Webcomics Capsules is all about short webcomics reviews—more like recommendations, actually. See what our writers are enjoying around the web, choose your favorites and get to reading! This edition has two of my favorite things: superheroes and feminism. Laugh with (at) Jean Grey and Scott Summers in Max Wittert’s parody, or the folks at The Hero Business; support fellow female cartoonists in the collective Team Girl Comic; or get emotional with Strong Female Protagonist, a very sensitive story about a female protagonist that is very strong.
Updates: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Genre: Giant Robot Space Fantasy
Titanzer is the second iteration of a giant robot webcomic of the same name. Kevin Wilson’s original take, was about the pilot of the titular robot, and his life post-saving-the-world.
The new version is so new it’s only had three updates as of this writing. The story seems to be part prose and part animated gif at this point, but these little tidbits are tasty enough to keep me coming back for more, (especially since I’ve seen the original and the artist’s enthusiasm for the project).
The Hero Business
Genre: Super Hero/Soap Opera Parody
The Hero Business is just what it says on the label: a superhero marketing company. They make sure heroes get sufficient press, crossovers, rivalries, battles, and romances—all for the attention of the adoring public. They fill out the paperwork for retroactive continuity when an origin changes, and help with costume and image problems for the supers of their world. The point of view character is receptionist Parker Jameson—perky brunette with a (dun dun dun) dark secret. She works with PR Alpha Woman Morgan, Bravado (hero consultant), Dr. Malefactor (mostly reformed mad scientist and head of R&D), Brit Simon Perch in marketing, and gloomy Brody LeBlanc in art and design.
That’s just the regular staff. The superheroing community pops in and out as situations require. My favourite two characters are the alien precogs named—wait for it—Major and Minor Spoiler. They’re goofy and obnoxious and supply a good bit of the comedy when they’re on screen.
The art is bright, lively, and quirky. I don’t know why some studio hasn’t snatched Bill up to do an animated series because it looks like the candy-colored Saturday mornings some of us used to get up for as kids.
The storylines are short and hilarious, and Bill’s very careful to link back any continuity reminders so even if you come in late, you can easily catch up. The art, already adorable, has come a long way, so you have that to look forward to when you archive binge. Hope you find it as irresistible as I do.
SFP: Strong Female Protagonist
Brennan Lee Mulligan & Molly Ostertag
Updates: Tuesdays and Fridays
The lead and titular character, Alison, is a strong female protagonist, but not merely in the buzzword sense of the phrase. She is “biodynamic,” which is just another way of saying “she has superpowers.” She used to do the flights and tights thing (well, the tights—she doesn’t fly) as Mega Girl, but eventually gave it up to go to college and try to fight for justice without the spandex.
Aspects of her old life pop in on her inconveniently, and her mundane life is a source of consternation for her as well. She’s devoted to her family but the reverse is not necessarily true. Her kid sister has the sort of jealousy younger siblings have of older ones, only magnified because the kid sister developed no biodynamic powers.
This webcomic updates as issues, like a paper comic, so you can read it as it updates and wait for the agonizing days it takes until the next one, or you can read an entire issue, and wait for the agonizing days until the next one. Just like a paper comic!
Seriously, though, Alison has been described by her creators as having “a crippling sense of social injustice”—a feeling I’m sure a lot of women can identify with. Despite being pretty, white, and blonde, she doesn’t use those natural “features” to her advantage. She only uses her powers when she sees a need to, and feels terrible about the collateral damage such biodynamic action causes. One of her best friends is a person of color who is more enthusiastic about the cape method than Alison herself is.
The comic is in the middle of an arc that hits really hard for a number of reasons. I won’t give it away, but have Kleenex handy.
Team Girl Comic!
Team Girl Comic is an on-going collective webcomic out of Glasgow, Scotland. The site encourages those who identify as women and creators from all backgrounds to submit. As such, the strips are more slice-of-life but lean toward the geek/creator girl experience. It’s a small pleasure of mine, as each one is different in art and story. I like having a non-American perspective and, of course, supporting female creators.
Max Wittert says aloud all the things we often think about X-Men’s oldest couple, Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Come on, we know Jean is just the kind of telekinectic who cheats playing Jenga and blames all her misdoings on the Dark Phoenix. And Scott … well, Scott is just good ol’ Scott, you know? Boring.
Don’t take my words too seriously—I’m an X-fan myself and actually think that Jean and Scott are great characters. Maybe that is why it’s so funny to make jokes at their expense.