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


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