Usually, the Comixpedia waits at least a year to review a webcomic. It’s only fair, since most creators are still developing their voices in the first 6 months and figuring out what they can do with a pen and ink or Photoshop. If you were to judge some of your current favorite comics solely by their first offering, you might never have kept reading.
That said, though, there are always a few webcomics that show exceptional qualities before they reach the year mark. Listed below are a few comics that have shown promise in their short lifespan to date — in fact, most have been on the Web for less than 6 months. These webcomics should appear in your bookmarks, if they are not already there:
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by Enrico Casarosa
Haiku 5-7-5 bubbles over with style and personality already, and that despite there being barely a plot point in sight so far. The art is sketchy and loose, but it’s obviously done by an accomplished hand. The fisheyed camera lens perspective seen in a number of panels, in particular, is often attempted in other comics with far less success. All the pages scream hipness so loud that the only apt comparison I can make is to the less sketchy but equally cool art that Jamie Hewlett did for the Gorillaz.
The story isn’t much unraveled yet, but some people with animal heads (anthros?) who seem to be gangsters are on a mission to assassinate another seedy character, it seems. While the other two thugs strut around, the third is lost in a daydreaming meditation, composing haikus. The total effect is most reminiscent of the gangster zen of John Woo flicks like A Better Tomorrow, only played by some sort of rodent people.
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by Ira Marcks
Someone’s been reading their Ed Gorey. The influence of the pen and ink master is all over this comic, and the art is full of the thin, voluminous Gorey lines. In the first strips, he also seems to be riffing on a variety of design-conscious styles that have cropped up in ’90s comics and continued into the millenium, especially the deliberately old-fashioned look that a number of creators have adopted as either tribute or parody of 19th- and early 20th-century pop art. That, too, is very Gorey-esque.
There’s no running plot across the Angel Interceptor strips so far. The stories are unforced eccentricities about, for example, a bulldog that goes to college. Sometimes you have to give people points just for being more inventive than the next comic about video games, college roomies, RPGs or funny-dude-that’s-messed-up atrocities.
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by Miguel Caron
White Hydra occupies a middle ground that a lot of comics try to take: somewhere between fantasy spoof, fantasy tribute and fantasy fellow-traveler. It is about a hero who is more or less earnestly on a quest with a muscled pink-bodied librarian in tow. Along the way, they make their share of wise cracks. Meanwhile, the villain minces about "Mona Lisa Smile" while wearing a pink bathrobe, and his undead butler makes snide remarks.
The art is sharp and well-designed, with nice vector and/or Photoshop finishing, and it’s cartoony enough to hold the middle road between wackiness and story. Caron’s caricature of the undead Colonel Sanders is especially funny. The section covers feature serious-looking monsters that haven’t entered into the action as of this writing, so it remains to be seen how convincing they’ll be when squaring off against the smart-ass heroes.
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by Sarah Ellerton
Some people start a webcomic as a lark, and some people really stretch out with their ambitions. Ellerton isn’t just fooling around. She’s plotted out a fantasy story that she expects to spend two years telling. Just looking at the volumes page should exhaust anyone who knows how much work is involved in drawing a comic. Add to that the fact that Ellerton’s art is really good. There are a handful of foreshortening oddities in her first pages, but the coloring is fantastic and the characters’ look is snugly between upscale manga and painted animated feature. When she tightens up her perspective, this comic will be a thing of beauty. More so than it already is.
The story so far is an emotional interaction between a goat-headed boy and an elf, with the makings of a quest in their future. Keep an eye on this comic to see where she takes that tale, but mostly keep an eye on how her artistic ability expands with the heavy lifting she’s put in front of herself.
Michael Whitney is a staff contributor for Comixpedia. More Details.