Single Sentence Scrutiny

Writing last week’s post felt kinda weird: As much as I love the The Silence Of The Lambs and The Matrix , not mentioning any webcomics disturbed me. So by way of overcompensating, I decided to include as many as possible this week. I managed to cover twenty-four. Of, course. this means that I have only limited space to talk about each.

So instead of dedicating a couple hundred words to the discussion of one single webcomic, like I did in my first post on this blog, I will allocate a single sentence of praise to each. I will describe why I love the comic as it is now, and in case of long-runners ignore the early evolution.

Do you agree or disagree with me about a particular comic? Let us know in the comments.

Here we go (neither order nor sentence length are indicative of relative awesomeness):

Schlock Mercenary is my favorite satirical science fiction webcomic, because it applies great satire – with satire being defined as making fun of important or interesting topics by taking them seriously – on many levels (visual, narrative, dialog, plot), with multiple scopes (personal, relationship, professional, technical, organizational, strategic, political), and to different effects (silly, funny, weird, dramatic, dark and disturbing).

Questionable Content is my favorite relationship-drama-driven slice-of-life comedy webcomic, because both its humor and drama are true to the characters, which are build on sophisticated stereotypes, i. e. stereotypes used to enable and inform, but not to constrain or deform, the individuality and richness of the characters.

Opportunities In Space is my favorite twenty-minutes-into-the-future-but-with-aliens-and-spaceships espionage webcomic, because it relies on continually rising dramatic tension instead of mindless action, and constantly surprises the reader in spite of being very upfront and hiding very little from the reader.

A Girl and Her Fed is my favorite twenty-minutes-into-the-future-but-with-supernatural-elements espionage webcomic, because even if it features really evil villains, it also shows political antagonism coming from different viewpoints and goals rather than from moral deficiency, and how the good guys sometimes make questionable choices as well.

Space Mullet is my favorite dark-and-gritty-but-also-quite-funny science fiction (in space) webcomic, because the guys are valiant and wise-cracking, the girls are tough and pretty, the aliens are alien and relatable, the moons and planets are gourgeous, and the weapons and spaceships are top-notch.

Protege is my favorite dark and gritty action thriller spy story webcomic, because it is told fast-paced, with constantly rising tension, doesn’t shy away from going really dark places, but without invoking much gore, and has the most interesting characters and superb world-building.

Gravedigger is my favorite webcomic about an anti-hero who’s pretty damn good at figuring angles and covering bases, goes down with style, but is always prepared, makes sure he’ll lick it, eventually, and narrates his tales with dry wit and quick perception.

Greasy Space Monkeys is my favorite webcomic spicing up Gibsonian high-tech-low-life underdog-in-space slice-of-life shenanigans with Crocodile Dundee-esque romantic comedy sprinkles, including courtship rituals ranging from impersonating a spaceship captain to refusing to either confirm or deny allegations of being a murderer to threatening inevitable nuclear annihilation.

Crowded Void is my favorite nauseating webcomic. (Seriously, can you imagine any science fiction setting as gross as the intestines of a giant space worm? If so, please tell us in the comments.)

Galaxion is my favorite webcomic featuring Live. Love. Hyperspace. because priorities.

Quantum Vibe is my favorite science fiction webcomic that populates an epic world in a setting limited to our solar system and speed-of-light communication with an incredibly diverse set of characters even without any aliens.

Drive is my favorite webcomic that combines serious, incredibly creative world-building and goofy but loveable characters into an intriguing and hilarious story.

Validation is my favorite webcomic driven from an agenda, because it delivers its message and stands its ground, but puts storytelling first, and doesn’t come across as preachy.

That Deaf Guy is my favorite (mostly) humorous webcomic about living with your own or one your family member’s disability.

BOHICA Blues is my favorite webcomic about military life in a modern society.

Deep Dive Daredevils is my favorite pulp-style adventure webcomic that combines historical submarine action, retro-science-fiction thrills, supernatural chills, and bunch-of-ragtag-misfits shenanigans, because it employs all the old, well-known tropes and twists them like no one else, delivering entirely new levels of surprising, yet inevitable.

Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether is my favorite webcomic featuring a unique and radically different fantasy setting, because the world is excellently constructed, the characters are compelling, the plot is intriguing, and the visuals are positively beautiful.

Trekker is my favorite webcomic that starts from a well known, pretty standard science fiction setting and premise, because the story is interesting, the plot is well executed, and the visuals are easy on the eyes.

Space Corps is my favorite science fiction webcomic with world-buildung based on blatant setting rip-off (Semper Fi IN SPACE) enforcing ridiculous constraints on alien design (only the head can be different, and it still has to fit into a standard human-sized helmet), because it unflinchingly runs with the concept and includes alien characters which are pretty cool despite the constraints.

