oI've never had that soft spot for princesses, fairies, dragons and other formulaic young fantasy stories, so it came as a surprise to me that I found myself thoroughly enjoying An Ordinary Princess by Cassie Anderson. Cassie is another artist I've had the privilege of meeting in real life (thank heavens for Alaskan comic book store owners who try to get a bunch of cartoonists together every so often) and she's just a fun person. This shows through in her art and writing. I like this comic because...
An Ordinary Princess is free-to-read online, and has already concluded, so you don't have to worry about waiting on updates. You can binge it all now! And you should! She has also illustrated the graphic novel Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact published by Dark Horse. To my shame I've only read the first few pages, but they make me want to go buy it with money right now.
She also has a bunch of sketches and such which are free to see at her instant gram. Check it out! Today!
To those who attended the minicon in Juneau, Alaska in 2016 between the hours of about
12-1:00 pm, YOU MAY HAVE RECEIVED FALSE INFORMATION! I AM NOT DYLAN MECONIS!
I had the pleasure to meet her during this minicon (and the comics camp afterwards) and sat in for her booth for a bit during lunch. That's it. She's not me. So be assured that I am not self promoting when I say that Dylan Meconis' web-and-print comic Family Man is an excellent comic that you should read.
Family man entails the story of a theologian scholar, Luther, in the 1800's who has lost his faith, though not his love of lecturing and learning. He is invited to teach at a university in a small town with a family of natives who harbor a dark secret. This family and Luther mix and stuff starts to go down.
Here are some of the reasons that you should check out Family Man, and I'm frankly sad that you haven't already
1. Intelligence. At first glance, the beginning few chapters of Family Man read a little slowly. There's talk of theology and theorems and such. Going back, this is executed very well. The dialogue is fascinating and clearly well researched, but not heavy. Luther is depicted as an intellectual, but still humble, man. In a world where so many comics turn to slapstick, recycled characters, and selling-it-with-sex, it's nice to see university disciplines incorporated so well, without seeming heavy handed or preachy.
2. The Story. I don't want to give much away, but the story develops marvelously. There's enough allusion to future elements that they don't seem to come out of nowhere, but are still a surprise. There're traditional family conflicts mixed in with less traditional settings. Like the local village cult.
3. Faith. This may seem like a weird thing to point out, but the frank treatment of faith and religious lore is kind of refreshing. The protagonist is no longer Christian, but that doesn't mean the comic just dumps all over religion. There's the constant underlying theme of religion and irreligion that would have been on the forefront of everyone's mind in that period. Christians, Jews, Atheists, and Pagans alike all have their life-views and none are presented as the best, worst, correct, incorrect, or as total wads.
Dylan Meconis is also behind Bite Me, Several Short Stories and is currently working on a new graphic novel as well. Check out her stuff, already!
Kadi Fedoruk's www.blindsprings.com/BlindSprings is one of my favorite magitek stories. Yes, significantly more than the Final Fantasy series, though I have to give a few of those a pass as pretty good.
Blindsprings updates twice a week, with the occasional break in the week. It features a young girl who is locked in time and comes back to find a academic-magic society which spits on her kind, who know live sort of like gypsies. There's trouble with magic, spirits, and the racial tensions which face the city in which this takes place.
Anyways, read this comic because...
1. Art. I love the artistic style. It's both cartoony, but also has a drab 1800's London look, with a side of macabre, and I LOVE THAT MIX!
2. The Characters. I won't lie, for the first chapter I wasn't terribly into the story, but I repent of that early opinion. The characters are dynamic, complicated, and 3 dimensional. That's a good thing.
3. Girl Power. The majority of the protagonists are girls, mostly younger than 14. Usually a mix like that leaves me bored, but this is girls written by a woman and it's awesome. Stereotypes need not be followed, but they're also not just James Bond wearing a little skirt. In fact, for the most part, it's not a directly violent comic. Despite that, it still creates tension through other kinds of danger, and it's great.
So, I'd say stop reading this and go read that. The series is ongoing and has one printed book now (GO BUY IT... if it's in stock, I'm not sure) and has lived up for now.
