Rice Boy – Originality in a Web-Comic

doorways is the home of Evan Dahm’s comic creations, Rice Boy and Order of Tales. Rice Boy is complete, while Order of Tales continues to be updated.

Although I randomly began Order of Tales before Rice Boy… I think perhaps that was the correct order, and I would suggest that others maybe begin there. Though I don’t know if this is a good recommendation to make…

While I enjoyed Rice Boy, and thought the odd little guy was cute and adorable, I still think I preferred the story of Order of Tales. It was more captivating – or perhaps the characters were better developed – or maybe it’s that there was no closure, and I’m left hanging on and wondering what will happen next.

The art itself is done in a very…old-school kind of way. It’s reminiscent of old comic books from way back, and I enjoy the imperfection that is garnered from inking with a real brush rather than pens only. One difference between the two comics is that Rice Boy is told in color while Order of Tales is in black and white. However, Dahm makes the most of the black and white with Order of Tales by manipulating the ink to create wonderful shadow and lighting effects. This alone adds to the tone of the comic, providing certain scenes with more of a threatening air and others with more of a mystical kind of feeling. In a way, this kind of an impact is something that some colored comics lack.

However, both comics have a lot of movement and action. There is a pacing set into the story that I see as a writer. It’s important to have good pacing, to keep from losing interest and ultimately, losing your readers. I think it’s a real plus for this comic to have such good pacing.

They storyline itself, for both comics, is very unusual and unique. The setting and the characters are very original, and I’ve seen very little like it. In Rice Boy, the unusual little guy, called simply “Rice Boy”, is chosen as the “Fulfiller” and must travel great distances and face many dangers to fulfill a prophecy that will plunge the world into war but will return control and order to the land. Order of Tales is about a young Teller named Koark who is in search of a story that seems to have been forgotten. After many years of searching, he finds a machine man who knows something of the story he seeks. Koark finds himself rescuing the Bottle Woman after her creator is murdered and being pulled into a battle between differing forces who wish to possess her.

Another pleasant aspect of the writing is the sense that this world has been thoroughly and carefully brought to life. The mythology presented by the Teller Koark in the Order of Tales adds a certain depth to the setting that might otherwise not exist. And while the dialogue seemed a bit stiff right at the start, it very quickly fell into a smooth pattern.

And yet, there are many places where there is no dialogue at all, and Dahm instead uses his setting or the characters’ expressions to the tell the story. Also, where there is no dialogue, there is often action pushing the story forward and you scarcely notice the “silence” at all. It’s a subtle skill but one that does wonders for building suspense and tension.

While there is talent in the art – and plenty of originality in design – I still feel, having read it all (as much as has been updated at this point, that is) — I still feel that one of the most notable strong points for this comic – and one of the creator’s strong points – is the storytelling. Without good story, comics fall on their faces – total SPLAT!

It’s refreshing to see something that is so unique and different from what is out there. So, if you’re looking for something different, perhaps a comic that isn’t about tech-geeks and robot side-kicks or the stress and emo-ness of everyday life, then head over and give Rice Boy and the Order of Tales a try. With the bizarre fantasy-esque setting and unusual creatures, you’re bound to find that breath of fresh air you’re looking for.

About the Author: Heather

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