Roomates and Freeloaders #1

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Roomates and Freeloaders #1 Writer(s): Will Carson
Artist(s): Oliver Restorf- Thomsen
Publishers: Self Published
From: Germany
Price: US$2.70 [plus postage]

'Roomates and Freeloaders' started its life in web based strip format and this hard copy edition marks the titles transition into the world of the traditional comic book. It would be easy to dismiss it as merely a collation of these strips into a collected volume but some care has been taken to edit and refine the work so that it has a feeling of greater continuity and works as an ongoing storyline rather than just an assemblage of individual strips.

Essentially it is a tale that follows the experiences of a group of young male university types as they leave home, set up flats and find themselves. They also spend an inordinate amount of time slacking and getting very little done. More specifically we follow the main character, Spazz, as he tries to deal with his increasingly lethargic and useless mates who are freeloading off him. Fertile ground for humour then and the ennui hangs like a heavy cloud over much of what we find within the covers of this full colour comic.

The comic is quite unique in the fact that it is created in Germany yet essentially set in the USA. In reality it exists in a world that takes elements of life from both those settings and adds a dollop of the traditional British comic into the mix for good measure.

It is a winning concept and in places it all comes together very well unfortunately the marriage does not work consistently enough to satisfy.

The action is often trivial or non existent [yes I know that the whole concept is based around lethargy but that does not mean that it has to be tedious] and all too often the humour does not work. There is just a little too much time and energy spent on the hanging rope for example.

It is essentially still a strip comic approach and as such depends on effective gags and punch lines. All too often these lack ‘oomph.’ As a result the strips often fail to convince or amuse. In places the need to have a fairly good idea of current computer geekdom decides whether the reader ‘gets’ the gag.

On the subject of computers, much of this comic is computer generated or refined and this does give a polished appearance which is great. At times there is a tension between the computer graphics and the more organic ones. By and large the two co exist well but there are a couple of occasions when the contrast does jar the senses.

As I have said “Roomates and Freeloaders’ is a great concept. With a little more time spent on the pace and direction of the narratives and the wording of the gags, so that they achieve maximum impact, then I am sure that it can overcome this stuttering start and roar into life.

In a Word: Laconic.

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