Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I may disagree with almost every form of war imaginable, but the soldiers fighting in them still need our support. Even more to the point, let us never forget those who have fallen or lost due to war’s intolerable, vicious grip. We must also remember that the goal of all this pain is not the control war, but to end it.

While I am not a naïve hippie, I recognize that diplomacy should be the only real option, with war being an impossibility that we may have to bring into reality with great difficulty. The United States seems to have forgotten that. War is never acceptable. I will never support it. The brutality and loss associated with it is so counter to civilized culture that it should be forgotten, and yet it remains. Blind nationalism is for idiots.

Yes, there are people in the world who would try very, very hard to kill everyone in the United States. Yes, they have weapons. But here’s the thing: the appropriate response to someone threatening you with a rock is not to shove a tank’s barrel down his throat. We seem to have a problem with limiting our force to appropriate levels, just enough to deal with the problem at hand, not any possible issue down the road. We have diplomats for that. For example, we rolled into Iraq “looking for WMD”, found none, then killed the dictation and installed a new government. That’s non-sequitur if I’ve ever heard it.

However, soldiers are not at fault for what they must do, and I’m not trying to devalue their efforts in any way. Blame the senators who send citizens off to fight, while keeping their own sons and daughters at home. Blame the generals, who use “shock and awe” to devastate the countries. Blame the warmongers, who have forgotten what peace looks like. But do not blame the soldiers. It’s their job, nothing more, and they do it well. They may have the purest of intentions, and would buy peace over war any day, but are forced to fight by the “higher-ups”.

In short, hate the war, love the soldiers. It’s the only thing you can do.

Fine, fine, I’ll get off of my soapbox. Still, my point stands.

Scandinavia and the World

Scandinavia and the World

humon

S&W isn’t actually a “webcomic”, it’s a series of comics that I found on deviantArt by humon, a lady in Demnark. It’s basically a series about anthropomorphic versions of the Eurocentric world’s countries, mostly focused around the snowy ones. Each have their own personalities according to their histories, etc. She’s fairly prolific, actually, I’d say that I get a new comic every third day, abouts.

I’ve wanted to do S&W for a while, it’s one of those sweet nothings that I read while having my morning caffeine. I always like comics that try to show a little smarts, like Hark, a Vagrant! and Dresden Codak. Because I’m a nerd.

It does tend towards the saccharine a little too often for my taste, but it is a dismissible fault. The general humor and political satire that is worked in really does balance it out. Plus, humon doesn’t simply use stereotypes (ok, not exclusively, although they are very prevalent), she also digs out some fairly interesting history.

That’s it for S&W, the important stuff for today is in the post above. This is just to keep schedule.

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

Christopher Hastings, Kent Archer, Anthony Clark

17 “books”

Updates semi-regularly (I have no idea on the gaps between books)

There’s quite a few things I like. Pirates, ninjas, zombies, Nathan Fillion, video games, WoW, Felicia Day, and so on. There’s really not a lot you can do to get things wrong with the first four, which is why I was interested in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.

First, backstory. Dr. McNinja, M.D., is a man who was raised in a home of ninjas and went off to medical school, much to the dismay of his parents. Now he works in a clinic in the middle of the woods, taking patients of every kind. A ninja in a lab coat.

I suppose I should get the art style out of the way. Yes, it’s mostly in black and white. No, it’s not a problem. Actually, I am rather fond of it, some of the styling is rather clever. For example, turning out the lights and only showing the coat, floating in the air. That’s cool.

Apparently ninjas are widespread in wherever the hell they are. However, so are pirates, dinosaurs, and Benjamin Franklin, so I can’t really say much for reality in that sense.

The comic is organized into several arcs, each their separate storyline.

Frankly, there’s really not a lot to say about Dr. McNinja. It has the violence level of a Taratino flick, humor better than anything you could possibly find on the Comedy Channel, and just balls-to-the-walls awesomeness. With humor that parodies almost every genre, as well as the comic book style itself, I can definitely say that I really harbor no ill will towards this comic.  But as I said before, you just can’t screw up ninjas.

Example: You know that joke where “Ninjas can’t catch you if you’re on fire”? Don’t lie, you have. Yeah, he invented it.

Well, a caveat. The humor sometimes gets stale. Especially in the “wrap ups” at the end of the books, where everyone has to pat each other on the back and give three cheers for being ninjas. Well, and the art sometimes sucks, but that’s just nitpicking.

