The Belfry WebComics Index

Recent Reviews:

09:02am 04/03/2016
This comic is awesome.
This comic is awesome. It is a choose your own adventure webcomic and you get to make all the decisions. The only problem is that the story is too random. But that's not that much of a big deal!
02:31pm 03/20/2016
 
  i *Bruno Harm
Great fun, follow this comic!
Bruno Harm is steely eyed, iron jawed, hard as nails, sharp as knife, the man to depend on in a crisis and an old school cigar smoking detective. He also makes me laugh. Travis does a great job in chronicling Bruno's adventures, uses the gag a day format cleverly and obviously likes both his star and cast. Bruno Harm is a fun comic, read it.
06:32pm 03/13/2016
 
  i Cork & Blotto ALN
Excellent
If you enjoy Kevin Smith's films, the wildness of Hunter Thompson's writing or National Lampoon's Animal House then take a look at this series, you'll enjoy it. Cork and Blotto are best friends and record producers.. tv series about the music industry are currently in vogue, pity none of them are as enjoyable as this!
03:25am 03/09/2016
An entertaining strip that won't give you cavities
CAZ The Comic Strip is about the life of a family of wife, husband and children. I'm not one for slice-of-life comics, so if I read one, there has to be something really special about it. And this artists' couple just does it. Imagine a comic focused on a family without any of the usual, boring, sugar-coated BS that plagues countless stories focused on normal, regular life. A story that's both charming and fun, minus the creepy heterosexual preaching. It's entertaining and very well-drawn. And the gags are funny and/or endearing pretty much 98% of the time. Go read it and sub to it.
01:54pm 02/11/2016
 
  i UndeadEd A
Short (complete) but Strong
Only 120 comics, but it has a mystery, and it answers it.

the characters, especially Ed are very engaging.
The fact that he is torn so strongly between being generally good, but also petty selfishness and revenge make it tough to guess what he'll do next...

But the feelings are real. It The actions make sense, give the absurdity of it all.

Check it out. You only need to read about 10 comics to know if you will like it or not.
11:49pm 02/08/2016
 
  i *Bruno Harm
A fun rollercoaster with great punchlines
I am very picky when it comes to jokes, and I find most gag-a-day and comedy webcomics to be quite flat and unimaginative. So I approached Bruno Harm with a very critical eye. Yet, this comic never let me down and really kept me entertained strip after strip. Bruno Harm is an old, yet modern detective with a witty humor and a sharp, intuitive mind. The other characters are also a lot of fun, and the entire comic has some of the best jokes I've read in a long time. Go read it, you won't be disappointed.
03:25am 02/07/2016
Stong female leads in a mature storyline
At it's heart, this is a story about the lengths that people go to to hide the truth about themselves from the people that care for them. The characters fail to tell each other what they really think, they hold their secrets close, they love, they're flawed.. they're human. The central characters are dynamic and likeable, the story works. Read it.
12:26pm 02/05/2016
I'm at that age now..
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy explosions and fart jokes as much as ever, but there was a time when a comic like "For better or for worse" really irritated me. I just didn't get it. It wasn't funny. I just wanted to se cats kicking dogs off tables and kids getting their clothes knocked off by baseballs.
Now I'm reading "Caz the Comic Strip", and I get it. And it is funny. It's that great conversation you have at brunch with your friends, or that running gag you have with your folks. Add in some nerdy references for fun, like Star Wars or dr. Who, and this comic is perfectly simple box of smiles. I highly recommend you get to know these guys.
04:43am 01/20/2016
(Unrated)
  i Third Revolution A
Deviant art is the worst
Like i said, Deviant art is one of worst sites to host a webcomic if you arent even going to segregate your crap into different folders.
04:42am 01/12/2016
 
  i *Stolen Generation ALNVX
If Aussies ruled the world...
Stolen Generation begins on a novel premise: inspired by the forced removal of Australian and Torres Strait Aborigine children from their families, the comic imagines an alternate history where marsupial mammals have been hunted virtually to extinction by the so-called "placentals", the survivors living in secret communities for centuries afterward, never forgetting and never forgiving. At an unspecified date in the near future, a cabal of combat-trained revolutionaries piloting giant mechanized suits launches a revenge campaign that plunges the world into a devastating war. The resulting story is a mix of racial antipathy, personal dramas, and to a much lesser extent, national political ambitions.

