August 2, 2014

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All Night Webcomic by Brittney Sabo

Written and Illustrated by Brittney Sabo
Located at www.allnightcomic.com

For some strange reason, Earth no longer rotates, but we didn't all die. That's the good news.

The bad news is that creatures from the dark side of the Earth are coming into the light, and only casters can stop them.

The worse news for a small town is that the caster to show up and help them is Clarance, and, well, there are better casters out there. When Clarance botches a capture, he goes on the road to fix his mess and ends up getting car-jacked by a woman and her ghost companion, as this lighthearted (so far) and amazingly beautiful webcomic begins from creator Brittney Sabo.

Look at that adorable light blue smoke!
I owe Leia Weathington one for pointing Sabo's webcomic out to me, after a discussion (if I am remembering right) of Sabo's cover for Bold Riley. She has a very distinctive style that's easy to identify, and seeing it across a long-form project, especially one involving magic, is a joy to read. The framing work on the very first page of All Night is worthy of a discussion all on its own, with the wispy clouds arcing ever-so-subtly to guide the reader's eyes towards a few simple buildings, where the opening scene takes place. Combined with the sunset colors, establishing cacti, and other indications of place, we are ready to begin our journey without needing tons of explanation.

Once we move inside, Sabo gives us a nice full-shot of the hero, Clarance, who's sounding confident but doesn't look it, once you examine his body language and slightly agitated eyes. That sets up the inevitable failure that comes later, once Clarance is unable to trap, the bird-like creature in a glass bottle or via other means.

The panel layouts here are extremely clever while still working within the traditional "box" that most webcomics feature (though Sabo's is a bit larger than usual, it's still easy to read without scrolling). When Clarance first tries to capture the creature, the top half of the page is in a circle that mirrors the summoning circle he draws in the bottom half of the frame. After using a lot of tri-panel pages, Sabo starts switching off, adding variety to the visuals, which include a partially dissolved creature, wavy smoke colored a light blue that's so incredibly pretty it almost hurts, and Clarance looking entirely too confident--a feeling that breaks like the glass container.

After concentrating on the blue-blacks, Sabo moves into orange and black as we shift to the open road, with Clarance in a beat-up sedan that fits his personality perfectly. That's where we meet the other caster and her ghost, who need the car for their own purposes, currently not revealed. It's also a chance to give some of the backstory. That's where things are now, with Sabo getting to add some really clever dialogue to the pictures, including my personal favorite sequence, where a wakening Clarance gets to hear plans to knock him out again.

It's really early yet for this one, which is part of why I'm writing it up now. I love webcomics, but the number of ones I hear recommended to me that are somewhere around page 279 (or 543) are nothing short of completely daunting. You kinda have to get on the ground floor with any long-form webcomic, and given that All Night is only around 30 pages in, this is a great time to jump in, catch up, and begin to explore the world with Sabo. With linework that's bold, coloring that rivals print comics, and an engaging protagonist who isn't quite able to get it together, All Night is a webcomic I'd recommend to any fantasy reader without hesitation.