Mysterious, stealthy, deadly. Legendary warriors who strike from the shadow, armed with an aura of mystique and a dark reputation, along with their exotic weapons. Possibly reptilian in origin, and trained by a rodent master.
As you may have guessed, this Webcomics Wednesday is about Ninja, the ancient Japanese master of stealth, espionage and assassination. For many of us, our first exposure to the ninja were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, whose main characters’ hijinks led many of us to our love of a somewhat skewed perception of what ninja are, as well as a heightened appetite for pizza.
This rather colorful and not entirely accurate presentation of ninja seems to have led to the rather cavalier way they are presented in media, and webcomics are no exception. While all of this week’s selections are good in their own right and employ ninja elements in their own way, some of them employ the theme of the ninja without truly paying homage to the true nature of the ninja: silent, serious, and very deadly.
That said, it is a testament to the appeal of the ninja that they are able to be portrayed in so many different themes, and without fail, add a sure dose of awesome.
If you’re new to this, here’s the scoop: Each Wednesday we will showcase five indie web comics. This will give you an opportunity to support indie artists and the amazing work they do.
Without further ado, this week’s selection! Each one is highlighted here (in no particular order) on the merits of its ART, STORY and APPEAL.
Comic: 70 Seas
Story and Art: Nick Daniel
In their own words: Well into the second Age of Exploration and Warfare the Church is pushing the boundaries of nature and decency, the Vikings have resorted to legitimate commerce, and thanks to a tiny revolution in a country no one has ever heard of it is now possible to hire the services of something called a ‘ninja’.
Fortunately for navigator Serra, child fugitive Nikol, and divine prophet Lewk you don’t need to know about any of that to be a privateer. You just need to know that port is heading northeast, the war is scheduled for Tuesday, and 43% of all (reported) profits are reserved for the coffers of the Republican Empire of Fra.
Someone is probably going to get killed but whoever survives is going to hit it BIG!*
In our words: Pirates, a ninjas, and piles of adventure. Starting with the proven formula of a trio of mismatched characters thrown together under unlikely circumstances, 70 Seas is an extensive webcomic with lots of character, color and action for those who dare seek it out.
Comic: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
Story and Art: Christopher Hastings
In their own words: In a world where a doctor can also be a ninja, you can expect some things. Little boys with large moustaches, giant lumberjacks, raptor riding banditos, Dracula’s moon base… If you like action mixed with comedy and doctors mixed with ninjas, Dr. McNinja is a comic you’ll most likely enjoy.
In our words: Over the top, cheeky, ridiculous in a good way, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is a guilty pleasure that anyone with a high tolerance for slapstick and violence can enjoy.
Comic: White Ninja Comics
Story and Art: Scott Bevan and Kent Earle
In their own words: White Ninja Comics are not for the weak of mind. They are a brilliant satirical commentary on controversial worldly issues.
They can be enjoyed on many levels. Scholars, Philosophers, and the like, who possess the intellect to analyze and break down the comics to their hidden, and often devious, roots, will enjoy White Ninja to its fullest degree. Others, like you and I, however, can still enjoy the comics for their light-hearted surface humour and funny drawings.
In our words: A webcomic where the only c0nstant is the White Ninja, an often heartless and sociopathic bastard, who can wreak havoc through violence or social insensitivity, and all for the entertainment of the reader. While the art is simplistic, it is intentional, and its apparent crudeness works well to showcase the style of humor employed.
Story and Art: Tiago Machado, Ricardo Pimenta and Tiago Conceição
In their own words: See here.
In our words: Ninja insects? The ninjafication of more species continues with this work by a trio of Portoguese teens. Admittedly, the amount of ninja in this webcomic is a bit superficial. Still, as a quick read given the limited amount of strips in 2010 there is humor to be found and potential in their art. Perhaps the amount of publicity from being featured here will encourage them to start anew.
Comic: Ninja Bunny
Story and Art: Phil Spence
In their own words: Ninja Bunny debuted on the 5th September 2005 on myspace before moving to it’s own website on the 31st January 2006. Since then it has been sporadically updating twice a week on Monday and Friday.
In our words: Perhaps the best representation of ninja of the webcomics presented this week, Ninja Bunny’s later works in single panel format have little in the way of words, vivid images and subscribe to the maxim, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a title sure does help.