Comics Comics Comics

February 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm (Books, Comics, Family, Horror, Humor)

About a year ago, I went cold turkey and cut down the number of webcomics I was reading by about 80%. I was reading 20 or 30 a week, and could easily drop 45 minutes a night keeping up on all of them. And, frankly, if I’m going to blow 45 minutes a day, every day, I’d really rather I have something to show for it, like maybe MY DISSERTATION. It’s the regular updates that kill you, because you get sucked into the story, and then you have to go back every couple of days to see what else is new! So, I’ve worked really hard to keep my reading list lean, with only the choicest gems of comedy and adventure at my fingertips.

Recently, however, I discovered a new type of comic, one that I really didn’t know existed online: The completed comic. What’s that, you say? People who actually… finish a story? Sure, Demonology 101 did it way back before it was cool, and Narbonic made it mainstream. But those comics also have five years worth of archives to go through, which can easily eat up a long weekend. No, I’m talking about one-shot, well-written, superbly-drawn examples of the graphic story persuasion, that can be sampled with just a few minutes, which, once read, do not consume my waking hours anymore because they’re, well, done. Unlike, say, Girl Genius, which I’m pretty sure will outlast nuclear waste… Not that that’s a bad thing…

Once such comic is “Plague“. It stars cats and mice, and the art is so adorably cute, the more hardened among you will probably start to choke the moment you lay eyes on it. Don’t. The mice are, as a general rule, zombie mice, and the cats are, also as a general rule, prey. It’s about the creepiest thing I’ve read in the last month, at the same time that it’s (as mentioned before) adorably cute. So, if you want to see a really great piece of zombie literature, check it out; it’s a really quick read. Oh, and did I mention how cute it is?

Of course, if I had really wanted to stay clean, I should have gone cold turkey. Luckily, my other two new discoveries are moving into dead-tree format as quickly as they are getting online. Agnes Quill is a splendid series of short stories about a teen-aged detective in a Gothic metropolis with the singular ability to speak to the dead. Done is perhaps the wrong word for Agnes Quill; what it is, however, is a series of short, complete stories, ranging from the comically creepy (“The Divided Man”) to the cute and endearing (“Invitation Only”). And Ghost Zero really feels like it comes straight out of the fifties pulp reels, down to the hero’s trademark catchphrase, “The dead cry out for vengeance!” Hopefully, a bit of saving and a bit of patience will turn into a copy of each of these comics’ collections, to add to my shelf of must-read books for Junior when he or she is of the proper age to appreciate them. Of course, the Lord only knows what I’ll do if my kid doesn’t like to read…

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