Chris Cantrell, long-time webcomics creator, has a new collection of his most recent webcomic, Please Rewind, called At The Movies (We reviewed Cantrell's other webcomic The Asylumantics here.) It's the second collection of comics, from roughly 2007 to 2008 in the archives on the website. It clocks in at 48 pages filled with almost 100 comics (in black and white with a color cover).
Please Rewind is kind of a hybrid of movie commentary mixed in with bits about the crew working at the Please Rewind video rental store. While movie comics are not quite as prevalent as video game comics, there are more than a handful out there on the web. Movie comics tend to do one of two things; take stabs at the movie of the moment or feature a cast doing something movie-related. Multiplex, for example, features the crew of a local movie theater and while it does make jokes about movies, it focuses much more on its characters who not only work around the movies but also really like movies. Theater Hopper is more at the other end of the spectrum, featuring a married couple who really like movies, but spending most of its energy making topical jokes about movies in the theater that week. Please Rewind spends a lot more time on its characters than I would have expected before reading the book, but for the most part its humor is aimed at the movies themselves or is kind of a slapstick that doesn't require much in the way of characterization.
I enjoyed parts of the book, not all of the jokes worked for me but enough did. The three main characters are simple but consistent, sort of an alpha nerd, a beta nerd and a nerd girl (forming a sort of nerd triangle?) with a few appearances by younger, snarkier kid. I think Cantrell's less than frequent update status with the webcomic may be keeping him from hitting a higher level with this comic. There are times where he's working too hard for the joke or just throwing violence and randomness at the wall to see if it sticks. I'd like to see the comic get sharper on its skewering of movies and make more of its cast and retail store situation.
The author provided a free copy of the book to ComixTalk for review purposes.