Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Lowly Dregs

All right, people. Enough is enough. Somewhere in this list there must be a comic that I won't really like and it needs to come up soonish. Every time I come across a comic on the list that I actually enjoy enough to read regularly I find myself struggling to find something to say beyond "This comic is good... and stuff. "


Yeah, yeah... I know what you're thinking - "Oh joy. Yet another freaking D&D comic." No, the genre isn't exactly hurting for entries, but this one is actually worth checking out so try to save some of that cynicism for the next two-guys-and-a-couch entry.

Let's start with the artwork, shall we? If you've taken a look at some of the other D&D inspired comics out there you might be noticing something new. I know it may be confusing, just take a deep breath and look it over. See the smooth line art, the subtle detailing, the vibrant coloring and consistent shading? That's talent. Nothing to be frightened of I assure you, with luck you'll get used to it. Am I being a bit flippant? Perhaps, but I contend it's not my fault. Being the D&D nerd I am I'm tired of seeing crappy comics piss all over the game. The Lowly Dregs does no pissing and it pleases me. The coloring of the comic perfectly fits the tone, it's merry and jovial without searing the eyeballs. Character designs are well rendered and consistent, fitting the personalities as presented without relying on overly obvious cues. Rounding out the praise are the detailed backgrounds and scene settings that manage visual complexity without overwhelming the characters or action.

Now on to the writing. The first obvious comparison you'll likely be inclined to make is to Goblins. Stop it. This is not Goblins, a Goblins rip-off, or even a Goblins tribute. Yes, both comics look at adventuring from the viewpoint of a typical D&D NPC, but that's where the comparison ends. The Lowly Dregs is a comedy. There are some action elements, but I've yet to have my heart broken into tiny shards by the mass of death and destruction. Death is incidental here, not impacting. I do very much appreciate the way all out farce is avoided as well. The plot is character driven and, while individual strips may depend on puns for a punchline, the vast majority of the humor comes from our knowledge of the characters and their relationships to one another. The pacing is wonderful, neither stressed nor drawn out, and the dialogue is very natural. They haven't quite yet reached the 100 mark, but they've passed the hurdle of plot staging and are moving steadily into development. Now's a great time to jump in and get caught up before things really start taking off.

Ready for my one and only criticism? Word bubbles. They seem a bit tacked on and out of place with the artwork, and are sometimes placed so that conversations seem out of turn. Early font issues were worked out relatively quickly though, so I've no doubt that these issues will similarly disappear. I don't think the site would be hurt by the inclusion of About and Cast pages, but a thread for each in the Forum would work in a pinch.

Last little tidbit - for some goofy easter egg fun, click the apple in the Dregs logo at the top of the page. Spritely giggles are contained within.

Thanks for putting up with me these last two weeks, I'm still trying to get back in the swing of things. I know I'm still one review behind, but I'll have it up as soon as possible. See you soon!