Stripped Comics is certainly not your average webcomic. It is quite an ambitious project that essentially follow several different ‘character’ driven story-lines, which sometimes overlap. In a way, Stripped Comics operates very much like comic books; each character has their own ‘episodes’ (think short-ish continuous storylines) that are released sequentially for a period of time until a particular storyline is finished. Then, it is a different characters turn. And, just like comic books, sometimes the story-lines over-lap, and the characters intermingle.
I actually enjoyed this approach quite a bit; it is certainly unique and a refreshing take on the typical webcomic. Another benefit to this approach is the vast amount of variety afforded to creator Joel Poirier; it seems perfectly natural when one set of episodes for a character is somewhat different than another, whether that is in art style, script presentation, or whatever. But, each ‘comic’ is similar enough that there is never any confusion that they were all created by the same person.
Artistically there is a lot to like, especially with the latest iterations of strips. Color, line work and texture are all executed very well. Even from the very beginning of the webcomic, the dialogue has been very much in line with classic good guy vs. bad guy type comics, which oodles of prototypical batman style action sequences to enjoy. As an added bonus, periodically ‘Encyclopedia’ entries are introduced, and they are quite a treat. Things like weapon specs, detailed descriptions of city layouts, or henchmen profiles are what you have to look forward to, and they rarely disappoint. In essence, as much time and care goes into these ‘comics’ as a typical strip.
Two relatively small gripes. First, the comic is often presented as a two over two four panel comic. For some strange reason, this just doesn’t jive with me. I honestly can’t put my finger on it, but something tells me I would prefer to see it presented horizontally. Some of my favorite strips were ones where the two over two was replaced with a single panel, or three panels stacked that extended the width of the frame. Second, when I first landed on the site, this whole concept of multiple characters and story-lines arranged into episodes wasn’t entirely clear. I kept wondering why the most recent comics seemed to have little to do with the first entries in the archive. As you can tell, I figured things out once I rooted around a bit, but perhaps a larger call to action to visit the about page is in order.
At any rate, with so much variety, it is hard not to find something to like amongst the interesting and varied characters and story-lines of Stripped Comics!