The webcomics blog about webcomics

Fleen Book Corner: LBE

Review time, kids! The webcomics library is growing by leaps and bounds, and over the next week or two, more items should be in our hot little hands. Up today: the reprint of Looks, Brains, and Everything, Scary Go Round book 1.

LBE (as the cool kids call it) contains what has become known as the Zombie Shelley storyline (which actually starts here, but damn I love that photo); since for many people, Shelley is the favorite character (and probably the soul of the strip, but I’m starting to take a real shine to Dark Esther), doing a story like this so early in the strip’s run (it comprises online chapters 2, 3, and 4) was an ambitious move on Allison’s part.

The art is even more gorgeous on the printed page than on the screen, and remarkably consistent with Allison’s current output (amazing considering that the youngest of these pages are three years old, and this is from the very beginning of Allison’s use of Illustrator); you would expect to see a ramping-up of quality or shift in style, but it’s always been as good as it is now. Allison has done a bit of tweaking in the story (he expresses particular discomfort with this page in the end-of-book material; the replacement page is much more melancholy); other additional pages also flow so smoothly that you’ll be hard pressed to find them without doing a page-by-page comparison against the online archives. On the necessity of these half-dozen additions, Allison sums up his feelings nicely in the Introduction:

Most artists I know view their old work with a mixture of horror, embarrassment and remove.

Like a teenaged diary rediscovered, it reveals the flaws and quirks you’ve spent the intervening years trying with all your might to hammer out. Those flaws are so gross and caricatured to our own eyes that we can’t see what people enjoyed about the stuff in the first place.

So I was pleasantly surprised upon revisiting this work to be reminded of a few of it’s charms…. While I can’t say thta I didn’t secretly want to re-draw every panel, the pages that follow seem good enough to let stand. These were the stories that helped me make comics my job.

Allison is being far too modest. The story and art are as full of charm as anything ever done in webcomics, dancing along your brain’s pleasure center like a zesty ranch dressing dances on your tongue.

Special note must also be made of the amazing job that Allison does in dealing with the business end of comics as a job: from the day that he asked if there was support for this book to the day he announced its availability was less than a month. One order via PayPal was processed the same day, and arrived across an ocean (and through the Great Northeastern Blizzard of Aught-Six) in one week. That’s a lot of logistics and follow-up to expect from one person working solo, and producing a comic five times a week. Given the disastrous implosion of Vault Distribution not so long ago, it’s good to remind ourselves what top-notch service in webcomics merch looks like.

In conclusion: LBE deserves an OBE. Yes, it’s generally understood that honors recipients are people and not objects, but Her Majesty will cope. She always does.

LBE deserves an OBE.

Yes, I do agree that the Empire upon which the sun never sets should place an order for as many copies of LBE as it has royalty.

I’ve just started working my way through this series.

It is taking a long time.

I wish it would take longer. I really enjoy it.

I have the original printing of the book – well worth it!

Oh god I just got this today it is the prettiest little thing

I just want people to know that

It is pretty

I do not normally use the word “pretty”

The Zombie Shelley story is the only webcomic sequence that I got any of my friends to read. Mainly because of the sexy overload.

RSS feed for comments on this post.