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14 August, 2008

Webcomic of the day

Read the multiple-award-winning Platinum Grit.  At home, though – the latest episode is arguably NSFW.

I was initial attracted by the wonderful, expressive artwork (Trudy Cooper is guest artist at Wapsi Square today), but the characterisation and magic realist story, initially co-written by Danny Murphy, are excellent too.

The comic (which is indeed largely comedic) is published in, to date, eighteen episodes, each of ~200 pages. The first sixteen are presented online in slow-loading Shockwave (you may need to download the player), whilst the remaining two are in Flash. The Shockwaved episodes are also available in print; I'm very tempted.
I'd strongly recommend reading them in order; though there are distinct threads they're not really self-contained, and one can't join the narrative just anywhere.

That single narrative is something of a problem, as the comic's moreishness far exceeds its update schedule. Episode one was published in 1994 and according to the site's forum episode 19 has been imminent for at least a year (and in 1997/8, Cooper envisaged a total of thirty episodes...). Conversely, that's something of an advantage, too, as there's nothing rushed about the artwork.

Sorry – having been at my desk and concentrating since 06:30, I'm extraordinarily tired and hence inarticulate today, so can't properly expand on why I appreciate the sexy, witty and occasionally surreal 'Platinum Grit'. I'll leave it to Cooper herself, in that 1997/8 interview:

PG is a kind of jigsaw puzzle. We want the reader to work it out, and every issue holds clues both visual and verbal. We just don't do the standard comicbook 'technique' of verbal plot expositions with a loudhailer and spotlight. With PG you have to pay attention. Readers who burn through it for a laugh and a perve at Nils' tits WILL get lost. Comics are a notoriously lazy medium, and most are at a child's level. Investing thought isn't a daunting thing, as good literature and non-commercial film leave much for the audience to think about.

[Update 20/08/08: Ha! In closing comments on June's posts as an anti-sp*m measure, I see that Sal recommended 'Platinum Grit' to me weeks ago, but I neglected to follow-up the reference!]

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