Webcomic: Castle Greyhawk

Castle Greyhawk Comic - The Party TravelsI have a great love for webcomics. As a kid, the first thing I can clearly remember wanting to be when I grew up was an artist and writer for comic books. I even produced a 9 issue run of my very own super hero, “The Black Skull,” as well as first issues for “The Hunter,” and “The Brain.” In retrospect, I kinda had a thing for “The [Simple Noun]” as a naming convention. Though, come to think of it, two days ago I posted about a character named “The Ghost of the Uprising,” so maybe I shouldn’t talk about that tendency in the past tense.

When I was a teenager and a lovely young woman (whom I was very interested in at the time) introduced me to Megatokyo, I was intrigued. Mind you, this is back when Megatokyo was still good, but that’s beside the point. I became somewhat obsessed with webcomics. There was even a time when, I am not kidding, I had over 200 webcomics which I checked every single day. It was almost a religious ritual for me. These days I’ve scaled down to a measly 28. Several of those I still read draw their inspiration from tabletop role playing games.

Several of the big ones are on that list, Order of the Stick, Oglaf (NSFW), and Goblins are all fantastic. (For one reason or another, I never really got interested in Guilded Age). But I also read a couple which simply do not get the recognition they ought to. At least not yet. Which, finally, brings us to the point of this post:

Castle Greyhawk; The Comic Strip.

Castle Greyhawk Comic Tenser Sets Fire to a GoblinThis homage to Gary Gygax’s iconic megadungeon, and the characters who dared to delved into it, has been a favorite of mine for a few months now. It’s a collaboration between artist Mike Bridges, and writer Scott Casper. Though it is still relatively new as of this writing, with only 15 pages since March, the team have already demonstrated that they can produce impressive work together. I look forward to seeing how they represent Castle Greyhawk itself. A dungeon which I, unfortunately, have never had the opportunity to explore myself.

Bridges’ work is reminiscent of the art in the old core books. The style supports both serious, and goofy moments, which is important for a comic like this. Greyhawk is a setting with the potential to be grim and unforgiving, but the game itself is not always a serious one, and the art reflects that. It is nicely detailed as well, particularly in the backgrounds. You can tell that Bridges enjoys creating the comic’s rooms and forests. And the giant centipedes which recently made an appearance looked legitimately scary for a 1st level monster! I’ve also been somewhat surprised by how much I like the gray scale coloring. Normally I much prefer colored comics, but this style supports the story’s retro tone. The black and white feels as though it’s continuing the legacy of Darlene Pekul’s marvelous DMG illustrations.

Castle Greyhawk Comics - First Sight of Yrag

Casper’s writing has a nice pacing as well. So far the story has moved at a leisurely stride, with the party forming and making their way towards the dungeon, taking some time to work on characterization along the way. But it never feels like the story is moving too slowly. The characters always have a goal and they’re always moving towards it. None of the three primary characters are really well developed yet, but we have enough information to get us interested in learning more. Tenser is a young inexperienced guy who’s down on his luck, and thinks adventuring might help him turn his life around. Cool, I want to hear more. Yrag is an old soldier with a lot of experience, and an altruistic spirit. He’s a little gruff, but willing to show a couple of honest kids how to survive their first adventure. I look forward to learning more about his past! My only real complaint in this area would be Ehlissa. So far the only motivation for her we’ve been shown is that she’s crushing on Tenser, which is kind of weak. I hope we get to see some deeper motivations from her as the comic moves forward.

Really you should just check the comic out for yourself. As I mentioned above: it’s only 15 pages as of this writing, which shouldn’t take you much time at all to read. I think you’ll enjoy it!

(Though, for some reason, they post their comics on blogger. What’s up with that nonsense?)

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5 thoughts on “Webcomic: Castle Greyhawk”

  1. I’d like to be the first to thank you for that glowing review! I’ve been doing Greyhawk themed comics for a long time now and this is certainly the highest praise I’ve ever receieved. When doing anything Greyhawk related online, it’s going to be a labor of love be it fiction, articles or comics. Posts like yours is what keeps my spirits high and makes me strive to do more.

    Lastly, as I see you’re well read when it comes to webcomics, I’m keen for some suggestions on how to host the comic other than blogger. I know it wasn’t near the best venue and I’m open to any ideas that would make it more navigable.

    1. I’m glad I could be a source of encouragement for you guys, you deserve it!

      Regarding a better venue for your comics, I’m afraid I’m much more familiar with reading webcomics than I am with hosting them. Though I might be able to point you towards some options.

      A lot of webcomics start out on Comic Genesis. It’s a free service which pays for itself by putting relatively unobtrusive advertisements on your site. It used to be “Keenspace,” and I seem to recall that there were a lot of complaints about their service leading up to the change to Comic Genesis. None the less, they furnish web comic creators with all the necessary tools. Archives, automated “back” and “forward” buttons, etc.

      Keenspot is the “pro” version of Comic Genesis. I believe it costs some money to get started there, but there are more & better tools available to you. There are still advertisements, but maybe you get a cut of the profits made from them? Again, I have a very long history of reading webcomics. Literally no experience at all with producing or hosting them. =P

      The best option I’m aware of, in terms of balance between quality & ease of use, is to get a self-hosted wordpress, and use the Webcomic plugin, which transforms wordpress into a webcomic hosting platform. You would need to spend some money on a host, but I think it’s worth the money.

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