Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Isle of Elsi, Late Bloomer, and Carriers

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:28 – Introduction
  • 00:03:03 – Eisner Award nominees announced
  • 00:10:04 – Isle of Elsi
  • 00:47:30 – Late Bloomer
  • 01:09:44 – Carriers
  • 01:31:32 – Wrap up
  • 01:32:31 – Contact us

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Very Punny

Sean and Derek are back with your monthly dose of webcomics analysis. Before they jump into their reviews, however, they spending a little time discussing the recent announcement of this year’s nominees for the Eisner Awards. The guys will devote next month’s episode to the actual webcomics nominated, so they don’t go into much detail this time, but they do mention the big news that the judges have tried to distinguish “webcomics” from “digital comics”…albeit rather ineptly. Tune in next month for more in-depth discussion on this matter!

But for May, Sean and Derek already have plenty to consider. They begin with Alec Longstreth’s Isle of Elsi, an all-age fantasy with a penchant for word play. Both of the guys are bowled away by this webcomic, one of the most impressive that they’ve discussed on the show. Not only are the art and storytelling top-notch, but the design of the website is a big draw, as well. (And while you’re at it, check out the Two Guys’ 2014 interview with Longstreth.)

Next, they turn to another webcomic from Webtoons, Late Bloomer. Written and drawn by Zealforart (AKA Tiffany Woodall), this is a shōjo-inspired romance about a young woman with a flower bud growing out of her belly, a family condition that can only be overcome with her being “deflowered.” Yes, it is quite an unusual premise.

Finally, Derek and Sean wrap up with Lauren R. Weinstein’s Carriers. This completed webcomic was originally published in five parts on the Nautilus website, and it received an Ignatz Award nomination in 2015 for the “Outstanding Online Comic” category. It’s a sobering look at being a carrier of cystic fibrosis and what means for young couples wanting to start a family.

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Conceptual Heist, Ménage à 3, and Smash: Monstrous

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Time Codes:

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Concentrate

This month Sean and Derek offer a genre buffet of webcomics goodness. They begin with Jay D’Ici and Matt G. Gagnon’s Conceptual Heist, a heist narrative with a unique science fiction twist. As the guys reveal, the story is solid, and the black-and-white art, accentuated with a monochromatic blue, suggests a noir tone. After that they discuss a highly popular webcomic that has been around since 2008, Gisele Lagace and David Lumsdon’s Ménage à 3. Derek and Sean describe this as a cross among Strangers in ParadiseArchie, and the TV series Three’s Company…but more suggestive and explicit than the latter. While the guys can see the appeal of this thrice-weekly strip, they nonetheless feel that reading its various narrative arcs over a more concentrated time period — as opposed to experiencing this story as its pages are released — doesn’t necessarily work in the webcomic’s favor. Finally, the guys wrap up with fun completed webcomic from Chris A. Bolton and Kyle Bolton, Monstrous. This is a mini-story within their Smash world, one that the Bolton brothers completed between their earlier work, Smash: Trial by Fire, and the next Smash book that will be published through Candlewick Press.

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of The Great McGonagall, Sufficiently Remarkable, and The Boston Metaphysical Society

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Time Codes:

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An Historic(al) Episode

For March, Sean and Derek check out three very different webcomics. They begin with Roger Langridge’s The Great McGonagall, a biographical treatment of William “Topaz” McGonagall, known historically as the worst poet in the world. This is a very new webcomic, having begun in January 2017, and in it Langridge takes an already cartoonish figure and plays it up for even more humor. As the guys point out, the artist’s style is perfect for this kind of send up.

Next, Sean and Derek turn their attention to Sufficiently Remarkable, Maki Naro’s ongoing look at the struggles of a young artist trying to get by in New York City. Naro is one of the former contestants of Strip Search — much like Abby Howard, whom the guys discussed back in October — and, in fact, is how he first gained Sean’s attention. As Derek reveals, this is a reality-based drama of interpersonal relationships, but one that struggles at times with the occasional pull into gag-strip formulas.

Finally, and after a brief check in with Jim McClain about the progress of his and Paul Schultz’s Poe and the Mysteriads, the guys round out the episode with a discussion of The Boston Metaphorical Society. Written by Madeleine Holly-Rosing and with art by Emily Hu, this is a steampunk-inspired narrative surrounding the paranormal investigations of a former Pinkerton agent, his uniquely talented colleagues, and the scientific exploits of Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Harry Houdini. This is the second webcomic of the month that mines history for its content, although unlike Roger Langridge’s cartoon biography, this one uses the past as a springboard for its fantastical flourishes.

