Monday, October 27, 2008

Web Comics Week: Calamities Of Nature

As I mentioned in my previous blogs about Cru the Dwarf, I tend to check out my advertisers. I like to see who or what is taking up a spot somewhere on the blog.

Calamities of Nature is, quite often, one of my sponsors.

Reading through the entirety of the strip (current to 10/26/08), it has its rough patches early on, but settles into giving consistent chuckles.

In the early going, it tries to make statements without any real funny to it. It talks about the leadership vacuum that he felt the country was experiencing in 2007. He tries to tie the funny into it, but allowed the first part to be dry as heck. That's not generally the format for something that seems to be aimed towards laughter rather than arcs that are drawn-out and heavy on thought-provocation.

It only takes a few weeks for the creator, Tony Piro, to go for more of the wacky comic strip stuff, complete with making sure there's at least an attempt at funny in each individual serving. It starts with A Hairy Situation and seems to find a good formula from thereon out. While there isn't always a chuckle with each new page, there is more obvious setup, often using somewhat off-the-wall premises. While it might not deliver that laugh, it tries to make sure you know there will be an attempt at one in the next strip. I'd have to imagine that is key to keeping new readers around for more.

In September, Piro took a mildly disappointing turn, eschewing his fuller page strips and adopting something more akin to the newspaper strips. This necessitates most of the strips rushing the setup to get to the punchline.

Mind you, there are still a number of laughs to be had, but regressing to the format of the establishment (whether to become more homogenized or to be able to pop out strips more quickly) isn't the sign of a strip striving for originality. It will still manage to be entertaining enough to read for the price ($0), but it doesn't look like it will become a standout. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

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