Webcomics Capsules: Killers, queens and space pilots
Welcome to the first edition of the new Webcomics Capsules! We’ll be bringing you regular reviews of complete and ongoing webcomics—everything from art comics to slick romcoms are fair game. This time out we’re all over the map, with horror comics, fantasy, and adorable slice of life gag strips.
Colleen Lynne Cox
Updates: Complete (I think? Or maybe this is just the first chapter…)
Junji Ito meets Alice In Cyberpunk Wonderland. This comic blew me away. It’s a mid-length webcomic in pen and ink. Sometimes this means rich, thick blacks; sometimes it means dry brush greys. My only complaint about the art is that because it’s so information rich, and so dependent on contrast, the web presentation can be a little unforgiving. It’s a lot of continuous black and white and grey. But the figures—there’s a strong manga influence in her figures, some Western cartoon exaggeration, maybe even some Metal Hurlant in the denizens of the Vore Club. It’s fluid, cartoony, and raw, with no gross-outs or necessities spared for reasons of prettiness.
Vore Club is a mind-bending horror/SF fusion, and it’s quite literally about a club where monstrous people go to get their vore on. Our hapless hero stumbles into it expecting a job interview and ends up having to fight for his life. There are some typical dystopian sci-fi riffs—clones, radical body transformation, the contrast of incredible, glossy technology and the grime of poverty—but Colleen doesn’t dwell on these. They’re the backbone of the story—Vore Club isn’t genre-for-colour—but there’s the business of survival, the human spirit, and serious freakouts to get through, and these takes centre stage. Vore Club is not, I should warn you, an affirmation. It’s more of an oh shit. It’s a quick read, with relentless pacing and some plot twists that will bring you up short.
What I love about this comic, aside from the story—come on—is the lack of pretension and rigidity in Collen’s page design. Vore Club is literally borderless; it shifts from panels to no panels, to page-consuming, oddly shaped panels, and her visual references run the gamut. She seems to have an anything-that-works attitude to the comics toolkit. Giant sound effects? Ok! Aggressively unsexual nudity? All right. Flashbacks, abrupt shifts in tone–she makes it work.
Scott & Zeke Bieser
Updates: Monday through Friday
Quantum Vibe takes place in the far-flung future. Its heroine is a plucky woman of color named Nicole Oresme, who gets a job working for long-lived scientist Seamus O’Murchada. The pair get into and out of trouble, making news across the galaxy, new friends, and enemies. The art style is very quirky, and a lot of the characters appearing are caricatures of figures from real life, just for fun. There are female friendships, female romantic relationships, and some triggery content, so proceed with caution.
Nicole is the reason I started reading. The story starts her out as just the disaffected 20-something who is lamenting a lost boyfriend. But once she applies for the job with Seamus, she grows rapidly. One of my favorite arcs—despite its darker turn near the end—is when she re-encounters her ex performing under false pretenses. She literally stands up on the table and tells him off, much to the delight of the crowd. Another moment that stands out is the first time she does a sun-dive—a procedure so dangerous that she is one of only a small handful of pilots to have done it successfully. And she’s the first woman to do it!
I’ll admit, a little of the science is over my head, but the interpersonal stuff is worth wading through the stuff that’s deeper than my preference.
Updates: Tuesdays and Fridays
Adriana Blake is a tea-loving female artist whose webcomic is a bilingual (Spanish and English) slice of life based around Adriana, her macho but silly husband, and their adorable bird. The art style is whimsical and cute, and the strips are often aww-inducing with the clear love between Adriana and her husband. It’s slice of life, and gag-a-day for the most part, and tea lovers like me will identify with Adriana and her husband’s enjoyment of it as well.
Updates: As the author pleases
Necropolis is stunningly beautiful. There are only seven pages at the moment, and unfortunately, it doesn’t yet have a website (although Jake Wyatt keeps promising one soon), so you will have to read it on Tumblr. But the art, oh, the art. Necropolis is one of those webcomics you start reading because it is so eye-catching you can’t avoid it, and then you find out the characters are awesome as well. Next thing you know, you’re anxiously waiting for it every week.
In the prequel, we were told a story about a Queen and King who ruled the magnificent city of Hyberia with strength and wisdom. The Queen had a powerful sword that could keep all enemies away and the King had a mysterious sorcery that could lift walls and build aqueducts as he pleased. The panels are round, and framed by medieval stained glass motifs that set the tone for an epic legend; a story that happened a long time ago.
Who is the protagonist? Well, it is a mystery. For now, you may call her the Third Sword and, well, she has a sword. She is strong, yet so young—a child—and has a quest she believes in. A hero, probably.
The prequel and the first chapter are still disconnected, but I’ll certainly be there waiting for the plot to develop.