Welp, last night I stayed up until this morning (6AMish, to be slightly more precise) reading a web-comic. I thought this sort of thing wasn’t going to happen anymore. I thought I was an ADULT now.
Alas, it appears that ‘it’ does not work that way.
One minute I was avoiding writing a blog post by reading Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones, and then it was eleven o’ clock at night and I was about halfway through Erfworld. (Which, by the way, has a cool little side bar that shows mini-reviews for things the creative team has been writing/playing. Isn’t that cool? I wanna be a cool web-comic author with a snazzy review bar. Well, okay, maybe not. But I’d like to be able to express articulate opinions and have people read and enjoy them. Which is LIKE the same thing.)(NOBODY SAY ANYTHING!!!)
Regardless, my little foray back into web-comic binging has left me a tad dazed and confused. Does this mean I lose my ‘good at doing things’ award? Will they come with clipboards and big boots? WILL THEY KICK DOWN MY DOOR??
I’ll let you know. In the meantime:
How was Erfworld? (I keep wanting to call it Gobwin Knob…)
[Note: Erfworld is written by Rob Balder, and currently penciled by Xin Ye and colored by Lauri Ahonen. All people involved in creating this work shall henceforth be referred to as ‘they’.]
I enjoyed reading it. It was pretty fun. Much exciting. Much explosions. Much hordes of undead. After the first chunk (‘Book One’) it’s largely text, which was interesting. Annoying, because after about midnight I didn’t want to be reading anymore, I just wanted to know what happened next. But it did allow them to do a lot things which are hard in comic form. For example, be inside people’s heads real good and do MASSIVE exposition.
These text-y bonuses were used to good effect. There were a lot of different mini-viewpoint characters, giving us a wide perspective on the world and lots of details. They managed all these characters without confusing me much or making me loose track, which I think is pretty impressive.
And the characters are FUN. Some of them are lame, but most of them are cool, and even the lame ones manage to be interesting. For example: Main Character Parson is fun to watch because a. you get to learn a lot about the world b. the side characters he’s with rock and c. he might at any moment do something no one else is expecting (like blow up a volcano or change sides). Side Character Ansom is fun to watch because he’s usually in contact with someone cooler then himself. (Right now, he’s talking to Prince Tramennis who is one of my top five because he’s hilarious and actually smart and also a decent person, and talks to people as a first solution, which is a major big deal where he is from.)
The setting they picked gives them access to some interesting questions about free will and agency, like what counts as brain control, which they’ve brushed upon. We’ll see how much of it they really explore, or if they just let it be an angst-source.
They also get to have fun playing with the tension between game-rules and real-rules by making the setting a game setting (with game rules), but having a character who is from Earth, so he gets to be weirded out by things like units just appearing at the beginning of the turn and the like. This leads to important world info, funny looks, and of course, rules lawyering (and some questions about why there isn’t more rules manipulation).
So, those things are good.
There were also some less good things.
First: the artist change in book three was startling enough to be continually distracting. None of the characters look right anymore!
More importantly (to me), the characters were largely ONLY fun. I’m not sure why, but I’m not really invested in many of them. They’re compelling enough that I’m glad to see them on the page, so I can find out what’s going to happen next, or what cool thing they’ll do, but I’m guessing I’m not going to think about them at all this week, and I’m not curious enough to peak into the prologue content in Book Zero (at least, not yet).
Less importantly (maybe) but waaaay more annoyingly, I feel a bit strapped on ‘people without love interests’. The girls are loosing worse, with two living girls and five, six, or seven living guys with no love interests! (We aren’t counting the dead people, because the guy numbers outstrip the girl ones to the point of shame. Minor male characters are more likely to exist and thus die in this story, giving guys the advantage here.) BOO!!! Fortuently, so far only one love triangle has driven the plot, and it seems largely reasonable and backstory-riffic, and didn’t have communication drama problems, just normal reasonable problems. (Well…. okay, reasonable for a “brain-controlled” barbarian queen, a control freak fanatic necromancer and a self absorbed prince who is later undead.)
Those things being said, clearly the action, plot, world, and cleverness was good enough to keep me clicking well past my bed time, and though I didn’t start shouting at characters until 2AM, I was continuously interested in what was going to happen next.
So yeah. It was fun. Maybe not worth staying up all night for, but fun.