You guys know how this works. Let’s keep going with the webcomics!
To review: The comics featured here have some sort of narrative structure between installments. It doesn’t have to mean long-running storylines, just that story started in one day’s offering might be continued in the next. Often, this does mean longform, but like newspaper comic strips, it might just be a brief couple of days storyline or a set of characters that appear in each or nearly each strip (a la Family Circus) and thus there is some idea of history, relationships, and so on, even if continuity is pretty damn loose.
This one is, arguably, borderline narrative. But, storylines carry over several installments so I count it. Deal with it, America…deal with it.
Ryan North has clipart dinosaurs discuss the human condition in all its grandeur and banality. Heaven, book pitches about stories with machines that tell you how you will die, how poison tastes, and compressed comic book origins…there’s nothing these dinosaurs won’t talk about.
Whoever was “speaking” North’s dialogue would still be funny, but the incongruousness of these giant lizards (I know they aren’t lizards…don’t write to tell me that) having these conversations is what really brings it all home. Delightful.
Released: Daily, Monday-Friday
Twitter handles associated with the comic:
Here’s what you need to know about IN HIS LIKENESS. God is a black dot. The Devil is a red dot with horns. They’re sort of frenemies. They have disciples that look like smaller versions of themselves. There are other “gods” too and they’re mostly dots as well. They bicker, they get along, they play pranks on one another, they play tabletop role play games, they re-enact mythological stories with their own…unique depiction.
It began with just God and the Devil, but as the strip progressed, it grew and evolved by leaps and bounds until the cast numbered in the thirties. Eventually, Hatton decided to “upgrade” the strip to a larger tableau, to break out of the typically 4-square grid that had marked the strip thus far. Backgrounds arrived! And the storytelling, in general, became more complex.
But before that, just before, was the installment called “Epilogue.” I can’t do it justice without spoiling it, but it’s…there are times when art just hits the spot, you know. And I get it is weird to call a comic strip that was mostly dots “art,” but there it is. It was the perfect capper to the one thousand comics that came before it. And, if you are of the believing kind, a weirdly impressive and spot-on summation of the nature of the divine. If that makes any sense. Seriously, just do to the site and read that strip. I’m not sure it will mean as much without having followed the comic “episode” to “episode” but I suspect it does.
Released: Sundays, Wednesdays
Twitter handles associated with the comic:
Creator Meredith Gran takes readers into a Brooklyn that feels, to me at least, like a sort of spiritual cousin to QUESTIONABLE CONTENT’s Easthampton, MA. Chock-a-block full of diverse and interesting characters trying to make sense of life in general, their lives in particular, their future, their present, their careers, their loves, their right to bare their breasts in public parks, and so on. Headed by roommates Eve Ning and Hanna Thompson, the comic is well grounded in the “real” Brooklyn as it existed when the comic began; a slice of the borough with its roots in 2007.
Gran uses expansive panels to offset the “more typical” tight panel alignment you tend to see in webcomics with backgrounds that, while not highly detailed, are deep and create a real sense of place. The characters are cartoony, with just too big head and large eyes, but not in a way that makes them feel like cartoons. In other words, the style compliments the words, neither clashes with or overwhelms the other. Additionally, the slightest oversized nature of Gran’s faces allows her to paint a variety of emotions across the characters face that do a great deal of storytelling all on their own.
Twitter handles associated with the comic:
Writer Kevin Church is, evidently, a man who needs to create and the Agreeable Comics “label” is the result. Currently made up of THE LINE (w/ artist Paul Salvi), SIGNS AND MEANINGS (w/ artist Max Riffner), and BOLDY GONE (w/ artists Bruce McCorkindale and Ming Doyle). Wrapped or on hiatus titles include LYDIA (also w/ Riffner), THE LONELIEST ASTRONAUTS (also w/ Doyle), SHE DIED IN TERREBONNE (w/ artist T.J. Kirsch), FIGHT! (w/ artist Tracie Mauk), COPY PROTECTION (w/ artist Paul Horn), and WAIMEA (w/ artist Mike Dake). I am unclear on the current fate of arguably flagships title THE RACK (w/artist Benjamin Birdie) as it has not been updated in a bit but the usually communicative Church has not made any announcement about it ending or being paused for now, so…wait and see, I suppose.
