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Out ThereWorld of Webcomics is a series devoted to exploring the world of online comics and their target audiences, as well as their art styles, storylines, and the general enjoyment that they provide.


When I first started graduate school in 2008, I had to give up reading webcomics because of how much time I needed to devote to work and studying. At the time, I had just started reading Out There and wasn’t entirely sure what I thought of it, but was willing to give it a chance. Now, years later, I’ve finally been able to go back and catch up on all the webcomics I was reading, and I’ve come to find some things have changed . . . and some things have not. Centered on the life of a nomadic “wild” woman who puts down roots, Out There gives a very practical approach to day-to-day life with every common and realistic encounter, even if some of them seem a bit implausible. Originally updating every day, Out There comes out with a new comic every Wednesday at outthere.keenspot.com.

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

 

Alan WakeThere is a small, but loud, community that thinks that Alan Wake is one of the best games of this past console generation. We are right, too. Available on the Xbox 360 and PC, this is the finest psychological horror game I have ever seen. Borrowing heavily from Twin Peaks, Stephen King, and about a dozen other sources, the game tells the story of novelist, Alan Wake, as his vacation to the Pacific Northwest goes horribly wrong. The two things I most want to do right now are tell you every detail of this story and let you experience the story all on your own.

 

Rocket Queen and the Wrench 1Twelve-year-old Jamie Baldwin is having a bad day.

On his elementary school graduation day, the campus is attacked by the Technivore, and he’s rescued by Rocket Girl . . . errr, Queen, only to have her suit shut down by a stray shot and crash land, where he’s forced to reboot her armor by hand, using instructions radioed by his hero, Captain Zoom.

And, what did you do on your elementary school graduation?

Bloomers altEarlier this week, I posted a review of Bloomers: Season 1, a new online sitcom that puts a humorous, heartfelt, and modern spin on life in the big city. As promised, I am making my way through Season 2 of the series and loving every moment. While Season 1 introduced the audience to seven 20-something friends, their intertwining relationships, and their daily struggles to find themselves amidst the chaos, the second season has, thus far, focused more on individual members of the group, allowing each of the actors to shine.

GLBTQ - MFTWe have gays in the military, gays wanting to get married . . . do we really need gays in comics? Of course, we do!

June is national Gay Pride Month, so happy pride, EVERYONE. And, let's take a look at the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer, phew!) situation in comic books. Comic books have historically reflected current trends, politics, and issues. Sometimes to serve the story, sometimes to serve a purpose, and a lot of times simply for the fanfare. It makes sense that there is a large faction of GLBTQ comic fans. An outsider form of entertainment for an outsider subculture? The plight of the mutants in The X-Men forced to painfully co-exist in a society that shuns, if not fears and hates, them is an all too identifiable situation. When John Byrne introduced Northstar of Alpha Flight, he always intended him to be gay. Of course, things were different back then, and they had to pussyfoot around the issue. It wasn't until Issue #107 of Alpha Flight under a different writer that Northstar would scream and shout and let it all out that not only was he a mutant, he was homosexual (AND Canadian!). To Marvel Comics' discredit, Northstar was quickly ushered back into the closet after much negative feedback. It wasn't until years later, when gay rights become white hot and super trendy, that Marvel would reintroduce Northstar into their best-selling X-Men comic, give him a boyfriend, and a publicity-filled wedding. Too little, too late? Nah, it's better than nothing.

'The Change:' Book Review

 

The ChangeThe Change, the sequel to The Longest Road, takes up a few months after the last book. The remaining cousins and their small party of survivors have found a peaceful existence on a little beachfront encampment in Washington state. It isn’t long, of course, before our heroes find themselves in more danger. And fighting more zombies.

 

The Fabulous Killjoys 1Just the title alone was enough to make me interested in this new series by Dark Horse, and I am impressed with just the first issue. Enter a futuristic desert wasteland filled with rebels, stragglers, and a mysterious DJ all fighting against the evil corporate forces of the Better Living Industries (BLI), whose face-like logo has to be a shot at Walmart. BLI is headquartered in nearby Battery City, a neo-Babylon filled with decadence and decay that is slightly reminiscent of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. How decadent? Try android sex workers trolling the streets for anyone who is feeling a little lonely. Oh, and they can get addicted to a power source known as Plus.

 

Technomancer 1Technology destroyed the world, and so the people of Virdis Valley have demonized it, burning at the stake anyone foolish enough to dig up the tools from that forgotten time. Merrick is a magician, or, more accurately, a con artist that makes use of technology by pretending it's magic. Traveling along with his assistant, Thaddeus Kidd, Merrick is about to be swept up in a larger adventure when a woman from a far away land falls out of the sky and into his life.

 

This Is the EndThere’s a scene in Ricky Gervais’ show, Extras, that I love deeply.  Gervais plays an actor cast in a play.  The play’s director is Sir Ian McKellen.  What transpires is beautifully inspired comedy, as the legendary Sir Ian presents himself as a complete buffoon, explaining to Gervais that his technique as an actor is to pretend he is somebody else.  You see, Ian McKellan isn’t, in fact, a wizard.  He had to pretend to be one for Peter Jackson during the filming of Lord of the Rings.  “How did I know what to say?” he explains.   “The words were written down for me in a script.  How did I know where to stand?  People told me.”  If it weren’t a figure of such reverence saying it, the scene wouldn’t be funny at all.  Extras got great mileage out of that particular gag as stars ranging from Daniel Radcliffe to David Bowie would pop in to joyfully offer up the worst possible versions of themselves.  The show business settings of programs like Entourage or The Larry Sanders Show made it very easy for stars to lampoon themselves.  Jim Carrey’s vicious appearance on the finale of The Larry Sanders Show is still probably the funniest thing he’s ever done.

 

WarZoneWarZone Girls Volume 1, Issue 1: The Fight for Honor Begins is a brand new online graphic novel series from creators Thomas Nyman (writer) and Marat Mychaels (pencils), which follows the story of “five female mercenaries targeted for immediate execution” by a tyrannical World Government who rules over the remains of our world after a destructive, massive, and apocalyptic world war. While WarZone Girls suffers from some of the typical pitfalls that most new indie comics tussle with at the beginning, Nyman and Mychaels bring massive potential to the book, and the additional WarZone Girls content and features on the official website establish WarZone Girls as a series with some real (potentially nano-bot enhanced) legs!

SPOILERS BELOW

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