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Eric: I think Abrams just likes drawing zombies.

Sluggy Freelance!

(From Sluggy Freelance! Click on the thumbnail for full sized Bun Bun being all Bun Bun!)

For those who weren't following too closely, Sluggy Freelance ended the mind-numbingly long Oceans Unmoving II about a week and a half ago. We've started back in on our actual cast. You remember. Torg. Riff. That... brunette chick with the umlaut in her name. Glenda. Spits. The weasel. And I think there was some magical alien pod creature thing. Maybe.

Anyway. We're back. And it's slightly rocky going, as Abrams gets back into the heads of his primary cast and gets back into the spin of things. As with the other times the action has left our primary cast to follow one or two cast members -- Gofotron, That Which Redeems and the like -- the regular cast has not been static while this has gone on. Things have changed "behind the scenes."

Which, to be honest, didn't need to happen this time. After all, Bun Bun was returned from timeless space, at a time and place that Uncle Time chose. He could have chose to pick things up where we left off. So, this was a conscious decision on Abrams's part.

Which is all fine and good, actually, because it's let him set up a static situation and use Bun Bun's reintroduction as the pebble which disturbs the waters. Which is a pretty cool metaphor, don't you think? Regardless of your opinion, it's actually a pretty standard technique in storytelling. Establish the norm, then introduce the change. During the long, laborious, turgid Oceans Unmoving, the cast has reached a norm. Bun Bun introduces a change by showing up. That then gives us fuel for exploring.

We saw a good sign of it yesterday, when we saw Torg's dream. A dream that revealed, among other things, Torg's inner yearning for the Bikini Suicide Frisbee Days. He hugged his bunny. They frolicked and danced. And over the course of the four panels, his old flannel shirt appeared over his body, and by the last panel his business shirt and tie had disappeared. He let himself become classic Torg again, at least in his heart.

But he's not classic Torg. He wears a tie. Willingly. He has a job. He has some separation from his friends.

And, as we found out today, he was actually able to dodge Bun Bun's attack. Knocking himself out in the process, but the point is still made. Torg has been "upgraded." He's not dependent on his demon slaying sword any longer. He can fight.

Things are rocky, but I find myself intrigued. I got pushed as far as I humanly could on the "why do I read this strip, again" thing, but I'm still here. And as Abrams gets comfortable with four panels and his primary cast again, things could become good again. We'll have to see, but there's hope.

And it's good to be able to say that.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at March 16, 2006 11:12 AM

Comments

Comment from: Sili [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 12:13 PM

Now, I'm no Sluggy-reader, but surely you mean "trema" or at the very least "diaresis". I don't believe German has an Umlaut for "e".

And just in case I missed any irony: "Sorry".

Comment from: Kneefers [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 12:14 PM

...wow. I totally missed that in yesterday's strip Torg's clothes gradually change. That is rather nifty indeed. Good stuff.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 12:29 PM

To be fair, because the diaresis and the umlaut are indistinguishable visually in written language (and in most computer fonts), there's a good argument that the diacritic mark should only have one name. And it's frequently quite obvious from the written word's structure whether or not the diacritic is functioning as an umlaut or a diaresis.

That, and let's face it, the word "umlaut" is cool.

Comment from: Kishi [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 12:38 PM

I also missed the clothes-change, too. I was a bit distracted by who looks to be appearing in the background of the last panel.

Taking advice from someone commenting here, I went and read through Oceans Unmoving in one straight go yesterday. I did enjoy it a lot more. So thanks, forgotten commentor!

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 12:41 PM

Ocean's Unmoving didn't annoy me quite as much as did a lot of people, but I *am* glad the rest of the cast is back in action. And I'm really curious to know exactly what it is that Torg DOES these days... and why...

... and when Oasis is going to break out of the loony bin and go all Sadie Hawkins on Torg.

Comment from: Mr Myth [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 1:00 PM

I noticed the clothing shift, but accepted it as just helping establish that this was a dream going on, rather than reading deeper into it.

But yeah, that's pretty keen. Or as they say... "nifty."

Comment from: Howard Tayler [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 1:00 PM

Oh, good. OMII is over.

I've been waiting for someone to announce it, because I liked Sluggy, but OMII failed to reward even the most reflexive "click-and-read" action.

So... thanks for the heads-up, Eric.

And Pete... I'm back.

Comment from: Polychrome [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 1:29 PM

I'm glad Oceans Unmoving is over because now the complaints that consist of nothing more than "It's not Sluggy, I don't like it." will stop.

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 1:33 PM

What amazes me is that, after all the complaints and the hand wringing and all that, I still think of Sluggy as the biggest fish in the pond. It may have been fairly bad for over a year now, but I still think of it as the best strip out there.

That said, I'm not happy with what I'm seeing. Even if the clock has been ticking while we were away, Torg shouldn't be where he is. He should have been out searching for Oasis, Bun-bun, clues to Aylee's slumber, etc. He shouldn't be out being a working shmoe flirting with women in a bar (c'mon Pete, you know full well that the Zoe-Torg-Oasis romance situation is forefront on everyone's mind).