What can I say, I’m a man that loves his ninjas. It’s refreshing to see ninja stories that doesn’t involve headbands or loudly announcing your intentions before attacking. Admittedly, I have only gone through a few “books” in the archive, I’ve been so busy that it’s seriously cut into my reading time. Thus, I can’t really attest to how it is now. However, I can extrapolate the few I’ve seen and give this comic two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Cheers!

Ok, now that the review for Dr.McNinja is over, let’s rant about shitty ninjas! That’s right, you Naruto-watching, headband-wearing, かわいい- saying nutjobs, this one’s for you. A ninja is a person who uses stealth and ambushes to attack. Tween-agers with magic powers who stand in the middle of fields and shout for eighteen seconds before doing anything is not. a. ninja.

I think that I have the same beef with Naruto that I have with Twilight. It’s a crap, but the biggest problem is that it’s popular crap. I know people who are in college and still watch what is essentially a kids show. Or the people who wear the headbands in everyday life. It’s not cool, it’s weird. Face the facts: stories that revolve around the “power of friendship” in a non-satire way are never any good. I’m serious, name one. Some may say that the manga is different, more “adult” and violent, compared to the anime, but let’s face it. The story is still essentially the same, and it’s still essentially crap. Just because the tweenagers die every once and a while, that doesn’t mean it’s “dark” or “adult”.

In short: Naruto is stupid, and if you are old enough to drive then you should have dropped that like it was the SUN. If you own a headband, break it over your knee and throw it away. Or, even better, give it to your kid nephew. I bet he’d like it, in between all those Transformers marathons.

♥ Cat.

Geist Panik

Those of you who participated in Towel Day: I’m proud of you.

“‘Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.”

Geist Panik

Brian Wilson (♫Drove downtown in the rain, nine thirty on a Tuesday night…♪)

74 pages

Updates sporatically

There’s a special place in my heart (which, seeing that I overuse that cliché, is more like a honeycomb than a muscle, I shall soon die)  for the horror genre. Maybe it’s watching the “omg wtf lol” cheerleading obvious sex object getting torn apart by zombies. Maybe it’s the fancy creatures. I don’t know. But it rocks.

Geist Panik follows the “ghosts are real but you can’t see them” school of horror by introducing everyone’s favorite amnesiac superlady, WMN5401! Obviously this isn’t her name, but it may as well be. Seriously, the “superpower amnesiac” is really just a cop-out for having to set up a decent backstory. These plots are almost as prevalent as space marines, and there’s a shitload of space marines.

UNIT DESIGNATION WMN5401’s real name is Riley Hood, and she catches ghosts. Seriously, that’s almost a direct quote. Isn’t that how Buffy started?

Meh. So basically she illegally starts selling ghost souls because the Department of Buying Your Metaphysical Shit was a bunch of cheapskates. “They” catch her, and she must work for a paranormal investigation unit (no, this isn’t Hellboy) and fix the world.

You have the normal crew, including the druid, the witch hunter, the idiotic muscle, the baddie that is obsessed with Rammstein, and so on. This isn’t breaking new ground here.

Not to mention that half of the jokes seem like something straight off a certain board that a thousand greasy nerds would kill me for uttering its name.

As always, I present the caveat: I grade by omission. The above is pretty much everything wrong with Geist Panik.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. Or perhaps the biggest thing. I said that it updates sporadically, and I wasn’t kidding. I think that civilizations have risen and fallen faster than this guy makes comics. In fact, the only reason that I didn’t declare this a dead link and move on is that he put one up yesterday-ish. So don’t bookmark it to your RSS feed, hoping upon hope for something new tomorrow, because you’ll will be sorely disappointed. This is another one like Dresden Codak, it rarely updates but shove it down in a folder somewhere in case you have a rainy day. Me? It’s in my lovingly named “I wish I may, I wish I might” list.

2P START! – Obituary

2P START!

Tim and Ray

171 comics obituary

Requiescat in pace

Normally, I would tear apart this comic. It’s pretty much exactly the same as every single other gaming comic. Even worse, it’s a gaming comic for Nintendo fans, which is just… gag. But it had a good run, in a familiar, Brawl-obsessed, Sonic-chasing way.

In short, farewell, my friends, I’ll miss you.

No Pink Ponies

In other news: WoW mobile armory’s getting released soon, but you have to pay an additional monthly subscription for it. They want you to play their game more, but by god they’re going to make you pay for it.

