Wednesday, October 06, 2004

11th Leg: The Fray

If the banners are not showing up, that's because my image host has exceeded its bandwidth. Yeah, I should find a better one... technically I could use my Graphic Smash/WCN one but that'd be an abuse of the account, wouldn't it?

Anyway, you'll notice I've added links to some other webcomic news sites and blogs. Of those four listed, I'm addicted to Comixpedia and more recently, Websnark. News at the 'pedia has been a little slow of late though, and the forums are down :( Websnark is extremely addictive, which is surprising when you consider that as someone else said "it's just some guy talking about webcomics". But I feel compelled to point out it's some very interesting talking about webcomics... and it updates multiple times daily!

I love Sequential Tart, although I usually visit around the beginning of the month when a new issue updates.

The Webcomics Examiner I don't really read, although I've skimmed through it a few times. Somehow it still hasn't clicked with me yet. Maybe it will when more stuff comes up.

With the pre-review the pre-amble done, on to the latest leg:

Comic: The Fray
By: Rob Niedojadlo

Genre and Setting: Sci-Fi, Humour

Art Style: Inks, Black & White, Stylised Cartoony, Newspaper Format

Is About: The Fray, the legendary 'Chosen One' of the (extremely adorable) aliens who are planning an invasion of earth. However, a lowly alien worker named Grugg has accidentally caused the demise of The Fray while he lies in hyper-sleep. In a panic, Grugg proceeds to impersonate The Fray, with disasterous (and hilarious) results.

Frequency: Unknown. Comic is released in chapters.
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation:
Deja vu. I've seen that cute alien on the right somewhere else before. Of course! Comixpedia. If I'm not mistaken, the artist did a cover for one of the issues of Comixpedia before... and there it is. (Name's misspelled as 'Niedojadio' there, though.)

There seem to be two comics (Confetti and The Fray) hosted on the same website. Judging from the news posts, the other comic, Confetti has just started, so I guess that leaves The Fray.

BTW, the website is nice, slick and clean-looking, although slightly generic.

The Concept:
I love the concept of these funny little anti-hero aliens invading earth and (attempting to) wipe out the human race. Especially when it's revealed the biggest obstacle they have to doing so is themselves.

I also found the 'The One in hyper-sleep' gone wrong plot point hilariousl. You would think that with all those cryogenic sleep stories, there'd be a case or two where something goes wrong. And apparently, something does.

A fun and original concept for a story, and most refreshing to see something different.

The Art:
Slick. Adorably cute.

The drawing style is distinctive, which always scores major points with me. And since we're talking about aliens here, the crazy porportions (imagine just a head, and then a jumble of little limbs beneath it) make perfect sense.

The comic looks great, with great use of large areas of flat black and white. I'm especially impressed at how Rob manages to merge the title of the comic (The Fray) with the comic itself by making it part of the dialogue.

Considering the comic is in a newspaper strip format (which you will agree, can be rather restrictive) The Fray employs a range of surprisingly dynamic angles and viewpoints when telling the story. The 'camera' closes in, swoops out, sometimes you see only silhouettes, handily leaving stuff that should be left to imagination to imagination.

Fantastic work, the art. It's heavily stylised, but not so that it loses its expressiveness, which is actually a harder thing to achieve than it sounds.

The Writing:
The Fray endeavors to be funny, and it is. The level of 'funny' isn't the side-splitting tears-pouring level of funny you might get on some other comics (Early strips from Sluggy Freelance come to mind), but it's more of an 'chuckle-heh' kind of funny. The good thing is that it's consistent: every time I get to the punchline of a strip, I find myself laughing or chuckling more often than not. The interesting thing is that despite repetitive reading, I still find the strips funny, which isn't a common occurence for me

One more positive point about The Fray is that it doesn't feel bounden to be 'funny' all the time. Some of the strips end on a dramatic (and slightly serious) note, which is refreshing. There's nothing I dislike as much as forced humour.

The story is actually quite commendable, and you do emphatise with poor Grugg as things get from bad to worse for him.

Oh, I should mention I was quite impressed that the aliens do have respect even for their lowest crewmen, as 'The Fray' was put to trial for allegedly murdering Grugg. I thought that was an excellent twist, considering he is the Chosen One and all.

I have no idea when this comic updates, or will update. It's kinda annoying as I want MORE FRAY!

Other than that, I don't really have any other gripes worth whining about.

An excellent and genuinely amusing comic. Ping likee!

And those aliens are just too darned irresistably cute.

The Next Leg:
Looking the links page, I clicked on the first button in the list of buttons.

Do I hear Voices In My Hand?


  1. Fray is one of the comics I've been ougthing to check since forever. Delightful review, Ping!


  2. The Fray is just an effin great comic. Nuff said.