Victoria Smith has pulled off an unnoticed coup in creating Lola, the strips are somewhat self-contained but also lead on to a continuing narrative, obviously I've been entrapped by the gothic meanderings of Lola's existence but it's the slow subtle build-up of the story that really impresses me. It uses a bleak style, all black and white and very minimalist. There's hints of an anime fluidity here but I like the fun behind all the gloom, Lola's just trying to work things out, if the story-template is gothic then Smith veers away from that pretty well, it's more a journal of an alternate version of Smith's teenage angst years. It's very successful in its balance between kitsch and deliciously morose teen ramblings.
(Aural accompaniment: this is one webcomic that is able to take the playful moroseness of the Smiths, so, The Queen is Dead.)
The Dreamwalker Chronicles is a narrative concerning a small boy who finds himself in the woods and some distorted fairytale version of our world. The use of colour reaches a Copperesque sheen and the fantastical logic behind the story really impresses me.
It's as if all of childhood's creepy darkness has come to us in sequential art form and we have to decode it! The inclusion of native American mythology also adds another layer to what could become a dense and subtle work. The monsters have climbed out from under your bed and are now getting proactive about catching you! Delightful stuff!
(Aural accompaniment: So dreamy and melodic, The Coral; Magic and Medicine.)
You probably haven't heard of Wasteland but this is a good example of psychological distress and sexy sketchy mangaesque mystery. There are so many tangents here that I don't know where to fully start! It retells a crime scene from a number of angels, it's full of fortellings and dour murderous dreams and pale fey youths moping about, It's like a guilty pleasure and the artwork is a sketchy black and white style, there's so many red herrings but I guess I prefer chaos to a petite narrative. I still have no idea about what's fully going on after the end of chapter two but I 'm truly enjoying putting the pieces together.
(Aural accompaniment: Emo sad, crazy linework, screaming ex-Can member crazy, Sixtoo; Chewing on glass and other miracle cures.)