I’d like to say that this has made me lose faith in WoW fanatics, but that goal was already accomplished by seeing the popularity of the incredibly expensive WoW steins. /sigh.

No Pink Ponies

Saiful Remy Mokhtar

08-10 (Don’t believe the archive dates, they are bugged)

Updates Tues/Thurs/Sat/Sun (with a large break in the archive)

What if you made a comic about comics? Wouldn’t that just be crazy?!

No Pink Ponies revolves around the main character, Jess, as she attempts to run a comic book shop and chase after the man of her dreams, who also runs a comic book shop. She’s smart, funny, and just wants to make a woman’s place in a man’s world of comics! With her required herd of boys following her everywhere, it’s just one funny slip up after another in the crazy shop!

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the text that I just penned was dripping with sarcasm. What is it about comics with girl gamers/nerds/overall geeks that forces them to make it all about men vs. ladies? Haven’t we evolved to the point where this is no longer an issue? Studies vary to the exact percentage, but they all agree that at least 40% of gamers are girls, and I bet a much higher percentage are geeks in general. So why must we drag out the same old plot of “Carving out a niche for the ladies out there, you precious few”?

Don’t get me wrong, any comic will do this joke at one time or another. It’s almost as inevitable as the tides. But here’s the thing: the entire plot revolves around men chasing after Jess who is chasing after a man. For those of you paying attention, this is also known as romantic comedy. Fffffffffffffff- why do they do this to me?

“Oh, look,” I thought, climbing off of my throne of women and money. “A comic about a comic book shop. This could be fun!”

I’m going to spoil the beginning for you, since this plot point passes particularly presently.

<SPOILERS>

Jess starts off by checking out a comic book store, and all the boys stare at her. She instantly falls in love with the guy who own the shop due to him being “teh hotness” and decides to open her own comic book shop across the street in order to have a reason to talk to him. She then spends the rest of the story chasing Mr. Pretty Pants. He eventually starts working for her after she breaks her leg (despite the fact that he had his own store to run, a point that kind of just *disappears*) and etc. happens. You should be able to fill in the blanks by now.

</SPOILERS>

This is not a great story. This does not have the making of a great story. This is drivel.

I did enjoy No Pink Ponies, but it was more for the drawing and the occasional comic/game joke than the overreaching plot. The characters are well-done and expressive, actually conveying emotion and unique expressions. </artsnobbery>

Don’t get me wrong, NPP can have its moments. It can be funny, clever, creative, (add adjective here), but I feel hesitant to recommend it due to its plot. If it were presented in a series of sovereign dailies instead of a story, I might be more receptive. But I just can’t stand the chasing after boys plot, because it feels so… boring. I was going to say “contrived”, but the funny thing is that it’s done quite well. The writing is well done and funny (at times), and the characters seem to have some degree of personality instead of simply being sock puppets.

But you can write a story with as much grace as is physically possible, if the story itself isn’t done well then you are just going to get stuck with a stack of useless words.

If you don’t put much stock in the plot and stop at the point where there was a huge break in the archive (author went on hiatus for a looooong time), then it’s a decent read. Not the best in the world, but okay. I give No Pink Ponies a *hesitant* thumbs up, kind of like you would give a lettuce sandwich. It’s good, in a way, if you’re really into it, but in general there’s plenty of club sandwiches that you could be eating instead.

Daily Quests

Daily Quests

Kelly Meeks (a) and Andrew Manser (w)

09-present

Updates Fridays

I have a soft spot for upstart comics. They’re like babies toddlers kids they have such promise! It’s like a puppy, is more appropriate. It’s full of energy, but nine times out of ten they grow up into a boring mutt. However, some of them stay fun until they kick it down the road.

Comics kind of have the same kind of pattern. They start off well, while the writer and artist are still chock-full of ideas and enthusiasm. Alas, they also mimic babies by usually being full of crap as well. It doesn’t take long for them to drop off completely (I hear that the hump is 30 comics) or just devolve into crap. If you can get past the hump and still be good, you typically can last a while.

Fortunately, Daily Quests fell into the latter category. Yes, dear readers, you lucky few, it’s another WoW comic. But what did you expect? I’m a gamer! For the Horde, motherfuckers. Level 80 ‘lock, I’ll DOT your asses, boosting my DPS to make you QQ all the way home with your Hearthstone. Boo-yah.

