Monday, November 28, 2005


(From Questionable Content. Click for full sized... full sized... holy crap...)

See... everybody knew that this was going to happen eventually. It was discussed at some length, among other things QC, at Websnark a couple of weeks back. We just... I dunno. We didn't think it would be like... "like interrupting a delicate waltz with a sledgehammer to the knee," as she says.

Today's Questionable Content just... just floored me, man. That's... I mnean, holy crap on a crutch I didn't see this coming.

D00d. I seriously don't know what to say.

Except that I am seriously looking forward to this storyline. In case you haven't figured it out in the course of this post, I'm a serious fan of QC. NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Life comes in two flavors: regular, and Cinnamon!

Holy Crap there are a lot of good strips today.

A couple of days ago it was dry as a bone. Everything was simply one more day of comics. That happens sometimes. But today. I mean geez.

I'd want to talk about today's Sam and Fuzzy, because he just threw in another plot twist, but I just did that.

Today's Two Lumps made me laugh out loud, as did the current The Order Of The Stick (I took "Craft Disturbing Mental Image" as my feat last level) and the current Shortpacked!

I like how Starslip Crisis is coming back around to Vaporware (Today's strip makes me believe that it wasn't just a cameo after all; he might actually be a recurring returning character from CxN, the thought of which makes me gleeble with happiness.)

Something Positive made me swallow hard as we found out that Davan's father has told him about that.

about today's Questionable Content (especially that first panel) just makes me want to grab Marten and Faye by the shoulders, shake them, and yell "Look, just admit you're in love already!" (moreso than usual, I mean.)

Suzy Gee is graduating. And essentially, she's giving up on Gav and everything else.

And I just talked about CAD ten minutes ago.

There are some days when reading through my trawl just makes me so happy I want to hug somebody, and today is one of those days. I'm still grinning.

This is what it's all about, folks.

In one piece and not being chased by the authorities

(From Ctrl+Alt+Del. Click for full sized Come on, you know I was going to snark it eventually.)

Today's strip made me do a double take. And, in the immortal words of Lewis Black... "I am confused."

Because CAD, as a rule, does not make me do double takes. CAD is wonderful. CAD is hilarious. But CAD doesn't grab me because of its epic storytelling, it grabs me because it's just so frikkin' funny.

But, you see... there's this thing with Emma that's been happening in CAD lately. It was just another little storyline, like we've been having the whole time. But they've always just been silly. Even that time when Josh tried to steal Winter-een-mas from Ethan and Ethan crashed through the roof and there was this big dramatic fight that took four strips... it was epic, and we wanted to find out what happened next, but through it all, it was still very CAD. In other words, it was comic strip storytelling. There was a storyline, but it was all for comedic effect and remained very silly throughout.

This storyline with Emma struck me the same way as any other storyline did. He met the girl, liked her, dated her, she clashed with Ethan (for other reasons), there was some epic quarreling, and a good time was had by all. But then this happened, and threw me for a loop. Then, on the very next strip Ethan heard Emma apparently plotting to kill Lucas.

To kill him.

(And of course, Ethan tried to warn him, but Lucas didn't believe him, because, frankly, nobody believes someone who has ever needed a Metroid drip or held up a sign that said Will Suck At Tekken For Fallout.

Personally, I wouldn't either.)

But it was still funny. It was still silly. It was still CAD. The whole thing with Lucas slowly starting to get paranoid about the rock climbing and the skydiving and even the hot chocolate was just... Lucas getting paranoid.

Then today Emma pulled out the gun.

And I'm all like "WTF, mate?" Because... she can't really be trying to kill him, can she? Because... that sort of thing doesn't happen in CAD. It's not the type of atmosphere where people might really die. Ethan has been hit with an arrow and stabbed by a ninja and choked by an ogre, but that was... different. If Emma shoots Lucas it's not like he's just going to pop right back up in the next strip. That was back when there was gag-a-day stuff going on, and CAD has more backstory than that now.

But it looks to me like she really is trying to kill him.

What's going to happen? I dunno. But Tim Buckley has me hooked, man. Hooked.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I feel so used...

(From El Goonish Shive. Click for full sized "Hey look over there! A shiny new change of topic!")

No real snark on this one. I just wanted to gleeble hysterically over the fact that the demonic duck is back!

(This demonic duck, by the way, is a very old convention in EGS, which is just one of those things. Y'see, way back in 2002, Nanase distracted Elliot by saying "...hey, is that a demonic duck of some sort?" Which would have just been the old 'look out behind you' trick. Except that there really was a demonic duck there. And so now, anytime someone needs a distraction, the demonic duck seems to turn up, though we haven't seen him in a while.)

