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Eric: The other thing is, it's significantly less absurd than Quiddich itself.

Sluggy050906A

(From Sluggy Freelance! Click on the thumbnail for full sized hand jive!)

Want to know a secret?

Back when I had terrific plans to do the Bringing The Story Shortbread Awards in a timely fashion to follow the Bringing the Funnies, Sluggy Freelance was slated to get Bringing the Story for the year for 2004. So you can sort of call this that announcement.

And, it was well deserved. "That Which Redeems" 1 and 2 was among the best story comics I think I've ever read on the web. It was the textbook definition of a strip that underwent a Cerebus Syndrome and pulled it off unreservedly. There were moments of humor and hilarity, there were moments of pathos and pain, and it all blended together into a story of character growth, of exposure, of transformation... and of redemption and, more importantly, the need to redeem.

It's also well know that I am not a fan of "Oceans Unmoving." At all. I was glad to see it disappear. And I liked good bits of what followed "Oceans Unmoving," and I've thought a good amount of the funny this year's been... well, funny. But the story on the whole has left me a bit cold. Okay, a lot cold.

And... well, I've never much cared for the Torg Potters. But I accept that others like them, and there's nothing that says I need to like every storyline. But, not being a huge Harry Potter fan to begin with, seeing a parody of one of the books... well, my reaction is meh.

But I'm still reading. There are days that Sluggy sits in the "Why do I read this webcomic again" pile (remember that?), but I still have my chips on the table. I have faith in Pete Abrams. And I'm willing to read for a year where I'm not too impressed because I have faith the following year will blow me away.

All that being said, I want you to take another look at today's strip. Ignore the word balloons. Just look at the Free-for-all Handshake Combat. Given that barring animated gifs or Flash webcomics are a static medium, the rhythm of motion Abrams sets up here is note-perfect. The level of absurdity that becomes the execution of the strip, and the utterly matter of fact way they go about it -- it doesn't matter if it's absurd, it's required -- becomes not just an effective parody of Quiddich but a parody of the matter of fact ways schools go about "sport" in the first place. I mean, honestly, is this any sillier than Lacross? Soccer? Basketball? It's a game, only it's treated... well, like it's somehow... I don't know. Important.

So, yeah. I'm not grooving on Torg Potter's return, but I'm sticking with. Because Pete Abrams knows his craft, and they can't all be written to appeal to me.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at September 6, 2005 10:30 AM

Comments

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 6, 2005 11:22 AM

You know, my first impulse was to say, "'That Which Redeems'? Zoe dies. That is all." Because nothing, not even a goofy flamewar, can't be parodied.

Oddly enough, I enjoy the Torg Potter sequences because I don't read the books. Like I've said before, I'm one of those people that can't stand to have Harry Potter shoved down my throat, and will get around to actually trying it a year or two after the last one is written (when the hype machine will be gone).

However, because I think Potter-mania has reached such absurd levels, I need to see it parodied. And said parodies need to include underage characters getting sloshed, the would-be bully getting tormented by the main character, and Tandoori owl. I'm personally wondering if, when the time comes, I'll manage to enjoy the books as much as the parody.

Comment from: JediLora posted at September 6, 2005 11:42 AM

See, I'm in HP fandom pretty deep, so the Torg Potter storylines are love to me.

Personally, I laughed myself silly over yesterday's last panel. "LUCIUS! MY NAME IS LUCIUS GODDAMMIT!" Oh dearie. Not according to the fandom. Also Torg looks so angstypants there, and it's such a silly scene.

Comment from: JoeFF85 posted at September 6, 2005 1:59 PM

I don't love the Torg Potters (Didn't like the second one much at all, really) but I don't dislike them. I do, however, love Sluggy. I'm a Sluggite through-and-through.

That said, I was tired of Oceans Unmoving, as were most people, I seems. And while I'd love Pete to progress onto those stories he has said he has planned for the (gre head and the alien) I'm not hating on Torg Potter. Frankly the silliness is wonderful and it goes back to what Sluggy is to me. Funny. Story yes, and more and more the story is the stronger part of Sluggy, but Sluggy is Funny to me.

And I'm glad to hear that Pete was gonna get the Story Shortbread. With a garnish of Satan, one hopes.

- Joe (sluggite handle: Skitzophrenik)

Comment from: kirabug posted at September 6, 2005 2:22 PM

Considering that parody is what the early storylines fed off of, I'm glad to see Pete getting back to his roots. His parodies have traditionally been pretty darn funny, and occasionally they have far-reaching implications for the non-parody strips (Aylee, anyone?).

