Looking For Group Review

Started: Nov 2006
Pages: 983
Updates: Monday & Thursdays
Current status: Unfinished but actively updating
Genre: Alt. universe fantasy/supernatural/suspense
Content: Fairly extreme violence, some blood and gore
URL: http://www.lfg.co/

I think I’ve said it before but comedy is a tricky business. A joke can offend as many people as it amuses, the more extreme the content of the joke the more likely it is to offend but equally some will find it all the more amusing. With its content Looking For Group pushes this, well perhaps not to the absolute extreme, but certainly makes a good effort in that direction.

But this is not a comic that takes itself seriously and neither should anyone reading it. I must admit there are a couple of pages that made me cringe but I was probably laughing at the same time. And I have a lot of time for things that make me laugh. But your mileage may vary.

The characters and comic concept

Broadly speaking LFG is a non-serious, comedy based comic, set in a Dungeons & Dragons style universe. The comedy style varies from parody, absurdism and shock (or “gross out”) humour. It also breaks the 4th wall quite a bit with modern day cultural references.

Beyond that the comic concepts largely revolve around freewill (or the illusion of it), the concepts of good and evil. One heavily reoccurring theme is of unintended consequences. Almost any effort to do good will immediately result in comedic disaster and more likely than not end up causing more damage than positive outcome. It’s used to contrast the black and white morality of some games and stories in the fantasy genre, which is valid, but does end up being overused in the comic.

The other theme that comes across is that of inclusion and diversity. The title Looking For Group is assumedly a reference to looking for a group of players, but I think it’s also being used in reference to an individual’s search for somewhere they belong. The characters in the story are generally all outcasts and misfits but together find a “group” they can call their own.

The only “good” character is the comic’s main character, elven hunter Cale'anon Vatay (Cale for short). In this world a classic “goodie” is an anachronism and Cal is pretty much alone in his attempts to be the kind of hero he dreamt of as a child. He quickly meets Richard, an evil and powerful warlock, and they all just sort of fall in together as one things leads to another, gaining “group” members as they go.

It doesn’t really make sense that these characters would continue to hang around together but the comic is only trying to make a very limited kind of sense so it’s all good.

Though Richard isn’t the main character he is certainly the pivotal character of the comic. He’s the most interesting and much of the humour comes from his deranged, psychopathic tendencies coupled with childlike glee and naivety.

The remaining characters range from actively evil to neutral with a willingness to act expediently as the requirement arises. There is a lot of murder and mayhem but its funny murder and mayhem, so that’s ok (for me anyway, equally it may not suit all readers).

Story

It’s telling that the concept section of this review is much longer than its story section. The story of LFG is not its strength. It deliberately uses a fair amount of cliché, so better to parody it, but even within that the stories tend to be a bit superficial and sometimes confused as to their direction.

There are some decent story elements within LFG but they haven’t, to date, managed to join up as a cohesive whole in a satisfying way. There was clearly an overall story concept behind LFG, with later story lines tying back to earlier references and events, but it feels like we may have overrun that initial premise and the comic can feel like it’s lacking in direction at times. There is also a bit of repetition in the story ideas.

The story of LFG moves quite quickly, sometimes a little abruptly in its transitions from scenes or situations, but at least the story is moved along at a reasonable pace.

As mentioned above the comic is non-serious; or perhaps it would be better to say it’s only serious when it wants to be. This means its internal logic and consistency is patchy with characters gaining or losing ability depending on the requirements of the story. For example; a character at one point is restored to life after being reduced to a pile of dust but later the same healer is unable to restore a character killed by a sword wound.

There is some character development going on, which can be more interesting than whatever story the characters are making their way through, but again it’s not really the focus of the comic.

Ultimately the story is used as a stage for the characters to do their thing, rather than being the point of the comic. So if you’re content just to read it for the lol’s then it’s not really a problem that it’s a bit lacking in areas.

Art

Done in colour the art of LFG is basic but likeable, and it improves from its early days.

Author, publishing and timeline

LFG is written by Ryan Sohmer who is a full-time comic writer and resides in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

LFG is illustrated by Lar deSouza who is a full-time illustrator and resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Print copies of LFG are available on Amazon and via the publishing company ( which I believe is owned and operated by the comic creators) Blind Ferret.

It’s hard to predict a timeline for a comic whose storyline is, well, somewhat incoherent. Really it will continue for as long as the comics creators want it to continue, irrespective of an story arc, so for once I’m not even going to have a guess.


Hey - if you read the comic I'd love to hear what you think about it! Please come back and make a comment below.

Also - comments may CONTAIN SPOILERS! I'll certainly be commenting assuming the reader is reasonably up to date with the comic so be warned!