Hey! We update on Mondays now. Just sayin’. This week, I tragically attempted to sign up for Jobseeker’s Allowance. It’s not as bad (read: profitable) as Unemployment Benefit. But, guy, that Social Welfare office is so depressing! And it’s full of filthy, filthy immigrants. I tried cracking a joke and was met with the most soul-draining stare I’ve ever encountered in my 21 years of life and mooching. It was truly a harrowing experience. And I still haven’t gotten my money, consarnit.
So how did I get over this awful, disheartening occurrence? Webcomics! What were you expecting me to say? Meditation? Don’t be absurd. This week’s new webcomic for your front eyes is called “The Pigs Ear” by Craig Munro (not with an ‘e’) which started back in May. I was taken with this comic for two reasons. One: It is set in a pub and, being Irish, I can thoroughly relate to that.
The second reason is something that all new webcomic authors should take to heart, and that is to have an interesting premise for your story. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated like the start of a Hitchcock movie; it just has to be enough to give the casual reader a reason to come back. 'The Pigs Ear', as mentioned, is set in a pub. Not just any pub though, ladies and gentlemen, it is a magical pub! I’m kidding of course, that’s a stupid premise. The pub is set in one of those mythological lands where ogres roam the tennis courts and princesses scrounge for scraps in the local tabernacle. This makes for a lot of good story angles (read: crazy shenanigans) and a near-limitless set of potential characters.
The primary setting is the local, where we have our main characters hanging out and drinking like Germans: more or less responsibly. The Barkeep (known only by his job title) maintains order in his domain… Sorry, takes orders in his domain. My bad. His regular is Cyril T. Wizard. Every bar has a regular. Y’know the guy who’s more ‘regular’ than the regulars? Better known as an alcoholic in some circles. Mr. Wizard drives, I’d guesstimate, about 60-70% of the humour overall. This is possibly the only thing I don’t like about the strip. He’s a winner, he never loses. Now I could sit here on my high horse and, smoking a pipe, combing my moustache and launch into a tirade about the evils of the “Mary-Sue” character (think Ethan from Ctrl+Alt+Del) where they represent the author and only good things happen to them. Well, I’m not going to berate the Mary-Sue idea today. For one, I’m not entirely certain it actually applies here. Secondly, Mary-Sues can be pretty good sources of humour and aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They’re just irritating. Like a fly that’s buzzing around while you’re eating dinner and it refuses to go out the window. Then it lands on the butter and starts lording it over you. I hate that fly.
What in the heck was I talking about? That’s right, the humour. ‘The Pigs Ear’ has a nice general sort of humour despite the quasi-fantasy genre. Really anyone can read this, PG-13 as they say. I found the story arc about finding a bartender assistant most excellent, mostly because it doesn’t centre around Cyril. But that’s just me. You’ll find it twice as funny if you aren’t cursed with the ability to deconstruct a webcomic. Really, I ruin these things for myself because it is funny stuff
Moving briefly onto the artwork now and there isn’t much to say on it. Typical cartoonish style and the characters are reflected very nicely in their illustration. I’m very fond of the shading, it’s truly top notch. And I don’t say “top notch” very often or, indeed, at all. I’m impressed verily by it.
‘The Pigs Ear’ has found its feet as a comic. The characters are solid, the story is capable of growth, the artwork makes for a lovely read and the humour functions well enough to drive away the Social Welfare Office blues. What more could you ask for? A patented Trax rating? Well, if you insist. I give this puppy a 3.5 out of 5.
It’s worth your time and I can see it moving from strength to strength in the coming years. You can catch it every Thursday at www.pigsearonline.com. By the way, don’t type “pigsareonline” like what I did once. Pigs are online and they do disgusting, filthy things.
Join us next Monday for another thrilling instalment of Coyote Trax’s Webcomics Critique!