Saturday, 31 March 2007

The Jetsons redux: Destroy Dystopia

Cyberpunk has always been at the edges of sci-fi, usually more politicised than the average space opera, typically they are attempts at distortion of societal roles, a vision of a fractured future where public space is infiltrated by corporations and all that's left are the outcasts and rebels.

Destroy Dystopia is one such attempt to translate this into webcomic form, the artwork is a hazy sketchy excursion into the other side of the future. The future is not a series of delineated smooth bliss, here, technology and grime merge, bodies melt into mutation and crime, sin has a metallic aftertaste in one's mouth and this strip for all its simplicity and violence edges into darker territory. The punk in cyberpunk denotes a mis-en-scene where corporate interests have extended from Thatcherite languor to a space where corporation and government are typically one.

If the moody anti-hero/adventurer line is something we've seen before, I was drawn in by the use of shading and tone, it veers from somewhat primitive portraits to dense backgrounds. If Momento Mori is far more sophisticated then the exuberant fun of this strip almost makes up for its lack of intellectual vigour. I like the dirtiness here, even if this isn't at the cutting edge of the genre, appropriating its surface to cover a stock-standard adventure story.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Even monsters have hearts: Eekeemoo

I have a reprehensible relationship with kitsch and cute things, part of me yearns for gothic monochrome the other part desires I buy a line of stationary called smiggle, it's full of greens and bright blues that probably shouldn't enjoy, but do.

I suppose, Eekeemoo, is a mixture of those desires, I like the monotone and the simplistic storyboard aspect of the strip. Its wordless sense of wonder, set in an nameless world with no internal logic, works on a deeper emotional level than what looks at first like anodyne cuteness. It's almost as if a rebus puzzle has been posted online. The rounded quality of the linework looks deceptively cute but its based on alien geometry and an unknown world so it evens the strip out into something that delves into that tingle of adventure one feels that they are entranced by the unknown. The narrative doesn't make sense, it start in media res and allows the reader to work out what is happening in its particular slow-motion direction. This is a work that borders on the sublime with its lack of words and emphasis on the narrative. Even though it hasn't hit 20 strips yet it is a worthy edition to the worthy fantastical webcomics available online .

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Rapid Eye Movement: Popcorn Picnic

Popcorn Picnic is possibly the first 'Cinema strip' to impress me, it's wordy and doesn't just focus on the standard geek-boy staples of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It's also wordy and snide (sarcastic is too much energy) and that's enjoyable. Chris is willing to take the swirling morass of pop-culture from his head and transplant it onto the screen. It's intelligent, more of a an examination of movies using characters rather than anything particularly plot driven. It's like a mannerist game that uses the characters as exposition of current films. It still works well as a concept, allowing the reader to fully geek out with the two main characters.

The artwork is smooth and shmik and it breaks the fourth wall in an enjoyable piss-take. Film characters are remoulded into perverse pastiche. Chris Shadoian is taking the piss, playing around with filmic sensibilities and just having fun. This is a fluid and worthwhile strip that has finally filled that film-geek strip part of my brain.