I just got done editing the show that will go up tomorrow, a review of â€œBoxcar Astronaut.â€ At the start of the show I made a comment about how it’s very rare that we â€“ as Web comic reviewers â€“ get to look at a completed comic as a whole instead of as a work in progress. That tends to be the nature of the beast with comics in general but especially when dealing with the Web variety that we love so much.
Generally, but not always.
Realm of Atland posted the final strip of Season One yesterday. No small feat considering this comic has updated almost every week for the past four years and change. This means that as of right now, the whole of the comic is one story arc: one long, epic, self-referential, beautiful story arc. I love it when this happens. When someone can start something so big, so long ago and see it through taking us along for the ride. It’s a beautiful thing.
This milestone has given me a chance to think about why completed stories as so special. They mean for once, we’re seeing the story as the creator sees it, fully realized. Plus, there’s the facts that we get some closure, loose ends get tied up and the whole story is laid before the reader.
Daku and Zampson reviewed this strip way back on Episode 70. I’m going to take some time this weekend to listen to what the old guys had to say then and reread the whole archive see how the strip compares now.
As I’ve started typing up show notes for each episode I’ve noticed that we mention RiceBoy a lot. Something I did not foresee when I first discovered â€œThis poorly drawn comic that won’t get to the point.â€ But the whole was more that the sum of it’s parts, the comic was greater than the some of it’s pages. And as I read, Riceboy went from Internet oddity to Internet classic.
Realm of Atland is a lot the same. Each page is great. It’s amazingly drawn, well laid out and expertly written. But it’s when you take these pages, all 268 of them and put them in chronological order that you get an experience that will make you laugh often, tear up occasionally and more often then you’d like admit, get a little bit of a boner.
The great thing is, while this epic story-telling endeavor has come to a close, more is yet to come. On March 11th after a short hiatus the Realm of Atland will return with Season Two which means I should have something to read for the next four years.
As much as I’m looking forward to the new chapter, I’d be OK if it never came. Piekos has left Barry and crew at a very satisfying juncture, and if they have to live there in my mind for the rest of my life, it would be fine by me. Much better than if they were forever mid fight-scene after the comic faded.
That being said, there had better be an Season Two as planned and it better be awesome.
So if you’ve never heard of Realm of Atland, go check it out. If you have heard of it, but never got around to reading it, this intermission is a great time to go and catch up. If you’ve been to the site but wrote it off as â€œgeneric fantasy crapâ€ or â€œgratuitous big-boobed triteâ€ go check it out again. It’s so rare that someone in Web comics actually reaches their goal like this and we should celebrate it when it happens.
Especially when it happens with so much style.