Despite petering off due to a bevy of different reasons (including the possibility of an animated series), Achewood has been a major staple in the internet for well over a decade. The webcomic about some cats, an otter, a couple bears, a tiger, a squirrel and some robots has entertained many with its weird adventures and memorable dialogue. Every now and then, I’ve found myself editing certain comic books to fit the scene and essentially recreate key Achewood strips.
So here comes a special batch of Achewood/other comics mashups.
You’re on the internet looking at a site that is aboutis mostly about is occasionally about comics, so you are probably familiar with Chris Onstad’s Achewood. Originally meant to be about a trio of sentient stuffed animals, it mutated into revolving around a thong-wearing cat with too much money on his hands and his depressed mess of a best friend. It went on for years, gave many laughs, then stopped due to some personal stuff Onstad was going through. It picked back up, sporadic as it had become, but just the other day it was announced that Onstad is shopping around for a channel to get behind an Achewood television series. At first, we got a quick glance of some footage with “Everyday” by Buddy Holly playing.
Now we have a 5-minute proof-of-concept test footage dealy.
I’m down with Roast Beef here, though, “THIS IS SO WACKY!” needs far more oomph. It goes with the “Boomhauer from King of the Hill with the gimmick dialed down by a quarter” voice I always imagined him having. Ray seems a bit off to me. I always figured he sounded like Jeff Bridges. Ah well. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
If it gets picked up. Please let it get picked up.
Kind of a scattershot article this time around, so bear with me.
Things are overall pretty swell for me these days and I thought I’d take a couple days to sit back and talk about positivity. More specifically, as you can see in the big letters above, 31 things that make me happy. The kind of stuff that I can look at, think about or just plain talk about and I’ll turn my frown into a smile. This isn’t really a countdown, as there’s no actual order. In fact, it’s just a bunch of random crap meant to reach that number. The neat stuff I don’t talk about, I’ll save for next year when I discuss 32 things that make me happy.
Why 31? Because I’m becoming increasingly grizzled in the next couple days. I suggest other bloggers give this a try when their time comes. It’s fun.
1) That What If Story Where Galactus Turns into Elvis
I wrote about this last year, so you can read my lengthier review here. The short of it is that Galactus is magically transformed into Elvis Presley and shot to Earth, where he finds family and a new meaning to his life. More importantly, he redeems the names of Galactus and Elvis Presley by assuming the throne of King of Rock and Roll.
Yeah, comic books are sweet.
2) “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters
I can’t say that I have a favorite song, but I’m sure “Learn to Fly” is in my top five. It’s a beautiful tune that gets me pepped up to do whatever it is I’m preparing myself to do. For me, this is one of those songs that you listen to a million times, only listen to half of the words and get this image in your mind of what the song is really about, which is completely off-base. I can’t be the only one who does that.
For me, I always imagined the song as being about a World War I pilot in a nasty dogfight whose side is getting cut down by the enemy. He’s trying to get out of there with a handful of enemy fighters on his tail. He prays that his luck and worth as a pilot will let him live one more day to the point that he even considers selling his soul to the Devil. In the end, he maneuvers his way to safety to the point that he thinks his survival was caused purely by divine intervention.
Apparently the real meaning of the song is that it’s Grohl explaining the mental desperation of trying to write a good song under pressure. That’s pretty cool too, I guess.
3) Whenever Somebody Awesome Beats Up Superman When They Really Shouldn’t
When you ask the average man on the street who the strongest superhero character is, they’ll say Superman. Sure, a comic geek could say that Superman is nothing compared to the might of the Spectre and you’re always going to have that one guy desperately jumping through hoops to come up with a scenario where Batman makes a fool out of the guy. At the end of the day, Superman is considered one of the most unbeatable dudes in comics.
So it’s always a blast when he loses a fight to someone who isn’t even in his weight class. Sure, there’s always an explanation, but it doesn’t change the fact that Superman got his ass kicked by someone like Evil Spider-Man.
Yep. Back in All-Access #1, Venom showed up in the DC Universe and was quick to getting in a couple fights with Superman. He absolutely thrashed him again and again. And this was written by Ron Marz, a DC guy! Even when Spider-Man showed up, Venom kicked both their asses until the lame-oid Access showed up with a giant sonic cannon to save the day.
Some fans will explain it away that this was after Final Night, meaning that Superman wasn’t fully cooked up by the sun’s rays and was at a disadvantage. Too bad. My guy beat up your guy, so ha!
There are other examples. In one of my all-time favorite comics, Superman boxes against Muhammad Ali on a planet with a red sun, so naturally, Ali beats him down. Even though Superman has no chance in his vulnerable form, he still proves himself a badass by taking a beating and not falling down until the bell rings.
There was a crossover from when DC had the rights to Masters of the Universe and Superman ends up in Eternia. Despite having been thwarted by He-Man at every turn for years, Skeletor is able to pretty easily take down Superman without breaking a sweat. He just slices him in the chest with his magic sword and then zaps him with it until he stops moving. The dude beat up Superman, saved Christmas one time AND has a skull for a head. He’s the best.
Slightly related, but that JLA/Avengers crossover had a scene where Superman and Captain America are at each other’s throats to the point that the other heroes are pulling them apart. I’ve always thought this scene was great in its own flawed way because, really, what is Captain America going to do? His powers are that he’s good at doing crunches and talking. Superman can turn a mountain into glass by looking at it. It’s one of those cool little moments where Captain America is so in over his head but doesn’t care because he’s so determined that you believe he has a chance.
