My Favorite Smackjeeves Comics!

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Hello everyone!  This is my second post in keeping with my new schedule–which has been going along with mixed results.  As in, I’ve done a little bit of work, although it was the barest that one could consider actually ‘doing’ something… But I guess I shouldn’t be too strict on myself, right?  Eventually getting into the habit is bound to produce some results… right?!

I wonder.

Anyway!  I’ve done several other posts centering around exposure for some of my favorite webcomics.  I love comics so much!  And though I like being able to binge-read them all in one convenient location, IE in book-form, there’s a lot to be said for independent webcomics as well.  (Even though you often run the risk of the artist being waylaid by real life and never finishing them.  ;(  Boo.)

One of my favorite websites for these comics, and the one I use for my own comic, Love on the Line, is Smackjeeves!  (And no, I don’t really know why they called it that… It’s some kind of spoof on AskJeeves, though, which always makes me nostalgic.  I remember asking Jeeves a lot of things!)

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite comics from Smackjeeves, as well as a little bit about them.  (I’m trying not to repeat anything that I talked about previously, but if I mess up, just assume that I REALLY like that comic!!)

The Pirate Balthasar

1. The Pirate Balthasar

This is one where the immediate art doesn’t appear to be anything special, but the artist quickly improves and takes on a very unique style–which she then changes frequently in future stories, just to give herself a bit of creative freedom.  I love them!  (Especially later stories when the art style gets downright painterly and extra-gorgeous, in color!)

The Pirate Balthasar can also be slightly confusing, in that all of the stories take place in the same world and with the same characters, but just tend to jump around timeline-wise.  The very first set of stories start with Wilson Kane, the Pirate King, and his accidental kidnapping of the Papadopulous sisters (and their cousin) in his efforts to be with Castalia Papadopulous.  After that, the stories tend to jump around–there’s a handy chart at the very beginning that tells you what order to read the stories, depending on whether you want to read them in chronological order or the order in which they were created.

The Pirate Balthasar is a great comic, and not just because of the art and charming, romance-driven storyline.  It is very historically interesting, and tackles several underlying themes of the times in which it takes place.  (But  not so laden with history that you should worry about finding it boring!)  Kane, Castalia, and the rest of the pirate crew are good fun–and there is a HUGE backlog of comics going into this one, so you know you’ll have a lot to read!

Mokepon

2. Mokepon

On second thought, I may have mentioned this one before–but like I said, I really enjoy it!  It hits all of my buttons, including great art, an interesting storyline, and namely tapping into my overflowing amounts of nostalgia.  Although Mokepon is, at heart, a satirical look at the Pokemon world and franchise, it does it with a loving touch, and it takes itself seriously enough that you can laugh along with it and not feel like it’s attacking your childhood.

In the story, apathetic youngster Atticus doesn’t really see the point behind going off to fight with weird creatures and make your way in the world as a 10-year-old, but his mother kicks him out and leaves him with no choice.  Spurred on by a rivalry with another very un-Gary-like youth, Atticus somehow ends up with a Charmander that he uses as a lighter, off on the journey of a lifetime…

Well, at least he might make some money.

Mokepon starts out with fairly good art that only gets better with time, and has been going for awhile, so there are a lot of comics to read when you’re starting out–it also updates pretty regularly.  Again, love this comic!  Totally recommend. 🙂

Transfusions

3. Transfusions

Well, here we go–as mired in BL as smackjeeves tends to be, I have to go with probably one of the most popular–Transfusions.  It combines my unapologetic attraction to vampires with my also-unapologetic love of cutesy romances into one interesting comic that is easy to invest emotions in.

Taking place somewhere in the cold north, (I’m not actually 100% sure where–presumably wherever the author is from,) media student Dylan is paling around with some friends one day and injures himself.  This makes him a target to sassy redheaded vamp Joa, who finds himself drawn to Dylan as something more than just a snack.  Filled with wonderful snark and awkward moments, their relationship progresses from tentative aggression and mistrust to friendship, to something more beautiful and confusing to navigate.

