Wednesday, 25 April 2012

REVIEW: Hanna Is Not A Boys Name


Click here to start from the beginning.

{...} is a zombie who would like to work with a Paranormal Investigator. According to the card, that's exactly what Hanna Cross is. {...} is surprised to find that Hanna Cross is a boy, because after all, Hanna is not a boys name. Together they acquire a pet hipster vampire, have misadventures and run around being silly (though the silliness is mostly confined to Hanna). It's a wonderful lighthearted comic.

PLOT AND WORLD.
The setting seems to be that of an Urban Fantasy Kitchen Sink. There doesn't seem to be much of a limit on the kinds of weird and wonderful humanoid creatures that can pop up in the series. There are zombies, vampires, selkies, ghosts and werewolves featured, to name a few.

It's all very interesting and a whole lot is still shrouded in mystery. 

CHARACTERS.
Hanna Cross is very cool. Well, not cool in an actual cool way, but he's a great character and the very definition of adorkable. He and {...} (does the fandom just call him Zombie? I don't know) play off each other really well and are a really epic example of platonic bromance.

Though it would've been easy to make {...} a blank lens through which we could see Hanna's shenanigans without it being narrated from Hanna's point of view, that's not what's happened. {...} is every bit as fascinating and compelling a character as Hanna.

Even the characters that we don't know huge amounts about yet seem pretty darn well characterised. 

ART.
There's no debate about this - Stone is a hell of an artist and has a wonderful eye for emotive sequential art. Hanna Is Not A Boys Name is hands down the most visually beautiful webcomic I've ever seen and stands heads and shoulders above almost all of the rest. The only things that come close are the more magical pages of Gunnerkrigg Court and some of the crazy-awesome stuff in Homestuck. HiNaBN is consistently convention-breaking. There's no standard panel layout, everything is arranged according to what fits the current action. And it is always aesthetically brilliant. I challenge you to find one bad page. Just one. You won't be able to.

I like the general colour palette of HiNaBN, too. It's not too super bright, but even the muted colours feel vibrant and vivacious.


UPDATES.
It doesn't. It's heart-wrenching. Stone disappeared off the face of the internet in February. 2011. That being the case, HiNaBN still has a pretty dedicated fanbase. If your fragile heart can bear the fact that you'll be reading an incomplete story that, in all likelihood, will never be finished, then Hanna is so worth the read. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's one of the most wonderful webcomics out there.

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