Print or Online, Your Choice: Duel, Rook City, Hereville

The following comics are now available for reading online, with your choice as to whether to buy them in print.

Duel #1

by Seth Wolfshorndl, Three Trees Studios, $2.95 in print or free online

Two kids have a sketch battle, coming up with new characters to defeat each other’s creations. Originally a 24-hour comic, this simple story is well-suited to online display, which makes the creator’s decision to put it on WOWIO a smart one. (Once you register at that site, you can download free PDF comics with ads included.) It’s imaginative and faithful to its characters, and I enjoyed reading it (in large part because of its innocence), but I don’t see any need to own it. Loved the ending, and it really gave me the feeling of hanging out for an afternoon with two eight-year-olds who love their monsters.

Rook City #1

by Seth Wolfshorndl, Three Trees Studios, $2.95 in print or free online

Same author, same release setup, but this one’s a bit more ambitious, the story of a college student who’s the only normal one in a city of weirdos. In various short stories, we see an ancient vigilante in a nursing home; a gang of vampire wannabes called the Vlad Squad; a stolen museum piece; and fake superheroes. If you’re at all interested in any of these concepts, you’ve likely seen better done before. There’s more time spent on setups than perhaps the gags require, and the stories just peter out, as though the author didn’t know how or when to end on something punchy.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword

by Barry Deutsch, www.hereville.com, $15 in print or $5 for an e-copy or free online (but at a rate of only one page a week, to complete in December)

Hereville banner

There are many webcomic creators who are publishing their works a page at a time, with thoughts of eventual collection, but Deutsch is doing it the other way around: he’s already done the story, all 57 pages of it, and now he’s doling it out online. If you don’t want to wait, you have two options for getting the entire story now, a somewhat expensive print version (but with a print run of only 100, you don’t get any economies of scale) or an electronic version. I think his prices are too high for the generally accepted ranges of such things, but if he can get it, more power to him.

Deutsch describes his series as a quirky fantasy adventure comic for fans of Bone or Courtney Crumrin — I’d add Amy Unbounded to that list as well. I reviewed the CBZ version, and I found the lettering full of personality but hard to read on a small screen. (I use a laptop, which keeps me from reading lots of online comics, especially the page-based ones.) There’s lots of dialogue, unfortunately for me, since that’s where the humor and meaningful characterization comes in.

Mirka, our heroine, is a willful young girl resenting having to learn feminine stuff like knitting. She’d rather be slaying dragons. In the meantime, her argument-loving stepmother (a hoot!) is a burden to her and her younger brother humors her wishes until she gets a chance to actually act on them.

It’s a charming story, with lots of good feeling and attention to tradition, made all the more unusual by its Orthodox Jewish background (in a fantasy world, yet — that’s something very rare), but I sure can’t see reading it only a page at a time. Too much of the energy and flow would be lost. Oh, and Deutsch promises to do more “Hereville” stories after this one concludes at the end of the year; he’ll publish them after he’s completed them.


One Response to “Print or Online, Your Choice: Duel, Rook City, Hereville”

  1. Three Trees Studios » Upon further review… Says:

    [...] on her Comics Worth Reading site, Johanna Draper Carlson reviewed both ROOK CITY and DUEL. Of the two, she seemed to enjoy DUEL more and really gave me some things to [...]




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