One problem that webcartoonists often face is the temptation of growing complexity in their comics. An excellent example of this lies in the artwork of Fred Gallagher of Megatokyo fame, especially with the latest chapter with an ongoing zombie invasion of the city of Tokyo. Naturally, the fires and dust from an armed assault (as these zombies are using artillery and tanks in their attacks) would raise considerable dust. Unfortunately, there have been scenes where it is difficult determining what is going on in the strip. It’s a problem Gallagher is aware of, and one he’s struggling to overcome.
The simplest solution is one often found in manga comics: the use of spot backgrounds to show what is going on and then blank backgrounds avoiding cluttered backgrounds that can distract readers from the crux of the comic. However, there are times when it is vital to utilize backgrounds. In this, the latest Megatokyo manages to successfully wrestle with excess detail as Largo and Sonoda Yuki try to acquire a Rent-A-Zilla to use in fighting off the zombie invasion. (And in a brief aside, I must admit to some amusement that what would be the main event in most comics ends up being a side-show in the massive convergence of plots currently underway in MT.)
Little details like the “First Aid” and “Second Aid” medicine kits or Sonoda’s mop help add to the amusement, but it’s the Rent-A-Zilla himself that truly makes today’s comic so great. The sight of a Zilla plopped down watching television while snarfing down a bag of pork rinds… with a hamster bottle of water and a sign requesting patrons not to tap on the glass… well, that’s 100% win all over. Add in the transformation of Sonoda’s face from blase interest to sudden awe while Largo argues with the shop owner over their refusal to rent the Zilla out during a zombie invasion… and we have a comic that recaptures the sense of fun that has been so sparse in the comic for the past year.