(But now, Dan Shive has brought the demonic duck back. Which, when I read the latest EGS, got quite a bit "w00t!" out of me. In the school library. I got funny looks, but there was no way I was going to try to explain. There are some instances where you just know that no one would really understand.)

(And actually, this is a bit of a segue into something I want to talk about, which is something I call, conveniently, The Demonic Duck Device. It's something that many webcomics do, and it consists of putting in some small, repeating character, such as the demonic duck, or even just a phrase, and when used correctly, can be extremely funny.)

(For the record, Dan Shive uses it correctly.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Now I only have to post bail for you ten more times before we're even!

(From Sam and Fuzzy. Click for full sized PLOT TWIST!)

First let me say a few words about Sam and Fuzzy.

It's funny. It always has been (which absolutely thrills me in a webcomic, by the way, and which I call Elf Only Inn syndrome: when a webcomic comes right out of the gate roaring in the direction that it wants to go, grabs you, and sucks you in, and you never have any doubts as to whether or not you are going to like it by the time you've read the first week's worth of strips in the archive.) I found Sam and Fuzzy on a link from Ctrl+Alt+Del, and the first strip made me laugh. The first strip. When something like that happens, that bodes well. That bodes very well, folks.

But anyway, Sam and Fuzzy used to be a lot more random than what it is now. There was always continuity, of sorts, but as the strip progressed some of the storylines got more and more involved. Sam started having more of a love life, which was referred to a lot. Fuzzy got involved in the ninja mafia, which had become a recurrent theme. Carlyle entered the strip in a physical way (this is my very favorite S&F strip, by the way) and it ventured into a bit of life philosophy. (Also, on a totally different note, Sam Logan's art has just been impressing the heck out of me lately, especially in this strip, which could merit it's own rant about the use of shadows and Frank-Miller-esque silhouette shots for a good while. The man knows how to use black and white.)

In fact, this sort of thing has been happening quite a lot lately, in Sam and Fuzzy, and to be perfectly frank, I think it's bloody brill. The storylines have been intertwining (the ninja mafia wants to kidnap Sam; please don't ask why, as it involves whatever used to posess the fridge in a very convoluted and hysterical way that I don't feel like going in to), which adds more depth and complexity to what's going on, though it never loses its comedic edge.

So really, I feel like I should have seen something like this coming. Except... it's so random. It's a perfectly legitimate story twist, but it's something that never would have occured to me, because it's not a plot-changing revelation. It's just one of those things that makes you widen your eyes and say "Woah. Candice is Sexxica?"

It's awesome stuff. And of course now I want to see what happens, which is the primary goal of any webcomic: to keep you coming back.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Crime, hatred, and the Spice Girls.

(From Roomies! Click for hardcore 1998 action!)

I was holding off on reading It's Walky! for several reasons, but the primary was the size of the archives.

Let me explain.

Ever since I have been reading webcomics, I have always felt as if I should start at the beginning. Whatever the medium, what has always really mattered to me about any sort of art (even pictures) is the stories that they tell. Whatever else may be said about me, I am a total and complete sucker for a good story.

Being obsessive about stories has its good points. It's fun, obviously. (It is one of the reasons that Sluggy and CRfH make me overflow with joy, by the way; because of the slow evolution of the characters and how all the plot threads come together.)

But it also means that I have the almost OCD desire to start at the very beginning. I have to know the whole story, and there's no better way to do that is to read the archives in their entirety, back to front.

Roomies! starts on September 8, 1997.

Nineteen ninety-effing-seven.

That's a long time ago, gang, especially in the webcomicking world.

So I'm gonna be awhile. And after perusing the first strip or two I wasn't too impressed with the art, but then again, I know it gets better (I've read Shortpacked!) and it kind of pinged my CRfH senses. But still, I knew that there probably was going to have to put some effort into those early days.

But this strip (which came out in January of 1998, by the way) made me laugh.

Let's talk about what makes it work. On the surface, the wording is just funny. "Not so fast, scum!" "Okay, I'll go slowly then." It's a classic spoof-a-cliche type joke, and it just works.

But what also gives this strip its funny is, of course, the drawing. It's the way that you can just tell that Dust Bunny's response completely throws RoboVac for a loop. He's looming in the background, looking all menacing, then suddenly, his expression wavers. He does what looks like the robotic equivalent of raising an eyebrow in the third panel. Then, in the fourth, he kind of looks off to the side (Uh... what do I do? Line? Anybody?) Then he just says... "'Kay." Because he doesn't know what to say.

