March 7th, 2006


Without Further Ado . . . Or Any Ado, Really.

Okay, no one asked, but I figure I ought to do this. So, my Top Ten webcomics, in no particular order:

The Order of The Stick by Richard Burlew: consistently funny, and when it's not, it's dramatic, and when it's not, it's clever, and when it's not, it's still damn good. And, he retroactively titles each strip, with some fun reference to it, or about it, doubling the fun!

College Roomies From Hell!!! by Martiza Campos-Rebolledo: A sharp and fun freak-show with whip-turning excitement, character-driven drama, and more surprises than a pickled lamppost. That's right. Mrs. Rebolledo is currently recuperating from eye surgery (which: EEK!) but there's like five plus years of archives to satiate you in the interim. However, ignore the badness of the very early art. She got better. Much better. And on occasion has experimented with different artistic styles, though it's always recognizable. And the three "!"s stand for Quality!

Shortpacked! by David "It's Walky" Willis: A comic about toys. Mr. Willis is actually the guy who got me into webcomics in the beginning. I was surfing the 'net looking for Transformers fanart and stumbled upon his page, with a link to his first comic, a little thing called Roomies!. He had links to a few other online comics, and several surfings later, I was hooked on several. Shortpacked is just silly pop culture goofiness, and has created a few memes like the "I'm Batman" meme that's gotten play on livejournals and such lately. Huge Batman geek that I am, I am not offended when he's made fun of because it's so funny. Mr. Willis has been known to let his comics get angsty and complex, but Shortpacked! doesn't seem to be in any danger of that.

Sluggy Freelance by Pete Abrams: I'll be honest with you. At first, I didn't like Sluggy Freelance. None of the characters were interesting, they were all flat one-note caricatures. And Bun-bun was the flattest and one-notest of them all. It was funny and diverting, but it didn't grab me. I figured I'd finish up the month I was on in the archive trawl when something happened. Somehow, I decided to keep reading the next few weeks, and the next few months, and then Torg went to Hell, and stuff kept happening, and I kept wanting to know what happened next. And the characters started developing, and drama drama drama, and it's still funny, but also: drama. These are characters I can care about, now. It just took forever for it to happen.

Girly by Josh Lesnick: I'll be honest again. I got hooked on Lesnick's art of scantily clad females, first. Wendy led to CuteWendy, which led to Girly. But the off-the-wall craziness and unpredictability (and HoT LezbEan SEXX0RS) kept me hooked. Girly isn't deep or meaningful, or even the least bit dramatic (well, a little bit dramatic, but not much). It's just a fun thing to see every so often, something that can put a smile on your face without thinking, or trying, too hard.

Avalon by Josh Phillips: the angst-filled and goofy days of the later years of high school, Canadian-style. The art starts out pretty rough, but quickly settled into a very beautiful-but-simplistic style. There's a set ending in mind to the series, but Mr. Phillips is . . . well, he's busy and has a sleeping disorder or two, so the update schedule is random and maybe it'll never actually finish. But the emotion is real, and the even though it's high school everyone can relate because, hey, it's high school, right?

Penny Arcade by Jerry "Tycho Brahe" Holkins and Mike "Johnathan 'Gabe' Gabriel" Krahulik: more pop culture jokes, but this time centered around video games, video gaming, and random violence. Gabe and Tycho do occasionally descend into artsy-fartsy what-the-fuckedness. Ominous, indeed.

Jack by David Hopkins: and speaking of ominous, Jack is a furry comic. David Hopkins is a furry. But that doesn't matter, because Jack is the realest and most human comic I've ever read. Not that I've read everything, mind you, but that doesn't matter. Jack is the bloodiest and most depressing comic I've ever read, too, but it's also the most hopeful and inspiring. It charts the journey through Hell of the bunny reaper, and that sounds silly, but Jack is some serious shit. This is a truly horrifying Hell, that traps its sinners in a web that's almost impossible to get out. But Jack is a redemption story, at its core, and though it shows the gross and perverted up close and personal-like, there's always a hopeful note, even if it only shows up in a later story arc. And the furriness almost makes the horror more horrifying, like if someone made a movie about Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny torturing each other to death, but it didn't have the whismy or light-hearted "Everything's gonna be okay, it's not real violence" philosophy of early cartoons. Or if Itchy and Scratchy had real consequences to the mayhem they put each other through (although it's more Itchy who puts Scratchy through hell . . .). Not that it's in poor taste, or anything. It's just that sometimes, you have to wallow in the muck before you wash yourself off, or you forget what it really feels like to be clean.

Something Positive by Randy Milholland: This features sarcastic, cynical, snarky, mean, and also randomly violent characters who are as much assholes to each other as they are the best of friends. Often, the cynicism they show each other and the world is a defense mechanism, and sometimes it just helps define the connections they've made to each other. And no one manages a sarcastic symbolic "fuck the fuck out of you, and go to fucking hell" quite like Mr. Milholland.

Count Your Sheep by Adrian Ramos: Whimsical, charming, and cute, but without being patronizing. I don't know, maybe Mr. Ramos eats something different than me, but I don't know if I could write something even approaching Count Your Sheep. It's got the simplicity of a cartoon short, the soul of Calvin & Hobbes, and the joy of watching children at play. It's just really good. If you ever need a break from your pressure-filled day, and don't want want zaniness to fill the void, Count Your Sheep would be a good place to start. It's calming, I think thats the best way to describe its manner.

Well, there they are, the Top Ten. But there are plenty of other comics that don't quite reach that level that I still enjoy. Maybe I'll list them some time.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
  • Current Music
    Oyo Como Va by Santana
  • Tags