It’s rare that a comic does something silly that hooks me right out of the gate.
Well. At least I know who to sue.
Summary: Ramen Empire, and its first arc “Afterglow,” is the story of a ragtag group of college students doing their best to make the worst movie. The primary characters, Sera and Mei Li, are a rebellious nurse-in-training and an exchange student, respectively; with Cid as the “mastermind” behind the movie scheme. They have no budget, resources, or… talent. And they (along with many more characters) come together to make a semi-supernatural comedy strip that is surprisingly fun. The strip is broken up into gags, much as other comedy webcomics are, but there’s a definite plot that ties them all together as they embark on making their amalgamation of supernatural movie tropes.
Story: It’s somewhat rare to find a webcomic that has funny, stand-alone jokes in each strip, but that also carries a story line. Already, that wins this comic points in my book. It’s paced well and the jokes are funny (and just the right amount of “vaguely-racist”). On top of that, there are even some moments of heart sprinkled in to keep things fresh and interesting. This is a comic that doesn’t READ like single-strip-gags, but provides all the entertainment of them.
Art: The art in Ramen Empire obviously isn’t Big Two grade, but it has a nice energy and is certainly the right fit for a comedy series. The characters are all easy to distinguish, the panels flow well, and it conveys the jokes to the reader just right. There are points at which the quality fluctuates, strangely, but all in all it’s never detracting for the reader. There’s an adorable, afternoon-block Cartoon Network kind of vibe to it, circa the 2000 era.
Conclusion: Ramen Empire was a delight to read, and Afterglow has just wrapped up, leaving the crew searching for their next hit. It was funny, played on tropes, and the website has lots of easy-to-use content. All in all, it’s a great read. Check it out, and show the creators some love.