The Belfry WebComics Index

Recent Reviews:

09:04pm 09/21/2015
Phenomenal comic!
There is a lot of good, very good and excellent comics, but Schlock is phenomenal. It is funny as hell, for the good part of chapters. Later it becomes more elaborate, with excellent art and story. Not one time it was boring, and I really wanted to see what happens next.

I really didn't think that I will ever feel the same affection to a piece of work like the first time I was watching Red Dwarf or Futurama.

It is absolutely brilliant, and if this review will make you read it, start from beginning.
05:26am 09/01/2015
  i *Dragon's Burn AL
very a good way
The main character's wildly swinging attitude around the axis of complete selfishness is a sight to behold. His attitude is the star of the show here.

The audacity to move into another's home without asking...
The complete lack of concern for others...
Confidence beyond my wildest dreams...
The general ability to "personality" his way out of anything...

I'm not really sure how to put that last one, but it feels right.

Give it a try. The early comics (first 10) are a good example of the comic at large.
09:57pm 08/19/2015
  i *100% Cat
Ended too early!
Lets face it, Isabel Marks is a prolific and strong story teller. letting one project drop isn't the end of the world.

This comic is only 26 strips, and has been abandoned.

Fortunately, the characters return in "Nicole & Derek", which is a very good comic and currently ongoing. Check that one out instead, or rush through this as a preview of it!
09:32pm 08/19/2015
Another strong Isabel Marks comic
To see a list of all Isabel's comics, go here:

It's a sequel to the very good "Namir Deiter", but you don't have to have read it.

Isabel's characters are interesting due to their complexity. No one is just the screw up. NO one is just the nerdy intelligent person. No one is just the responsible person who has it all figured out. Heck, even the crazy princess chick has more going on than unexplainable enthusiasm and a delusion.

Pretty much all the characters have respect for each other, and the conflict and story lines arise out of realistic events. This gives the comic a comfy slice of life feel that makes each character endearing in their own way. Even the teacher and the biggest slacker have a unique relationship.

It is just nice to have a well thought out story that feels real without tons of cliches. It might not wow you, but its a good comic for when you just need a read that will make you smile.
10:35pm 08/06/2015
  i *Original Life AL
Truly better days
Given the essay I wrote in review of Better Days, when I learned Jay Naylor had started a sequel almost immediately afterward, I knew my work was cut out. Despite my initial trepidation, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find the new comic less politically polarizing and generally better-structured than its forbear.

In short, Original Life is Better Days as it should have been. In the previous comic I complained that Fisk and Lucy were adults in children's bodies; here their kids act like -kids-, their imaginative antics and philosophical quandaries more evocative of Calvin and Hobbes than a right-wing Boondocks—at least for the most part. Given the age range of the participant characters, the story still drifts in and out of mature themes, but the humour doesn't depend on sexual vulgarity the way it did in Better Days.

There is also more of a free flow to the story itself. Whereas Better Days was compartmentalized into somewhat self-contained chapters, aside from setting changes there is no hard break between arcs time-wise, and more fluid call-backs to previous events. This is probably at least in part because Original Life isn't working to a 'longue durée' timeline, and so can indulge in life simply as it comes. Indeed, while there are several sober arcs scattered throughout, the comic as a whole feels much more upbeat, and while some plots seem like rehashes from Better Days, as a whole I found it a more enjoyable read. It may not share the same sense of over-arching purpose, but this is not a qualitative drawback.

Original Life does, inevitably, inherit its predecessor's controversial moral outlook (explained at length in the Better Days review), and propagates it as soon as the first arc. Thankfully, the proselytizing is much less prevalent and generally recognizable, and while the libertarian bias will still irk some readers, I didn't feel as though I had to stay on guard all the time. Naylor also introduces a noteworthy gender discourse several times in the story, of which I have mixed opinion: while he provides a sympathetic, if simplified window into the LGBT world, he does so under the old stereotype that male and female brains are distinguished, essentially, by propensity to aggression and directness of action. Charlie overcomes her shyness by acting like a 'boy', turning off her analytical 'female' brain and embracing the instinctive 'male' brain, which she later describes as the "purity of intent"—tacitly implying that women are psychologically biased against 'direct' thought, a premise contradicted by several of the comic's own characters.

