Webcomics: Reviews of Back, The Only Living Boy, and When I Am King

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Kingdoms, Realms, and Back Again

It’s new month, so that means it’s time for another episode of The Comics Alternative Webcomics. For February Derek and Andy W. discuss two current ongoing webcomics and one completed title. First, they look at K. C. Green and Anthony Clark’s Back, a western/fantasy story about the end of the world, Backor as the website describes it, “Not post apocalyptic, just the end of it all.” This is a relatively new webcomic — with only a short prologue and what appears to be the completed first chapter — so the guys are really getting in on the ground floor with this one. They discuss the cartoony or iconic art style, which adds to the all-age flavor of the story, while at the same time commenting on the weighty philosophical themes the authors seem to be juggling: fate, destiny, and free will. There is also a lot of action and humor that will resonate with readers young and old. The only downside to this title — if you want to call it a “downside” — is that it’s only updated once a week, every Wednesday, and this is such an fun read that the guys are bummed that they have to wait once a week for the next installment. Next, they look at The Only Living Boy, a adventurous dystopian fantasy from creators David Gallaher and Steve Ellis (and through their studio, Bottled Lightning). This is described as a young adult title, although Andy observes that this is the kind of story he would associate more with younger readers, OLBand that it doesn’t really fit in the “Young Adult” section that he’s used to in his library. Nonetheless, The Only Living Boy is a title that can be appreciated by readers of all age, and having started a little over two years ago, there is enough material for anyone to get into Gallaher and Ellis’s evolving narrative world. There are three chapters, or three issues, of the comic so far, and the webcomic is updated three times a week. Both Derek and Andy enjoy this title, but at the same time they comment on the haphazardness of the plotting — at least at times it appears that way — and the awkward navigability of the comic’s archival pages. Finally, they look at Demian 5’s When I Am King, an early webcomic that was created between October 1999 and July 2001. Even though this is an older title, the Two Guys comment on how current or up-to-date it appears, easily standing alongside — and even possibly outshining — many of the webcomics written today. The story is relatively simple, but it’s the way that Damian 5 tells the tale that makes it so compelling. The creator definitely utilizes the “infinite canvas” of the web page, and there are many places where the reader has to scroll up, down, and to the sides in order to get all of the narrative. This kind of interactiveness makes this “simple” story even more engaging, and this, along with the variation of art styles and occasional animation, make When I Am King a classic in the webcomics medium.


Check out some of the hard-copy comics from the creators discussed in this episode:

This episode’s incidental music is brought to you by
Mitch Easter’s Dynamico



The Comics Alternative is a podcast and blog focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.

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