Comic Workshop: later, watch the world end

Getting these new comics can be such a joy. The biggest problem these kiddies have is a lack of staying power. They come out of the gate strong with some beautiful strips but then 30 strips in you have no idea what is going on or why this strip was created. Gag and journal strips are particularly victim to this problem because story arcs are not prevalent and people feel they need to funny all the time.

The latest comic, less than 100 strips, for me to review is later, watch the world end. Imagine Bunny meets A Softer World and those happen to be #3 and #1 on the site’s comic list. Darcie Frederick has started a strip with superb art and what I have found to be completely scattered writing. I’m going to admit up front that I don’t understand post- apocalyptic worlds, because I don’t get the idea of needing to start over. She describes it as an experiment where some things have changed, many have stayed the same. The world has the same places, same emotions, but far fewer people.

Each strip is presented as 1-3 panoramic strips (usually just one) with a title and sometimes some words in the strip. Over the past 59 strips there have been a smattering of characters, my favorite of which has been Simon the cat. This is the first problem. The best post-apocalyptic story ever written is “I am Legend” and there was one person in the entire serious. Isn’t the whole point to explore one person’s mind as they go crazy or one person running through the world meeting crazy people? In Later I don’t understand anything about the characters and I keep getting new ones thrown at me. On top of this there is very little written explanation for any of them. The only one that even comes close to having development is the man with the beard.

The art behind the strips is fantastic. It doesn’t look like the end of the world in so much as all the humans are and animals are gone. Almost like being on an alien world where animals never walked up out of the sea to feed on all the wonderfully detailed plants. It’s really kind of spooky, in a Vanilla Sky sort of way, and the comic could stand on it’s own if no words at all are ever used. Where I get lost is trying to match the title with strip, and then the verses thrown into every other one. Must of the time all three seem to be telling different stories and I get the impression I should read it 3 different ways while going through the archives.

What I would really like is to either get more information out of the site about what is going on or perhaps make a more obvious separation between everything. The titles, verses, and art can be disjointed but they should be consistent in that pursuit. If they mingle then they should always relate. If Darcie meant for all three to relate throughout the series then we have the main problem. She has tried to hard to extract too much meaning. The best strips in the entire comic are those with very little words or have words with very little art. Despite all this I have to say this is a brilliant comic that I’m glad has been around for a year.

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