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This August episode of the webcomics series begins with an introduction to Sean Kleefeld, the new cohost of the show. With Andy W. deciding to step down from his duties — he’ll be doing other exciting things with The Comics Alternative in the weeks to come! — Derek has asked Sean to step in and join him for the guys’ monthly look at webcomics. So listeners of the series can now benefit from Sean’s discerning critical eye and deep expertise in the medium. In fact, all of the titles that they are discussing this month stem from Sean’s recommendations. They begin with Steve Hamaker’s Plox, a currently ongoing series centered on the relationships among three online gamers. While the premise may appear at first glance to be hackneyed, a satiric look at gaming geeks and fanboys/girls, this narrative is anything but. In fact, Hamaker’s focus is more on the dynamics of identity formation and interpersonal relations than it is on pop culture stereotypes. One of the themes woven throughout the series (so far) is the discrepancy between our public persona and the ways we define ourselves from within, and how that tension reveals a search for authenticity. Next Sean and Derek look at Bird Boy, a fantasy/adventure series from Anne Szabla. This is the coming-of-age story of Bali, a young and diminutive would-be hunter whose inadvertent heroism — and the accidental discovery of a legendary sword — plunges him headlong into his tribe’s creation myth. The guys comment not only on Szabla’s beautifully detailed art, but also on her keen sense of pacing, how she sequences her panels to give depth to the action. Beginning in October 2010, this webcomic that is currently into its second volume. Finally, the guys look at an already completed work, Brendan Albetski’s The Mouth. This is a short work that can be found on Hell to Breakfast, the home to the Albetski’s online art as well as his podcast, The Hell to Breakfast Show. On the surface The Mouth is the story of three siblings who venture into the forest for an unlikely, and gothic-inspired, revelation. However, densely packed within this brief webcomic is a meditative, philosophical exploration — Sean calls it zen-like — exploring the very process and purpose of life. All three of this month’s webcomics are worth checking out, and the guys’ detailed discussion of them is just the right springboard for what promises to be a new and fruitful cohosting relationship.
Check out Sean’s Comic Book Fanthropology as well as Steve Hamaker’s coloring work:
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