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 1:39 PM

I'm glad Oceans Unmoving is over because now the complaints that consist of nothing more than "It's not Sluggy, I don't like it." will stop.

Polychrome -- I seriously, deeply do not wish to offend you. Seriously.

But man, there's a level of naiveté in that statement that's just staggering. ;)

The complaints won't stop for months yet. Instead of "It's not Sluggy, I don't like it," they will take the form of "ever since Oceans Unmoving it hasn't been Sluggy. I don't like it." Or "he's forgotten how to do Sluggy. I don't like it." Or just plain old "it's not Sluggy. It's just trying to fake being Sluggy. I don't like it."

I understand your sentiment. But no, those complaints won't stop.

Instead, we get to have a whole new kind of complaint. See, as unfun as I and many others found Oceans Unmoving, there were a good number of people who enjoyed it. And a certain percentage of readers -- small, perhaps, but there -- started reading Sluggy during Oceans Unmoving.

Those people will now bemoan the end of that series. "Why are you spending all your time on these twentysomething losers? When are we getting back to the fun story about technopirates and lost time?"

There is no victory, my friend.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 1:55 PM

Eric speaks truth. The only way to win is not to play.

Comment from: TeleriB [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 2:00 PM

I thought the only way to win is cheat
Lay it down before you're beat
And to another give the seat?
('Cause that's the only painless feat.)

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 2:34 PM

Well, technically, Abrams could pull off a win by spinning off Oceans Unmoving into its own comic and update it side-by-side with Sluggy Freelance.

Of course, this would probably either kill Pete or result in comics coming out once a year. But details, details.

Personally, I'm just waiting for Aylee to return. At least they don't have to go into a huge storyline launch to bring her back - she just has to come out of her current cocoon.

Comment from: Kris@WLP [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 2:36 PM

Suicide and frisbees
College girls in bikinis
Could we go back to those days, Abrams, please?

Comment from: JoeFF85 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 3:06 PM

I started reading Sluggy in '01, arguably later than a good number of the regular commentors here at Casa Burns/White. I've been a member of the Sluggire Zone for almost as long (I didn't join untill I had finished the Archives, because that is how I felt I should do it.) But still, 2001 was a long time ago for a Webcomic.

I enjoyed where Sluggy Freelance was when I started reading it. I enjoyed where it had been based on looking at the archives. I have enjoyed where it has since gone.

Did I enjoy Oceans Unmoving? Yes. Was it Sluggy Freelance? Not strictly, no. But it wasn't a bad webcomic, either. Did it require Bun-Bun to be good? Hell no, but it wasn't bad because of his presence, either.

Am I glad, as a Sluggite, that Sluggy is back to the man cast? Yes. I want to see what has happened to Torg while we were away. I want to look in on the others. I want him to finally (eventually) deal with Zoe and Oasis and all that.

But knowing Pete, that still might be a long way coming. Pete has had a lot of what we Sluggites refer to as YADPs (Yet Another Dangling Plotline) over the years, and I don't expect them to all be tied up just because Bun-Bun is back and the main cast is in the spotlight again.

But I am glad to see them back. I've missed them. And I feel like the fifteen year old who used to disobey his parents each night in order to stay online long enough to see the new update every night again. Finally. It's a good time to be a Sluggite, in this one's opinion.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 3:17 PM

I looked almost every day at Oceans Unmoving to see whether it was over yet, but I don't think it's realistic or desirable to wish Pandora's bikini frisbee box shut again either (except, of course, on Saturday). Or maybe it's just that I have visions of, nineteen years from now, webcomic blog commenters crying out, "Now that the Grailquest is over, can we please go back to Chaste Childless Days?"

Comment from: Polychrome [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 5:13 PM

Oh, let me have my dreams.

Comment from: Ardaniel [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 5:33 PM

I had *no idea* that Oceans Unmoving was actually part of Infinite Crisis! Well, shit, When's the Sluggy Freelance: One Year Later TPB due out?

Comment from: elvedril [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 6:40 PM

See the weird part is that now that OMII is over, I wouldn't mind seeing OMIII. Not because I liked OMI or II all that much, but just because it would now focus on Calix and Kada (both of which are interesting characters I've grown to like) and not Bun Bun, who never interested me.

I could read a Calix and Kada comic just as I could read Torg and crew (since, IMO, Sluggy has always been Torg's show) comic. Pete, just please keep the stories focused on an interesting character or two if you're going to keep it going for more than a week.

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 6:44 PM

Personally I'm looking forward to Oceans Unmoving III, though Pete isn't sure when or how it's going to come about. Personally I think he's just going to draw some stuff during his spare time and when it's done put it out as a print compilation or something. Which would likely rock. :)

Rob H.

