Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit (6 Pints)

Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit
by Wendy W

Fuck, shit, cocksucker, motherfucking Barbara Streisand!

I feel better, now.

After reading Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit, I felt the uncontrollable, Tourettes-like need to say a bunch of offensive words and stare at porn while slathering myself in bloody, raw meat and smoking cigarettes rolled in dried, dead baby skin. It was that fucking cute. It may have actually raised my purity score and I'm almost certain I'm a diabetic, now.

Wendy's art isn't exactly polished, or even terribly consistent, at times, but it's more colorful than a Gay Pride Parade and more adorable than a baby kitten. You want to hug it. You want to buy plushies modeled from it. It is, quite simply, almost too cute to be allowed to exist. But thankfully, it does.

The writing is also fairly hit and miss, with a few pages that are close to genius and other pages that seem almost pointless other than the cuteness factor. I think Wendy can be a good writer, if she keeps working at it and focuses more, but it feels like sometimes she's just phoning it in. When the writing can match the charm of the art and characters, she will truly have a winner on her hands.

To be honest, I've laughed more and laughed harder at comics I've rated far worse, but what those comics lack that this comic has in spades is charm. It jumps off the screen and demands that you love it, and you find yourself powerless to resist. It's original, it's adorable and it's unapologetic in its existence. Even a jaded, snarky cynic like myself is unable to resist it.

The Borg have nothing on Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Abandon: First Vampire (3 Pints)

Abandon: First Vampire
Wriiten by Greg Carter
Drawn by Elliot Dombo

Abandon has a decent following, so nothing I say is really going to hurt it - or help it. That makes it kind of like a sacred cow, untouchable. But just as McDonalds opened restaurants in India and is now serving up God on a bun, a McDeity with Cheese, if you will, I am not above taking shots at sacred cows, either. So allow me now to take a bite out of Abandon's soft, romantic, lesbian-happy flesh.

The story is basically about a vampire - the first vampire, no less, cursed for all of time to be immortal and remember her One True Love(TM), who is cursed to be reborn forever and never remember her.

And many emo boys wept.

Said vampire is, as all hot female vampires should be, a total slut and jumps in bed with a human girl before we are even ten pages in. A human girl that has a human girlfriend that hates said vampire. Which she just fucked. And then she lies to her girlfriend and fucks her while said girlfriend's brother goes missing with said vampire, who both want to fuck each other, and said brother may just be the aforementioned long lost love cursed to reincarnation for all of time, yeah verily.

If that was disjointed or confusing to read, so was the back history provided that is supposed to explain the whole universe and the gods.

The dialogue is so-so, with moments of cringe-worthy lines, like when the ancient slutty vampire chick calls someone a doofus. Shit, I haven't said doofus since Lost Boys came out. There are occasional clever bits of writing, mostly involving segues between scenes, like a line about landing on his feet followed by the brother tumbling to the ground, but these are easy to forget amidst all the emo romance, gratuitous lesbian action (never actually shown, mind you) and head loppings. And seriously, if the writer has a hard-on for lesbians - we've seen all of five female characters, and four are at least bisexual - why play coy with the hot lesbian sex? We're not quite two issues in and there have been two completely gratuitous and unnecessary sex scenes minus the sex. Why waste pages with them if there's no real story point and you're not going to show the rug munchers actually munching rugs? Fan service? Please, you don't need post-coital scenes to give panty shots or show girls in bras. I'm actually one of those rare males not into girl-on-girl action, but even I think the comic is a cock tease. Put out or stick to the emo romance and head loppings. I'm supposed to believe some chick, worried about her missing brother after disappearing with the vampire she despises, is going to go, 'Hey! Before we go look for my brother, I wanna eat some pussy! OMNOMNOMNOM!'


As for the art, it's pretty hit and miss. Close-ups work best, but when characters are seen from a distance or in full-body, they suddenly become Hobbits and their proportions go all out of whack. Also, profiles: please learn to draw them. Thank you.

I can't tell if this comic is trying to take itself seriously or not. If not, then go balls out. Let it rip. If it is trying to be serious and tell a moving, interesting story... As I've said before, good luck with that.

It has an audience, though. Any comic with sexy slutty vampire lesbian sex and heads flying all over will. It's kind of like the yaoi genre - there's an audience for it. That doesn't mean every single title is actually good.

67th Avenue (3 Pints)

67th Avenue
by Jamie Sawatsky

They often say Seinfeld was the longest running TV show about nothing. If that's true, then 67th Avenue is the Seinfeld of webcomics.

But only in that respect.

As far as I can tell from the archives - and this comic goes back years - it's basically the ongoing story of a character named Jamie and his daily struggles and exploits. But the comic rarely has much of a story, or at least much beyond a simple thread of a story. This can work in gag-a-day comics, where jokes trump story, but the problem is that 67th Avenue can't seem to decide if it's a story comic or a gag-a-day comic, and as a result it does neither very well. There are often several strips in a row with little to no gag or joke, yet they don't exactly move the plot in any interesting way, either. Take the current arc - the Aqua Ranch Kit.

Jamie sees an ad in the back of a comic book for one of those sea-monkey deals, and decides that he has to have one. Problem is, he has no money. We're 5 strips in - that's 5 updates, or basically a month's worth of strips - and the only thing that's happened is that Jamie opened his piggy bank for money. The strip where he breaks said piggy bank is done in a funny manner, but really - 1 in every 5 strips is not a good number. The rest are filler.

Before this arc, there was an arc that lasted 35 strips - a year's worth of time. It's basically the same thing, but on a far more staggering scale. An entire year of mostly pointless mediocrity with a few funny moments mixed in.

A fucking year!

It could have been epic. It could have been a highlight of the strip's history. Instead, it's just more of the same.

The art is decent when it involves characters, but too often backgrounds and action get muddled up, making it hard to follow at times. Jamie does show a serious amount of growth over the years, but background problems still nag at the strip. Even fantastic art, however, couldn't change the fact that the writing needs tons of work. Jamie seems to be having fun, which is great if that's all that matters. If you have fun creating something, that alone is reason enough to do it. But Jamie is asking for a review, an outsider's opinion, and outsiders aren't impressed by self-indulgence and don't care if the creator is having fun. They want to have fun.

Basically, it's my belief that a gag-a-day comic needs to be relentlessly funny - which is one reason I don't like most of them, as few can pull this off. A story comic needs to be interesting and compelling, otherwise the reader won't care enough to come back. 67th Avenue is, alas, rarely funny or interesting, and hardly ever both at once. This comic really needs to decide what it wants to be when it grows up.