Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Geek Tragedy

Today I'm reviewing another one of my top ten webcomics. Unfortunately, it's a bit difficult to give a decent description of Geek Tragedy without presenting at least one major spoiler. Luckily, it's a spoiler that's revealed in the first two strips, so... go back to the beginning, then read the second one, then come back.

Okay, now we can begin properly.

Greek Tragedy has to be the only webcomic I've ever read that starts with the death of a main character. Despite it's titular beginning, it's also one of the most habitually funny comics I read. Each of the characters has a clear voice, and it's that voice that keeps me smiling. Every joke becomes an inside joke between friends, a heartwarming display of character, and occasionally a twist of the knife. The plot lines are varied and interesting, easily conjuring emotion from the reader. I'd almost classify it as a dramatic comedy, if it weren't for all the action. Even with that wide a range, the comic never seems scattered, nor do you get the impression that the creator has simply lost direction.

While the larger story lines are often punctuated with shorter, gag oriented strips, there's never enough of a lull to lose the plot and the character development continues to progress throughout. A good thing too, because while much of the comic is situational, it's clearly character driven. Yes, these are ordinary geeks - the perv, the techy, the couch potato, and the... well... ghost, but who they are as individuals is important. Their actions don't come from a blind, you know them, and expect them to react to events in a certain way. When they surprise you, as they sometimes do, it's always in a welcomed way and never comes off as trite or unbelievable.

The art has also progressed; though stylized and professional from the start it now has a great deal more depth and the coloring is simply fantastic. Shading, highlights, textures, body mechanics, expression, it's all a pleasure to study and supports the writing style perfectly. I especially envy his ability to use rich colors without blinding the reader, something I certainly haven't mastered yet. (It must have something to do with the gradients and highlights... hrm...) I also greatly appreciate his use of frames; they're not simply content holding boxes, they're clear perspective guides that occasionally even appear as background behind a character. He expresses mood wonderfully - the art, framing and composition all flowing with a natural ease.

As for the site - it's clutter free and the navigation is easy. For extras there's an active forum, one in which the creator actually contributes, and a very small store. The archives are arranged according to year, with both date and comic title as guides. Also of note - alternate strips, guest strips, and fan art are given their own space in the archives so new readers won't have to compete with them while working their way up to the latest comic. The cast pages aren't currently accessible, but I have a sneaking suspicion they're simply being updated with new artwork and additional characters, so a bit of downtime is perfectly acceptable. Also inaccessible from the website is the creator's contact information - though he's readily available though both his MySpace and ComicSpace accounts. He's damn nice too. *smiles*

So - looking for a character driven story that has humor, drama, tension, action, and truly professional art? Check out Geek Tragedy. You won't be sorry.