Today’s Art (26th May 2018)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the fifth comic in “Damania Resurfaced” – a mini series of self-contained webcomic updates featuring the characters from my occasional webcomic series (many more comics featuring them can be found in the “2016”, “2017” and “2018” segments of this page).

Previous comics in this mini series can be found here: Comic One, Comic Two, Comic Three, Comic Four

And, yes, I got the idea for this comic update after rediscovering my old portable CD player (and I still remember how futuristic portable CD players seemed compared to the portable cassette players I used during my childhood and early teenage years). Of course, I switched over to using MP3 players during my late teens/early 20s. Of course, these are probably also considered “obsolete” now.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Resurfaced – Portable” By C. A. Brown

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Today’s Art (25th May 2018)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the fourth comic in “Damania Resurfaced” – a mini series of self-contained webcomic updates featuring the characters from my occasional webcomic series (many more comics featuring them can be found in the “2016”, “2017” and “2018” segments of this page).

Previous comics in this mini series can be found here: Comic One, Comic Two, Comic Three

Today’s comic update is based on a planned comic update that I was originally going to include in the previous mini series, but ended up leaving out for time/space reasons.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Resurfaced – Second Thoughts” By C. A. Brown

Review: “The Oath Of The Five Lords” By Yves Sente And André Juillard (Graphic Novel)

Well, it has been far too long since I last reviewed a graphic novel (I think that the last time was in 2013, unless you count this webcomic review from last year), and I hadn’t planned to review one today.

But, the day before I originally prepared this review, a relative happened to find one in a charity shop and thought that I might like it. So, I found myself the proud owner of a copy of Sente and Juillard’s “The Oath Of The Five Lords”.

So, let’s take a look at it:

Despite the obvious influence from Hergé’s “Tintin” comics, this graphic novel is a stand-alone comic in a series featuring two characters called Blake & Mortimer.

Although these characters were originally created during the mid 20th century by a cartoonist (who was a friend of Hergé, and also contributed to several “Tintin” comics) called Edgar P. Jacobs, “The Oath Of The Five Lords” is part of a modern continuation of the series by Sente and Juillard – with “The Oath Of The Five Lords” first being published in 2012, before being translated into English in 2014.

“The Oath Of The Five Lords” begins with a short segment set in 1919, depicting an argument between T.E. Lawrence and a military intelligence official about a book that Lawrence is writing. Thirty-five years later, in 1954, a mysterious hooded figure breaks into Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and steals an antique violin.

The next day, Captain Blake (of MI5) learns of the death of an old friend, whilst his academic friend Mortimer ends up getting drawn into the investigation during a visit to Oxford.

And, yes, Blake really does look like a “Daily Express” reader too. They got this detail absolutely right!

Needless to say, when a second theft occurs at the museum and another one of Blake’s friends dies, it soon becomes obvious that there is more to this case than first appeared. So, it is up to Blake & Mortimer to solve the mystery…

In terms of the story, this comic is really good – being reminiscent of both an episode of “Poirot” and possibly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sign Of The Four“, but with a very slightly harder “edge” to it than these classic stories.

The story treads a fine line between being an exciting old-fashioned thriller (with lots of old cars being driven ridiculously quickly, dramatic phone calls etc..), being an old-school spy story (slightly) and being a more traditional detective story – with lots of red herrings and clues along the way.

For example, in this part of the story, Mortimer purloins a Turkish candlestick (on Blake’s instructions). Why? Well, you’ll have to wait until later in the comic to find out…

The solution to the mystery is also somewhat surprising too but, although the comic leaves a few very subtle clues for the audience, it does feel a bit like an unforeshadowed plot twist. With the revelation of the masked criminal’s identity feeling very slightly like the conclusion to a somewhat ‘serious’ episode of “Scooby Doo”. Even so, the story surrounding the events of the comic is surprisingly compelling, and the criminal’s motivations fit into the events of the story fairly well.

However, one slight criticism I have of the writing in this story is that it is perhaps a little bit too “formal” sometimes. Yes, it’s set in 1950s England. But, the formality of this time is played up to the point of unintentional comedy in a few scenes (with 19th century-style lines like “Compose yourself, dear fellow”).

Still, given that it is a stylised version of 1950s England based on a comic series from 1940s/50s Belgium, it still gets a lot right. Seriously, occasional over-formality aside, this comic really does come across as very traditionally British. So, Sente and Juillard certainly did their research!

