Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

ADCoTW: Riot Nrrd


It’s been like a million years since I last did an “Awesome Damn Comic of the Week” bit, so I really want to thank Garland Grey of Tiger Beat Down for bringing Riot Nrrd to light.




I basically fell in love with this comic like 2 or 3 comics in. The art is pretty rough, but in an endearing and trying-hard way, and the writing is awesome. The cast is extremely diverse, including characters who are disabled, and it doesn’t feel in the least like tokenism or inclusion for the sake of inclusion. It very much feels like a group of people who are friends, and some of them are different in some ways and some of them are different in other ways.

And oh, the nerdity.

It’s beautiful.

There’s only 35 comics so far, so there’s not much to catch up on. I really hope RJ continues with this project. I’m very excited about it and adore the characters.

Some of my favorite comics so far are:

The Whedon Problem
Community Service
Mae Jemison is awesome
Blind Date pt 3

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Check out today’s PvP


I couldn’t find a permanent link to the strip, but today’s PvP looks really great. The backgrounds are fantastic and don’t detract from the content, while also really giving a clue as to what’s going on/the characters’ personalities. I love the paper pinned to the wall in Cole’s office, and his printer being right there. It’s so cool that there’s a guitar in the background in Brent and Jade’s hotel room, and the suitcase looks like Kurtz really drew on source material. Cole’s body language is just about perfect in the first panel.

It’s a bunch of little things, but this is what a professional-looking webcomic looks like. Kurtz has been pushing his artistic envelope for awhile and it really shows… in a good way. Marcy and Francis’s character redesigns are really good, too and Jade’s been looking slightly updated as well.

I haven’t done an Awesome Webcomic of the Week in a while in part because a bunch of the comics I want to comment on either don’t have enough of an archive yet or else are on hiatus. I’ve been trying to stay away from reviewing the big guns like PvP, Achewood, ScaryGoRound, etc because pretty much everyone knows about them, right? But I might work up an article on Kurtz’s stylistic changes and recent storylines.

I’m up with truly terrible heartburn. Ugh. I forgot to take my prescription medication for several days and even though I took it yesterday and today, apparently a dinner of… uh… pasta is too much for my tender tummy. Or something. I took some OTC stuff in addition to the prescription things and it’s starting to die down, but sitting up really helped so I surfed the net a bit and BAM! Awesome PvP action.

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The Return Of Awesome Damn Comic Of The Week: The Good Crook


Have you ever maybe wanted to impress someone, so you started just saying stuff and eventually you’d dug a hole real deep and the other person is just kind of looking at you like you’re the worlds biggest poorly-lying asshole and you just keep on digging that hole?

For awhile there, that was Jackie while talking to his ex-wife Angela, over in The Good Crook.

Jackie’s got problems. He’s got an ex-wife who’s dating somebody else, he’s got a kid, he’s got a job, and he’s a real nice guy. A trustworthy guy. A standup guy. And that’s the problem, because he wants to be in the mafia. He wants to be in the mafia so bad he can taste it. He doesn’t want to be a nice guy, he wants to be an important guy. Nobody gets that.

And then, one day at work, he finds a briefcase with a gun.

I have no idea where this story is heading, although the bit where Jackie kept digging himself deeper and deeper trying to convince Angela that he was in the mob had me squirming in sympathy for him. But I definitely want to be along for the ride. This is a very character-driven comic, with the cast very well fleshed out and with quirks of speech and habit. And the art is really unusual and fun as well.

I’ve been holding off on reviewing this because I wanted to see where it’s going. I still don’t know where it’s going, as I said earlier, but I definitely want to tag along.

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary


It seems a little silly to call a comic on the internet, with a world wide following, “top secret.” But Dar: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary” by Erika Moen, is at its heart very personal and very much a diary. Moen talks, in her strip, about sexuality and gender, about coming out as a lesbian and later about her confusion of being attracted to and falling in love with a man, about breaking up and making up with lovers, about her family, about her dreams, about her goals, about her quirks and habits and mental illness. And also about her really horrible flatulence.

