Nov 09

Webcomic of the Week – 8-Bit Theater

Who needs an Armor of Invincibility, eh?

There’s an awful lot of webcomics out there on the web, and odds are, you read a bunch of them. But I’m not gonna focus on the Penny Arcades or VGCats, and instead take some of the maybe lesser-known, but certainly not lesser-quality series that are out there, whether they’re ongoing or did that rarest of things and actually finish. So in that vain, lets focus on this week’s entry, 8-Bit Theater.

Starting back in 2001, 8-Bit Theater is a sprite comic based upon the original Final Fantasy, which went on to run for the best part of a decade, before concluding last year. It stars the four Warriors of Light from the original game, which in this case were comprised of Black Mage, an evil, hateful little guy who loves to kill, Fighter, an idiot who always comes up with the most simple-minded solutions to life’s problems, albeit a dab hand with a sword, Thief, a runaway prince who loves to steal, well, everything, and Red Mage, a seemingly intelligent guy who belives that life’s a game, so he may as well abuse the dice rolls. The four of them end up destroying and decimating their way through the story of FF, follwing the key plot elements, just getting to them in a… slightly, different method.

And then there’s the supporting cast, which shine just as brightly as the leading anti-heroes. There’s the Dark Warriors, a bunch of the game’s minor enemies who constantly try to thwart the leads, but fail miserably due to being even more inept than they are. There’s Sarda, a god-tier magic user who sends the leads out to recover the four orbs (remember, back when FF just reused the same plotline for every single game), usually for his own sadistic amusement. And then there’s White Mage and Black Belt, who always tend to be lurking behind the scenes to help the Light Warriors, when they’re not busy cleaning up the mess said heroes leave behind.

The jokes mainly come at the expense of the reader or the protagonists, as their grand machinations fall in upon themselves, and perceived punchlines dissipate to mock you. Creator Brian Clevinger has no problem with taking the piss and then some throughout the entire comic, and sets up arguably the longest callback in joke history, which will completely sail over your head until he kindly points out the punchline that took him a decade to write.

All in all, looking back at 8Bit, it manages to keep your interest without any noticible drops all the way throughout, although this is from somehow who read all of it bar the last few months in the space of a fortnight or so. Its certainly worth investing your time into, and is worthy of its overwhelming popularity. And as I said, that ending. That. Ending.

You can read 8-Bit Theater here. If you know of other awesome webcomics you think deserve a mention here, then get in contact with either me (Sean) or e-mail anicomhivemind@gmail.com with a roughly 300 to 500 word description, and this could be your article up here. Thanks muchly.