I first read this comic several years ago and was ready to give it a full five stars, but when the original host went down, my initial review stalled. Re-reading it now with a fresh mind and more critical eye, does it still hold up to those early impressions? Yes and no; overall the project remains as socially relevant as I recall, but the little errors have become much more noticeable, even before what both then and now is the story's postwar crash and burn. Fair warning: this review is likely to contain blatant spoilers.

While the archive at SmackJeeves is dated 2007–8, Stolen Generation began several years before, and represents some of the artist's earliest published work. A handful of pages were later coloured, but the vast majority is done in simple ink sketching, which I personally prefer: the asceticism complements the plot's ever-present sense of tension, highlights detail without becoming distracting, and ironically-if-unwittingly underscores the story's central theme that the world doesn't live in black-and-white. While quality of both the illustrations and the page scans themselves vary widely, especially at the start, facial expressions are sharp and emotive, and even in mass fleet battles the action is drawn crisp and clear. My biggest complaint is that the text, all handwritten, is often hard to read.

There are four principal characters to Stolen Generation: Rumour, a teen-aged thylacine and eager revolutionary; Novus, a misanthropic war veteran suborned into the Marsupial revolution after rescuing her; Duncan, the insurgents' de facto leader and anti-Placental zealot; and Dr. Burret, a sadistic scientist secretly orchestrating the war as part of a dubious social engineering experiment. Accompanying them are numerous supporting characters that present a kaleidoscopic variety of moral perspectives, motivations, and racial attitudes, ranging from genocidal fanatics to, ironically, a pacifist pilot. Unfortunately, aside from Rumour's older brother Keith the secondary cast receives scant development, and even the leads occasionally slip into Flanderized caricature.

One of the comic's main plot lines is the will-they-won't-they romance between Rumour and Novus that explores both the prevailing racial tensions and the question of 'What is love?' generally. Especially noteworthy for a furry comic, genetic (in)compatibility is a major plot point, and they often find themselves questioning whether this precludes a future together. At the same time the writing veers in and out of melodrama worthy of Coronation Street and Novus in particular sometimes proves more the angsty teen than Rumour, it is a refreshing counterpoint to the love-at-first-sight trope, and the doubts are believable enough that one -isn't- sure whether they'll ultimately get together.

A related plot line, so subtle it might be unintentional, is the notion of restoring faith to someone stripped of hope. Rumour supplies this to Novus early on, but it's also mirrored by Duncan's mistress Rena, the insurmountable counterpoint to his anti-Placental bigotry that keeps him from devolving into an incurable génocidaire. As a microcosm of the war, these pairs are especially sharp hooks for reader pathos: so long as hope remains, global coexistence is in reach; what bleak future should then befall the world if the couplings fail?

Needless to say, heady themes underlie Stolen Generation. Racial discourse is nothing new in furry comics, but here it receives a nuance and maturity surpassing several more popular titles—in the broader sense, at least. Clumsy dialogue undermines an otherwise superior narrative with redundant, wordy exposition and suspense-killing mental asides, and as previously mentioned the romantic arcs struggle with obtuse melodrama. (There are also several setting and technical inconsistencies mostly pertaining to scenes involving the world powers, but these are largely incidental to the story itself.) I find this particularly regrettable because while the comic raises more debate-worthy subjects than I can properly explore here, it only scratches the surface of most of them before the war gets underway and it shifts into an action film.

