A Loonatic's Tale

URL: zibaricon.org/comics/loonaticstale.php
Creator/s: Rick Fortner, Rebecca Burg
Run: ?-current
Schedule: Two or three pages a month
Section: Ch. 5

It turns out this isn't a webcomic about these guys. I know, I'm disappointed too.

Website: This comic has a somewhat unusual setup, in that it shares a site with several other webcomics. It seems like a pretty good idea to me, and I expect a reader who likes A Loonatic's Tale would be curious to check out the other webcomics, and visa versa.

The site in general has an attractive layout and an impressive amount of bonus content. As for A Loonatic's Tale's extras, its cast page is extremely detailed and well-designed. The "Starting a Webcomic" guide and the video of the webcomic both look really cool, although I didn't have time to check them out. The comic also presents its archives in the form of a wall of 100-by-40 images, and I see this as an original and convenient way to browse the comic.

One thing I noticed is there's a lot of white space beneath the pages. This can easily be fixed by modifying the values in the #iFrameComicPage and/or #divBelowComicPage parts of the < style > section.

Writing: Everyone's a total wacko in this comic. The mental patient's a wacko, the doctors are wackos, the police are wackos, the king's a wacko, and everyone else I haven't mentioned's a wacko as well. The only one who's not obviously a wacko's the menial asylum guard, who doesn't do or say much. As such, the comic's very dystopian, portraying reality as a terrible place both inside and outside of the asylum.

Despite the dismal setting, A Loonatic's Tale manages to always be goofy, as is a fairly funny webcomic. Scenes like this, this, and this were pretty amusing to me, although I expect some readers will be turned off by the comic's dark, depraved humor. In any case, I think the creators display some skill in managing to portray disturbing subjects in a way that isn't merely using shock humor for cheap gags.

The characters are notably interesting as well, and many of the characters, including Flint, Tesla, Zinc, Van, and all the doctors, are rather exceptional, and I'd like to see more of them. The creators have clearly put a lot of effort into fleshing out the character concepts, and the dialogue feels like natural interaction between these eccentric personalities.

Lastly, I initially thought the Grease scene was superfluous, but I read it again a few times, and now I like it a lot. The bright and cheesy scene contrasts starkly with the rest of the chapter, and the sequence as a whole's a great way to elaborate on Dr. Chester's character (and the other doctors, to an extent) without allowing the story to get too pretentious.

Art: The character designs in this comic are outstanding, with every character looking distinct and bizarre. The characters' wild appearances add an extra level of amusement to the artwork, from Zinc's skeletal figure and crazy hair to Flint's crescent face and wings to the doctors' anachronistic clothing.

One of A Loonatics's Tale's signature stylistic elements is the silly-looking mouths that are regularly on a character's cheek or partly off their face. Normally this sort of thing comes up when an immature artist tries to emulate low-budget anime, but in this case, it's done deliberately and skillfully. The characters already look and act completely deranged, so this style seems to me like a further expression of how unhinged the characters and situations are.

The illustrations and coloring are very good in general, and the creators show a lot of variety in poses and perspectives. One thing the creators do well is that they never let the artwork get monotonous, and the parts inside the asylum almost look like a different comic than the parts outside the asylum. As such, the bland interior of the asylum never really gets to be a problem. I also particularly like some of the more noirish parts, like the fifth and seventh panels in this page, and these pages.

Lastly, the creators frequently play with lighting. These effects are always handled in a clever way, and the creators factor the lighting changes into the comic's composition.

Overall: The collaboration between these two creators is very promising so far. The comic has a unique place in the webcomics world by featuring the unusual subject of insane asylums, and it should appeal to pretty much anyone who's into dark humor. I expect the comic to get more popular as more readers get attached to the outlandish characters and twisted setting.


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