The Webcomicker

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Setup

Rising tension, from Starslip Crisis.

Let me preface this post by mentioning that the website I use for tracking my webcomics, Piperka, lost track of Starslip Crisis after Kris Straub redesigned the website, and since I pretty much rely solely on Piperka for my comics browsing, I lost track of Starslip for a few weeks, which means that I actually read the last twelve or so strips as a block rather than in their usual daily format, and that might be coloring my viewpoint somewhat. But still...

Am I the only one who thinks Straub is building to something huge here? I mean, over the course of the strip we've seen the introduction of a number of characters who have been at best indirectly related to the main plot: Zillion, The Chronomantic, and let's not forget Lord Katarikis. They've popped in and out of the strip in a somewhat episodic manner, but if I know Kris Straub (and I don't), he's not writing Starslip in sitcom format, where each storyline is entirely separate from the last. These guys are all going to show up again. And they're going to show up in more direct contact with the crew of the Fuseli.

And now we have the latest storyline. The Fuseli is throwing a party. A big party. A party for the largest manufacturer of starslip drives in the universe. And we've been introduced to Archcount Obdrath von Lucifuge, a man who manages to be both good and evil at the same time. Other attendees at the event include Jovia and her father, and a member of the ever-ominous Directorate.

Is Kris Straub going to let all the most important people in the universe gather on the Fuseli and not have something extreme happen? Not a chance. This isn't just an opportunity to make some riffs on high society and ambiguously evil CEOs. Something's about to go down. Something major. You can almost taste it, as each strip adds another layer of setup. Straub took pains to make sure we understood that Mr. Jinx and Plox were on security. That Jovia's father was there, and does not like Vanderbeam. That Obdrath can't seem to help being evil. The pieces are being carefully arranged. And I would not be surprised at all if suddenly we see the reintroduction of one of those old fringe characters and the whole thing explodes.

Will it be Zillion and Vore, come to rob all the high society folks blind? Will it be the Chronomantic, come to seduce Jovia? Will it be Lord Katarikis, come to exact vengeance on Mr. Jinx? Your guess is as good as mine. This plot could literally go anywhere, and that's what's so good about it.

This is an example of trying to build tension by running an extremely long and elaborate setup, a technique which is often attempted but only occasionally pulled off well. And Kris Straub is pulling it off well. He's got me waiting on the edge of my seat, and maybe after reading this post he'll have you on the edge of yours, too.


At 8:42 AM, Blogger Myth said...

Wow, good call. The elements are all there, but introduced in such a harmless, comical manner, that I barely even registered the rising tension.

But it definitely does look like things are building up. I don't know if all those characters are going to be involved... but now that you've got my hopes up, I'm definitely feeling antsy as well!

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Yeah, I agree... the setup seems to fit something big coming up (especially Obdrath von Lucifuge: there is no way a man whose name is so purely evil, and has hellfire boiling out of his head to boot, isn't up to some megagalactic conspiracy). I'm a big SSC fan, and am looking forward to whatever Kris will come up with next (however, it could also be that he did this whole building tension thing just to fool people!). By the way, this is my first visit to your blog: I noticed it from the link Kris put up on the SSC page. Looks like you have a good thing going here, and I love your name: Pellaeon is one of the coolest, but yet most underrepresented Star Wars characters. Keep up the good work!

At 3:58 AM, Blogger Gilead Pellaeon said...

I'm always impressed when people catch the obscure reference in my name. And yes, he is the coolest character in the Star Wars universe. He's like the one Imperial who never does anything stupid and always survives.

And thanks for the compliment. I try to write as much as I can!

At 4:45 PM, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Well, Thrawn didn't do all that much that was stupid either... if he had followed Pellaeon's advice, he would have wound up at Tangrene while the Rebels walked off with the CGT array. The only real mistakes he made were underestimating both the Noghri and the smugglers. Pellaeon's definitely one of the most competent though, and he did manage to survive rather longer.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

By the way, looking at today's SSC, it seems you were absolutely right! Great call!

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know. I remember at the end of the Katarakis arc we saw Memnon as a decisive and real leader, and that never went anywhere. We see more of that nowadays, which is nice because there is definitely evolution among the characters, and I know this'll add to the future of the comic. But some things fizzle, like the little hints at the Cutter/Jovia romance (tee hee!) and lead me to wonder what things will remain and what will go.


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