Archive for January, 2021

Comics I Love – Rising Sand

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 12th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Rising Sand – by Ty Dunitz & Jenn Lee

Why I Love It

First of all, I love the amazing artwork, and the incredibly cool designs. The characters, environments, and technology are just fantastically designed. The character’s faces and expressions in particular have a vivid abundance of personality that merges ugliness and beauty, and sometimes transcends both.

And the designs only get cooler when they push the limits of practicality into glorious absurdity. Qeb, wearing his Weight of Existence bracelets, shouldn’t be able to even stand up, let alone throw punches, but world of Rising Glass is one where such impossible things are not just possible, but necessary.

I also love the rich sci-fi worldbuilding and the way goddesses and religions shape the backstory. The dialog stands on its own, and never gets exposition-heavy, but at the bottom of almost every page is a block of footnotes packed with background history. I completely ignored them at first, but when I was almost caught up, and I finally noticed how interesting they were, I couldn’t help going back to the beginning to reading everything all over again.

Read it at https://risingsand.glass


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – BUUZA!!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 11th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

BUUZA!! – by Shazleen Khan

Why I Love It

BUUZA!! (exclamation marks mandatory!!) is a story about close-quarters friendship and long-distance romance set in a modern fantasy setting in Asia.

I really love how subtle the fantasy elements are in BUUZA!!’s world. Even though it seems as if almost everyone has some type of magical power, these powers get used very sparingly, and never seem to detract from the real-world vibe or the late 1990’s look and feel.

I also like that the stakes of the story are balanced just right, and although the troubles of the larger world aren’t absent, the story is able to put the focus on the individual characters, their growth and small triumphs, and the relationships between them.

Sometimes good fantasy isn’t just about magic powers or prophesy or shapeshifters, (although all those things are very fun!) Sometimes good fantasy is about emphasizing the parts of reality that best support the story, while letting go of some of the sorrows and harshness of the real world, in order to give the story, and the characters in it, the space they need to speak to us. That’s why I love BUUZA!!

Read it at https://tapas.io/series/BUUZA/info


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Tigress Queen

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 10th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Tigress Queen – by Allison Shaw

Why I Love It

I started reading Tigress Queen for the crisp, clean artwork. What really made me love it though, was the diplomacy–

–Not diplomacy in the simple sense of looking for compromise, rather, in Tigress Queen, the diplomacy is the tense dance of a war that is no longer being fought with swords, and is now being fought with words, tricks, and political maneuvering.

Tigress Queen does a great job of employing shifts into different character’s perspectives to grant the reader greater insight into each of the warring cultures than those characters themselves possess. When the characters underestimate each other, or over-estimate the strengths of their own positions, we get to enjoy the knowledge of why this diplomatic undertaking is more perilous than they realize.

Oh, and I have to talk about the horses! No, I won’t spoil the horses for you. But I’ll hype them up. There’s not a lot of magic in the world of the Tiger Queen– at least not much that we have seen yet. Occasionally a character will call the Tigress Queen herself a “witch” but it seems to be an empty insult. Nobody has cast any spells (yet) in the story so far.

But those horses? Oh! Those horses! The first time you see the horse, you might think, “Wow! that’s a pretty intense looking horse!” but maybe that’s all it is, right? Maybe the horses in Zizumbir are just a little bit cooler than the steeds from the Empire of Jaez?

Nope. Wait until the horse does the thing. Oh, you won’t miss it. When the horse has done the thing, you will know that the horse has done the thing.

I appreciate it when an author of a fantasy world has figured out exactly the right amount of deviation from reality that best suits their story, and yes, Tigress Queen has hit that mark just right.

Read it here https://www.tigressqueen.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Daughter of the Lilies

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 9th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Daughter of the Lilies – by Meg Syverud and Yoko Weaver

Why I Love It

Daughter of the Lilies may at first glance appear to follow a standard Fantasy RPG formula, with a group of mercenaries taking on odd jobs to fight monsters– and that is okay! I have a lot of affection for that trope, and I number it among the reasons that I love this comic, but there is plenty of other stuff to love too!

Thistle is a great take on a protagonist with a troubled past, who has a lot of secrets. Part of what makes her work so well for me as a character, is that although those secrets start out as total mysteries, the reader gets let in on the secret before the other characters in the story, so you get to enjoy a stronger connection with Thistle, as you share her emotions and fears about what will happen if her secrets get out.

I also love it because the artwork is fantastic, the action sequences are well thought out, and many of the monsters are genuinely horrifying in clever ways. The colorist also makes great use of subtle color palettes to set a mood in a sequence, and to suddenly shift that mood on a scene change.

Oh! And also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Orrig, my second favorite character. I love the contradictions inherent in being a Berzerker and a Small Business Owner. Orrig knows how to swing a mighty axe, but also knows how important it is to get a signed receipt afterwards.

Read it at https://www.daughterofthelilies.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Widdershins

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 8th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Widdershins – by Kate Ashwin

Why I Love It

Widdershins is set in an alternate-universe Victorian world, and follows the adventures of witches, magicians, and treasure hunters. It has a really strong mystery novel vibe, and a well defined system of magic and the spirit world that lends itself well to puzzles that need solving and schemes that need thwarting. It feels like the magic in Widdershins is the sort of magic that one could investigate using the rigors of the scientific method, and I love that.