I have read Harry Potter (well, through #4, anyway) and these are pretty darn funny :) And I think the coolest part is that Torg doesn't pretend, at all, to have any magical talent. Hit him with an Impeeing curse and he does what any Muggle would do: shoves your wand somewhere the sun won't shine but good. Bravo to Pete for using a parody setting to highlight Torg's personality without changing Torg at all to fit the parody.

Comment from: Robotech_Master posted at September 6, 2005 3:59 PM

I think this is more a parody of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes than Quidditch.

That being said, I did find this strip particularly hilarious. I wasn't terribly excited to have another Torg Potter pop up, because I actually am one of those people who likes Oceans Unmoving and was looking forward to getting back to it—I really want to see where Pete's going with it and Bunbun is one of my favorite characters and all. But on the other hand, Pete is now parodying my favorite book in the entire Harry Potter series, so...

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at September 6, 2005 4:02 PM

To me, the Torg Potters have been a slight case of diminishing returns, in that while the first one was hilarious, the second one was only decent and this third one's been hit-or-miss.

Of course, there's been some absolutely excellent moments in this one anyway. My favorite overall for this go-around has to be this one, since there's so many absurdly Sluggy moments in it (especially the first and last few panels).

Comment from: quiller posted at September 6, 2005 4:32 PM

To me, the amusing part of the Torg Potter stories is just how out of place Torg is in them. He is the adult (well as much as you can call Torg an adult) surrounded by kids. There is an absurdity that underlies the whole thing. If Gwen was pulled into the Harry Potter universe, she'd fit in to a certain extent, but Torg both doesn't belong there and doesn't want to be there. It is like an anti-Mary Sue.

Of course, I was a little peeved when Torg gets picked up just when Zoe was coming over to talk to him. I'm a sucker for Zoe and her relationship with Torg in particular. But if it means the eventual confrontation is better planned out when it happens, then I can live with Torg Potter for a while.

Comment from: Kirath posted at September 6, 2005 4:39 PM

I read a very good parody , done by the talented miss Cleo Jones over at Livejournal. It's actually a parody of the movie version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, done in the style of a movie script and is one of several 'Movies in FIfteen Minutes.' This leads to one of my favorite lines in the parody:

HP Fans: OMGWTF THAT WAS RON'S LINE!YOU CHANGED THINGS FROM THE BOOK!
LOTR Fans: What are you, new?

I enjoy the whole thing, though, but spoilers do abound, if you are worried about that sort of thing. Here is a URL for the whole thing:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/m15m/2237.html

That all came to mind because it's the only other place I have seen a reference to "Luscious" Malfoy, hehe.

Also, I seriously think that Aymaliken Thrope is probably the only name he could come up with that was even more obvious than Remus Lupin...

Comment from: Kneefers posted at September 6, 2005 4:51 PM

Amen. You hit the nail on the head, again, dude. I love Sluggy, (I even liked Oceans Unmoving) but the Torg Potter storylines have always felt frivolous to me. I'm basically killing time waiting for it to finish, and then we can get back to Oceans Unmoving and maybe even some Torg/Zoe goodness.
And like quiller said, Torg feels out of place at Hogglerynth. The absurdity is good, but the whole story simply feels like fluff. The character development goes on hold for a week or two so we can see a HP parody. It's funny, but I don't like it because, to me, it feels like filler.

Comment from: thok posted at September 6, 2005 4:59 PM

I'd actually sort of like to see Pete try something like running strips from Ocean's Unmoving and Torg Potter simultaneously. He tends to focus on one general plot arc at a time, which alienates people who were anxious to see the revelations from the other arcs.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at September 6, 2005 7:33 PM

I appear to be in the minority here in that I actually enjoyed Oceans Unmoving. But that was only because of the characters in it that weren't Bun-bun. The Grays and the Geek Pirates were hilarious.

It would've been better if a character other than Bun-bun had been the star, though. Pretty much any character other than Bun-bun. Kiki would've worked better.

I do unreservedly love the Torg Potter stuff, having dabbled my toe in the waters of Potter fandom and decided that they were a bit too icky for me. Pete parodies everything perfectly. Some individual strips are off, but his overall parody of Potter and Potter fandom? Grade A perfect. Especially the whole "Lastnameless one" thing.

Just remember: "We're Harkonnen! We try to kill those blasted Atreides and harvest spice to fold space."

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at September 6, 2005 8:21 PM

I haven't really liked Sluggy since That Which Redeems ended. I think Oceans Unmoving was awkward, and the attempt at light humour afterward was rather poor.

