The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - The Weekly Webcomic Review: Full Frontal Nerdity
August 31st, 2007
10:24 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Add to Memories Share Next Entry
The Weekly Webcomic Review: Full Frontal Nerdity

Full Frontal Nerdity is the webcomic that I forget that everyone isn’t reading. In my mind, it’s a juggernaut, right up there with Penny Arcade and PVP – a perfect gem of nerd culture so exquisitely done that I just assume that everyone’s already glommed onto it.

But it’s come to my attention recently that the glory of FFN is a localized phenomenon. Oh, it’s got a print comic that gets into shops occasionally, but it doesn’t get nearly the cred that it deserves. And so today, my task is to convince you that Full Frontal Nerdity is the strip that you should be reading.

That is…. If you’re a nerd.

The concept of Full Frontal Nerdity is simple: Four nerds (one of them attending via webcam) hang around a game table, discussing the latest news in the gaming world and trying out their own games. There are no extended plotlines – just a straight gag-a-day strip about the deepest recesses of the nerd psyche.

FFN is relentlessly topical. Was there an announcement about the Fourth Edition of D&D? You can be pretty sure it’ll get a reference. GenCon’s in session? FFN’s on it. World of Warcraft CCG? They're on it. FFN has its finger on the pulse of the nerd heartbeat; in a sense, it’s like a newsfeed for What Nerds Are Talking About.

But to call FFN a simple “gag-a-day” strip doesn’t cover it. The great thing is that Aaron Williams is the undisputed master of throwing four or five punchlines into his strip at a time. Other strips might end on a single gag, but Aaron somehow manages to stack his Funny so that three or four pieces of zippy dialogue build on the last line until it just comes together like a miniature sitcom compressed into four panels. Aaron’s second panel is often a better laugh than lesser comics’ final panel.

That kind of writing is remarkably hard to pull off, because finding a single good gag is hard enough. It’s tempting when you find a good and satisfying line to just end on it, and have the other three panels leading up to that boffo laugh. But Aaron works overtime to make the first panel as amusing as the last – something rare in comics in general, let alone webcomics.

How does he do it? Well, mostly by selling zany concepts. The joy of FFN is watching four guys take an idea and watching them run with it all the way to the end zone – just as you think they’ve exhausted this particular idea, they’ve got some other ideas to spin on it.

It’s like the conversations you wish you had with your friends. Except Aaron’s are better.

Here, I’ll just highlight some of the better comics from the past eight months:

Honestly? FFN is one of the best comics I’ve ever reviewed here. (The other still-active ones that I’d consider “best” are Yet Another Fantasy Gaming Comic, DM of the Rings, Minus, and the tragically-underupdated Malfunction Junction.*) It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that FFN might have even counted as one of the strips that fell within my purview to review… But if I have the slightest chance to point you in its direction, I will.

It’s quality stuff. Go nuts with it.

(As always, if you have an underappreciated webcomic you think I should review, leave a comment and I’ll take a look at it. Reviews will be only for strips with less or equal traffic to the strip I co-created with Roni Pare, Home on the Strange, in order to highlight smaller comics; as such, the reviews will always be at least mostly positive. If you note any traffic I’ve sent your way and feel the urge to shower me with gratitude, feel free to plug HotS in your own comic. Danke!)

* - With a tip of the hat to The New Adventures of Queen Victoria, natch.

Tags: ,

(24 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:octoberland
Date:August 31st, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hey, since you seem pretty into the webcomics thing I was wondering if you could recommend any horror/gothy ones? I'm a complete novice and wouldn't even know where to begin. Thanks!
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:September 3rd, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm not big on goth, so I couldn't say, unfortunately.
[User Picture]
From:ewin
Date:August 31st, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
(Link)
FFN is one of my top ten all-time-adored comics. It's just so tight, it never makes a misstep. :)

The one about the godlike powers was hysterical. Now I have to go track down my favorite again...
[User Picture]
From:ewin
Date:August 31st, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
From:terraxos
Date:August 31st, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
FFN is a great comic (better than Aaron William's 'Nodwick', IMO), but I stopped reading it a while ago simply because one update a week was too slow for me. Thanks for reminding me about it again - it looks like it's as good as ever, and now there's a nice long backlog of strips for me to catch up with. :)

Talking of one-update-a-week strips about geek culture, 'The Non-Adventures of Wonderella' is pretty amusing: http://www.webcomicsnation.com/justinpie/wonderella/series.php
[User Picture]
From:thetathx1138
Date:August 31st, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That's why I subscribe to his journal! ps238principal He updates every Thursday.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:September 3rd, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Wonderella is great. It's also way too popular for the WWR.
[User Picture]
From:badspock
Date:August 31st, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Been reading FFN for over a year now, possibly longer, and loving it.

