A State of the Tangent Address…

Filed in Webcomic review

Well, that’s it for the guest reviews. Or at least I don’t see any more in my forums or the Tangents e-mail address (at Tangentsreviews at gmail period com). I’m still waiting to hear on what I received for grades for the graduate class, but I got the work finished on time at least, and I really appreciate the effort people put in on those reviews.

Unfortunately, things keep coming up. My roommate’s grandfather died, and to help support his parents he’s going to be moving home. It’s a noble and grand thing to do… but it leaves me without a roommate and as I’m still jobless, without a means of paying for an apartment. (I was living off of debts owed me and on what’s left of an inheritance.)

This means I’m going to end up moving home for a bit. I’m planning on it being no more than a month, as I do not get along with my father at all, and I’ve grown to enjoy my independence. Once I can get a decent job and find a place to live, I’ll be back on my own again. But I have been jobless (outside of substitute teaching) for a while. It’s not going to be easy finding a decent job that I’m qualified for.

As a result, Tangents will be suffering more delays. I’ve ramped back the reviews to a MWF schedule, but when I’m with my folks I’ll be on their computers (which don’t have FTP). I’ll also not be reading new comics (for the most part) as they’re on dial-up, and on a damn slow dialup at that. I mean it. It’s like half the speed of regular dialup. They’ve got MSN, which means they’re spending $23 a month for internet that isn’t even 56K. Thanks to the strong-arm politics of their town, the only high-speed internet is Comcast, which costs $60 per month for internet. (The town owns the telephone poles and had the audacity to try and charge Verizon to let them put DSL on these poles. So, nice cheap high-speed internet is not available thanks to someone wanting a kickback. Small town politics, you know.)

Not that I plan on staying there more than two months at the most. Once I get a job and some savings earned up, I’ll be off on my own again, hopefully with decent internet and a bit of solitude.

And who knows… maybe Verizon will turn around and let a certain small town know that they’re going to take down their telephone lines. I mean, if they’re going to charge for use of the telephone poles… why bother giving phone service. But that’s just my own nasty response to the greed of certain petty town politicians….

Rob H.

Addendum Note: I was unable to keep up with the MWF update schedule due to a variety of reasons. Tangents has been pushed back to a weekly schedule, though the reviews written have also grown in length as a result.

Devil with a Blue Dress on…

(From Casey and Andy. Click on image to see it full-sized.)

Casey and Andy is one of those odd hybrid strips, a combination of gag strip and storyline. It didn’t start out as such. But as time passed, continuity started to appear. Outside of a tendency of Casey and Andy to die at the drop of a ball (and then being alive usually the very next strip, though once Andy came back a couple panels later), the comic managed to at first have character continuity and then later start forming actual storylines.

Perhaps one of the most popular characters is the Lord of Darkness, Satan. She first appeared dating Andy. Yes, the Devil is a woman. Did you guys have any doubts about that? Well, actually the Devil has many forms but she seems to prefer being a girl. And the weird thing is… she actually seems to love Andy. In fact, doing so ends up causing one of the storylines as one of Satan’s worshippers turns on her and usurps Hell because of that one moment of “goodness” on her behalf.

This of course brings us to Quantum Cop, who originally started out as a gag character but then started coming back periodically and taking part in the storylines. QC is sort of a deus-ex-machina in the storylines, with the ability to handle almost any foe but his own counterpart, Quantum Crook. He is an expert shot, keeps getting Nobel prizes, able to defeat the Devil at chess, and is pretty much perfect except for the fact he’s oblivious to the interest of Casey and Andy’s next door neighbor, Jenn. Eventually, though, he starts clueing in on her feelings (or at the very least develops some toward her on his own).

Jenn wasn’t part of the original cast, but seems to have appeared as the “straight woman” for Casey and Andy’s antics. Despite that, she quickly became my favorite character. Her crush on Quantum Cop, the fact weird stuff keeps happening to her (even outside the fact that she’s the next door neighbor of Casey and Andy), even the fact that the longer storylines have started to revolve around her in many ways suggest that this Jenny-come-lately is now the key character to the comic. While Casey and Andy may be essential to the puns and one-shot strips, it’s Jenn who drives the comic and has been the pivotal character story plots revolve around.

And of course, where would we be without mentioning Casey and Andy? These two are… insane. I mean insane as in the Helen Narbon style of insanity. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Helen Narbon the Elder visited these two when they were kids and drove them mad as hatters. Well, it could have happened. I’d not be surprised one bit. I mean, they’re idiots. But they’re inventive geniuses who happen to know a lot.

Andy’s main claim to fame is he’s dating the Devil, and God hates his guts because of it. God feels that Andy doesn’t treat his little girl right (and yes, God cast the Devil out because she tried to take over, but he still loves her as his daughter… which I suppose makes some sense if the Christian God is a loving God (outside of hating Andy)). He’s also the king of saying outrageous and idiotic things. You don’t even have to look hard for examples. He’s best friends with Casey (in fact, they’re pretty much the only friends each of them have) even as he and Casey constantly try to kill each other.

Don’t get me wrong. Casey is also an idiot. He’ll say stupid things as well, and doesn’t always think things through. In fact, as his alter-ego (Dr. X) he’s constantly trying to take over the planet, and fails each and every time. But he doesn’t say quite as many stupid things as Andy, and seems to have a better grasp on reality than his friend.

Casey’s girlfriend, Mary, hates Andy with a passion. I mean, she kills him at one point (though with Andy, that’s not much of a problem). She’s also got an immense hatred of puns (one of the reasons she doesn’t get along with Andy is that he loves to use puns), so severe she’s created the persona of the Pun Police to hurt anyone who puns in her presence.

I couldn’t tell you what lured me over to CaA. While it’s been snarked by Eric Burns multiple times, I never bothered to see what he was talking about. And this is a shame, because while the comic has faltered in places (and even had an early hiatus), it’s quite talented.

It’s also ending in 23 more issues. Andy Weir (the cartoonist) is calling it quits for Casey and Andy and putting the cast through one last Jenn-centric storyline before wrapping things up. We’ve learned some interesting tidbits along the way, such as the origin of one of the strip villains, Lord Milligan. We even have Casey asking Mary to be his wife (and in turn informed Andy that he has to move out).

While CaA may be ending, it’s ending while the comic is still going on fairly strong. This is the sixth major storyline (not including the occasional mini-arc or the guest comics), and as is apropos to CaA’s theme, it’s going out with a bang, rather than the whimper and slow death of hiatus.

Robert A. Howard

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