Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Webcomic Overlook #190: Mokepon

It would probably be fair to say that I was too old to get into the whole Pokemon phenomenon. Oh, I watched the episodes when they first aired on the Kid’s WB. I did have a younger brother and sister after all, who, I suspect, actually watched the show semi-ironically.

The magic of the show, too, was that it was one of those rare instances that a young adult or adult can watch a kid’s show without feeling too weird about it. Frankly, I blame Beanie Babies and Tamagotchis… which, for you youngsters, were like NeoPets but way, way more annoying.

However, if you asked me to identify a Pokemon beyond, say, the core 20, I’d probably be at a loss. I would totally fail those infamous “Who’s that Pokemon?” stingers, thus bringing shame to my ancestors. I never played the game on the Game Boy, nor was I part of the card craze, nor am I familiar with the show after Ash, Misty, and Brock disappeared. I don’t remember the name of that lame-o Brock replacement guy. Hell, I was totally befuddled by the whole “Gary F***ing Oak” meme and had to google it just to get caught up. Let me tell you, when you have to resort to “Know Your Meme,” then you know you’ve truly lost the pulse of what makes young people tick these days.

So you’d think that I’d be the totally wrong audience for Mokepon, a webcomic on Smack Jeeves written by someone who apparently goes by “H0lyhandgrenade.”

Au contraire, mon ami! Mokepon turned out to be a surprisingly fun read, full stuff that can entertain even a reader with only a passing familiarity of Pokemon. Let’s dig in, shall we?

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The Spinnerette movie?

A while ago I gave the webcomic Spinerrette some positive marks. So, when the folks at Krazy Krow Studios sent me a press release that they were working on a movie, I told them I’d give ’em a shout out. Here you go!

Los Angeles, CA — December 12, 2011 — Move over Wonder Woman, there’s a new superhero in town! Well…kind of yeah. Well she
tries.For the first time, the award winning web comic by Krazy Krow will be brought to life in human form as a web series.

First trailer:

Spinnerette is an action comedy about a young, nerdy, but highly enthusiastic grad student named heather who after a lab accident
gains super-human abilities kind of. Infused with the genetic material of a spider, she gains spider powers..including Spider
strength(impressive), Spider Senses(well its mostly a malfunctioning gaydar), the ability to shoot web(from her um…lower back)
and…..yeah six arms growing out of her shoulder. Shes a bit like Spiderman…only slightly more logical(well not entirely as spiders
don’t have lungs).

Spinnerette tells her story as she attempts to use her powers in the most obvious method possible. To become a superhero.Except she has no
actual idea how to go about doing this, or any idea how to actually fight- much less crime. Taking a place in a world less comicbook then
she thinks we follow her struggles and her triumphs, her folly and her glory as she attempts to fufil her life long dream. Even as the forces of her evil conterparts conspire to stop her.

Brought to you by writer/director Scott Hillman of Movies For Films, LLC and Moxie Theory Entertainment, Spinnerette features a magnificent
cast with Toronto native Anna Ross (One Week in Windchocombe, The Collapsed) as the lead role of Spinnerette. Her best friend and
sidekick, Sahira, will be played by Vanessa Born (Bring It On: Fight to the Finish, The Young & Rebellious); and arch-nemesis Evil
Spinnerette will be played by professional wakeboarder turned action actress, Barrett Perlman (Shark Night 3D, Girls!Girls!Girls!).

The goal as discussed by director Scott Hillman is to try to make a true indie superhero movie, that combines ellemnts of indie comedy
with a superhero film. Several indie comedies have taken as there gag a character looking as if they just walked out of Comiccon. Spinnerette defiently does too. However Spinnerette tries to explore the folly and glory of a persons desire to be a hero. and the inner humanity of a woman who has six arms and shoots web out of her butt.

For more information, check out the fan page on Facebook:

The Webcomic Overlook #189: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

There are two ends of the reviewing spectrum that make me a bit nervous. The first, as I mentioned in the previous review, is when a webcomic looks so amateur that you’re a bit hesitant to talk about it.

Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes a webcomic is so polished that you’re sort of taken aback by how good it looks. “Wait,” I say, “is this even a webcomic, technically? I’m pretty sure this was always meant to go straight to print.” I’m not slamming the art in webcomics, by the way, which can be quite stunning. However, most have a distinctly non-commercial flavor, where the art is geared close to the heart of the creator. I’m talking about comics that seem so ready for prime time that you’re surprised that there isn’t already an animated adaptation airing on Cartoon Network with a live-action movie deal in the works.

That’s how I feel when I read Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (not to be confused with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch), a webcomic about swashbuckling adventure in the 1800’s.

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The Webcomic Overlook’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2011

It’s Christmas time again, which means it’s time to put together a Holiday Gift Guide? Mainly because everyone seems to be doing it, and I’m all about jumping on the bandwagon.

Looking for that unique webcomic related gift to give yourself your loved one who’ll probably scratch their heads in bafflement.

Say you’ve got a webcomic enthusiast friend. They’ve got the shirt with the malapropism tangentially related to a webcomic. They’ve got a saucy baseball cap. But how can you really say you’re decked out head-to-toe in webcomic gear unless you’ve got something for your toes? It’s Penny Arcade to the rescue, with their one-of-a-kind Penny Arcade themed shoes! Get the sort of gift that will make people stop, stare, and say, “Hey, a fan of the Denver Broncos too, huh?”

Man, know someone who can’t get enough of those HI-larious internet acronyms? OMG, amirite? Already got them that “I Can Has Cheeseburger” coffee table book? Then how about a vinyl LOLBat figure, which will get you ROTFL for minutes on end! He’s TAROTVSSVF (totally a repaint of the very similar Skull vinyl figurine)!

Is your special someone perhaps a fan of dragons? Specifically, dragons designed by an employee of Paws, Inc., the caretakers of the Garfield franchise? Then check out this swank plushie of Frank the Dragon from Legend of Bill!

Is your office co-worker/wage slave, in fact, alive? But perhaps their demeanor just screams “I have long given up on life and unless I get caffeine in me I remain looking this way”? Well wake them up with a gift from Death At Your Door: the “I’m not dead! I just need more coffee” mug!

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The Webcomic Overlook #188: Jack (the Drunk Duck one)

While checking my email during my break from reviewing webcomics, I recieved a profound feeling of deja vu. I got a request from an avid reader of this site to review a webcomic that, to put it politely, looked rather sketchy. It featured a world with humans and furries who would often mutilate each other. There were long scenes of characters having their skin and limbs peeled off and of gratuitous murder porn. The hero, if you could call him that, was often in contact with an anthropomorphic grim reaper character who lived in hell.

Yes, this reader asked me to review Jack.

But not THAT Jack.

This is the other Jack, written and illustrated by Norweigan webcomic creator Catya Alvheim. The comic is a little hard to find on Google, given the prominence of David Hopkins’ Jack, but if you type “drunk duck jack” in the search field it pops right up like a mischievous imp trying to educate you on the importance of springs. I felt a little guilty doing this, since Jack, and the art of Jack, specifically, strikes me as the sort of terrible comic that you’d make up in high school. So, yeah, I did my due diligence and, not for the first time, looked up the author’s age, hoping against all hopes that perhaps this was just a screwed up teen who didn’t know any better.

To my dismay… yes, this author is probably old enough to take it. Hopefully, if she comes across this review, she’ll take things in stride. (Heaven knows there are fairly cruel reviews of this Jack populating the internet.) It is also true that Jack was ,at some point, the product of some screwed up teen. But the author is no longer a teen, it’s still updating, and to my further dismay, it has apparently just celebrated its six year anniversary. That’s … that’s a whole lot of Jack.

