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The Daily Read: 4/23

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Style goes a long way in webcomics. Given how manga and video games frequently dominate the medium, a webcomic boosting a diverse visual style is all but sure to be noticed, and this certainly foes for Gordon McAlpin’s comedy comic Multiplex. But just how far can style take a webcomic?

McAlpin’s digitally-crafted webcomic Multiplex delivers a crisp and colorful look at employees of a local movie theater. In lieu of more heavily detailed works, it might not look like much, but given how many webcomics take their cues from one another, Multiplex is a major breakthrough, and it doesn’t take long for the simple yet sterling art style to grow on you.

Multiplex includes a built-in feature for movie commentary ranging from the obvious to the cult classic, and the cast of characters (complete with a cast page that is a comic to itself) that all inevitably feel like the projectionists, ushers and connectionists who take our tickets and money on a weekend basis. In review, the style is here, the characters are here and the art is certainly supplementing both. What’s missing, unfortunately, is the pacing.

With eight panels of equal size comprising an update, the action and the jokes just don’t come quick enough. This is often because the funniest parts of Multiplex take far fewer than eight panels to convey – like here, where a character mistakes what dressing up like a “dealer” entails. I like the tell-tale image of the “21” poster in the background, further enriching the notion. There’s plenty of drama unfolding between the cast, but there’s just too little follow-through at times, as jarring pacing cuts back and forth between multiple situations amongst the eclectic cast of characters.

Overall, Multiplex is a good read for any fan of movies or webcomics. But while the artistic style is well-deserving of its award-winning acclaim, its own film roll is in need of some editing.

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