Monthly Archives: July 2008

Medium Large is back!

As reported by the Comics Curmudgeon, Medium Large is BACK!

And on WordPress, which means I can add it to my Blog Surfer Roll.

Hoo hah!

For those who don’t know, Medium Large is written and drawn by Francesco “Ces” Marciuliano, the same writer of comic strip Sally Forth. Medium Large provides hard evidence that Marciuliano is not a total square like his newspaper strip suggests. I had planned on reviewing this webcomic a long time ago on this site, but at some point, it completely disappeared from its original home at the “Drink at Work” site. I’ve heard many competing theories about what happened, none of them completely satisfactory.

And now, it’s back. This is great news. AWESOME NEWS. I was starting to think that the comic was lost to us forever. Now Francesco has a legacy beyond shifty-eyed ladies with injection-molded hair.

If you’re new to Medium Large, I highly suggest reading through the Teenage Girl President archives. Silly, glorious, wonderful stuff.

The Webcomic Overlook #50: Acid Keg

I encountered the subject of today’s Webcomic Overlook after The Floating Lightbulb did an interview with its creator, Steve Hogan. Immediately, I fell in love with the art. It was so 60’s. You know contemporary retro artists like Darwyn Cooke and Mike Allred? Pretenders to the throne! They mar their art with personal touches that kill the perfectionist look. On the other hand, Hogan’s art is appropriately squeaky clean. They recall the Jet Age’s unmistakable pop art, where line art was backed by offset blobs of solid color and everything looked better with a crisp six-pointed sparkle.

The interview, by the way, is excellent. I suspect that I’m going to be referring to it several times before this review is finished. However, The Floating Lightbulb didn’t ask the one question that’s on everyone’s minds: is Steve Hogan high when he writes the comic? Perhaps that sounds crass and untoward. However, he did name his comic Acid Keg. Its logo is a beer keg spewing some psychedelic liquid. I’m assuming it’s not 10W40. ‘Cuz if it was, that’s just messed up.

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The Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic, which I totally called

Courtesy of ComixTalk’s Xaviar Xerexes, we now know the winner of the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic. Envelope, please! The award goes to…

No you didn't Dandelion.  Your day has finally come.

You sure did, Dandelion. Your day has finally come.

Joss Whedon’s SugarShock!

Longtime readers of The Webcomic Overlook may remember that I totally called it on the review that I posted at the ComixTalk site. Not that it was any huge surprise. This is the second year in a row that the top award went to a creator that was already well established in the print comic realm. Unlike last year’s winner, the Sam & Max online comic*, SugarShock! is actually pretty good. And why not? Whedon is a decent enough comic writer. And the Dark Horse Presents format just may be the one to follow for flash-based comics.

I was personally rooting for The Abominable Charles Christopher, though.

* – After pooh-poohing the 2007 Eisner winner in my review, readers have told me that Steve Purcell deserved the award and how great Sam & Max Hit The Road was. Perhaps. However, the award went to the digital comic, which, seriously, was not that great. It was basically a throw-away bonus comic that was bundled with the episodic video game.

Review of Applied Living on Comic Fencing

This week on Comic Fencing, El Santo reviews the webcomic Applied Living. I’m the odd man out this time. While everyone else seems to have found merit with it (and rated it 2.5 stars), I stand by, strongly, with my one star review.

Read my review for Applied Living.

Thanks for a great year

A year ago today, I wrote the first “Webcomic Overlook” over at my Rooktopia blog.

It was a humble little piece about Nedroid’s Bad Webcomic Challenge, where he wrote a 100 quickie strips which — if everyone’s being utterly honest — weren’t actually bad at all. (I wasn’t the only one enamored. I noticed that loved it so much they posted the strip in full.) I took inspiration from John Solomon’s blog. While all of his reviews were negative (and controversial), I liked the candor. It was as if he were saying, “I know everyone else sugarcoats this stuff. Let me tell you what I really think.” My reviews began following the same trajectory, only with more positive reviews and a light sprinkle of Bill Simmons-style trivia tossed in.

The Webcomic Overlook turned out to be the most popular feature on Rooktopia. Yes, even more than my “Top 10 Badass Bible Characters” list! I got more visitors checking out my review than any other feature. So, in October, I took a risky move: I pulled the blog from Rooktopia and started The Webcomic Overlook blog.

And now, here we are, 111 posts later. I’ve wined and dined with kings and queens, and I’ve slept in alleys and dined on pork and beans. I’ve reviewed comics where Lego folks have parodied popular movies, and others where popular movies parody D&D players. I’ve plowed through gamer comics and struck gold, and I’ve rifled through fantasy comics and struck out. I’ve read comics about ninjas and zombies and cowboys that are also werewolves, but strangely I haven’t read a single webcomic about pirates (not that I haven’t tried to find a decent one). I’ve read about dreamy minutemen, presidents with disembodied heads, and a Napoleon who likes to eat cookies. I’ve reviewed at ComixTalk to shoot the breeze about Joss Whedon and at ComicFencing to determine once and for all if there was no need for bushido. Above all, I’ve learned that storylines focusing on miscarriages are never a good idea, though they can be an unintentional fount of humor.

