(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
, 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
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.
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.
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.