City of Reality: Does A Perfect World Need A Superman?   2 comments

I ordinarily don’t catch people’s names before they do things that I latch onto obsessively, but I was actually familiar with Ian Samson for a long while.  I read a webcomic called The Wotch, and Ian has done a handful of filler art, donation animations and other varied things for The Wotch.  I’ve always enjoyed his art style.  I’m not a graphics art critic, but I mean in all seriousness that I think he draws my favorite circle out of everyone in the world wide web.

Seriously, go take a look at the way he draws circles, arcs, loops and things.  He puts an energy into them that’s tough for me to explain.

Anyway, while checking The Wotch for an update, I saw a notice that Ian Samson had gone and started his own webcomic called “The City of Reality.”  The world of Ian’s new comic is surprisingly simple and easy to understand.  People are always generally good, a team of superheroes protects everyone from the rare criminal or giant monster (and the property damage is handled easily), the city government appears to be noncorrupt even though it’s clearly a puppet ruler (heh-heh), and people don’t let their different opinions about things get in the way of a solid friendship.  In short, it’s the kind of world that so many of us remember from Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Good people aren’t cynical, you can depend on the kindness of strangers, and the rare villain will most likely show mercy in any given fight.

The premise seems bland and predictable at first, I know.  But there’s a real substance to the optimism.  There’s an innocence at work in this comic that, in all honesty, I think rings true to those of us (which is probably all of us) who’ve lost a level of innocence but still believe that there’s a value to it.

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Dave Willis’ “It’s Walky!” comic.  The characters of Walky and Joyce, with their optimism and innocence gradually tempered and tested with progressively more and more brutal bursts of reality, made me feel like this when I was first reading through Dave Willis’ comic.  “The City of Reality” is the first comic, or even story, since then where I’ve felt the same way about the characters.

Those familiar with Joyce and Walky will, therefore, understand me when I say: parental guidance is *strongly* advised.  Issues of politics, religion, language and sexuality are all hinted at, more overtly than you’re expecting at times.  I’d say more, but it’d cause a spoiler or two.  Don’t read it with your kids, read it before your kids read it.  It’ll seem dumb at first until woah, what’s that?!  He drew that?!

The stories so far are simple, but they’ve been largely introductions to date.  We’re being shown the City of Reality through the eyes of two people who are new to the city, and their different reactions to the general pleasantness of it all seems to be laying several important building blocks for what is to come.  I don’t know how long Ian Samson plans on running this story, or if he plans on it to be an ongoing thing.  Either method would work with the setup that he has.

The one possible problem with the comic may be its greatest strength.  The comic only updates on the 1st and 15th of every month.  That’s right: a bimonthly webcomic.  An update schedule like that is normally a death knell in my mind.  But in this particular case, I don’t think that it’s a problem.

See, most comics update in terms of strips like a standard newspaper does.  Other webcomics update with a page at a time.  This one, though?  Ian Samson is giving us large sections of chapters at a time.  He’s making a true graphic novel here, and showing us a *lot* at a time.  Compared to most other webcomics, I’m honestly surprised by the sheer volume of work that he’s producing.

I recommend this comic wholeheartedly.  Start at the beginning of the archives, and see if you’re not hooked by the end.  The update schedule might make more sense (while you’re reading, remind yourself: he’s only been updating for a few months now, twice a month.  That’s a massive amount of work for a short time.)


Posted October 1, 2009 by John Little in comics, Review, web comics

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2 responses to “City of Reality: Does A Perfect World Need A Superman?

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  1. As you doubtless know, Ian has taken over the art chores on The Wotch.

    And been slammed for it on “The Bad Webcomics Wiki”.

    Which, to my mind, is a positive recommendation.

    • Oh, yes, I was lucky enough to discover Ian’s picking up of the art only a week or so into him doing it. I was still checking The Wotch once a month or so to see if they’d ended their hiatus yet, and almost exactly at the 1 year anniversary (not counting the filler stuff that they pulled down) I was happy to see the result.

      And I totally agree: being slammed by The Bad Webcomics Wiki pretty much just means that you’re doing something right, and some reader somewhere is so angered by the popularity that the rightness brings that they invest time in complaining about it in great angry depth.

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