Category Archives: Webcomics

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Preview: Bite-Sized Archie Vol. 1

BITE-SIZED ARCHIE VOL. 1 (TP)

Script: Ron Cacace
Art & Cover: Vincent Lovallo
38 pages
$2.99 U.S
Available exclusively on ComiXology
Release Date: 6/2

We hope you’re hungry… hungry for laughs! Archie Comics’ first-ever webcomic series, BITE SIZED ARCHIE, is here! This volume includes sixteen hilarious strips of bite-sized fun covering everything from video games to pop culture to embarrassing group chats. Complete with exclusive bonus features, character sketches, and behind-the-scenes conversations from the creative team, this digital collection shines a brighter light on the comic that’s been delighting Archie fans on social media every week! Collects BITE SIZED ARCHIE #1-16 plus bonus features.

BITE-SIZED ARCHIE VOL. 1 (TP)

Bite Sized Archie Goes Big with Syndication on Tinyview and Digital Collection at comiXology

Bite Sized Archie, the first-ever webcomic series from Archie Comics, is expanding its online presence with a new syndication deal with digital comics app Tinyview and the upcoming release of the first in a series of digital collections on comiXology.

New and previously published editions of Bite Sized Archie will continue to be posted every Friday on the Archie Comics social media pages, while Tinyview users will get a special early preview on Thursday evenings. All previously released and upcoming editions of Bite Sized Archie will be available on the Tinyview platform for web, iOS, and Android, and adapted for its vertical-scroll format. Bite Sized Archie joins a diverse assortment of popular webcomic series on the platform, which specializes in delivering short bursts of comics content directly to readers in an easy-to-read format and is the first addition from a major American comics publisher on the service.

Bite Sized Archie will also be heading to digital comics platform comiXology with a digital volume collecting the first 16 comic strips and extras including behind-the-scenes conversations, character sketches, and more. Bite Sized Archie Vol. 1 will be available for individual download at $2.99 or free-to-read for ComiXology Unlimited subscribers on June 2nd.

We hope you’re hungry… hungry for laughs! Archie Comics’ first-ever webcomic series, Bite Sized Archie, is here! This volume includes sixteen hilarious strips of bite-sized fun covering everything from video games to pop culture to embarrassing group chats. Complete with exclusive bonus features, character sketches, and behind-the-scenes conversations from the creative team, this digital collection shines a brighter light on the comic that’s been delighting Archie fans on social media every week! Collects Bite Sized Archie #1-16 plus bonus features.

Script: Ron Cacace
Art: Vincent Lovallo
38 pages
$2.99 U.S
Available exclusively on ComiXology
Release Date: 6/2

Alex Shumacher’s Mr. Butterchips Returns with Political Statements and Social Satire from the Perspective of an ill-tempered Monkey

Mr. Butterchips

Get set. One seriously maniacal monkey is about to be unleashed on the unsuspecting public! Weekly installments of Mr. Butterchips by Alex Schumacher have launched on SLG Publishing, accompanied by new apparel to help fans show their love for the celebrated curmudgeonly capuchin.

Mr. Butterchips illustrates the day-to-day antics of a prickly organ grinder’s monkey set in a surreal fictional West Coast town, which is populated by an array of quirky characters. It’s through this satirical hallucinogenic lens that the pitfalls of a “gig economy” are examined while touching on such timely issues as class disparity and intolerance; amplifying the absurdity of what it means to be alive in a world which seemingly becomes more insane by the second.

The comic first appeared in the online literary magazine Drunk Monkeys beginning in April of 2016. SLG Publishing released Mr. Butterchips: A Collection of Cantankerous Commentary in 2020, assembling the initial run of the webcomic along with a 22-page standalone acid trip of a story entitled “Psychotropic San Francisco Sojourn.”

Review: Acursian Chapter 24

Acursian Chapter 24

There are always those parts in the big action movies, where it seems like the heroes will probably lose. It is where the audience, suddenly suspends disbelief  , because they are invested. It is where you realize that the people you are rooting for may not get out of it alive. That is why the movies of the MCU are so compelling.

