It’s once again time for our most popular blog feature, other good webcomics. This time I want to present two fantasy webcomics with particular nice artwork and solid storylines.
Unsounded by Ashley Cope is one of the comics with the prettiest color artwork I’ve ever seen, including print comics such as Blacksad. That it updates three times a week with pages that are as detailed as the covers of professional comic books is absolutely astonishing. The story is also well done, but it might not be everybody’s piece of cake. The female lead character, the foul-mouthed 12-ish rogue Sette, is one of the most obnoxious brats in the history of storytelling, surpassing even Dakota Fanning’s character in War of the Worlds. Together with the loyal lich Duane, whom she teases endlessly, Sette is on a mission to find the cousin on behalf of her father who is a thief lord in Sharteshane. Of course there are more than enough monsters and villains who get in their way.
The pacing and dialog is quite good and there are some nice ideas here and there, but it remains to be seen if the main story will offer something unique in the end. Unsounded is definitely not suitable for children, the PG-13 icon on the page should be replaced with an R rating. Not only do the characters cuss like sailors, there is also lots of graphic violence with bad things happening to little girls and whatnot. My biggest issue with Unsounded is the heavy accent of most characters and the large amount of uncommon words they use, making the comic very hard to understand for non-native speakers.
The Meek by Der-shing Helmer consists of three chapters so far which only seem to be loosely related to each other at the moment. The colored artwork is also top-notch, but I wish the pages were bigger to be able to really appreciate it. The first chapter centers on the (completely naked) young woman Angora who has been sent by her “grandpa” on a dangerous mission, the second chapter is showing a key day in the life of the emperor Luca DeSadar. The dialog in The Meek is significantly easier to understand with fewer strange words and place names as in Unsounded, and I also think that the main story looks slightly more promising. However, The Meek’s biggest problems is its erratic update schedule with only one new page per week in average. Just like Unsounded, The Meek is made for an adult audience with a naked main character; the violence is less drastic, though.
The Advice Animal meme started when the first image macros of the original Advice Puppy were posted on the Image-Board-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named some years ago. The images showed a puppy’s face against the background of a color wheel accompanied by unrelated, ridiculous instructions such as “Do the laundry / Rob a bank”.
Since then, an uncountable number of variations of the meme have been created, some of them with very amusing “characters”. One of them is for example the “Socially Awkward Penguin” who just has no clue how to behave in certain social situations. Another one is the “Insanity Wolf” who is just, well, insane.
Here are some examples, you can find many more and create your own on Quickmeme:
Since it’s been a long time since my last blog post, I thought I could show you some of my favorite wildlife paintings. Except for “Gone Fishing” I found all of them on eBay. Six of the ten paintings are from Misti Hope Wudtke, who is not only an outstanding artist, but also a very friendly person. In 2007 and 2008 I bought around a dozen of her best paintings just in time before she retired as a full-time artist. Unfortunately, it has become harder and harder to find paintings of good quality on eBay in recent years and most other places are just too expensive.
Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
This watercolor (14″ x 11″) by Sandra Kärcher was the first original painting I bought. She painted it on November 2005 and put it on sale on eBay shortly after that. I think there is not enough experimentation with different painting techniques and picture layout in wildlife art, but this piece is a welcome exception.
“Gone Fishing” (22″ x 39, acryl, 2004) by William Silvers is my favorite painting. It was also by far the most expensive and complicated purchase. But I’m nonetheless glad that I bought it since I believe that it is the best painting of a raccoon that has ever been created. William wrote the following lines about this acryl painting:
“The raccoon was aware of my presences when I took the reference photo but wasn’t about to stop looking for clams. At one point the boat I was in drifted close enough for me to touch him but he kept going as if I weren’t there.”
This untitled etching (7″ x 5″) was done by Tom Browning in 1977. It is an “original print” in the sense that it is a one of a kind piece which was given by the artist to a friend in Oregon.
I already watched David Coalburn‘s eBay account for a while when he put “Eyes that Stare Back at You” (12″ x 9″, oil, 2007) for sale.
