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Five reasons to love comics

Spoilers ahoy! As many of you may know, I’ve been a rabid fan of comics and webcomics since way back when.  I figure there’s always a hundred and fifty articles out there about great moments in video games, but not too many authors give comics the same treatment.  Half the reason I write in this blog is because these comics have given me a lot of joy over the years, and as a poor, unwashed writer there isn’t too much I can do to support the authors that have really had an impact, either through their stories, action scenes, or blindside-plot twists, over the years.  Ideally, I’d like to make this a semi-regular feature at Faceplant, showcasing five great moments from some of my favorite webcomics at a time.  These are moments that have done wonderfully during the comic’s life, moments that stick with you long after the plot and characters have moved on to greener pastures.

This article is going to contain spoilers about the stories, plots, and actions in these webcomics!  Read at your own risk! Unless, you know, you don’t care, and really need that extra push to decide which of these comics you should dive into.

It should be noted before we begin that I’m not pulling these moments from any particular time frames.  Plowing through an entire archive can be a very daunting task, but some of the greatest story moments can be found if only you’ll look for them.  There are tons of great comics out there I have not read, and I don’t think it would be fair for me to exlude everything that happened in it prior to my stumbling across its archives.

Plus, this gives me a greater pool to draw from.  Especially well done web comics will have many, many great moments worth seeing.  I’ll attempt to not hit on the same comic more than once, since if you really want to know everything that happens in the comic you should probably, you know, read the comics I’m stumping for.

Also:  The internet is a scary, unfriendly place.  You are a US marine, surrounded by predators without an Arnold Schwarzenegger in sight.  Sometimes a friendly face can really go that extra mile.

Moment 1: The explosion high-five

Comic: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.

HIGH FIVE

Chris Hastings, creator of Dr. McNinja essentially hit comic gold with the morally conflicted good doctor who is also a ninja early on in the comic’s development.  Each storyline since the initial debut giant lumberjack battle in “Meet the doctor and his friendly staff” has been increasingly over the top and ridiculously awesome, but there’s really one moment that stands out in my memory over all the others.  In 2007 the good doctor was having some zombie trouble.  Namely, there were zombies, and he was feeling particularly responsible, since it turned out he killed most of those dudes the first time around.  With the city at risk of a full-blown apocalypse scenario, Doc hops in his car with his sidekick Gordito and his gorilla receptionist Judy, and heads for town.  But there’s zombies.  On the road.  IN TRUCKS.

After navigating a particularly nasty roadblock by simply ramping right over an explosion, Dr. McNinja and Judy take a moment to do the best celebration ever seen in any comic, ever.  Doc and Judy’s over-the-top, epic high-five is still one of my favorite moments of all time.  It’s probably something you should see for yourself in all of its splendor here.

WEEDLEY WAH WEEDLEY WEEDLEY WAH

Moment 2:  The Con Air tribute

Comic: Homestuck (MS Paint Adventures)

Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck has always had a deeply involved and bizarre plot, but I’m not so sure anyone really saw this one coming.  On May 26, 2010, after over a year of mucking around with a mysterious game called Sburb and getting sucked into a strange universe known as The Medium, John Egbert, a self-named ecto biologist and a lover of incredibly awful movies, found himself in a mysterious lab orbiting far from (what was left of) his home.  John’s not a very cautious type, though and some buttons are pressed.  Actually, a lot of buttons are pressed.  There are consequences.

To make a very, very long story short, John makes babies.  He makes eight of them.  Through science.  This makes a lot more sense if you read the comic, sure, but it’s not important to know for the purpose of this article.  What is important, is that for most of the adventure, John is carrying around the exact same bunny which was held hostage in the awfully hilarious Nick Cage movie Con Air.  Actually, he has two of them.  Two of the exact same bunny.  Again, just roll with it.

Unable to contain himself when surrounded by these adorable babies he had just created, John then launches into the greatest tribute to a movie that no one ever expected to get a tribute.  The scene is complete with a musical flash animation, sketched drawings, a lot of raw emotion, and a spectacular air guitar scene, while internet troll and alien Karkat Vantas watches the stupidity through his messaging client.  Even if you haven’t been following Homestuck, check out the entirely-too-awesome scene here.

