Archive for the Yuri Webcomics Category
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of backing a Kickstarter for Alex Heberling’s webcomic The Hues. A post-apocalyptic magical girl series isn’t a new idea, but “new” and “original” are overused and overrated. What I am actually looking for is a good story.
By good story I mean characters that are not a checklist of components, have complexity and personality and a plot that actually uses these characteristics, not just tortures the characters for our amusement. I realize that by saying this I have castigated about 97% of modern media entertainment. In one of my reviews of Sound of the Sky (which I tried hard to like, but ended up loathing), I said this:
“…so many anime studios have [fear] of *telling us an actual story.* It’s as if they cannot, will not and obviously do not feel comfortable with a female cast in a serious drama, and must relentlessly infantilize them so we can never, not for one second, take them seriously.”
I had a similar problem with Sound!Euphonium, when I tried to watch it last night. When I watch or read a story, once the cast has been presented to me, I have a weird expectation of them actually doing something.
In The Hues, we first meet Sami, a young woman whose own fate she has been well aware of, but never understood, When everything hits the fan, Sami is shocked, but not surprised. She is joined by several other young women, Andrea, Hannah and Lauren, all of whom understand they have some part to play, but don’t yet know what that part is. And then the plot happens. That, my friends, is how you write a good story. The set-up is set up for the story, then the story happens. If the set-up *is* the story, it’s much less likely to be good.
The Kickstarter gave me Volume 1 of The Hues as a print edition. The color pages work very well in print and the print quality is exceptional, so everything has more depth and fullness to it than the webcomic. It’s a nice book and I’m glad to have it.
Volume 1 is primarily focused on setting the board and the pieces upon it, so we have little time to devote to character development. In Volume 2, we spend a bit more time with building the world, which admittedly is in flux, the characters and giving us more insight into the overarching plot.
In Volume 3, having carved out a refuge in this post-alien invasion world, the protagonists now have a bit of time to get to know each other. I pegged the lesbian character right away – not because she’s stereotypical. None of the characters embody stereotypes, in fact. Even the minor characters are diverse and developed. And while there is a fair amount of queerness among our protagonists, there is also a refreshing body type and ethnic diversity.
The Hues is an original, diverse and realistic take on magical girls in a sci-fi setting. It’s got solid, complex characters and a plot that still has a lot to be developed. Definitely worth reading. And since you can read it online for free, there’s no excuse, is there? ^_^
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
LGBTQ – 7
Service – 0 so far
Overall – 8
See, Japanese anime studios? It can be done. Try using the characters you create to do something once in a while. You might like it. I know I would.
In the alternative Paris of the alternative 1920s, along with airships and goggles, Ana DuPre, thief extraordinaire steals rare items, fights with laser guns and does other expected acts of derring-do. And she wears a leather pilot’s outfit and has a famous girlfriend…what more could we ask of her? Well…early 20th century literary references, of course! And luckily, Brian and Keri know what we want and give it to us. Which brings us to this lovely little comic, Paris in the 20th Century, starring charming adventuress Ana DuPre.
Ana has been hired by Michael Verne, the not-famous son of the famous French science fiction writer to retrieve a book from his father’s publisher. Of course, nothing goes easy for Ana…if it did, we wouldn’t have a cool story now, would we? ^_^
Gardes and Grassl have done a fair bit of homework and the people, places and situations among which Ana treads are real, including her bombshell girlfriend, Tamara de Lempicka, who was “notorious”ly bisexual during her life.
You may have guessed that I’m a sucker for this kind of comic, and I am. But what really got me, were Grassl and Gardes’ interest in and love of pinup art, combined with their love of throwing things to the wind and letting them be carried off in a zeppelin. Who doesn’t love a smart, sexy, bisexual, whimsical, gentlelady thief?
Art – YMMV, but I liked it – 7
Story – 8
Character – 7
Yuri – 2 Implication only
Service – 2 Pinup-y art
Overall – 7 and I definitely want more. ^_^
You can read sample pages of Paris in the 20th Century on the Kilted Comics website, along with the ongoing adventure, Ana DuPre and the Eye of the Kraken. You can buy Paris for $7 plus shipping. Totes worth it, but you won’t get it inscribed “Thanks for last night” like I did, unless you pick it up at a show. ^_^ (I always get people to inscribe it that way. I want my heirs to have something to think about as they clean my crap up after I’m gone. We even got some of the doujinshi artists at GLF to inscribe books to me that way. ^_^)
If you like Kerri’s art, do check out her page, Hooligan Lili (great name…!), where she has some lovely pinups and chicks on motorcycles and other things that make me happy. ^_^
We like to think that it wasn’t just because we’re friends with most of the panelists at San Diego Comic-Con’s 2013 “Best and Worst Manga” Panel, that our own Tokyo Love ~ Rica ‘tte Kanji!? was included on the list of “Best Manga for Grownups.” ^_^
Many thanks to Brigid, Deb, Christopher, David and Shaenon.
Experience Rica Takashima’s look at lesbian life and love in Tokyo in the 1990s for yourself. Read Tokyo Love ~ Rica ‘tte Kanji!? for free, legally online! Enjoy!
The last volume of Josh Lesnick’s Girly series, Girly Forever, is a testimony to passion. Passion for cartooning, first and foremost, but also the obvious, laudable, passion Otra and Winter have for one another.
Having established Winter and Otra as a couple in previous volumes, Josh felt comfortable splitting them up for a good chunk of this story. But, before we get there, in Volume 3, there’s a number of flashbacks and story building leads that we need to get through, then a few digressions and premature story starts and stops and then, suddenly, in Volume 4, the plot is a gigantic ball of story elements moving downhill and gathering complications like a webcomic version of Katamari Damacy.
When I was reading the chapters that would become the last volume as a webcomic, it was maddening. I would save up a few months of strips at a time, in order to feel like something was happening. Reading it as a volume, I found it worked much better than the previous volumes in terms of narrative. In effect, this was the closest Josh comes to a “graphic novel” rather than a comic strip collection.
The story as a whole has a pretty Yuri-riffic ending, in which Love saves the day – and is suitably rewarded with Sex, which is as it should be. And the things that made no sense still make no sense, which is also as it should be.
Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 9
Service – 5
Overall – 8
I’m kind of sorry that Girly is over. Reading these volumes (or re-reading the strips, however you look at it,) has made me miss it. Girly was the only webcomic I ever really followed. Nothing else has been consistent enough, cohesive enough and wacky enough to hold my attention for any length of time. I seriously want to thank Josh for Girly, it cheered me up on many a day that I needed a smile (since shooting someone into space was not an option) and congratulate him on this complete collection. I’m proud to have helped contribute to the Kickstarter and hope he’ll do another series some day that I can follow at irregular intervals and still enjoy.