Monday, 21 August 2006

Darkness at the edge of town: Either way, Blue Zombie & Jump

I don't know why I'm attracted to horror and supernatural themes, I was raised as a Pentecostal so there must be some kind of nascent spirituality underneath all my neurotic agnosticism. I seem to be attarcted to genre fiction because all that slice of Life Stuff out there isn't really good for webcomics in my opinion. Lately, horror webcomics seems to be a good springboard for emotional intensity in a way that fantasy hasn't been able to do so far. So, here are three webcomics that use horror as a springboard for something else.

Either Way made a false start but I quite like the look of the artwork and where the story could be heading. It uses the supernatural as a backdrop to various dramas and it adds some sly humour to what can be a particularly dour subject. The level of cross-hatching is pretty heavy and I think Nekko started off with Blacklight Twilight as a trainee comic and moved on to this one once she was confident enough to do so.
I'd seen her around on
comic genesis and I'd been put off by BT but I think this webcomic is good enough to launch her into something different. The creator's emphasis is on how horror impacts on real life, so it's traumatic thriller and a slice of horror on the side and enough self-consciousness to drag it out of mere genre-fiction status.

(Audio Accompaniment: horror and weepy tendencies, so, The Arcade Fire: Funeral)

Blue Zombie has a lot more back-story to it than what it looks like at first glance. It's mangaesque without overtly showing any influences, it's also able to transform blue into a gothic colour and I also like the clean level of shading here.

It also keeps on alternating between bleak streams of consciousness and goofball adventures. It's an alternate version of our world with all its real-world problems with the intricacies of magic and demons added to make things just that little bit harder.

Also, the
character section is essentially a how-to for upcoming webcomicker's, it's really dense with information, now if only Fred Gallagher was willing to learn some new tricks...

(Audio accompaniment:um...really ashamed to say this...Portishead; Dummy, mellow depressed menustrating women, yep, bet all you blokes are really uncomfortable now...)

Of the three horror webcomics I've been looking at,
Jump, is probably the bleakest in terms of narrative texture. It's also the most stylised artisically and the one more in keeping with the conventions of the horror genre, but if you read through you'll see some sinuous sleek magical realism hidden underneath, it's dark and seething with neurotic desires. Even if you have to wade through the pencil sketchy style at the begining, the lushness of the colour added later on adds some Wildean glamour to a narrative filled with the tropes of sin and redemption.

(Any thing by My Red Cell for some really psychotic violent tendencies)

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