Webcomics You Should Be Reading: “The Gutters”
Gentle reader, I know it’s been an eon and a half since last I told you to dust off that bookmark button. But to be honest, I’ve been buried in the same set of webcomics for a long time now, with nothing piquing my interest as such… until now. Found literally by happenstance, I bring to you today a webcomic that is not like any other I’ve brought to you thus far. I bring to you… The Gutters.
Produced and written by Ryan Sohmer, the same dude that puts out a former Webcomic You Should Be Reading, Least I Could Do, The Gutters is truly a unique webcomic beast. Instead of a singular cast, The Gutters uses today’s comic books as fodder for content. Expressing a gripe about “One More Day” or “Blackest Night,” or offering a more general comics in-joke, the strip skewers just about everyone in the industry… fictional or not! Instead of a single artist, The Gutters employs the services of a multitude of industry pros. Past strips has been drawn by the likes of Eugene JjAR, cartoonist Chris Jones, comic book guru Bill Sienkiewicz, and webcomic god Scott Kurtz. Even Least I Could Do‘s Lar deSouza lends his hand on occasion. At the end of the day, the combination of a rotating art cast with Sohmer’s wit and criticism of the comic industry equals a damn funny webcomic that had the Unshaven Comics crew doing spit takes while we roamed through the archives. Although the comic is only 40 strips old, it offers a gold mine of jokes.
Normally, I peruse the wikipedia of the “About Us” page to pick up a little backstory. Sadly, The Gutters is far too new and awesome to have garnered an entry yet. From what I can glean from the blogs, though, the project is pretty straightforward. According to Sohmer:
“In brief, Gutters is a series of standalone pages that parody the
comic book industry and the heroes and characters that dwell within.
Think of it as an editorial cartoon targeting comic books, and you’ll
understand where we’re going with it.
While I’ll be writing Gutters, Lar will be the art director with Ed
Ryzowski serving as colorist. As for who will be doing the actual art,
well, that’s where things get interesting (and slightly different).
Rather than have one artist pencil each page, we elected to have a
rotating roster of professional artists, among them some giants in the
comic book industry alongside new and emerging talent. This way, in
addition to what I hope will be a humorous comic, Gutters will also be
an ongoing showcase of art.”
As always, allow me now to provide you with a selection of some of my personal favorite gems from the archives. Click, and be prepared to laugh your arse off.
- Looks like someone has a bone to pick with this so-called Speed Force…
- Thanks to Frank Miller and Grant Morrison, what can’t Batman do?
- Ha! I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking Image is going down a dark path.
- Take note, all you self-publishers, you can break in now, with ease!
- Heh. I’m glad this wasn’t me saying it.
- Last, but not least, the reason why having 7,200 space cops doesn’t always work…
And now for the lightning round! Er,I mean the breakdown:
- Drama: I imagine if Quesada or DiDio read between the lines of some of the strips, there’d be some serious drama… or at very least, a written apology to the fans for “One More Day.”
- Humor: A gentle poke in the eye to the comic industry at large makes me laugh pretty darned hard.
- Continuity: Well, I guess you need to be reading comics actively to get a lot of these jokes. Take that for what it’s worth.
- Art: Lar Desouza and his plethora of up-and-comers are great. The strip is vibrant, and with each update, the breadth of styles keeps the comic fresh with each update. Even when a strip falls flat on the funny, the art does a decent job lifting it up.
- Archive: 40 strips at present moment. You can knock em’ out in an hour. Go pour yourself some lemonade, and get ready to spit it out whilst you laugh it up.
- Updates: According to the first blog of the series, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Risk/Reward: As I said above, The Gutters” does typically require you have some knowledge of the comic industry, both on the page, and off. For those who don’t know that Robert Kirkman is basically making the entire Image catalog these days, or that Fantomex looks like Storm Shadow with a coat on… well, you may not get every joke The Gutters dishes out. But for those of us in the know, the comic is on point much of the time. The rotating art cast keeps the look of the comic fresh. Suffice to say, if you’re a big fan of comics, this is a must-read.
So there you have it… another Webcomic You Should Be Reading. Now, go do yourself a favor and start reading it. But do it in another window. I’d hate to see you leave ComicMix.