Saturday, 3 February 2007

In space no one can hear you scream: Banished!

I suppose one can blame the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy in my upbringing but i think
Banished is part of a tradition of space opera spoofs that work quite well online. The clearcut linework is refreshing. The first strips are primitive but then there's a progression into something light and succint with depth and colour you don't typically see online with the artist changeover. So, Ryan Smith has created something goofball style playful but it has also segued into a decent narrative that hasn't neglected the strips's strengths.

If the strips orginally mines the absurdities of science fiction then the progression to the strip's most recent updates shows some nous, a lot of webcartoonists merely restart their strip - though this isn't a Cerebus syndrome overly serious venture, the fun is still omnipresent within the upgrade - resembling classic Sluggy Freelance, if a little constricted in its narrative. I like the interplay on genre-specific trends, if gamer comics can burn up cable in their pursuit of Leet jokes then Banished needs far more recognition.

Rak is the long-suffering malcontent anti-hero stranded on Strix 13 and Timbo is the robot optimist and using this dynamic the strip takes on a lacksadaisical adventure. Space Opera can provide a broad canvas for a creative team to look at anything they desire, for better or for worse, Smith and Anderson have not fallen into the trap of mere parody, they use science fiction as a origin, not a destination, and they have come up with a rather silly character driven webcomic that is consistently enjoyable.

(Musical Accompaniment: Be your own Pet - self titled - Raucous energetic indie spazz-out rock - perfect music for the monotony of a spaceship ride)

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