I have to love how once again, Transfusions has a great, yet totally distinctive, art style from the other comics on the list.  It IS as yet SFW, although with some edging-close-to-the-line moments, but the author promises that this won’t always be the case, and I’m rather looking forward to that.  🙂  You also have the benefit of starting with a large backlog, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that you’ve worked your way through it entirely too quickly, leaving yourself with sadness when you realize that there are only 2 pages a week. </3  (Still totally worth it, though!)

David Doesn't Get It

4. David Doesn’t Get It

This comic isn’t fictional, or entirely linear, but it has a story-like quality that I still find very captivating.  Very much like the works of Alison Bechdel, who illustrated her biographies in the form of comics, David Doesn’t Get It is a great inside look at titular character/narrator/artist/author David and his Vietnamese family living in America today.  While David himself might argue, in his general self-deprecating manner, that this isn’t true, there’s a deepness to these comics you don’t often get to see.

With a raw transparency, the reader finds themselves witness to David’s childhood, growing up with his parents estranged and at the mercy of his new, abusive stepmother.  The closeness of David and his siblings becomes more pronounced when you see just how dependent they were made on one another, and how they all came out of it differently, and yet with some of the same issues and outlooks.

David Doesn’t Get It could almost suffer from being too emotionally overwhelming, especially if you’re a very empathetic reader, but there are plenty of happy and heartwarming moments to counteract the bad.  There’s a decent number of comics in varying lengths, though David doesn’t always update regularly–which is understandable, when you read the comic.  He’s not an artist, he’s a regular guy with a job doing this as a side-hobby.  But every time he updates, I get excited to continue my back-stage tour through his unique life view.

As an added bit, here are some of my favorite comics that are newer, so I can’t say how good they will be in the future, or what their staying power/longevity might be… But if you’re willing to take a risk, check them out!

Star Avalanche

Star Avalanche

A GL story about Regi, an awkward 23-year-old, and how various events led her to running into a very cute girl of her dreams. (Literally.)  So far the story has focused mainly on the background of Regi’s best friends, (not that I’m complaining,) but it looks like it might go back soon.  Either way, I love the interesting and colorful art style in this one, and enjoy seeing where it will go.

Saint for Rent

Saint for Rent

Okay, to be fair, this one isn’t NEW, it’s just new TO ME.  I just started it, but so far I really enjoy it.  The pages actually MOVE at times, which I find to be SUPER cool, and the art style is very pretty.  Seems like a futuristic-y action-y comic with some scifi (time travel) shenanigans thrown in, and although a little confusing at first, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon enough. 🙂

Tied in red

Tied in Red

Another BL, but with a really interesting setup–as in, one day the two main characters find themselves tied together by that oft-spoken-of red string of fate.  Apparently this is totally normal in this world, though, and they are given some time to decide whether they want to stick together or cut ties (literally) and move on.  Even though they aren’t exactly one another’s first choices, watching them try to navigate their new attachment and come to terms with one another is very sweet.

A new comic, but I really hope it doesn’t fizzle out!

Always Raining Here

Always Raining Here

One more BL for the road!  Carter is at that awkward highschool age where all he wants is to get some–but, unfortunately for him, he’s gay in a school with a very SMALL pool of gay kids.  But to avoid creepy meet-ups with people on craigslist, he singles out Adrian, a gamer-drama-perfectionist who is already nursing some heartbreak of his own.  Can Carter get past his pent-up hormones long enough to form an actual relationship with Adrian?  And can Adrian get past his old crush and his mistrust of Carter’s intentions long enough to let him?

This is another one with some gorgeously-painted art–the backgrounds are, on occasion, like artworks themselves.

This comic also has its OWN website, where it mostly updates now:

http://www.alwaysraininghere.com

 

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