The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Just to prove I don't like *everything* I read (A review of Wondermark)

(A typical comic from Wondermark. At the time of this posting the main Wondermark site seems to be down, but there appears to be a backup here.)

Looking back through my archives so far on the Webcomicker (which are short, sadly, but I am getting more consistent, which is good), I've noticed that in general when I post something it tends to be a glowing review highlighting some aspect of a comic that I really enjoy. In fact, the only really negative post I see at all is when I chastise Scott Kurtz for being insensitive, and he's insensitive so consistently that my post seems like just a bit of white noise.

And I guess that's just the way I am. I'm generally more inclined to write about stuff I enjoy rather than stuff I dislike. There have been comics I've read in the time frame since I've begun this site which I haven't terribly enjoyed, ones which I decided not to keep up with (Yirmumah and Casey and Andy are a couple of examples), but I didn't really feel the need to come on here and yell out "I DON'T LIKE SUCH AND SUCH COMIC!" It just doesn't strike a chord with me. I'd much prefer to talk about comics that I do like doing stuff that I don't like, but the comics that I do like so rarely do things I don't enjoy (which is why I like them...) that it doesn't give me much opportunity to gripe.

Which brings me to Wondermark. I was first introduced to Wondermark by the Hurricane Relief Telethon, and then reintroduced to it when it began advertising on Blank Label Comics. It's a novel idea, constructing a comic strip from old 19th century pencil drawings, many of which look like they've been lifted from patent applications, or illustrations from old novels. It provides an opportunity to create a dischordance between the art of the strip and the dialogue, and that dischordance provides humor.

Unfortunately, in my eyes, that's pretty much all the strip has going for it. Sure, it's pretty funny at first to see some dignified Victorian woman talking about a chicken butt, but it just gets old after awhile, you know? Many of the punchlines fall flat and rely fairly heavily on the juxtaposition for making the strip "work". And while this is an effective measure when used sparingly, in Wondermark it's used week after week, until all the strips just kind of start to blur together.

Wondermark does have some other interesting content on the site besides just the strip, such as the Comic Strip Doctor and the "Making of", which are both amusing diversions in their own right, but not enough to keep me coming back to the site. In fact, even though the fake process outlined in the "Making of" section was a very amusing parody of how some comic strips actually are produced, highlighting the sterility and committee thinking which takes the life out of a strip (see also, Garfield), I really would have liked to see how David Malki actually makes Wondermark, where he got all those old-timey images from and so on.

So I won't be reading Wondermark anymore, and you shouldn't expect me to ever mention it again, really. And there's a sample of how I write a bad review.


At 7:06 PM, Anonymous david ! said...


I'm very honored to be your inaugural disliked comic, and thanks very much for giving Wondermark a chance!


David Malki !


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