Speaking of Comics – Next Town Over

Howdy Folks!

Today I want to talk about “Next Town Over” a neat little comic that I found thanks to a friend and absolutely devoured the archives.  One of the things that caught my attention (other than the story, which we will get too in a minute) is the layout.  It’s not laid out like your normal comic.  Erin Mehlos, the creator of the comic has made sure that each panel is unique in frame as well as content.  For instance, if it’s raining, the frame reflects that.  If it is set in a forest, the frame is made of branches and grass.  It is a lovely change of pace from your thick black line that is found in so many comics.  But that is hardly the only interesting aspect of the comic!  The artwork is distinctive and colored beautifully, the characters are well drawn.  The characters are interested and well fleshed out.  They all have a mystery about them, yet are approachable despite that secretiveness.

The story is one that draws you in and makes you question everything.  Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy?  Is there even such a thing?  It’s a steampunky western comic with elemental magic overtones, though the true story behind those magical elements has yet to be fully revealed.  To be truthful, very little of the story has been fully revealed and it’s lovely.  There is just enough information to keep your interest, but not enough that you feel like you can stop reading.

Next Town Over is a weekly western, liberally spiced with sorcery, secrets and steam, updating Sundays.  It primarily chronicles the curious rivalry twixt laconic, mechnically-inclined Vane Black and sorcerous rogue John Henry Hunter … and no: it most certainly does not take place in the historical American west.

Next Town Over Webpage

If you are interested in reading a steampunky western comic with strong lady characters, wild adventures and stunning art, you will love Next Town Over, by Erin Mehlos.

 

Kidneys are Important!

So the weekend before last my husband and I went on a trip to New Jersey.  I had been suffering some mild cramp like pains since that Tuesday but we decided to go anyway.  I was certain that they would go away on their own.  I mean, they were just cramps, right?  On Saturday I woke up to some fairly agonizing pain and knew that something was very wrong.  My husband immediately sent me to the nearest urgent care facility and went to rent a car to get us home.

Since I have already had my appendix out, the nurse practitioner there figured it was a kidney infection and started me on some antibiotics.  Whoo boy!  I have never had a Kidney infection.  I’ve had several UTIs but those are just annoying, painful sure, but now that I’ve had a kidney infection I’m pretty much going to just laugh those off.  I have no idea how I got the kidney infection but I plan on NEVER DOING IT AGAIN.  (Whatever it was.)

I’ve been drinking water like a fish and it’s finally flushed out of my system.  *crosses fingers*  I finished my antibiotics and I’m still drinking a boatload of water.  I can tell something is still not right, but my doctor here says to just keep flushing my system and it should get the last vestiges of discomfort out by Monday.

I am sad to have missed the rest of the weekend in New Jersey, but the 12 hour car ride back with my husband was actually fairly enjoyable.  Minus the restroom stop every two hours or so… and the pain.

Other than that it wasn’t bad.  *laughs*

By now you have gotten 4 pages of comics.  What do you think so far?  I’m still ironing out the kinks and working on the formatting, but I would love to get your feedback.  It’s how I get better at my art.

Feel free to leave a message on the comic you are commenting on, or send me a message directly via the Contact Me page.

Have a great day!

Speaking of Comics – Girl Genius

Howdy folks!

When one thinks of steampunk comics one of the first ones that comes to mind is the long running Girl Genius.  The first comic on their website dates back to November 2002 so it’s been around a long time.

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Girl Genius is an ongoing “gaslamp fantasy” story by Phil and Kaja Foglio. It started out in 2000 as a periodical comic book, which is collected into thirteen (and counting) larger volumes, and has now won three Hugo awards for Best Graphic Story. Girl Genius follows the career of Agatha Heterodyne–a hapless student at Transylvania Polygnostic University who discovers that she has more going for her than she thought.

This comic has so much going for it.  Reading through the archives you can see massive improvement in the artwork as the story progresses and the artwork actually started out really nicely.  It is fully colored and comes out Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.  Yeah, you read that right.  It comes out three times a week!  It is also printed in 13 (and counting) graphic novels!

It’s story is gripping and wide ranging with a unique world that they have really made their own.  Here is a brief synopsis of the plot without giving too much away.

In an alternate-history “Europa”, mad scientists called Sparks turned the Industrial Revolution into a full-scale war that ravaged the continent, until Baron Wulfenbach clamped down with an iron fist… Enter Agatha Clay, an “adorkable” student who can’t do anything right – until she learns of her “Spark” heritage. She’s the long-lost daughter of storied hero Bill Heterodyne and villainess-turned-good Lucrezia Mongfish. For the first time in a century, hope springs in the hearts of common people as our heroine, now Agatha Heterodyne, learns to mix scientific genius and kindly compassion to regain her heritage and free Europa from mad sparks and tyrannical dictators.

Wikipedia – Girl Genius

In other words… IT IS AMAZING.  It has enough victorian flair to be steampunk, but it just blurs the line between science and magic.  But not enough that the whole thing becomes campy.  It leaves you asking the question, Is it science?  Is it magic?  Who knows, but it’s fantastic.  Some of the two page spreads are absolutely stunning.  The writing can be a bit slow in places, but the dialogue is witty and engaging.  With the main protagonist being an adorably geeky woman who is drawn with a fairly normal body type and is damn intelligent to boot, I was immediately drawn in.  The romance storyline is handled well.  She doesn’t lose all her brain cells when her focus of affection enters the room, in fact, the reason she’s so attracted to him (them…) is because they click on an intellectual level.  I find intelligence SO attractive so this really hits home for me.

The creators balance action, adventure, romance and humor well enough they have kept me hooked for a few years now.  Hard to do with such a long lasting serial.

I highly recommend this comic to anyone who enjoys steampunk comics of all sorts.