Standing out against Naylor's usual moral pronouncements is the backstory to Fisk's working partner Red Mallory (pp.404–417), which offers a far more nuanced, far more compelling exploration of the long-term psychological damage from child abuse than "Tough Love" and its follow-up in Better Days. It is also the first time Naylor offers a legitimate counter-argument to his own moral paradigm. Red calls herself a monster, knows she's permanently scarred, and recognizes the perverse way that her trauma has made her a lucrative assassin. Fisk admits as such, nominating her for recruitment based on two credentials: that she lacked the inhibitions to kill her own father, and that she had the guile to cover it up. He tries to reassure her that they're in the right, but she -doesn't- believe morality is simply a matter of individual choice, nor that her turbulent experience justifies her behaviour, and remains haunted that the only real difference between her and her targets is the fact they aren't on the same side.

In conclusion, Original Life is a worthy sequel to Better Days, and a better-written project overall. It also benefits from a crisper (albeit still background-averse) digitized art style. Original Life may not aspire to the grand narrative of its predecessor, but the story overall is more fun, and the characters more believable. While Naylor's soapboxing remains problematic, it is not as heavy-handed here, and I am more willing to recommend the comic -with similar reservation- to a general audience.
01:24pm 08/04/2015
by ntp
  i *Weesh
funny and endearing
Imagine a slice of life comic with a "wish granting rabbit" Okay he's not a rabbit but close enough.
The only upside to finding this after it completed was binge reading. I'm sorry it's over.
06:05am 08/04/2015
  i *Tale of Tails, a ALNX
Erotic fantasy, with heart
Sexcapades start this story, and sexcapades remain a prominent feature throughout. Thankfully, A Tale of Tails is not, as the opening chapter suggests, merely a series of pornographic encounters strung together by a threadbare plot, but a comic with a vision; sometimes thrilling, sometimes sober, and always fun. Chapter 2 already begins unveiling the larger world, specifically the arcane forces at work in the realm and the protagonist Fenfen's mysterious heritage. Eroticism is counterbalanced by everyday foibles and the quintessential adventure quest, and already the story includes a diverse and readily-personable cast of characters, only some of whom want to get into Fenfen's pants. While the author, Feretta, admits the sex scenes can be skipped without losing the gist of the story, they are not entirely gratuitous, providing subtle character development and clues to plot devices.

A graphic designer by trade, Feretta began this comic as artistic practice, and it shows: while nowhere near deficient at the start, the style very quickly develops proportional consistency, and even after figuring out a basic template she continues to experiment throughout. The result strikes a harmonious balance between cartoon simplicity and elegant detail—an important feat when half the pages are dedicated to characters in the buff—with the added bonus that several sequences convey their own aesthetic personality as she tests different techniques.

What also shows is that this is Feretta's first stab at a comic narrative. Unlike so many high fantasy stories that can spend entire chapters pouring out exposition, A Tale of Tails focuses instead on the 'now', using short, conversational dialogue, revealing backstories in bits and pieces as the scene calls, and sometimes brushing over it entirely. This is both good and bad: the lack of long, explanatory interludes gives the comic a quick, almost frantic pace, and despite having only started Chapter 3 as of this writing, much ground has already been covered plot-wise. It also means that, unfortunately, a sizable amount of character development is inferred rather than shown, leaving the audience with fractured glimmers into Fenfen's (not to mention other characters') psychology—leading to not unjustified complaints in Chapter 2 that she comes across as a Mary-Sue, and prompting the emergency rewrite of a dubious scene midway through said chapter. Feretta clearly has a plan for the story, and the companion section on lore provides a wealth of information not yet seen in the comic proper; in this sense she may be racing through an extensive backstory to focus on the meat of the plot, but if she takes the time to explore her actors' thoughts and feelings in greater depth, it will only enrich the audience's experience with what are already personable characters.

