Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Haiku Comics....

Hm. More zombies. Am I witnessing a trend here? Nah, zombies have been around for ages, but they seem to be having a rise in popularity once again. Haiku Comics, by brothers Nathan and Robert Olsen, incorporates zombies, vampires, and all sorts of various grotesque goings on into once comic, the catch being that the stories are told via haiku, a rhymeless form of poetry, usually consisting of three lines. Interesting, no? Haiku seems to be on a once a week schedule right now, but I couldn't find any schedule on the site. Anyway, on to the gruesome review.
ART: 9
That about says it all, right? Great black and white, AND recently great color art. I can't even say I prefer one over the other. The chunky characters are pretty distinct from other comics, and the stylized violence and over the top gore add to the charm. There isn't really any bad to talk about, so I'll just say that it can be very mean spirited at times, with lots of punctured skulls and eaten brains, but that's what the comic is, so if you can't take it, don't read it.
Poetry isn't usually my thing, because I'm not a very poetic person, and I think I can say whatever I have to in normal sentences, without trying to make it sound like something more meaningful than it really is. So with that said, the main premise behind Haiku Comics can get a little tiresome after reading a bunch of them in one sitting. The haiku doesn't do a whole lot for the comic, except give it a gimmick. They could have left out the poems, called it Silent Comics, and still had a hit on their hands, because they are that easy to follow. Oh well, haikus are still a pretty original idea, and they are easy to read, and decent enough.
Originality: 8
Like I said upstairs, haikus are a pretty original idea for a comic strip, and they are put to good use, even though the comic flows pretty easily with or without words. The haiku idea did draw me in, and the comics are short and to the point. Vamps, zombies, and serial killers aren't a new idea, but when combined with poetry, it's pretty different, in a sick and twisted way. Cool.
Some may say the site is minimal by design, but I beg to differ. It's got the right idea by being black and white, but it needs something. Maybe some haiku's in the background, and a page where fans can submit their own haiku's that could possibly be made into comics if good enough. Right now there are Facebook and Twitter links, and a store featuring a Haiku Comics book, a coffee mug, and a cool zombie buffet tshirt. Functional, but not great. Needs to be more eyecatching for the casual reader, and the fan.
I've liked Haiku Comics from the first time I saw it months ago, and it's well deserving of at least a once-through. You may tire of the haiku theme after a while, but the comics are so short and easy to read, I don't really see that happening too soon. Something pretty unique and a fresh take on horror(with the occasional foray into slapstick), you will do no wrong by trying it out. I'm going to go ahead and round up my rating a wee bit.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Goo From Another Dimension..

