A few comic recommendations, and thoughts about ending stories

I read a lot of webcomics.  As my writing this, I actively follow about 20 regularly updating comics, plus a few more that have irregular schedules.  Two that I thought were exceptionally great were completed recently, and I thought this was a great chance to talk about some things.

First up is Always Human, by WalkingNorth.  Now, before I talk about the comic itself, let me tell you about this app.  It’s called “Line Webtoon“, and it’s available on both Android and iPhone.  You can also read the comics online if you like.  It’s a neat platform which allows comic creators to share their art with comic fans.  There are lots of comics covering a wide range of genres and subjects for your perusal.  And if you enjoy a comic, you can subscribe to it, and you’ll get a notification whenever the artist updates.  Several of the comics I read are on this app.


Anyways, on to Always Human.  The comic’s description says:

This is a story about nanobots, genetic engineering, and two girls falling in love. No matter how technology changes us, we’ll always be human.

Now, that description is accurate, but it doesn’t quite capture what makes this comic so special.  First off, the art style is very beautiful.  WalkingNorth creates scenes that are colorful and expressive, reminiscent of watercolors.  Secondly, almost all of the episodes are accompanied by music.  That’s another great thing about Line Webtoon, by the way: artists can upload music that will play while you read a strip.  The soundtrack, which is available on Bandcamp (I’m listening to it right now), is also composed by WalkingNorth, and is simple, yet expressive and emotional.  It fits in perfectly with the scenes from the comic.

But all those are just the trimmings.  What really makes this comic great, in my opinion, is the writing.  As the title suggests, the characters are human.  And I don’t just mean that to say “they’re not aliens”, but rather that they feel familiar and relatable.  Now, perhaps I’m not qualified to expound upon this, as I haven’t ever been in a serious relationship, but I felt that I understood what the characters were feeling and what they were going through.  They wanted to find their happiness, and they wanted each other to be happy.  In my mind, that’s really what love is about.  It’s about communicating, talking with your partner because you can’t read their mind.  And it’s about how you deserve to be happy.  You can put yourself in these characters’ shoes and see things from their point of view.  Overall, it is a calm, peaceful comic, one that made me feel at ease.  I always looked forward to updates, and I eagerly await whatever WalkingNorth’s next creation will be.

The second is 17776.  I have to thank my sister for introducing me to this one last week.  Of course, it only ran 20 episodes, so two days after I started it, it was finished.  This one was really interesting, again due in part to its format.  With webcomics, you’re not limited simply to images, as you would be if you were publishing comics in a newspaper.  Rather, you get to take advantage of all that a computer (or other device) has to offer.  Webtoon does this by allowing artists to add music.  17776 did this by including gifs and videos.  These break up the flow of things, and allowed the creators to literally zoom in on something they wanted to show the viewer.  In fact, I’m not even sure if I should call this one a “comic”.  Yeah, it was text with images, but it’s so different from what we normally think of as a comic that it’s its own thing entirely.

17776‘s tagline is “What football will look like in the future.”  And yes, that is technically what it is about.  It’s even published by SBNation, a sports news website.  But, just like Always Human, it is so much more.  17776 tells the story of humanity 15,000 years in the future.  And again, it does so in a way that you can empathize with the characters and understand what this new world is like.  I don’t really want to say too much more about it, because I’m afraid I’ll spoil some of what goes on.  Try it out yourself!

Side note: I’ve been trying to figure out what the easiest way to read 17776‘s title is.  So far, I think Seventeen-seventy-seven-six is the best way.

But there’s one more thing I like about both of these comics:  They’re finished.  I know that might seem counterintuitive, especially because I was complaining about how I was only following 17776 for two days.  But to me, it’s actually really nice when a story is completed.  You know the story has a conclusion.  You might want more of it, but it ended.  You don’t have to worry about cliffhangers and waiting for more updates.  Sometimes you come across a story that seems interminable (I’m looking at you, Naruto, with your > 500 episodes.  Plus you’re starting a new show.  What’s up with that?).  You can spend years going through it, trying to catch up, but they’re still releasing more content.  And in those cases, sometimes you just want it to end.  You want things to be tied up nice and neat.  I know that that’s not how life is; life is chaotic and things are often left unfinished.  But when I’m reading a book, I do so knowing that eventually I will turn the last page.  And when that happens, even though I’ll be sad that I don’t get more, I can at least be happy that I got the whole story.  Finishing a story is cathartic and feels better than having it drag on and on.  So next time your favorite show reaches its conclusion, or you finish a book series, don’t be sad.  Be happy that you got to partake in the full story the author wanted to tell.  You can always go back and re-read.  And this way, you can recommend the story to all your friends (like I am doing now), without worrying that they’ll use its length as an excuse not to check it out.

Anyways, I just felt like sharing these two wonderful stories with you all.  I hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

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