Webcomic Review: Scary-Go-Round/Bad Machinery

Scary-Go-Round is one of the newest webcomics that I have picked up and devoured, being about occultists, fish-men and life after death wrapped up in British suburban living with a dash of government education.

First time readers may be very confused about what looks like the existence of two-and-a-half different webcomics in the one place. The actual start of the webcomic (from 2002) concerns a college student’s efforts to pass her journalism course. This eventually fans out into the thorough enjoyable (and sadly concluded) story Scary-Go-Round, going through a sudden and major art upgrade a few years in (2005), that can confuse new readers.

In 2009, the writer concludes SGR with the graduation of the characters, upgrades the art again a little and fast-forwards three years.  The webcomic is given a better-looking site, and is renamed to Bad Machinery. Much of the original cast is gone and replaced by a new generation of students (some of whom were seen as young children during SGR), but a few faces remain in visible positions.

The art change mid-way through SGR is very abrupt, leaving you either liking or hating the new hand-drawn comic. It flickers on and off for a few storylines as the author gets it right, but eventually sticks with the outlines to this day.

Some of the characters are slightly thin, but this is more than excused due to the nature of the plot. It’s a topsy-turvy ride through living gasses, homicidal Easter bunnies and floating a stolen caravan down a river while giving the finger to the Welsh boat police. Most of the plot seems to be about whatever was on the author’s mind at the time, and it is every bit enjoyable for it.

I had fun reading Scary-Go-Round, and I am looking forward to reading more of Bad Machinery. Try it if you enjoy the strange presented as the norm.

Bad Machinery

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Megatokyo Book 6 Cover Released

Fred’s done the cover art for book 6 of Megatokyo. You can find it at http://megatokyo.com/strip/1246. Also go and awww at the heartwarming tale of his kid in hospital down below.

Starslip

I recently discovered a new webcomic called Starslip through the Topatoco store (who sells merchandise for webcomics). It’s a sci-fi webcomic about a group of crewmen from the 35th century who pilot the Fuseli, a traveling space museum.

As part of their duties running the ship they arrange art pieces, host galas and prevent time-traveling despots from taking over the universe with a sculpture. The characters are well written, being a captain/curator who is obsessed with the perfect display of art, a constantly-evolving alien who has a new bodily function every hour and an alcoholic one-eyed former pirate who runs the engines.

The art is consistent throughout much of the series, so there are no first 100 comics with terrible art to suffer through. It’s a pleasing, monotone and simplistic style, but not as simple as garfield-style comics.

It is comedic in places, and also sad and dramatic in others. It’s well worth a read, and I heartily recommend it.

QC and Sheldon!

During my holiday I discovered two fantastic webcomics, Questionable Content and Sheldon.

QC is about a group of friends who run/inhabit a coffee shop. There’s references to indie rock and Dune here and there, but getting them isn’t vital. I’m still less than halfway through the current comics so far, so I can’t make a satisfying synopsis of the plot. Just read it, try to ignore the awful but brief art in the first 100 or so comics and you will (probably) enjoy it.

Sheldon is vastly different, being similar to Garfield in tone and style. It revolves around a ten-year old boy, Sheldon, who becomes worth $1.2m overnight by ‘making the Internet faster’. The comic follows his adventures as a CEO, a small boy worth millions and the friend of a talking duck. Enjoy.

Dresden Kodak

This is a rather wonderful webcomic a friend pointed out. It includes transhumanism, possibly-nuclear-powered siblings, time travel and a Schr√∂dinger’s Niels Bohr. It’s rather madcap and there’s no clear storyline for the most part (although there are a few arcs such as Hob) but it’s rather deep and has cultural and ethical messages. It’s at http://dresdencodak.com/index.html