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of The Specialists, Hominids, and The Last Saturday

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February Fun

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:03:03 – Setup of episode
  • 00:03:50 – The Specialists
  • 00:32:17 – Hominids
  • 01:01:33 – Checking in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz
  • 01:16:16 – The Last Saturday
  • 01:38:20 – Wrap up
  • 01:39:52 – Contact us

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For the month of February, Sean and Derek look at three very different webcomics. They begin with Al Fukalek and Shawn Gustafson’s The Specialists, an alternate history superhero narrative set in the mid-1940s, with an undefeated Germany flexing its might with its own team of superpowered individuals, Die Übermenschen. The United States fights back with The Specialists, a diverse collection of heroes that is, at times, more propaganda than powered.

Next, the guys look at what is arguably the highlight of this month’s episode, Jordan Kotzebue’s Hominids. This fantasy adventure is set in world populated by varied creatures, the central of which are a race of jungle dwellers. This is a tale with complex moral undertones, but whose message isn’t overbearing or preachy. Plus, Kotzebue’s art is outstanding.

After a brief check-in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz — their Poe and the Mysteriads was launched just last month — Sean and Derek turn to the last webcomic of the month. Chris Ware’s  The Last Saturday appeared in The Guardian during the last half of 2014 and into September 2015, and the guys discuss the ways in which Ware employs the webcomic format. In fact, they both feel that this story never really utilizes the unique qualities of the platform. We could get the same effect in print. Still, this is an engaging narrative whose topic and style should be familiar to any Chris Ware fan.

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Trekker Talk Episode 23: City of the Dead

In Trekker Talk Episode 23 we discuss the story City of the Dead featuring Ron Randall’s Mercy St Clair in an adventure with Karl Kesel’s Johnny Zombie. We also share your feedback in Trekker Transmissions and talk about an exhibit of classic Art Deco cars.

 

Promo #1: Marksmess Podcasts

Promo #2: Straight Outta Gallifrey

 

 

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/trekkertalk

 

Thank you for listening and please consider leaving a review to help promote the show!

The Grawlix Podcast #37: Old Tom’s Blue Mold Abduction

This episode the Grawlix Podcast goes on a post-apocalyptic Nordic adventure with the return of Webcomic Recommendations and Stand Still, Stay Silent. They then get divided in a way that has never happened before with the long overdue Invisibles Book 1 review. The show wraps up with a Doctor Who: Return of Doctor Mysterio Christmas Special discussion. Enjoy!

Show Notes and Links

INTRO

00:00:00 – Intro/Greetings

00:01:05 – CGI Dead Actors

IN-HOUSE NEWS

00:04:04 – Upcoming Episodes, Embracing the New Schedule

WEBCOMIC RECOMMENDATION

00:07:11 – Stand Still, Stay Silent by Minna Sundberg

FEATURE COMIC REVIEW

00:15:51 – Invisibles Book 1: Say You Want a Revolution

TV TALK

00:44:36 – Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio (Christmas Special)

OUTRO

00:54:25 – Letters Page, Upcoming Episodes (Reprise)

00:58:12 – Outro


The Grawlix Podcast Links

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of King of the Unknown, Cosmic Dash, and Freedman

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Elvis Has Left the Building

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:28 – Introduction
  • 00:03:03 – Catching up after the holidays
  • 00:04:07 – Listener mail!
  • 00:08:18 – King of the Unknown
  • 00:33:42 – Cosmic Dash
  • 01:12:16 – Checking in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz
  • 01:27:36 – Freedman
  • 01:52:51 – Wrap up
  • 01:53:45 – Contact us

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It’s a new year, and the webcomics guys are back to discuss three intriguing webcomic titles. They begin with Marcus Muller’s King of the Unknown, an unusual take on the King of Rock and Roll. You thought he was dead? Well, he’s actually alive and kicking (and eating), but now he’s working in the shadows as a paranormal investigator. This is a weird and offbeat title that both Sean and Derek can’t recommend enough, but it’s an ongoing webcomic that hasn’t been updated since 2013. There are indications that Muller will return to the story this year, but in the meantime, introduce yourself to the 30 pages that are already available.

