This week’s webcomic is one of the original gamer comics Penny Arcade by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.
This is about as heavily invested in gaming humor as a comic can be, so if you aren’t all about gaming and video games, most likely you’ll want to pass this comic by. The comic focuses on the escapades of Gabe and Tycho, a pair of gamers. Their hi-jinx does include a set of recurring supporting characters, but for the most part the comic focuses on the two of them. There are also a large number of on-shot comics that feature characters from recent video games. Rarely the comic does have multi-strip plot arcs, but most of the comic is invested in single-shot gag strips.
The strip often contains violence and vulgarity, so the faint of heart should probably find another comic to read. Again, the humor is typically very gaming oriented, so if you are unfamiliar with the gaming world, you will probably find that the humor doesn’t really appeal to you.
Many have criticized the strip for jumping the shark over the years, which frankly I don’t see. The humor of the comic has remained very stable almost since the beginning, and while the art has seen HUGE improvements over the years, the topics and themes remain pretty constant. Perhaps some of the humor is more mature and grown up, but I hardly see that as a bad thing. Granted, the comic is certainly not one of the funniest out there, many of the strips are barely funny at all, but the strip does have several important things going for it:
1) The duo who run the comic aren’t afraid to experiment. Over the past three years or so they’ve created a number of projects for themselves that are outside of their normal comfort zone. Such projects as the hugely popular Lookouts project or their darker Automata strip. The fact that they’re willing to invest time trying to take on projects way outside their daily strip make their work appealing beyond being a simple gag-a-day factory.
2) They are very big about gamers giving back. As such they helped create (and advertise) a charity organization called Child’s Play which, through charitable donation from gamers around the US, provides toys, books, and games to children’s hospitals around the Nation.
3) They created PAX, a gaming convention of epic proportion. I dream of going to it someday.
Even though Penny Arcade does not make my weekly list of comics, I do catch up on their archive every month or so. I also plan to donate to Child’s Play this year for their Christmas gift donation, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while but forget to put aside for.
-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?