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Web Comics: Looking For Group

Last time, I looked at Least I Could Do, the modern-setting satirical comic strip written by Ryan Sohmer and illustrated by Lar deSourza. Today, the focus is on the second web comic the two have collaborated upon, the aptly named Looking For Group.

Contrary to the title’s suggestion, the style of this comic is actually far less focused on videogames (or, rather, MMOs,) than such productions as WTF Comics. Rather, LFG is a fantasy story to the core, wrapped up in enough satire to leave you in fits of laughter. Of course, this is also a comic not recommended for young children, although in this case the cause for Adult Content is decidedly more in the Blood and Violence field than sexual content; sex is, actually, pretty much unmentioned in this narrative.

At this point, there are five main protagonists in the story, and so giving a detailed story on all of them would take up a fair amount of column space, given the fact that some of them are a little more ‘shades of gray’ than 8-Bit Theatre’s group. Still, it would be a travesty not to mention the character who all but defines the series, and without whom most of the humor would fall flat.

Richard the Warlock, (and, yes, there are plenty of Dick jokes throughout,) is essentially a murderous, rampaging, gleefully sadistic undead nightmare, and bizarrely enough he mostly fights on the side of the good guys, although initially his motives seem decidedly un-heroic. (“I. Like. To. Kill. Things. How is that not clear by now?”) He routinely solves problems via fireballs, though he is an impressive hand to hand fighter due to draining the soul of a monk once, (“It tasted like chocolate.”) Richard is likely one of the most powerful, if not the singularly most powerful, character in the comic, as he has only rarely been stopped, and in those cases only when greatly outnumbered by magical foes.

If you want a crash course in Richard’s behavior, read the first few comics, or better yet, look up Slaughter the World on YouTube. It’s a musical.

Part of the fourth-wall bending effects in this comic is the constant reference to pop culture or other literary creations through either direct quotes, or more subtle reference. To date, I can spot a Lord of the Rings spoof, two Star Wars references, a Wheel of Time reference, a reference to the ‘singing astronauts’ commercial for the Discovery Channel, a line from A Few Good Men, a few quotations from prior Least I Could Do comic strips, and even the integration of popular song lyrics.

“Richard in the sky, with diamonds… of fiery wrath.”

I’m not even going to mention Dick Roll’d.

As for the artwork, it’s nothing short of fantastic; Lar deSourza shows considerable talent for creating whatever creatures Sohmer’s writing calls for, from giant to elementals to trolls to gnomes… the composition of each page is well structured, and the backgrounds are drawn excellently, with battle scenes kept dynamic and, usually, bloody. deSourza shows considerable talent in designing and conceptualizing different demons, especially in a scene where Richard is held on trial by his fellow monsters and creatures for being too ‘good.’ (Naturally, it ends with Richard slaughtering the entire court.)

The narrative is meant to be a constant story arc divvied up into smaller ‘quests,’ usually involving the characters trying to solve the Problem of the Month, with each resolution further defining the world they reside in and moving the narrative as a whole along the proper path. One of the interesting things is that, like Least I Could Do, Looking For Group is available for on-demand purchase using their online store, which means that if you like the comic enough, you can have it in a well-assembled book, like any regular print comic.

Additionally, Blind Ferret Entertainment, the company to which both comics are affiliated, is working on a full-length feature film, written by Ryan Sohmer. This film is evidentally also going to have a few music numbers in it, and I personally cannot wait for its completion.

All in all, this is my Second Favorite Comic, and in time it may even become my First, if 8-Bit Theatre ever decides to slow down. While Least I Could Do and Looking For Group are fine reads separately, they’re probably the most enjoyable when they are read together; some jokes have been known to cross the proverbial border between the two comics, leaving some inside nudges that might go amiss to someone who only reads one of the available works.

I’ll leave you with Richard’s official introductory line, found in Looking For Group’s third page.

“I am Richard, Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead…and the mayor of a little village up the coast. Very scenic during springtime, you should visit.”

Please note, he eventually decides to add ‘Lord of the Dance’ to the list.

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