Whole lotta people taking the week off, or going to reruns, or just being quiet. I figure that dearth of fresh entertainment (apart from a new Dresden Codak, which I almost didn’t notice as Aaron Diaz¹ and I have been busily corresponding on the minutiae of both published and unpublished hobbity lore) is what brought you here, desperate for even my opinion-mongering.
Well, no opinions today. Instead, I’m going to point you towards two updates today that (to me) show a total of three creators really hitting their stride and doing a killer job on their story arc-heavy webcomics.
On the one (somewhat bloody) hand, Magnolia Porter’s Monster Pulse has veered from slightly menacing conspiracy against plucky kids² with pet monsters into something much darker, while never ignoring the fact that these are children. No matter how grown up they try to be, they’re not able to bear these burdens without hurt. Start from the beginning, read forward, and read the current chapter twice.
On the other hands, Christopher Bird and Davinder Brar have been working away quietly on Al’Rashad, an infuriatingly slowly-revealed look at a world that might be described as fantasy, except for the distinct lack of fantastical elements. No magics (okay, maybe some abominations that used to be dead men, but I’m still not convinced they’re undead; maybe some kind of will-sapping drug like historical Haitian zombies), but quite a lot of extremely well thought-out political games, as nations (one Vikingish, the other Arabic) poke and prod at each other while factions within each play power games.
Nobody comes out and says PAY ATTENTION TO THE NARRATION HERE IS WHAT’S GOING ON, meaning we learn things alongside the characters in bits and pieces³, leaving us (okay, leaving me) hungry for just one five-page infodump to learn more of the history and shape of this world. It is hooky and sticky and original and if Brar and Bird could figure out some what to give it to me more than one page a week that would be awesome.
¹ The Tolkien Scholar Par Excellence.
² It can’t be toomenacing or otherwise kids couldn’t stand against the conspiracy, and all our suspension of disbelief is already taken up with the monsters.
³ Which is not to say that it’s a Bendis-style decompressed story. Al’Rashad moves, but nobody has all the information