I’ve been reading webcomics since I was a wee lass being reared on the wilds of the Internet. Whenever I’m down for the count, I take the opportunity to power through webcomic archives. (I discovered Drow Tales at three in the morning this way.) And let me tell you, most of the webcomics on the Internet are much better than newspaper comics, which are slowly dwindling down to nothing. (I cannot believe that Family Circus is still in circulation.) But this past week, I discovered two webcomics that simply blew me away in terms of quality that I wanted to share with all of you.
octopus pie follows the daily adventures of Everest “Eve” Ning and her roommate Hanna Thompson, who live in New York City. Grumpy Eve works at an organic grocery store that sells the Bake’N’Bake pastries that Hanna, a very typical free spirit, makes. (They are made exactly like you think.) There’s also the various men that come in and out of their lives, Hanna’s delightfully Zen Polish boyfriend chief among them, as well as the other employees of Olly’s Organix.
The art style works perfectly for the wacky but grounded nature of the comic–it’s clean and, like some children’s cartoons, communicates character very, very clearly, but, unlike some children’s shows, it’s subtle. I didn’t realize Eve had a little pear shape until she revealed her skating prowess, and Hanna’s huge, childlike eyes can turn disdainful without robbing her of the immediate reading of childish. I, as you may have guessed, am not an artist in any way, shape, or form, but I’m just trying to saw that I really, really like the art of octopus pie.
The stories are equally wacky but grounded. Aghast at Hanna going topless in Central Park, Eve is regaled with the story of how female nudity above the navel was legalized in Central Park, but Hanna is quickly bullied by a mother into putting her shirt back on. Eve meets a guy that helps her realize she doesn’t need to compromise in a relationship, only to discover that he’s Hanna’s drug dealer–something she might have compromised on before he helped her realize that. While their adventures can be fun, reality is always a step behind, ready to drag the inhabitants back to reality. This might sound depressing, but in action, it’s only realistic, and there’s plenty of happy fun times, especially with Marek and Hanna, who have a gloriously sweet relationship.
octopus pie is three years old, so devouring the archive might take you a while. There’s occasional female nudity, drug use, cursing, and rampant hating on hipsters. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Hanna Is Not a Boy’s Name follows the adventures of an unnamed zombie and the paranormal investigator he works for–Hanna Falk Cross (who is male, twenty-four, and single, ladies). The zombie, who is given increasingly literary names by Hanna all the time, narrates in an almost film noir way. They encounter vampires (and accidentally let a client turn into one), ghosts, and all sorts of supernatural creatures. Tessa Stone, the artist and writer, describes it as “sugarcoated horror”, which I take to mean that it’s horror I can digest easily.
The art is sharp, colorful, and stylized–the zombie has two little white tufts of hair at his temple that only work in it. Stone’s art has definitely improved in the few months she’s been working on this webcomic, especially the coloring and exercising creative freedom. We were recently treated to a brief mental interlude on the part of the zombie, which involved some fabulously executed flat color. Her page layouts are just as fantastic–that mental interlude starts with a strip that involves a countdown in the paneling itself. It just gets better and better.
The stories are broken up into cases, and we’re currently on number two. The first dealt with Conrad, who sought vampire removal only to be turned himself. The current one is very interesting–seeking a ghost troubling a band’s rehearsal, the zombie and Hanna stumble across a selkie’s son and the man who tried to save her from the marriage she was trapped into. Between the seriously gorgeous visuals and the compelling story, it’s the best case so far. Stone is terrible about keeping future characters a secret, so a vampire hunter is going to show up soon. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest.
Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name is less than a year old, having started in May of last year. There’s cursing, violence, and unsuccessful paranormal investigators. Give a whirl.
In other news, I finished The Fellowship of the Ring, which I’ll go into more detail about in the actual post. Last night, I went to a Nerd Prom and got third place in the costume contest for my Doctor Harleen Quinzel costume. The prize was delicious Companion Cube cake. I’ve picked up The Dumbest Generation, because nothing yells “Challenge!” like reading about how people my age never read, have totally shot attention spans, and the like. I’m actually enjoying it, in a weird way–Bauerlein is making a very valid point, but… eh, I’ll save it for the actual review once I’m finished!
What are some webcomics you guys recommend? (Like I need any more on my RSS feed!)