Webcomics Capsules — Supernatural Fantasy and a Lighthouse

Back by Anthony Clark and KC Green, 2014

BackBack by Anthony Clark and KC Green, 2014 By K.C. Green & Anthony Clark
Supernatural Western
Updates Wednesdays

Back, started in July by the beloved creators of Gunshow and Nedroid Picture Diary, is a comic about the end of the world. No, it’s not any of that post-apocalyptic stuff, just the tale of how everything falls apart.

The catalyst for these events appears to Abigail, a girl who is brought back from the dead and immediately greeted by a coven of very triangular witches who inform her of her destiny to bring about the end of the world. This news doesn’t seem to faze her, nor does the knowledge that the prophecy the witches speak of has been in motion for some time. After learning of her destiny, Abigail heads out toward the “kingdom of goodness,” content to play her role.

But how is a young, undead girl to bring about the complete destruction of life as we know all on her own? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Back is still in its first chapter (technically the prologue), titled “Day of the Dead.” But so far, it looks incredibly promising; I’ve already reread its 24 pages several times looking for clues to what might happen next.

Some things to consider/watch out for:

  • The mysterious symbol on Abigail’s grave (which is also all over the website)
  • The king who has already tried to get rid of Abigail once
  • The relationship between the coven and the king
  • Abigail apparently has no memory of her past life (for now)

Everything about this comic is eerie and cryptic, and Anthony’s art lends itself very well to its mystical aura. His dark, bold colors, and beautiful gradient backgrounds give the comic a spooky, surreal quality, and as you click through the pages of the comic, it almost feels like you’re walking through a deserted ghost town. Anthony also does a lot with lighting, which is important for such a dark comic. This is particularly evident in the scene that takes place in the coven’s hideout; the way that the shadows from the fireplace play on the characters and objects in the room adds a clandestine feel to the events that occur therein.

I’m very intrigued by what K.C. and Anthony have put out there so far and am excited to learn more about our mysterious protagonist and the world she is destined to end. Give it a read, and if anyone’s up for some good ol’ fashioned speculatin’, well that’s what we’re here for.

K.C. Green is the writer for Back and creator of Gunshow, a comic about a lot of things that doesn’t always follow a continuous storyline.

Anthony Clark does the art for Back and is the creator of Nedroid Picture Diary, a sitcomic about a bird named Reginald and Beartato. He also colors Dr. McNinja and Atomic Robo.

Full CIrcle by Taneka Stotts and Christianne Goudreau, 2014Full Circle
By Taneka Stotts & Christianne Goudreau
Fantasy Adventure
Sundays, bi-weekly

Full Circle is a brand spankin’ new comic that launched its first six pages at the end of July. Described by its creators as an “adventure through the world of Ves,” the story begins with one of the main characters tumbling through the roof of a building, her feathered blue wings disintegrating behind her. At the end of the first page, she is left crumpled on the floor, watched by a young woman who has yet to be formally introduced.

Thankfully, a cast page has already been posted on the website. The young woman in question is named Rhadi vāl Qasmir, a 15 year old from a place called Ahn Ruri. Other characters include siblings Marti Ranga and Elsa Su-Ranga, who come from the B’lai Islands. At this point, those place names might not mean much, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of Ves revealed and understanding how the magic and supernatural elements Taneka and Christianne have introduced will play a part in these characters adventures.

It’s still pretty early to judge on most things, but the artwork grabbed me from the start. It’s clean and bright, and Christianne doesn’t shy away from using a variety of angles and perspectives to reveal certain aspects of setting and character.

In fact, the comic feels very cinematic. The first page shows Elsa’s fall and kickstarts the story before cutting to a gorgeous full page illustration that displays the name of the comic and its creators, much like the opening title sequence of a film. The story then flashes back to Marti on the B’lai Islands, beginning the first chapter: “Paradise Lost.”

So far I’m very impressed by Full Circle and excited to see what exactly these “adventures through Ves” will include. I’m a bit sad that it doesn’t update more often, but if the quality I’ve seen so far continues then I think I can learn to live with it.

Taneka Stotts also writes for Gran Grimoire and NOMADS. She is also the editor of Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales.

Christianne Goudreau is a Digital Art Technician working at Dark Horse Comics.

Iverly by Jeffrey J. Rowland, 2014Iverly
By Jeffrey Rowland
Animal Adventure
Updates Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays

Iverly is a new webcomic from Jeffrey Roland, the man behind Wigu and Overcompensating and the CEO of Topatoco. If you’re familiar with his other comics, you might recognize the main character: Johanna, the green zombie cat from hell.

In the first page of the comic, Johanna meets a mole named Dug who promises to take her away to a place where she need never again belong to a human. She agrees, and they journey deep into the earth. Upon arrival in Iverly, Johanna learns that she can never again return to the surface, though she doesn’t seem too disturbed by this news.