…fine, I’ll put my e-peen away. I admittedly haven’t played in a while, but if you’ve ever hung out in the upper levels of WoW then all of Daily Quests should be funny to you.

Note: I usually consider anything under 50 comics (filler is a bad sign) to be “new”, since that seems to be the “we’re in the clear for sure” zone.

First, I suppose I should explain the title to those of you who haven’t played “mmopeguhs” before. A “daily quest” is an assignment that every WoW player has to do every day in order to grind out cash or tokens that can be traded in for new gear. You usually do this whenever you’re not raid-aw who am I kidding? If you don’t know this crap already then Daily Quests will be an utter disconnect.

Ah, the meat and potatoes of the comic, right. DQ is the in the “In-game mechanics/interactions” category of gaming comics, taking place entirely inside WoW. Following the misadventures of Vas and Fireuni, the nut and the stable one respectively. It makes fun of noobs, makes fun of druid-trees, makes fun of raids, everything that you might have thought while playing WoW but never put down on paper. This gives the comic that familiar kind of humor, since you probably thought of the joke while chatting with your guild and just shrugged it off. Given the context of a comic, it’s funny, of course.

I believe I give the wrong impression. Yes, some of the jokes seem familiar, but many of them are fairly original. I really got a good laugh out of the BlizCon pet joke. And when I call the jokes “familiar”, I don’t mean it in a derogatory sense. The jokes are put into humorous writing and art, so it’s not like you’re going to fall over drooling with boredom. Plus, they are relatively few. Actually, on a note, I rather like the art. I don’t know why, it just rings with me.

At any rate, it’s a good comic that I may have been too nice to due to the new nature of it coupled with the constant WoW references, but feh it’s my site I can do what I wanna. I say again, if you don’t play WoW then there is a 99% chance that you will not get any of the jokes. But if you’re like me and know your imp from your Voidwalker, then I highly recommend Daily Quests. Let’s just hope that it stays good. Hope.

Ugh, another complementary review. I really need to get off the WoW comics, I’m too fanboyish.

Also: FOR THE HORDE! Buncha pansy little flower-pickin’ elves. Or wooo you could play a HUMAN! I’m glad I spent all this time leveling up myself! Or the little fruity gnomes… or the “stout” little dwarves…

In short, as a certain lady put so eloquently in this fairly circulated comic, “NO TIPS FOR ALLIANCE SCUM”!

B.N. If anyone’s on the Garrosh server, look up “Rayst”. I might even talk to you.

P.S.S: Since there’s a massive influx today: If you want a comic reviewed, then you can request it via comment, my Twitter account, or an email to archivecrawl@yahoo.com. Cheers!

L.A.W.L.S.

On aside: See how Jeph Jacques makes QC here

Large Air Whales Like Silence (L.A.W.L.S.)

Denis Caron

Feb-Current

Updates WF

There are a few kinds of “random” humor: Ironic, satirical, existentialist, and utter randomness.

Ironic humor should be fairly self explanatory.

Satirical humor is used rarely and mostly to show that someone is batshit insane by having them do something utterly unrelated to the current situation, like Hillary Clinton pulling out a club sandwich made of peanuts in the middle of the State of the Union.

Existentialist randomness basically is like satirical randomness, except that insanity is the rule and not the exception. Usually it’s played with one “normal” person going BWAAAT in the middle of all the oddity.

And then there’s utter randomness. The thing that so many writers don’ t understand is that complete chaos isn’t funny. Yes, it sometimes works for things like Chainsawsuit and the like, but at least the individual comics have some kind of thought flow to them, even if they aren’t part of an overall plot. But when every frame is different and they flow from one action to the next without rhyme or reason, it isn’t funny, it’s inane.

L.A.W.L.S. falls into the last category. It seems to be one of those things that tried really, really hard to be existentialist but goes so far that it dashes itself against the cold, hard rocks. It’s really not funny or clever, it’s just…meh. I’m utterly ambivalent towards it, which is the main problem. Even if something is bad, like really bad, like so mind-blowingly horrible that it makes you want to make a bullet-sized hole in your head just to stop the pain (see Twilight for example) it still evokes emotions in you. When something it just meh, it cannot be worth it. It’s so boring that I can’t even review it other than saying that it is boring! It’s like a painful singularity!

The art’s not bad, though, which really is its own redeeming feature.