Now for something totally different: Goo From Another Dimension by Tyler S. Payant, is a webcomic about a mound of purplish goop not from our world, or dimension, for that fact. The comic updates twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, with Wednesdays being a review of different things Goo finds interesting in our world, and Fridays being a new comic. There are currently 132 strips in the archive. Now, Is the comic more than just a purple blob of nonsense? Let's see...
ART: 7
I really liked the art in Goo. The characters are drawn in a nice clean, sorta unique style, especially Goo, who is quite ugly, but likable at the same time. Likable like an alien Danny Devito. I did find some of the art to be a bit too gross. Like this one, where Goo gets a pimple. That first panel. Ew. Too detailed for my stomach. Or the one right before it, which features pancakes. You have to see it for yourself. Sometimes the art was just too much for me to handle, but that's just his style. And they are gross out strips, so I guess it does its job, right? Now, the backgrounds are a bit harder to rate. The majority are blurry real life photos. But still, at least Tyler takes the time to put em there. It works, but I would like to see more hand drawn stuff back there. Or at least less blur.
Right from the very first strip I was actually laughing out loud. LOL. Whatever. I don't know if it was my mood or something, but just seeing an overweight bee and having Goo say to it "Whoa, you're a BIG bee!" with that ugly surprised look on his drippy face made me laugh. Then the second strip. Meh. Then the third strip. I laughed my butt off and even described it to my fiance while she played Super Mario Bros 3 beside me. I think I got her killed at that point. Anyway, that was arguably the funniest strip on the site. And so it went. Really funny, then smile inducing, then filler strip, then really funny again. A lot of simple everyday stuff injected with Goo's oddball alien way of looking at things, making for hilarious results most times. His friend Jack isn't so interesting though. Seems there for nothing more than for someone to have grossness bounced off of.
The comic is pretty original in that Goo is a uniquely ugly and weird main character. He isn't attractive, and he isn't pleasant in the least, and he looks at things in such a different manner than everyone else, but that's what I liked about him. Or it. Yes, it is another gag comic, but it's done in a quirky style that I don't see that often. It's not a roommate or gamer comic, or a roommate gamer comic. It's about a freakin' wad of alien putty. To me, that's original.
A nicely laid out and themed site. The purple color scheme and perfectly sized title are appealing to the eye, and the links and extras pages are welcome additions. I also want to mention two things, one I like and one I don't. The reviews section is something I haven't seen on any other comic, and I find it unique and original, so maybe I should have put it under originality, but it's here, so oh well. Anyway, this is where Goo reviews different things from our dimension. Everyday objects such as grape jelly and kittens get the Goo scrutiny, with "Kittens smell like cats. Duh.", being one of his nuggets of wisdom. I like it. On the "dislike" side of the spectrum, a "support Goo" donation button just seems out of place. I've never liked donation buttons on smaller comics, because it just seems like you're panhandling, but maybe that's just me. Most people just aren't willing to donate, especially to a little known comic.
Goo From Another Dimension had me writing a bit more than I originally intended with the new review style, but I'll get over it. Goo was just that good. Very funny for the most part, with an original main character and a nice website to view his gross shenanigans, Tyler has a great comic on his hands. Goo deserves a bigger audience to witness all of his ugly purple splendor. Consider me a fan!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Go ahead, ask me anything over on Formspring, the application that allows you to, well, ask someone questions. It's basically the Twitter of questions. So, anything you wanna know, feel free to ask, whether it be about comics or no. I'm interested to see what kinda strange questions come my way!-Jack

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: Bear vs. Zombies...

Bear vs. Zombies, by Isaiah M. Mcallister, is exactly what the title says it is: a webcomic about a bear named Bear and his zombie destroying path of destruction after his girlbearfriend is killed by said zombies. Phew. Should have taken a breath there. The comic updates every Wednesday according to the About page. Now to the ratings.
ART: 6
Which is pretty good considering the near lack of backgrounds other than a gradient filled sky and a tree here and there. The character designs make up for it though with the zombies being pretty distinct from other zombie comics, and the animals being nice and cartoony without looking overly goofy. I especially like the look of the title character, Bear, with his cool cloak.
While BVZ is written as a mix of humor and action adventure, I didn't enjoy much of the humor, as the jokes felt stilted and a bit forced most times. And I know it's animals fighting zombie hordes, so reality isn't a factor, but why do these forest creatures know that Whitney and Bobby smoked crack, or how to make the Kessel run in under 12 Parsecs? I guess I should remember that there is a rabbit who can drive a Jeep though, and let all that slide. I dunno. I guess I was hoping for less human jokes and more animal gags. Aside from that the story moves along briskly and we find out things are more than just a simple zombie outbreak. I did find myself wanting to keep reading to find out more, and to see who lives and dies, so Isaiah is writing a decently compelling story.
If it was just a zombie story it would have been a hard 5 because let's face it, zombie comics are everywhere. The extra 2 points come from it being a zombie comic told from an animal point of view, even if the animals act like humans.
Pretty basic site with a store featuring one tshirt(a nice one though it is), a monthly archive, a decent blog, Facebook and Twitter buttons( I need to get those), and lots of red. Maybe a few more colors would please the eye a bit more.
OUTCOME: Bears Vs. Zombies is, at this point and time, middle of the road for me. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I didn't care for the constant pop culture references coming from woodland creatures, but I did like that the story seems to be coming to a head, with a definite ending in the works. I think BVZ is going places, but it might take a while.