I don't know as to the hit rate of these two, but I also rather like Danielle Corsetto's "Girls with Slingshots", and "Twisted Kaiju Theater" usually makes me laugh pretty hard. "Hookie Dookie Panic" also tends to be a good laugh, but the fellow behind it has been deployed to Iraq, and hence doesn't update much.

I don't know if any of those beats HOTS in hits or not, though I will say the only real reason I read GWS before HOTS is because it falls first alphabetically on my bookmarks list. Seriously, Ferret, not trying to stroke your ego, but I can't wait for you and Ronnie to update, the strip is chock full of awesomesauce! If you two haven't signed up for Mid Ohiocon yet, I will be bummed out!
[User Picture]
From:thetathx1138
Date:August 31st, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I recommend Williams' "Nodwick" and "PS238" also. Although "PS238" is like crack; trust me, the three-days-a-week update schedule will slowly drive you mad until you start buying the comic.
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:September 3rd, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I went out of my way to get a PS238 subscription at my comic shop.
[User Picture]
From:nedlum
Date:August 31st, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
*shrug*

It's funny, but am I the only one who gets really annoyed by the way Williams makes some words bold and italicized, as though he thinks we won't read them otherwise?

Also: I'd suggest get_medieval for a WWR, but given at this point it's very long, and ending semi-soon, there might be better strips to do.
[User Picture]
From:darthparadox
Date:August 31st, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I think he's just indicating inflection and emphasis in the characters' speech...
[User Picture]
From:thetathx1138
Date:August 31st, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, I never saw it as anything other than that. Most comic lettering does the same thing.
[User Picture]
From:nedlum
Date:September 1st, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
(Link)
Probably stronger than I'd meant to be. I understand what he's dong. I just think he severely over does it.
[User Picture]
From:brithistorian
Date:August 31st, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well, there went my morning - thanks! :-)

But I just have to ask: Did WOTC really patent tapping a card?
[User Picture]
From:tashiro
Date:August 31st, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
They did. Actually, they did much more.
Any indication or manipulation of a card to indicate the card has been used or expended was patented.

Tap? Patented. Turn over face down? Patented. Put a marker or chit on it? Patented. Any sign that the card has been 'used' or 'expended' was patented by WotC long, long ago.

I've never heard of a case of them trying to enforce this though.
[User Picture]
From:nightskywarlock
Date:August 31st, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Now I'm going to be spending the whole morning trying to find the
"...the guts of two Teddy Ruxpins..."
"When does this cross the line from 'hobby' to 'weird science'?"
"And one Big Mouth Billy Bass."

one.
[User Picture]
From:donkey_hokey
Date:August 31st, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
For some reason (and I can't put my finger on it), I dislike Aaron Williams' various efforts. I love PvP and User Friendly, but I can't ever seem to wrap my head around his stuff. Maybe it's the nearly constant deadpan expressions. Maybe it's the joke retreads that don't seem quite so funny the 50th time around. Maybe it's the forced cuteness (it feels forced to me).

Eh.. sorry. This is all just me, I know.
[User Picture]
From:montykins
Date:August 31st, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Full Frontal Nerdity has never made me laugh. It's weird, because I'm squarely in his target audience. But every single punchline leaves me saying, "Huh. That does nothing for me."
[User Picture]
From:tashiro
Date:August 31st, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Been a fan of this comic for over a year now. :) You'd think more people would have read it.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 31st, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Actually, a Spider-Man musical could be pretty awesome.
[User Picture]
From:dglenn
Date:September 1st, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)
(Link)
Eeeeeee! I just clicked through for the most recent comic and it mentions the Vectrex! I so need to repair the vertical deflection coil in mine so I can play Star Trek on it again! I wonder whether I can still find the light pen for it and the drawing cartridge.

The built-in Ateroids-like game on the Vectrex was so much more like real (arcade) Asteroids than any of the raster versions I ever saw.

Okay, I should stop with the nostalgia and read a few more strips ...
[User Picture]
From:theferrett
Date:September 3rd, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You, too, have a Vectrex?

I knew I liked ya for a reason.
[User Picture]
From:rbradakis
Date:September 1st, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Everyone isn't reading FFN? Strange.
The Ferrett's Domain Powered by LiveJournal.com