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PvP: The Dork Ages

July 8, 2009

I’m starting up a little series that will last about three graphic novels, five if I decide to include a couple of “sequels.”

I was going through my trades for the my move a couple of weeks ago and found the various collections that I own of web comics that were put to print. I have books from PvP Online, Penny Arcade, and Megatokyo. All three come from web comics that I’ve reviewed before.

I won’t be reviewing the books, well, sort of not reviewing them. Mostly this is because, in general, the books are collections of strips that I’ve already read. Sometimes they do put in extra art or strips that they never ran online but it’s nothing big enough that makes it worth reviewing in my traditional sense. Instead, I’ll be looking at how they use their collections because each is different.

PvP: The Dork Ages

TDA collects issues one through six as published by Scott Kurtz. Before buying this trade I never knew that Kurtz had actually been collecting his strips in issue format through Image comics for a while. There are a couple of other collections, none of which I have but if one wanted to they could find the single issues.

Most of the issues in this book are less than comic book length at about 16 pages. Issue 4 the Christmas Special is about 29 pages long, all of these give or take a couple of pages. Issue 1 is the shortest at about seven pages.

Unlike most collections which hold every strip from a certain year(s) or chapters in some cases Kurtz’s issues don’t really follow this pattern. Each issue is a self-contained story with each page coming from the day he posted them.

Issue 1: Brent and Francis goof-off for the day, get caught.

Issue 2: Some DnD-esque game is played involving Super Heroes, the story revolves around what happens in the game.

Issue 3: The characters are re-hashed as anime characters…strangeness ensues.

Issue 4: Christmas Issue, shenanigans, morality, cold hearts become warm, etc. etc.

Issue 5: The Comix, Matrix parody.

Issue 6: Skull tries to get Jade and Brent back together.

The first five issues work. They’re self-contained stories, or one-offs in the case of the goof-off. Little breaks from the daily jokes that were normally done on the website. Issue 6 is the strangest one as far as story goes. If you haven’t read all the archives online you miss out on a lot of the references between the various characters. The whole thing comes off as a single episode in a prime time sitcom. You don’t need the back story but it kind of helps.

I like and don’t like what Kurtz has done here. Collecting various story arcs together in issue form like he’s done is a great idea. You lose the filler and can get through the whole story without waiting for the next update. Most of the stories are short enough for one issue anyway. It makes for some good afternoon reading, or if you’re a toilet reader a quick bathroom read.

The problem that I have is that from what I’ve seen he doesn’t have many collections or issues of just his one-offs. It’s all story based. Sure it’s great that I can read various arcs that’s cool. However, I’d also like to read some of the dailies as well. Losing the filler kind of sucks. I like looking at the sketches or what-have-you that web comic artists through up when they’re feeling lazy. Sometimes it’s cool just to see their art without a comic format.

Also, unless you’ve extensively perused the archives you can’t really tell when the strips came from. That one’s personal to me but I think others would agree. With most web comic collections it’s #1 through #something. You know where you’re at. The stories that Kurtz has in his issues could come from anyway. True, they are self-contained story arcs but still. My thing…you don’t have to agree here.

Recently Kurtz did release a book called Awesomology which is supposed to collect 600 strips from 1998 (the year PvP began) to 2005. From a fan perspective it is pretty awesome, though the $85.00 price seem a little steep to me, it is 600 strips though…hrmm.

In fact, to be honest I would recommend picking up Awesomology over the issue collections. He has five other books that have five or six issues in them and they each run about 13 dollars (about 65 all told). I dunno, doesn’t seem worth the price.

For those of you who don’t like books or would rather use the web comic for what it is, free, there are always the archives.

The point of this is though, Kurtz has both. He has some books with collected story arcs and a new giant collection with every strip in the order they came out (at least I assume it is). Seems kind of gougey (not a word I know but if it were a word, e or no e?) to me but man’s gotta make money.

Not my favorite set up but it works. I mean, I do still read his comics.

On Friday I might do an animation, I’m kind of missing the Friday Animations. If not expect a look at the first Penny Arcade collection.  And hopefully I won’t be posting that one 15 minutes before it becomes the next day.

Scyo.

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