In sum: come for the sex, stay for everything else. A Tale of Tails is a clever mix of quirky humour, fantastic adventure, and if it's to your taste, unflinching sexuality. While the hurried pace and resulting uneven character development hold back the fourth star I so desperately want to bestow, it is testament to Feretta's skill that I already feel invested in the characters even with so little background. As it stands, the comic holds enormous promise, and its author is especially distinguished for maintaining active correspondence with her audience throughout its production. I sincerely hope that in serveral years' time I may return with an even more favourable review.
02:56am 07/20/2015
  i *Slightly Damned LV
Reading the zeroeth chapter is a bit like being in purgatory...
...which is appropriate since that is basically where it takes place.

Which makes the prologue actually kind of amusing. The story doesn't progress, and you wonder "why am I reading this?"
Its not bad, as much as it isn't good. A limbo of sorts. That lasts about 90 strips...
If you can get through it, you have just had a taste of what the characters have just gone through!
It isn't clear if it was on purpose or not. It could just be bad writing while the author hits their stride.

The comic stops being bland and turns into an interesting adventure after about 90 strips. the strips between 90-120 are an accurate indicator of where the comic is going, so if you decided to muscle your way into it, try to get at least that far. Alternatively, you could skip the first 88 comics and start at 89.

But enough about the slow start.

The characters are a colorful and relatable bunch of misfits. The writing is not amazing, but the story and characters are fun enough to draw you in and keep you reading. By the time you get through the large archive (700+), you will be sad that it's over. You believe the loyalty, and you believe their motivations. As long as you are here more for the cuteness (massive art improvement!) and the character development, you should have a good time.
01:40am 07/06/2015
by cpam
  i Adam4d
Worst. Strip. Ever.
And that's going some, because I've read some pretty bad drivel in my time. This is far less a comic strip than a thinly veiled vehicle for preaching... and does so in a very condescending manner at that. It's humorless, with barely competent drawings, and just needs to hammer it's message into your skull; I couldn't even rate this a single star. If you're really in the mood for some strong fundamentalist Christian POV being hammered at you -- and you just need a choir to sing with -- then this may be the strip for you. For anybody else, I'd recommend GARFIELD; if you're hungering for something more spiritual, try ZEN PENCILS.
07:34pm 06/30/2015
Way different and cool comic. Suggested by a friend.
My friend told me about this comic and i checked it out. it's really different and cool. i love the characters and the dialog. it's really funny and well done. Highly recommend it!
09:51am 06/19/2015
Mirror, mirror...
Added at creator's request. :)
08:51pm 06/06/2015
MRiaN: I’d much like to like it more
The short version: “My Roomate is a Nightmare” is a comic I enjoy just enough to wish it was better.

This comic starts with a bit of vague lore about gods, then follows a dark-elf-looking fellow who I assume to be the god of nightmares. He enters his bedroom to find a naked satyr boy lying on his bed. The two get close, and just as I start to wonder if I’ve unwittingly picked up a yaoi comic…

… it was all just a dream.

I don’t like this at the best of times, when a story starts with one character for a while, then suddenly switches to our “real” protagonist. This is especially bad when the fakeout protagonist was someone as interesting as the god of nightmares, and the real protagonist is an ordinary girl in an ordinary world. However, I stick with it here, mostly because the art is really, really good. Seriously. It reminds me of Don Bluth films or other classic animated movies from my childhood. The way characters are drawn especially stands out in my mind, what with their big, expressive eyes and smooth anatomy.

