September 27th, 2005


Really Good Webcomic

You can have your Bob and George, you can have your 8-Bit Theater, but for my money, the now-complete Kid Radd is quite simply the best sprite comic ever made. Here's why:

First, I have to point out its main flaw: it is not as funny as either of the better-known comics I mentioned. It has its moments, but simply isn't primarily a humor comic. It's about story and character development -- so, unlike the above two, it has actual characters, not just stereotypes (well, they start as stereotypes, but most of them flesh out with time). And the story is highly original -- a little reminiscent of Tron, but only superficially. And the last battle took me by surprise TWICE! Not to sound conceited, but that's no mean feat. I *am* something of a professional, after all.

Second, unlike every other sprite comic ever, Kid Radd has original sprites. With the exception of occasional cameos (mostly Goombas and power-ups from NES sidescrollers), EVERY sprite was created from scratch by the author. Same goes for the backgrounds.

Third, the technical approach the author used is something I've never seen anywhere else, something which can only be done with sprites. Panels are arranged temporally, rather than spacially, more like a flash movie than a comic. They are almost always animated, and occasionally have (intentionally NES-like MIDI) music. Most interesting is the way comics are constructed: the comic itself consists of positional, rather than image, data, linked to a library of pre-constructed sprites and backgrounds. In other words, it's coded more like a video game than like a comic! The advantage of this? 601 comics, most animated, fit into an 8 MB zip file.

Finally, the ending. Wow. Comic 601 was just a perfect ending to the comic -- a thoroughly earned happy ending that made me feel good without feeling cheap or contrived at all.
  • Current Music
    Kid Radd Ending Theme