The Wormworld Saga Webcomic

30. June, 2013

The Wormworld Saga” is an epic comic about a boy who discovers a strange painting in the attic of his grandmother’s house.

What I love about the comic is the great care that the author put into characters and paintings:

Welcome to the Wormworld, (C) Daniel Lieske


The pace of the comic is slow. I had a lot of joy watching the boy frolic in the fields around his grandmother’s house. There is almost no violence, no physical fights or blood. The story lives just by being beautiful. The boy isn’t extraordinary – he isn’t mischievous, doesn’t play pranks but he certainly is smart. He’s innocent but not naïve. He’s cautious but not afraid. For example, before he crawls into this strange painting, he first attached some string in the attic to make sure he can find his way back.

The art is amazing. I’ve yet to see one image where you can’t find every color of the palette. You should try this yourself to see how hard it is to make everything fit.

Another impressive feat is the layout. In the web version, each comic is one endless page. Again, have a look before you try to judge this. Trust me, it works perfectly.

Last but not least, you get to see the result before you have to pay for it. All the chapters of the comic are available for free online. On the tablet, you can get each chapter for free or for a small fee. Each chapter is available in four official languages and 21 (at the time of writing) fan translations. You can buy them as books or donate on the web page (just scroll way down after each chapter). I believe this guy really digs the new economy.

So, if you want to step out of your hectic live for a couple of hours and feel like a child again, start reading.

Freak Angels Web Comic

27. May, 2013

Freak Angels is the story of 12 people with very special abilities – telepathy, telekinesis, healing, teleportation, going days without food and water. Six years ago, they were just 17. They were hunted. They were frightened. One was shot. They were scared. Angry.

They broke the world.

This is what happened next.

What I like: It’s a team effort, somewhat rough but fitting. The story is going slow but I found it so gripping that I read the whole six volumes in two days. Somehow, I found myself clicking and clicking and clicking. It’s addictive. Also, the artists aren’t afraid to show bloody violence when it’s necessary. But the violence is always a means to an end, not simply for the fun of it (as in a lot of the mainstream superhero comics these days).

The protagonists, 23 year old, have all developed ways to live with what they did, their guilt. This gives them wonderfully rough sides. They can be flippant in one moment and freak out the next. They struggle with their lives, with boredom, with what they are, what they could be. And all the time, life happens. Below everything is this typical British humor. Things go horribly wrong, lives are at stake and still, there is always this glimpse of hope.

Did you like Akira? Then this is for you.

And hey, it’s free. I paid money for comics that were a lot worse.

What I don’t like: I’m missing a donate button 🙂 I have too many comics already, I really don’t look forward to kill more trees just to give them some well deserved reward.

The navigation sucks. You can move easily between episodes (each 6 pages long) but there is no “next page” button. The buttons 1 to 6 to select the episode’s page are a bit small and at the bottom of the page, so I have to constantly scroll. Other web comics do that much better (Turbo Defiant, Cyantian Chronicles).

There is a quite lot of blood and gore. In a couple of scenes, you see people with their brains blown out, sometimes in more detail than you might like. As I said above, it makes sense but sometimes, I wished they’d tone it down a bit.

And lastly, a couple of small logic holes that made my wince. In a scene one of the Freak Angels takes a dive, comes back up and gets beaten over the head. The water was clear; how did he miss the second hull floating next to his own boat? Or the brains on it? It’s enemy territory after all, he should have been alert. But I didn’t get an explanation (and other noticed it as well), so it keeps bothering me.

Dilbert: Making Room on Your Hard Drive…

19. August, 2011

Some messages you don’t want to hear from a software installer:

“Found credit card number … placing orders for other products you need … making room on your hard drive …”

From this old Dilbert strip.

Amazing Example What Web Comics Could Be

6. August, 2011

Turbo Defiant Kimecan” is a web comic which breaks some new ground. It takes advantage of the web, it’s slightly interactive to emphasize the story. Very impressive. And the drawing style is awesome, too.

Marvel Digital Comics

14. February, 2011

I’m a huge comic fan, spending usually $100 each month on buying them. So when I found the Marvel app for Chrome, I gave it a whirl.

Unfortunately, the experience could be better. The comic reader is implemented in Adobe flash. That’s not a problem as such, only the implementation sucks.

The reader has three modes: Single page, double page and “smart”. There is a reason for the quotes …

In single and double page mode, the print is too small to read on my screen when I can see the whole page (it’s only 1920×1080; portrait mode would work better I guess). So I have to zoom in. But when I zoom in, navigation becomes a chore. The cursor keys don’t repeat. They scroll the page by about 10 pixels. At a readable zoom, I have to press the keys about 100 times to scroll to the bottom.

For every page of the comic. That’s 3,737 keys pressed to read a 37 page comic. Useless.

“Smart mode” to the rescue. In smart mode scrolls cursor left moves to the next unread part of the page. There are only two zoom levels which I call “too small to read” and “cut off balloons mode”. If you’re lucky, you get three panels on a row, and you have to remember the text of all of them so you can finish understanding what everyone says when you can see the bottom half.

So when reading the demo comics, I find myself often grabbing the scroll bars and adjust the screen position just a little. A nag but it works, I guess.

Recommendation: I can live with it.


Three panel wisdom

20. November, 2010

I just love three panel comics. They have to be short, concise, to the point. Nothing wasted.

Mimi & Eunice: Love Yourself. I like their motto: “Misinformation wants to be free.”

Or TOUCHÉ by ©Tom: The little boy in the sandbox (German). If your German is a bit rusty: The older gentleman says “Dear me, use your poles already! I want to see the ground shake!”


28. November, 2009

Don’t ask me how to pronounce that, I have no idea. Akaelae is a web-comic by Tiffany Ross. It’s one of those rare gems that warm the heart (and not only by raising your adrenaline level). If you like Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo or Elfquest, you’ll live this, too. It’s the story of a couple of childhood friends that get in all kinds of adventures at school, home, even space. The focus is rarely on the action but on the emotions and reasons of the characters. It’s about how people can hurt each other and how they deal with it. Here is an example: Darrik, a young, lonely black fox is moving to a new room and wants to say goodbye to a shy albino fox that’s living on the same floor. During the chat, she tells him that the wolves are only keeping them to sell them as slaves later. Which is why she is refusing to take the proficiency tests.

Darrik is confused. “Then aren’t you useless to them? If they’re running a slave trade? Wouldn’t they just sell you instead of feeding you, giving you clothing, art supplies, medical attention?”

Conclusion: Buy. You can find the whole story in the archive or support the starving artists by buying her books as PDF downloads over Lulu.

If you get confused with the characters and the names, visit the ComixPedia page: “The Cyantian Chronicles“.

Note that the site has some technical difficulties (like images not showing up) now and then, but Tiff is always quick to fix that. Drop her a polite note if something lingers for more than a few days.

Giant In The Playground

10. March, 2008

I enjoy the odd RPG session and I love comics, so it comes natural that I adore comics about gamers. There are the usual suspects like Dork Tower (“I kill Gandalf” – priceless) but there are also one or two gems to be plucked from the muddy seabed of the Internet.

Like “The Order of the Stick” from Giant in The Playground Games. Visuals that you either love or hate. Ignore them for now, it’s the texts that counts. A deep understanding of gamers and their troubles (“That’s not a core spell!”), a bunch of really great characters with a lot of hilarious weaknesses (height, family problems and laws) and cunning ways to deal with them (cutting enemies to size, meeting your ancestors in the after life and explaining why you’re keeping a mass assassin as companion who kills anything that moves and loves every cut while you’re being judged for afterlife). Way to go, Rich!

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