I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground here when I say that web-based publishing is a great idea for comics. It’s not just that creators like Franklin and Haley get to reach a massive audience, but because getting your work onto the web yourself is so much easier (relatively speaking) than going through traditional routes, it gives creators a chance to do whatever they want.
And that leads to some amazing high concept ideas.
Admittedly, that’s not always a good thing. As much as I’m a fan of the high concept in general, if it doesn’t have talented people working on it, it’s not going to work, and a level playing field means that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a handful of comics about an ocelot starship captain who is also a Twilight vampire having to deal with the tragic events of September 11th.
But every now and then, you get something great. Sometimes it’s the flat-out fun of Dr. McNinja, sometimes it’s the time-travel luchadore gorilla adventure of El Gorgo, and sometimes… you get Registered Weapon.
I’ve mentioned Registered Weapon on the blog (and on Ajax) before, but since the creators were nice enough to send me a copy of their first print collection this week, I figured it was worth another mention.
For those of you who haven’t been reading it–and really, you oughtta be–here’s the elvator pitch: Frank Gorman is a cop on the edge. Or maybe somewhere way, way past it.
In order to keep his status in relation to the edge from becoming worse than it already is, Frank is assigned a partner: Felix Farthing, a new detective who is also an advanced crime-fighting robot…
…who used to be a cash register.
Like I said, it’s a great high concept, and Gardner Linn and Chris Thorn’s scripts use it exactly as they should, with rollicking plots and sharp comedic timing. Like Dr. McNinja, the strips flow together into long-form story arcs, but each one has a definite gag that stands on its own as part of a greater whoel. And as strange as it has to be to draw, Dave Lentz does it perfectly, with a clean, stripped-down style that allows for some incredible facial expressions. It’s easily become one of my favorite reads, and with strips like this, it’s easy to see why.
The book itself, too, is a beautiful little item. Print collections of webcomics are always a tricky proposition since you can read the strips for free online, but like the best ones, Registered Weapon v.1 has some awesome bonus features. They’re not offering it through the site yet, but if you see these guys at a convention, check it out, if only for the “What Might’ve Been” bonus feature that’s worth the price alone.
Until then, RW updates four times a week at Registered-Weapon.com, and Gardner, Chris and Dave are doing some great work.