- Posted by Johanna on December 28, 2008 at 10:51 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
Earlier this year, I was given the chance to check out two webcomic adaptations. Although their creators are talented, I found myself thinking that these two webcomics are better online, for very different reasons. (In neither case did it involve color vs. black-and-white, the usual stumbling block in bringing webcomics to print. Complimentary copies for this review were provided by the publishers.)
My Poorly Drawn Life
My Poorly Drawn Life is a diary/sketchbook comic by Tania del Rio. It’s the visual equivalent of a blog, with typical topics including taking care of pets, interacting with husband Will, fan interests, and the daily life of a freelancer working from home.
Volume 1 is over 400 pages, two years’ worth, for $25 (which includes an original cover sketch). That’s an awfully big chunk of random events to have in print. Read weekly, or whenever a new installment goes up, it feels like sharing with a friend to hear “oh, the dog got sick in the middle of the night and I had to clean it up.” But all in one chunk, it seems like a testament to trivia. I found myself wondering whether all this really needed to be on paper.
Of course, you don’t have to read it all at once. If you have the self-discipline, you can just read a few at a time, and it wouldn’t seem so redundantly fixated on small things. The art is sketchy, as suits the intent of the strip to quickly capture everyday events, and the lettering is quirky. It takes some practice to read it easily.
Templar, Arizona is by Spike. The first volume, The Great Outdoors, is 112 pages (including sketches and notes) for $15 (although there are slightly imperfect copies available at a significant discount).
It’s described as “slice-of-life drama and comedy in a semi-alternate Arizona.” I’m lifting the tagline because, while the art is lovely and the characters intriguing (as established mostly through dialogue), I have almost no idea what’s going on with them or the rules of the world they live in. This is very much a character-driven project, with very little plot. In this volume, two characters go to a bar and talk about what they want in life. Then they go meet someone else.
This slim book is only a first chapter. When world-building is so important, instead of buying the print editions, it makes more sense to explore the archives online, especially since that’s where the About the Comic information is posted. In that section, Spike talks about how she’s been working on this since she was a child and how she works without a script. She’s lived with the characters a long time, and so she knows a lot more about them than we do. I don’t feel like she’s sharing enough of that on the page for me to feel entirely comfortable joining in. I’d guess that fans of Finder would enjoy it, although I find Carla Speed McNeill’s work more understandable, due to its stronger plotlines.