5 webcomics have been nominated by the Eisners for Best Webcomic this year, and I have made it one of my priorities this year to read them all before the winner is announced. And let me tell you, it has been a treat.
Moving on from my last review on As the Crow Flies, I go on to the next Eisner nominee I’ll be reviewing: The Last Mechanical Monsterhttp://lastmechanicalmonster.blogspot.com
Significant to this webcomic is a 1941 Superman cartoon called The Mechanical Monsters, which the creator has posted on the front page. For those who cannot watch the cartoon, Fies has broken down its key elements and laid them out in comic narrative, such that this important part of the narrative won’t be missed. Important because Fies’ comic focuses on the main villain of this cartoon, who has been in prison since 1941, released in 2005 to resume wreaking havoc and robbing banks in the internet age. The whole premise is witty, faithful to its origin, and charming as hell.
Something else my trip down the list of Eisner nominees has shown me is the excitement of reading a work-in-progress closer and closer to the current moment, finally catching up with the author (at least as far as his/her uploaded pages go) and being brought to the precipice of now, after which there is no more story to read… yet. So I have read, and I have left off, in this place where our mad and cranky genius is just starting, just starting to not see other people as his peons and opening up to the need to be at least superficially decent. I can tell this is a comic I’m going to be thinking about later, and checking back once there’ve been more pages. Funny how close you feel to the author of a work, with webcomics, like someone is letting you read their draft pages as they finish them. However with this work, it’s all just too polished and clean to be draft.
So I could go on into Fies’ background and career (I didn’t realize he was the creator of “Mom’s Cancer” going in to the work) he strikes me as one of the more professionally accomplished creators on the list of nominees. I’ll hold off, though, on rehashing too much of Fies’ previous works– since I’m no expert and all I’d be doing is repeating wikipedia. All I’ll say on that is that his experience and the professional ease and clarity of his story are clear to see. He does alot of things book-perfect and compliments throughout the comments evidence the impression many have of this. One wouldn’t be wrong to look at this comic as an example of what to do right, in many ways. I myself am fascinated by a black-and-white work that doesn’t really hurt for color. Right amount of white, I think, and simple-enough lines, is my theory.
The short and long is that this comic is a treat. I mean, the word “treat” literally drifted through my mind as I read this– and I mean, that also lends itself to the original animation, which in itself is this perfect encapsulation of the cheesy, apple-pie-and-motherhood defending Superman of the 40′s. I wouldn’t call this a devotional work to the animation, but it is definitely a worthy outgrowth. If I’m ever in need of an example for good things that can happen when creative works enter the public domain, I’ve found it right here.