One might expect something so personal to fall into the realm of navel gazing, but there’s something universal about Moen’s diary comic. Everybody wonders about themselves, everyone falls in love, everyone has quirks, and everyone farts. “Dar” is a slice of life comic, specific enough to have a very solid and definite personality, but general enough to be accessible. Moen writes about herself and the people in her life, and in doing so, she writes about the human condition. Also, she’s a really great artist and her comic is very stylized and fun.

Check this comic out. It’s personal and universal all at once, and is pretty kick ass as well.

Also, if anybody has suggestions for Awesome Damn Webcomics, suggest away.

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: SPQR Blues


SPQR Blues, by klio, is a comic that I’m new to but I’ve managed to fall absolutely in love with it. The linework is very clean, and klio has a great grasp of anatomy, architecture, and visual story telling. She also is a giant Rome Nerd, what with a comic set in Rome, historical intrigue going on, and references to Ovid. I got a huge kick out of one scene because the court yard of the building through which the characters are walking, I swear to God, is taken from a book I just read about Private Life in Rome.

Because I’m lazy, I suggest you read this synopsis on Comixpedia: http://www.comixpedia.org/index.php/SPQR_Blues.

I’m going to rattle off some of the stuff I like about this comic now:
1) Very fine, clean art
2) Interesting mingling of “clean” and “rough” pencil styles
3) Solid groundwork in Roman history, architecture, and private life
4) Interesting characters and story
5) Did I mention the solid groundwork in history, architecture, and private life? Research for the Win.
6) There’s a goddess
7) Interesting and intriguing storyline
8) Mention of Ovid, for whom I have a soft spot <3 This is a consistently solid comic, and reading it I really regret not paying more attention/doing better in Latin Class in high school. Sorry, Mr. Keating. I didn't appreciate you at the time but I'm starting to now.

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: Bold Riley and the Witch in the Wild


Bold Riley and the Witch in the Wild is another comic that passes the Bechdel test. Now in its second chapter, The Witch in the Wild takes a fairly typical Fairy Tale/Quest story and turns it on its head. The hero is Bold Riley (Princess in the East, Hero in the West), a fiesty woman looking for her suddenly (and mysteriously) missing Lady Love. Armed with a seriously awesome pair of ass-kicking boots, a cast iron skillet (proof against fairies/magic and also an emblem of the female realm, yum), and a personal and intimate item left behind by her Lady (an earring), Bold Riley sets out into the Wild to win her lover back.

The art is good; lyrical in places, spooky in others. Leia Weathington has a distinctive style, and a strong inking hand. She also uses tone and pattern creatively, and frames her panels very well. Weathington has done a good job of creating a world and mythology that draws on many sources, and her characters speak in different and distinct voices.

Bold Riley and the Witch in the Wild is one of the comics I check on regularly and am disappointed when it’s late or misses an update. I also spent actual physical money on an actual, physical copy of the first chapter and was NOT disappointed with it. It looks really good in print. It also came with a drawing of the Whispering Women. It’s an awesome woman who can make a bunch of naked ladies terrifying, and those terrifying ladies are hanging on my wall right now.

Check this comic out. You won’t regret it.

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: Girls With Slingshots


Girls With Slingshots passes the Alison Bechdel test:
It features 1) more than two women who 2) talk about something 3) other than boys. Actually, Dicebox (last week’s feature) does that too… as do most of the comics I read. Interesting, huh? Anyway! Girls With Slingshots also features great characterization and art. It passes one of my favorite tests for character design: if you line up all the characters and show them in silhouette, you can figure out who’s who. Do you have any idea how that makes me squee?

There’s the tall skinny chick with long hair, the short plump girl (with big boobs and a belly and big upper arms and a round face and huge amounts of confidence and sexuality mmmm positive body model), the short muscle-y guy, the tall skinny guy, the short chick with short hair… they have different bodies, different faces, and different personalities, and it’s wonderful.

