Comics Alternative Webcomics: Reviews of Henchgirl, Huge Hana, and Digger

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Digging Down Deep

Derek and Andy W. are back for another of their monthly webcomics episodes, and for April they discuss three exciting titles, two currently ongoing webcomics and one completed series. They begin with Kristen Gudsnuk’s Henchgirl, the story of a young villain trying to find her way (and her fortune) in a world of super-powered crime. HenchgirlCover4However, her heart and her relationships keep getting in the way, making her a unlikely and often-torn protagonist. As the Two Guys point out, this is more of a relationship-based story than a superhero one, and Gudsnuk is adept at showing the unglamorous and untold side of villainy. Manga-influenced and reminiscent of the style and tone of Scott PilgrimHenchgirl is probably a story aimed at a younger (Millennial?) readership, but it’s humor and playfulness can be enjoyed by all. Next, the guys, not intending to be alliterative this month, discuss another H-heavy webcomic. Huge Hana is a relatively recent title created by Ian Burns, with a first installment posted on December 30, 2013, and an active Patreon campaign underway. As Andy describes it, it is a scientific science-fiction tale with a bit of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman HugeHanaRedPanelsthrown in and complete with devastating meteors, mutations, and enough of a medically based premise to set the Center for Disease Control on edge. It’s the story of a young woman transformed into a giant and in search of answers to her dilemma, all the while trying to navigate a world that now sees her as a monster. Finally, the guys look at what could arguably called a “classic” in webcomics, Ursula Vernon’s Digger. Running from February 2007 to March 2011, Digger is an epic that may have you reaching for your copy of Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. It involves an anthropomorphic wombat far from home and in an unlikely team-up with the Hindu deity, Ganesh — or at least a wooden statue of the god. Accompanied by an exiled hyena skin painter, a mentally unstable worshipper of Ganesh, and a shadow born of a white bird that just may be a demon, the story’s hero, also known as the Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels, reluctantly undergoes a journey to uncover the source of evil magic that is gumming up the world. If you’re a fan of such quest narratives as Tolkein’s The Hobbit, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, or Jeff Smith’s Bone, then Digger is definitely a webcomic for you.

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About Derek Royal

The Comics Alternative is a weekly podcast focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics. (There’s nothing wrong with the superhero genre…we just want to do something different.) New shows become available every Wednesday…much like the comic books you get. Episodes feature reviews of graphic novels and current ongoing series, discussions of upcoming comics, examinations of collected editions, in-depth analyses of a variety of comics texts, spotlights on various creators and their oeuvre, roundtable discussions with prominent critics and scholars in the field, and interviews with the artists and writers who make all of this possible. Along the way, Andy and Derek will talk about the various books that they are reading; the many pop cultural references that, for better or worse, inform their lives; and the unpredictable (and inexplicable) weirdness that seems to creep into each episode. In essence,The Comics Alternative podcast is brilliantly simple: Two guys with PhDs talking about comics.

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