Thursday, August 04, 2005

32nd Leg: Cartharsis

After a nice long rest, we're back to travel the world of webcomics again! Today we're continuing from where we left off. If you recall (I highly doubt you do, it's been a heck of a time) the last time I was over at Super Hero Vindibudd and the banner of the ninja-cat caught my eye, leading me to...

Comic: Catharsis
By: J. Boeke

Setting and Elements: Modern Day, Slice of Life, Surreal
Content Type: Adventure, Drama, Humour, Severe Cuteness Overload ;)

Art Medium: Inked and coloured, Later Strips appear to be drawn digitally.
Art Style: Hand-Drawn, Stylised, Mix of B/W and Full-colour

Is About: Gwen, who happens to have a dragon as a pet in her apartment... along with a bad-tempered squirrel... and a ninja-cat... and a colony of dust-bunnies and fluffs...

Frequency: Daily
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation:
The dragon and stuff looks familair, then I realise that I've seen Catharsis being endorsed by Adis over at Count Your Sheep before. Other than the given that if Adis endorses a comic it's probably good, the art looks really good, especially the dragon.

The website is simple, but enhanced with lots of em... tribal-looking... erm cherries(?) that make up the navigation. I have to idea what they are but OMG they are cute!

The Concept:
Comparisons to Calvin and Hobbes in envitable in this genre, because it's well, the story of a kid and his/her imaginary friend. Now imagine what happens if the kid has grown up and has to take on the challenges of being grown up, but the imaginary friend isn't imaginary but mythical instead. And despite the kid having grown up, she's still very in-tune iwth her inner child. Heck, she even turns into her inner child from time to time.

That's pretty much describes the concept behind Catharsis.

The Art:
While early art is done in grayscale, and differs from what you see on the front page, art is always competent, done in a very individual semi-realistic but stylised cartoony art-style. As the series progress, the art keep improving dramatically until it reaches the very attractive a recognisable stuff you see on the front page.

The artist seems to particularly excel at (how can I say this without sounding idiotic?) drawing cute stuff. Ranging from the balls of fluff with darling beady eyes to the crazy tribal cherries and naked squirrels, the plethora of of excellent cute character designs never fail to astound me.

There's not much background in most of the strips, but where there's a need for them, they're there and competently executed. All in all the art while although not jaw-droppingly awesome, is excellent in a comfortable sort of way, and very distinctive, which most of you know by now scores major points with me.

The Writing:
As good as the art is, the writing for Catharsis is the major pull. It alternates between 'funny' and 'light-drama', but it never lets itself get too serious, and the jokes are consistently funny. JB also has the knack of capturing those 'slice-of-life' moments that most of us have been through, like constantly making a fool of yourself in front of the cute guy from your building, or those awww when something bad happens and all you have is your dragon friend to hug.

The thing that makes my cup run over, however, has to be the characters themselves. Gwen is a very easy character to identify with, while Rremly is endearing, all the more so because of his apparent naivete despite being a dragon with a long lifespan. The other supporting characters have individual personalities that are well fleshed-out. Seriously, when the writer can give three balls of fluff distinct and lovable characters, it's hats off to the creator's writing skills.

Oh, and Bitey rocks.

Frequent fillers in the archives are annoying, but given that a comic of this quality updates daily it's understandable, although it doesn't make going through the archives any easier.

Other than that, no major quibbles I can lay my hands on.

It's not often that I come across a comic that I start reading and forget that I'm reading, because I'm so caught up in the escapades of the characters. Catharisis is a Find of Finds, and I'm very glad I discovered this little gem.

As an added plus, Cartharsis is suitable for kids to read, which as you remember I was stating not too long ago, is a rare amongst webcomics.

And I want a shirt with one of those cherries on it. :D

The Next Leg:

The Catharsis link page has to be one of the cutest I've ever seen. Being responsible, it even has a ratings system for the links.

The Dementia of Magic looks intriguing. Besides, something with "Magically magnificent!" as a description sounds good ;)

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