After that, Sean and Derek take a look at Cosmic Dash by David Davis. The premise is not dissimilar to that of another webcomics the guys discussed, Sean Wang’s Runners, but this one is more lighthearted and includes a larger ensemble cast. In fact, the guys spend a lot of time talking about the ensemble nature of the webcomic and how Davis does an outstanding job of providing supplementary material in the way of detailed character descriptions, maps, timelines, design guides, and lore pages.

Then, after the guys check in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz — their new webcomic Poe and the Mysteriads launches this month! — they wrap up the episode with a discussion of an already completed webcomic, Peter Quach’s Freedman. This is a short story, only 23 pages, but it’s an outstanding example of a tightly written and impactful narrative. As the title suggests, the tale concerns ex-slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War, with one in particular who has difficulty freeing himself from the past. The guys also discuss some of Quach’s other short pieces on his website, including the hilarious I Am a Racist (and So Can You). It’s a story that certainly resonates as we approach the dark days of the Trump administration.

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Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Theatrics, The Monster Under the Bed, and Demonology 101

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Monster Cheesecake

Time Codes:

  • 00:01:27 – Introduction
  • 00:04:11 – Listener mail!
  • 00:12:12 – Theatrics
  • 00:40:55 – The Monster Under the Bed
  • 00:58:11 – Checking in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz
  • 01:16:17 – Demonology 101
  • 01:41:47 – Wrap up
  • 01:43:19 – Contact us

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For their last webcomics episode of 2016, Sean and Derek discuss three titles that were completely new to both of them. They begin with Theatrics, Neil Gibson’s period drama set in 1920s New York. With art by Leonardo Gonzales and Jan Wijngaaard on colors, Theatrics is the story of popular Broadway actor who must find another line of work after he’s physically disfigured due to a brutal mugging. Next, they turn to Brandon Shane’s The Monster Under the Bed, a Romeo and Juliet-inspired romance between human and monster. As the guys point out, the art style has an all-age or “innocent” feel to it, but Shane’s penchant for occasional nudity and cheesecake illustration may not be to all readers’ liking. And then Derek and Sean wrap up with Faith Erin Hicks’s Demonology 101. This is a very early work from a creator who has been making quite a name for herself in print — e.g., Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, and The Nameless City — and the guys focus not only on the story, but on the webcomic as a touchstone of Hick’s artistic growth.

The Two Guys also check in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz about their soon-to-be-launched webcomics, Poe and the Mysteriads…although Paul is unable to join in due to a winter cold. Nonetheless, Jim catches the guys up on what has been happening with the webcomic’s development, including new art and the creators’ various plans for their January 1st debut. Be sure to check in at the first of the new year at http://mysteriads.com. And visit their Facebook page for more details!

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Trekker Talk Episode 22: The Train to Avalon Bay Pt 2

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In Trekker Talk Episode 22 we discuss the second half of The Train to Avalon Bay by creator, writer, and artist Ron Randall.  We also share your feedback in Trekker Transmissions and talk about seeing Ron Randall at Rose City Comic Con.

 

Promo #1: Punch Like A Girl

Promo #2: Double Page Spread

 

Website: http://www.trekkertalk.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trekkertalk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/trekkertalk

iTunes: http://apple.co/1IHsiqH

Stitcher: http://bit.ly/1HbUsVl

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1U8NoCs

Podbean: http://trekkertalk.podbean.com/

 

Thank you for listening and please consider leaving a review to help promote the show!

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Hubris!, Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, and Runners

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Gags, Experiments, and Firefly

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:50 – Catching up
  • 00:05:38 – Hubris!
  • 00:31:05 – Hobo Lobo of Hamelin
  • 00:56:35 – Checking in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz
  • 01:08:07 – Runners
  • 01:29:15 – Wrap up
  • 01:30:12 – Contact us

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On the November webcomics episode, Sean and Derek discuss three vastly different titles. They begin with Greg Cravens’s Hubris!, a strip that’s been going on since 2010 and revolves around the exploits of a small outdoors business owner. This can best be described as a gag strip, reminiscent of the kind of comics you would read in the newspaper (which makes sense, given Cravens’s long history in newspaper comics). The guys point out that this is the first time that they’ve discussed a gag strip like this on their webcomics series, and perhaps it was a long time in coming.