PS The spirit masks are cool.
Kathleen Kralowec's The Lion and the Roc has yet to feature any literal Lions or mythical Rocs (spoiler alert?) which leads me to believe them to be metaphors, or perhaps something coming up in this so-far-pretty-short comic. As of this blog post it has 115 pages. And they are all good!
The Lion and the Roc is a fantasy story dealing heavily with magic and the realms of the gods, who seem to be a petty lot. They are also threatened by some not totally known force and that's what leads our two non-godly protagonists to do what they do. Some of the things I like about it are...
1. It creates a unique atmosphere. While much of the imagery is clearly from small cults and religions, I don't get the Disney's Hercules feeling from it. This may be a magic realm and full of deities, but it still feels fresh.
2. Every full page is colored with watercolor paint. Maybe it's because this is a medium which entirely escapes me, but I find that way the heck impressive. This would make it seem understandable to have a comic which updates infrequently, but we get a new page a week! Not bad at all!
3. In spite of myself, I find the main characters likable. They're a petty, bickering duo whose mission includes deception and betrayal, and they're able to add levity to it, without taking away a serious edge that comes with their tasks and surroundings.
Kathleen Kralowec is also part of KerBop the Angel, Electricity is Her Element, and The Inner Mask Oracle, which is a card game that looks pretty good to me!
So go read her stuff! you won't regret it!
Cartoonists stick together, when we're not being massively antisocial (comes with the job, I suppose). In that attitude I want to point out a cartoon that YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN READING ALREADY if you aren't If you're well versed in webcomics, there is a good chance you've heard of Minna Sundberg's Stand Still Stay Silent. It's a post-apocalyptic world set in the Scandinavian countries (Nordic countries? I forget which is which). A team of people enter the "Silent World", which has been devastated by disease and the freakish demons that the disease causes, to find books. Apparently books are worth mucho dinero in this world.
A description like that might be enough to convince you to read, but if it isn't, let me show some of the things I like about it.
1. While a lot of this screams "ZOMBIE COMIC?!!" it really REALLY doesn't feel like one. Maybe it's the fact that some people have natural immunity , or maybe because some are effected in different ways by the disease while some just die of it. I'll let you be the judge, but it's the furthest thing from "The Walking Dead" that I could think of, which is just fine to me.
2. The artwork is amazing and unique. Holy. Freaking. Crap. The little image I put up there is an early one from her and not from the comic itself, just promotional. I don't know if I can describe it in any way that would do it justice. It's deep and able to express both seriousness while still hinting at humor when it needs to be. It's picturesque and adorable, but also horrifying and grotesque, when need be. The expressions are easily readable and the characters easy to differentiate. I should give up now knowing this exists and I'll probably never achieve anything like unto it.
3. The writing is good. She can create tension well, certainly, but what I love about the pairing of her writing and art is the general ambiance she creates. Whether it's the attack of some oogy-boogy or simple traveling, there's not any moment where I felt like I was trekking on in hopes of something better. I will say that the first 20 pages or so (and as of now she's done about 750) it's tough to keep track of what's going on, because a lot is going on, but looking back, it all makes sense. Also warning: heartbreak.
4. She updates with 5 fully colored and beautiful pages a week. 5. A. Week. Minna, if you need to get outside to get some fresh air because of art overload, I'll gladly volunteer to go for a walk with you or something. She does take a few week breaks between chapters, but honestly it's not a bother because she updates 4 times a week with a page length comic. Oh wait, sorry, 5 times a week. That kind of dedication is incredible.
Long story short, go read Stand Still Stay Silent. Right now!
With a sheepish grin and only the slightest of stumble in my stride, I start my own website. Shown here are pieces of art I've done over the years as well as some of the Graphic Design jobs I've had, mostly in the employ of a tea shop and spa. That's interesting if you're in need of an illustrator or graphic designer.
If neither of those are what you are looking for, I also make comics! Recondite Woods is a comic that can reach all audiences, while RimWorld comics make more sense if you've played the acclaimed game RimWorld.
The site is still in its improvement stage, but is fully accessible otherwise.