Another trio of PREviews
Continuing last week's trend of introducing you to fun new comics, but tying into this month's theme of relationships, here is another trio of newcomers that are fresh out of the webcomic starting gates, and raring to wow you with their interesting premises, plots, or just plain priceless humor.
With a healthy mix of angsty young adults, strawbatos (strawbatos are all about relationships, honest), fruit bats, and young petting zoo emancipators, how could you be steered wrong?
by Brian Duffy
Brian Duffy's 8:1 is the story of people trying to fit into the role of not fitting in.
Charles and Mary are two friends who have stuck together through and since high school â€“ one is struggling to be an artist, and the other a writer. So of course, it makes perfect sense that they would spend most of their time moping about and being angsty. Add a young innocent girl from Iowa who recently moved to the big city, and a Brittany Bubblegum Indie Music store clerk, and you have what would appear on the surface to be any of the 90s clichÃ© coming-of-age teen or college movies. Except that the Bubblegum Chick has brains beneath the excess blush, Innocent from Iowa isn't really naÃ¯ve at all despite her idealistic life outlook, and the two stars of this modern after-school special are not near perfect or always right.
From the start, quick character development paints the main players as outsiders who sit there doing nothing but fire witty comments at the world that passes by herd-style, baa-ing about brand names and Paris Hilton. The humor and strength is in the dialogue, and the formula seems familiar (witty snips a la Clerks or Empire Records) until Lori â€“ the new girl from Iowa â€“ crosses into their plane of sideline existence. Then the classic relationship triangle sets in, and the tension builds from there.
The writing is pretty tight, and while the characters may initially seem fairly standard/stereotypical, we soon get to see more of the 'real' them, the them that is still trying to figure out what the hell is really going on with this whole life thing, and some of it may strike familiar chords with your own life. There is a lot of depth already in this strip, and the smooth writing so far pulls you along happily. The slick BW art is quite accomplished and very refreshing in that it is not manga-derivative at all â€“ rather, it's more of an 80s and 90s autobio comic feel, and it fits perfectly with the tone set by the writing.
Just like real life, 8:1 doesnâ€™t always try to be funny. It also doesnâ€™t try to have answers to every problem or situation out there. What it DOES try to be, though, is a solid serial reality/relationship webcomic that will keep readers coming back for more.
And so far, its success ratio is 1:1, easy.
by xmung/Steven Crowley
This is a superhero webcomic with lots of promise already, even after only a few months of archives... Set in Australia, young Kaycee Jones is determined to succeed at Magellan Justice Academy (a special school that trains potential heroes), despite her total lack of super powers. Her friend Brian tries to talk her out of it to no avail, and when she goes off, he tries to experiment on himself a la Jeff Goldblum/The Fly (this has yet to be resolved, so who knows what happened to Brian! Can you say foreshadowing and suspense?).
Meanwhile, Kaycee has arrived at Magellan, and is already meeting a host of very peculiar, very interesting powered young adults. Of course, what is college without personal issues and the like?
Sound familiar, you say? Perhaps, but the writing so far is excellent (with a fresh Peter Milligan X-Statix or Brian Bendis Ultimate Spider-Man feel), and the color art is extremely sharp (and NOT in a Crossgen-y superhero style whatsoever, which is so refreshing!), so there's definitely tons of potential here. Even if you're not a fan of superhero comics, you'll very likely enjoy the keen story, the pleasant visuals, and the engaging characters. If you are a superhero comic fan, chances are that you'll really dig what xmung has to offer you â€“ a new take on an old concept, which is a breath of fresh superhero webcomic air.
by Corey McDaniel
Pet'N'Zoo answers the burning question, "How does the animal side of the Petting Zoo relationship feel about its lot in life?"
The answer: It's a living.
Featuring a Goat named Daze, a beaver named Benny, a fruit bat named Fwap, and a... umm... levitating cat-like 'thing' named Deezer, McDaniel's webcomic is a gag-a-day strip with lots of potential already. The premise is fairly original (I mean, c'mon... how many other comics about petting zoos do you know of?), and drawn exceptionally well â€“ the facial expressions are priceless, and the style very elastic, which only enhances the comic value of the strip.
Not all strips are comedy gold, though there are a few that may leave you howling. Even when McDaniels reuses old humor, he still shows that he has a good sense of comic timing and pacing. Overall, Pet'N'Zoo is a straightforward gag comic that is off to a decent start, and is certainly worth taking a look, if not worth adding to your own menagerie of links.
Whether you pet them on your own time is your own business.