It seems I’ve created a new nightly ritual for myself; I sift through the myriad of webcomics that were suggested to me for review, enjoying the process of picking one entirely too much, until one strikes me with that ‘I know just what to say about this one’ feeling.
Tonight, I settled on Zombie Boy Comics. I was a little hesitant at first, mainly due to creator Mark Stokes popularity. What could I say about such a great, highly regarded comic? And, would Mark even be interested…? In the end, I forged ahead anyway.
When I first started reading, I must admit, I was a little confused. Was this a gag-a-day webcomic? A continuous storyline? It wasn’t clear, and frankly, the about page did little to provide clarity. However, I slowly started to realize that this was an asset, not a detraction. Zombie Boy is very much a gag-a-day, but because of the consistent, well defined, and beautifully crafted characters, it flows very much like a continuous storyline. This dichotomy struck near perfect balance, and I commend Mark on doing so.
With this realization in hand, I approached to the comic from an entirely new perspective. I read through the character bios again, and with each click through the archive I came to appreciate the dialogue and character interplay more and more. Mark achieves true humor without going for the ever popular wang & feces jokes. The hilarity comes from a very genuine place; Mark writes to each characters personality with great poise and the more you read, the more you start inadvertently choosing your favorites, and the interplay between them becomes even more interesting.
In terms of artwork, Zombie Boy is very pleasing to the eye. Mark’s use of color can be both bold and subtle within the same strip. Expressive faces, varied panel busting techniques, and punch-line emphasizing text explosions are employed liberally. The only thing I might point to as a possible negative (depending on your perspective) are Mark’s backgrounds. Now, don’t get me wrong. When Zombie Boy runs a strip that is a single panel, the background work is nothing short of brilliant. Mark really paints a picture, no – a scene, often without needing much text at all. But, sometimes, as I flipped through comic after comic, I started to notice that the four panel comics often relied very, very heavily on the characters to tell the entire story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; one could very easily argue that the four panel strips don’t offer the space needed to constantly create overly detailed backgrounds. But, I found myself thinking the same thing even on some double and triple panel comics as well.
In the end, the background comment seems relatively nit-picky for such a wonderful comic. And to be honest, it was more of an observation than a criticism. Either way, if you aren’t regularly following this comic, you are missing out on some of the best MWF material out there.