As the Avengers movies, proved to movie fans, those characters’ times on screen was finite. There were real consequences for every action taken. This is why when Vision was killed both times, it was truly heartbreaking.  In Acursian Chapter 24, we find our heroes in the midst of the fight which also has real consequences.

We open up on Alison and Rory shortly after reuniting with Charlie and Nate, as they know they have to get to the Isle Of Shadows to save Ceillach.  We find Corra battling Bregon’s Dark Army, where she gets a little help from Nate, as we soon find out just how powerful he really is.  We also find Connell have her Battle Royale with Bregon, one final fatal fight, that will leave one of the siblings meeting their ultimate end.By issue’s end, Charlie attempts to awaken Ceillech as Bregon comes even closer to his goal.

Overall, Acursian Chapter 24 is an exceptional entry in the series that begins the penultimate phase of the story The story by John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis is worthwhile. The art by Beni Lobel is enthralling. Altogether, it’s a chapter that astonishes by excellent storytelling.

Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and  Tommy Lee Edwards
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Punderworld Delivers a Romantic Retelling of the Hades and Persephone Myth

Fan-favorite creator Linda Šejić will offer readers a romantic retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth in the forthcoming original graphic novel, Punderworld. This fresh take on the Greek tale will follow the couple’s love-struck misadventures with contemporary sensibilities this August from Image/Top Cow.

Originally published on Webtoons, the webcomic of Punderworld has a devoted following with 348.2K subscribers and 13.5M hits.

Punderworld is the classic tale of Greek myth—but 100 percent more awkwardly relatable. Hades is the officious, antisocial ruler of the Underworld. Persephone, daughter of Demeter, is an earth goddess of growth and renewal—they’ve been crushing on each other for the past two centuries. But when a festival (and a little liquid courage) present an opportunity to put an end to their olympian will-they-won’t-they, a meddlesome pantheon and several titanic misassumptions threaten to give every god in the sky the wrong impression… and leave their romance dead before it can bloom.

Punderworld (ISBN: 978-1-5343-2072-7, Diamond Code JUN210157) will be available on Wednesday, August 25 and in bookstores on Tuesday, August 31. It can be pre-ordered at your local comic book shop or independent bookstore via Bookshop or IndieBound, or it can be pre-ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Indigo.

Punderworld

Review: Acursian Chapter 23

Acursian Chapter 23

It is always profound when characters enter that turning point. When they make a choice which upends everything, leaving the reader to gasp. This is when we often question where the writer is taking us. Some of them are well-treaded steps, as you can often find parallels within the Hero’s journey.

The most memorable example that comes to mind is in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. The movie is probably the most loved amongst movie fans. The choice Indy makes at the end, comes out of wisdom and resolve. In Acursian Chapter 23, we find Charlie making a life-altering choice.

We open up on Rory reuniting with Charlie and Nate, as they try to figure out how to fix the timeline. We also find Bregon, abandoned by Rory, summoning his Dark  Army, as he plots to take over control of the island from his sisters. We also find Bregon and Rory at Charlie’s ancestral home. We soon find Charlie and Rory back in the Witches Realm, giving up the necklace to get Allison back. By issue’s end, Charlie outsmarts the witch, but the Fates have war at their door.

Overall, Acursian Chapter 23 is an excellent entry that gives the story some real stakes. The story by John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis is rewarding. The art by the creative team is alluring. Altogether, it’s a chapter in the story that adds some excitement.

Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and Tommy Lee Edwards
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Acursian Chapter 22

Acursian Chapter 22

What I love about alternate universe stories is how they show just how crazy things can get. If a protagonist makes a different choice, we’re taken down a different road. That is why most of us are fascinated with these alternate worlds. It’s a concept so pervasive that when you mention “Mirror Universe”, individuals who have never seen an episode will know you’re talking about Star Trek and the concept.