Comment from: WestRider [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 6:58 PM

Actually, Torg knocking himself out while dodging Bun-Bun is nothing new

http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=991226

I'm kinda having trouble adjusting back to "normal" Sluggy myself, but I'm along for the ride for now.

Comment from: kirabug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 9:24 PM

When I was in high school, the honors teachers once told us that no matter what the enrichment program taught, at any given point in time 2/3 of the class was going to hate it -- because we were pretty evenly split between science geeks, social sciences geeks, and humanities geeks, and what made one third happy made the other two thirds angry.

Sluggy is no different. Some folks live for the light giddy weird bikini frisbee days. Others live for the melodramatic style of That Which Redeems. Some love the parodies - the original Aliens spoof, the Torg Potter stuff, etc. And some people really do like the original plots like Oceans Unmoving or the Holiday Wars, which aren't necessarily overly funny, but can be good in their own right.

I liked Oceans Unmoving. I think it would've done better in a non-daily format, but as a story, it was pretty good.

I also look forward to getting the cast together and finding out what everyone's doing and why.

I can live without ever seeing Oasis again.

I guess I'm just weird that way :)

Comment from: Marikir [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 9:31 PM

Hmmm...

Well, I liked Oceans Unmoving too. I found it to be VERY creative. I was kinda sad to see Bun-Bun removed and then being given the impression that we'd never learn the fate of Kada and the rest.

I was very glad when Pete did the flashback to let us know that Kada and the rest were actually charging forward and working to free Timeless Space. In fact, I wish he would go back to it at some point.

But, you're right. It is time to move back to the main cast.

Still, I encourage anyone that didn't like the length of OcUnmov to try and read it all now that's done. It flows much better, I think.

(I originally didn't like it. It was when they showed the secret of Blacksoul that suddenly made me sit up. In fact, I went all the way back to the Holiday Wars and read forward to get the whole story. In fact, do that. I encourage you to do that.)

Comment from: Matt Buchwald [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 10:12 PM

Was Dr. Schlock in the household before OU2? I totally don't remember him being with the crew at all, but then the prev OU threads are a bit dim in the old memory. I can barely remember who Dr. Schlock even is.

Comment from: B. Durbin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 16, 2006 11:53 PM

Well, I liked it. In fact, I've liked pretty much all of Sluggy, which seems to be quite an accomplishment.

Really, though, I'm a story junkie. Get me into a story and I'll be faithful for a long time.

I don't like soap operas, though, for some reason. And Robert Jordan seriously annoys me (though I will read through the books at least ONCE to see if he actually bothers to finish.)

Comment from: TasteMyHouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 7:40 AM

why is sluggy considered good?

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 8:42 AM

"why is sluggy considered good?"

Historical reasons, for the most part. Sluggy has mixed some absurdities that you could barely exceed in Goats or Pennie Arcade with well developed personalities people came to love, along with an amazingly intricate storyline with strong continuity. You may personally like or dislike the strip, but I think you'll recognize the extreme skill required in crafting it.

OU was a daring strategy that didn't work (I know, lots of people liked it, but a lot of people stopped reading too). Mostly because it took a year long break from the general plot continuity and all but one of the characters to focus on a new universe. No matter how interesting the idea was, it had no place in the rest of the strip. It also came at a really bad time, right after TWR, when most people were heady with melodrama and wanting Torg-Zoe resolution.

Anyway, getting back on topic. Why is Sluggy considered good? Because it the long term view of the strip, it has been the power player in the webcomic industry for storyline strips. Much like TV power players (Seinfield, Frazier, ER, Xfiles, or even Survivor), you can say, "yeah, it used to be good, but the ratings are dropping and the talent just isn't there anymore", but you'd be remiss not to recognize the quality that came before (and I for one think Sluggy is hardly circling the drain).

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 9:46 AM

Of course we know what happened to Calix and Kada. They moved to the North Pole and started making toys! :)

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 9:49 AM

Hah!

Dave, I think that would be brilliant.

Comment from: dormouse77 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 7:41 PM

"Of course we know what happened to Calix and Kada. They moved to the North Pole and started making toys!"

That's exactly what I thought would happen. I thought we'd get some of Bun Bun's past and the reason why Santa and Mrs. Claus hated Bun Bun. Instead, it was just a lot of nothing.

Comment from: gwalla [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 19, 2006 4:41 PM

32: the diæresis and umlaut are visually indistinguishable because they are the same symbol, just two different uses. The symbol itself (the two dots above) is called a trema.

Comment from: prosfilaes [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 19, 2006 5:37 PM

It's called a trema by whom? Unicode calls it diaeresis. I find that many of the accents in typography don't have clear consistently used names.

Comment from: gwalla [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2006 2:37 AM

Unicode used to conflate the ezh and yogh, too. Unicode's naming is a little wonky.

"Trema" is a term for the symbol used as diæresis and umlaut, used by typographers and pretty much nobody else.

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