Robot 6

Webcomics: Taking a second look

Max Overacts—and also throws his voice!

As the year winds down, I’m reviewing my old posts to prep for all those end-of-the-year roundups and think pieces, and in the process, I’m taking another look at some of the webcomics I recommended during the year.

Max Overacts: You would think a joke like this—cute kid over-dramatizes everything—would run its course pretty quickly, but Canaan Grall keeps finding new and fresh ways for Max to drive his parents, his sister, his teacher, and his friends crazy. Recent episodes include a crush on a new girl, a near-death episode caused by an allergic reaction, and using ventriloquism to make the oranges in the supermarket talk back to shoppers. Grall is still updating regularly, and the comic keeps getting better and better.

Cleopatra in Space: This is a fun space-fighting action comic about a girl and her smart-aleck cat, but until the middle of the second chapter, it was all action and no backstory. That was a bit late, especially for a comic that updates weekly: The comic launched in August 2009 but the backstory didn’t start until November, and it has only just begun. I like this comic a lot, but I fell away because the weekly updates were too infrequent, but on the other hand, good for the creators for sticking to the schedule! The second chapter is in color, but I actually liked the monochrome of the first chapter better—it was more dynamic. I think this comic would work really well as a digital comic for iPad or Kindle, with an introductory page and the first chapter bundled as a single issue.

Max vs. Max: I really liked Wes Molebash’s semi-diary comic about life after divorce, and I especially liked that he could write an explicitly Christian comic without being preachy or judgmental. In the past six months, Wes took on the hard reality of dating sites and nerd discussions, and his first date is narrated by color commentators. After all this, he clicks with a girl, and then, just last week, he ended the comic. Gah! It’s still a great little story, and he didn’t fade at all toward the end, but it seems like it ended rather abruptly. More, Wes, more!

Americus: I found the first few chapters of this comic to be a tad heavy-handed. The story follows two boys who have just graduated from middle school; both are huge fans of a fantasy novel series, but when the mother of one of them finds out about it, she destroys the book and thunders down to the library to complain that her son is being taught witchcraft. While I realize there are people out there who burned Harry Potter books, the mother’s behavior struck me as being too extreme to be believable. The current chapter has a much lighter touch, though, as the other boy goes to a family party and an older cousin turns him on to some awesome (fictional) music. The creators really caught the nuances this time, and I’m liking the story a lot more.

Kitty Hawk: Sigh. I really liked this webcomic about a female aviator in the 1930s, and the creators had a pretty solid story going, and then they just stopped. As I mentioned in my column on webcomics that fade away, the last episode went up in September 2009 and the creators promised more in January. Well, it’s December and there have been no updates, which is very disappointing; I hope the creators are doing something equally awesome that I just don’t know about.

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7 Comments

I just updated my Google Reader and – like you – was reminded that Kitty Hawk hasn’t updated in over a year. Unsubscribing from it made me sad.

Max Overreacts is fantastic! Canaan is one to watch, I think.

I just started Max Vs Max so was a bit miffed to see it go already (and like you point out, quite abruptly). Not really interested in his new endeavor.

Hi folks, Braden of Kitty Hawk here. Just wanted to give you some account of what’s up with the comic.
We fell prey to a couple of the pitfalls Brigid mentioned in “Death Stalks the Internet.” It was hard to make money on the comic, and therefore hard for me to justify spending so much time producing it.
Right now I’m back in school, studying illustration, hoping to make a career out of making funnybooks. I’ve been working a little with BOOM! Kids in my spare time – I colored Muppet Snow White and the last 3 issues of Muppet Sherlock Holmes, which were all great fun. I’m also coloring my friend Zack Giallongo’s upcoming book, Broxo, for First Second books.
After I wrap up that and graduate this summer, we’d love to get back into producing Kitty Hawk, though probably in a slightly different format, and likely with a “relaunch”, giving us time to work up a really great story. So, Kitty Hawk hasn’t crashed, it’s just up in the air.
So to speak.

Brigid Alverson

December 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Braden, that’s good news! I didn’t mean to pick on you—it’s just that Kitty Hawk is such a great comic, I want to see more!

Braden and I have been doing some brainstorming here and there… Our brains are very stormy, yes.

Yes — I love Max Overacts, too! Thanks for giving Canaan lots of props. His art is amazing, and he packs a lot of story into each entry.

Checking out the other comics now, too…

Sorry I couldn’t keep you, Brigid! But I wouldn’t fault anyone for just wanting to check out the comic once a year. Cleo is still just a side thing for me and putting it up on the web is just a way of me keeping up with it. One page a week is still all I can manage at the moment but hopefully, if the readership continues to grow, I can do more next year.

Nonetheless, thanks for the kind words!

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