Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Webcomic Worth Wreading, Entry One: Reptilis Rex

Welcome to the first installment of Webcomics Worth Wreading! And welcome... to the world of Reptilis Rex.

It’s a world much like our own, but a few years ago, loads of internet geeks had their crazy suspicions confirmed when a race of reptilian humanoids emerged from their underground civilization. Since then, humans and reptoids have been struggling to live alongside one another, with reptoids being treated as second-class citizens. Literally.

Er, if they qualified for citizenship, that is.

The comic focuses on two reptoids:

Krel, an obnoxious asshole who confirms all of humanity’s worst suspicions about his race,

and Snive, his friendly, likeable slave.

What really sells Reptilis Rex is the creator’s unique blend of faith and cynicism. I use “faith” not in the religious sense, but to mean faith in humanity, or rather people in general, since many of the characters are not human. Many characters are selfish, deceiving and even hateful, but they can always find common ground. People may be horrible, but at least all people can be horrible in the same ways.

People can take their shared hypocrisies and other flaws, and instead of using those to build barriers, can actually make connections based on mutual fear and misunderstanding.

...And that’s what Reptilis Rex is all about: Mutual fear and misunderstanding. Most reptoids and most humans are decent people, but neither really understands the other, and they both have ample cause for fear. What’s astonishing is how often humans and reptoids use that fear to establish commonality, to bring them together instead of allowing it to keep them separate. It doesn’t happen every time, but it happens often enough that it just might inspire a little hope.

It’s not all poignant statements on our differences and our similarities being one and the same. A lot of elements in Reptilis Rex are just plain fun. Take mutos, the shapeshifting gelatinous cubes that reptoids keep as pets.

And there’s the source of much of the strip’s humor: Krel being a stupid, careless jerk.

Don't worry, that guy recovers from his eye injury.

To the extent that he resents all implications that he's done something remotely kind-spirited or even just slightly relatable.

See? All better.

Now, I happen to be a huge fan of this artist’s style, and this is one of the few comics on my list that I go to more for the art than the writing. Considering how much I love the writing, that’s saying a lot!

I haven’t spent time here praising the art, because it’s much more effective to just show it to you. If you share my sensibilities, you’ll want to see more of this guy’s character designs. It’s worth it to read the comic for that reason alone. The dude can make up cartoon people like nobody’s business.

Like these two!

I’ve shared with you some of my favorite Reptilis Rex installments, but there are MANY MORE that I love, that I just didn’t have space for. You’ll just have to head on over and read the rest of them! Reptilis Rex has only been going for a little more than a year, so there’s not too terrible a backlog to catch up on. (I reread the whole archive in an hour or so as I was preparing this post.)

There is a continuing story to Reptilis Rex, but it’s not a plot-heavy comic - individual strips are often part of a short storyline, and there are some surprises here and there that I was careful not to spoil, but you don’t need to worry about keeping track of things or getting bogged down in continuity. So go ahead and jump right in!

Reptilis Rex is written and drawn by William Tallman and updates Monday through Thursday. Tallman is pretty good about sticking to this update schedule.

What's that? You want to see just one more example of how Krel's an unlikeable jerk, but at least he's amusing. Very well. I’ll leave you with this.


  1. Hi, Fleenguy sent me. Great overview of a great comic, which you did without any subtle hints as to the Secret Identity of Willy Tallguy (but any longtime webcomics fan would recognize his crazy creative style instantly) or even mentioning the running punchline from the early strips (that I have used in conversations with some particularly reptilian neighbors) "And that's when you spat acid in his face?"
    Anyway, thanks for NOT spitting acid... I have my own cartoonish-web-project-for-a-guy-who-can't-draw that I'm not yet ready to promote obnoxiously, but I will give a few suggestions for maybe-lesser-known future Worthy Wreads...
    "Heavenly Nostrils" (http://www.gocomics.com/heavenly-nostrils) by Dana "Ozy & Millie" Simpson, "Hubris" (http://hubriscomics.com/) by Greg Cravens, the just-revived "Chippy & Loopus" (http://chippyandloopus.com/) by John Sanford, "Incidental Comics" (http://www.incidentalcomics.com/) by Grant Snyder, "Max Overacts" (http://occasionalcomics.com/)by Caanan, absolutely "Bug" (http://www.bugcomic.com/) by Adam Huber... so many more... I'll be back...

  2. Thanks for your comment. I figure Mr. Tallman wants this project to stand on its own, and I can praise its merits and trust people to see the quality without assistance from reputation.

    I already have plans for the next few installments, but I'll take your suggestions into consideration.

    Thanks for reading!

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  4. Ah, sorry. I was just wondering where I could read it now. Everytime I try to get there, I'm redirected saying that it's been listed in the marketplace.

    1. Well, there is the Twitter page, though that's not the greatest format. Otherwise, it might be gone, which is a grave loss.