How does one (that one being me) review a story before it's finished? Do I guess what the big finish will be? Do I leave the readers hanging the way the authors have left me well, not hanging, but in suspense? I certainly don't know how it ends and at the end of the day, I guess I'll just have to live with that. At least with The Comic Irregulars webcomic Darths and Droids, I have faith that the ending will be satisfying, if just a bit zany and probably not exactly how anyone planned it.
The comic is a mix of genres. It is based on both the Star Wars movies, starting with Episode One, and pen and paper role playing games, ala Dungeons and Dragons. In reading their FAQs to find out who to credit, I came across info leading me to believe that others have questioned them for the name of the strip, but I think it's pure genius. What could be better than naming your RPG themed webcomic D+D?
I'll let it be known up front that most of the fans of D+D are hard core geeks. You don't have to know the movies, but it helps. You don't have to have played tabletop RPGs but that helps as well. If you don't have at least a passing familiarity with both though, this is going to be a hard story to follow. If you know a little about both, the story is awesome. If you love both and you haven't read this strip from the beginning it sucks to be you. I've been reading this thing for a few years now, faithfully. It updates, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and I can never wait for lunchtime at work so that I can read the latest.
The story really doesn't revolve around the characters from Wars the way it probably seems like it would at first. The story is about the players. We follow the players through school, through loves and breakups and all of life's other little ups and downs based on conversations they have while they're playing. With the "real life" adventures of the players so often mentioned, their personalities come out beautifully. It's awesome. Read this comic enough and you can almost smell the Cheetos on Pete's breath and anticipate how he is going to find even further ways to min/max his character to make it unstoppable. (For the record, Pete plays R2-D2 and his constant min/maxxing does much to explain how R2-D2 ALWAYS comes up with a way to save the day.)(Oh, and for those not familiar min/maxxing is a thing that Role Players where they minimize their abilities in most areas to maximize them in one area. So, with R2D2, he can't talk or walk right and doesn't have arms but when the crew needs something fixed or a computer hacked he's all over it. He is the perfect example.)
The hilarity of the strip, and OH MY GAWD is it hilarious, comes from viewing the decisions that the characters make in the movies as coming through the lens of what a roleplayer would do during a gaming session. Well, that and misunderstandings between the GM and the players. If you don't understand what a Cheddar Monk is or why someone would cast Summon Bigger Fish then hie thee off to the website and get thee to reading!
Part of the fun of the comic is in a box at the bottom of every strip in which TCI makes comments about the movie, they strip or some tips for GMs of various RPGs. It is also worth mentioning that a lot of their GM tips would make for good story leads in fiction as well. Seriously, for those of us (and yes, I am a part of that group) who aspire to one day tell stories for a living getting some good tips from people who tell stories well is a major leg up. I'm not saying that anyone should follow every tip these guys give, but I haven't seen anything that isn't worth at least considering, even if I end up not using a given piece of advice in whatever I'm working on at the moment. The best part is that, even though it's good advice, it's usually given in a humorous manner so it doesn't feel like I'm being preached at. Good stuff.
They have a pretty cool store here too. All of the proceeds go to some charity or other (the details are on the page) so not only are these guys good storytellers, they're good guys too. I got the shirt I'm wearing upthread there and I love it. Everybody thinks Star Wars when they see it but I know better. It's good quality too. They use Cafe Press and everything has the associated quality that goes with it. I wear this thing so much I'm surprised it hasn't died on me yet but it just keeps ticking.
Honestly, my only complaint about the strip makes me sounds like a whiny little bitch, but I don't care. Every so often, their webmaster goes out of town and I'm stuck wondering whether my next dose of comedy gold is going to post on time. It always does but then I'm stuck in limbo for a few days wondering if the next one will be there.. and so on. One day it's not going to be there and I'm going to...uhhh... well... probably not DIE or anything but I'll be like, totally disappointed and probably sad for a good minute or two.
That actually brings up another good point. These guys are scary consistent in their posting, in a way that most webcomics are not. When you log into the site to view the Thursday comic it's going to be there. Well, unless you log in early which is actually your bad and not theirs. I'm not sure exactly what time it posts but I always check it on my lunch at work at 4 PM Central on the days it's supposed to be there and it always is. So kudos to them for doing what they need to do to get the strip out on time. This kind of dedication to their fans is something I really do love about the strip.
At the end of the day the biggest takeaway I can impart is that this isn't the kind of strip that's ONLY worth your time until you can get caught up on it. It's the type of strip that's been worth my time for the last few years now and something that I look forward to. These guys helped me get through my divorce and an unplanned move of over a thousand miles literally without even trying. So check 'em out. They're worth your time too.
Bottom Line: 5.0 out of 5.0 Natutral Twenties
Darths and Droids
The Comic Irregulars
Self Published, 2007-2016
Unfortunately, Darths and Droids doesn't have anything I can link to using my Amazon Affiliates links, but here is some stuff that is related to either Darths or Droids or Both: