Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday Revue August 29: The Demon Archives

Ladies And Gents! Let's Get Things Started


When a comic starts like this, you just know things are going to get interesting...
Yep, that's how The Demon Archives starts off. And it doesn't let up.Strap in, hold on, and go here to see this rip-roaring piece by Daniel Sharp, Nickolas Sharp, and Sebastian Piriz.

From the very first page, you're plunged into an uneasy reality that hits too close to home, in a future that could all too easily happen. The creators don't pull their punches when it comes to discussing where our world could so easily go, and it sends a shiver down the spine.
The story centers around the character of Tenzin Dorje, 
a captain of futuristic special ops squad tasked with defending small village enclaves against the vicious raiders who prey upon them. They are the elite, the top dogs. But even top dogs can be taken down...

The Revue

The Raves

This is one of those comics that takes the tired and abused dystopian concept and redeems it. With strong storytelling and artistic use of exposition balanced by beautiful artwork, The Demon Archives must tell you the story of the end of our world before it tells you how it rises from the ashes.
In the hands of many, the task would become a history lesson, a text wall, a bore. But in this comic, it's as quick and direct as a punch to the gut, getting it out of the way in a handful of lovely pages. And then we're dropped into the deep end of the story, immersed in the life of  Tenzin, Captain of the elite Keleres squad.                This is where things get interesting. Gone is the need for exposition; from here on out, all information is given through strong, well written dialogue that quickly and easily enmeshes you in the comic universe. You're seamlessly involved in the routine, the honor and the danger of the life of the Keleres and the personalities of each member. Dialogue and art work perfectly hand in hand, strong composition, character design and use of body language displaying as much of the character's personalities as the conversations do.

 Oh, and then there's THE PLOT!!! If you like brains, there's plenty in The Demon Archives. Brains get exercised....and they also get sprayed across the walls. This comic never lets itself devolve into a shoot-em-up, but make no mistake, there will be blood and bullet fire. It's some of the best use of tactical and actual military knowledge that I've yet to see in a comic. There's also a much more sensible exploration of ptsd and survivor's guilt than you usually see. Speaking as someone with veterans in my family, I really appreciated a more nuanced approach to the psychological side of warfare.

Fascinated and disturbed in equal measure, you can't stop reading. And as you read, you find surprising emotional depths to the characterization, through use of some dream-sequence flashbacks (another broken down old trope Demon Archives redeems with beautiful scene choice and gorgeous art) and the actions and reactions of each character as they interact with their brutal world.

The Razzes

I only have one complaint, and that's that at times, a little too much character development depends on surface characteristics; several characters are given accents and very obvious speech oddities as a way to differentiate them, and I found it a little hard to believe that you'd get such a cosmopolitan crew in a time period when travel is, I'd assume, much more limited than it is today.

Granted, there isn't a lot of time in a story like this to make each character their own, but giving them accents comes off as a very obvious band-aid on the issue. In fact, it makes the problem worse by underlining it.
But if my only complaint is a loophole in travel plans, you don't have a lot to worry about.
Well, okay, I have one other complaint....I have to wait a while to read more! The story is on a short hiatus, and I cannot wait to read more!

The Revue

A wonderful addition to the dystopian genre. READ IT.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Backstage Pass August: Jackie Musto

Here's Your Ticket, Ladies And Gentlemen!

Come And Meet The One, The Only

Jackie Musto!

A great grrrl artist and dreamer, Jackie Musto is one of the most lighthearted and fun urban fantasy artists on the Net today. Come and get to know her!

So Jackie, Tell Us About Yourself

My name is Jackie, and I've been k̶i̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶s̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶a̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶n̶a̶m̶e̶s̶ making comics since 2009. I also freelance illustrate just about everything and teach art. You can find me at my comic links below, and also on  tumblr, twitter, instagram and facebook.

What Are Your Current Projects?

I have two, really - the first being Kay and P, the story of a girl and a skeleton - who no one else seems to see. Kay is a college-aged girl with a skeleton for a best friend, but no one else seems to see him but her... and then the weird stuff really starts happening. There is a massive 16 issues so far, with lots and lots to read. (

The second is The Adventures of Lady Skylark: Lady Skylark and the Queen's Treasure. This is a more light hearted steampunk adventure story featuring the Lady Skylark, the captain of the fastest flying pirate vessel of the skies - until her first mate decides he wants a promotion and chucks her off the side of the ship! How will Lady Skylark survive, and more importantly - how will she get her revenge?! There are two acts so far, with a third one on the way. (

Both of these run as webcomics, updating on Tues/Thurs for Kay and P, and Saturdays for Lady Skylark.

Other Hobbies and Obsessions

I love other types of art, video games, music, gardening - I'm learning to play the ukulele right now! I just like to keep busy. When I'm not working on comics, my hands are always elbow deep into dirt in the garden, making something delicious to eat or just reading a book.

So, tell me about your early experience. How did you fall in love with telling stories in pictures?

It was really early for me. I remember sitting around with a friend of mine in grade school and we'd make up stories about mice or rabbits
(we were obsessed with the Redwall series at the time), passing a stack of paper back and forth, each of us drawing the next "scene". The storycrafting continued as I played with toys until the embarassing age of tweleve when I discovered roleplaying. With a bunch of people making up stories and characters, I was the resident artists who ended up drawing people's characters or what was going on in game. After a while I'd just start doodling little strips of the action in the columns of my notebooks and almost failing pre-calc.
Honestly I didn't think of it as a career or a full time thing until I was really late in college and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself post-school. When I realized my difficulty in illustration class stemmed from trying to cram too much narrative into a single image I had the "revelation" that I could just make a LOT of images and tell a story. Ta-da. For someone who makes comics, I honestly never cared much about them until then - I collected a couple issues of mainstream comics as a kid, but never a huge collection. I think that's why I gravitate to more of the indie scene - I mostly do my own thing and hope that it flies.

Can you tell me about your typical day or drawing session? How does your working process flow?

 I get up and have a cup of coffee (iced, always) and sit at my computer around... 8-9am. When cranking out comics, I'll work until the linework is done, take a little break for lunch and then crank out shadows, flats, and paints all in one day. In the early times of making Kay and P when I was still learning to use a tablet and Photoshop, it used to take me days to turn out a single page. Now I can usually do two pages in the same span of work time. I actually do all my comics digital now - I scan in my sketches from my sketchbook, then blow them up full size in Photoshop to draw right over them. Doing other illustrations I mainly draw straight in Photoshop, though I've been getting back into traditional media with Tombow markers. I basically like to work on something until it's done - if it takes two hours or ten. I hate leaving things unfinished until the next day!

While working, I put on some music, NPR or binge some Netflix shows. I actually watched the ENTIRE span of Star Trek: the Next Generation in a week when I had a particularly heavy workload. Sometimes I forget to eat or take breaks, which is really bad, but - when I'm in the jam of things, I don't like to interrupt myself. At night after the computer is off, I try to get the sketchbook out and doodle of panel out the next few pages of comic.

Does your production process for a finished piece follow specific steps?

Comics certainly do. When I'm making an issue of Kay and P for example, I start by outlining the contents of that issue. I like to plan out everything that's going to happen in a general sense so I make sure I have enough content in the story arc. Then I start writing the dialogue and "stage action" and break it into chunks that I think will fit into pages. I don't really plan out the panels until I'm looking at the script and I let it run like a movie in my head. I try to pick out the most important frames and then lay those out in an interesting way on the page. Then I scan those sketches into Photoshop, and set up my panels and speech bubbles first - that way I know what is going where. You always want to leave some room for text or you're going to run into problems later. Then comes the line work, shadows, flat colors, highlights and other bits. The last step for me is to "paint" it all together and add details. Then it's ready to upload online!

What media do you work in to produce your project?

Photoshop and an Intuos5 tablet. I used to use a lot of watercolor and pencil before I transitioned to digital, but I find the digital to be a lot more freeing. I don't have to worry about making a mistake and ruining hours and hours of work!

Can you tell me about your storytelling process? Do you prefer to script your stories, fly by the seat of your pants, or somewhere in between?

It's not painfully scripted out, but there is definitely a hammered out storyline. I know the whole general story from begining to end, and I have a swath of post-it notes hanging about with important details I add in as I plan each section out a little more. I think it's important to have an idea how your story is going to end so you can get there without too many wrong turns and wasted time. Having an idea of the over-all plan can also circumnavigate the problem of running out of ideas, or writing yourself into a corner.

How much of a buffer do you like to keep for your projects?

How much do I like, or how much do I have, ha ha! I would LOVE to have several weeks of backup, but usually I'm only about a week ahead. Now that I can blast out two pages in a day, it's a lot easier to keep that while still attending to my other commitments.

You use a great deal of mythology in your projects, and in fact "Kay and P" could be classified as urban fantasy. What draws you to this form of storytelling?

Honestly - and this is not a dig to people who write in this way - my life is way too boring to write something about my life or my experiences. While some things that happen to Kay are things that happened to me, she is a construction of the exciting life I wish I had. I've always loved fantasy, and still look for the wardrobe door or the fairy around the corner. I grew up watching Labyrinth, reading Xanth novels and roleplaying (which I still do, by the by), and that definitely bleeds through into what I do.

What are your favorite legends or stories? What stories inspire you? How much research do you do in order to bring the worlds you create to life?

Jeeeeez. I think my favorite legends are the ones where you just know not to mess with the magical being, but whoever the protagonist just does it anyway - like crossing a Baba Yaga, trying to steal from an ogre.... you just think, "If this was me, I would NEVER do that!" Kind of like screaming at a horror film for the actors not to go to the basement. Anything that has a story that I just can't put down is something I figure has something for me to learn from.

What is funny is, through teaching a Fantasy class and roleplaying, I've done a lot of inherent research into a bunch of fantasy critters. It's always interesting to go back and read through the early history of a well-known fantasy creature and find out something bizarre about them you never knew. As far as the real-world research, I lived near Boston for quite some time and was there often. I think it's important to interject some real-life experience into fantasy worlds, as it helps to give them a sense of realism among the madness.

Has anyone told you that you'll never be a successful artist and you'd be better off studying a real field and/or getting a real job?

I am truly lucky that it never happened to me except for ONCE in my life. My folks and friends were always extremely supportive in what I did, so that has kept me going through tough segments of my life. The only person who ever told me that art was a waste was a relative who I didn't care for anyway, so... I kind of figured they were jerk!

What keeps you devoted to telling the stories you’re telling?

Obsession! That is what it must be - for as positive as I am here, there are certainly days where I feel like I'm wasting my time, or no one cares about what I have to say, or I hate what I am doing artistically... but though I might throw myself dramatically on the bed and swear I'm going to quit, I wake up the next morning, make the iced coffee and get right back to work. Tomorrow is another day, as they say.

I don't know what I'd do if it wasn't for comics. There are just too many people and worlds in my head to keep it all to myself.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Revue August 23: This Mortal Coil

Ladies And Gentlemen! Boys And Girls!

                  From The Mysterious Orient,

                                 We Present To You!

Between the mundane and the divine, time can curl and twine like an unwound red ribbon. Thousand-year ancient tales can happen tomorrow. And things are rarely as you expect them to see; good and evil are simply a matter of perspective, from the right vantage point.
But when gods become involved with the mortal world, things can go wrong. 'This Mortal Coil' is a tale that explores the myriad ways gods and men can wound one another. A tale by Glenn Song, this work unfolds all its complexities at this link
This story is much like a beautiful Chinese silk painting; there are a thousand details, but they all weave together into a beautiful and cohesive whole. At its heart, it is the tale of revenge, redemption, and a girl with the strength to become a god.

The Rating

A fascinating, funny, intricate and uplifting tale.

The Raves

From the very first page, the artwork will grab your attention. In an innovative blending of  woodcut style and much more modern Anime artistic conventions, the creator forms a world that feels timeless and yet accessible. The bold, simplistic palette of black, white and red is powerfully employed. Not a line nor a jot of color is wasted, and the eye is constantly entertained by the stark contrasts  and the well-deployed textures that seem to hark back to a calligrapher's pen or brush. The later introduction of flash animation to chosen strips only enhances the immediacy of the art and adds to its appeal.

The storytelling meshes perfectly with the art: timeless, direct and yet layered with intertwined lives and hidden complexities, only fully grasped as the tale unfolds at the pace of a classic folk tale. There are adorning moments of comic relief, light-hearted sibling banter and occasional repartee, but they don't distract from the core of the story, which has the taste of ancient tale about it. A lovely blending of fairytale and modern storytelling, 'Coil' gives us characters to love, hate and learn from with simplicity and grace. The characters are fleshed out with every economical scripting choice in dialogue and action, giving you strong characters with very little need for explanation.  Even the site design is an act of simple grace, easy to navigate  and informative while remaining diffident to the reading experience that it's meant to support.

The Razzes

My only complaint is the occasional awkwardness in the meshing of styles seen in this work. At times the anime emotional intensifiers look very out of place, and there are scenes where so little line is used that the art has an oddly overexposed quality, giving the look of a piece of calligraphy that was photocopied. Most of the time that works...but sometimes the eye boggles trying to pick out the structure of individual characters or objects, and this distracts from the smooth reading of the story. I'd like to see things made just a touch easier for the eye of the reader to pick out.

The Revue

A must read for all fans of mythology and plain good storytelling.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday Revue August 22: Doppelganger

For Every Evil Under The Sun.....

There Is The Doppelganger

We all know we have our dark sides. But what if your dark side was living another life, many other lives, and every one of them evil?
What if you could stop them?
This is the disturbing moral underpinning that underlies 'The Doppelganger'. An interesting piece Drawn by Franky Plata Rojas. Written by Thibault Kervarech, 'The Doppelganger' can be found at this link
It's a fascinating idea. If the version of you in other realities is evil, do you bear some responsibility? And can you as a person fight back?
Oh but don't worry, 'Doppelganger' doesn't stay philosophical for long. In fact, it gets decidedly messy. Fast.

The Rating

A fascinating journey through the underbelly of the psyche, with a couple bumps along the way.

The Raves

This is one of those stories that you have to read twice to pick up all the intricacies, and it's well worth the second read. I was impressed at first by a dream-like LSD trip of an introduction that allows the reader to understand the Doppelganger's mission quite clearly through the use of some really disturbing imagery, and only a handful of words. It's not easy to get such a complicated spec-fic plot across, and here it was managed really beautifully.
In fact, the storytelling in 'Doppelganger' is always well done. Pacing is strong, scenes are sharp and well thought out, and dialogue never waffles on. In some respects 'Doppelganger' reminds me of 'Watchmen', with its emphasis on doing right in an immoral world and...well, be honest, blood.
But you'd be amazed how much characterization and backstory can be squeezed into terse dialogue and fast-paced storytelling, if you know what you're doing. 'Doppelganger' uses explanation like a spice, seasoning the story carefully without ruining the meal.

The art keeps the story's 'shades of grey' mentality vivid in the eye with use of greyscale and neon-backlit colors that bleed into one another. There's a great use of varied body types to give personality to each character, and anatomically the work is spot on. (which is pretty important when you're showing a face after acid's been poured on it...all the muscle groups were there all right, once I got the guts to really study it... shudder...)    The creators have a great sense of facial expression as well, which in a visual media really adds to the subtlety of scenes.
Between strong art and powerful storytelling, this is the kind of story you can get so wrapped up in that the shock of realizing you've finished the archive and come to the last page has all the force of knuckle dusters to the nose.

The Razzes

The one thing that this creative team really needs to work on is their cinematography, especially during action scenes involving a lot of movement. A particular strip sums it up perfectly: 

Still and exposition scenes are nicely done, with great 'shots' chosen by the artist, expressive faces and strong body language. But the minute action starts, the artist pans out; all characters are drawn smaller, and there's a sense that the artist is definitely simplifying their drawing style. This is a consistent bad habit throughout the story, and it really knocks the quality of the entire comic down a peg. It wouldn't be such a big deal if this wasn't an action comic, but as it is, it becomes an issue.
It's possible that this problem is due to the difficulty of imagining action scenes or bodies creating certain movements, a problem that I as an artist struggle with myself. If that's the issue, I recommend a great book, Buddy Scalera's
it's really good value for $15!

The Revue

If you're a noir fan, read Doppelganger. It's worth it.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Revue August 16th: Cato's Apprenticeship

All Hands On Deck!

Cato's Apprenticeship Is Going To Be A Bumpy Ride!

Imagine a world where every test you took could, quite literally, decide whether you lived or not. Imagine the pressure of a completely contained militarized environment. And then imagine dealing with that before you're old enough for your voice to change.
This is the world Cato lives in. As an apprentice on the Grimalkin, a ship grim enough to live up to its name, this young boy is going to have to grow up very fast to survive in a brutal world.
This well-crafted and powerful tale, created by a gent who goes by the pen name of  Joey Ballast, can be found here
The story is introduced by the author with these words: 'Earth is dying, Mars is a wasteland, and humanity clings to small pockets of space-born air and water like anthills in an ocean. Bleak? Sure. But life goes on.'

Cato has been born in an era just after some of the worst fighting in human history, a war between Earth and her colony on Mars. His elders are all war veterans, scarred by their experiences and not afraid to play rough with their young apprentices in order to teach them to be tough, able members of their ship-bound society able to survive the rigors of a vicious universe. Not exactly a nurturing environment for a sensitive, gentle boy like Cato...

The Rating

A wonderfully paced and powerful coming-of-age adventure.

The Raves

If we're being frank, sometimes as a reviewer I'm asked to critique comics that I struggle to read through. I tell myself that I signed up to learn and help others learn the craft of comics, and I make myself finish the archives. Sometimes it's a strain. So you can imagine how wonderful it feels to be invited to review something wonderful. 'Cato's Apprenticeship' is one of those treats.
The storytelling is phenomenal. I've rarely read a comic that so seamlessly integrates its world building into the plot. It's done so gracefully that you really don't register the information transfer; instead, you're allowed by well crafted writing to seamlessly fall into the life of Cato and his fellow apprentices.  
A single page of this comic can simultaneously give you all the information you need about the dangers of a given situation and emotionally involve you in the struggles of a twelve-year-old kid being constantly pressured to be something he isn't. The world may be a futuristic dystopian, but the struggles are painfully familiar; the childhood struggle with expectations from peers and elders, feelings of unworthiness, the difficulties of dealing with society's decisions made on your behalf and the fight to find a little way in which you can be at peace with yourself. Cato is an extremely sympathetic character, partly because he is NOT whining and moping about his life. Many coming of age stories annoy me as a reader because the protagonist's overwrought feelings ring hollow for me. But Cato doesn't go into long perorations about how hard his life is. Instead he fights a quiet battle to remain who he is in the face of crushing forces, including an implant placed in his brain against his will. His weapons are his wit, his books, and his patient, persistent insistence on doing things the way he chooses to. The world he lives in thinks he's weak, but he's got more strength than some adult characters I could name.
Another strong point is the way the tale is paced. This is a simple story, but it has hidden depths. It doesn't devolve into a morality lesson as so many tales about children do, and it  FOR ONCE allows children to have the complex and conflicted emotional lives they ACTUALLY do. There are no good guys and bad guys in 'Cato's Apprenticeship'. Everyone has their own story to tell, and their own reasons for acting as they do. The grace with which these motivations are revealed is wonderful.
And then there's the art. Throughout the comic, the art is of a consistently high caliber, the facial expressions beautifully evocative and  the body language perfect at conveying messages. Oh, and by the way, somebody has finally drawn the inside of a space cruiser well. It's a treat to read the archives and watch the artist experiment with grayscale and color overlays for their lovely linework, until they reach their present point, which is 
I love the new color, but color is nothing if the linework beneath is not consummate. In 'Cato's Apprenticeship', it is.

The Razzes

My only complaint with 'Cato' is the way speech bubbles are handled in drawn out or multi-person conversations. Take a look at the page below, and time yourself on how long it takes you to figure out who's talking where.

The final panel alone took me five seconds to sort out. This is an issue. There really needs to be some work done to make it easier to read conversations easily. Take pity on we readers, dear creator.

The Revue

If you love sci-fi, well told stories or sweet big-eyed boys, this is a must read. It's one that goes on my personal reading list.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday Revue August 15: True Colors

Curtain Up! 

Time To Go Back To School With 'True Colors!'

Remember all those crazy days in the dorms? 3am pizza, weird RA's, weirder friends? If you don't remember, maybe you overdid the beer?Yeeeah....
College is a transformative time for most people, and the comic 'True Colors' explores all the excitement, irritation, and new opportunities that college life provides. The creation of Tripp Gustin, True Colors can be found here. Here you'll meet a zany crew;
Iro, proudly gender fluid star of the show, 
Kit, his ass-kicking best friend who's been known to kick down doors,
 Ben, the most dedicated nerd you've seen outside the engineering hall,
 and Sonia, sweet and gentle as a poem. Together, these four friends are setting out into the life on campus, and we readers are invited to come along.

The Rating

A story very much like the campus breakfast food; sweet, comforting, but without a lot of substance.

The Raves

'True Colors' is a nice read for those days when you're feeling nostalgic. The art is crisp, clean and done in a vibrant palette, and a lot of work has been done to keep scenes dynamic, with interesting cinematic angles and some nice tricks in the emotional intensifier department borrowed from the Asian comic world. Since the main character is half-Japanese, this is particularly apropos, keeping the character's background and all the social and emotional ramifications of it in mind without beating you over the head with it.
Color has also been used to great effect, from the palette for each character giving a visual cue about their personalities to the use of color-coding in word balloons, which makes for really easy reading, especially in any group conversation. It's an innovation that I really enjoyed. 

The characters are each amusing in their own way, and for the brief scope of the comic's run ( under 40 comics as of yet) their backgrounds and personalities have been nicely introduced and explored. I particularly enjoy the creator's flare for introducing each of their characters in amusing ways...amusing for us that is. I imagine the situation in the comic below wouldn't be too amusing to live through....

      All the fun and ALL the awkwardness
 of the first few days of college are explored in 'True Colors', with plenty of chuckle-worthy or sympathetic wince-inducing moments that should make readers snicker.
The most powerful part of the story is, in fact, the interlude between chapters one and two, which brought prickles of tears to my eyes. 

The Razzes

But for all my general enjoyment, I found myself disinterested as I read through 'True Colors' archives. It took me a little time to articulate my sense of boredom. At first I thought the art might be too static, but on closer inspection, I realized that the art is quite dynamic, in fact very well done. 
The problem, I realized, is the story. There's just nothing in it that absorbed me.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad story. It's a sweet story. But it's got very little substance. Many readers have already lived through the awkward 'getting to know you' moments of college orientation days....we don't particularly need to read about it, and watching somebody else go through it didn't give any emotional satisfaction. I wish the rest of the story had the emotional catharsis of the interlude between chapters one and two, which had some extremely powerful scenes. But unfortunately, the interlude went too far in the other direction and came off as a heavy handed morality lesson, which diminished the enjoyment.
 There were some interesting explorations of social and societal norms and their entrapping nature, but it was done in such an off-hand manner that it became just another part of a pretty boring orientation day spent with a few nervous Freshman. Something important needs to happen to make readers CARE. Otherwise, it's a college experience I as a reader can skip going through again.

The Revue

I'd recommend 'True Colors' as a perfect comic for introducing 11-15 year olds to both college and web comics, with its messages about individual acceptance, diversity, and not eating in the campus cafeteria. But if you've lived through the experience before, there's nothing much here you haven't seen before.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Revue August 8: Giant Girl Adventures

Heads Up! Hold On To Your Hats Ladies And Gents!

We all know, love, and hate tropes. But not many people both embrace and spoof them as whole-heartedly as Giant Girl Adventures. A hilarious romp through all that is best (and worst) of the Hollywood Pulp world, Giant Gir's got it all.
The creation of Sabrina Pandora and Koen Luyten, Giant Girl Adventures can be found here
The girl in this weekend's comic, Ronni, is all class...well, when she isn't all sass. Cross Indiana Jones with Laura Croft and throw in a dash of MIB and you got Ronni.  And Ronni gets in trouble...lots of it. Add in the self-styled awesome gay sidekick and some pretty hilarious super powers, and you've got endless possibilities for trope-infested fun.

The Rating

There will be MIB agents, fifty foot women, monsters, and attacking skulls. Strap in and hold on!

The Raves

First off, any strip that manages to squeeze in as much cultural commentary as Giant Girl does, while still having fun, gets an A in my book. The humor in this comic is the snide, sidelong sort that points out the plot holes and logical fallacies in the Hollywood we love (or love to hate). Running the gambit from spy movies to action heroes, Giant Girl spoofs them all.

As a woman, I particularly appreciate the jabs made at what women superheroes are wearing these days, and some truly soda-snorted-out-the-nose jokes are made at the expense of what Hollywood thinks girls should look like. Not to mention the jokes about how superheros scrounge up travel money and snarky comments on flashbacks.
Oh, and in there there's also a story, did I mention? Ronni had been doing just fine as a stunt double, retired from the hero life, until a cosmic McGuffin drops in her lap. Then it's off to Easter Island to piss off the Maoi, around to Paris, Bangkok, and anywhere else that catches her fancy.  But the characters, despite the constant ridiculous situations, maintain an amusing banter. And the story manages to walk the fine line between being jam-packed with jokes, and being overloaded. And the jokes really are ENDLESS, and pretty endlessly diverting.

The art's snazzy, dynamic and fun, not quite true to the Golden Age style but close enough to get the mood across without feeling like a knockoff. Interesting angles and poses are used to keep the feel of the story fresh, and the use of action effects, east and west-style emotional amplifiers and nicely done text for sound effects really enlivens the pages, keeping up that sense of constant action-movie motion without becoming distracting.

Oh, and I almost forgot....the strips makes nods to classic rock songs.
They win.

The Razzes

The greatest weakness of this strip is, probably, its layout. When viewed, the comics appear almost unreasonably small. Click on them and the comic nicely enlarges...but that means readers have to click on nearly every comic, and are forced to remember, with regular do'h moments, that you cannot click on the strip in order to go forward. When there's thirteen issues, each comprising a baker's dozen in strips, it gets really, REALLY irritating. You'd be amazed how annoying it becomes by issue 6. Add to that the fact that, around the nav buttons, are several linked banners that will take you places you entirely didn't want to go on the site, and it becomes something of a trial.
Other than that, I've no complaints. Yes, it's ridiculous. In the best possible way.

The Revue

The perfect antidote to Hollywood. Case closed.