Thankfully, despite its mature rating, Stolen Generation is neither gratuitous in its violence nor exploitative in its sexuality. Indeed, while lasers and explosions abound, actual bodily violence is fairly rare and used for effect: a flashback scene features a torture sequence that, despite being less explicit than a casual fight much later on, conveys such a brutal mood that even now my eyes avert the page. Likewise, the comic offers a fair share of titillation, yet the sex scenes themselves are quite restrained, if not glossed over; possibly a commentary on love meaning more than lust, possibly simply to keep the audience's focus on the emotional relationship.

The story divides into five official chapters, although I consider what follows Duncan's climactic confrontation with Dr. Burret an act in itself, and hands-down my least favourite section. As a whole it is well-paced, never becoming frantic nor slowing to a plod, though there are a few moments where dialogue infers several days or weeks have been fast-forwarded that could have been used for 'breather' moments to expound on any of the topics alluded above. The comic does a good job of introducing the characters in a logical and progressive way so that the reader isn't swamped by names and factions, establishing their histories and personalities while outlining the social context in which the impending war takes place. Despite the mechas' early appearances the war plot doesn't begin in earnest until late in Chapter 2, after which the story basically becomes one continuous but well-choreographed battle, interspersed with several personal side-stories and one arc that grows into a major plot point. Unfortunately this is where the narrative sags under clichéd writing—arguments over Placental 'sin' read like articles in a debate rather than personal conviction; genre-savvy readers will suspect Natasha's re-emergence, making the emotional see-saw between Rumour and Novus all the more infuriating—but the fifth chapter rallies strong for a gripping, and ultimately rewarding reckoning between Duncan and Burret to settle the historical score.

And then it completely drops the ball.

As much as I wish it did, the story -doesn't- end at Echelon University. It doesn't even begin dénouement. Toward the war's end the protagonists learn that the Marsupial advantage has nothing to do with Burret's hypothesis, but is a wildcard variable in the form of progenitor technology, and the story now trips over itself to smooth this Deus ex Machina into a believable sequel hook. All the criticisms I've raised are amplified exponentially, and unnervingly quickly, in what feels like a rush to tie it all together: just as we think the romance is finally settled, Rumour is struck by seventh thoughts and abruptly declares they're Just Friends; complex, longstanding social issues are answered with dangerously simplistic solutions; characters we thought we understood dumb down into self-parodies; whatever dialogue isn't emotionally dead is laughably over-exaggerated. In writing my original review I debated whether to count the end sequence in the comic's final score, because it's done so ham-handedly one could be forgiven for thinking it belongs to a different author.

Credit where it's due: making the Marsupial victory Pyrrhic and enforcing the New World Order through military might in an ironic role-reversal is both realistic, and a damning testament to the destructive cycle of so-called retributive justice. Similarly, I'm not saying the romantic leads -need- to get together in the end, and as previously stated, Rumour and Novus' future remained genuinely uncertain for most of the story. My problem is the execution goes out of its way to turn everything on its head, thereby shattering immersion. Kylee's fate, though poetic, is totally arbitrary, and one of the most pointlessly cruel character kill-offs I've ever seen. Arcane technology may not have been the -cleverest- way to scuttle Burret's abominable experiment, but with better planning it could have worked without coming across as such an arbitrary twist; instead it ends up hijacking the plot's coat-tails to set the stage for a sadly underwhelming sequel. A story acclaimed for its drama, wit, and tightly-woven narrative ends hysterical, derivative, and without meaningful closure.

In the end I still give Stolen Generation four stars, but it is a generous four, commemorating its ambition more so than its overall cohesion. Commendable for its aversion to clear-cut happy endings and willingness to confront history's long shadows in realistic terms, it remains an engrossing and entertaining story with a wry, understated sense of humour, despite occasionally clichéd writing and a contrived central plot device. While the comic's abysmal end sequence makes a mockery of the project, it may yield useful background information to the sequel, Restored Generation; otherwise, read to Page 350 and then imagine your own resolution.
04:51am 01/10/2016
 
  i *Nerf Now AV
4 stars for gamers
There is really nothing for you if you aren't into gaming.

But if you are, it is up to date, cute, funny, and there is a good dose of variety as well.

