The first comic of Mr. Ladd’s that I came across years ago was “Conventional Wisdom,” a comic he writes and draws as reports of his experiences at various anime and other nerdly fan conventions that he attends. A few years ago, I was looking for information on one of the DC area anime conventions I had attended, and one of his pages came up in the Internet search results. He had attended the same one I did, and his “report” was a hilarious series of comics that touched on the particular idiosyncracies and interesting happenings that occurred at that con. He was able to, in just a few panels, capture the silliness, frustrations, and downright insanity typical of conventions. He has a sharp eye for details and a simple art style to show the most important of them, plus a knack for recognizing the absurd as it happens, to those around him and to himself. He writes from the point of view of an attendee, but also as a participant, since he not only cosplays during the conventions, he also participates in panels at some of them, which gives him access to things happening behind the scenes. I have to say, his skills at cosplay are very good, he does an excellent “Dr. Clayton Forrester” from “Mystery Science Theater 3000“.
When he’s not reporting on conventions, he posts occasional “filler” comics, where he often uses various “mascot” characters he’s created to give us insights to how he’s feeling or what he’s doing. The mascots represent different aspects of web comic creation, such as “Blah,” the Mascot of Procrastination, “Scribbles,” the Mascot of Writer’s Block, and (my favorite) “Miffy,” the Merchandizing Mascot. The best part of these fillers is his chance to comment on all manner of things both fan and webcomic creation-related.
If creating a fan-related webcomic on a regular basis wasn’t enough, Mr. Ladd also writes and draws a hilarious science fiction comic called “Far Out There.” The story involves two main characters, Trigger, a boy who was raised in a hole in the ground, and his best friend Layla, who would come visit him. The hole in the ground was of course filled with everything he needed to grow up, except for parents. He was left there as an experiment, and part of a plan to be used as a weapon, or something. It gets complicated and very very funny, especially when Trigger leaves the hole and goes out into the real world, accompanied by Layla, who is set to inherit control of her evil family’s evil corporate empire, or something. They end up on a spaceship along with Ichabod, from the “Galactic Nitpicker’s Guild.” Other passengers along for the ride include a whole load of mad scientists and other interesting characters fresh from a mad scientists convention, facing hilarious perils and tribulations on their trip. It’s hard to describe all the various plot happenings, but suffice it to say, you haven’t seen any other funny science fiction comic like this, and I guarantee if you think you have, you haven’t seen one this funny! You really need to start at the beginning of the archive, in order to appreciate this one!
Check out both “Conventional Wisdom,” if you’re at all curious about what goes on at those “anime conventions” you might have heard about, and “Far Out There” if you want to see just how funny the future can be!
NOTE: both comics are strictly safe for all ages.