We love a bit of fantasy here in the Fandom Wanderers office, as you may have noticed. Because, well, magic and dragons are never going to stop being awesome. So it’s probably not going to surprise you that this particular review contains both of those things.
Looking for Group is a webcomic by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza of Blind Ferret Entertainment, and follows a typical adventurer (as found in any RPG) on his travels. But however idealistic and naive Cale’anon the elf is when he sets out, he soon discovers that the world is a little more complex than he may have thought. This enlightenment is sped along somewhat by his travelling companion, 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 Mayor of a little village up the coast”. In its early pages, most of the humour comes from an elf trying to defy the evil nature of his species being followed around by a sarcastic, sadistic undead warlock, but the cast has since expanded and the conflicts have become greater as Cale and Richard both undergo some serious personal development.
Sohmer’s flair for writing is evident here, as the humour readers of his other works (notably Least I Could Do and Gutters) might expect is blended seamlessly into an epic fantasy adventure full of dramatic twists and turns. This, of course, is realised beautifully by DeSouza’s artwork, which is intricately detailed and more than capable of carrying the weight of the plot in dialogue-free panels or even pages. Take, for example, the sand-dragons of Kethenecia, and indeed the city of Kethenecia itself, as proof of the kind of artwork you could happily lose yourself in. Well, maybe not the former – it’s unwise to lose yourself in a dragon, however well-drawn it is.
Those of you wondering if it’s easy to be a fan of Looking for Group – or who are, indeed, looking for group – need look no further than the site’s own forums. It’s also an intensely quotable piece of work, so if you know another reader it won’t be long before you realise that. Add to this that the creators are really friendly and chat to fans on Twitter, and that they’re frequently found at conventions all over the world, and you’ve got yourself a great fandom to be a part of at any level of involvement.
The story continues, at time of writing, and shows no signs of winding down, so as many of our favourite TV shows draw to a close this festive season we can still anticipate regular Looking for Group updates each Monday and Thursday. I’d especially recommend anyone familiar with the likes of Dungeons & Dragons and other quest-based fantasy stories or games to check it out, as there are plenty of tongue-in-cheek references you’ll enjoy. Anyone who’s ever spent fifteen turns trying to acquire and/or activate the Sword of Truth in any game whatsoever, for example, will enjoy Richard’s reaction to a similar quest item.
There have been mutterings of a full-length animated movie for some time now, possibly pending a Kickstarter fundraising push, and there is a rather amusing little Disney-inspired short online that pretty much sums up the character of Richard. I’m going to leave it at the bottom there by way of introduction. In all seriousness, though, this is a comic I highly recommend reading – it’s clever, it’s witty, and it’s freely accessible online. Check it on your lunchbreak (leave yourself a clear day to catch up on the archives, though). Honestly, it doesn’t matter how committed to this you are prepared to get, or not – just have a look and see if it makes you smile. I’m pretty sure you’ll be hooked in no time.
I’d give this comic 4 out of 5.
Eleanor Musgrove (FOR PONY!)