Category Archives: mystery webcomic
I remember it vividly as if it were yesterday. The skies were clear this morning, but the temperatures were below zero. I had a scarf wrapped around my mouth and nose because it almost felt like ice crystals were forming. I was walking from my the parking lot to the building I work at. It was about a quarter mile walk since city restrictions prevented a parking garage from being built, so the company compensated by making the parking lot very, very large.
Fortunately the walkway was covered. However, as I walked down the path, I noticed something weird. There were lumps on the ground covered in frost. At first, I thought they were leaves. As I looked a little closer though, I discovered to my horror that they were birds. About a hundred birds, all littering the ground, dead and frosted. They’d taken shelter under the roof in an attempt to escape the cold snap. It was in vain. The frost had killed them.
Ryan Andrews, the writer of the Eisner-nominated Our Bloodstained Roof, taps into the same chilling realization that death is senseless, and how guilt has an unforgiving way of making our lives miserable for the rest of our lives.
The most eye-catching aspect of Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life was its excellent use of the infinite canvas. The technique is often touted as the future of comics. It was well executed and tied thematically to a story about two robots traveling in the solitude of the solar system.
For the follow-up, author Kit Roebuck goes with something more traditional. The webcomic Opplopolis, which is really tough to find on Google due to its tongue-twisty name, feels very old-school. The panels are laid out like a traditional comic book page. The colors are solid and not very flashy. Character designs are retro, but from eras that are difficult to pinpoint with precision.
In fact, Opplopolis feels very much like a Vertigo comic published in the early 1990’s. Specifically, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles… only not nearly as weirdly metaphysical. And that’s a good thing.
As a relative newcomer to Tumblr, I have only lately come to a surprising realization: animated gifs are everywhere. Like, on every single blog that has “F*** Yeah” as the title. They are back in a bigger way than when that dancing CGI baby was all the rage. (Readers under 20, please disregard this horribly dated reference.) I’ve also noticed that seeing a bunch of animated gifs in a row, usually recapping a segment on TV, is not unlike reading a comic.
So it should come no surprise that there are some webcomics out there following suit. Jen’s Thunderpaw follows two anthropomorphic friends, Bruno and Ollie, as they go on a journey that seems to fracture their very mental state. During the comic, looped animated panels make everything jittery and haunting. I can’t say Thunderpaw makes sense, exactly, but it’s long on environment and is pretty to look at.
(h/t to reader gosicht)
If there’s one thing I hate about Darryl Hughes and Monica McNaughton’s The Continentals, it’s Lady Fiona Fiziwigg’s stupid looking hat. Alright, to be fair, her entire outfit is completely ridiculous… and when she’s standing next to her partner, Jeffrey Tiffen Smythe, the ridiculousness goes up exponentially. It’s half Zatanna, half equestrian riding outfit. I’m tempted to say that she’s cross dressing because she’s a woman playing in a man’s world. It wouldn’t really be unheard of, since Gilbert & Sullivan, the Trey Stone and Matt Parker of the Victorian era, once mocked “the lady from the provinces who dresses like a guy.”
I wish that Lady Fiziwigg dressed more typical to the ladies of the era, though. If she had to be eccentric, I’d tend more toward Mary Poppins than Annie Lennox. Because, shockingly, no one ever calls her out on her outfit. You figure if this is Victorian England, she’d get sneers and snide remarks everywhere she went. But no, this crossdressing strumpet is never really brought up in conversation. Hence, Fiziwigg’s fashion sense becomes a very unnecessary and distracting detail.
In the middle of Hans Rickheit’s Ectopiary, or young heroine, Dale, looks out her window. Staring back at her, sitting in a tree, is a glowing dog. It looks to be a German Shorthaired Pointer. Pointers aren’t necessarily the world’s cutest dogs, but they are friendly. They’re also very useful. German pointers are natural hunters, and as such are blessed with intelligence and natural hunting abilities. They’ve also got a very reasonable look to them.
If Dale were visited by, say, a Golden Retriever, you’d almost expect them to star running out in the fields immediately to play fetch. Or if it were a spectral Doberman Pinscher glaring at Dale with its pupil-less, ice-cold eyes, it would only be reasonable for Dale to scream out in terror. A Pekingese … well, you’d probably assume someone’s toupee had died. On the other hand, a German Shorthaired Pointer possess just the right combination of qualities to inspire both caution and trust.
Almost … paternal, when you think about it.
Dreams are a fascinating theme for a writer to tackle. It gives carte blanche to play with surreal imagery, such as, oh, a Duchess who plays croquet using a flamingo and a hedgehog or a huge cityscape falling in on itself. It lets you explore the realm of your mind that you should control, but for some reason slips beyond your grasp. Our dreams represent a highly personal and private experience, so it’s embarrassing enough when we let slip the events going on in our slumber. How do you react when someone’s peeking in on your most unguarded moments?
This fragile mental ecosystem that you enter when you close your eyes at night is one of the major themes of Dream Life: A Late Coming of Age, a webcomic written by comic artist Salgood Sam (a.k.a. Max Douglas, but in reverse). It’s also about mystery, the crises we go through as we age… and Charlie Brown, surprisingly.
We have this love/hate relationship with scientists an inventors. While we respect their contributions to society, we tend to find them kinda … nerdy. They lack a little something something that more straightforward action heroes possess. This, I think, is why we try to spice them up in media. Thomas Edison invents a lifelike android in Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s L’Ève future while Nicola Tesla’s turn as mad scientist led to the creation of a teleportation device in The Prestige.
Which brings us to today’s review of Newton’s Law, by Garrett Anderson and Dan Dougherty. I’m pretty sure Sir Isaac Newton was a chill guy and all, what with his Law of Universal Gravitation and invention of infinitesimal calculus … but wouldn’t it be more interesting if he was some sort of crazy warlock?
“Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.” — Japanese proverb
There’s something deeply mysterious about lighthouses. Part of it is the setting. They’re generally located in areas remote from town centers: up atop rocky cliffs, down windy roads, and on desolate islands — some occupied by prisoners. Their very nature recalls darkness, chilliness, and desolation. It’s no wonder that there are more than a few people who are convinced that more than a few of them are haunted.
Today’s webcomic review deals with a girl who must keep the fires burning at her lighthouse … only it’s not only the encroaching darkness she must keep at bay. In The Watcher of Yaathagggu by Robyn Seale, there are horrors that live beyond the fading edges of the lighthouse beacon lights.