Fun Friday: Welcome to my Webcomic Wonderland….

It’s Friday, and, for the record, food poisoning sucks.  Oh joy.  Oh rapture.  I have spent so much time in the bathroom the family is ready to start charging rent.  Started late Wednesday night (after my outing with Big Sister) so I hope it’s run out of steam.

In other news, I did go out with my sister before the food poisoning hit.  We went to a Rifftrax show.  Have you heard of Rifftrax?  MST3K? I’m not going to get into a big explanation.  Here are the Wikipedia links (MST3K and Rifftrax). But the short explanation is that there is a movie, generally bad (though not always); our heroes (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, who wrote and performed in both shows) are overdubbing the soundtrack with smart ass remarks, heckles, jokes, parody dialogue, you name it.  Just the sort of thing you and your friends do during those drunken attacks of “let’s watch tv!”  Only Nelson and Team are, you know, actually funny.

So the Rifftrax folks do this simulcast thing, wherein they do a live show in Nashville, and it’s broadcast to movie theaters around the globe.  That’s why Sister and I can watch a Nashville show right here in the darkest jungles of Appalachia.  Big Sister and I have seen the live Rifftrax of Starship Troopers (or, as my sister likes to call it, “Apocalypse 90210”), Night of the Living Dead, Sharknado (wow.  Just wow).  This time, we saw the Riff of The Room by Tommy Wiseau.  Yeah.  It was painful at times; this is a movie that NEEDS a Rifftrax audio track.  But yeah, it was very funny.  They’re doing Sharknado 2 this summer; I’m hoping we’ll go to that one, too. Check out Fathom Events, the sponsor of the live shows, for more information about tickets, schedules, etc)

ANYWAY! I get sidetracked so easily.  What were we talking about? Oh, yeah, right Fun Friday.  What delightful delectables have I got for you today?  Apparently the wind inside my too-empty brainpan has turned west or something.  I don’t normally read webcomics.  I use a netbook 99.99% of the time, and webcomics don’t display well on my tiny, tiny screen.   But this time, I’m making an exception.  Three of them, in fact.

The first is a Steampunk offering, sent to me by Maggie Maxwell, writer and all around good person (her blog is here).  She says this is her favorite web comic, and I take her at her word, since I’m not that big on webcomics.  The name of the webcomic (technically it’s a web-graphic web-novel) is Phoenix Requiem, written and illustrated by Sarah Ellerton (who is also the creator of Inverloch). Phoenix ran from 2007 to 2011, and was nominated for a number of awards for both story and art.  It is set in an alternate Victorian era, one where magic works.  The story is that Anya, a young nurse studying to be a doctor, is involved in the care of Jonas, a young man who was found in the woods, unconscious, shot and bleeding.  They get Jonas back to health, but now the town they’re in is falling victim to this plague, a disease that is sweeping through this community, and eventually others.  Some of the townspeople believe that Jonas may brought the plague with him when he stumbled into town.  Meanwhile, skeptic Anya, who doesn’t believe in magic or ghosts, is suddenly receiving visitations by ghosts and vengeful spirits, people who died from the plague.  Things only escalate from there.

As I said a moment ago, Phoenix received a lot of nominations from the webcomic community, particularly for the artwork, which is a beautiful, clean not-quite-manga style.  It also received some criticism for the story, and I agree with the general complaint:  the beginning is very slow.   It seems to take too long to get to the actual story part of the story.  However!  Once you wade past that part, you’re golden; the story is good, the pace cracks right along with no problem.  You just gotta get past that slow part first.

Anyway, if you want to check out Phoenix Requiem, the link is above.  Check it out, and tell ’em Maggie and AJ sent you!

The second webcomic is… well, it’s hard to classify.  I think it’s Steampunk.  It’s called Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether.  It’s exactly what it says on the box.  Lady Seneca Sabre is the leader of a band of pirates, sailing around the world in their airship.  They split their time between swashbuckling, sword fighting, romancing, shedding blood, whipping bad guys and pinochle.  Only not the pinochle.

What exactly is swashbuckling, anyway?

The artists behind Lady Sabre are Rick Burchett and Greg Rucka, who are professionals; they’ve won awards for their work on such comics as The Batman and Robin Adventures, Gotham Central, Queen & Country, and Whiteout: Melt.  They do these outside projects, like Lady Sabre, out of a desire to create without the restrictions of the mainstream comic industry.

The art is absolutely beautiful, stuff you would see in a good, high quality comic.  The style is very comic book, which makes sense.  The stories are good, not so clean fun, exactly what you’d expect from a pirate story.  They do not suffer the same flaw as Phoenix Requiem; “slow” is not a word that applies to this story.  Also unlike Phoenix, this one is still rolling along; it started in 2011, and its last post was February of 2015 (as of this posting).  If you want to check it out, start here.

Finally, I have one called Steampunk Soiree.  To quote the webpage, “Steampunk Soiree chronicles the adventures of two traveling thieves and performers, August and Berkeley, as they journey from town to town in their generic steampunk airship.”  And that pretty much covers it.  The two heroes travel from place to place and get into mischief.  The drawings are in a very deliberate anime style, which I don’t personally enjoy, but I can see the merits of it.  I can’t find out much about the creators, other than they are called Benson and Shaina; she writes and draws, he maintains the webpage.  Beyond that, not so much.

This comic lacks the depths of Phoenix Requiem, and it lacks to artistry of Lady Sabre.  But that’s not a condemnation.  I think of it as brain candy:  not all that good for you, but pleasant to consume.  If you want to consume it, you can start here.

Okay, that’s it for me.  Now I have a headache to go with the tummyache and nausea.  If this turns into the flu, I’m going to kill whoever brought it into the house.  Anyway, you know the drill:  write, tweet, share, comment.  My email addy is on the About page.  I’ll be back on Monday with more fiction.  Until then, be good, and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!

Categories: Comic/Graphic Novels, Fun Friday, Pulp, Radio, Steampunk | Leave a comment

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