26 August 2004 — Bitter Nerd™ µReview: Deathworld

Welcome to another Webcomic Wednesday Thursday, in which I select an underappreciated webcomic semi-randomly and review it, thus creating a bizarre cross-linking orgy that I shall exploit to build my billion dollar multimedia empire.

Summary

A psychotic trooper from the distant future is killed and sent to a horrific afterlife (that just happens to resemble the University of Alberta) where he is locked in an eternal three-way battle with a mad scientist and a miniature demon, all for the amusement of an alien god.

Pointless, pointless violence all in the name of fun.

Deathworld is the prototypal webcomic: self-published because the author has insured through choice of style or subject that the comic would be difficult if not impossible to syndicate traditionally. (Compare this to the diametric prototype, Dragon Tails, which is professional quality and relatively mainstream yet appears primarily on the web because of a lack of syndication offers and not for a lack of trying.) On the other hand, there is a distinct danger in calling Deathworld prototypal: distractors may simply assume webcomics are displaced college newspaper strips, hostile and anti-establishment. In that respect Deathworld parallels the archetypal webcomic, Where The Buffalo Roam, in that by migrating to the web it has expanded far beyond its original goals.

Genres

College, Horror, Humor, Military, Science fiction.

Update Frequency

Tuesdays & Fridays.

Archive

Almost 600 strips, over half in color.

Amusing Features

Cartoonish blood ’n’ gore. Aliens meets Looney Tunes. Really. Trust me on this one.

No long plots at first.

Main characters, despite having base motiviations, have complex personalities.

Side characters, like “James the Angry Goth,” are what make this comic.

Annoying Features

First half-dozen comics are a gore-filled shaggy-dog story.

First two hundred strips relied heavily on campus inside jokes which limits the appeal.

Last two hundred strips are an convoluted story arc which limits appeal to first-time readers that do not want to trudge through the archive.

Fishes for vindication with the occasional self-depreciating strip.

Sample Strip

Oddball “superheroes” make their appearances all the time in Deathworld. They don’t last long…

sample strip

---Rob Menke aka: the Wabewalker

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