it keeps me interested. The idea of taking ones thoughts and putting them, no matter how irrelevant, or offensive, into a form is always intriguing to me, which is part of the reason why, prior to this being a blog, I had actually set this up to have many bad webcomics on here. In time I might repost them, in a separate section, as they were popular among my friends. But I think they’re rather unfunny, for the most part. Enough about me, let’s talk actual ones.
There are plenty of them out there, each with their own ideas, from xkcd and its general decision to veer away from being an intelligent, albeit sarcastic and sometimes interestingly viewed comic on math and romance and language (as it so claims to be) and generally just be a Geek Culture (whatever you consider that to be) comic, that focuses on very simple math and trying to garner more views and income from referencing obvious internet memes and things of that sort. I actually have every intention to, soon, write an article on them as I am doing with this comic. There’s also Questionable Content and Something Positive which feature a sometimes surreal viewpoint on the reality in which they live. It’s a moment in their lives, no matter how odd their lives happen to be.
There’s also Least I Could Do written by Ryan Sohmer, and has gone through a few different artists, and general visions, and is part of the reason I’m even talking about webcomics. LICD is one of those comics that didn’t immediately appeal to me. I’m not a fan of mindless sex jokes, or anything like that, and it wasn’t until the second artist, into the third, that I realized that it’s not a bad comic. It’s actually pretty interesting. The manipulation of Rayne Summer from just a whore into an extremely nerdy, satirical whore was was something that I enjoyed watching. Sohmer’s writing is something that I deeply enjoy, and that’s why I decided to follow, after seeing him mention it, Gutters a webcomic written by him, and drawn by basically everyone.
Gutters can easily be described as a sort of editorial comic of the Comic Book Industry© itself. The very first strip using LICD artist Lar Desouza to poke fun at the oddity of Steve Rogers and Bucky in a post Captain America: Reborn universe. From there, a number of other artists (from webcomic cartoonist Scott Kurtz to a number of other artists of both The Industry and other things such as Tommy Patterson) have taken the reigns and they’ve delivered quite a number of really interesting things to show. Sohmer enjoys what he does, you can tell. And that comes out amazingly.
Perhaps one of the more amusing, and more biting, strips in the obviously short (this strip only started about five weeks ago as of this writing) was one done as a dig at writer Garth Ennis, who I take some issue to at times, but still enjoy. What was surprising to me, once I read this strip (this one being the first I actually read of the the series) is how surprisingly accurate it was. Sohmer’s take on the sometimes cardboard-copy setup of his stories (I managed to successfully refer to his “Avatar Press” series Crossed as “An Ennis story” that was met with complete understanding. I’m vaguely depressed whenever a writer gets so pigeonholed, but I believe Ennis doesn’t entirely mind.) was something that made me think this is going to be a series that I certainly view as worth watching. Each subsequent post, and follow-up newspost about the story and artist, just really makes it worth reading. From the way he digs on Ennis, to the as-of-now current strip poking fun at Green Lantern and the two events of Blackest Night and Brightest Day.
If Sohmer didn’t love comics so much, this would come off less like playfulness and chiding and more like an angry nerd telling you why everything going on in comics nowadays is wrong, and the only way to fix it is to follow the steps that he has listed accordingly. Given the option between the two, I’ll take Kyle Rayner happily cheering “It’s here! The Brightest Day!” then it gets dark and he goes “Oh no! Blackest Night!” It’s playful, like his other work, and that’s something that really helps this. It’s definitely the kind of comic I don’t mind following, or even looking forward to, just because I know it’s gonna be something good, and the art is going to be great.
That’s the other part I need to mention, while I’m thinking of it. The art of this comic is great. Since there is a rotating selection, each comic is drawn differently, feels differently, and seems to express just what it wants to express in a different way. Lar’s Captain America is completely different from Kurtz’s DC Comics staff, who are all completely from the superheroes and everything else that is going on in these comics. You need to read this one if you’re a fan of comics, really. It’ll make you feel better, and then you can check out his other stuff, and realize that Sohmer seems like a pretty cool guy. Like a lot of people who work in Webcomics and it’s more than MegaMan sprites thrown on ComicGenesis or DrunkDunk templates.
In case you missed it, Gutters. Check it out.