Blake M. Petit BlakeMPetit@gmail.com
The Wrath of Geek
The first collection of strips from the world’s geekiest webcomic!
A few years back, Ape Entertainment published a fine little slice-of-life comic called Subculture
. The series migrated to the internet, where it found new life as a webcomic. This first collection of strips brings us almost 100 installments of a story that pretty much any comic nerd can relate to.
The webcomic picks up right after the miniseries ended. Jason, our viewpoint nerd, has quit his job at Games Boutique and is contemplating a return to college, but he needs to find a job. His one-time love interest and now-friend Noel decides to help him out with a little motivation, both in pursuing his career and looking for work to fill the gap, while his roommate Arthur is a bit lost in his own world of video games, comics, and a surprise find at a convention.
The book really is easy to relate to if you’re into comics, video games, RPGs… pretty much any reason you would be reading this website. Jason works well as the everyman geek, the one that’s more or less normal despite his nerdlike proclivities. The characters around him are the ones that reach extremes – Arthur is the cosplayer in a costume that’s totally inappropriate for his body type, Travis is the collector obsessed with comic value and mint conditions, Skip’s the kid that lets his hormones call the shots, and so on. Noel works well as a counterpoint – she’s the sexy girl who also has a brain and digs the same stuff as the guys, but is assertive enough to pretty much leave them all hopelessly intimidated in her presence.
really carries his weight here well. His character designs are wonderful, giving each member of our rather large cast a distinctive look that sets them apart from everyone else, and usually works in some sort of visual hint or clue to their personality. When we first meet Kim, for example, we get a certain vibe from her appearance. As we learn more about her, everything we learn fits right in. Not to say there’s no room for surprise either – we learn some choice tidbits about Noel in this book, and Arthur grows up a little.
There is one real flaw in this collected edition that doesn’t exist on the website, though, and that’s the strip-by-strip commentary by Kevin Freeman
. I’ve seen lots of webcomics collections, some of which choose to include such commentary, some of which don’t. I rather prefer the ones that don’t. Stopping after every strip breaks up the flow of reading, and very often the commentary doesn’t really add anything. There are blurbs to explain what’s on the TV in the background, what movies the characters are quoting, jokes that Freeman decided not to use (and pretty much always correctly) and even a few that blow surprises later on by telling us about a character the first time we see them, denying us the chance to learn later on. That’s not a problem for people who’ve followed the comic online, of course, but a new reader will be a little cheated by that sort of thing.
If you’ve never read Subculture
before, this collection is definitely worth reading. If you are a newbie, though, skip the commentary the first time through, then just go back and look at what Freeman had to say about your favorite strips.
Support cxPulp by pre-ordering Subculture Vol. 1 at Amazon.com!