I’ll discuss each title in a more in-depth format with bullets below, but, in general, AGREEABLE COMICS are marked by likable characters speaking intelligent witty dialogue. However, the titles do not feel samey. Even those that exist in the same universe and involve the some crossover characters have their own heartbeat. Church is also very smart in his choices about the artists he works with, choosing talented people who nicely compliment his writing style.
THE RACK- The Rack refers to that most cherished of wired shelving, the comic book rack, and follows a group of comic book employees, predominantly, but not exclusively, during their work time. Jerry, the manager, Lydia, his right hand and, arguably, the one who gets it all done, Rick, the new (well newest) guy, Aaron, the extrrrrreme! comics fan, and Danny, the continuity pursit who longs for a “better” time in comics do their best to survive customers and each other as they run Panels. With a strong underpinning of reoccurring support characters, the strip has progressed from a predominantly workplace comedy to one more character focused and oriented. They still work in a comics shop, but more and more, the store has become a quiet backdrop to life drama as opposed to the comics industry and its fans driving the action.
LYDIA- Lydia from THE RACK gets tired of life in a comic shop and gets a “real” office job. Hilarity ensues. Lydia is recognizably herself but the change of scenery allows readers to see her out in the world, in a place where she doesn’t rule the roost, and how that effects her actions.
THE LINE- Lydia’s sister Linda gets hired at a restaurant as a hostess and finds herself saddled with her own cast of dysfunctional co-stars to interact with. Fire, trainers who do nothing but delegate, stabbings, trips underground, and much more interferes with her ability to do her job. However, much like her sister, she remains strong of will and keeps moving forward.
SIGNS AND MEANINGS- Ashley, from LYDIA, attempts to rebuild her life after getting fired. It involves grad school, a move home, a new job, and… a battle between the forces of heaven and hell. On hiatus until very recently, this one still feels like its evolving but it is a great read in the meantime.
BOLDY GONE- I’m not a Star Trek fan so this strip just hasn’t connected with me. However, in talking to those that enjoy the franchise they praise it for being respectful while still having fun (and being funny) with the mythos. I can say, for sure, that it is an incredibly pretty looking strip.
THE LONELIEST ASTRONAUTS- Dan and Steve hate each other. Which is too bad. Worse still, they are astronauts stuck on some distant moon, all alone, waiting for their supplies to run out and then, to die. Of course, if they murder each other first… It might not sound like it, but its an incredibly funny strip.
SHE DIED IN TERREBONNE- A neo-noir set in 70’s Oregon. Smart and compelling, I encourage you to read it in one sitting.
FIGHT!- A light-hearted superhero comic that I confess I am only now catching up on. The artist is delightfully cartoony, bright and colorful. I don’t have a feel for the strip yet, but it seems promising. Not sure why I missed it the first time around.
WAIMEA- An unsung bit of Church’s back catalog. A girl, following a family tragedy, moves to Hawaii to live with an uncle she didn’t even know she had. I loved this comic from top to bottom. Great art, strong characters, and just a totally wonderful vibe to the whole thing. Maybe if we all inundate the site, Church will collect it? Maybe?
COPY PROTECTION- A creepy horror one-shot. How it is all going to end is predictable early on, but that only enhancing the experience. It feels claustrophobic as you, the reader, are powerless to derail the train that is unfolding before (to wildly mix metaphors). Super effective.
THE RACK (if still active)- Fridays
THE LINE- Mondays
SIGNS AND MEANINGS- Wednesdays
BOLDY GONE- Irregularly
THE LONELIEST ASTRONAUTS- Concluded
SHE DIED IN TERREBONNE- Concluded
FIGHT!- Hiatus, but after two years off, seemingly unlikely to restart
WAIMEA- Hiatus, but after this many years probably unlikely to ever re-start
COPY PROTECTION- Concluded
Twitter handles associated with these comics:
Tomorrow: Webcomics Day 3! The Non-Narratives are coming!