Transmission X from Toronto

Transmission X is a Toronto-based webcomics community that has only been up for a couple of weeks but is already looking pretty good. There are seven comics, each of which updates once a week; the last two comics are set to debut on August 14 and 16, and the others have about 10 pages up so far, enough to get a good sample.

The site has a sleek, uncluttered interface, and navigation is straightforward. No blinking banners, no cleverly disguised “next” button. Almost all the comics are in a 4:3 aspect ratio, so they can be read in a single screen, with no scrolling. You know how a lot of people say “I hate reading comics on a computer screen”? I think this site might convert some of them, because it eliminates a lot of the annoying features of webcomic interfaces.

But what about the content? It’s definitely a mixed bag of genres, styles, and attitudes, but overall the quality is high. Here’s a quick look:

Monday: Ragni: The North Sea Epoch, by Karl Kerschl, starts us right in with a beautifully drawn comic that tells, wordlessly, the story of a sailor in a cold sea; so far, it has a strong whiff of the mythic about it.

Wednesday: The Abominable Charles Christopher, also by Kerschl, seems to be about a hapless yeti surrounded by the smart-alecky creatures of the forest. The art is reminiscent of high-quality children’s books, but the action and dialogue are strictly grown-up stuff, making for an interesting contrast.

Friday: Raising Hell, by Andy Belanger, looks like it was inspired by old EC comics; it’s a rather bizarre tale of an un-loving couple, set on Halloween, with some weird horror elements that haven’t quite been tied into the story yet.

Saturday: The Port, by Scott Hepburn, looks like it’s going to be another horror tale, this one drawn gracefully in stark black and white, with very little toning.

Sunday: Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart, is my favorite so far. It’s a mystery/suspense story about weird doings at a nursing home. It’s sort of an Alfred Hitchcock tale, where a normal, sensible person is tossed into an entirely unreasonable situation. It’s drawn in what I think of as typical graphic-novel style, simple and realistic, easy on the eyes.

There you go. Five comics running so far, all of obviously high quality, and two more starting this week, all on an elegant website. It looks professional, and the comics are good enough to draw in some indy/graphic novel fans. It’s worth a look, both for the comics themselves and to see how a simple website can be a effective tool for presentation.


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