There’s a bit of wackiness (talking cactus) that isn’t too overboard, and the boob jokes are the same kind of jokes that I make with girlfriends. The art is really great and the writing is strong as well. When big comic companies scratch their heads and wonder about the kind of stuff that women read, I wish they’d look at stuff like this and Dicebox: strong female characters who live life.

Anyway, check this out. It’s grade A stuff.

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: DiceBox


People reading these comic recommendations are probably getting a pretty clear idea by now of what I like in a comic (or a story in general). Let’s make a list of what DiceBox has, shall we?

  • Science Fiction
  • World Building
  • Healthy Sexual Relationship
  • Strong Female Characters
  • People of color/different ethnicities who aren’t simply “exotic other”
  • Very solid, good writing
  • Very solid, good art
  • Consistent quality and improvement
  • A made up alphabet
  • The word “peh” to indicate gender indeterminacy

Ok. Some of this stuff is pretty specific to this particular comic, some of it more general.

Molly (who is missing a finger and who sees things) and Griffen (a musician and instigator of trouble) are married women, itinerant factory workers traveling around “a space faring future” and having adventures and interacting with others and revealing stuff about themselves. It is supremely character driven, yet also has a very definite sense of time and place. The colors used are rich and wonderful and set the mood of the story nicely. This story very obviously has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There is a script, and it is well plotted and well paced and very planned, a lovely and exciting thing in the world of webcomics. There are no wacky adventures here, there are not madcap adventures, there are no daily gags. Just very good art and very good story telling and really, what more do you want?

DiceBox is one of those comics that I cannot recommend highly enough. It is rich and lush and intelligent and will leave you at the same time very satisfied, and wanting more. Check it out.

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: Family Man


Family Man by Dylan Meconis, is one of those lushly illustrated, intensely researched, fleshed out comics that make me swoon. Set in Germany during the Age of Reason, ex-Scholar (and can a scholar ever really be an ex-scholar, even if he did leave university behind?) Luther Levy returns home to the warm and welcoming bosom of his family: strictly religious mother, poet sister, watchmaker father, and affianced business man twin brother. While visiting them, he runs into an old friend of his who offers him a job that sounds a bit too good to be true. However, as the alternative is being a private tutor for a family of assholes…

I mentioned the research and the art. Have I mentioned the wonderful writing, or the excellent characterizations? The detail in this comic, both in the writing and the art, is just astounding. And then there’s the wolves.

Check this comic out at once, if not sooner. It’s new enough that you can get through the archives in good time, catch up on what’s going on, and be gaspingly thirsty for me. And then read through the archives again. This is just good, solid storytelling with excellent writing backing it up. I can’t recommend this enough.

Changing gears slightly, you might notice that this is tagged “AWDofW.” Maybe you wonder what that stands for. It stands for Awesome Damn Comic of the Week. Why, then, doesn’t it say “ADCotW?” Because I’m dyslexic, that’s why. And even though I carefully hunted-and-pecked for just those initials (as opposed to my usual touch typing), I still fucked them up. That’s also why it took me so long to notice the error. Yes, it “looked wrong,” but I’m used to 3 out of 10 words, at least, “looking wrong.”

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Awesome Damn Comic of the Week: Metanoia


There’s a few things I’m a sucker for when it comes to comics.
Mythology is one of them. Changing up mythology, making it your own, is another.
World building.
Moral struggles.
Complex characters with distinct personalities, motivations, goals, and faces.
Lush art that improves as time goes on.
Solid story.
A quick look around Metanoia reveals all this stuff. Angels and demons, complex personal histories, a stone cold killer with a heart of… uh. Well. He may have a heart. Somewhere. Or not. He’s good at what he does, though.
Metanoia is full of Walking Wounded characters and sometimes you just want to slap them, but only out of concern. The characters, and the world, are very real feeling. There is a very definite store, with what feels like a solid beginning, middle, and end as opposed to the all-too-common endless circle that webcomics run in. It helps, of course, that the main characters are male and are smoking hot. Woo. Sorry.

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