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On The Road Of Knives…
posted November 3, 2007
Shawn Cheng, Zak Smith, Nicholas Di Genova
Self-Published, Ongoing, dedicated web site
, 33 panels, 2006-present
I think part of the charm with the on-line comic On the Road of Knives...
is the clash between its super-intense drawing and the casual way in which it's being produced (it's been months since an update). Reading it is sort of like sitting between the artists at some kind of diner and peering over their shoulders to take in their "exquisite corpse"-like game. Monsters and things that fight monsters are introduced, killed, reborn and so on. The appeal here is the design work, the way that many of the monsters resemble blobs of flesh wrapped up in a cloth sheet or snake-like coils bearing teeth, and the herky-jerky humor of the combat, often seen through a very depiction of any one panel's attending menagerie. It's not a very deep story -- it's barely a story yet, and I'm not holding out for some great flowering here, if the artists ever return to it -- and both the shifts in tone and dominant style might be unpleasant to the eye before the intricacies sink in and start to communicate on their own. If nothing else, it's a nice springboard for discussion on how single panels can build a narrative and how much style and flow can be altered without losing a narrative thrust. I want more loosely conceived projects on the Internet like this one, not fewer.