By Jason Karlson
Once again we have two more fantastic, recently launched webcomics to discuss.
Inhibit by Eve G
Picture the brochure for Charles Xavier's safe haven for mutants. You might be fearing for your life, but look what's on offer. Holographic training rooms, alien technology, a blackbird jet under the basketball court and, of course, the frequent chance to travel into space. Now picture a school for gifted youngsters on a shoestring English school budget. In Eve G's Inhibit the plush mansion is replaced by grey, crumbling utilitarian government buildings. It's the X-men with a downtrodden English attitude, overworked and underfunded.
Launched in December, Inhibit features the young trainees of the Urquhart Clinic a training and research facility as a young Victor Allen is dropped off at the center, being given 'inhibitors' to dampen his, as yet, unrevealed powers. As well as school life, Inhibit also introduces trained adult members of a task force as they begin investigating the scene of an arson attack. In its first two chapters alone, Eve has managed to create a truly diverse cast in terms of race, gender and looks. One of the comics most upbeat and charming characters has a prosthetic leg which is revealed subtly and without drama in a montage detailing the students' morning routines. While focusing on a few central characters there are others in the background and the cast page that I look forward to seeing.
Eve's art style is both playful and cartoony, her faces cute and expressive already showing a steady progression in technique. Having seen examples of her dynamic and sprightly artwork that isn't inhibited (sorry) by being produced on a very tight deadline, I'm really excited to see where the comic goes once she hits her stride and gets more into the routine of producing it on a weekly basis.
Song of the Outcasts by Van Weasel
Song of the Outcasts is a comic that stood out to me for both its treatment of anthropomorphism as well as its unique art style. Van Weasel presents a world in which small portions of anthropomorphic citizens live among regular humans, referred to as 'altered'. Once fashionable but now outlawed and shunned, it shows them eking out a meager living on the fringes of society, presenting a tale of the rash decisions of youth and what happens when the music stops and party ends.
The work of American artist Van Weasel, the comic presents a post-humanist science fiction story through the eyes of Solomon, a young man born altered as he navigates life and with weighty themes of persecution, belonging and alienation. I was reminded of Robert Crumb's work in the fluid and often unapologetically grotesque depictions of the characters. Like plasticine models, rendered in comic form, presented wrinkles and all. The frank and explicit sexual scenes (no, wait! come back!) might not be for everyone but fit with the artwork, giving the whole comic the whole 70's underground comix vibe.
The artist also recently completed the hilarious high concept "Leather High". It's about as family friendly and not safe for work as you'd expect a comic called "Leather High" and if you have to ask what it is, it's probably not for you. Consider this a fair warning that the Tumblr has adult artwork mixed in and is very NSFW.
We know only two things for certain of Jason Karlson; that he was born on the wagon of a traveling show to Latverian parents, and that tales of his origins are wholly fictional. His writing style is pithy and insightful, with hints of oak and red berry, finished with earthy tones and somber notes. If he were to describe himself in a single word it would likely be self-deprecating. He occasionally tweets over at @marfedfolf and rambles on at marfedblog.wordpress.com.