Friday, November 10, 2006

Fervor on a Friday: This Week in Comics

I always feel bad when I mention a dozen different strips in one entry. It feels too much like name-dropping... but when this many comics are stuck in my head, it would feel like more of a disservice to ignore them entirely.The last week or so, quite a few comics have really been taking the game to the next level. Usually, at any given time, there is only one or two comics keeping me on the edge of my seat, furiously checking the latest happenings come the light of dawn.

Right now, though? Close to a dozen.

Some of the crew aren't doing anything, oh, specifically special. Simply delivering quality content day after day. Order of the Stick would fall into this category - back to consistently updating three days a week, the strip has just come out of an intense plot arc, and hit the ground running, tearing straight into the next plot without a pause for breath. I've heard quite a few people who advocate breaking up such storylines with a bout of good old fashioned laughs... but I think OotS is proof that while sticking to formula like that might keep your content constant, it won't let you know one out of the park.

Sluggy, Narbonic, Sam and Fuzzy are all in the middle of seriously intense plot. Scary Go Round is reuniting friends long gone missing. PvP appears to have imported Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik into its world. I am confident hijinks shall ensue.

And while some have been laying down aces, others have, unfortunately, been coming up short.

I'm pretty sad. For a while, I felt like I was really getting Questionable Content. I was enjoying the plot, the characterization. I thought the Vespavenger's entrance was incredibly fun and cool.

And then... blah. The entire storyline smacked of super-heroism - the hero characters of the story (Faye and Dora, in this case) set-up something foolish, but ends out working out just fine for them. They arrange a fight with this vigilante, beat the crap out of her, and the police thank them for it. I dislike that type of plotline in general - I can barely stand when Milholland does it, and he does it as well as it can be done.

But it was tolerable right up until the Vespavenger's vespa turned into... a killer robot. An incredibly stupid-looking killer robot.

It's not that I think there is something inherently wrong in the robot's and assorted surrealities in QC. But I rarely find them funny, and I get the sense that I somehow should be - that they are tossed in so the audience can oooh and aaah. And instead I always feel like the quality of the story vanished in a puff of smoke.

Bah. I always feel bad when I'm just all-out critiquing a strip, so I won't lay into it any more. Part of what really brought out the rant was that, for a time, I was really digging the strip. Top of my list, had me engaged in the characters and interested in the plot. And then two weeks of watching that feeling wash away.

At least I have Dominic Deegan to fall back upon. I was worried - really worried - that our erstwhile seer was going to swoop in once again and solve everything... but Mookie managed to avoid falling back that old pitfall. Pretty intentionally so, from what I can tell. That is awesome. We've managed to have a plot where the enemy isn't yet another world-shattering epic madman out to end the world. We've managed to have a plot where Dominic doesn't just snap his fingers and save the day. It is a really good feeling to see an artist actively learning from what they've done before.

And it certainly is going to keep me coming back, and checking the strip every day of the week.

3 comments:

tedzsee said...

I agree 100% with you about QC's new plotline. I've always seen QC as a character-driven comic, so to watch it spiral out-of-control down "surreal-plottwist-lane" has been a rather large disappointment. I was getting to the point where I didn't care what happened anymore.

Mr Myth said...

Exactly - and there was actually some good, tangible character stuff going on with the break-up, and Marten's interaction with Ellen... and to then suddenly have that dropped out from under us, presumably for 'wacky laughs', was rather disappointing.

Anonymous said...

There's always been this element of silliness in QC, it's just been swamped by all the emotional intensity of the last year or so. I don't mind J's quirkyness if it's off the cuff comments but a whole storyline predicated on it is a mistep
That said, people let Sluggy Freelance get away with more (Oceans Unmoving anyone?)