Thursday, November 18, 2010

Webcomics - Liz Suburbia

Webcomics are pretty freaking awesome. If you're not reading any, you should be. The Hideous Energy folk (Austin) read Sailor Twain, FreakAngels, and of course Penny Arcade, which is sort of the linchpin for any good nerd's Enjoying Webcomics portfolio. Since the internet is starting to creep into everything - Blu-Ray players now know where you are at all times - it's probably time for anyone who isn't reading comics on the internet (legally) to start doing so. You don't want to be behind the curve when your Ford Focus starts connecting to the internet and asking "Where do you want to go today?" You might be bored while it takes you to Target or Johnny Rockets. You don't have to be though. You do not have to be bored.

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Liz Suburbia makes a great webcomic called "Sacred Heart." It is a kind of weird teen-drama where dead bodies show up and no one really freaks out too much. This doesn't mean the story is devoid of freak outs, or even appropriate (and definitely inappropriate) emotional reactions, because that stuff is in there too.

It reminds me somewhat of Ross Campbell's "Wet Moon" books, which are set in a small town as well, and contain a few or more "scene kids" just like "Sacred Heart" does. The art styles of both comics is somewhat similar, but only vaguely. Suburbia's lines are clean, and the art is partially cartoonish, without a great focus on photo-realism. A mood is set by the black and white art, especially with the blacks being so thick.

If you want to read about some kids acting like kids, maybe with a spot of adulthood blooming right in the middle of all the madness, then "Sacred Heart" is there for you. The main protagonist is a teenage girl named Bennie. She has a close relationship with her sister Empathy, and the chapters published so far look to be setting up something regarding their relationship, which is a great word to describe the theme or themes of this story. All of the characters within "Sacred Heart" have relationships with people, and Liz Suburbia shows us the gaps and connections that form and deteriorate. It's a pretty sweet deal for something free.

Along with telling an interesting story that could probably fall into the "slice-of-life" category, Liz Suburbia takes the craft and art form of comics and tells her story in an interesting way. There's an amazing sequence where one of the protagonists is getting ready for bed, and the story jumps from character to character, showing what each is doing at that exact moment. There are sad, funny, and uncomfortable moments shown, but Liz Suburbia manages to give a great representation of who these people are with nothing more than a panel.

Speaking of Liz Suburbia: she rocks. She works at a comic shop and produces this freaking good comic at the same time. She's legit. She posts art to her blog, and makes regular updates about being awesome and everything. Go check her stuff out.

* All art copyright Liz Suburbia, and appears here with her permission. (Note: The top image isn't from "Sacred Heart," but was posted on Liz's blog. I liked it too much to not include here.)

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