Oops, soory, I just broke your status quo

Moment 3: Show stopper

Comic: Order of the Stick

The sword and sorcery comedy from Rich Burlew has had many trials and tribulations during the course of their ongoing epic saga, though there’s one moment that stands out in my mind.  After going toe to toe with the legal system of a stuffy order of paladins, our protagonists find out something huge.  Xkyon the lich had somehow managed to escape his demise when the heroes accidentally blew up the dungeons of Dorukan.  To make matters worse, he was on his way to lay siege to the paladin’s homeland, Azure City, in order to get his hands on something that could possibly unravel existence.

Not only that, but he also was armed to the teeth with an army full of hobgoblins.

It’s one of those moments where the stakes are high and things are looking grim, but hey, Roy, Vaarsuvius, Haley, Belkar, Elan and Durkon had faced off against Xykon before and come out on top, so there shouldn’t be much to worry about.  But when a brief encounter against Xykon on top of a zombie dragon leaves Roy plummeting to his death and the other members of the order scattered, it suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks that maybe this story might not have a happy ending after all.

The battle for Azure City was built upon the bones of many comics, but the actual battle for the paladin’s capital begins somewhere here-ish.

Fuzzy stares down the horde... of... uh... himself.

Moment 4:  They’ll hug you to death

Comic: Sam and Fuzzy

Sam Logan’s Sam and Fuzzy isn’t a comic I’ve written about here just yet (Sorry, Mr. Logan!).  Not really sure why not, since I absolutely love this comic.  Well, here’s the crash course.

Sam is a timid, spineless doofus of a man and Fuzzy is the teddy bear-esque creature that lives with him.  Fuzzy is what is commonly known as the psychotic adorable and marketable one, who tends to get himself  and Sam into a lot of trouble.   Though, to be fair, Sam doesn’t need a lot of help in that department since he tends to be a magnet for weirdness himself, much to his displeasure.

During a massive storyline where Sam and Fuzzy are on the run from a group of bloodthirsty ninja mafiosos, their small party of sympathizers ducks into the shady and strange underground for refuge.  They find a settlement, all but abandoned, and Fuzzy lets it slip that he really has no memory of what, exactly, he had done before he met up with Sam eight years prior.  Fuzzy, of course, shrugs this off, right up until they find the reason why the settlement had been abandoned in the first place.

Every night, after the artificial daylight clicks off, a massive horde of Fuzzy creatures comes screaming, literally screaming out of a nearby building.  And it’s then that you realize that you’ve just been taking Fuzzy’s presence for face value this entire time, and you never really stopped to think of what, exactly, he is.  And you’ll never look at him in the same light again.

The Memory Lapse story starts here, so check it out.  Though, I’d recommend starting from the Noosehead storyline in the very least so you know who these people are and what they want.

Hi, Aylee.

Moment 5:  Sudden alien crisis

Comic: Sluggy Freelance

If Sluggy Freelance creator Pete Abrams knows how to do anything, it’s how to build up suspense.  Though, lately I can’t tell if it’s a conscious decision or if it’s because Abrams just prefers to write the happy-go-lucky humorous stories instead of the deep, dramatic, and sometimes depressing bouts of action that frequently keep the Sluggy crew on their toes.

One of the main characters in Sluggy is a shape changing, almost puppy-like alien named Aylee who has spent much of the past ten years in one hell of an identity crisis.  It was always suspected that Aylee could be a threat to the planet someday, though you’d never know it from talking to her.  Aside from a bad habit of eating people in a few of her earlier forms, Aylee was probably the sweetest demon from beyond the stars the guys could have hoped for.

Aylee suddenly dropped out of the story in either late 2005 or early 2006, I don’t remember which.  It’s later discovered that she had gone down to the basement of the gang’s home and built herself a cocoon, which is pretty typical for her since that’s usually how she’d go about changing shape.  She never came out.  For a long time.

Worried, Torg and crew kept a close eye on her vital signs until a panicking Doctor Schlock decided to take matters into his own hands and put her out of her misery, while simultaneously saving the human race.  Instead he woke her up, where she had been growing deep underground, ever larger into a giant rock-volcano looking thing.

I’ve never seen a story switch from the happy-go-lucky “everything is fine” mode to “oh god we now have a giant alien” quite as fast.  And it was one of those moments where you genuinely don’t know how the hell the gang is going to cover this one up.  Aylee’s awakening starts here.

Okay, so there’s five to kick us off now.  Is there a comic or moment you think I might be missing?  Let me know some of the best ones you’ve got on your list and I’ll take a look.  After all, we could all use a nice pat on the back every now and then.

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