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Penny Arcade is an immensely popular Web comic and, in book form, a perfect example of why Web comics are, well, on the Web. The seven-year-old comic strip revolves around gaming, science fiction and computer humor. The two protagonists, Tycho and Gabe (also the code names for the creators), obsess over video games, new technology and the minutiae of their lives and fantasies. Displaying not a trace of self-consciousness or self-deprecation, the strip's premise is that the creators are the funniest guys in the room. Nearly every joke is told with a wink to the audience and swift elbow in the ribs. The drawing is repetitive, and the strips use none of the graphic effects available online. Instead, they are simple panel sequences. In book form, there are two strips per page, with commentary from the creators. along the bottom. Oddly, Holkins and Krahulik have chosen to print their comics at exactly the same resolution as online, making the actual images grainy, unfocused and simply not up to normal print standards. For a technology-obsessed strip, this is an odd mistake. The humor in Penny Arcade will definitely appeal to its core audience of webheads and gaming addicts. For the rest of us, it is all too disposable. (Feb.)
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Forget your warm and fuzzy newspaper strips. Penny Arcade is a scathing send-up of geek culture with jokes sharp enough to injure an eye. Brash, snarky, and sometimes just outright wrong, Attack of the Bacon Robots! is a hilarious heaping helping of the strip. To say that Tycho and Gabe, its, uh, heroes, are -video-game enthusiasts would be like saying that Anakin Skywalker has issues. Console games, handhelds, PCs--there is no format in which these intrepid game-geeks are not willing to risk life and limb to play. While their commentary on the gamer community and their "reviews" of popular game titles are fun, the biggest laughs come when Tycho and Gabe are forced to deal with the real world. If nothing else, Penny Arcade illustrates that there may be times when a well-placed non sequitur can save one's life. Extra, value-adding features include excellent creators' commentary on each strip and a sketchbook section. Tina Coleman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.