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“Where should I start with web comics?”
That question was posed to me, along with “can you take your hand off my breast,” by a friend of mine who reads very little in the way of comics. Sure, she likes Calvin and Hobbes, dabbled a bit with Fables, and even buys all the Buffy comics once they are collected, but all she really knew of web comics is XKCD and Penny Arcade (although both of those are really fantastic). But she wanted something a little more long form.
I was a little hesitant at the time to start her on something as long as Freak Angels (which she finished about a month back), but at the same time wanted to show her something really special that I felt would draw her in quickly. Chapter 2 of The Wormworld Saga was just released, and everyone on the Burnt Weiners podcast really enjoyed it, including Steege, who is a very casual comics reader that appears on our show from time to time. So, I sent her the link in an email and about 30 minutes later I receive a message back: “when will there be more?!?!?!”
Now, before I go gushing about this webcomic, I wanted to address this right off the bat: you, like my gal pal, are going to wait long periods of time between updates on this comic. I want you to know this going in. This is not a webcomic that is updated weekly or even monthly, but once you finally take a look at the comic, you will understand why. The 4th Chapter was just released last month, with a new chapter now being released around every four months. That being said, the finished product is always worth the wait!
Wormworld is a vertical cascading, heavily interconnected webcomic, meaning you scroll down the page to read it, but the artwork is rarely broken up, often overlapping and gorgeously sewn together into a large tapestry of visual storytelling. The creator, Daniel Lieske, has a beautiful digitally-painted style that skillfully draws your eye into the storytelling, while letting you just get lost into the details surrounding it.
The art of the comic might get high praise, but it would just be beautiful drawings on a page without something pushing that along, and that is where the second part of Lieske’s talents come in. Wormworld’s story is very similar to some of the most successful fantasy stories I know. There are elements of Alice in Wonderland, a dash of Peter Pan here, a sprinkling of Neverending Story there, but through all of this, you get what made these stories so wildly popular: being able to easily imagine yourself (or a younger version of yourself) experiencing this whole new world . . .sorry, no carpet rides. Nothing gets overcomplicated plot-wise, it is pretty straight forward, with a few dangling threads carefully placed.
“But John, you haven’t said anything to tell me what the comic is about?”
Yes, you are correct, and I did that on purpose. I didn’t tell my friend what it was about either, not that spoilers would actually spoil all that much of the story, but I believe it is hard to get across why the comic is so charming and works it’s magic without experiencing it. Try to explain the movie The Princess Bride to someone who hasn’t seen it or heard of it. You are going to have to work on it and it would have been simpler to hand them a copy of the movie. Here: I am handing you a copy of the webcomic. Give it a read.
*Note – Daniel Lieske is currently using Kickstarter to further fund his Wormworld Saga, and as of this writing, he is about half way there with a couple weeks to go. You can check out the Kickstarter page here. There are plenty of different tier amounts for pledging and some cool items being offered.
When John is not busy putting off real life responsibilities so he can drunkenly reminisce about the days Superman had sexy long hair, he is blabbing on mindlessly about comics on the Burnt Weiners Comic Book Podcast. He makes a hobby out of knowing next to nothing about comics, but loving them all the same. We strongly discourage you from checking out Burntweiners.com. They cannot even spell “wieners” correctly.