Saturday, 25 November 2006

Archetypes and bloodlust: Hector

(This is my Opera is totally munted and I have been forced into minamalism post)

Hector is a new approach to myths in the real world. The artwork is a form of print comic super hero realism which is oddly refreshing. Its use of realism is a welcome antidote to the cartoony mush current in webcomics. Yeah, so, perhaps, the pacing is overblown, it's about myths, I can excuse that, at least it's an effort. I like the wide range of ideas here, for the new reader it can sometimes be too fast and fluid in its application of tarot card archetype schematics but better that than another fucking tepid Harry Potter parody from motherfucking Sluggy Freelance.

The trickster and the warrior are teamed up here in what at is at first a confusing world. There's a seething energy here that can seem confusing if you refuse to give into the internal logic of the detailed fantasy world on display. It's fun, energetic and the central conceit behind it is enough for me to keep reading to see how it is applied to this steampunk version of our world. The bios and extras are amazing and once again an example of what to do...
***cough*** Megatokyo **** cough

(Honorary mention, Mulberry Gallows for making the succinct point that French Canadian mimes will always be second rate, yeah, not a genre strip, but more on this strip later...

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Violence gets sexy: The Whogirl

This bastard spawn of Tankgirl and Transmetropolitan is probably best served by taking it with a grain of salt. Steven Henry's, The Whogirl, looks at first to be a bland Spicegirls rip-off on too much sugar. Typically I prefer my dystopias to be a slice and dice of evil and vice. Schism perfects this stylised world, it's a morass of secrets and a search for redemption. However, I also think there's a place for this strip and its mixture of goofball humour and study of corruption.

You'll notice the silly sloganeering at first, 'I am the girl that all girls wish they could be', ignore that, ignore the hyped up mid-1990's rave wear the heroine wears and ignore the Mozza style hair on the Emo looking kid. If you don't like manga this won't convert you but if you let yourself look at what Henry is doing here with this jokey brand of speculative fiction then all that silliness is an apt accompaniment to a world gone sour. Carpe Diem with bad haircuts.

The energy concurrent in the strip can be a bit off-putting, the first fifty strips haven't yet mediated between post-feminist braggadocio and the background of a dystopic state. Once this is resolved Steven Henry has matured the strip into something approaching an alternate darkness. Looking at the artwork, yes, perhaps there is a certain cartoony roundness evident but once you understand the narrative and its inherent darkness the spirit of the silliness and antic violence starts to make sense.

Musical Accompaniment: Fun Lovin' Criminals, Loco. This album is my dirty secret, I guess you could call it Afghan Whigs lite but really I have got the jonses for this album because of the dark skanky froth within that makes sense emotionally, an album for a cynical drunks in a decaying city.

Saturday, 4 November 2006

The Devil is our energy resource; Scary Go Round

I'd been getting worried about Ryan from Scarygoround for a while now, he's a key character in the series, the slouching goofball with tastes in Americana, who listened to Gomez then moved on to Richard Buckner, the easy-going guy in the bunch, the Everyman to Tim's steely spirit of the Enlightenment.

John Allison has killed off characters in the past, the interstice between life and death seems to fascinate him. So the supernatural and the fantastical have become is bread and butter, it's a fantasy strip set in a British Provincial city. He likes fairytales just as much as Andrea's No rest for the wicked, except that he coats them in a modern glaze of noughties irony.

Whereas Allison's trainee strip, Bobbins, started out as situational comedy, it slowly developed into a more surreal experience for the reader, characters took on the form of various archetypes and memes. Now with the welcome return of the skankalicious duo, Rachel and Tessa, the long-term reader is reconnected to some characters we'd assumed had fallen by the narrative's wayside and it's a clever twist to bring these two dashing malingerers back into our lives.

Hell, they were always too cool for school and now that evil has some sassy
new handmaidens I can sit back and relax.