The main characters have a big cast of friends and family and nemeses who often have to work together to overcome supernatural disaster. It is a pleasure to watch their friendships grow, and relationships take new turns as the story unfolds.

I also appreciate that, like many of my other favorite comics this year, Widdershins takes place in a world with greater racial and identity diversity and tolerance than is typical in its fantasy roots– or for that matter, in most of the real world!

Read it at https://widdershinscomic.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Never Satisfied

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 7th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Never Satisfied – by Taylor Robin

Why I Love It

Never Satisfied follows a young enby named Lucy who is competing in a contest of magician’s apprentices. But Lucy seems out-of-place in this contest. Somehow their style seems considerably more substantial than their… magic?

I love the way the enigmatic Lucy, seems to put distance between themself and the reader, just as they seem to put distance between themself and everyone else around them, which might in other circumstances be an undesirable trait in the main character around whom the story revolves, but somehow in Never Satisfied, it works brilliantly. I think this is in no small part thanks to the richness of the strong supporting cast of apprentices, magicians, and their friends and family.

It seems to me as if the myriad of strong connections between the other characters serve to draw Lucy’s isolation into focus, and make the creation– or severing– of Lucy’s own connections all the more… well…

Satisfying.

Read it at https://www.neversatisfiedcomic.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Paranatural

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 6th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Paranatural – by Zack Morrison

Why I Love It

The premise of Paranatural, that a few people can see and interact with the Spirit World is pretty simple concept, but rather than going in a “Sixth Sense” direction with it, Paranatural is an action-packed tale of Junior High Kids with Super Powers… Super Powers that come from GHOSTS, and that certainly won’t come at a terrible cost somehow!

I love it because it feels like a less-paranoid X-Files mixed with a masterfully drawn Sideways Wayside School. With GHOSTS!

I also love the way it manages to build deep characters and deep worldbuilding while still having intense action and fight scenes (dodgeball by way of Dragonball?) and that the same time, being consistently funny. When you think about it, that’s rather a lot to pull of all at once, but I feel it succeeds on all fronts.

Did I mention GHOSTS!?

Read it at https://www.paranatural.net/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Girl Genius

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 5th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Girl Genius – by Professors Phil & Kaja Foglio

Why I Love It

Girl Genius is all about Mad Science, Adventure, Romance, Political Intrigues, and Fancy Costumes.

Sure, its huge cast of interesting characters face dangerous inventions, otherworldly monsters, maniacal sentient architecture, time manipulation, ancient goddesses, the threat of continent-spanning war, a hungry talking cat, mind-controlling wasps, and the malicious intent of the extra-dimensional Other, but they ALSO dress up in fancy hats and/or beautiful dresses and go to parties.

So basically it has everything.

Not only that, but it has been running for ages, with a huge archive, and a noticeably more clockworklike release schedule than most other comics.

Read it at https://www.girlgeniusonline.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – Missing Monday

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 4th, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

Missing Monday – by Ellie Skinner

Why I Love It

Missing Monday is above all else a love story, a story about two people who want to be together, and about the things which make a relationship complicated. Many of those obstacles are the mundane, highly relatable circumstances that might be faced by any young people trying to make their way through life, balance priorities, and find the time to spend with each other. However, at least one of those complications is a magic door that leads to other worlds.

One thing I love about Missing Monday is the kind, gentle, sincerity of the characters. Something about the story makes me thing that it is happening in a slightly better world than the real one we live in– a world that, while not perfect, has just a little bit less room for sorrow, and just a little more room for happiness– and given the multiple-worlds aspect of the setting, I can’t rule out the possibility that it might actually be true.

Another thing I love about Missing Monday is the way it juxtaposes the normality of a very human love story, with the strangeness of the things which lie beyond and between the doors.

Read it at https://www.missingmondaycomic.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige

Comics I Love – PREQUEL

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on January 3rd, 2021

In the year of 2020, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress was to read web comics and graphic novels. So for New Years 2021, here are some of my favorites, and why I love them

PREQUEL – by Kazerad

Why I Love It

PREQUEL is the tale of a fantasy Cat-person who is on a quest to become a wizard, and maybe a hero, and to make better choices in life, and to make some money that she doesn’t have to be ashamed of, and to avoid spending any of it on booze, and to not get killed by monsters, and to make some real friends, and did I mention making good decisions for a change instead of terrible ones?

Prequel is a bit of an odd duck, in that it is technically a fan comic. The whole think takes place in the Fantasy world of the Elder Scrolls Games series, however, I think this comic manages to do things with the universe that are even more fun than the official properties that it is based upon.

Also, in a special way, it is sort of a game in of itself, and not just a comic. In the same style made famous by MS Paint Adventures, PREQUEL is a user-driven comic, and as as such, its readers can also choose to be its players, and its artist also plays the role of the gamemaster.

At the end of every episode, readers can use the chat box to “Submit Command” and then these suggestions become the protagonist’s inner thoughts, urges, intuitions, hunches, inspirations, second-guesses, and self-deprecating cat puns.

The result is very funny, very creative, and on rare occasions, (possibly by accident) inspiring.

Read it at https://www.prequeladventure.com/


Follow me on Twitter, Read my Book! – James Paige