Some may criticize me, saying that I can’t say such things when I don’t make a comic myself. On the contrary, dear readers. I can write, after all you wouldn’t have read this far if I couldn’t. And you will note that I always poke holes in the plot, not the art. I can’t draw worth shit. So I criticize what I know, and I know that the plot in L.A.W.L.S. is as bad as my drawing.

Of course, if you really want to read it, there’s the link at the top. Go ahead. Click it. I dare you. Then fill my comments section about how I am wrong and should be thrown off the face of the net. However, if you feel reasonably sure that I am not stark raving mad, then skip it and move onto something better. Like putting nails through your eyes.

Catalyst Sells Out

Whelp, everyone, I did it. My ventures into Twitter have been few, but they have always been disappointing, mostly because it’s filled with the inane drivel that I try to stay away from. Alas, I have buckled to popular culture and made an Archive Crawl Twitter account, so if you want updates on postings or the ramblings that come out of my sexy head, then follow ArchiveCrawl. I’ll also be following all the comic creators that I find, so you can see them on my page as well. Ready? Go.

Now I think I need to go make a MySpace page and find a baseball cap to wear backwards.

Complex Actions

A round of applause for Kitty, for her rousing review. On a side note, “Catalyst” (my name for those late to the party) is the scientific noun, not some crappy feline joke. I’m not running a Cat Fancy site here, it just happens to shorten to Cat. Moving on.

Complex Actions

Talthos and SilkSpinner (Pen names, for those of you who are twits)

09-10

Updates MWF

“OH SHEET. Look out, here comes Cat with another gaming comic, surprise surprise, what does he have a folder filled with these modular stories and sprites? I bet he just sits at home and lustfully stares at pictures of World of Warcraft men in skimpy leather clothing. What an ass.”

Well, fuck you all, because Complex Actions… is pretty much the same as all of them. Let’s face it, I’ve said this a thousand times before: Gaming comics are all pretty much the same. Actions follows the “Make fun of gameplay mechanics in-game” path of writing, focusing mainly around World of Warcraft, of all things. I know, crazy, right? There are quite a few off WoW (namely L4D and D&D, both of which I can approve of), but it’s pretty focused in an overall sense. Everything that they do has been done and…

Well…

Not necessarily better. Yes, a lot of the jokes have been told before and some of the stories tend to drag a bit, but overall it’s still a pretty good experience. It’s written cleverly, making you laugh at jokes you might have heard a thousand times before, there’s something about the way that it’s written that rings true for me. It’s one of those comics that I shouldn’t really enjoy, where I tell myself “It’s derivative, you’ve heard this joke before.”, and then laugh still. It has a spell on me… hold on, I need to go find a priest.

<We will be back after these commercials. ♫♪♫♪♪♫♪♫♫♪>

Ok, I’m back. The priest didn’t help, although he said something cryptic about my carnal attraction to commas then proceeded to splash some kind of burny water on me. Weird.

Anyways, the art is pretty good as well, it won’t blow your mind, but it’s not bad at all. Aww who am I kidding, it’s great, I love it. The scenes and characters are well drawn. Even more so, the expressions that the characters show are actually believable and convey real emotion. In fact, you can find SilkSpinner on DeviantArt, she’s rather proficient at what she does, you should check it out.

I really do like Complex Actions, understand. Yes, sometimes the jokes seem recycled, but for the most part they seem fresh and creative. At least they’re far more creative than most gaming comics. At the risk of sounding like a “fan”, I really do like it. Yes,  the fact that I’m a WoW-playing, dice-rolling, Twilight-hating nerd probably has a LARGE part to do with it, but it’s funny, well-written, and well-drawn. Frankly, that’s a lot more than I can normally say about it. I could point out again that *some* of the jokes have been heard before and that the drawing quality sometimes drops, but that would be like trying to find the hay in the needle-pile. Aka painful and useless because there’s a thousand neetles lying on top. I try to be “professional” and review by omission, but it tends to turn people off of comics. And that just wouldn’t be fair to CA.

Overall, Complex Actions has that magical mixture of good writing and good art that appeals to the gamer that is 70% of my body and makes me look past the used nature of the jokes. It has found its way into my Magical Bookmark Toolbar of Wonder, and that’s saying something. You’ll probably know if you’ll like CA within a few pages of reading it, but I urge you to be fruitful and multiply. Oh, wait, that’s the wrong phrase… do that and read CA. Or at least give it a shot.