Spacetrawler is my favorite science fiction webcomic populated by a plethora of incredibly versatile alien designs that take full advantage of the freedom afforded by the medium and accept no constraints whatsoever.

Space Pest Removal is my favorite science fiction webcomic characterized by cartoon-style visuals and storytelling, because it always makes me smile and often makes me wonder.

The Queen Candidate and Kappa are my favorite webcomics that are based on an unconventional fantasy setting and correspondingly weird fantasy races.

Next Town Over is my favorite webcomic featuring a weird plot and an idiosyncratic premise and ravishingly beautiful art.

Note: There are many more webcomics I like than I could possibly cover here. There are also many, and I mean really many, webcomics that I don’t like, but which are nevertheless very good (because my taste is just my taste, duh).

Can you express in one sentence why you love your favorite webcomic? Tell us in the comments!

In my opinion, many of the explanations given in the one sentence descriptions above deserve further exploration. I will revisit them in forthcoming posts.

See you next week, when I will write with stronger focus, covering less but digging deeper.

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7 comments

  1. Hey! Thanks for mentioning BOHICA Blues– and I am also familiar with some of these others (Questionable Content, Trekker) and I know of but have not looked at (yet) many others on your list. I’ll check ’em out.

    A webcomic I like about adoption and being “the different kid” is Selkie, so if you ever want to explore more settings, check it out: http://www.selkiecomic.com/

    This looks like a great list of comics and I’m glad to be included.

    Like

    1. Thank you for stopping by to have a chat.

      And many thanks for recommending Selkie. I think I’ve seen ads before, but dismissed it as just one of those zombie comics. I checked it out now, found out I was mistaken, and judging from the first couple of pages, it looks great. I’ll probably put it on my Wonderful Webcomics page, and maybe talk about it some more, some time in the future.

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  2. Heya, thanks for those recommandations, I can never get my fill on webcomics and a lot of those were still unknown to me.

    I’m not sure I agree completely with you on the “sophisticated stereotypes” part of your description of Questionable Content, though. Mostly because, if they indeed are presented as stereotypes, they rapidly grow as fully-fleshed characters and you forget they were, once, stereotypes.

    You’re spot-on on the true-to-characters and the their richness.

    Ditto for Space Mullet, it’s a great story.

    You might like Dice Box: it’s a dystopian future(?) with very strong characters and a pretty good art style :

    http://www.comic.dicebox.net/comic/wander-pre-ramble/

    Also, check out Derelict (post-apocalyptic with mutants(?)), the beginning is… quiet, to say the least, but it’s pretty strong story-telling:

    http://derelictcomic.com/?strip_id=0

    In the zany genre, Power Nap is freaking good: In the Not-that-far future, most people can stay awake all day long, thanks to a new pill, the Z-sup. Most people, but not all. And for those unlucky few whose lives are still weighed down by the need of sleep, life is hell, and they’re stuck in shitty jobs. It’s really funny, the art style very energetic.

    http://www.powernapcomic.com/d/20110617.html

    I don’t know if you like fantasy, too. If you do, give Unsounded its chance. Again, gorgeous art, great story-telling, great characters. The main female character is a real pain in the neck at the beginning, but she’s a well-developed one (storywise, I mean).

    http://www.casualvillain.com/Unsounded/comic/ch01/ch01_01.html

    Like

    1. Thank you for the insightful comment and the recommendations.

      I love Power Nap, too, and in fact it’s listed on my Wonderful Webcomics page.

      I learned about Dice Box about two years ago, but I still haven’t found the time yet to dig into its massive archive. I checked out both Derelict and Unsound some time ago, and didn’t (yet?) really get into them, but of course I encourage everyone to check them out and decide for yourself.

      I suspected, and your comment confirms it, that my use of the (made-up) term sophisticated stereotypes would get a controversial reaction. I will explain my thinking behind it, and also discuss some more examples, in next week’s post. If you come by on Tuesday, you may find out whether you agree with the more elaborate description.

      Like

  3. Hey, had to put in my two cents!

    I’ve gotta recommend Derelict, as well. Anything that might be described as ‘post apoc’ is a hard sell for me, but Ben Fleuter is a master of atmosphere and I love his characters.

    Speaking of great atmosphere, you might like Broodhollow – The cute style is deceiving and lends itself well to a disturbing plot.

    I’m also a big fan of Widdershins, with adventures that are always delightful and a large cast of characters, every one of which I love. (Seriously, I can’t settle on a favorite, it changes weekly.)

    [Minor edits to make the links work better. TGC]

    Like

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