“Don Diego on the Hunt” (20″ x 16″, watercolor, 2008) is a painting I commissioned from Misti Hope Wudtke. This watercolor is based on a reference photo I took while visiting the small zoo Waldzoo Offenbach in 2007. On my visit, I was able to play with Don Diego, whose nose was bitten off during a fight as a cub, and two other raccoons. Sadly, there was a huge fire at the zoo last month which caused a damage of around €60,000 which is an enormous amount for such a small zoo. I plan another visit there this summer and promised to make a generous donation.
“Dinner for Two” (14″ x 11″, watercolor, 2008) is another watercolor I commissioned from Misti Hope Wudtke. She was free to paint whatever she wanted, as long as a normal colored and a blonde raccoon were in it. Of course, I was very happy with the result.
However, Misti’s favorite wildlife subject are not raccoons, but birds. With its dark mood, “Thought and Memory” (16″ x 20″, watercolor, 2007) is a somewhat unusual piece for her. She wrote this about it:
“In Norse mythology, Odin (more correctly “Othinn”) had two ravens, Huginn (“Thought”) and Muninn (“Memory”). According to 13th-century Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson, Othin would send Hugin and Munin out at dawn every day to fly over the world, and they’d return in the evening and relate to the god any noteworthy bits of news that they’d seen.
Although this painting originally had nothing to do with anything Norse, I thought the ravens’ names made a good title for this piece.
Yeah I know…there are five ravens in the picture…don’t know which two are Thought and Memory, though….”
Misti also created a good amount of watercolor paintings depicting songbirds that infiltrated her backyard, for example “November” (16″ x 20″, watercolor, 2007). She wrote about this piece:
“I’ve always been fond of blue jays (which are native to my home state of Wisconsin)—loud, obnoxious beasts that they sometimes are. I’ve had a good number of them lurking around my bird feeder in the last month or so; they always seem to come out in force when the weather gets cold.
The inspiration for the setting of this painting is the “back field” of our 27-acre woods, where my family used to have a garden. Everything’s quite dilapidated now—including the fence posts—and while it looks rather sad sometimes in the dim, golden-hued stillness of a November evening, it sure makes for great painting inspiration.
The background just turned out as a rather abstract mélange of dusky colors, but my brother, sister and sister-in-law seem to think it looks like northern lights. That wasn’t the intention, but I suppose “abstract” can be whatever the observer wants it to be, right? ;)”
“The Blizzard” (8″ x 10″, watercolor, 2007) is another watercolor by Misti of a songbird during winter, a black-capped chickadee among some jack pine branches to be precise. Misti was very happy the way this painting turned out:
“I used to make paintings in this style (that is, set on a cold, grey, snowy winter day) all the time, but I hadn’t made one in ages (that is, in about ten years), so I thought I’d try my hand at it again. I figured out a little better technique for creating random “snow” than I used to have, and I really like the way it turned out. In fact, I really really like the way it turned out.”
The thing I like the most about “Wood Ducks” (14″ x 11″, watercolor, 2007) is the background with its life-like branches and the vibrant colors of their leaves. When I commissioned “Don Diego on the Hunt”, I asked Misti to draw a similar background.
The first volume of the Mal and Chad comic book series by Stephen McCranie is out now. The two main heroes of the adventure story previously appeared in the defunct webcomic Mal and Chad. The new comic book is unrelated to the webcomic and tells a completely new story. You can order “Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!” at Amazon.com for $9.99. (It’s also available at Amazon.de and other stores.)
The Mal and Chad webcomic was a newspaper-style comic strip about the boy Mal and his talking dog Chad. When the little genius Mal was not busy wooing the love of his life, Megan, he invented teleporters and cute robots. Unlike most webcomics, Mal and Chad was a very light-hearted comic and suitable even for young children.
I’m confident that the first graphic novel featuring Mal and Chad will be as enjoyable as Zita’s first adventure. I have already ordered a copy.