One of the first webcomics that got me well and truly hooked on the medium was C. Spike Trotman’s Templar, AZ. It’s best described in the author’s words; “Templar, Az is about a town and the people who live there.”
Templar is a decompressed story focusing on a broad cast of characters in a fascinating Alternate History universe. The story begins by focusing on Ben Kowalski, a young man new to Templar, an offbeat city in Arizona. As he meets his neighbors, the comic’s scope increases to include their lives. The story moves so smoothly from interaction to interaction and conversation to conversation that only a month of in-universe time has passed since opening day in 2005. For most of it’s run it’s been told in a sepia toned and animated art style, but as of the beginning of chapter 6 it is now in full color. A few black and white intermissions have taken place between the chapters, each one giving more character information and even more scope to this incredibly detailed universe.
This is not a comic to read if you want quick resolution and fast paced action. It is a most delicious of slow builds, as if you are following these characters about their lives as an intangible voyeur. The cast can be both monstrous and sympathetic, and the characters opinions and relationships with each other are related as much through intense facial expressions as their natural dialogue. The props and television programming in the background tell as much about the universe as the character’s discussions of events and personal history. While the fact that all TV is streamed for free over the city’s WiFi connection will be enough for you to be green with envy, every revelation shows that the world of Templar, Az is just as beautiful and broken as our own.
The Author and her Other Works
Charlie “Spike” Trotman has started a small publishing company, Iron Circus Comics to print Templar, AZ and some superb anthologies, including the runaway success Smut Peddler. It’s first print run was funded with a Kickstarter that exceeded its goal by more than 400%. A horror anthology was recently announced and is currently accepting submissions. She’s also written Poorcraft, illustrated by Diana Nock, a comic guide to living well and frugally. Spike frequently does excellent guest comics as well.
I recommend using Comic Rocket to read Templar, AZ.