(Incidentally, many links in this review are going to NSFW due to mutilation, nudity, cannibalism, excessive gore, and juggalos. Viewer discretion is advised.)

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The Webcomic Holiday Gift Guide

I might as well start getting paid a stipend from Comics Alliance with all the links I’ve been putting up at this site, but man are they in my wheelhouse lately. And this one has an added perk as it was written by gool ol’ Lauren Davis of Storming the Tower (which has been updated lately) and io9. It’s the Comics Alliance Webcomic Gift Guide, with merch ranging from the Cat and Girl Schoolpack to Dinosaur Comics magnets! There might also be some webcomic print collections in there too!

What, Ms. Davis, no Ctrl+Alt+Del Wintereenmas “Throne of Games” baby tee?

Yeah, let’s forget I said that.

RIP Ricky Gurdano

Reader Vixx Volis brought to my attention the sad news that Ricky Gurdano, creator of Dumm Comics’ 1930 Nightmare Theatre, has passed away at the very young age of 35. His friend, Gabe Swarr, wrote a touching eulogy on the site.

I remember it was a cold winter night in Santa Monica in 1996. We were walking around the streets very late, bummed out and came to a graveyard. We looked around and we jumped the fence. Cautiously, we walked around to make sure there was no night watchman. We weren’t there to be cool or be scared, we went there to get away. We felt like invaders of a sacred place, but also deeply respectful.

We sat on a cold crypt in the middle of the graveyard and talked for almost 3 hours. We talked until it started to get brighter. We spewed all of our ideas, our ghost stories, our dreams, our loves, and our futures. We wanted the world, and we planned on taking it. In all of that, that’s when I realized that I would never be Ricky. I could never be anything close to what he was. I told him. I told him that I never met anyone like him. He was a level above. It was the way he was wired. He was the perfect combination of insight and passion to drive him to produce some of the strangest ideas, the ones you watch them unfold right in front of you, but you just can’t figure out how or where they came from. Sometimes to piss you off, sometimes to surprise you, but always to amaze and move you. They are things that you want to show everyone around you, because they are just so uncommon. There just aren’t many people like that.

I told him that night that he was a genius.

That’s why this is a true tragedy. He left this world way before he had the chance to really shine. He had so much more to do, to give, so much to show us, so much to teach us, so much more to love, not just comics, but life.

Hark A Vagrant! scoring high on Time’s 10 best books list

Things are coming up roses for Kate Beaton. Her print compilation, Hark A Vagrant!, scored the #7 spot on Time Magazine’s Top Ten Fiction Books. (Coming in at #1, by the way, was George R.R. Martin, and given the Game of Thrones mania sweeping the nation this year, the bearded one is a tough guy to beat.) Here’s what Time had to say:

It’s tough to say what list this book belongs on, but it’s the debut of a smart, funny, wholly unique voice, and it ought to be somewhere, so let’s put it here. Kate Beaton is a cartoonist who draws wildly expressive portraits of historical and literary figures and then makes them say funny things. Quite often her comics reveal basic truths about who these people were or are. (Lenin: “Is the right time for revolution.” Russian: “I do not wish to be communist.” Lenin: “Would murderous atrocities convince you sir.” Russian (rubs beard thoughtfully): “Go on …”) But the main point is that they’re hilarious. Whatever else it might be, Hark! A Vagrant is the wittiest book of the year.

And before you can write that off as perhaps cold, calculated commercial pandering, these words were written by one of Webcomic Overlook’s favorite modern authors, Lev Grossman. (Mr. Grossman was also once a video game critic, which makes him a soul brother of sorts.) When the author of The Magicians and Codex speaks, El Santo listens.

This also proves, by the way, what trendsetters we webcomic readers are. While the rest of the world is just now catching up to Ms. Beaton’s works, we can all put on our lensless glasses and sneer, “Psssh… I was totally into Kate Beaton 3-and-a-half years ago.” Webcomics: turning all of us into hipsters one webcomic at a time.

(h/t Fleen)

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