Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reviewing a Webcomic!

I don't usually write reviews for web comics on here, but this time I was asked to do so by someone who used a lot of flattery. I like flattery so I agreed. :-)

That could be an indicator of bias in this review. I tend to like people who give me compliments. Just so you know.

Anyway, the webcomic in questions is Gene's Journal. It depicts the "true" events of Gene Roddenberry's adolescence, which basically involved getting kidnapped by two aliens a lot, which apparently helped inspire the creation of Star Trek and other Roddenberry properties.

I'd never actually heard of it before, but it's actually really cute. This is probably my favorite strip, and is fairly indicative of the kind of humor of the comic. :-)

This isn't the sort of webcomic that has much in the way of plot or character development, but it's a humor comic, so those aren't required. The running gags, things like the aliens transporting Gene into inconvenient and humorous places just to mess with him and/or showing up in shrunken form in his food, make me laugh.

I was slightly surprised at how rarely the writers use direct Trek references. Obviously my favorite strip involves one, but they're used fairly sporadically throughout. To put it crudely: it's geek-friendly but not a geek-wankfest. Most of the humor comes from Calvin and Hobbes-ish wisecracks and fish-out-of-water type situations both with Gene and the aliens. You don't have to be a giant Trek-fan to get the jokes. :-)

It's very kid-friendly with cute, light-hearted G-rated humor. There's not a lot of bite to the satire, but that's not necessarily a bad thing (though I do think there are some missed opportunities there, but it's still a fairly new webcomic) and there's definitely a lot of affection for Mr. Roddenberry and his work.

The only real negative I can think of (and I'm not sure that it's a negative so much as it is an observation) is that, for all that the comic purports to be about young Gene Roddenberry, comic book Gene is pretty much an "everykid" type character. There isn't a lot that I, being a casual Trek fan and not one for biographies and who wouldn't know any of the Roddenberry clan from Adam, can tell is specific to Gene Roddenberry himself in the character of Gene.

Well except maybe with regard to girls. Rumor did have it that Mr. Roddenberry had a distinct appreciation for the female form. :-)

It's possible that the setting factors into this impression though. Gene Roddenberry would have been an adolescent in the 30s or 40s, but the comic strip itself is contemporary. I can see why the decision was made to do that since it probably makes the jokes more relatable, but I do think that it influences the way I perceive the character.

In general though, I like the comic. It's cute and fun. I'd recommend it. :-)


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