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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Battlepug

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Sometimes a webcomic is born from a strange place. In this case, an established mainstream print comic artist designed a t-shirt on the fly. The characters on the silly t-shirt became so wildly popular that a weekly webcomic had to follow, because the clamors of internet could not be denied. I mean really, who could deny the sweet, gigantic face of BattlepugThe Battlepug itself is the giant, fearsome mount of mighty barbarian mage-warrior, who is on quest for vengeance against those who destroyed his family. In an age lost to time, where bandits roam and kings squabble over petty grievances, a malevolent wizard is using giant, adorable beasts to destroy a seemingly random sequence of towns and villages. Our hero, the Warrior, is the lone survivor of one of these attacks. As he journeys to find vengeance against the mage he is joined on his quest by the massive and lovable Battlepug, a mad old hermit, a foul-mouthed and powerfully magical child, and a fearsome female soldier.

Battlbug is a tongue-in-cheek look at the pulp novels of the past, and the characters almost always approach their absurd situations with complete seriousness. This is a sword and sorcery comedy, although there are hints of a more serious storyline beneath it. The art is reminiscent of pulp novel covers and illustrations as well. It is brightly colored and richly detailed. THe characters are expressive and original, and every single one of the massive Battlepug’s sweet, derpy expressions warm my heart and make me squee! Even if he is rampaging through a battle! Who can say no reading more comics with that face? As an added bonus, fan’s pug pictures are featured on Fridays! The comic itself updates with excellent punctuality on Mondays. In 2012, it won the Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic. The first volume has been published by Dark Horse.

The Author and his Other Work 

Mike Norton is the writer and artist for Battlepug, and is the owner of a pug named Ninja. He has an impressive comics resume that includes the Waiting Place, Runaways, and Green Arrow/Black Canary as well as many others. He has also recently been working on Revival with Tim Seeley, to much critical acclaim. The colors are done by Allen Passalaqua, a photographer and colorist who has worked on Justice Socitey of America, Spiderman, Green Arrow and Black Canary.

A Boy and his Dog.

Our hero meets his mighty steed.


Wednesday’s Webcomic: Scandinavia and the World

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Every nationality has an image of their nation as a person in their collective  mind or in their propaganda, and we certainly have a stereotyped personification about other countries, particularly our nearest neighbors. Frequently, other country’s stereotypes clash with our own, and one creative author, who was a reader of Axis Powers Hetalia decided to put her own native spin on Denmark and its closest compatriots Sweden and Norway. After several strips poking fun at the dysfunctional Scandinavian “family” their neighbors and rivals came on the scene, giving birth to the long-running comic parodying national identity, Scandinavia and the World

 

America's Thor

 

The countries interact with each other as discreet individuals, and are portrayals and parodies of international stereotypes from the Scandinavian point of view. All of their relationships are portrayed in their fully dysfunctional and very intimate glory, with some countries that are lovers and some that are bitter rivals. There are also personifications of the different country’s women portrayed as the “Sisters.” The artist uses her own Danish bias to point out every country’s tendency to have itself at the the center of the world. Be prepared for adult humor, cartoon violence, and your beloved country of origin to be viciously skewered. The art style varies on the author’s whim and the comic’s tone, ranging from deformed and cartoonish to more realistic and romantic. Each comic is standalone, with a varying range of lengths. The update schedule is “when the author has a good idea” so it’s good to use a service like Comic Rocket to follow her. She can be inspired by current events, a cultural misunderstanding on a bus, or the Eurovision song contest. The author is also aware of her multicultural audience, and frequently has a comedic blurb under the comic explaining the things her global audience might not be aware of.

Iceland Ain't Right

Apparently Iceland is the gateway to Hell, or “Hekla.”

The Author and her Other Works

*humon is a Danish cartoonist who recently relocated to the United Kingdom. She has a number of other strips written in a similar format to Scandinavia, all of them originally published on  Deviant Art, but which are now also being published on a new, central website. Her other comics have more sexuality, gender roles, and other adult themes, so I wouldn’t read them at work. Her semi-regular posting schedule unfortunately took a hit as she has received a lot of unpleasant backdraft from people misinterpreting her comics, but supportive friends and fans have successfully lured her back into publishing. Her recent move to the UK seems to have provided a lot of inspiration. Be sure to really dig through her Deviant Art archive as well, because she has some truly beautiful paintings of Norse myths and Scandinavian folklore!

Wife-Carrying

The noble Finnish sport of Wife-Carrying. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wife_carrying


Wednesday’s Webcomic: JL8

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Wednesday's Webcomic

I’m going to take a chance that you haven’t heard about this week’s webcomic today, because if you haven’t there is a HUGE gaping hole in your life. That hole is in the shape of JL8.  Often fans of mainstream comics will get a little burned out from the intensity and the grandiosity of their favorite franchises and need a good dose of their favorite characters diluted into their purest forms. Traits such as Superman’s nobility and his naiveté,  Batman’s cleverness and his ego, and Wonder Woman’s loyalty and her poise. Distilling and scrunching these character traits into adorable costumed preschoolers complete with super powers, author Yale Stewart tells short stories of justice and friendship in the format of old-fashioned newspaper superhero strips.

JL8 Spiderman

JL8 is adorable and sweet but it doesn’t shy away from conflict. The kids in another class room are a familiar bunch of villains and ne’er do-wells, led by a mini Lex Luthor,  although younger Lex still has lustrous shampoo commercial hair.  Behind the scenes comic heroes such as Jules Schwartz and Neil Gaiman make unnamed appearances and many comic tropes are lampooned and lamp-shaded with abandon. The series thankfully never tries to explain why a bunch of super-powered children go to the same school and why they all live within flying and walking distance. For the sake of your enjoyment, please take your logic and put it in the back of your closet with your cynicism and the roller skates you never use.

JL8 Luthor and the Legion of Doom

The Author and his Other Works

Yale Stewart is creating JL8 as a true labor of love. It’s unfortunately impossible to earn money with JL8 since he does not have legal permission to use DC Comics characters. He even had to abandon the series’ original name, Little League, since the Little League baseball organization is extremely zealous in it’s protection of their trademark. Fans have been rabid to support him, so thankfully Stewart recently released the semi-autobiographical comic Gifted on the pay-what-you-can model.

JL8 Dodgeball Darkseid Gym class