Webcomic Spotlight showcases some of today’s best comics that are predominantly, or entirely, published on the internet.
WARNING: I want to mention that today’s comic is a little different. This comic was originally published online, for quite some time, and has since been picked up by a publisher and moved to print. I’ve included it here because I understand that creators need to pay bills and often want to eat. If that means moving to print, fantastic. This was, and still is, a webcomic, regardless if the newest content is now in print. I felt the need to be upfront because I didn’t want anyone to feel tricked.
As a kid, I’d watch cartoons like Bugs Bunny, or Duck Tales, and agonize over the fact that the food looked so good. That might sound ridiculous, it is cartoon food, but I don’t care. To this day I still want to eat a cartoon turkey leg, or chocolate cake. Oh my gosh Disney can animate a mean chocolate cake. I’m not shy or even embarrassed by this obsession either. I know others want to devour some animated food, you know who you are. Cartoons just make certain food look amazing, so don’t judge me. Now, with that idea in mind, allow me to introduce you to Rutabaga: Adventure Chef, by Eric Colossal.
The entire premise of this comic, I believe, is to make me want food I can never have. I further my claim by pointing out that there are actual recipes to be found in this comic. Recipes for Perfect Pep Potion, Forager’s Bundle, King’s Head Squash Soup, and an Adventurer’s Snack-Sack to name a few.
But can I have any of these things? No! Why? Because the ingredients aren’t always found within our realm of existence. I’ve been to Albertsons, and never have I seen Honey Spice Root, Blood Berries, or King’s Head Squash, which is the main ingredient in King’s Head Squash Soup, so yeah it’s kind of important.
To further my claim that this comic was created to make me drool over over food I can’t actually shove into my mouth hole, Eric, much like Disney, manages to draw food that has me licking my computer monitor. Seriously, you can’t draw something as delicious looking as, Stuffed Korkanis Spinwheels with Sliced Pyka’s Palm, and not expect me to lick my screen in the hopes that it’ll taste like something other than plastic and prior lick marks.
Now, I’d be remiss if I only talked about how this comic tortures me. Surrounding the pages of these delicacies, are other pages of fantastic artwork, and wonderful storytelling. The comic is set in a fantasy world full of barbarians, dragons, and talking spiders. However, since the premise of this comic is based on Rutabaga, who is in fact an Adventure Chef, what you find is the typical done not-so-typically, which for those of you following this blog, is important to me.
By taking elements from the fantasy genre and weaving them around a fantasy chef, Colossal creates something completely original using tools that’ve been around for ages. In fact, this story is so good, once I discovered it some two or three years ago I binged the archive, then waited “patiently” for updates like an addict.
As for Eric Colossal’s art style, allow me to say that I found it complicatedly simple. Please don’t read into that, I’m most certainly not calling it amateur’ish, quite the opposite in fact. Eric’s style is simply not hyper-realistic, but it is most definitely professional and intentional. Rutabaga is meant to be fun, lighthearted, possibly even family friendly, and the art reflects that type of story. I say, possibly family friendly, only because I’ve never heard Eric say that specifically, but in my opinion it’s perfect for kids.
If I’m not mistaken, I randomly found this comic one day, and ended up staying with it for its entire online run. I was more than a little thrilled when, after a rather long quiet period, it was announced that Rutabaga was going into print, and full color at that. I pre-ordered Book 1, and have since done the same for Book 2. The story and art are just too wonderful to pass up, and the originality of a fantasy chef comic sealed the deal for me. You can buy Rutabaga Book 1 on Amazon, but if that isn’t your thing, then at least give the free Chapters online a try, it’s more than worth the read in my opinion.
You can read the tales of Rutabaga Adventure Chef HERE