This makes sense why Star Trek Discovery, has utilized it within its first 2 seasons. It gives us a different look and version of a character we have grown accustomed to. It presents possibilities which intrigues the most.  In Acursian Chapter 22, we find Rory discovering the life he could have had.

We open up on Charlie and Corra arriving at the Isle of Shadows, where Nate is tending to Corra’s sisters, who are being affected by the loss of the necklace.  This pushes the three to take drastic measures so that Charlie can get Ceillech’s orb and Corra can save her sisters. We also find Bregon and Rory at Charlie’s ancestral home. Where a skirmish breaks out between the two and Rory grabs the staff. By the issue’s end, Rory uses the staff to get back to Charlie .

Overall, Acursian Chapter 22 is a great entry that gives the protagonist a bit of humanity. The story by the creative team is satisfying. The art by the creative team is pleasing to the eye. Altogether, the story spurs the imagination.

Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and  Tommy Lee Edwards
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Kakao Entertainment Acquires 100% Stake in Tapas

Tapas

Continuing their global mission to create super IP across multimedia platforms, the leading digital publisher of webcomics and novels, Tapas Media, Inc., has been acquired by Kakao Entertainment in a cash transaction announced today. The acquisition will expand Kakao Entertainment’s original content business in North America and other English-speaking regions.

The terms of the agreement give Kakao Entertainment a 100% stake in Tapas, for a transaction valued at $510 million. CEO and Founder, Chang Kim, will remain in his role as CEO and become a Global Strategy Officer within Kakao Entertainment. Kim will provide insight into the US Market while continuing to focus on developing IP on the Tapas platform.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Tapas is a pioneer of mobile storytelling platforms in the US and have found success in the rapidly growing mobile stories market with more than 8 billion pageviews of 96,000 original series – both webcomics and digital novels. Tapas’ microtransaction-based digital currency (Ink) empowers readers to directly support their favorite creators and stories, generating revenue for creators.  Tapas saw five times year-over-year revenue growth in 2020, averaging more than $2M per month for creators, making it one of the top 3 grossing comic apps in the US.

Tapas have spent almost a decade dedicated to developing a creator-first ecosystem with an open publishing platform and creator community. Tapas is not just a creator platform, it also produces original content with creators – content that expands into additional business opportunities including development deals in film and television, book publishing, audio, and other ancillary business. Recent Tapas announcements include Scholastic signing global publishing rights for the critically-acclaimed Studio Tapas original series Magical Boy – releasing as a graphic novel on November 2, 2021; a partnership with Zoic Studios for television and cross-platform adaptation of the AI thriller Tapas original, Mnemosyne; and Frolic Media and Madison Wells are producing a scripted podcast and developing the TV adaptation of the modern office-place romance series, Yes, My Boss!. The expanded partnership with Kakao Entertainment furthers this mission broadening creator opportunities on a global level as they are a leader in the Korean web novel and webcomic industries, with a successful track record of creating super IPs made into secondary formats such as films, TV series, games, and live performances.

Allnighter is Bringing the Webcomic Let’s Play to Television

Allnighter has announced that it will be bringing the massively popular, romantic comedy webcomic, Let’s Play, and its devoted, multimillion-strong weekly readership to television as a live-action series in partnership with creator Leeanne M. Krecic. Allnighter partners Amanda Kruse, Dinesh Shamdasani, and Hunter Gorinson will executive produce the series alongside Krecic and Tom Akel. The team will soon be approaching high-profile showrunner talent for the adaptation.

The female-driven series – which embraces, explores, and satirizes gaming culture through the eyes of a 20-something, female video game developer – launched as an online webcomic serial in 2016 on WEBTOON, the largest digital comics platform in the world. It quickly took on a life of its own, amassing a subscriber base of more than 3.8 million weekly readers – a staggering statistic that makes it not only one of the most successful series in the history of the WEBTOON platform, but one of the most widely read serialized comic books anywhere in the Western world today. With a legion of dedicated fans that spans the gaming, comics, and romantic fiction communities and a long list of critical accolades (including a 2019 Eisner Award nomination), Let’s Play has also successfully migrated into print through Rocketship Entertainment with two blockbuster crowdfunding campaigns that have amassed nearly $1 million in contributions and that currently rank amongst the 20 most successful comics Kickstarters of all time.

