Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Geek Blather

What I remember of High School is that I wasn't very good at it - academically or socially. Of course, my High School was nothing like Eyrie High, and the students there were nothing like the cast of Geek Blather. Had they been, I would have at least been far more entertained.

Populated almost entirely by High School students, there are those that won't give the comic the chance it deserves. Add to the cast a sprinkling of homosexuality and the potential readership probably drops a touch more. I doubt that creators Quinn Gillespie and Kara O'Brien will notice their absence, however, as the comic seems angled toward an abundant demographic. Set in the present, Geek Blather is a shiny slice of life comic with a definite middle-class feel. This isn't to say that the comic's setting is a fun filled wonderland like the ones foisted on us by those bubble-headed tween flicks - Bullying, drugs, and even casual prostitution rear their heads here. Happily, these issues are artfully handled with a realistic sense of the frustrating nonchalance that permeates their real-life mirrors rather than with angst riddled stereotypical behavior.

From my perspective, the characters seem older than the plot dictates - though it's quite possible this seeming discrepancy is due to a simple generational gap. Regional differences, writer's prerogative, and the fact that the characters existed in RPG form before hitting webcomic fame may also play a part in this apparent time warping. Interestingly, I don't believe I would balk if the characters were portrayed as college students - apparently a couple of years makes all the difference for me.

The artwork is similarly realistic and very well done, especially considering the update schedule. The backgrounds lack detail, but one would have to drag their attention away from the characters to notice and they deserve the focus. Accurate body postures, complex facial expressions, graceful hands, and rich clothing designs overlayed with appropriate shading and highlights testify to the artist's talent. In fact, the artwork is so natural it may not be fully appreciated - take the time to really look it over once you've worked your way through the archives. I'm especially fond of her ability to clearly depict the characters in a realistic style without making them appear forced.

Various web goodies include a step-by-step "making of" tutorial followed by a spiffy video that allows you to see the process in action. A visit to the Glossary is mandatory, if only to finally name that horribly undeniable urge to draw or write something regardless of what you ought to be doing. Also, speaking of being distracted from what you ought to be doing, there's a lovely little paper doll flash that ate a good 20 minutes out of my review time.

Regular story lines update Tuesdays and Thursdays, with grab-bag strips thrown in for good measure on Saturdays... though to be perfectly honest I would love to see the Saturday strips evolve into their own stand alone slice-of-life. Come on gals, what do you say?