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!
Ripples by Hayley Powers
Ripples is a new webcomic, with just six pages published. The main theme is a mystery at this point, but yet, it catches the eye.
Most of the story so far consisted of a dream sequence. “I’ve never been to the sea,” says the unknown narrator, “but I’ve seen it.” It is a psychedelic adventure, with majestic coloring that gives the sensation of flowing smoothly from one panel to another, as though the reader is swimming in the dream material. The meaning is free flowing, challenging the reader to perceive it however he or she wants to.
Then, the girl protagonist wakes up with the terrible sensation as of falling in a dream, and she’s in the middle of a forest surrounded by mysterious items: two suns, a lance, a scout’s badge, and a magical bracelet. Is this a magical fantasy scout story? I can only speculate, but I’m sold. There’s no more than that, and yet I felt I should give you this recommendation, even based on mere aesthetic reasons (for now, at least). It is just beautiful, and that’s enough.
In Hayley Powers’ words: “It’s a story about a thing. Maybe a lot of things! I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out how many things, so keep reading – for THINGS.” For her to keep us guessing like this, ugh – that’s mean!
Powers entered my art radar with funny one-page comics on Tumblr, and it was a good surprise to know she was beginning what appears to be a more sensitive project. The updates are erratic, but I hope it gets keeps getting better as the comic finds its audience. Ripples is already an outstanding work. — Carolina
by Shing Yin Khor
Sci fi romance
In this comic, sci fi meets a sweet sensibility never expected of the genre, translated by usage of watercolour and simple lines. Mags, Dani, and Jen are employees at the Center of Otherworld Science, an institute dedicated to study alien forms of life. The Center is not one to care much about ethics or work safety, and it is common for researchers to die while working. The story explores the lack of meaning in life, balancing it with interpersonal relations such as friendships, sex affairs, and love.
Even though the characters wear hazmat suits most of the time, their feelings are palpable. The “Otherworld” is fantastic and delicate, with their giant insect-like cute creatures and colorful plants. It makes sense that, in a plain lifeless scientific institute, people are fascinated (and scared) by it. Mags’ love affair with Dani and their ensuing struggles with commitment issues and sex are painful, beautiful, and relatable.
Shing Yin Khor is an author that knows how to use her space. Even in one or two pages, she can outline a more complex story, making the reader wonder about what was not explicitly shown.
The Center Of Otherworld Science updates with a whole chapter (5-10 pages) monthly, and can also be downloaded in PDF form or bought in a printed version. — Carolina
Danyell Thillet is to all appearances a shy, compassionate, female-identifying, vegan person (from New York City!) who loves cats and her partner Mike.
The comic is completely stream-of-consciousness, about whatever is on Danyell’s mind at the time she sets stylus to tablet. The comic shows how alike people really are, as I have the feeling several of these resonate with more than just me. She gets distracted by the internet. She faces things that scare her. She feels the same way as I do about that atrocious, mawkish “Christmas Shoes” song! The comic has been running intermittently since November of 2013, so it’s not a daunting archive to wade backward through. The only thing I have to say that’s less than glowing praise is that she picks pretty fonts for her lettering that are not always the easiest to read.
She seems to have a healthily fun view of the world, even when she’s unhappy about the way some of the things in the world work. I especially like her imploring her readers to avoid Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving. I feel the same way, even if it’d be a cold day before you got me eating tofu with mushroom gravy. Sorry, Danyell. — Jamie
Full color, space fantasy
Every other day
A young woman (of color! She’s the star and she’s a woman of color! Yay! *flail* *ahem*) is walking out either very early or at dusk — hard to say — when she meets a creature who looks like they could be a dragon. They’ve been trapped, and asks her to set them free in exchange for a wish. The girl’s wish is to visit other planets, but with a slight nudge from the alien creature, she rephrases it to visit all the habitable planets of the galaxy. So there are our main two characters. Did I mention the alien dragon wish-granting guy is also the spaceship she travels in?
The alien isn’t a jerkass genie, as such, but they’re also not really forthcoming with more hints than the one they gave, which leaves the girl in a bit of a pickle. The relationship doesn’t start off on much of a high note as a result. They do have a natural tendency to be a bit of a tour guide, though. The two eventually make up and introduce themselves as Khut (spaceship) and Jas (the human), who is not your typical demure heroine.
Gisele’s art is whimsical, angular, and cartoony all at once, but it works. She has a real eye for colour, and her first homage is a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. What’s not to love! Each chapter appears to be a planet the pair stop on. Gisele’s imagination as showed through the worlds and Khut’s shapeshifting, gets a thorough workout, and viewers’ eyes get lots of candy! Gisele has also done some research, so there are interesting scientific tidbits to be had as you page through the journey. — Jamie