It's funny already, and that's a good sign. I'll try to keep you all posted on how I feel on my way on through the archives, assuming I make it.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

OK, so... here's the thing...

...I'm doing a lot of stuff, at the moment.

Some of this is non-webcomics related (I'm doing NaNoWriMo and am currently about two days [3 thousand words] behind, as well as trying to write college admissions essays that which need to be high quality and make me sound smart, intelligent, witty, sexy, etc.)

And some is indeed webcomic related (I'm rereading the CRfH archives, because I was checking out the wiki article and was shocked at how much I didn't remember, as well as doing my best to work my way through the Roomies!/It's Walky!/Joyce and Walky! archives [I'll let you know what I think when I'm done, though it already looks like I'm going to like it.])

So yeah, the miscellaneous snarks might slow down, but this is not because I do not like y'all. (All... three of you who read this).

Just thought I'd toss that out there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We Understand j00: Why I Read Megatokyo

(From Megatokyo. Click for full sized You Had Me And You… Still Have Me, Apparently.)

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.

You know what I mean. It.

It is not Megatokyo. It is not Fred Gallagher or the fact that Rodney Caston left or anything else like that.

It is the fact that everybody either loves or hates Megatokyo.

“ooh it’s megatokyo! Can I touch it? It’s teh aw3s0m3s7 (Im 1337 btw) webcomci EVAR!!!”

“What are you talking about? Megatokyo is teh suxc0re. Everyone knows that it’s massively overrated and slow. All you Otaku dorks make me want to puke. GAH. Get a life, luser.”

These two lines basically sum up every online sentiment I've ever seen expressed about Megatokyo. Even with a long moment to reflect, I cannot think of a single neutral review I've ever read about Megatokyo. Choose your side, young hero, for this is war.

William G did a review about a week ago in which he kept a log of his thoughts as he read the comic's archives, most of which consisted of long lines of Z's and a detailed analysis of Piro's art style and used phrases such as "misleading intensity" and "unfinished."

A while back, Eric Burns did a You Had Me And You Lost Me for Megatokyo, in which he laid down a very thoughtful, insightful review on why he no longer read it. Therein was laid out, in incredible detail, an analysis about job responsibility to one's audience and and subtle changes that took place in the humor style after Caston's departure and its effect on the webcomic as an entity.

Shaenon Garrity analyzed, (it's quoted in William G's review) about fanboys and how Megatokyo has capitalized on the solidification of the otaku fantasy of Japan as a type of "fantasy world where everything is attuned to their desires."

And the thing is? They're probably right. All the analyzing and the deep meanings and prognosises and everything they've said, it's spot on.

I don't think Megatokyo is a particularly awesome comic. But I read it, and (here's the kicker, are you ready for it?) I like it.

Let me repeat that. Because it bears repeating.

I. Like. Megatokyo.

I have read the archives all the way through, front to back, as is my custom, and honestly I really don't see what all the fuss is about. Yes, it moves very slowly, and yes, it lost me a time or two in its story, and yes, it not having a characters page annoyed me, and yes, I had tremendous trouble telling the characters apart. I don't consider it close to on par with Sluggy or CRfH or Narbonic or Something Positive or CAD or any of the other dozen or so webcomics that I consider to be the really good ones; the ones that are my favorites. In short, yes, it is not good enough to merit its through the roof popularity, which, I think, is part of the reason for the ravagings that it has taken from lots of other people.

But... and this is important... it is still good.

Seraphim is funny, with her glasses that sit on her nose and her sardonic glare. Boo is ridiculously cute and a lot more useful than anyone gives him credit for. Largo is crazy and likes in his own fantasy world, but he still has somewhat of an inkling of what is really going on, and, especially in the most recent chapter, has a profound effect on the story and on Piro. Junpei the Ninja (who is my favorite character, by the way) is just frikkin' awesome. So help me, I like how Largo speaks in leet and how Asmodeous plots deviously to bring Piro and Largo to moral ruin and even all the pathetic romantic subplot that Piro has going on, even though I can't keep up with who we're supposed to be rooting for him to fall in love with.

I just like it. I don't go in for the deep meanings or the subtextual otaku fantasies or the "unfinished" art style. I read it because, though there are better webcomics, there are also a whole lot that are a lot worse. I'd be willing to predict that were Megatokyo more of a fringe comic, that critics wouldn't be so hard on it.

What it comes down to, in the end, is that you should judge a webcomic on whether you like it. Eric and William and lots of others didn't like it.

