Friday, October 08, 2004

12th Leg: Voices In My Hand

You'll notice that the individual comic banners are back up again. I just got the ok from Joey to link the images using my Graphic Smash WebComicsNation account. Which is great, as a picture is worth a thousand words: nothing beats having a sample of the art to go with a review, even if it is a teeny sample in a banner.

I have had some worry over the having posted my first relatively negative review (10th Leg: Gigawhut?) a few posts back. I've also been told by some of my readers that I need to write more negative reviews. Personally, I always prefer to give people good reviews, BUT I don't think it'd be fair of me if I wrote a good review for a comic I didn't like and didn't think people reading 'Finds would like. So, I'm not going to try and square the circle and make a comic that doesn't appeal to me sound like it did, but I'll try my best to be fair and certainly not rude while doing it.

I should make it clear that the purpose of Webcomic Finds is to tell people what a comic is like. So if you ever find me whining about a comic I don't like more than actually describing it to you, please don't hesitate to point that out.

By the way, an interesting update on a past Find. Do you remember The N00b all the way back from the 2nd Leg? It was the first comic I discovered as a direct result of writing this blog, and is currently one of the top favourites on my read list.

I'm happy to report the N00b continues to not disappoint. In fact the strips keep getting better and better. This recent strip in particular nearly made me spit my tea onto my PowerBook screen. The punchline is clean, but it's almost dirty humour if you get the subtle implication. The part that makes it hilarious that it's done in such perfect innocence on the part of the main character.

For those of you who don't get what 'suppository' means; try the Dictionary.Com definition.

Where the sun doesn't shine indeed... *snickers*

And now for today's review:


Comic: Voices In My Hand
By: Bill Charbonneau

Genre and Setting: Sci-fi/Horror, Humour, Satire, Commentary

Art Style: Single Panel, Ink, Greyscale, Stylised Cartoony

Is About: No particular theme except for the funny side of death and other issues concerning the darker side of human nature... There's a running gag on two earthworms who keep commenting on how the remains of various famous people taste though.

Website: http://www.voicesinmyhand.com/
Frequency: Weekly
Availability: Free. Subscribe to get the comic in your mail.

First Impressions and Presentation:
Well, the website design is creepy... but cool. Instead of text links you have rusty chains holding aloft various objects ranging from a bucket of blood to the very clever symbol for the links page. Definitely original.

I regret to say I don't get the joke from the comic on the first page. No, I don't know who Rick James is. Hopefully I'll get the rest of the jokes.

I'm particularly pleased to note that this is a single-panel comic... they're something of an endangered species on the 'Net. In fact, I think the only other one that I know of is The Chopping Block.


The Concept:
Well... this is a hard one. It's something like those single panel comics you see in your newspaper dailies. You know, the single panel ones that usually get squeezed on the side beneath the horoscope or the crossword? Yeah. That one.

Except for the fact that the subject matter isn't anything any editor fearful of losing his job would dare to put up. However, according to the about page, Bill's stuff has actually made it to the paper, so I guess there are some sensible editors out there after all!


The Art:
Very professional, but very stylised to the point where Mr. Jackson doesn't really look like Mr. Jackson. But then again I doubt if anyone really knows what Mr. Jackson really looks like nowadays.

All in all the art is pretty good; though obviously geared towards newspaper publication so the lines are minimal, simple, clear and easily reprintable.

It's not outstandingly memorable, but it is good and does the job pretty well; which is the point.


The Writing:
If I could pick just one word to describe it, I'd pick subtle.

There's usually just enough of narration to steer you towards the punchline... it's left to the reader to make the jump to get to the punchline. This results in two possible things: The reader makes the jump and the punchline is all the funnier because the reader needs to do some thinking... or the reader invariably fails to make the connection and fails to be amused.

I'll admit that it was the latter case with me with the first strip. It's a brave thing to do, but the humour for me was either hit-or-miss. The ones that I missed I usually just shrugged off; but the ones that I 'got' were funny.

By the way, does this one remind you of a particular MTV Awards Parody or what?


Problems:
The aforementioned hit-or-miss humour could be a problem... the humour sometimes feels a bit forced... and sometimes doesn't seem to be funny at all.


Overall:
Not a bad comic. There are some gems among a bunch of mediocre strips (or maybe they're just funny but I don't get them), but it's a lot harder to be funny when you only have one panel to express yourself in anyway.


The Next Leg:
The links page contains a few buttons and a looooong list of text links. Anyway, I'm considering some bizarre algorithm or system to pick a link from the long list. How about the numerical value of the first letter of this blog entry?

Which is the letter "Y" = 25th letter of the alphabet.

Therefore the 25th entry in the list... which looks like something rather new, in my experience.

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