July 11, 2014

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Shannon Smith's übërbällöön Webcomic Skewers Superheroes

Even Diana hates Candy Crush.
Mini-comics cartoonist Shannon Smith is trying his hand at a parody webcomic on Tumblr, taking single panel images of superheroes and letting readers into their private thoughts.

Written and drawn by Smith, übërbällöön just started life and looks to be a chance for the cartoonist to play in the "GIF" sandbox. But instead of a screen cap with "witty" text, Smith is providing the art and something a bit more clever than #FACEPALM or #FAIL or whatever else trends.

It's actually a brilliant idea, especially since Smith placed it on Tumblr, where people can easily share and things can go viral at the drop of a hat. The comics are single panel gags, so that also makes them conducive to sharing.

This is exactly the kind of thing that leads to book contracts, though given the licensed characters involved, that might be difficult. I don't know what the legalities would be on that.

Putting that aside, this is a really clever idea by Smith. Anyone who spends more than five minutes on the internet knows how popular memes, gifs, vines, and other things are. Why not show off your own skills and tab into that culture, while having fun doing it?

So far, Smith has varied between easy jokes (Aquaman pissed that J'onn microwaves fish) and the kind of work that would fit more into verbal wordplay and silly combinations of concepts similar to artists like Sam Henderson. Right now, the series is still finding its groove and audience, and I expect Shannon will be experimenting with different jokes to see how they play. Given the reblog option on Tumblr, he'll get immediate feedback and be able to work accordingly.

übërbällöön opened with a hysterical set of third-person paragraphs, indicating that unless you keep your eye on the comic daily, you will die. It's as convoluted as a Monty Python joke, and really sets up the series as a whole.

I don't know how long this project will go on, but it's been a lot of fun so far. Those who enjoy humor comics or enjoy a good gif moment should find a lot to like.

You can read übërbällöön here.