The Webcomics Weekly is back in your life. This week, we’re taking a look at the delicious mile-per-minute “Gato & Brush” gag strip that’s just kinda cool. As well as the continuing cover of “Lavender Jack” and “Lore Olympus”.
Cat and Brush
‘E-Meow-Tions’ – ‘Not Yet’
By Studio Nostos
Reviewed by Elias Rosner
I love how, thanks to the internet, there’s an animated fantasy subgenre that’s basically funny animal comics. Each new take fills a different gap, iterating over jokes at a blistering pace. We’ve covered several before, but for now we’ll take a look at “Gato & Brush” by Studio Nostros. There’s not much more to the premise than “here’s a cat with a talking brush/wand”. No deep tradition. No laborious assembly. Well, there’s a little drama in the first chapter, but it’s just the question, “What do you think your cat is doing when you’re not around?” “Gato & Brush” is clearly more of a vehicle for having fun with their cat protag in imaginative fantasy situations, though my favorite chapter is the least tied to any traditional fantasy setup.
“E-meow-tions” is an ADORABLE chapter, featuring different cat emotions as personified as, well, cats. There is hunger and anger. There are Zoomies and Dreads. And then there’s the comic book punchline, which I won’t spoil here, but was brilliant and completely caught me off guard. Hats off to Studio Nostos for using the expectations of this kind of short single-panel webcomics to do just that. The jokes in all the chapters don’t work perfectly, like there’s a bit too much puns in “Ent-itled”, but that’s a matter of personal taste and I’ve always enjoyed them all.
I think it has a lot to do with Studio Nostros cartoons. It’s clean and expressive, with a versatility that keeps everything from having plastic sameness. It also allows for the occasional serious soundtrack, like “Not Just Yet,” which uses the visual language of “Dark Souls” to create a fairly moving piece about defeat and failure in a harsh and brutal world.
It’s not long and it’s not deep in a new way, but it illustrates the strengths of the creative team and conveys its message well. It’s also a fantastic fusion of the two aesthetics, so the comic looks darker and darker without making a clean break in style. Smoky backgrounds and chosen sickly greens and fiery oranges draw the oppressive atmosphere while the lighting emphasizes its beauty despite the desolation and struggle. For those looking for a low-commitment read with heart and humor, give “Gato & Brush” a shot. You might find this is perfect for you. (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
By Dan Schkade (writing and art), Jenn Manley Lee (color)
Reviewed by Michael Mazzzacane
The second act of the third season of “Lavender Jack” comes to a shocking and violent conclusion. I have to admit, I guessed who was under the naked-Jack mask a few panels before the actual reveal. This realization, however, hasn’t changed the skill’s delight in the revelation that non-Lord Hawthorne is only most dead. Schkade’s ever-solid disposition and drawing skills shine through in these strips as they play the chatter of Mimley and everyone around him against the mannequin emptiness of nude-Jack. While Mimley’s costume advice is on point, although I love those flap buttons, the metal mask is key to separating these characters. It prevents Hawthorne-Jack from emitting emotions in the normal way, Schkade instead returns that unshakable iron mask and the hint of a smile to the reader. It’s Michael Meyers-esque, but closer to the Rob Zombie iteration of the character with the blunt violence than the John Carpenter iteration of the form.
While much of the finale revolves around a battle of the jacks, Schkade opens the tape with a character we haven’t seen much of: Marguerite. She was healed and hit with a surge of energy as she tends to the not-so-comatose Ma. It’s not much, but it opens up Schkade to show a different perspective on, as Mimley said at the end of the act, “the League”, and Ducky’s important role within it. .
There’s a funny moment at the end of the act, Johnny Summer has just shot Hawthorne-Jack only to find they’re missing. With the danger Summer has one thing on her mind, will she see Mimley again now that he’s back to work so to speak. It’s a sweet moment with an equally sweet response, they’re in the league now, so there’s no getting away from it.
Structuring this season in this way continues to be a net positive in terms of individual arcs. While the previous season certainly had its arcs, this one just paints a much clearer picture of where the player is band by band and on a seasonal basis.
Updates on Sundays
By Rachel Smith
Reviewed by Mel Lake
My opening sentence from two weeks ago pretty much still applies in this batch of “Lore Olympus” episodes. There’s more Underworld Corp workplace drama, more romance drama, tabloid drama, and an identity crisis for our pink protagonist, Persephone. We left Persephone for the last time on her first day on the job as a Hades intern and in the midst of an awkward encounter with Hades and Minthe, who have just decided to formalize their relationship.
After giving Persephone the cold shoulder, Hades is manipulated into taking her on a tour of the Underworld by Hecate. The two reconcile and step into the bridge between the mortal realm and the underworld as Persephone prepares for her new job as “Shadow Coordinator”. The world of Olympus and the Underworld in “Lore Olympus” never made much sense to me, but the artwork is so unique and charming that it rarely seems to matter. Even here, when it’s hard to tell whether Hades is showing Persephone a city, an office building, or an imaginary kingdom, it’s hard to complain about not knowing how it all works. We finally see Styx, whose hair forms the famous river that mortals must cross when they die, and Charon, the ferryman of the Underworld. While visiting recently dead mortals, Persephone gets another hint that she might be a fertility goddess, which she vehemently denies. This seems like a detail that will be important later, but for now it’s just something to file.
Meanwhile, Minthe and Thanatos are plotting behind Persephone’s back and Hera has had a vision of Persephone being assaulted by Apollo. His conversation with Zeus about Apollo’s reputation being more important than Persephone’s assault is depressingly relevant to the real world. And on a less depressing but no less real note, Thanatos and Minthe’s catty task force text is spot on. Workplace sluts will be workplace sluts.
As we have more characters to follow and Persephone’s relationship with Hades becomes more than a series of random encounters, the tangled plot web becomes even more tangled. This made it difficult to know where to stop the playback, as the story just beat without really reaching the climax. Since it’s a long story, that’s to be expected, but so far it’s been easier to see the ebbs and flows of the plot arcs and characters. Another minor complaint I had this time around was with the faces of the characters themselves, which seem to be drawn differently even from panel to panel. Even the faces of the main characters have appeared in some of the panels here, which is understandable given the amount of art Smythe regularly produces, but it baffled me a bit this week.