‘Sugarshock’ On Line and Fumbled

Joss Whedon seems to be like every other subject topic of discussion these days, so I thought why not continue that by checking out the new Dark Horse Presents over at MySpace (ugh) where they have the latest installment of Sugarshock by Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon.

I really want to encourage you to check this out, because, well it’s Whedon and I like Moon’s art, but I can’t in all honesty encourage you to check this out for any other reason other than it’s free.

The debate over online comics continues to rage on and as we see the bigger companies and media entities get into the game, we just see example after example that works against online comics and this is no exception. An online comic written by Joss Whedon? That should be a slam dunk and I while I don’t think Dark Horse is at fault for this, it’s a disaster. Here’s why:

  • They’re updating it monthly, and Sugarshock is on issue #2 in September. But I missed issue #1 in August… so where is it? I may not be looking closely enough or missing something, but as far as I can tell there is no archive or link to previous installments.
  • Say what you will about it, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that MySpace is an awful website from a web development standpoint. It’s a hacked together platform that I’m surprised has been able to handle the popularity it’s received. The method of which they are displaying and allowing you to scroll down through the comic is awkward and bumbling at best

Now I know why Dark Horse did this. By partnering with MySpace, they’re getting lots of eyeballs on their products. But the downside is that the platform its delivered on works against the creative and actually makes me not want to read it. Now I may be a web-snob, I admit it, but I don’t think I’m in the wrong here. While this is a step forward for online comics, it’s not a very big step and at the expense of the actual content, which I think makes it not worth doing.

Hopefully someone points this out to Dark Horse soon and they are able to rectify it, or start displaying the comics on their own site in a more reader friendly manner. Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it’s good (and I am making no claim of quality against the actual comic, which, come on, we all know is good…) and we don’t have to accept crappy products. At least I don’t….


  1. Issue one is found here:


    But I know what you mean. Dark Horse should put it on their own website… that’d be magical. I hate going into myspace… It’s like… Satan…

  2. Yep. This sucks. I thought, “Well, it’s Whedon…” but even that couldn’t save it. Just not good. And an even not good-er format.

  3. I know empirically that I’m old, because I heard about this a month ago and this is how it went:

    “Joss Whedon? I love Joss Whedon! I’m gonna– what? Web comic? Myspace?! Meh. I’ll read it when they put it out on paper.” I clamored for every last episode of Buffy/Angel/Firefly/Astonishing/Runaways and I literally did not give this comic a second thought until tonight when I read this.

  4. uh, well it’s really hard to complain about format when we’re not paying for anything here. I’d prefer a cute little web app a la Scott McCloud, but this project is clearly not about web comics innovation.

    My real problem here is that I just don’t get the content. It seems like it might just be really bad. But honestly I can’t say for certain because it was so insider-ish. I felt like this was made for 20-30 people who have some clue what he’s talking about.