Posts Tagged silly

Shenanigan: Insert Labyrinth Reference Here

Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything worth reading, hasn’t it. Sorry about that. There are various excuses involving stressful jobs and apartment floods and other projects, but it mostly comes down to me having the attention span of a gnat and not much time to review comics anymore. So I hope this bit of writing will at least provide entertainment to make up for my lack of credibility.

So, story time.

A few years ago, a friend from tabletop gaming group found a pretty awesome game called Dawn of Worlds. You basically play as a pantheon creating a new world and all the races in it, and at the end of the game you have a setting for your next rules-flexible roleplaying campaign. We tried it out a few times, creating different worlds, different ideas, different fiascos.

During one of these sessions, one of the players decided to create a race of Ewok-like creatures called the Woowoos. A few looks of disbelief were shared around the room, but in the end the consensus was that this was pretty harmless.

So then on his next turn, he declared that the Woowoos particularly excelled in archery, and that their military included an elite corps of marksmen (markswoowoos?), known as the Wuhu.

Well now I was tempted.

On my next turn, I spent some points to create a godly avatar among the Woowoos. One who excelled in martial training because of her time spent meditating among the desert rock formations and allowing Loa spirits to inhabit her body and mind.

Or in other words, Lulu became the Hu-Wuhu of the Woowoos because she practiced voodoo among the hoodoos.

This was about the time that the rest of the group said enough was enough. The might of the Woowoos needed to be broken, for the sake of everyone’s sanity. The other races of the world banded together to defeat their archers, and their bruised and broken leader chose to die rather than be taken forever captive.

Which is to say, Lulu the hoodoo voodoo Hu-wuhu bid the Woowoos adieu and committed seppuku.

It took a while for that gaming group to forgive me.

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Review: Brawl in the Family

I certainly hope that all of you out there in Readerland enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day in the manner of your choosing, be it tinted beverages, Shamrock Shakes, food coloring in unexpected places, chocolate coins, speaking in a terrible attempt at a Celtic accent*, wearing shamrock-shaped paraphernalia, singing “Danny Boy” one more time while people cry into their pints, pinching people for not wearing green**, or ignoring the holiday outright because you’re not Irish and don’t feel like pretending for a day. It was a good time to get in some festivities while the weather in the Northern Hemisphere goes from dingy gray to vibrant green.

Meanwhile, over on the pink end of the scale, there’s Nintento’s lovable puffball Kirby, who’s been borrowed as the main character for Matthew Taranto’s Brawl in the Family.*** While a fan-comic doesn’t do much for original characters, Taranto has fun with the characterization: Kirby has a crush on Jigglypuff; King Dedede is malicious, but not that bright (and has an eccentric relative in the neighborhood); Captain Falcon just can’t shut up; Waluigi is utterly befuddling; and personality quirks from various video games are extended to an endearingly silly level.

There isn’t really an overarching plot to BiTF, although there is a certain continuity between strips. Kirby and Diddy Kong remain good friends. King Dedede’s theft of Christmas becomes a pass-through gag. And Meta Knight gets some rather interesting revenge. For the most part, though, BiTF consists of quick little one-shot gags or odd little speculations on Kirby’s diet. A limited spectrum of jokes, perhaps, but it works just fine.

To say the art has evolved since the early days would be a bit of an understatement. Taranto’s basic style has stayed relatively constant, but the art itself has become generally smoother and more practiced (with a shot of color once every five comics). And the occasional homage to other art styles is generally done well. And then on top of all that, he sings (be warned, the page has sound that starts on loading). We’re looking at a talented artist who has fun with what he does, and even if some of the jokes are headscratchers, Brawl in the Family is a generally entertaining read.

Comic Rating: 100 points for that dead goomba, you monster.

* Ye blaguards ain’t foolin’ nobbut wi’ such a tinny brogue.
** As long as I can pinch back because you’re not wearing orange. The portion of my ancestry that goes back through the Emerald Isle is split between Ireland and North Ireland. The combination of Belfast and Dublin in one body leads to some interesting self-conflict, let me tell you.
*** These segues aren’t as easy as I make them look.

