Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alaska Robotics

Dear Alaska Robotics creators,

Please put your latest comic on the front page of your website. Ktnxbai!

There. With that out of the way we've completed my list of negative review items for Alaska Robotics. If you were here looking for flames, you can leave now. I also suggest you take a sincerely critical look at the thought process that brought you to my blog looking for flames.

Digression? You get that a lot around here. Flames? Not so much.

As I sat down and read through the Alaska Robotics archive to refresh my memory for the review I found myself chuckling and thinking "I'm really going to enjoy writing this review, it's always nice to review a comic I really like." Then I sat down to review the damn thing and found myself thinking "What the hell do I say about this completely random, yet thoroughly enjoyable, work?" Alaska Robotics is one of those webcomics that defies simple classification. For the most part, it's a single shot comic - you don't necessarily need to go through the archives as most strips are independant of previous strips. Okay, got that. Is it a humor comic? Yes... ish. While many of the strips are humor based, and the comedy is well written, there are a number of strips that are more fanciful explorations of poetry and art. Is it character based? Yes... ish. The same characters pop up time and again, but getting to know the individual characters isn't a requirement for understanding the strips. Is it plot based? Um... kind of. There are brief plot lines, (my favorite being the Robot Zombies story) and you do get the over-all impression that the characters work and/or live together. Is it about robots? Sometimes. Is it about Alaska? I think they live there... but I don't know that it matters.

You know how your brain goes a bit floppy after several hours without sleep and everything becomes kind of whimsical and humorous without really tying into anything solid? That's Alaska Robotics.

Well, assuming your brain is actually funny and maintains great timing in it's more addled states.

The artwork is mostly kooky and playful, making it an excellent match for the strip. The exceptions in style take place during the mini-stories within the comic, most noteably the Ocean City story line where backgrounds are rendered in a beautifully soft painted style. To get a really good look at the painting techniques, I heartily suggest taking advantage of the "Monster Sized" option included under each strip. I do wish there was an archive of some sort available on each page, but this is a minor issue as a drop down archive is included on the Comics page accessable by way of the main menu.

All-in-all, I really enjoy the strip. Whimsical really is the adjective that keeps coming to mind - it's a lighthearted, positive read that's at turns punny, topical, and almost restful. It also seems extremely marketable... but that's a review of a different sort entirely.

Next up - The Lowly Dregs