Welcome back to The Webcomics Weekly!
Celebrating 100 issues certainly leaves an editor tired. Celebrating that 100 issues by tackling a strange project comparing “Tower of God” to its adaptation, Tower of God is also something that leaves one tired. How will we celebrate issue #101? Well with a hangover of course! We’ve got the hair of the dog in “A Better Place” and “Trekker” as well as some coffee thanks to “The Queen and the Woodborn” and “She Blooms in Autumn.” I couldn’t think of a better celebration than that one, could you?
A Better Place
‘Which One?’ – ‘A Happy Holiday 4: Canes, Reigns, and Christmas Trees’
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
Is. . .is Empress Computer Hannah’s parents? Or does E.C. only believe that to be true? Is this a conclusion she has come to on her own, a natural extension of her view of the position of advisor or has E.C. positioned herself as being a parental figure to Hannah because that’s what Hannah wanted out of her, just like Nina is the loyal best friend? I had never considered this as a possibility before but it would track. E.C.’s controlling instincts are because she views Hannah as a child, which she is, but Hannah is not just a child. She is a powerful, old child.
Hannah has been living for a very long time and while she has not allowed herself to mature, she has changed and learned and cannot be viewed as naive, which is what E.C. associates with childhood. It’s a mistake many adults make, (one I have and certainly will again make) perhaps because they view their childhood with rose-tinted glasses, believing that it was only once a threshold had been crossed that one was blessed with nuance and understanding, as if it were not a constant process of back and forth. Whatever the case, by tying E.C. to this approach to parenting — the smothering, controlling parent who “knows what’s best” and the one who provides the illusion of choice and freedom, all while keeping them in a cage — Bogosian has deepened the themes of the work and made E.C. a far more compelling character in my mind.
These pages are also very nicely focused, even with the holiday break-ups, which tell their own story across the years. Hannah’s rage not at being trapped but at having her family, the only thing she allows herself to miss, not be real. The illusion is broken because E.C., just like the controlling parent who only has a cursory understanding of their child, does not actually know what Hannah likes and wants. The cartoon from the start, Hero Punch, is her and Theo’s favorite show but E.C. does not know this, partially because they really seem to hate Theo.
This fact makes me doubt E.C. is actually Hannah’s parents remade. Well, that and the fact that her real parents are trapped in the time loop that Theo used to be trapped in. Almost forgot about that. Whoops!
The Queen and the Woodborn
Pages: ‘Mother’s Tale’
By Stjepan Sejic
Reviewed by Michael Mazzacane
Stjepan Sejic is doing a new comic, of course I had to check it out. “The Queen and the Woodborn” pushes the comic creator outside of slice of life or even the hardcore erotica of “Fine Print” into something more akin to an old school fairy tale. The strips opening reinforces the comics links to European fairy tales and their structure by running through seven sets of seven. Unlike Shrek, however, this sort of knowing play with how the these stories are numerically represented isn’t to parody them but show the insight of a young child. Why does everything have to be in sets of seven or four?
Sejic’s art and storytelling in general always has an earnest heart at the center. The same holds true for “Queen and the Woodborn” as it vacillates between the relationship between Mother and son and that Mother’s melodramatic plea for her son to remember what she told him about the fey creatures that live in the forest just outside their realm. The character acting in these Mother and son moments is excellent, the staging and composition isn’t anything you haven’t seen before but there is an energy to how he captures their expressions.Continued below
Sejic is also posting the strip as normally formatted comic pages on their Patreon, I will however only be considering the vertical scroll version. He does a minor thing that makes all the difference in this format: he adds a bit of texture to the gutter space. It’s a Webtoon strip and the gutter space on these things always feels just a little too large. The same feeling holds true for his strip as well, however, the impressionist forest trees that he uses as the gutter space creates something visually interesting in-between the main panels. They are big, but they are not boring.
