Tuesday 10 February 2009

Surl's World

Did you know I take requests? Well, I do. Like some aging hippie musician, whose songs people have long forgotten, I play up to the audiences desires in order to feel loved. That and it’s the easiest way for me to know who’s new to the interweb scene. As such, I always welcome requests. Another point (technically you don’t have to read this paragraph, it’s usually nonsensical musings) is that webcomics come in all forms. They really do. And everyone has certain preferences. I like to think I have a wide taste, but that’s a lie. I don’t. But I do have to review comics that I find unfunny. Thankfully, today isn’t one of those days.

Today’s review is of Luke Surl’s untitled comic which, as you may have gathered already, has no name. You clever fellow. As I began reading this comic I recalled some of the major greats of observational comic humour. In Surl’s case, we are looking at major cacophony of semi-surreal observational humour styled as the likes of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, The Book of Biff and The Perry Bible Fellowship. If you like any one of those, you’re guaranteed a laugh from Surl’s World (That’s what I’m calling his comic now, mostly for ease of typing. I'm lazy like that).

It started way back in July of last year, way back when “recession” was a word heard, but never seen. The first few months are pretty hit and miss when it comes to hilarity, and the ones that are genuinely funnysome, are sometimes overwhelmed visually by the mediocre illustration. At the beginning, the artwork is a tad on the bad side of generic and the strips that weren’t up to his usual standard left me a little bemused. I saw the joke, I got the joke, but I didn’t laugh. Maybe my laughter valve was acting up again. More likely, the jokes were just poorly executed, a commonality shared among many beginning webcomics. It’s like there are just too many punchlines and sight gags floating around the creators mind and it shows that they don’t know what to do with them all, so ending up using some at the same time. As such, their delivery gets a little diluted.

Fear not, young Luke, for the Force is with you! Fast forward about six months and visible changes are pretty apparent in Surl’s World. In a nutshell, it gets funnier. The jokes are better executed. Heck, the jokes are just plain better. Why? I think, it’s because they’re more original and come across more naturally. It’s still observational humour, but it’s more original. It took a while, but this comic is slowly coming into its own. Bask in it, Luke! Bathe that comic in the unique glow of your own voice! Use the Force! The echoes of comics like Perry Bible Fellowship and SMBC are still there, but only insofar as similar styled witticisms being delivered. It’s nice to have a fresh perspective to such a fundamentally humorous observational style.
From an artistic point of view, as I said already, it starts off pretty crude and generic, but is quickly working its way up to a cleaner, more unique style. As of now, it’s decent, but not spectacular. Granted, the art style doesn’t carry a lot of weight in comics where the humour is clearly text-based, though it does help to carry off the joke. Bad art can, however, take away from a joke, even if said art is irrelevant. For example, the minimalist views of xkcd versus the signature simplistic styles of SMBC. Neither of them complicated, and both have a similar modus operandi.

I do suggest checking out Luke Surl’s comic. It’s good for a laugh or three, and there are many, many little gems throughout. Here’s a little taster so you can see for yourself. It updates M/W/F and I swear it is getting better by the day.

1 comment:

Lifon said...

Very well-written review! Thanks for helping me find this gem, it does indeed become quite enjoyable as it goes on!