Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday May 23rd: Piece Of Me

Ladies And Gentlemen!
                   Let Me Introduce You

                 To A Most Interesting Fellow!
Introducing, Piece Of Me!

I've always been one of those people who has to read something with their breakfast. Time and again as a child I was told to put the book down and eat. As an adult, morning is my time to catch up on my favorite gag-a-day strips.
But you really shouldn't sip your tea when you're reading 'Piece Of Me', because you will invariably spit out said tea when you burst out laughing. And cleaning spit and tea off a phone or computer screen is no fun at all.
This romp of a strip, the creation of  Lukas Draxl, can be found here. It falls into the slice of life category, but only barely; there are plenty of fun asides and dimensional jumps to keep things interesting. And the creator's takes on life are no slouch either; their takes on the creative life and life in general will keep you grinning.

The Rating

A wonderfully dry, clever and off the wall take on life.

The Raves

Here's a good explanation of how much I enjoyed this comic: as I wrote this piece I jumped onto the page to check the url for adding here....and got distracted by the comic. Twice. I read a few strips each time before a lightbulb clicked on: 'hey, I was supposed to be WRITING about this, not READING MORE of it. I'm addicted, aren't I?' and at this point I indeed am.

From the beginning, the strip has had a wonderfully deadpan sense of humor. The oneshots usually follow a similar formula; an intelligently worded setup, followed by a witty payoff out of left field.

Though occasionally the humor is a bit more direct.

I especially recommend this comic for other comic artists and writers in the crowd, because the creator often reflects on things that fellow creators will definitely identify with. The strips regularly comment on drawing problems, writer's block, and all the other embarrassingly or painfully funny issues of living with creativity. It was one of those that made me spit out my tea laughing, by the way.
The art, despite the creator's often illustrated opinions to the contrary, is wonderfully crisp and well done, capturing scene and moment in a few graceful lines. The use of color is vibrant and lively, but I think the best feature is the slightly exaggerated facial expressions. The creator borrows a bit from the anime school of exaggeration when it comes to expression, and in 'Pieces' that works to wonderful effect, underlining jokes beautifully. But their more natural expressions are also one of my favorite things about this piece.

Oh, and as an aside, have I mentioned the Lukas is also a coder and a geek? The jokes for those two groups are just as good as the ones for comic artists. And as a quick aside, the site for 'Pieces' is GORGEOUS. I particularly covet the design of the archives page, which makes finding things wonderfully easy. It makes me wish I could do more with code than...well....

The Razzes

Beautiful as the site design is, one thing CONSTANTLY got on my nerves. Webcomics have trained us to a universal truth: hit the comic image, see the next one. When I find a comic that doesn't do this, I can hear my own mental gears grind. And ESPECIALLY on a gag-a-day comic, that extra half second to scroll up a bit and use the nav buttons IS A PAIN. Note to creator: Please, please use those coding-god superpowers and let the reader click the bloody strip to go forward.
Aside from that small coding glitch, I found the occasional joke just tried too hard and didn't pan out, though that does happen to everyone occasionally.

 And I hope the creator's girlfriend is really, really understanding, because she ends up looking like a twit more often than not in the comic rendition of her, and it's a little sad to see. At the beginning of the comic, there was a little more variety of joke, with some recurring features: Fun With Hitler and The More You Know, for instance. But over time, they petered down to a single feature, 'Actual Conversations With my Girlfriend'. I'd really like to see some of that variety come back. Give the poor lady a break!

The Revue

Definitely one that goes on my personal reading list. But I'll set my teacup down first...

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