Webcomic Spotlight showcases some of today’s best comics that are predominantly, or entirely, published on the internet.
As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, I love games, and I’m not talking about any certain type of game. I love all games: board games, puzzle games, video games, chess, checkers, it doesn’t matter, I just enjoy games. That’s just who I am. If you’re wondering why I’m blathering on about video games on a comic blog, don’t worry, there’s a point. Sometimes, when I’m browsing through comics—my first and truest love—I find one that gives me an almost gaming experience. As though the comic itself is a panel by panel adventure, and we the readers are participating alongside somehow. It’s a great comic reading experience and Perils Ahead by Jeremy Vinar accomplishes this very thing for me. Every ounce of excitement and adventure one has while trouncing through a dungeon in search of treasure can be found…and of course the most important aspect of dungeon diving…trying to not die.
After reading up on the creator I learned that Vinar was an artist within the gaming industry before he decided to create Perils Ahead. I have no doubt that the influences and experience within that industry lent itself to him creatively as he was formulating this spectacular comic. Yet, I don’t want anyone to misunderstand, this comic isn’t based on a video game (at least not that I can tell). Nor am I saying you need gaming experience in order to enjoy this fantastic comic. In fact, I believe quite the opposite. I think most people who read this comic may suddenly find themselves with a deep desire to jump into a fantasy game with their own characters.
With that said, I do want to make one thing very clear, beyond the joy-joy gaming feelings this comic gives me, there’s an extremely compelling story to be found here. Each of the characters are wonderful and add a new depth to the world in which Perils Ahead is being told. Also, behind each of those characters is a storyline that’s consistently delivering an impactful experience each and every update, and a plot that I’ve found absolutely entertaining.
What I’ve found most intriguing about this comic thus far is how the mixture of art and story blend together. There’s a massive connection in comic storytelling between art style, writing style, and the story being told. I can think of dozens of extremely talented artists and writers that couldn’t do this comic justice. What brigs this comic to full life is both the art and writing working cohesively together to drive this lighthearted, fun, adventurous comic home. Vinar’s art style is wonderful, expressive, and his paneling and camera angles really deliver on the visual aspects of this story.
As for the writing, I’ve found it to be clever and interesting while also delivering on certain aspects of fantasy that I want to see in a story like this. Navigating fantasy can be one of the most difficult and arduous tasks because of how saturated the genre is with certain stereotypes. Yet, because it is fantasy, a storyteller must learn what aspects of that over-saturated genre he/she wants to include, and then must do so with care and precision. It’s a tightrope walk for any writer for sure, and one that Jeremy Vinar walks, and does so with excellency. This story is far from typical, with art that pulls the reader into the world, while giving anyone who enjoys fantasy everything they need to feel at home and comfortable. As I read this I found myself with a desire to partake in this adventure, that’s how wonderfully Vinar blends the visualization with story and emotion.
As I reached the most up-to-date page, I found myself clicking back through prior pages, just to keep that adventurous feeling for a little bit longer. With all of that said, one of the most clever aspects of this comic is the character through which we follow this story: Neil. I’ll be honest here, I don’t know what Neil is, maybe a fat goblin, or a tiny troll…I don’t know. What I do know is that Neil is one of the most endearing “monsters” I’ve come across in comics. Heck, the page where we learn why his name is Neil is both hilarious and sad…and as I type that I’m sitting here chuckling because of how he gets his name. Anyway, poor, sad Neil just wants to please everyone, upset no one, and go about his business as the dungeon trap setter. Unfortunately, there’s some serious adventuring going on and Neil is more than a little swept up in it. That’s what happens when you’re a true-to-heart people pleaser.
Neil’s boss, a terrifying ethereal wolf with some real leadership problems (he’s a jerk) isn’t having any of Neil’s nonsense. He suspects Neil is up to something, but Neil is trying his best to hide the fact that he’s now, somehow, helping these adventurers. It is this very tension, along with all the perils of adventuring through a dungeon, that create a wonderful and enjoyable reading experience. All in all this comic is extremely fun to read, and I’ve more than enjoyed it with each and every update. Considering it’s been running for almost a year, and with nearly fifty pages set in the archive there’s more than enough to digest and find yourself absorbed into the world Vinar has created. Also, don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel the pressing need to throw on some Renaissance clothing to go on an adventure…what? The supermarket is an adventure….don’t judge me.
You can check Perils Ahead out HERE