I, however, do. And I believe that, despite what many people say, it still deserves a try from you, gentle reader. Tru5t m3.

Keep on truckin, Fred. You have me, and losing doesn't seem too likely.

Eat hot suppression, psycho-bears!!!

(From Schlock Mercenary. Click for little bit late snark.)

Yeah, yeah, I know. This isn't today's strip. This is the strip from a couple of days ago. And I really should have snarked it then, but I didn't really have time. And besides, the subject is not exactly this strip specifically, but this storyline as a whole and, to be frank, Schlock Mercenary as a whole.
but more importantly
Schlock Mercenary was one of the first strips that I read, coming in third, just a little bit after 8-Bit Theater and Ctrl+Alt+Del, but more importantly Schlock Mercenary was the strip that gave me the hunger. Let me explain.

I have been reading 8-Bit for a very long time, probably as far back as 2003, if I remember correctly, because a friend of mine was reading it and recommended it. CAD came soon after, for the same reason. But for quite a time, I was happy with just that. I liked those webcomics quite a bit, but they were just sitting there in my bookmarks, taking up tabs, and were just one more thing to do along with Red vs. Blue and Homestarrunner.

But then something happened. In November of 2004, a friend told me about Schlock Mercenary. And, in perusing the archives, something took hold of me that still hasn't let go to this day. I wanted more. Specifically, I wanted more webcomics. I devoured a good portion of Keenspot from the dropdown menu on Schlock, and found Websnark through when Howard Tayler linked it.

I owe a lot to Schlock Mercenary, I know. But it's been a while since I've read the archives, and sometimes I get a nagging voice in the back of my head that says that the only reason that I'm so crazy about Schlock is because it was first.

Then comes along something like today's strip, and I remember that Schlock Mercenary is funny.

It's funny. And what's more is the way that it balances the funny and the serious. Because, you see, when you do a stupid buddy comic or something similar, there's always a feeling that the whole mess is just crazy hijinks and will work out in the end. It's just kids having fun.

In Schlock there are crazy hijinks as well. That's what makes it funny. But it's because they're a hardcore mercenary squad that trawls about the galaxy blowing stuff up, kicking butt, and taking names. At it's most basic, it's a fairly serious subject. People die, (or at least get blown up by incediary grenades and lose a great amount of their mass, and therefore also most of their memory, but that's a different subject.) They kill people, in reality. But the humor is all about your point of view, really.

And the thing about this particular strip is that it nails that. Nails it. Because, you see... we know something here that neither Tagon nor Pranger knows: what happened in the alternate timeline.

(If you haven't read it, by the way, go away and come back when you've finished reading the archives. All of them. Now. I'll wait for you. You done? Good. Let's rock.)

See, in the alternate timeline, the band of mercenaries led by Colonol Pranger (the brown-skinned hammerhead-shark-headed looking fellow) were hired by the opposite side of things. And Tagon died. It was some serious junk.

But fortunately, Kevyn was able to travel back to the past, preemptively outbid Pranger's would-be employer, and set things right.

Here in this last bit of the ending of the storyline, when Pranger found out that the Toughs now have posession of his old ship, he smiled. Which sort of scared me. Pranger had something up his sleeve. What was it? Because Pranger and his group are serious business.

Then today's strip comes up, and we find out that he was playing a joke on Tagon.

A joke.

Here I was thinking something nasty was in store, and it was just wacky hijinks!

It makes me want to shoot something with my plasma cannon with the ominous hum. (EAT HOT SUPPRESSION, PSYCHO-BEARS!!!) But that's what it's all about. Howard Tayler played me like a CD, man. He gave me ups and downs, made me bite my nails and sigh with relief.

He made me laugh.

I like this strip. Very much so. And if you're not reading it, you're cold missing out on some seriously funny stuff.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's a Magical World. Or something like that. You know what I mean.

(From Checkerboard Nightmare Click for full sized IT'S OVER!!!)

I feel, here at the end of all things (or at least the end of things CxN), like I should say a few things about Checkerboard Nightmare. CxN was one that I got into fairly late, for me, at least, and at first it didn't make much of an impression. It was weird, broke the fourth wall like crazy, and the story... holy cow. Is there a story?

Not really, I quickly figured out. But then, it started to grow on me. Because, like Goats, it has the concept of taking the weird stuff that Kris Straub thinks up and just putting them down and they're funny because they're just so random. This was "What part of 'Ninja' didn't you understand?" and the overclocked lemon and the panties of potency all over again.