It is also interesting to see how he works in a strong center justification for everything without making it a rote reading orientation. His original “Sunstone” strips where a wild vertical strip that really played with how to use and compose vertically, on Webtoon and Tapas the canvas size seems slightly more restricting. This could also be a byproduct of reformatting the comic from one style to the other as Morgan Beem does some fantastic and varied work on “Wolfsbane.”
“The Queen and the Woodborn” is off to a solid start. This strip appears to be less of a priority than the currently in production volumes of “Sunstone” and “Fine Print,” but it is interesting to see this series come out after seeing all the production art.
She Blooms in Autumn
By Studio Nostos
Reviewed by Jason Jeffords Jr
Look at that! The Webcomics Weekly hit 101! That’s one better than 100! No, I’m not going to start each update like that, but it still is pretty damn cool! Talking about cool, I found another great webcomic via Twitter – “She Blooms in Autumn.” Surprisingly, this series is done by two creators, which has happened before, but seems like it doesn’t often.
“She Blooms in Autumn” is another case of a slow story that takes its time to tell you everything that’s going on. Like I’ve said before, that’s not a bad thing, just something to look out for if you read it. Nonetheless, Dathe’s story is interesting with its mystery, keeping you guessing as to how it will all play out. The story being told seems like it could be a romance between León and the ghost/spirit – the synopsis makes it seem that way – yet it also seems to be about one connecting with their dead parent. Honestly, it’s fun to figure out what is transpiring, especially since it looks as if the story can go either way. Be that as it may, in these updates, León quits his cemetery job, which is what the last few chapters seemed to be building towards. Keeping tat in mind, I’m interested to see him go back and figure out for good whom that ghost/spirit is.
What originally drew me into “She Blooms in Autumn” was Ann’s art; damn is it gorgeous. For the story being told, it feels like it wouldn’t work with hard lines and deeper colors. No, it needs a soft, warm-your-heart feeling vibe. Ann’s style brings this to the series perfectly. The line style used looks like a sketch mixed with autumn-esque colors that are beautiful to look at and doesn’t kill the eyes. “She Blooms in Autumn” wouldn’t work without the style Ann brings.
Although the series seems like it’ll be limited in its updates, I look forward to seeing it all unravel. Honestly, we don’t need every webcomic to go on and on, so I’m all here for that!
Book 10 “Trial By Fire” Pages 1-8
Written and Illustrated by Ron Randall
Colored by Moose Bauman
Lettered by David Jackson
Reviewed by Michael Mazzacane
‘Trial by Fire’ reads a bit like a retread and that’s because it is to some degree. Ron Randall’s “Trekker” hasn’t been a hyper serialized comic in the first place, being a throwback pulp adventure strip that has largely operated on an episodic structure. Mercy gets a case and she closes it, with a few recurring ‘C’ plot threads in the background to give longer term readers a sense of history. With ‘Trial by Fire’ Ron Randall moved “Trekker” over to Image comics where it only lasted one issue. He explores that topic in a blog post at the start of the issue. While “Trekker” is at a new publisher, he doesn’t bother redoing any origin stuff. Instead, he underlines certain well-known story elements for long term readers, the lack of manpower on the police force, a bit harder than would normally merit. It’s a trick expositional and tonal balance, Mercy lamenting the lack of police necessitating her work as a Trekker fits the character, but it is also the kind of thought we had back in book 3 or 4, not 10.
In that blog post where Randall tracks the books trek from publisher to publisher, he talks about the coloring process that Moose Bauman did. Or more aptly didn’t do through a lack of familiarity with late nineties digital coloring. The blog posts by Randall are proving to be one of the more interesting elements of reading “Trekker.” These are not the original colors but ones that Randall lightly tweaked because re-serializing it was an opportunity to get things closer to how they originally intended.
While the story might retread known elements, structurally Randall keeps things consistent by giving Mercy her job: hunt down a firebomber by the eighth page. He seems to have pulled back on the internal monologue and omniscient narration that characterized earlier issues. Instead he throws a pair of rare double page spreads at the reader, it was technically a nineties Image book after all. That bit of excess aside he exhibits all the usual strong page construction that is readable and complete without feeling overly stuffed and busy.