The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I guess I'll have to send Ryan a post. Get it? A POST?! Eh?!

Just one of many, many puns from Silent Kimbly.

First of all I want to just give a heads up right now and let everyone know that I have NOT forgotten about my promise to post a review of Banished. However, Banished is so young right now, and has so much more development to undergo before we even reach the premise that I thought it would be unfair to review it until things have at least progressed a bit. So I will be reviewing it, but possibly not for another month or so.

That being said, this post is a review of Silent Kimbly. Silent Kimbly is a webcomic by one Ryan Sias, who (based on his website) seems to have more experience as an illustrator and animator than as a comicker, but that's peas and carrots.

Basically Silent Kimbly is a one panel comic (and therefore technically not a comic, at least by Scott McCloud's definition) about a little girl named Kimbly and her various adventures. There are several other recurring characters, most notably Tenderness, who is the big fluffball in the comic above. The webcomic is called Silent Kimbly because none of the characters ever talk. Each installment is just a single drawing accompanied by a caption.

But unlike most single panel comics, each installment of Silent Kimbly is very lushly drawn, vividly detailed, and surrealistic. The sense of humor in Silent Kimbly is very subdued (more on that later), and as such it stands in direct contrast to most other single panel comics which tend to use strictly utilitarian art and go for the joke hardcore in the punchline (such as with Inside the Box). In Silent Kimbly, the art is everything. If you really want to go for it you can read the whole roughly 200 comic archive in about 30 minutes, just glancing at the picture and chuckling at the punchline, but then you'll be missing quite a bit of the enjoyment of it. Now, this is not to say that the artwork in each comic is so densely packed that you have to carefully examine it all. It's not like that at all. It's just that the artwork is the central point of this comic, and Sias draws all the characters, objects, and backgrounds with so much energy that you've gotta just sit back and bask in it a bit. Otherwise you're really missing the enjoyment of it all.

As for the humor, I must admit that after reading a few strips I was predisposed to enjoying the comic as a whole just because it relies almost entirely on puns. The strip I chose to display up top is pretty much par for the course. Ryan Sias thusfar has demonstrated a mastery of the art of punning which I can only describe as approaching godlike, and only time will tell if he can keep up the pace or whether there really is a limit to how many clever puns one can make with the English language before things start to get absurd. And each pun is worded in the absolute simplest way, which in my opinion matches the artwork and maximizes the overall impact of each strip. You end up with a strip that reads like snapshots of an incredibly vibrant and exuberant world, with representational emotions, surrealistic creatures and one light-hearted little girl in a bunny-suit interacting with it all. It seems only natural that a world like this would lend itself to being described by puns, almost as if Sias were inventing the puns to match the pictures rather than the pictures to match the puns. And that sense of whimsy is what bouys this strip.

Of course, it is much different than most webcomics and newspaper comics. And you could interpret the overly energetic artwork and simple puns as juvenile rather than whimsical. And you could go back to the cynicism and sarcasm that we've all come to know and love. But in my opinion, you'd be missing out.


At 10:59 PM, Anonymous pritygirl ---->my username at livejournal said...

silent kimbly is simply wonderful!! i love it. ryan is awesome. everytime you get a kimbly comic, it kinda makes your day, or atleast it can NEVER fail to make you smile :) i love kimbly, and rian too

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous pritygirl ---->my username at livejournal said...

oops sorry ryan(in the last sentence) , dunno what i was thinking


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