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review 2020-03-27 20:23
Alice Grove by Jeph Jacques
Alice Grove - Jeph Jacques

A side project from the creator of 'Questionable Content', 'Alice Grove' is a complete science fiction story set in the future thousands of years after a technological "blink" leaves the Earth without A.i. or any other advanced technology. Alice is a person with a certain skill set and her capabilities are revealed to the reader slowly after two young members of a human space colony are stranded on Earth and become her problem.


This was great and can be read in a single sitting. I'd invest in a physical copy if one were available, but instead I'll indulge in some of the physical volumes of his other comic he has available.

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review 2020-03-26 21:48
Magatokyo, Omnibus #1 by Fred Gallagher
Megatokyo Omnibus - Fred Gallagher

I've been heavily indulging in nostalgia lately, well...maybe for a few years. It's a way for me to balance the demands of the first-run arcs I read for work and the constant perusal of catalogs featuring thousands of new titles every season. Will that change in our new time of uncertainty? No idea, really, but it will be difficult ride for many small imprints and publishers for the next few years, even if everybody gets better tomorrow (and they won't).


Anyway, 'Megatokyo' was staple reading for me and my friends at the computer lab between classes. I was never fully immersed in gamer or anime culture as some in my circle, but the lols were real nonetheless. Piro and Largo end up kicked out of a gamers convention and, on a whim, take a flight to Japan. In Tokyo they promptly spend all of their money and are stuck in the country until they can save enough money to fly home.


Meanwhile, Kimiko is auditioning for a major voice-acting role for a new game with the encouragement of her tough friend Erika who works at a manga shop. Throw in Ping, the sentient PS2 accessory, high-tech hijinks, 133+ sp34k (I know I got that wrong), Sega hitmen, battling consciences, and the occasional unsanctioned Godzilla-attack and you have are story.


I forgot Miho, a "darkly cute" personification of evil, or a misunderstood school girl.


The comic is still going, but I've completely lost track of where the story is these days. Once I've finished the second omnibus, I'll dig into the website.


What I like about this comic after all of these years is the commitment to true character development and the long-game story arcs. There are some really dated jokes and uninteresting interludes that were fun filler at the time, but could probably have been entirely excluded.

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review 2020-03-09 21:34
8-Bit Theater, Entire Series by Brian Clevinger
8 Bit Theater Vol. 1 - Brian Clevinger

'8-Bit Theater' is a sprite comic (a comic using video game 'sprites' as characters instead of unique creations) based off of the original 1987 'Final Fantasy' video game for Nintendo. It follows Black Mage, Fighter, Thief and Red Mage (helped along by the exasperated White Mage) as they trade-in on orbs 'lukewarm' with destiny to get in on a quest to become Light Warriors and defeat Chaos.


This was, in my opinion, the King of Sprite Comics, which, is not a whole lot of praise to be honest. Sprite comics are looked down upon in world of web comics as lacking in artistry and being plagued with lazy jokes and storytelling. I mean, this is true, but '8-Bit Theater' was a lot of fun and I ended up following it all through high school. I was pleased to discover before graduating college that it had been given a conclusion. There were so many of these comics back in the day that I used to follow, and I'm sure there are many more out there, but I don't think any of them reached the scare-quoted 'stature' and longevity that '8-Bit Theater' enjoyed.


In total, '8-Bit Theater' was made up of 1,224 comics, a drawn epilogue, and dozens of guest/holiday comic one-offs. Brian Clevinger has made several other comics that have been given actual acclaim, but this is the only one I really loved.


Now, since a stray comment reminded me of the 'armoire of invincibility' joke, I ended up re-reading the whole series. A lot has changed for me since the high school computer lab. The comics are rife with dated, classic 'nerd' sexism and mild homophobia - nothing truly toxic, after all, White Mage and Princess Sara are among the smartest characters in the series, but still it effected my enjoyment. Clevinger also used a lot of wordy, rambling humor that made many strips an exercise in patience as Red Mage or Fighter babbled on for eight panels to end in yet another face-palm sigh of exasperation from Black Mage.


'8-Bit Theater' in its ~8 years of publication created a rich world of insider jokes and was my first introduction into the many tropes of gaming and fantasy in general. This was a great experience and got me to play my first video game in almost a decade. I'd never played the first Final Fantasy and borrowed the upgraded edition of the game on PSP from a friend. So, an old time-waster inspired me to give up a whole weekend on a thirty year old video game. Fun!


But, whatever, its still pretty damn funny. It also helped that it brought back some great memories of laughing at these panels with my friends clustered around the same monitor in the computer lab. "Ye be facin' THE CLAW!" If we'd had smart phones back then, I don't know if we would have gotten anything done in high school.

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review 2020-01-04 21:05
The God Game by Danny Tobey
The God Game - Danny Tobey

Charlie and his friend Peter are messing with a bot online that has supposedly been given the attributes of God. Messing with bots is a time-honored past-time, but things get weird when after insulting the bot, it goes quiet and the next day the boys receive an invitation to 'the God Game' on their phones. How did the bot know where to contact them, what is the game? Only vague, off-putting rumors exist online about the game and the invitation tells them that winning the game makes their dreams come true, but losing costs them their lives.


So, of course, they enlist three more friends, the five of them make up a computer club and have called themselves the Vindicators for reasons including the fact that they're geeky teenagers. The Vindicators quickly immerse themselves in the game, they find it advanced and quickly start getting benefits.


The game, however, starts asking them for favors and refusing comes at a high cost.


'The God Game' has a terrific pace, really good characters, and a lot of nail-biting action. There are some great twists I didn't see coming. We spend the most amount of time with Charlie, presumably because he's white, and despite his whining and lack of effort in the game, he gets rewarded, a lot, by that game. There is some internal logic of the book that could explain this (straight white males tend to get bonuses), but I don't KNOW if this was all that intentional. Add that doubt to a lame-ass ending and I'm left with mixed feelings about the book.

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review 2019-07-15 21:59
Murder on the Rockport Limited, Adventure Zone #2 by the McElroys
The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited! - Clint McElroy

Another fun, whiz-bang installment to the graphic novel adaption of the D&D podcast. By rights, I should write a lot more, but things got a little weird here and I probably won't get back to this, so, in brief, this was as awesome and fun as the podcast, it comes out Tuesday (get it from a real store you animals!), and I am totally buying the next one, too.


The Adventure Zone


Next: 'Petals to the Metal'


Previous: 'Here There Be Gerblins'

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