Review: Next Town Over

The danger with reading a web comic is that there are so many online that feel impulsive. The web has plenty of good ones like Blank and DOTL. But the web comic I am most drawn into is Next Town Over.

From the very first page NTO is unmistakably intentional and deliberate. Each page ends with enough suspense to draw readers back the next week. When I started reading the story, the pages weren’t loading fast enough for me. The website’s performance was fine, it just wasn’t as immediate as turning pages. And I absolutely needed to see what happened next as fast as possible.

To fix this problem I learned how to be patient purchased the pdfs from the website. (You should too!). Eventually I purchased the limited edition hardcover of Volume 1, because I enjoyed it so much it became important to me to own an actual book.

To me, the story feels likes a mystery (I don’t know why one character is chasing the other). But NTO also reads like an adventure (things go boom!). Oh and there is an odd mix of western steam punk and wizadry. I would normally be suspicious of any story that tackled those two genres but somehow NTO pull’s it off.

I could go on for a long time in pure speculation and theory about why I think NTO is so dang good. But I’ll limit it to a few sentences.

According to NTO’s creator, Erin Mehlos, “the script was functionally written years ago” before undertaking the artwork. <pureSpeculationAndTheory> By bringing a completed script to life she is only focused on making each page as best as it possibly can be. In turn, this saves her from the distraction of figuring out what happens next in the plot.</pureSpeculationAndTheory>

Will I Read it to My Children

I don’t think 3 and 6 year olds are into long running mysteries. If I do read it to them in a few years there will probably be a reminder to not play with matches. What will probably happen is that I will recommend it to them when they are about 12, or when they start reading (and talking endlessly about) something I think is over-rated.

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