It's just that we had this situation that should be totally serious; Torg's depression and getting kicked out of the house. But there is none. Torg goes immediately from being angsty and kicked out of the house to playing the Playstayshun-Puny. Zoe ends up doing almost all of the worrying about the house.

Then the babysitting segment and iPodling were just silly segues until the cloning story could actually begin.

Comment from: Tangent posted at September 6, 2005 11:54 PM

I actually have recently returned to the fold. This is because of K'Z'K, naturally enough - I swore when I left that only Torg and Zoe getting together, or K'Z'K's return could get me in again. And while K'Z'K isn't back, his demon-followers are, and it sounds like war is abrewing. :D

And the 28 Geeks storyline was actually decent Sluggy Freelance. It suffered the problem that so many Sluggy stories suffer from: Sluggy Freelance is an ensemble cast, and 28 Geeks separated Zoe from the others (but allowed her to be sufficiently kick-ass to be redeemable).

Personally, I think that Torg Potter might be too soon after 28 Geeks. We need more ensemble time. But fortunately, Kiki is with Torg, so it's not quite a solo adventure.

Besides. Oceans Uninteresting part deus is waiting in the wings after Torg Potter ends. (Ironically, it's ANOTHER solo adventure, unless Pete somehow pulls the other cast members into Null-Space - if he does, I'll read it. Otherwise, please let me know when it's over.) So I see this as a welcome respite, giving me a couple more weeks of amusing Sluggy Freelance stories before I go on hiatus from the comic again.

Well, okay, I lie. If BunBun runs into K'Z'K in Null Space during Oceans Uninteresting, then I'll start reading it at that point as well. :P And who knows... maybe he'll even get another Tangent out of me, and ABOUT a storyline I've pretty much said I'm not interested in.

It's just a shame that Pete feels... obligated to bring back BunBun, and *has* to return to a storyline that drove off some of his readers. Or, for that matter, led Eric to put SF in his "Why do I read this?" folder...

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews
http://www.tangents.us

P.S. - Here's links to the first Sluggy review and the second Sluggy review for those interested. (Well, reviews about Sluggy itself. I also wrote a couple others before then, about Pete's broken arm and about Saturday Sluggy. Easily found in the Archives page. :) Rob

Comment from: Merus posted at September 7, 2005 2:54 AM

I'm sincerely hoping that the predictions for Oceans Unmoving 2 turn out to be vaguely on target (that is, two Bun-Buns, or else a character that Bun-Bun can't manipulate) because I'm quite frankly tired of Bun-Bun. He's a one-note character that I never really liked anyway.

Comment from: Zeke posted at September 7, 2005 5:42 PM

Good post, Eric. In particular, that last sentence was very gratifying to read. I know, of course, that you never have expected Sluggy or any other comic to be written for you -- but considering the general tone of Websnark, it's nice to hear once in a while.

- Z

Comment from: ormond_sacker posted at September 7, 2005 11:24 PM

Does anyone else enjoy that, in the last couple of TP's, Torg's chief sidekick at Hogglerynth's has been Hermione more than Ron? She's a tightly-wound, brainy, 14(?)-year-old workaholic who's nevertheless likable and loyal. He's a laid-back, twenty-something slacker who's nevertheless likable and loyal. They fight crime, or dark wizardry, or someat.
OT: Zeke^! Love your site, man. Sorry about the thing.

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 7, 2005 11:57 PM

My significant other says I have no sense of humor (clearly not true!), for I often dislike parodies. I don't know.. they feel like .. cheating, somehow, as though the author just ran out of ideas of their own and decided to go poke fun at someone else's work.

That said, I do enjoy some gentle mockery, when it's not overdone, and when they don't seem to be trying to hard. The TP's don't do it for me, and frankly, I'm not sure why. I'm not an obsessive HP fan, although I have enjoyed the books and the movies thus far, so that can't be it. ah, well. Maybe it's just that I feel a little bit of a letdown when I load Sluggy and find this instead of the gang.

And just for the record? We need more stories that feature Riff. 'Cause I'm feelin' a need to have an invention go totally wrong, entailing destruction, mayhem, and a need to check the notes.

Comment from: Tangent posted at September 8, 2005 2:45 PM

Well, one of the problems I have with this is that we went from 28 Geeks (a solo adventure) to Torg Potter (another solo adventure), and then we're moving on to Oceans Uninteresting (not only a solo adventure but a BUN-BUN adventure *rolls eyes*).

Sluggy Freelance is about ensemble casts. One of the absolute best stories (The Bug, the Witch, and the Robot) was an ensemble story, with teamwork and friends helping each other. But Pete keeps moving away from those. *shrug* Just an issue I have with it.

Rob

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