Drastic Comics


Previous First Archive Last Next
So, Penny Arcade have a book out. Almost bursting free of legal red tape that held down their publishing before, the collection of the first year or so or strips, is a vibrant package indeed. The cover work is phenomenal. Not that is much of a surprise to those familiar with Gabe's work. Its got a foreword by Bill Amend and introductions by the guys and everything. But I am confused by the interior, to be frank. Publishing work 7 years old in this case is hardly a fitting example of their work is it? The two have evolved so much in their chosen fields that sometimes these strips read as if written and drawn by other people. In analysing my disappointment, I am hit with yet more confusion. It's OK, sometimes I don't feel at home unless I have a puzzled look across my face. The confusion is this: Who the hell is going to buy this? Who is this for??

If Tycho said in one of his news-posts that our scaling of a bridge and flinging ourselves to our deaths would amuse him. I would think that this is a pretty dumb idea, albeit, from the top of the bridge. I wouldn't throw myself into oblivion, but the important thing to note is that I would have climbed the structure in the first point. Of course I'm buying this book. I bought it yesterday and I was the first person in the shop to do so. PA have more readers than Harry Knowles have had hot dinners, i.e. a lot. Do they actually need new readers at this point? And what better way to coerce these new readers into reading your stuff when you can read it for free on their site? Which, I may add is the entire point of their work.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am in mire. I am curious to what point this book actually serves. Yes, its pretty, yes the comments by Gerry (Tycho) are amusing, especially since through the early comics, he is re reading them for the first time. And yes, the web comic manifesto is a treat, but it is hardly the tome certain people made it out to be. I'm guess I'm saying is that is an OK book, but its not anything amazingly special, as I doubt after spending $13 or 14 on it, people will flock to site, as to have any interest in the book, they would already be readers and fans.

To call PA influential is a slight understatement or magnificent proportions. They are slightly influential in the way Jabba the Hutt could stand to lose a few pounds. I am 100% confident that if there was no Penny-Arcade you would not be reading this news-post. In an immediate sense, of course you wouldn't be reading a news-post of about a book that wasn't published by a website that never existed. But in a much broader sense, if there was no Penny-Arcade, there would be no Drastic. It is that simple.

Tycho and Gabe have had a profound effect on my life in the short time I have read their online endeavours. (Hah, I nearly typed "drastic" instead of "profound" there. Oh how kitsch that would have been). I have always loved comics, and I certainly can't imagine life out stories told with pictures. But it was a lonely life. I'd try and discuss Batman and I'd get this glazed look staring back at me. Not that I was particularly surprised with that outcome. Who the fuck talks about Batman in any depth at a party? And to a stranger, no less. Bah. Anyways (fun fact: Not an actual word) When I found out that my friends read a comic on the Internet of all things (it was 2002, myself and technology held a different relationship then). Wow. Here was a comic I could discuss with people. And when I read it, it was revelation. I started reading through the archives and what have you and something changed or clicked inside me. If felt as if someone had shown me a Hawaiian shirt for the first time again, in the sense that I instinctively knew good times were ahead.

Looking back on life now, I would say Penny-Arcade has been massively important, in terms of influence. I can't imagine my life without doing Drastic all the time and I have Tycho and Gabe for stating me down this road. Cheers guys.

If you want to discuss this book with me you can email me at adam@drasticcomics.com. If you're from Penny-Arcade an you want to discuss that pesky restraining order, it's the same email.

See you on Monday.

© 2005,2006 Adam Murray