Web Comic of the Week
I've been reading a number of online strips for quite some time and although I've enjoyed and appreciated the ones I've returned to regularly, it's always been very private, aside from the occasional e-mail of appreciation. Writing up these little pieces gives me the chance to make my feelings a little more public and share some of the reasons I enjoy the comics I read. It's also brought home to me what a diverse range of ingredients can be brought together in varying measures to create what I define to be a quality comic. Sometimes the mix is rather surprising, occasionally baffling, often clever, regularly moving, frequently lyrical, beautifully drawn and constantly developing. Harldy ever does this happen in the same comic, but with this week's highlighted web comic we have such an entity.
My choice for this week is the incredibly delightful Bruno by Christopher Baldwin.
Though the central character is of a different gender to the comic's creator, Baldwin manages to make the whole work very personal and by doing so develops a richness hardly seen in any comics, let alone in web comics. For example, the theme of Bruno working to become a writer echoes Baldwin's desire to become a successful comic strip creator. In many ways he is already a success, though this has yet to translate into making a comfortable living from his endeavours. Hopefully, time will make it happen for him.
To enjoy Bruno is not an easy task. This isn't because of anything lacking, but simply because there is so much of it to enjoy and to get the most out of it requires a huge investment of your time. The archives cover nearly eight years of six strips a week, and with much more to read in each episode than most comics, you soon realise that familiarity with your computer monitor will increase considerably. But you also realise that the time you will spend will be much like that you'd invest in reading a rich and weighty novel.
Supporting characters are very well developed and often tell you more about Bruno than she ever could herself. You miss them when they leave, not knowing if they will return later. Sometimes they carry the comic without the appearance of Bruno herself and while that's not unique, it works here at a higher level than I've seen elsewhere.
Finally, I couldn't complete my comments here without a mention of the art, for what would a comic be without its artwork? Each of the strips is a single panel (with the occasional exception) and although there are dialogue exchanges in each one, Baldwin manages to make this seemingly static approach work in the comic's favour. The artwork is beautifully rich and well-considered with characters that are clearly defined to match their nature. The backgrounds, too, are beautifully drawn, helping each strip to maintain a completeness with itself and with the work as a whole.
Please read it. Give it a chance. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do.
Life in the Crescent
Steve Ince - Writer, Game Designer, Artist.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Web Comic of the Week
Friday, December 19, 2003
Dane & Joe
Because I failed to update my Dane & Joe page last week, I've posted two strips on the page, so you've got double the fun for just one click of the mouse.
I didn't manage to get a new strip done this week, so Just Adventure are running the Christmas "card" on their site. For those of you who haven't visit the site and are into adventure games, then it's worth checking out, along with Adventure Gamers and Gameboomers. All three sites wrote excellent reviews of our game, Broken Sword - The Sleeping Dragon (though the Adventure Gamers review as more than a little misleading about the number of box puzzles).
Thursday, December 18, 2003
We don't exist
I've just been watching a TV programme about time travel and that it might be mathematically possible. The trouble with the mathematicians and physicists is that they develop theories on paper and then talk about them as though they can be turned into reality and most of the time that's just fantasy.
Then suddenly the emphasis of the programme changed and they moved away from talking about time travel to talking about history simulations.
If computers continue to increase in speed and processing power the way they are currently doing, there may come a time in the future when virtual reality simulations will be indistinguishable from the real thing. And further on from that they will be able to perform millions, if not billions of simulations continuously.
Very few of us would back something with only one chance in a billion, so when you look at it in those terms, the chances of us actually living in the real universe is really very small and we're likely not to exist except in the inner workings of a powerful computer.
However, since the simulation is indistinguishable from reality, then isn't it it's own reality?
And doesn't that make God a computer? So what's Christmas all about?
And... Oh my... We're living in the Matrix!
A hole in my life
I've just watched the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I must say that I was impressed by the way it was handled and was rather touched by a number of the events that took place. Altogether, an excellent end to a very good final series.
Now that it's finished I will have a gaping hole in my life that I can only fill by continuing to create more cartoon strips for you. :)
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The Sapphire Claw hits 50
I've just posted the 50th episode of The Sapphire Claw. Although it's taken me a while to get here, it still feels like something of an achievement. I fully intend that the next 50 take the strip from strength to strength. I hope you'll stay with me an find out what further perils await our intrepid hero.
Links they come, links they go...
It's funny how some links you put on your site seem a good idea at the time and after a while you realise that they weren't such wise choices after all. And so it is with a couple of the links I put on the right hand side of the blog pages - they are no more.
Having said that, I have just added a new one for Neil Gaiman's Journal. If you've not heard of Gaiman, then where have you been living for the last 20 years (or therabouts)? Only one of the best comics writers currently working and the writer of one of my favourite novels, American Gods. But seriously, if you haven't read his work you should defintely check out the sandman series of comics, now collected as a series of books.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
I try to be responsive...
I got some feedback on one of the forums I promote the site and this blog page concerning the Web Comic of the Week. The suggestion being that I ask permission to include a strip example with the piece I write about each choice. I received an e-mail from the creator of my next choice in which he said he was happy for me to do so. So there's a little something to look forward to. :)
Lunchtime at work
I know that I've got things to do - finish my Christmas shopping and get a haircut - but I really don't feel like stepping outside the office on such a cold and dreary day. It's pretty quiet as we've three guys off due to illness and four others off on holiday. And now most of the remainder have gone out for lunch.
As I look around the office, I'm struck by what an untidy bunch we all are. Our individual desks are piled high with books, boxes, phones, papers, headphones, game controllers, staplers, cups, pencils, CDs, tissues, fans, magazines, etc. and you've got to wonder how we manage to work within this seeming chaos. Perhaps it's that which allows our creativity to soar...
At the moment I'm trying to distract my mind from some design work so that I can look afresh at the issues at hand straight after lunch. Having just typed this, however, it's clear that I'm not as distracted as I should be.
Monday, December 15, 2003
The latest strip has just be posted here.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Web Comic of the Week Archive Page
In order that more casual visitors can keep up with the previous choices for Web Comic of the Week, I've created a specific Archive Page. the link is also in the column on the right.