Ctrl+Alt+Del Vol. 1 Review

Ctrl+Alt+Del Vol. 1As explained in Tim Buckley’s introduction, he’s been creating this webcomic since 2002 as something he was experimenting with for his portfolio. For the last few years, he’s been making his living from it. That’s mainly because his daily strips are full of geek in-jokes and we love them more than  girls at the comic shop.

This first volume from Blind Ferret Publishing (titled This Is A Great Idea) collects about 130 strips from October 2002 to May 2003. Most are funny, but seeing as I’m a casual gamer at best I wasn’t crying with laughter. I know plenty of people who would however. This is for gamers what Comic Critics is to comic fans. The beauty is that there is some x-over, and we all laugh laughing at ourselevs, and our knowledge of pop culture. That’s also why Family Guy is so popular.

The bulk of these strips are four panels to a page and a lot show their age, especially with references to new games like Hitman 2, Star Wars Galexies, etc. For those that were passionate gamers during those years, there will be many chuckles I’m sure. It follows young gamers Ethan, his more level-headed friend Ethan, female gamer Lilah, Ethan’s ex Sara, Ted the penguin and a few random arrows. There are some unusual interludes to this pace, such as a 4 page noir-esque tale about a Detective’s search for his left hand and Chef Brian’s mostly nonsensical ramblings (usually involving carrots). These don’t really work compared to the rest of the work contained within these pages.

However, what impressed  me most was Buckley’s subtle weaving of a narrative throughout the pages. Ethan breaks up with his girlfriend, gets a new room-mate and job, falls into gaming addiction,etc. It means you can read the book all the way through and most of the time you’ll get some witty sit-com type gags, but also a loose larger story at play.

Ethan is clearly the star of the show and though the jokes aren’t exactly cutting edge compared to today’s ‘smarter’ strips such as Sinfest or The Perry Bible Fellowship, these strips are from 7 years ago, when webcomics were not the plague they are today.

As Buckley acknowledges in his intro, his style has improved since these early days, but it’s pleasantly cartoony enough. Every page is loosely littered with profanity, violence and Ethan’s general hatred towards those who don’t understand him, which is pretty much everyone, so don’t be fooled by the cover. This isn’t a safe Saturday morning ‘toon. It takes great skill to produce one of these every day for almost a decade though. It’s all about timing and using as few words and expressions as possible to get the biggest smile. Of course, pop culture is simply ammo to Buckley, so he won’t be running out anytime soon.

Strangely, nowhere in the book is the website mentioned, so here it is for your daily gamer laugh.

Apple Hick

Blasphemer

The New Batman

BFTC3 CvrSo, Dick Grayson is the new Batman, and Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian is the new Robin. Though you couldn’t really tell from reading this week’s Battle for the Cowl conclusion. The current Robin, Tim Drake and former (dead) Robin Jason Todd were running around in different Batman costumes while various classic Batman foes watched as Gotham descended into more hellish chaos. And just so you know Batman, AKA Bruce Wayne is not exactly dead. Rather he was sent way back in time thanks to Darkseid’s Omega Sanction eye beams. You can read all about it in Final Crisis if you don’t mind a migraine. However, as a sum up, here’s my latest Broken Frontier article, The Battle for Batman.                                                                                                          

There’s also an interview at Newsarama with the writer/artist of the 3 ish mini, Battle for the Cowl, Tony Daniel. For those who are unsure as to the precise identity of the new cowl wearer, as it is rather ambiguous in the final pages of BOC #3, this excerpt from the interview should make it clear.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about how these last couple pages were designed? Why didn’t the readers see the face of the person putting on the cowl? The words from Dick make it pretty clear he is wearing the cowl, so does the lack of a face have another meaning? And anything you want to share about the design of the pages? They’re pretty cool-looking…

TD: Thanks – well, I wanted us to view what Dick was viewing, be Dick, for that moment. Going through the mansion, down to the cave. Putting up the cowl. Yes, his hair is shorter. But it’s been Dick’s captions all the way through issue #3, so I thought it was pretty self-explanatory. 

Okay then. Here’s a few pages from Cowl #3 for your perusal.

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