For the past month, while Tangents has been on hiatus, I’ve been relaxing and slowly recharging my creative batteries. For the most part I’ve succeeded. I’m not sure how much of this is because I took a much-needed break, but I do know that several comics have tempted me to comment on them in the past couple of weeks. Admittedly this is also due to the creative abilities of these cartoonists… but I am glad to see the spark and desire to review is still there. Still, I fully realize I need to take things a little slow at first, lest I risk burning out once more.
As such, I’m going to limit myself to two reviews a week. These reviews will go up on Tuesday and Friday, assuming my tendency to procrastinate doesn’t take hold. When I see something worth commenting on for webcomic news, I’ll post that separately; the news posts won’t be anything especially large, mind you, but they won’t replace actual reviews. As such, if you’re a cartoonist and have some event you want mentioned, do feel free to send me an e-mail and I may post a comment on it. I’d also like to thank Francisco De Freitas for his guest review of “Who Killed Claire Cace” and apologize it took a little bit to post.
Finally, I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ll be reinstalling WordPress at some point; I’d have done this by now, except my host had some real life stuff going on so I didn’t want to add to the burden. While the primary source of extraneous visits has ceased, I still want to make sure there’s nothing lurking on my site, especially as several people have warned me my site was flagged or registered with virus prevention software. Seeing I don’t have advertising on my site… that suggests something is up. If there are any disruptions, I apologize in advance.
Posted in Other
Given the tradition of new beginnings on the start of the New Year, it may come as no surprise for comics to choose January 1st to emerge from the dread mists of hiatus. Thus it probably should come as no surprise that Rich Burlew’s epic stick-figure fantasy comic Order of the Stick has chosen to emerge from a three-month-hiatus on this date, with a musical recap interlude that could only have been more amusing if Buffy and crew had sung it while fighting demons. What makes it even more fun is the reaction of Elan’s companions to his suggestion (with Belkar begging their priest to deafen him once more, while Roy groused at how recaps don’t advance the story).
As recaps go, it was fairly quick and summed things up for the current storyline quite nicely; amusingly enough, it even proved Roy wrong as Elan proves he isn’t a complete idiot as well as he used the recap to reveal he sussed out the fact they’re fighting Elan’s father (a realization Roy was about to reveal himself prior to Elan’s insistence on recapping the story). Best of all, it even gave Burlew a chance to explain in-comic the reason for the hiatus (as he’d cut his thumb against glass and couldn’t bend it nor draw; and yes, there’s enough artistry in the stick figures that he couldn’t just “work around it”). In any event, it’s good to see OotS’s return; of all the comics to go on hiatus, this is one of the few I missed the most.
Perhaps the biggest problem webcomics face is what is also their greatest strength: the fact they’re free. While this makes it easy for new readers to join in spending only their time, it fails to provide webcartoonist with much in the way of revenue (and no, advertising revenue for web-based media isn’t that good). Thus webcomics often tend to be hobbies for their creators, perhaps able to pay for art supplies and hosting fees while the cartoonist works a day job… which can cut into how frequently webcomics update.
This was the case with Faith Erin Hicks, who had to put her delightful superhero parody comic The Adventures of Superhero Girl on hiatus while working on a graphic novel. She planned on building up a buffer and expand ASG’s venue to include more storylines, but as with the best laid plans of mice and men these plans fell apart in the face of extra paying work. And while she’s started updating once more, the updates will be on an intermittent basis while she finishes up on more pay work. Nor am I sure about how the intermittent schedule will affect her plans to start more storylines in the comic; often one-shot strips (which I suspect today’s comic is) work better when regular updates remain wishful thinking.
The thing is, for all that I enjoy storylines (and Hicks may wish to expand the scope of ASG to include more of them), ASG works as a series of one-shot stories. Admittedly, today’s update could be expanded if we learned the heatwave Superhero Girl is fighting in is in fact part of some villain’s weather machine or even if she believed it was such (and wouldn’t it be amusing if a supervillain was creating a weather machine to try and end the heatwave and usher in cooler weather rather than for some nefarious purpose?). But it works just as well on its own… and is an enjoyable emergence of a favorite comic of mine from summer hiatus.
Given the hectic pace of the Christmas season, it’s not surprising for comics to go on break during the holidays. Megatokyo is among the latest of comics to come back from its holiday break, with a continuation of the Bath House scenario that cartoonist Fred Gallagher has been teasing fans with, along with a promised explanation of just who and what Tohya Miho is. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this update, however, is that Piro has finally joined Tohya in the bathing room; Gallagher had commented previously online that his protagonist’s refusal to go in with Tohya had thrown a monkey wrench in his plotline. I must admit, while some of the best stories occur when the character takes a hand in the writing, sometimes they can get surly and refuse to cooperate. Hopefully now that Piro’s playing ball again, Gallagher can get the story flowing again. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see two updates a week. Odder things have occurred.
Posted in Chord
Tagged Hiatus, Manga
Over the years I’ve seen entirely too many webcomics succumb to hiatus. Fortunately, two comics I rather enjoy have emerged from those misty shores and resumed updates once more. After a two month break (due to cartoonist Gina Biggs’ going on maternity leave), the high school relationship comic Red String has resumed updates again. For the time being, Biggs will be updating on Mondays; given the vagaries of young infants, I’m glad to see that Biggs isn’t overextending herself. While I would love to see more updates of Red String, I’d rather see reliable updates than a constant struggle to get more done than is feasible.
A second comic I’ve been looking forward to is Aaron Alexovich’s Heart Shaped Skull (or Serenity Rose 3: Break Your Stupid Heart), a rather enjoyable comic about a twenty-something witch coping with the fame of being one of only five American witches (in that there are only 57 witches in the world – and these witches have the ability to alter reality… and for their very dreams to take life). After two years, HSS has resumed updates; I must admit I rather enjoyed today’s strip, which basically summed up the previous two storylines for both new readers who’ve not yet perused the comic’s archives, and older readers who might need a quick refresher.
Welcome back, Gina Biggs and Aaron Alexovich. Both of your comics have been missed.
The contemporary fantasy comic Stupidity in Magic recently emerged from hiatus to continue its latest storyline concerning the upcoming wedding between Octavia and Larry (while providing plenty of opportunities for mischief and hijinks). I’ll admit some embarrassment that I was unaware for a bit that cartoonist Willow Taylor had renewed updating her comic; she’s been moving it over to ComicPress, and the original URL was stuck on an older page until Taylor updated it to alert readers of the change. For those readers who haven’t checked out my early archives (and seeing that I’ve not reviewed the comic in four years), SiM is a character-driven comic that gently pokes fun at the pagan faiths and on some of the adverse Christian reactions to them, and is definitely worth reading (though I think the archives on the Drunk Duck mirror site are more complete).