Mar. 29th, 2013

brigid: A fat faced baby in a cap is stuffed into a mail sack worn by a postal carrier. (what.)
I know I originally started this promising to review YOUNG ADULT webcomics and then listed a bunch that were more middle-school level. Sorry about that. However, What Birds Know, by Emelie Friberg & Mattias Thorelli, is more YA-ish.

When I say it's more Young Adult-ish, what I mean is the POV character(s) is what I'd consider Young Adult (12-18 years old), it's targeted more towards teens than adults, and it deals with the internal struggles and rites of passage that happen in that age range. A friend of mine who's a YA librarian compares YA and adult literature to "The Hobbit" versus "Lord Of The Rings." They're both great books about people going on an adventure. However, "The Hobbit" is a very personal story about one person growing up and leaving home for the first time, then returning safely. There's a lot of world building and action and adventure and singing Dwarves, but ultimately it's about one guy growing up. "Lord Of The Rings," on the other hand, has a whole fate of the world hanging in the balance thing, ultimate evil, sweeping epic, tons of characters, etc. POV characters grow and change and have rites of passage, but The Story is more important than their personal issues.

"What Birds Know" is a long-form comic that's published a few pages at a time. Like most long form comics it's best consumed in chunks and the wait between updates is deliciously difficult. The story follows a small group of girls who travel into the local forest as part of a school assignment and find something very unexpected.

The art is really pretty, the characters are well fleshed out, and there's a lot of really great world building and mythology. The comic is not a horror comic per se, but it has some incredibly creepy moments in it, some really disturbing and unsettling scenes. Much of the comic is set in a small town near the ruins of an older civilization. Interactions between various townspeople are handled really well, and a lot of information is conveyed through casual dialogue and attitude. There's also some really great foreshadowing about the ruins and former civilizations, mostly delivered by a delightfully nerdy dad.
brigid: A fat faced baby in a cap is stuffed into a mail sack worn by a postal carrier. (what.)
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks, is a YA comic about high school and friendships. As the about page says:

"You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely — until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders, and the cheerleaders retaliate by making Charlie their figure-head in the ugliest class election campaign the school as ever seen. At stake? Student group funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms — but not both.

"Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not! Nothing can possibly go wrong."

"Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong" updates pretty frequently and has great clean stylish line art by Hicks. The dialogue is snappy and the writing fast paced, characters are very well designed. The two main characters are white males, but the supporting cast is fairly diverse with POC and women given speaking roles. The comic touches a bit on bullying, and Charlie's got some issues with his parents in the background, and one of the members of the Robotics Club is a young woman which is always nice to see.

I'm a fan of Hicks' work, and this project really showcases her strengths well. This is Shen's first book, but the writing and dialogue feel very tight and polished with none of that "new author" feel.

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