There are some VERY strong silent arcs, but they are becoming unfortunately rare. This is a shame because they were the best part of the comic.

Compared to Penny Arcade, this is FAR more accessible to casual gamers. You don't have to be on the absolute leading edge yourself, and the author often explains strips if the basis isn't common knowledge.
05:31am 01/07/2016
 
  i *Sandra & Woo L
Treading water
How the mighty have fallen. Intrigued by the old banner ad proclaiming it the best start to a webcomic so-and-so had seen, I looked into Sandra & Woo; and while it was hardly the most amazing comic I'd come across, it had a wit and whimsy that quickly made it one of my 'regulars'. The animé-esque art style was both solid and emotive, plot-wise it was well-paced, and it rolled out a diverse cast of characters that all signs indicated would -not- be beholden to the typical status quo treadmill.

And then it did exactly that.

Whereas S&W's introduction strongly suggests this was to be be a slice-of-life comic that actually -progressed-, with the main characters weaving their way through imaginative adventures, these days it's a patchwork of largely-unconnected geek humour, in-jokes, and absurdist non-sequiturs. The burnout was so gradual that until Lamar's review, I couldn't quite figure out what had been nagging at me for the past couple years, but comparing the story's start to just about any of the later arcs reveals a clear loss of direction. Sandra's budding romance with Cloud, the comic's original long-arc, stagnated once they made it official; Ye Thuza's history as a Burmese resistance fighter receives occasional mention but is never fleshed out; dozens of minor characters drift in and out of the spotlight with no build-up and equally scant send-off, while the leads are tide-locked to throwaway episodes based on their respective social stereotype. The last plotline with any sense of gravity I can recall was Butterfly's ascent of The Special One, and that took place two years ago.

What perplexes me is that the creators are -smart- (indeed, possibly too smart at times), and the continued use of unflinching (if increasingly exaggerated) socio-political commentary proves the stall isn't for lack of guile. It may be that Powree and Novil's sister project Gaia has laid claim to the bulk of their narrative inspiration, although this still doesn't fully explain S&W's slide into newspaper-daily caricature, or why a comic that began by subverting common character clichés now seems to blindly embrace them.

To be clear, even taken as a gag-a-day strip Sandra & Woo stands above average—not as great as it could be, but hardly bad, and generally widely accessible when Novil isn't trying to out-nerd Randall Munroe. Readers accustomed to the regular four-panel setup may be confused by its novel trick of bleeding the punchline into the next page, but the comic can at least be commended for still experimenting stylistically even if the story has grown stale (indeed, the strips satirizing the art community remain my favourites). An audience following the early promise of a more substantial project, however, is bound for disappointment, and as other reviews show, long-time followers are losing patience. I still check up on S&W each update, but I'm starting to wonder why.
06:15am 11/29/2015
 
  i Flora A
Very tough to review...
Flora is many things.
It is a traditional comic, it is a visual novel, it is video, it is a world provided to adventure in.

If you are looking for an RPG setting, Flora offers explicit information on many races, and on many locations. Rather than focusing on one aspect of the world, skips around to various characters to flesh out a broad spectrum of lore.

But if you are here JUST for the webcomic, it will mostly likely feel unfocused. Just when the "Seeds" arc starts to heat up, it is abandoned for later. Some of the arcs resolve in unclear ways. There is tons of lore between the story updates. There are interesting stories that I've enjoyed, but I can't help but wish we could get the author's full attention.

If you want to start at the very beginning and progress in creation order, go here:
http://floraverse.com/comic/seeds-a-mini-story/prologue/1-cover/

Even though humor is not the driving reason to come to flora, I've laughed many times. If you are interested, be ready to be confused, and able to release any anxiety about what is happening!
05:58am 10/30/2015
(Unrated)
  i *Phoebe & Her Unicorn
First page
Gocomics is run by idiots. Since they forgot to put in a "first page" button, here is the link.

http://www.gocomics.com/phoebe-and-her-unicorn/2012/04/22
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 odd...in 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:
http://www.ndunlimited.com/

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.
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