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Saved by the Bell of Evil: The New Generation

(From Sluggy Freelance. Click on the thumbnail for full sized tasty tasty cats!)

It might be because of the "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain" strips, but the classic demons from the DoP have... well, grown up. Reakk, Mosp, Isp and Osp, and the rest are a bit more seasoned, a bit more sane than they used to be. I personally enjoy the thought of them ruling over a world of Sheep, and the thought that Canada's the country that's defying them just warms my Northern Maine heart.

But the Dimension of Pain has always been fun. Madcap fun, full of innocence blended with horror in a way that just makes me giggle. That's right. Giggle! And Abrahms has pulled off a very difficult trick in keeping that element alive: he's introduced new characters with all the qualities of the old ones, and he's managed to keep them from sucking.

Tryka and Sweral are great, "old school" Dimension of Pain characters. I like them, I care about them, and they don't feel like interlopers just because they've been added in. They honestly feel like the fuckups among a culture of screwups, but they're still chipper, damn it!

I don't know if they'll end up on McDonald's plate at the end of this plotline (actually, I kind of suspect McDonald's going to be sticking with the Dimension of Grief after this -- I think we're seeing the end of the Dimension of Pain in these strips), but I honestly wouldn't mind seeing Tryka and Sweral accidentally end up on Earth with Torg and become secondary cast members. Of course, if I saw a lot more of the pair, I might think differently.

Also, Tryka's recurring excuse for killing and devouring the other demons' pets makes me laugh. Laugh real laughter. Out of my head.


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For whatever reason, I never liked the DoP Saturdays much, and this has translated into the That Which Redeems series (which has been going since May!), and so Sluggy has become a "Why do I read this webcomic, again?" read for me, loaded up when it updates and glanced at, but not really understood.

I went back and read this week's strips and couldn't remember which alternate reality this was, or why I should care about demons trying to invade Canada. Frankly, after Abrams rounded up Bun Bun's accumulation of holidays at the end of last year, I was looking forward to some decent plotlines free from the encumberances of the past, which the strip has struggled with for the past few years. But all we've had is a apparently hilarious takeoff of a bunch of Vampire LARPers, or so I'm reliably informed by people who like Vampire RPGing, since I didn't find it that funny, a Queer Eye takeoff and some other stuff, then 4 months of alternate realities.

Which isn't to say alternate realities are a bad thing, since Sluggy has had some quite good ones in the past. But they've been fantasy or SF settings rather than a close analogue where everybody is nice, which was a good one-off joke, but is a poor basis for a real storyline.

Further, I don't see this storyline as taking the universe anywhere, except perhaps permanently introducing more DoP intro the strip, which I don't see as a good thing (again, a recurring joke turned into a poor ongoing plotline). We know Abrams is capable of better (Fire and Rain), why can't he go and explore new territory rather than retreading the same ideas again. If he's run out of ideas, that's ok, he should just end it - 7 years is pretty damn good, no need to run it into the ground.

yay, Nothern Maine

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