Webcomics: It Came from Patreon
Greetings from Patreon! Land of trickle-funding and micropayments, where full digital art spreads bring in $3 and pony videos $550…if you have a nice British accent.
Joking aside, Patreon is proving to be a go-to source for content providers, a low-key and low-pressure fundraising tool for artists, who as a category seem to err on the side of low key and low pressure–fundraising without stress (and, frequently, without any sort of campaign, but let’s not go there just now.) It’s a good home for webcomics in particular, where ongoing plots and slow-growing fan bases can turn into a gentle stream of pennies. Here’s a few recent gems.
Icarus’s “Inhuman” is an elegant sci-fi world, a slow-building story in the distant future, with expressive humans and a wide range of aliens (the four-legged polar bear taur-esque Nikitak may be some sort of Progenitor experiment in weaponized cute). It’s been running for over a decade now, rolling out a tale of exploration and identity against the backdrop of a powerful religious state spreading its tendrils across the planets. It’s a mature and thoughtful web series, and while it’s thick with damnably adorable critters, Inhuman is, at heart, a story of what it means to be human.
On the other end of the “whimsical sci-fi romp” continuum, Anthronauts, a weeklyish webcomic, a bit sci-fi and a bit space-fantasy running a bit over a year, is a silly, Anime-inspired romp through furryspace, I’m still working my way through the series, but we’ve come across a few characters, somewhat “stock” but well-used–the bishonen unicorn captain (or space knight?), bookish and dedicated scientist. Unfortunately flipping through the comic is a bit of a trick, the web interface is just a bit buggy, but NixieSeal’s world is cheerfully perverse.
Page one: “Father, you look unwell. As much as I enjoy slicing your limbs off, I’m starting to worry about your health.” It gets weirder from there.
Interesting, I thought “Poppy” was a down-to-earth story about a swamp possum trying to survive the challenges of being a single mom and living, well, in a swamp. As it turns out, there’s a little bit of sci-fi in this one too, since Poppy’s on another planet, “Flora,” which is a bit of a hellhole (though the Fenneclands there sound supercute.) There’s touches of magic and fantasy in the series, but it’s still, at heart, a mom and her daughter against the world. Yeah, it’s a world with perverse and dotty cat-nuns and such. I do like the way the fantastic elements take a back seat to character development and loving mayhem. They’re there, lurking in the background–and Poppy herself seems to be the only nonmagical character in the series, with a certain increased mortality because of it. She’s an outsider, a charming brute in a somewhat fussier world, maybe a little more at home wrestling an alligator than dealing with tea and fine dresses, but Poppy’s a winning character throughout.