I’d originally planned some sort of super feature here. Maybe I’d do some totally ridiculous spot featuring Top 10 Hottest Webcomic Characters or something equally ludicrous. (It would’ve been equal opportunity, too. Both Penny from Penny & Aggie and Scipio from Templar, AZ would have made it.)

But you know what? All I just want to say is “Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

Thanks for coming to the site and reading my reviews. There are plenty of great webcomic blogs out there — Fleen and Websnark, to name a couple — so I’m always happy that someone out there finds my crackpot ramblings entertaining and informative. I’ve had some readers call me a “serious webcomic reviewer.” I don’t know about that, but I appreciate it. This site doesn’t make huge numbers. I just broke 69K total page views since moving to the new site. I’m truly glad for each and every one of you who drops by.

Yes, even you, Bobby Crosby.

Though the folks who stumble on my site looking for lewd pictures of Hannah Montana can all go take a hike. I … I don’t know what to say to you guys.

The Webcomic Overlook #49: The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo

The comic named The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo, by Thomas Boatwright and Dwight Macpherson, has been bookmarked on my “To Read” list for a long, long time. I had every intention to read it. I’ve never heard anything but good things about this webcomic, supported very recently by its 2008 nominations for the Harvey and Eagle Awards (both of which are leagues more impressive than the garden-variety WCCA).

Yet, I didn’t bother reading the comic for over a year. You can guess why. It’s the name. That goddamn name. When someone mentions the title, it’s usually followed by the phrase “a good comic with a terrible name” or a variant thereof. And why not? No one should utter the words “Edgar Allan Poo” in polite conversation. Imagine this hypothetical scenario playing out at your typical high-brow comic book shop.

Comic shop owner: “If you ask me, Ross Campbell’s Water Baby starts off strong, yet its road trip denouement lacks that je ne sais quois. But enough about me. Pray tell, what comics have you perused lately?”

Me: “Well, I’ve been reading a lot of online stuff. FreakAngels, Octopus Pie, and … er … Edgar Allan Poo.”

Comic shop owner: “I … see. I had no idea! You might find this interesting then. I was just surfing online, and I ran across this delightful video entitled ‘Two girls, one…'”

Me: “STOP.”

Comic shop owner: “But….”

Me: “Just STOP.”

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The Webcomic Overlook #48: Pinky TA

I should put together a list of early warning signs if a webcomic is going to be terrible or not. I speculated on my review of Antics that telltale signature is if the first chapter is spent in the company of airheaded girls who gossip, giggle, and do nothing tho forward the plot. However, an even bigger sign are shamelessly exploitative ads. Exiern is one of the biggest offenders. Its creator bought unavoidable ad space on what seemed like every webcomic site in existence. Every one of those ads featured its heroine half-naked. A rule of thumb with movies is that if bare flesh is flashed within the first 10 minutes, then you’re in for a particularly bad movie. The same rule can be modified for webcomics: if the comic has to resort to ads with naked girls to draw you in, then the writer is desperate to get new readers to his webcomic because the writing and the art just isn’t doing the trick.

Exiern, though, is hardly the only webcomic to try this shamelss ploy. If you’ve spent any time hanging around Drunk Duck, you may notice ads of a pink-haired gal and substantial focus on … um … all that junk inside her trunk. Now, I’d like to apologize ahead of time. This review may contain more crude language than I typically write. I stylize this blog so that it’s generally PG. But kids, you can go ahead and sit this one out. It’s summer. shouldn’t you be outside playing marbles or hula hoops or pogs or whatever it is kids do these days? (Who am I fooling? These disclaimers are just drawing you in like flies to honey, aren’t they?)

Why, you ask? Well, when the webcomic being reviewed is called Pinky TA, you better believe it’s not about a brainless albino lab rat who suddenly becomes a teacher’s assistant. If you have any doubts — any doubts at all — about the raison d’être for this particular comic, I refer you to the sample art immediately below.


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Review of Octopus Pie at ComixTalk and then some

Time to have a heaping slice of Octopus Pie! I’ve actually wanted to review this webcomic for a while, since frankly I find it to be one of the best out there. If ComixTalk allowed a number rating, I would’ve given it 5 stars. Surprisingly, the review is one of my shorter ones. It’s partly because it’s tough to go on and on when all I really have to say is: “Read this comic. It’s excellent and rewarding and take my word for it!” But also I didn’t want to reveal too many spoilers. It’s a great read from beginning to end, something I don’t want to rob any readers.

Check out my Octopus Pie review on ComixTalk!

Also, I’m rather flattered that I made Floating Lightbulb’s list of worthy webcomic blogs. Apparently I am a “surviving purist.” Keen! I’d love to keep this blog running on webcomic content for as long as I can, too. It’s a fun genre for me simply because it’s new and evolving, with the next big thing always around the corner.

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