The art in this comic is, in a word, superb. Yes, it is a little unusual to see classic Franco-Belgian “ligne claire“-style artwork being juxtaposed with 1950s England, but it works really well. Although there are a few slightly modern flourishes (such as a glowing lantern in one scene), the art here is absolutely timeless. Whilst the ligne claire style invites comparisons with Hergé, Juillard’s art still manages to have a fairly distinctive style – being slightly more detailed than I had originally expected too.

Seriously, not only does this church look absolutely perfect, but the level of detail here is astonishing too. Seriously, I cannot praise the art in this comic highly enough!

Likewise, another cool detail is that the speech bubbles in “The Oath Of The Five Lords” are very similar in style to those from “Tintin”. Not only that, the quantity and quality of the dialogue in this comic is much closer to a “Tintin” comic than a more traditional British or American comic.

All in all, this is a fairly good graphic novel. Yes, the ending is a little surprising. Yes, the dialogue can be hilariously over-formal at times. But, if you want a compelling old-school detective thriller comic, then you can do much worse than this. The art looks beautifully timeless and vividly detailed, whilst the story often attains a novel-like quality through it’s drama and complexity ( even if it is a little bit contrived in parts).

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it might just about a get a four.

Today’s Art (24th May 2018)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the third comic in “Damania Resurfaced” – a mini series of self-contained webcomic updates featuring the characters from my occasional webcomic series (many more comics featuring them can be found in the “2016”, “2017” and “2018” segments of this page).

Previous comics in this mini series can be found here: Comic One, Comic Two

And, yes, it’ll be interesting to see how history views gaming from the 2010s. Given that it’s been one of the more interesting, but controversial, decades in the history of gaming (since it’s when gaming became truly “mainstream” and when indie games became popular too) – this part will be especially interesting. Still, given that the most easily available research materials are critical articles and youtube videos, I’m starting to think that historians might end up with a slightly rose-tinted view of the decade.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Resurfaced – History” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (23rd May 2018)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the second comic in “Damania Resurfaced” – a mini series of self-contained webcomic updates featuring the characters from my occasional webcomic series (many more comics featuring them can be found in the “2016”, “2017” and “2018” segments of this page).

Previous comics in this mini series can be found here: Comic One

And, yes, this comic update was initially inspired by a real TV show on a mainstream channel (Channel 4) here in the UK last year. Still, even though said TV show probably wouldn’t raise eyebrows in mainland Europe, it is at least reassuring to know that British television is still less censored than American TV (I mean, I once heard that an American news broadcast actually censored/blurred footage of an Amedeo Modigliani painting!)

This comic update was also originally going to be a much more political one about censorship, but I decided that character-based humour would be a lot funnier. And, yes, Harvey is a little on the prudish side, but “has some knowledge of obscene poetry”.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Resurfaced – Late Night TV” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art ( 22nd May 2018)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the first comic in “Damania Resurfaced” – a mini series of self-contained webcomic updates featuring the characters from my occasional webcomic series (many more comics featuring them can be found in the “2016”, “2017” and “2018” segments of this page)

Wow! This comic update ended up being a lot more detailed than I’d originally expected 🙂 Yes, the humour is a bit on the character-based side of things, but it’s a good introduction to Roz, Harvey, Rox and Derek if you’ve never read the comic before (and, yes, Derek really likes the idea of being an absolute monarch, of the villainous variety.)

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Resurfaced – Utopia” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Damania Regression” – All Six Episodes Of The New Webcomic Mini Series By C. A. Brown

Well, in case you missed any of it, I thought that I’d collect all six “episodes” of my recent “Damania Regression” webcomic mini series into one easy-to-read post 🙂 You can also find links to lots of other comics (most of which feature the characters from this one) here.

Wow! When I started making this mini series, there was a heatwave and I’d also had about a month where I’d felt artistically uninspired. Still, I was determined that there would be comics posted here this month. And, despite taking a break from my usual comics (and making something else) last month, I wanted to return to making “Damania” comics again.

Even though I had to do all sorts of time/energy-saving things (eg: returning to my old 4-5 panel format, using digital tools a lot more extensively etc..), this mini series ended up being one of the funniest and most well-written ones that I’ve made in a while! And to think that I was initially worried that it would turn out like “Damania Relaxation” did!

As usual, all six comic updates are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence. You can also click on each comic to see a larger version of it too.

“Damania Regression – Art House” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Regression – Community” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Regression – Testing” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Regression – Fan Fiction” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Regression – Gameshow” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Regression – Scanning Disk” By C. A. Brown