Posted tagged ‘webcomics’

Review: Freakangels Vol.2

May 4, 2009

Freakangels is Warren Ellis’ latest experiment with the comics form (for prior examples see Fell and Global Frequency).  This time around he’s playing with webcomics, publishing the series in weekly, six page, chunks with an eye towards collecting them in trade.  For the most part this works quite well, although the pacing, with its rapid scene changes takes a little getting used to.

The quality of the actual story depends a great deal on the reader’s exposure to other of Ellis’ books.  For him it’s fairly derivative actually, taking the century babies concept from his work for Wildstorm and combining it with the civil engineering focus of much of his science-fiction output.  Don’t get me wrong it’s very good, but Ellis does have a tendancy to repeat himself sometimes.  For those who have not read him before, this makes a great introduction to his work, actually it’s maybe the best book for that purpose.  But for the die hard Ellis fans, he’s done better.

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Review: Freak Angels

November 21, 2008

Freak Angels is Warren Ellis’ latest effort to play with the format of comics.  His done this sort of thing quite successfully in the past, particularly with Fell, a comic designed to be more affordable by making the story denser.  This time around the experiment is to produce a 6-page weekly webcomic that will read equally well in those small chunks as it will in a collected edition.

From the structural standpoint the book is a huge success.  The story largely accomplishes this task by switching between the dozen or so lead characters every few pages.  The characters are all strong and unique enough (although many are fairly typical for an Ellis book) to support this sort of narrative whiplash without losing the reader.

The story itself isn’t bad either, although very little happens in this first collection.  Due to the nature of the story the first volume is almost entirely given over to introductory material, and there’s a lot of it to get through.  Besides all the characters (many of whom have to be established as having psychic powers or advanced engineering skills) there’s a fairly complex world to introduce.  To paraphrase the series blurb, the book is about what happens 6 years after the world ended.  Ellis does all this work almost seemlessly, but the book does end feeling like the story is just getting under way.  Fortunately if you’re impatient for volume 2, there is the webcomic.

Moving with the Times

May 26, 2008

First of all, I apologize again for the title.  Moving on, Linda Braun has once again directed me to a nice geeky focused article in the New York Times, this time an interview with Randall Monroe, creator of one of my favorite webcomics, XKCD.  The Times has become pretty savvy at pinpointing key aspects of the subculture and treating them respectfully (as opposed to say comic reviews with onomatopoeia’s in the titles).

Incidentally, today’s comic throws another gibe at BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow, who quickly points out that the two will be joint guests of honor at 3-Pi Con, which will be in my neck of the woods in August.  Can’t wait to hear what the two of them together will have to say.

Con Season

April 25, 2008

In two weeks time I will be in attendance at the Mass Library Association’s annual conference.  I’m looking forward to it, mostly for the chance to hear David Weinberger (author of the brilliant Everything is Miscellaneous) but looking at the program I think last year’s will prove to be better.  However, the conference I really wish I could have attended started today, ROFLCon.

ROFLCon is a conference on internet culture (memes in particular) with an impressive list of guests.  Panelists include nearly every major lolcat contributor (both the lolcat bible and lolcode are represented), tons of webcomics creators, and a decent assortment of academics.  All together it forms a great snapshot of the state on the internet.