Webcomic review. Hero by Hwei-Lin Lim

Since someone else is doing webcomic reviews I though I'd throw my counter argument in.

Webcomics have had an odd history. Scott McCloud predicted in his book Reinventing Comics that webcomics would usher in a new age for comics with page layouts that take advantage of the infinite canvas and free the writers and artists from editorial restriction to create a new underground movement.

That never happened. Most of the eccentric creators of print comics were replaced with the genuinely insane for webcomcs. Whether it's Control Alt Delete's mother issues, Dominic Deegan's self-esteem issues, Dueling Analogue's and Shredded Moose's homophobia and misogamy, any webcomic's fascination with random violence, It's Walky's bipolar disorder, or Better Day's underage furry neo-con twincest, the result is a comic that should only be of interest to the creator's psychologists.

There are a few exceptions to this, most noticeably Zot by Scott McCloud and Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl and Freak Angels by Warren Ellis. Unfortunately those are all by established print comics creators. Since those don't count this leaves Hero by Hwei-Lin Lim.
Right off the bat the reader notices something different about Hero. It doesn't use any captions but instead has a system where the user puts the mouse over specific panels to get the captions to show up. This way the captions don't get in the way of the artwork and it creates a sense of user interactivity. It works fantastically.

The artwork is beautiful combination of what looks like pen and ink and water color. The color work is usually brilliant and subtly adds a lot to the mood. There doesn't seem to be any of the cut a paste art that ruins print and webcomics alike. Unfortunately, there's often no background which is bad thing for a fantasy comic and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between a character with a white coat standing in a shadow and a character with a black coat. It's also done in an eastern style which could be irritating to some western readers. Overall it's better that almost all webcomics and quite a few print comics as well.
To paraphrase a description of the plot, imagine The Little Prince written by Neil Gaiman and Jack Kerouac only it takes place in a Final Fantasy game. It is about a nameless boy "with no memory of the past and no urgency for the future" who wanders around on a spiritual journey while pondering philosophical questions. The plot is mostly metaphorical and less important than the main character. Most of pages have at least one or two panels of the protagonists giving his naive views on the exposition that the other characters give. When falling off a cloud he even starts pondering notions of possibilities and failure while plummeting to his death. Having a character who is very passive and contemplative gives it a very different feel from most other comics.

Overall it's definitely worth a look to fans of alternate comics. It's one of few webcomics that takes advantage of the medium and the artwork and unusual story telling make it noteworthy. It's not finished yet but it is an impressive work already.

 

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