Next, the Two Guys turn to a much more experimental webcomics, Stevan Živadinović’s Hobo Lobo of Hamelin. As the title suggests, the story alludes to the legendary German tale of a piper hired by a small town to take care of its rat infestation. What makes Živadinović’s version so striking is its complex presentation, with multi-layered visuals that provide three-dimensional depth and perspective. On top of that, the webcomic is structured as a strip to scroll through, not multiple pages to click through, and it includes both animation and sound. Unfortunately, the webcomic hasn’t been updated since July 2014, but the ambition and impressiveness of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin take a little bit of the sting out of the long wait.

And after a brief check-in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz, the guys discuss this month’s already completed webcomic, Sean Wang’s Runners. This richly textured science fiction narrative ran from 2009 to 2011. The series is made up of only two volumes, but the story is written in such a way that the installments could continue for much longer, should Wang decide to return to the property. As much as Sean and Derek enjoy this title, they’re saddened by the fact that there is no more of Runners on the horizon. Nevertheless, what there is is definitely worth reading.

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Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of The Last Halloween, Urbanity Planet, and Odysseus the Rebel

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Journeys

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Time Codes:

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For the October webcomics episode, Sean and Derek check out three very different webcomics, the first of which highlights the Halloween season. Abby Howard’s The Last Halloween is a combination of creepy illustrations and offbeat humor including a monster apocalypse, an ebullient vampire boy, a social media-addicted ghoul, and a grieving father who crossdresses in his dead wife’s clothes. The guys enjoy the fun and meandering story, although Derek wonders if the storytelling could be a little more focused in places.

Next, they look at Theora Kvitka’s first webcomic, Urbanity Planet. This is a relatively new story, beginning in February of this year, so readers can experience the artist’s online voice as it develops. It’s a series of vignettes centered on recent college grads who can’t find work on earth and, as a result, move to the planet N!#ult0n to earn a living. Filled with quirky observations, the webcomic is an alternate reality glimpse into the dilemma of millennials.

Before they look at the month’s final webcomic, the guys check in with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz to get an update on their in-the-works webcomic, Poe and the Mysteriads. Things are moving right along, although Jim expresses a mea culpa. Click HERE for new sample art!

Finally, Sean and Derek discuss the completed webcomic, Odysseus the Rebel. This is Steven Grant and Scott Bieser’s adaptation of the Homeric classic, but one that doesn’t feel the need to be comprehensive or “true” to the original. That’s what the guys appreciate about this adaptation, Grant and Bieser’s ability to take the essence of The Odyssey and translate it into a contemporary voice. And with its emphasis on storytelling, Odysseus the Rebel demonstrates a particular metafictional bent.

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Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of The Red Hook, Kill 6 Billion Demons, and Rice Boy

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Reluctant Heroes

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:07:03 – Brief comments on the 2016 Ignatz Award nominees for Outstanding Online Comic
  • 00:18:07 – The Red Hook
  • 00:57:28 – Kill 6 Billion Demons
  • 01:21:11 – Interview with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz
  • 01:41:15 – Rice Boy
  • 02:13:55 – Wrap up
  • 02:15:30 – Contact us

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On this extra-long episode of The Comics Alternative Webcomics, Sean and Derek cover a lot of territory on the webcomics front. They begin with a few brief comments on this year’s Ignatz Award nominees for Outstanding Online Comic. They also contrast the way that the Ignatz judges classify webcomics with what the Eisner Awards has been doing lately, combining webcomics and digital comics.

After that, the guys jump into the core of this month’s episode with a look at Dean Haspiel’s The Red Hook. They discuss, among other things, the fact that superhero comics are relatively rare in webcomics and that this title is reminiscent of what Haspiel did with The Fox, for Archie Comics, and with his own comics centered on Billy Dogma and Jane Legit. Sean and Derek also spend a bit of time talking about Webtoons, the platform where you’ll find The Red Hook.

Next, they review Kill 6 Billion Demons. Both of the guys are impressed by Tom Parkinson-Morgan’s art and the intricacies involved in his world-building, but they are somewhat critical of the webcomic’s design and usability. It’s not easy to navigate that site, which is surprising, given the fact that Kill 6 Billion Demons has been around since 2013.

