Guest Review: Commander Kitty

Writing up a good and fair review is always hard, considering how much time it takes to go through archives. Still yet we can’t always find ones that we feel compelled enough to sit down and study, giving the comic it’s fair review. So we’re introducing a new practice, and that’s the guest review. From now on we will be accepting reviews from you about your favorite webcomic, with the only stipulation being that you can’t be one of the artists behind it. Submit your comic to us and it will get reviewed for content and pleasantness and posted to the main site.

This is your chance! Now send those reviews in.

Back when I first discovered webcomics, one stood out as my favorite: A goofy, Saturday morning style adventure about a rag-tag team of animal spacers trying to be heroes. It combined good clean artwork with energetic scifi hilarity, and best of all didn’t try to be the next Spaceballs. Then one day the comic, website, and creator vanished from the face of the internet entirely. Until now.

Commander Kitty is back, and is off to a great start. Rather than continuing the old story, creator Scotty Arsenault decided to start fresh, and so far it’s been a great ride. Kitty is a slightly pathetic and overbearing spaz with delusions of grandeur. (Imagine the rich kid Hon Solo used to give wedgies in school) After somehow acquiring a spaceship, and hiring a crew of the only three creatures in the galaxy willing to work for him, he’s ready to make a name for himself as a great space captain, mostly without any success. First Officer Fluffy is an airbrained little pink kitten. Lieutenent Mittens is a paranoid and highly distractible grey tabby, and the usual brunt of Kitty’s wrath. Mr. Socks is a brilliant, yet inarticulate ferret. The ship is run by a swarm of misanthropic robots referred to collectively as MOUSE. They’ve just been joined by the shady Red Panda Nin Wah, who just might be their ticket out of numfdom.

You can really tell that Scotty’s done this before. The art is crisp and polished, drawn in smooth, expressive lines, with bright toylike colours. The characters are reminiscent of old Hannah Barberra cartoons, and all very distinct and consistent, in both appearance and personality. The comic is very action-based; the animals never stop moving, and the “punchline” is usually something funny that somebody did, rather than what they said. The whole page, however is filled with sight gags, one-liners, and pop-culture references; Rather than giving you just enough to keep you from starving, Scotty loads up your plate with enough humor to last you all week.

Commander Kitty is more than just a great webcomic, it’s also great comedic scifi. Rather than just annother Trek/Wars parody, Scotty has created a unique universe with its own social structures, that borrows from the tropes and technology of mainstream science fiction; Similar to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. The story started out a bit slow, (it began with a three-page dream sequence) but it’s still been fun to read, and things look like they will be moving faster now that Kitty has met Nin Wah.

The website is well designed and fits the comic perfectly. There is a flash window in one corner that shows mug shots of the different characters, a Jukebox that has some pretty sweet music to listen to, and a news box with Scotty’s Twitter feed. It all looks very clean, and futuristic, like a web page from outer space.

This review was courtesy of Robin Gibson.


Review: Road Crew

There are few names more evocative of rock and roll than Tommy. It is fitting that the penwrite of Road Crew, at least shares the sound of that magical name. The Road Crew follows the unheralded members of music with jokes that are leaden and panels that are pointedly, not child-friendly. It is difficult to gauge the authenticity of the strip from my position behind a type-writer but it certainly feels accurate. Brooding with sophomoric permanence. Dark, interspersed with naked vixens. Opinionated, staunchly against singing drummers (applause). Full of music knowledge and no care for spelling. Characters that look foreign and strung out on… well everything one could be strung out on. In short, authentic to my visage of the rock and roll industry.

Though sometimes the figures look like zombies in drag, the comic makes Oprah appear unctuous; short of covering the paper in butyrin or muck, this is in itself impressive. Nauseating but impressive. If ever a anthropomorphic, visual dictionary is made of any one of these characters it could deno-illustrate ‘tool’. Kudus for use of Oprah as… well you just have to see it for yourself.

In the first Road Crew compellation, “Electric Ladyland”, you get to relive or experience for the first time (if you have been under a rock, Yanni fan maybe) the quick wit of the Road Crew. Callous disregard for sound quality with a hint of questionable paternity fills the pages which pick up and fall with a fast and furious pace. If you abide the adage “sex, drugs and rock and roll” you’ll love Road Crew, a fun filled romp throughout the back allies behind the behind-the-music. After reading Electric Ladyland you might need a tenuous shot and a bath though.