Asylum Heights

Creator/s: David Janzen
Run: 9/10-current
Schedule: M/Th
Section/s: Chs. 2-3

Website: The website's simple but attractive, with the large, colorful banner at the top giving the impression that the comic's artsy and weird.

As far as extras, there's a good amount of content about the story and characters, as well as other miscellaneous information. The creator also consistently updates twice a week, which seems pretty good for a comic with great artwork and coloring, and frequently updates a blog about comics and other things.

I have two nitpicky complaints: Two navigation buttons at the top say "Last," and Chapter 3's title's spelled wrong in the archive page.

Writing: In my last review I wrote about clichés, and this comic's in a similar situation, although it's a bit different since it's a parody. Here's the thing -- superhero comics are obviously a cliché, but superhero parodies are also overdone enough to be a cliché. So, I'm underwhelmed with superheroes as a subject, and I suggest creators avoid doing superhero comics unless they're able to bring a tremendous amount of quality to the table. Chances are, though, that anyone that blatantly good's already at the pro level, so the idea of a superhero (or superhero parody) webcomic's inherently problematic.

That said, the writing's not that great. AnarchyMan's too goofy and Michelle's too pretentious, and their interaction seems forced and unnatural. The pacing's especially weak -- Chapter 3 starts off with four consecutive splash pages, then somehow zips through an elaborate chase scene in just two pages. The creator has a bad habit of making some pages overcrowded and confusing, taking what could've been a series of decent pages and mashing them together. This page is particularly a mess, taking the characters from hopping over a car to dangling off a rooftop in the span of two 100-by-100 mini-panels.

Art: The artwork's obviously very sharp, and the comic has its moments where it's composed really well, like in this page and this page. The splash pages also look terrific, although, as I stated in the writing section, this comic overuses them.

Some of the comic's other artistic merits are its outstanding coloring and its superb character designs. AnarchyMan in particular's quite distinct, looking very cartoonish because of his giant nose and awkward clothing. The creator's quite comfortable drawing a variety of strange characters, and puts a special amount of effort into drawing stylized women.

Overall: This creator obviously has some skill and experience with making comics, but the writing of Asylum Heights seems poorly thought-out. More planning would be beneficial, and I wonder if some of the comic's problems would be self-evident to the creator if he'd spent more time scripting the whole chapter out in advance. On the bright side, the comic has some notable illustrations, and at times can be rather fun to look at. The plot page suggests the creator has a fairly elaborate vision for his story, so hopefully he'll figure out at some point how to do a better job of presenting that vision.



  1. "We have control. We keep you safe. We are your hope."

    Who are you hiding behind/under the pronoun "we" ?

    We the People know nothing about "you".

    Therefore, who gave you with your dark colours permission to keep us the People 'safe' ?

    And what kind of 'hope' are you referring to ?

    If you are not safe enough to come forward and expose your identity you cannot even provide safety even to yourself.

    We, the People are waiting to see your guts.

  2. We see it as particularly important to ensure that our agents -- many of whom are inevitably at risk through their work for us -- are handled securely and that their identities remain protected. Were their names to be made public, it might place some of them and their families in personal danger. However, we assure you that we hold ourselves -- and each other -- to the highest standards.

    In regards to our mission, it is to produce timely analysis that provides insight and warning concerning the growing cyber threat. We are America's first line of defense, and our function is vital towards protecting and advancing our nation's interests. Our authority to collect information and conduct covert action is bestowed upon us by the U.S. Congress, which has passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, and the USA PATRIOT Act, among others.

    We have control. We keep you safe. We are your hope.