Tag Archives: Erika Moen

Webcomics Wednesday: Awesome New Webcomic Discoveries

Wow! I’ve been so lazy about recommending new webcomics for you guys to check out! But then again, I’ve been reading a lot of webcomics so I have TONS of new discoveries to show you.

But first, some webcomics news:

Erika Moen has returned to webcomicking with Bucko, a webcomic drawn by Moen and written by Jeff Parker. It’s a murder mystery with dick and fart jokes, so I imagine it will be quite funny, much like DAR! was.

Michael Jonathan restarted Eros Inc. this past Valentines Day! I am rejoicing because I fell in love with his charming webcomic right as it went on a hiatus and was pretty sad it didn’t update regularly for a number of months. Welcome back, Eros Inc.!

Now onto the newer discoveries…

First of all, if you aren’t reading Faith Erin Hicks’ The Adventures of Superhero Girl, you are missing out! It’s a comical look at superheroes, where a superheroine can be a practical girl-next-door, a nemesis can be a cynical guy on the street and your archenemy tries to steal a job interview from right out under your nose. Hicks is a seasoned comic creator and got her start in webcomicking drawing Demonology 101, which was an early favorite of mine.

Dicebox is an interesting (in a good way) webcomic I stumbled upon. At first I wasn’t sure if it was recommending material, but it is actually quite interesting and beautifully drawn by Jenn Manley Lee. It follows two older female vagabonds who planet hop and get into all sorts of interesting misadventures. I really like the dynamic by the two main characters, they’re married and have that used-to-each-other married couple feel, but there’s still mysteries and secrets they keep from each other to make the story interesting.

Jonny Crossbones is an fun, mystery webcomic, very much in the vein of Hardy Boys novels, but a little more grownup. It’s cute, quirky and well-paced. The comic seems to have just come off a long hiatus, so I’m sure the extra traffic would help encourage creator Les McClaine to update more.

Heading into an old-time-y vein, Oyster War by Ben Towle, is a recently started webcomic about battling oyster pirating in mid-1800’s New England. I really like the way the comic is drawn for some reason. I’m glad it’s not realistic or wrought with super-detailed art. The cartoony look is appealing.

Finally, The Unsounded by Ashley Cope is the best fantasy webcomic I’ve read in ages. Right down to the beautiful art, comedic characters and the presentation. (As you are reading some of the later pages, watch the surrounding website.) I don’t think I can describe the story in a timely sentence or two, but the world-building is fantastic.

Happy webcomic reading, everybody!!

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Webcomics Wednesdays: DAR! vol. 1-2 by Erika Moen

DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary chronicles the life of artist Erika Moen starting from 2003 when she was still a student at Pitzer College and follows her anecdotes from then until 2010. It starts out as the musings of a young lesbian woman swirled up in plenty of emotional and relationship drama and then transitions into more and more humorous material after Moen graduates, finds her partner/future husband and becomes a full-time artist. On top of the introspective and the funny, Erika also includes quite a lot about her sex life, making DAR! very personal and even more hilarious, but definitely not for the prudish or anyone who likes to waste time reading webcomics at work as this webcomic more than earns at NSFW rating.

Volume one of DAR! starts in 2006 because Moen feels this is the best starting off point as this is where started “sucking less.” Luckily, a three year recap is provided to give brand new readers some background on Moen. I think this wasn’t a bad move on her part, since the charm of DAR is in more of her later work than her early, not always very funny, existential comics.  In addition to what you can see on the web, Moen includes fun extras such as how to draw in her style (tip: Include a strap-on), how she draws her backgrounds, many of the Portland sites mentioned in the comic and a fun guide to everyone on her cover. Volume two consists of the remainder of the strip (Moen ended it in 2010), some original material and then jumps back to 2003 to include the entire comic in print format. There are more pages in volume 2, but there is less bonus material at the end. (If you count the original material, however, it does add up.) Moen remains funny right down to the last page where she proclaims “Plagiarists have small penises (even the women.)” in her copyright text. For $15 each, they’re more than the price of a normal volume of manga, but with the added benefit of knowing you’re directly supporting the artist and a good chunk of print-only extras.

Erika’s art is curvy and very fluid, something she attributes to her love of natural lines and tentacles in volume 2. It is also very simple, with lots of emphasis placed on the eyes and the mouths of her characters. Luckily this means her expressions are pretty spot-on. It doesn’t surprise me that Moen likes to keep it simple with her art (she also attests to liking to keep it simple with her haircut and fashion sense), but it is clear that her style is also well-practiced and pretty solid. It’s very fun and easy to read.

I believe that if there is one webcomic I am certain I will still love in ten years, it’s DAR! Nothing else I have read online has left me feeling more happy, inspired and open-minded after reading. Through DAR! Moen is honest about everything, from fart jokes, brain tumors to sexual identity, making even what should be a squirm-inducing TMI strip into something “aw”dorable or funny. I think it’s that frankness that makes me love this webcomic so much, I feel like I know Moen even though I only met her very briefly at Comic-Con when I bought these books from her. It makes me happy to see her come to terms with the fact that while she loves girls, her partner Matt is the person she wants to be with forever and that it makes her able to overcome the naysayers. I feel truly informed by her silly mini-lectures on vibrators and why breasts are more attractive in the summer. DAR! is like Erika’s love-letter to her goofy, sexually-confident self and I love every second of it.

I wish I could continue on with my own little love letter to DAR!, but I feel like it would be redundant to explain in excruciating detail how it makes me laugh and feel more confident as a woman after reading. Instead, you should read DAR! for yourself (although if you read the online version, you’ll have to wade through her early comics a bit) and laugh at her everyday antics.

You can buy the print volumes of DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary here alongside her fantastic original art collages, original strips and prints.

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