Webcomic Spotlight showcases some of today’s best comics that are predominantly, or entirely, published on the internet.
One of the greatest, if not the absolute greatest, strengths of webcomics has to be their ability to explore both style and format. With technology and imagination being the only two real limitations, what a comic can be is truly up to the creator. While some comics are pushing the boundaries of format in amazing ways, Dresden Codak takes the genre of science fiction and flips it by rearranging and redefining it for his own purposes in Dark Science.
Now, science fiction is a passion of mine, and one that I’m a sucker over. If there’s an element of sci-fi in a comic I’ll almost always give it a chance, then a second chance, probably a third, then maybe a fourth. I love science fiction. However, Dark Science didn’t need all those chances, I was fully committed before I even understood what was happening. Dresden’s use of key elements found in sci-fi, such as technology and robotics, are clever and created the perfect tone and atmosphere to grab me by my sci-fi handles and dance me around the room. Where I would’ve expected flying vehicles or teleportation, suddenly I’m taking a very cool train ride from one city to the next. Also, if you don’t think train rides are awesome, Hogwarts Express would like to have a word with you.
Then, just when I felt like I had this comic figured out, magic gets thrown in the mix. Someone transforms into a shadow casting robot whale, and don’t ask about the guy with a camera head. By this point I found myself chain clicking through the archives, attempting to devour all of it, when low and behold Dresden flips the table on me. What I thought was a developing story about a girl coming to grips with an estranged workaholic father, then becomes a immersive and compelling mystery story.
Personally, I love when storytellers weave in aspects of other genres unexpectedly. It’s a great way to keep readers on their toes, never knowing exactly what to expect. When done well, and Dark Science is done very well, this mixture of genres is so compelling I often find myself wondering why it’s not done more in mainstream comics. What’s even more compelling than simply mixing genres, is when they’re blended together in order to deliver social commentary, which Dark Science also does.
Society and how it affects people, blind obedience of laws and regulations, and even the weight people put on themselves through personal expectations, are all touched upon. The most impressive part, Dark Science manages to combine all of these elements like the ingredients of a well prepared meal. Never once does this story ever feel bloated, each element has its place, enhancing the other flavors Dresden has included in this world.
As for the star of the story, I found Kimiko “Kim” Ross delightful and entertaining to watch. Her general disposition against all things authority, and her hatred of doing things, “the way they’ve always been done,” kept her interesting page after page. Then we find out Kim has the surprising ability to see into alternate realities, and it becomes very clear any lingering expectations should be thrown away.
I found Dark Science to be such a pleasant and enjoyable read, with so many elements of my geekery to flip out over (sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, magic, cyborgs, and a guy with a camera head), that resistance, for me, was futile. Then of course, I’ll add in that Dresden Codak (aka Aaron Diaz) is an immensely talented artist and storyteller, and I’m really left with no other option than to tell everyone, “Read. This. Comic.”
The only downside, and I mention this because I know it’s important to some people, is that Dark Science updates once, maybe twice, a month. I don’t mind, and often don’t notice because my daily webcomic reading list is huge, like massively huge, but I understand the importance a more regular update schedule. I will say that Dark Science has nearly sixty pages ready for consumption now, just to entice more people to join me in my obsession, and to spread the love, I feel, this comic deserves.
You can read Dark Science HERE.