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Thread: Webcomics You Should Be Reading : 3/01/10

  1. CurtisLawson Guest

    Webcomics You Should Be Reading : 3/01/10

    Hello all and welcome to the first installment of Webcomics You Should Be Reading. Internet based comics are becoming increasingly relevant to the average fanboy, as creators such as Warren Ellis throw their hats in the ring. Competitions like DC's Zuda have done a lot to draw interest to webcomics as well as to legitimize their worth.* Of course as every sequential connoisseur knows, the internet is full of webcomics over brimming with horrendous art, poor writing and completely uninspired subject matter. There are quite few hidden gems hiding amongst the virtual world of poorly drawn hentai and Pokemon sprite comics though.

    I should state right away that this article will not be focusing on strip comics. My goal is to spotlight comic book style webcomics. If you’re looking for the next Penny Arcade, I’m afraid I’ll be of no help to you.

    Now with that out of the way let’s get started. For our first couple featured comics, I’m purposely avoiding anything in the TWC (Top Web Comics) top 100 and focusing on lesser known projects.

    The first webcomic that you should be reading is Dead Heaven , a gorgeously rendered dark fantasy story by Christopher Steininger. I stumbled upon this comic when an ad for it appeared on my own site. Instantly, the imagery drew me in and I clicked on over to check it out. Once seeing how breathtakingly beautiful the artwork was, I proceeded to read the entire body of work right then and there. Steininger’s style exhibits a melancholy beauty that many strive for, but few achieve. The characters and settings are visually hypnotizing and the colors are unrivaled. Simply put, Dead Heaven is one of the most visually impressive comics I have ever laid eyes upon.

    Perhaps more captivating than the artwork on Dead Heaven are its truly intriguing characters. The main antagonist, a bloated and sinister cleric, is a villainous masterpiece. His words, actions, mannerisms, and appearance all make one's skin crawl. The aesthetic of this terrifying character is one part effeminate serial killer, one part Warhammer 40k style inquisitor. From butchering the kings favorite dog, to culling an entire population through disease, the cleric's depravity seems to know no bounds. What's even better is that he truly seems to think of himself as devout and pious. As Malcolm Reynolds once said, "Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he's right with God".

    If the nightmarish cleric wasn't enough, enter his unfortunate henchmen, L'Odium, an elven assassin who sold his soul for a chance at vengeance. Here we have a truly tragic character - a good man, a family man, whose heart has been poisoned with hatred for the corrupt men who kidnapped and violated his wife. Unable to fulfill his quest for revenge alone, L'Odium made a deal with the previously mentioned cleric. In return for his rage being sated, the elf gave himself over to the service of "High Father". Now he precariously balances his grim and secret work with the raising of two daughters.

    In addition to the stories of the L’Odium and the cleric, there seems to be several conspiracies afoot concerning less developed, but equally compelling characters. I really have no idea where the story is headed, but I’m most eager to find out.

    One word of warning - this webcomic is most definitely for mature readers. There are very graphic scenes of violence and mention of incredibly vile acts. If you're sick of run of the mill sword and sorcery stories and crave something a bit dark and twisted than Dead Heaven may be just what you're looking for.

    For my second choice this week, I’d like to continue on a dark thread and turn your attention toward Lovecraft is Missing. With this webcomic Larry Latham has managed to weave together a riveting mystery centered around none other than the grand daddy of modern horror himself –Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

    The story follows three main protagonists. The most charismatic of the three is a writer of weird fiction and a friend of Lovecraft by the name of Orwin Battler. Second we have Nan Mercy, an occult scholar and professional academic with a shadowed past. The third main character is Father Jackey, a demon hunting Catholic priest. The three are tied together in a search to find H.P. Lovecraft after he allegedly steals rare photographic plates from some arcane tome and shortly thereafter vanishes.

    Each of the three main characters has their own reason for seeking out the prolific writer. Battler is concerned for his friend's safety, Mercy wants the photographic plates that she believes Howard has, and Father Jackey is concerned that Lovecraft’s disappearance may be linked to the machinations of an extraordinarily sinister cult.

    As they attempt to track down Lovecraft, the trio is faced with Innsmouth-style fish people, octopus demons, street thugs and sinister immortals. Instead of the situation becoming clearer as time goes on, the mystery only deepens as it is slowly revealed that no one (other than perhaps Battler) is quite what they seem to be. More and more questions are raised as the motives of everyone, including Lovecraft himself , come into question. The result is an ever-intensifying piece of suspense that leaves the reader on the edge of their computer chair, begging for more.

    Sewn expertly into the tapestry of the story, Lantham has worked in characters from Lovecraft’s works (Henry Wilcox and Dr. Muñoz for instance), as well as people from the macabre master’s real life. If you’re familiar with the writings of H.P. Lovecraft this aspect makes the comic even more enjoyable.

    Now let me express that I’m a big fan of Lovecraft’s work and I’m a sucker for most things relating to the Cthulu mythos. I’m sure that’s had a big impact on how fast I was captivated by Lovecraft is Missing. That being said, believe me when I say that Latham delivers great storytelling and solid artwork that any reader can get behind, even if you don’t know Nyarlothotep from Dagon.

    The downside of this webcomic? There are fairly big update gaps between “issues”. The next chapter won’t start going live until April 2, 2010. In webcomic terms, that’s an eternity. If you don’t have much in the way of patience than you may want to skip over Lovecraft Is Missing. As for myself, I’m just marking down the days on my calendar and waiting in anticipation.

    Well that’s it for this installment of Webcomics You Should Be Reading. Join us back here in two weeks when we’ll be talking about Shades and a few other extraordinary webcomics.

    Curtis Lawson is the owner of Broken Soul Press and the writer of the webcomics Divis Morte and Curtis Lawson's Grindhouse.
    Last edited by CurtisLawson; Monday, March 01, 2010 at 12:22 PM.

  2. ohteej Guest

    EVERYONE and their mom needs to start reading Zahra's Paradise

    Set in the aftermath of Iran’s fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahra’s Paradise is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has disappeared in the Islamic Republic’s gulags. Mehdi has vanished in an extrajudicial twilight zone where habeas corpus is suspended. What stops his memory from being obliterated is not the law. It is the grit and guts of a mother who refuses to surrender her son to fate and the tenacity of a brother—a blogger—who fuses culture and technology to explore and explode absence: the void in which Mehdi has vanished.
    the authors have chosen to remain anonymous for political reasons this comic NEEDS your attention!!

  3. MattDocMartin Guest

    Order of the Stick
    Something Positive

    Two must reads!

  4. ohteej Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDocMartin View Post
    Order of the Stick
    Something Positive

    Two must reads!
    links plz?

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