The comic series will return for its highly anticipated third “season” later in 2021 and can be read online at webtoons.com and in the WEBTOON app.

Let’s Play follows Sam – an aspiring game developer who sacrificed a social life to pour her heart and soul into her first game. But when the product of Sam’s passion – a lovingly constructed RPG called Ruminate – gets skewered by an enigmatic game reviewer only known by the online handle “Marshall Law,” the personal and professional fallout is swift and brutal. Things get even more complicated when Sam discovers that her new next-door neighbor is none other than Marshall in the flesh – and that, together, they’re about to become opposing players in the game of love and life.

Let's Play

Review: Venus Rises – Parallels (Part 1)

Venus Rises Series 3 #1

When it comes to Science-Fiction, I prefer sophisticated storytelling over flashy concepts. Space explosions and alien battles are all well and good, but I prefer a story that uses the genre to explore larger themes. This is a sentiment shared by indie comic creator J.G. Birdsall in his Venus Rises series. Birdsall is releasing a new weekly webcomic set in the world of Venus Rises exclusively to Patreon subscribers. The first issue of Venus Rises – Parallels will debut on May 5th.

In Venus Rises humanity has fled a ruined Earth and colonized its neighboring planets. The elites now live on Mars and their resources are supplied by a working class who has been relegated to Venus. At first, this arrangement was necessary for the survival of the human race. Now, tensions between the two groups have reached a boiling point and civil war looms on the horizon.

One of my favorite things about the regular Venus Rises series is that Birdsall is telling an epic story through smaller, more intimate moments. This trend continues in Parallels. The first issue’s narrative takes place across only two scenes, both of which have great pacing. Birdsall makes the most of the page count and pulls readers into the story within the first few pages. It then ends with a cliff-hanger that will have readers excited for more.

Although Parallels – Part 1 is a good jumping on point for current and new reader alike, the plot of this first issue is a bit vague. Taken at face value, the story is entertaining, but I would have liked to see a little more depth. No backstory is given, and the characters are never fully introduced to the reader. Admittedly, this is a first issue, so these aspects are most likely planned for later in the series. Yet, without adequate context, there is no real tension. Since we aren’t truly introduced to the characters, we have no sense of the stakes they face. Nor do we have a reason to care about their fates. As I said, I’m sure these things will eventually be covered, but it would have been nice to see them touched on in slightly greater detail.

Artist Bora Orcal draws the issue in a style that reminds me of the old pulp comics put out by Warren Publishing. The first half Parallels is illustrated with a high level of detail that looks like it has been penciled directly onto the page. Orcal utilizes complex line-work and expert shading. He captures the vastness of space while presenting spaceships and human beings in a believable and realistic scale. The second half of the issue is unfortunately drawn in less detail and lacks the same sense of scope as the first half. Whereas the first half has a refined look, the second half comes across as more abstract. The city in which the scene is set is drawn well but this isn’t always true for the characters. I would have liked to see the same level of detail upheld over the course of the entire issue.

Luckily, there are a few aspects of the art that unify both halves of the story. Although the issue is presented mostly in black and white, there are pops of color throughout. These accents highlight the focus of a single panel without distracting from the overall scene. Birdsall and Orcal also tell the story using creative page layouts. Even though the narrative doesn’t play out within a traditional grid, it’s always easy to follow the flow of a scene. The panels are laid out in such a way that the eye has no trouble following the progression of the story across the page.

If this review hasn’t been enough to get you interested in Parallels, check out this promo video. For those who want to catch up before jumping into this new series, the first two issues are available for purchase. You can also check out my spoiler-free reviews of Issue 1 and Issue 2.

Conceived and Written: J.G. Birdsall Art: Bora Orcal
Color: Elif Kut Lettering: Elif Kut
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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