Home > Dark Horse Comics > Penny Arcade Vol. 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots

Penny Arcade Vol. 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots

February 27, 2006
Penny Arcade Vol. 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots (Dark Horse Comics)
By Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahliuk

This book is a collection of the first three years of the Penny Arcade webcomic, as created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahliuk, a.k.a. Tycho and Gabe. With the proliferation of webcomics these days, it would be hard to pinpoint an absolute king, but it would be hard to argue that Penny Arcade is one of the most successful.

The comic, for those of you who haven’t read it, is about a pair of gaming geeks – the sarcastic and cynical Tycho and the equally sarcastic but not-quite-as-sharp Gabe – who use the strip to comment on video games, pop culture or whatever. It’s probably one of the most versatile strips out there, segueing seamlessly from jokes about hardware or video games to bemoaning living in a football-obsessed city when they don’t care about the big game.

The first few years of strips in this collection show a drastic change in the visual style. The characters, while still very stylized, were done in a very different style from the characters that exist today, particularly Tycho. His head was much more squat and his nose was bizarrely pointed. This is typical with common strips – the characters as they appear at first are rarely the way they’re ultimately visualized. Those only familiar with the characters in their current state will be amused to see how they originated.

In terms of content, Penny Arcade hasn’t changed much since the early days. The jokes are just as pointed and fierce, the mouths are just as fowl, and the comedy is completely intact. Some jokes are rather dated – there are cracks about Penny Arcade feuding with other webcomics that are long dead… even jokes about the ill-fated Divx system (a really bad competitor for DVD wherein a disc cost only about five bucks, but stopped working 48 hours after you watched it and you’d have to pay extra to reactivate it). Fortunately, Tycho provides commentary with every strip – while not quite as biting as the strips themselves, those are frequently funny and sometimes provide some much-needed background.

While the comic strip has definitely improved in recent years, checking back on the early years is amusing in its own right, and I can’t wait for the next volume of Penny Arcade.

Rating: 7/10

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