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Shenanigan: In the Nick of Time

I hope you don’t mind the filler image for this week, seeing as I spent the past week doing a lot of helping out with food, decorations, food, singing, and food. Hope the past week was a merry one, and here’s to another good week while I work on getting more things ready.

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Review: Amu’s World

So one of the things I’ve noticed as a result of doing this blog is that, compared to print comics, online comics have a much wider variety of media and styles that can go into their making. Of the comics I’ve reviewed, this has included cut-and-paste, Flash animation, clip art, colorform, Photoshop painting, and traditional art ranging from pen-and-ink to colored pencil. For that matter, AWKWARD ZOMBIE was originally drawn on an oekaki board. Naturally, I can’t pass up the chance to add another new style to the list.

So let’s take a look at Amu’s World, a photograph comic featuring amigurumi dolls made by Danielle Craven-Slaski, known online as amubleu. I have to admit that using crochet dolls (and a toy alpaca) is a rather cute idea. Amubleu does a good job of posing the dolls for the various actions, and while the facial expressions are added either in Photoshop or with snippets of felt, they’re done in a reliably simple way that doesn’t clash with the dolls.

The writing, done by amubleu’s friend Brian, takes a bit of time to adjust to. Once the obligatory smashing of the fourth wall is taken care of, things settle into an alternation between the semiserious and the honestly goofy. Ninja, a man with a very accurate name from a community of identical ninjas, finds himself having to defend his new home in Amitown from the local variably ineffective gang, but the roots of treachery are deeper than expected.

Because the comic is founded on such an oddball premise, I’m willing to forgive the ninja-versus-pirates retread, as well as the fact that the villains are a trio of bunnies lorded over by an evil panda. Or, for that matter, the alternate hero ninja being Ecuadorean. Or the damsels in distress turning out to be kunoichi.

Even the frequent holiday interruptions and competing deii ex machinae aren’t too much of a hassle when you realize that the whole comic is pretty much a parody of the sort of movies I wasn’t allowed anywhere near as a kid. So far, it’s all in good fun (and I hope it stays that way).

Amu’s World is a world of high drama and high camp coexisting in an uneasy truce. And as long as the two continue to struggle equally, I’ll be more than willing to recommend watching the battle.

Comic Rating: Five shuriken.

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Review: Guardians: Land of Legends

So lately, a lot of the comics I’ve reviewed have been fairly well established. Whether they’re popular or obscure, the comics have been around long enough to garner a dedicated fan base and gain a certain momentum that keeps them going. There’s something about having several hundred comics in the archive that keeps a cartoonist willing to keep making them until the plot ends or the ideas dry up completely. With the younger comics, though, there’s a certain temptation to skip an update if things are a little busier than usual, or you just don’t quite feel the urge to finish a comic. Sometimes, the cartoonist has to scale back the updates while things get hectic.

Such is also the case for the nascent Guardians: Land of Legends, by Kaitlin Callahan. As she posted recently, the demands of the school year are cutting into her comic time. I can sort of relate, having had to post similar messages once or twice on my own comics. Of course, those posts usually signaled that either a hiatus or the abrupt end of the comic was near, and in the case with Guardians, that would be rather a pity.

Callahan seems to have more than a decade’s worth of work into developing the story, if the dates on that notice are correct, so she at least has the motivation to continue the comic and complete the story. As it stands so far, the story has a sort of “The Olden Days have lost their magic . . . or have they?” feel to it, although as is often the case with such stories, the sense of mysticality is quickly pushed aside for mundanity, although by genre laws, I assume that this is only for the first chapter.

The focus of the story seems geared more toward lovable spaz Vincent than on vaguely magical Kate, however. There’s also queen bee Fleur, who’s likely to wind up tangled up in the plot, if not the outright antagonist. A few wacky minor characters round out the ensemble for now.

I have to admit that I dig the art style. Lines are very fluid, progression shots are done rather nicely, and you can tell when characters are related. I’ll admit that Mr. G. seems a lot more like a caricature than the other characters, and occasionally people say an awful lot without opening their mouths. (That last panel also has a certain “Hey, Macarena!” vibe to it, but I digress.)

So far, Guardians looks pretty promising. The plot may have a slight potboiler fantasy feel to it, but the characters are entertaining. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s very, very pretty.

Comic Rating: Four sparkly streaming sunbeams.

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