Neowestchester webcomic review

What Did I Learn?

Neowestchester
This review will discuss the webcomic Neowestchester by Bob Clark. This is a long form comic, so if you start reading you’ll soon find yourself jumping back to comic #1. And when you do that, the sketchy sort of look is purely in black and white.

So I thought “hey – it’ll be interesting to see how the comic goes from colorless to spots of color along with whatever other changes.” But I was wrong. I think it was part of the plan all along. Bob is sneaky. The color represents interesting things – sometimes different things. It’s a special visual effect that makes a lot of sense on one hand but also seems… incongruous… at the same time. (No spoilers, you’ll have to read the comic yourself.)

Another thing that’s sneaky is the sketchy line work. At first, it might put you off a bit as we currently live in the Vectorized Photoshop era and we’re all accustomed to crispy lines. However, this kind of work lets you sneak in borderless panels and giant, story driving expressions and lots of little side and visual gags. Watch out for the little digs between print and digital, too. Sneaky, I tell you.

Now, there is some crude vocabulary – mostly one word that gets used a lot. I’m undecided if it is borderline gratuitous or if it adds to the tone – you can decide for yourself. There are a lot of angry people in Neowestchester. Edit: I was asked what the problem word was and … I’m not seeing it like the above reads. It’s likely an artifact of my broken-up review process these days. So I’m amending this review to just say there are rare, spotty crude remarks – you might not even notice them. I think it’s more pertinent to point out that the tone has a special quality; the characters have some very strong opinions and outlooks on things and the setting itself sort of pushes an outlook too. The dialog word choices, obviously, are critical to having the desired tone.

Which begs the question, what is this comic all about? Let’s see, it’s video games, battle droids, downtown cityscapes, green eyed ninjas, corporate maneuvering, journalistic misinformation, gender issues, hackers and the digital divide and geek culture references. And there is no telling what else will be thrown into the mix as the story progresses. Right now, it feels to me like it’s still in a buildup phase. One the About page, it mentions this comic has come from political comic aspirations that met anime influences, and it most closely resembles “Bloom County meets Akira.” I have to agree, except that it’s sneaky, too.

What Did I Learn?

It’s very interesting to me whenever I see the tried-and-true turned on its head successfully. This is why comic making is more of an art than a science. In addition, Neowestchester also expects to turn the reader’s head inside out; if that sounds interesting to you then you’ll enjoy reading it.

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