The webcomics blog about webcomics

Depths

You do not even want to know what kinds of alligators I’m up to my ass in today. I’m not sure that sentence is grammatically possible, but I don’t care — that’s how today is going. I know that I punted on Friday (for the very best of reasons, and the wedding went off great, thanks for asking), so I feel terrible about going brief today, but that’s the way it’s going to be.

KC Green is rightly lauded for the immense quality of his comics — particularly the anarchic nature of his writing — but I don’t think he’s gotten enough credit for the emotional heft that he can bring to his work. Yeah, Mort’s prone to blowing up and acting like an enormous dick, but for for every strip of Mort being Mort, there’s usually a quieter moment of showing the hurt inside. We had a great example of this in The Dog’s Sins (later added to Gunshow as update #700), and he’s done even better in today’s (nearly final) update of Graveyard Quest. All the resentment and hurt that our nameless hero has been through, all the travail and betrayal and woe, all the righteous anger he feels … it just sort of goes out of the room when he finds the one who started him down that path of pain is hurting just as badly as he is.

It’s powerful and powerfully unexpected; Green may get extra mileage out of these (entirely earned) emotional moments due to his work often shying away from inner turmoil in favor of outer turmoil¹ (there’s a lot of resentment and seething outrage, but not the sense of emotional hurt). I suspect that below the slapsticky elements of BACK, we’ll see some similar depth. It’s damn good stuff, and it’s terrific to see Green exploring this side of his storytelling. In any event, if you haven’t been reading Graveyard Quest, now is an excellent time to do so, as it’s just Wednesday and Friday left.


Spam of the day:

Nowadays, the cargo handling capacity of the waterway is four times as much as that of the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, according to Tong Mingkang, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

I had no idea; I mean, maybe twice the capacity of the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, but four times? Amazing!

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¹ E.g.: Who stole the carrots, what’s wrong with my ass, why are you being a dick, etc

KC Green at his best can feel like great literature. The Anime Club, for instance, doesn’t suffer when compared to great stories like Sam Lipsyte’s The Dungeon Master. But I mean, it’s the short, manic/weird stuff maybe as much (or more so) than the long stuff, generally.

That being said, I don’t feel like “Graveyard Quest” works particularly well at all. I can get behind this recent turn in the action, and you’re right that it does provide some emotional heft, but it also feels a bit too easy. I think it’s a problem of medium: before he announced publicly that GQ was meant to be a videogame, GQ felt like a videogame for all of the wrong reasons. To me this is a problem of poor translation: there are gaps in the story that are meant to be filled with “gameplay,” and they’re obvious because nothing has been put in their place.

What are we supposed to make of something like: “You’d think you’d saved the princess, with that presence dripping off you”? Besides being an awkward line (most days KC needs a copy editor), it rings a bit hollow when directed at the gravedigger and not its real target, the player. Also, I might be wrong, but I bet there was going to be a boss battle somewhere in that confrontation with his dad, and the exhaustion of that battle might have better prepared the player/reader for the reconciliation that follows. (Why does this tough guy suddenly start crying? Great once we get there, but this isn’t the same father we meet at the top of the page.)

I mean, I like GQ, because I like all of KC’s work (he’s a straight-up genius), but I don’t think it’s his best stuff.

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