Skip to main content

A Trio of PREviews by Damonk

For all the recent growing hubbub about webcomics and their place in the Serious Art World, sometimes it's nice to be able to forget about striving for "award-winning" quality or mindboggling innovation. Rather than study and dissect the Professional Aspirants out there, sometimes you just want to enjoy a nice, simple laugh.

Admit it – it's nice to be able to go read a webcomic that may not be breaking new ground or showcasing Alex Ross-ian art, but that is just FUN, right?

It's that sinful little sugary snack you sneak in your mouth when you think no one is looking at you in the study hall. Not at all on your list of healthy diet brain foods, it's yummy and delicious and exactly what you want, even if not what you think you know you need.

Here is a PREview trio of such FUN new webcomic reads; they may not drastically change your worldview or bring about earthshattering enlightenment, but they may be good for a nice 'n' easy distracting chuckle.

*****

The Noob
by Gianna Masetti

This comic just appeals to the old Everquest player in all of us, even if you've only ever played a few times... or just heard about it. Essentially, The Noob is about a newbie starting out for his first time in a (very familiar) MMPORPG, and it's anything but cliche so far.

As opposed to many RPG-based comics out there, this is neither just a gag-a-day that mocks the game itself, nor is it a story based on characters as if they were real people. Rather, it is about real people who are playing a game, but seen through the game just as if you were watching it unfold on the monitor in front of you. So far, it is unfolding in a story fashion, which kills two birds with one stone: you get the witty barbs pointed at the flaws and idiosyncrasies in these types of games, as well as plot and character development... literally!

Very humorous, clever, and with color art that fits the funny perfectly... it's very easy to get hooked whether you are a gamer or not (though those with Everquest-like experience will certainly appreciate it a lot more), and it can only be hoped that Gianna Masetti never stops, 'cause the story and fun -- just like the noob himself -- is just beginning.

*****

Stuff of Legends
by Ian Gibson

Another fantasy-themed comic, this one has an original premise in that it's about a retired adventurer hero who is brought back into the lifestyle thanks to an annoying young admirer determined to be an adventure hero.

Jordan the Red, the retired adventurer, is a gruff personality akin to a Wolverine or many of the bajillion Tough Guy Hero™-types... rock-hard on the outside, but with a gooshy cream-filled center (i.e., a big heart). Eliot, the annoying hero-wannabe is like a sickeningly cute and dumb puppy dog – very annoying, you can't get rid of him no matter how hard you try, and with the luck of the Devil himself. Luck, as in, he seems to survive everything that is tossed at him. Literally.

The characters are by far the strongest part of the comic strip – from early on, they are fleshed out quite strongly, and every line they spout could only have been spoken by THEM. Their mannerisms and character development form half the humor, and the other half comes from solid humor writing that is packed with wit and intelligence. And though Jordan is pegged as a Tough Guy™, don't think that he is just a stereotype. In fact, with him as well as with the rest of the cast, expect stereotypes to be viewed from different angles, or shattered outright.

With art that is deceptively complex – simple lines that convey a LOT of stuff – and a story that dares poke fun at stereotypes, cliches, and misconceptions of the fantasy genre, this webcomic so far proves that it's got the right stuff to be a future webcomic legend.

*****

On The Playground
by Alan Anderson

This webcomic is nothing new, in that it features a young kid with lots of imagination who is quirky and mouthy and full of the innocent energy that can only exist in a child. We've seen this exact kind of thing in Calvin and Hobbes, Ozy and Millie, Bloom County, and Alice -- to name a few.

It may not be treading new ground, and it may not be offering the most original humor out there (yet), but that does not stop this comic from being FUN. The monologues that Lizzie provides are always entertaining, and sometimes even offer up that schoolyard wisdom that will bring back fond memories of your own kidhood, or at least your kidhood as vicariously experienced through someone else. Mostly gag-a-day strips, the punchlines are consistently at least good for a broad smile, if not a pleasant chuckle.

The flat-fill color art is simple, but always manages to convey what it means to. It's a comic strip; there's no need for it to be rendered with Realism. In fact, the simple art fits the comic perfectly – enhancing the kidness of it all.

Really, there's no point in trying to dissect On The Playground any further. If you have to stop to think about it, it's not magical anymore. Best to just not worry about the details, and let yourself go like a child would, and just have FUN with it. Just like you would on a playground.