I found that I liked Chex. I felt for Lyle and how he had to put up with him. Vaporware was just perfect as the token robot of the strip. And the rest of the cast was just great.

Just the idea of a character named Schrodinger the Quantum Cat is something that just makes me giggle. The Unraveled is a sentient godlike fetus, and "if that doesn't make you laugh," to quote Josh Sortelli, "it will probably make you cry." I started going around saying things like "Don't Drugs" and confusing my friends. Heathrow and Smacky (which is fun to type, by the way. Heathrow and Smacky) doing their whole vaudeville thing was just irresistable. The hard action squad parodies made me laugh like crazy, because they were spot on. And Dr. Hot.

In other words, it was funny.

And now it's ending.

That is, it's really ending (unless Kristofer Straub is pulling our leg in a rather gigantic way, which I wouldn't put past him. In that case I'm going to look kind stupid, aren' t I?) not just fake ending, which it has done before. Four times in one week.

This is really the end. And, in the true spirit of the strip, they say what I thought. That they're going out in the way that they came in. It's Chex, and it's Lyle. They're standing there, Chex says something stupid, Lyle rebutts. Chex says something crazy.

And the punchline is perfect. Plus, it's a Calvin and Hobbes reference.

If I gave buscuits. Kristofer Straub would get one.

And it would most certainly be one of the tasty-tastiest.

Hats off to Mr. Straub, ladies and gentlemen. He made it through, and we liked it. I, for one, am sorry to see CxN go, and that means that he succeeded.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My only complaint is that he doesn't say "Piro's here already." That would just complete it, y'know?

(From GPF, Click for full sized guest-strippage.)

I oughta read It's Walky!

And I'm going to tell you why.

First of all, let me say that I trust Eric Burns' tastes. Really, I do. The man's site introduced me to Sluggy Freelance and College Roomies From Hell!!! and all manner of other wonderful stuff such as that.

So in my early days hanging around the 'snark, I didn't give the You Had Me And You Lost Me section much thought. I hadn't read any of the three strips it listed, and it didn't really matter to me what Eric was or was not reading. If I've never read the strip, I didn't read the snarks. That was my rule. No spoiling for if I wanted to read it later.

Then, one day, a friend was over at my house and he goes "Dude! I have a new webcomic for you!"

"Oh yeah?" Say I. "What is it?"

"It's called General Protection Fault. GPF." He replies.

My brow wrinkles. "I've heard of that." I say. "I've heard it's good at the beginning but... drops off at the end or something like that."

He shakes his head solemnly. "Just read it."

So I read it, and found that he was right. I loved it. (Which taught me, by the way, that just because someone else doesn't like something doesn't mean I won't.)

I see it's faults, certainly. I've read the YHMAYLM, and I see many of the points it makes. But I still like it. It's still fun to read, and that's the whole point, I think, so I've always felt just a little uneasy about the whole thing.

So today's GPF strip by David Willis? It makes me giggle. It's funny. David Willis is funny, apparently, (I already like Shortpacked!).

So... yeah. Why not? Here's Walky, here I come...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


OK, this blog, Eyeballing It, is going to require some explanation, and there doesn't really seem to be a much better place to do that than the first post. So... here is what could be known as my mission statement (or maybe the ground rules), in point form, for your convenience.

1.) When I am here, I will most likely talk about webcomics. They're the point and focus of this blog, (and basically my personal life is none of your bussiness anyway). This, however, does not mean that I am qualified to make any sort of in depth-analysis or review about these webcomics. I just ramble, and that is what this is, rambling about the webcomics and what I think about them. This blog is called "Eyeballing It" and that is just what I intend to do: Give my impressions and just talk about the webcomics.

2.) Everything that is here, including the not-really-reviews, (henceforth referred to as "Snarks," because Websnark has already infected just about every webcomicer's mind out there) is my opinion. You got that, you little flamers? Repeat after me: *I Will Not Freak Out Over Kneefer's Webcomics Opinions* We understand each other? Good.

3.) I will update when I have something to say. I have no update schedule. I'm a busy guy. Deal with it.

4.) If you have some sort of reply/rebuttal/flame, feel free to leave me a comment. That's what it's there for.

5.) Yeah, it's another commentary blog. Do we really need one? Probably not, but I'm writing anyway. If this is too much webcomics criticism for your tiny brain to handle on top of all those other sites then you have my permission to stop reading. Go and hang around the PA forums and complain about how I'm ripping off Eric Burns or something.

Now go away. There's nothing else here yet.

(But there will be, oh yes... there will be...)