So, I stick with the comic and learn what I can. The new protagonist is a slightly chubby, freckled dark-skinned girl, which is a rare sight to see as a protagonist, so that’s quite a plus. She does ordinary stuff: stays up late writing, only manages to finish two sentences (I can relate), wakes up late, grabs a quick breakfast on her way to work, doesn’t pay attention and nearly runs over something. Then, the comic reveals that she nearly ran over…

…a lamia (woman on top, snake on the bottom)?!

Okay. Recap: at first, we were in a fantasy world. But that was all just a dream. Then we’re in the real world, with internet and computers and jobs. But now the real world is a fantasy world? There are lamias? And fairies, and griffons, and centaurs, and the protagonist’s boss is a drider (woman on top, spider on bottom)?!

This all comes to a head at one point when one of our protagonist’s coworkers says that there’s “an interesting queue” forming. The problem is, when we the readers see the queue, I don’t know what’s interesting about it. Is it that all of them are wearing black? Or that most of them are holding books? Or that there’s a dragon in front of the queue, or a cow-person in the back of the queue holding a sign reading “End of line”?

I don’t know what’s interesting in this world, because I don’t know what’s normal in this world.

What’s worse, this comic has played the “Ha! Tricked you! It’s actually…” card twice. I honestly don’t trust it to not reveal that everything was just a dream again, or perhaps some elaborate costume event.

This all is made worse by an odd artistic decision: every page (except the first) is a single panel. I don’t know what they were going for with this, but it really kills the pacing. In most comics, if the protagonist were to 1) brush her teeth, 2) throw on a shirt, 3) run downstairs and 4) grab a muffin while 5) running out the door, then all those parts would be part of a montage of panels on one or two pages. Here? Each of those actions is its own page. This can really slow down reading the comic, especially with a slower Internet connection that takes around four or five seconds to load a new page. Some might tell me that I could load multiple pages with an RSS feed. I would reply that if I have to download third-party software to make a comic more bearable to read, then there’s a bigger problem at work here.

I might sound like I hate this comic, but I really don’t. The artwork is beautiful, and the concept is interesting. There’s a modern world that is also populated by mythological creatures. Heck, some of the characters have been described as a “god” or a “deity.” What does the physical presence of deities mean for this world? How do oddly-shaped creatures like griffons and centaurs and lamias effect things, not to mention the creatures that can fly? Is there magic? Is it restricted to magical creatures? How are normal humans seen in this world? Is the protagonist even a normal human?

These are questions I genuinely want the answers to, and I’ll gladly keep reading, if for no other reason than the lovely art. However, this one does worry me. There are over a hundred pages so far, and the characters in the comic’s banner have yet to interact. There have been no sign of roommates or nightmares, despite both being promised in the comic’s title. While this all is troublesome, I still feel like a bit more refinement could bring this comic’s writing up to the standard set by the art. Go for it, writer. I’m rooting for you.

Well, except for when the satyr was updating his “Faebook.” Bad writer. Go to your room and think about what you’ve done.
04:10am 05/01/2015
Thoughtful sci-fi with a heavy froth of comedy
Schlock is definitely in my top 5, with a long history and with great improvements in its art quality over time. There is usually a joke most days, but it's not afraid to bring in the heavy stuff when it is appropriate to the story.
06:26pm 04/26/2015
  i Truesbury
Bemusing, but not amusing.
It is entirely possible for right wing thinkers to be funny. Michael J. Nelson has been a Republican voter for most of his life. It just seems sometimes that there's an inability for right wing comedians to do Satire well.

Truesbury isn't going to disprove that. If you don't like Doonesbury, you might get a chuckle out of seeing it being turned into a way to relate a conservative message. But that's literally the one joke, and it's clearly explained and telegraphed that this is the joke. I mean, if it was intended as an art project, maybe it's almost on par with Garfield Without Garfield. But it's not, with each comic also including some political exposition text embedded in the image under the comic to hammer home the point being made about the evils of being liberal/democrat/a kitten. I can't even credit it with timely satire, as the most recent comic references a scandal from four years ago.
12:49am 04/07/2015
  i *S.S.D.D. ALV
Among the Internet's best
For the first couple years after its debut in September 1998, S.S.D.D. was a typical "crazy roommates and hot girlfriend" strip, reliant on drugs, sex, and violence for its humor.