Similar to Jeffrey’s other work, the art style is clean and bright. I love the way he draws Johanna, who can be surprisingly expressive for someone who only has one facial expression. The other animals are equally entertaining to watch as they interact within the established scheme of things.

One of the most interesting things about Iverly is its established hierarchy, though it isn’t apparent yet how it is organized. Reptoids seem to be at the top, above even humans, and birds are made to work because of something called “The Incident.” Some animals like Dug even keep other animals as pets. It seems that Jeffrey has put a lot of thought into how things work in this underground animal paradise, and I look forward to seeing what he has in store. I especially hope to see more of the mole men, and maybe one day we’ll meet some of those feathered troublemakers, and learn what trouble they were making.

Jeffrey Rowland is the creator of several other webcomics including When I Grow Up, Wigu, and Overcompensating. He is also the founder and CEO of Topatoco, a retailer of webcomic merchandise.

Ode by Annie Stoll and Tim Ferrara, 2013Ode
By Annie Stoll & Tim Ferrara
Fantasy Adventure
Updates Mondays and Wednesdays

Stana the Oathbreaker and her squire Wren are knights in a world where women (supposedly) can’t fight or wield a sword. They live in a time when magic and monsters are (supposedly) extinct. They journey to Spire and beyond, and on the way we see several mysterious elements of Stana’s past (involving dragons) and magical forces thought long gone by locals.

What initially attracted me to Ode was the art. Annie uses bright watercolors that make for gorgeous landscapes and lovely backgrounds that seamlessly blend together. While this works great for the plains and woodlands that make up the scenery in the first chapter, it makes fight sequences and detailed cityscapes chaotic and difficult to follow.

But let’s pause for a second and talk about a little pet-peeve of mine that has been at the center of my mixed feelings about this comic: typed text. It may not seem like it, but lettering is an incredibly important part of comic illustration—so much so, that some creative teams hire an artist specifically for that purpose. There is so much that can be done with lettering to enhance dialogue, and it’s a bit disappointing to see an otherwise promising comic neglect it.

At least the writing has been faring a bit better. The dialogue seems to fit each character well, even minor characters that only stick around for a couple pages. The story is pretty well paced, if a bit slow. I do often find myself wondering where things are going, because even though Annie and Tim have dropped a few hints about where things may end up, it all still feels a bit vague, even one year and two chapters into the story. Personally, I’m hoping that Stana’s past will play a larger part in upcoming chapters, though I also think we’ll get to see Wren mature and come into her own as a knight.

Overall, I’m not completely in love with Ode, but I’m intrigued enough to overlook its minor flaws in the hopes that we’ll see some great stuff coming from these characters soon.

Annie Stoll is the artist for Ode. She is a Freelance Graphic Designer who has worked for Lucasfilm and Sony Music and worked on an anthology called Hana Doki Kira.

Tim Ferrara writes Ode. He also writes and draws the webcomic Honey and the Whirlwind, and his work can also be found in Hana Doki Kira.

The Lighthouse by Colin Fawler, 2014The Lighthouse
By Colin Lawler
Single panel sequential
Updates every 3 days

I recently came across Colin Lawler’s work from a guest strip he did for The Abominable Charles Christopher. Much to my delight, I learned that this wonderful artist has a new comic of his own called The Lighthouse.

As you might guess, a lighthouse is involved, as is the old man who inhabits it. So far all we know is that he ventures out on fishing trips, specifically for those fish that glow green, and passes the time hurling rocks at sirens. It’s probably a bit too early to say, but it feels very much like a loose take on The Odyssey, or at least carries elements of it.

It’s hard to call The Lighthouse a webcomic. While it is a series of images that tells an ongoing story and is published on the web, it isn’t quite what we typically think of when we talk about comics published on the internet. There are no panels and no dialogue. Instead, Colin chooses to present the story through a series of single panel watercolor illustrations. Almost every comic could stand alone as a print you might hang on your wall. And you would absolutely want it there, too—these illustrations are gorgeous. They’re soft, detailed, and nearly monochromatic, focusing mostly on blues, grays, and greens. There are also no boundaries on the panels, making it seem that this quiet world stretches on forever.

What’s interesting about Colin’s choice in presentation is that plot advancement comes only one small piece at a time. This method actually fits pretty well with the setting, as I imagine life at the lighthouse would move pretty slowly. It takes a lot of skill to pull off a comic like this one, both to maintain interest and present a lot of information in a short time span, but thus far Colin has managed it beautifully. Since it’s only just begun, it’s hard to tell where the comic is headed, but there are any number of directions Colin could take it that would be enjoyable to read. I’m looking forward to seeing more online, as well as possibly getting a book or some prints in the future.

Colin Lawler is a comic artist and illustrator. His other comics include the flashcard comic Hero and Tree, and Spirits: The Soul Collector. He also illustrated the children’s book Savvy Sally Sets Sail.

KM Bezner

KM Bezner

KM is a queer Nashvillian who reads a lot of books and watches too much TV. She hopes to one day retire as a recluse book printer with a farm of pigs.

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