Before they turn to the final webcomic of the month, Derek and Sean introduce what they hope will be a new feature of the monthly series. Beginning with this episode, they will talk briefly with Jim McClain and Paul Schultz about a new webcomics they’re creating, Poe and the Mysteriads. Every month they hope to check in with the creators about the step-by-step process they’re going through in developing the title, from story concept to art choices to the design of the website.

Finally, Sean and Derek look at Evan Dahm’s already completed webcomic, Rice Boy. This is the second time Dahm’s work has been a focus of the webcomics series, the first occasion being a discussion of Vattu back in January 2015. This is a much earlier webcomic, and the guys discuss the evolution of Dahm’s art and storytelling style as the story develops. It’s an intriguing fantastical quest narrative, and if you’re not already familiar with Dahm, then this would be a great way to get to know his work.

Sample art from Poe and the Mysteriads

Sample art from Poe and the Mysteriads

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Trekker Talk Episode 20: Star Trek Memories

Star Trek 50th Anniversary Logo V1

In Trekker Talk Episode 20 we share our Star Trek Memories and discuss the Star Trek Unlimited comics with art by Ron Randall. We also share your feedback in Trekker Transmissions.

Promo #1: The Hammer Strikes Podcast
Promo #2: The Film and Water Podcast

Website: http://www.trekkertalk.com/
E-mail: TrekkerTalk@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trekkertalk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/trekkertalk
iTunes: http://apple.co/1IHsiqH
Stitcher: http://bit.ly/1HbUsVl
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1U8NoCs
Podbean: http://trekkertalk.podbean.com/

Thank you for listening and please consider leaving a review to help promote the show!

Trekker Talk Episode 19: Thor and Loki in the Land of Giants

TrekkerTalkFinal1400

In Trekker Talk Episode 19 we discuss Thor and Loki in the Land of Giants written by Jeff Limke and illustrated by Ron Randall. We also share your feedback in Trekker Transmissions and we talk about our travels in Scandinavia.

Promo #1: Supermates from the Fire and Water Podcast Network
Promo #2: Dial G for Gamer from the Pulp 2 Pixels Podcast Network

Website: http://www.trekkertalk.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trekkertalk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/trekkertalk
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Stitcher: http://bit.ly/1HbUsVl
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Podbean: http://trekkertalk.podbean.com/

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Sam and Fuzzy, Ulysses Seen, and Biome

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Intricacies

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This month on the webcomics series, Sean and Derek delve into three tonally different titles. They begin with Sam Logan’s long-running Sam and Fuzzy. This is a series that has been around since 2001, starting off as a gag strip in Logan’s college’s student newspaper and then becoming a webcomic in 2002. The creator diligently keeps his Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule of publication, and with almost fifteen years behind it, that’s a substantive webcomic. In fact, the Two Guys discuss the intricacies of its storylines, the expansion of its cast, and the evolution of Logan’s art. One would be hard pressed to find a webcomic with a more dynamic history, and the guys try their best to cover as many points as possible.

Next, Derek and Sean’s discussion takes a decidedly literary turn with Ulysses Seen, a webcomic adaptation of James Joyce’s masterpiece. Illustrated and adapted by Robert Berry, this is a project that attempts to capture the novel it the fullest sense. This is no mere graphic Cliff Notes version of Ulysses, but one that tries to represent Joyce’s voice and style. Accompanying the webcomic proper are analytical blog postings by Mike Barsanti, contextualizing the story and explicating its many facets. This is certainly an ambitious endeavor — it even has its own app in the iTunes store — although the guys do note the webcomic’s biggest weakness: its design. It’s not easy to navigate the website and find your way around, and there are too many duplicate pages or links to nowhere. What’s more, the webcomic doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2011 or 2013 (it’s not easy to determine each page’s publication date), and the adaptation is only up to Episode Five: The Lotus Eaters. But if you’re a fan of the classic and have patience, then Ulysses Seen can be worth the wait.

Finally, the guys wrap up with an already completed webcomic, Adam Szym’s Biome. This is a short piece that can be found at Szym’s website Good Show Sir, along with a number of his other comics. This webcomic stands out for intricacy of art and especially its design for reading. Sean points out that it employs some of Scott McCloud’s ideas behind the “infinite canvas,” and Derek feels that the reading experience is similar to what you will find with Study Group Comics. But however you approach it, this highly stylized work, with its fantastical tone and sci-fi leanings, is standout example of what webcomics are capable of.

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