It is barely recognizable today as the same strip. It has become one of the best science fiction series available as a web comic. The art is still cartoonish but far more refined, with well-staged action sequences, well-rendered and recognizable characters, and carefully drawn backgrounds. The strip juggles multiple interrelated stories set in several times and possibly different realities.

The original main character has often gone years without appearing in the strip. The crazy roommate has become a vastly more important character. We see Norman Gates both as the violent goon we first met (now just beginning to discover the presence of shadowy, powerful figures in his life) and as the nearly mythological figure responsible for major events in galactic history. Sometimes characters are introduced after we already know their fates, and it becomes heartrending to see them struggle towards their goals as the reader already knows that they will never succeed, or will find happiness only briefly before tragedy strikes.

Nevertheless, even in the strip's darkest moments, the humor is always paramount. The run-on dialogue has become not a writing weakness so much as a characteristic of the strip. The anarchist views of many of the characters are presented in thought-provoking fashion, and the political wrangling is at once believable and hilarious.

This is a deep, multi-faceted, complex, entertaining, and thought-provoking comic. Enjoy it; it has the potential to last many more years.
01:50pm 04/05/2015
A complete downfall
R.H. Junior had my respect, if not my agreement, for his solid Christian, family-themed position. His last update in months is an advertisement for an overpriced disk of his pinup art.

It is no great loss. His last few dozen strip have been sloppily drawn and poorly colored, and the story has become a standard quest-for-the-objects fantasy series from the 1980s. None of the imagination nor the quality of this strip's early years is present. Enjoy the archives, but otherwise don't waste your time after Quenton leaves the mistwall. Otherwise, make up your own stories.
07:53pm 04/01/2015
  i *Zoophobia
Original, charming, and high in quality.
From the very beginning, Zoophobia captivates and entrances. The interplay of the delightful characters and whimsical artistic renderings combines with a wonderful blend of humor, suspense, and tugging of the heart to create one of the most masterful and original comic strips in a long time.
02:43pm 03/26/2015
Strikes a difficult balance
Most webcomics which focus on a particular religious view usually do so with a clear ulterior motive... either to proselytize or to ridicule that belief system. Furry Experience, while clearly written from the perspective of the LDS (Mormon) community, does so in a way which is respectful of LDS beliefs but while keeping an open mind towards other faiths, and without putting an artificial shine on itself.

Of the three main characters, only one is an actual LDS follower, while another is openly sympathetic towards Mormon beliefs and the third is openly skeptical. The hardships as well as the benefits of the faith and it's followers' lifestyle are presented frankly and respectfully.

The artwork has shown continual improvement throughout the series. New characters have been introduced and fleshed out at a rate that does not overwhelm the reader, but which has nevertheless given the strip a large supporting cast. Serious storylines are mixed with the purely absurd, but it is reasonable to believe that the stories all take place in the same world. This comic strikes the right balance in every area.
03:49am 03/26/2015
  i *Sandra & Woo L
A good strip that could be outstanding.
From time to time there are outstanding story lines accompanied by excellent artwork, such as last year's "Butterfly" sequence. Other storylines, unfortunately, such as the stock-feminazi "Mrs. Cambridge" sequence, are clumsy and unfunny. The art is often outstanding but at other times seems rushed. Some of the characters (such as Woo and Larissa) are very interesting, but Sandra seems to dominate the storylines and she has never been much developed as a character.

Sandra and Woo is good enough for me to check back regularly to see if there's anything worth reading, but not good enough for me to check nearly as often as it updates.
08:25pm 03/25/2015
  i *Supermegatopia AN
Gone now.
Whatever this comic used to be, all that's here now is a static gallery of 12 images.
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