-I usually say “I don’t really read autobio comics,” but that’s pretty much a lie, I’ve realized. Erika Moen’s DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary is fascinating to me. She ended it yesterweek, and I’ve had it open in a tab ever since, hopping around from strip to strip. It’s really strong and very entertaining. It’s also a little baffling to me, as well. Moen is able to share things on a level I’m completely incapable of duplicating. It’s not that I’m emotionally cold (hey lay-deez, how YOU dooooooin’), it’s just that she’s open in a way that’s both foreign and appealing. It’s good reading, and her farewell strip is a beast. Plus, the series of strips about the guy who pooped on her bathroom floor was funny.
-Emi Lenox’s Emitown is also must-reading, for both similar and different reasons. What I like is that it’s almost like a highlight reel, or skimming someone’s diary. You never know if you’re gonna get a post about one subject or six. It’s a fifty-fifty draw- you’re getting either a single round or buckshot. The only surety is that you’re gonna get shot. Pardon the tortured gun metaphor, what I’m really trying to say is that the strip is entertaining and her art is great. Great emotional work and it never feels cluttered. Look at the faces in this one. I particularly like the bit where the cat laughs at her. Dope sense of humor at work there. She updates throughout the week.
-Julian Lytle’s Ants is more of a sitcom than a serial gag comedy strip. You dip in and out of watching these guys interact with (or talk about) current events, video games, music, whatever whatever. The slanguage is on point, and each strip is just a glimpse into the life of these guys. The latest is part of a series where the ants are riding on Asgard because they’re out of Eggos. Lemme tell you this: I can relate, because if EL Fudges end up shorted? I’m going out masked up, eyebrows down, and a whole bunch of guns on the backseat of the car. Julian updates on Thursdays.
-D-pi‘s Gratuitous Ninja has a few episodes out right now, and it’s shaping up to be pretty cool. It’s fresh, working in that same kind of cultural fusion lane as Jet Set Radio Future (sorry kids, I copped that on Xbox and missed it on Dreamcast) ran in. There’s a strong influence from video games, music, Japanese culture, and something I can’t quite put my finger on. I think Ron and I grew up on a lot of the same things, and it’s dope to see that on the page. Check it out on Wednesdays.
I first met Nicholas Doan, the writer of Pray for Death, from Zuda, DC’s webcomic division at Wonder-Con. When I ran into him in San Diego, with the comic’s artist Daniele Serra, they very kindly agreed to tell me about how their journey to publication.
Detective Abigail Jenkins is the inverse of the typical pop-culture cop; the one who is labelled a ‘loose canon’ by the press while the guys at the station indignantly talk about how he ‘gets things done’. She’s lauded by the press after an early success, but condemned by her peers. When she starts to investigate a serial killer with a religion fascination who thrills at the thought of getting caught, it seems everyone around her is setting her up to fail.
I ask Doan what inspired him.
“I think serial killers are society’s most complex, interesting and disturbed monsters,” he says. The idea flowed from there.
How did he come to work with Serra?
At first, Doan was in contact with Septagon Studios about Pray for Death. They put him in touch with Serra.
“I thank them every day for introducing us,” Doan tells me. “I came up with the concept and he made it look pretty.”
‘Pretty’ isn’t the word I would use, either for the concept or the art. The people in this comic aren’t glamourous. They have weathered faces and preoccupied expressions. The background is hazy. The pages themselves look muddy and grim, with dark splatters of pigment splashed over them in places. This style amplifies the noir tone of the book, as well as our sense of forboding as we look through it. There is a feeling that the killer could very well jump from the shadowy panels. And there’s the blood.
“The blood,” Doan says, “is perfectly used.”
He tells me that Serra used coffee to get the right pigment and texture. When I ask Serra where he go the idea, he shrugs and says, “My breakfast.”
Septagon asked them for five pages and two covers, which they supplied. Then they waited, for days, weeks, and finally months. Two months in total, which as any creator can tell you, is grueling.
Finally, they went to Zuda. I ask how their experience was there.
“They took care of us. It was a good opportunity to be placed in a big company.”
And so, outside of Pray for Death, at least, there is a happy ending. Inside?
Cheryl Lynn threw a link to Wide Awake Online up on Twitter yesterday, with a comment about how she liked the art. I figured I’d give it a look since she’s an Adam Warren fan, like all right-minded people.
What I found was pretty interesting. The artist, Mirco Pierfederici (some slight NSFW down the page), is an Italian cat who’s only done a few works in English, near as I can tell. I read Wide Awake, though, and was pretty impressed. His style has shades of Adam Hughes, Daniel Acuña, and Ryan Sook. I’m fairly certain that he does his own colors, as well, which is very neat. It’s an attractive style, and one that’s good enough for me to keep reading.
It’s a short look at the series, but pretty neat. Interesting, Greg Rucka’s buddy Eric Trautmann and Brandon Jerwa are writing it. Two decently established comics pros doing a free webcomic seems like it should be a bigger deal than it is. The only other guy I can think of who’s doing that off the top of my head is Warren Ellis, and maybe some of the Zuda crew.
The dreams of Amanda Carter, the main character, come to life every time she sleeps. It’s clear that there’s something else behind it, and finding out what that’s going to be is going to be pretty cool, I hope. Trautmann wrote a post about the series here with some background info. It updates weekly.
Johanna Draper-Carlson wrote a post about another new webcomic. 2D Goggles is a comic about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, Grandparents of modern computing. It’s a fun little ditty about equations, numbers, and science, but manages to be amazingly entertaining despite all of the gross science involved.
It’s a pretty clever strip, with lots of fun bits for careful readers. The Twitter joke is probably my favorite, but Ada thinking “Ponies + Numbers = :D” is also very funny to me. It’s totally a “Girls like ponies” joke, but it works. If you like historical fiction and comedy, or either of them, click on through.
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