Order of the Stick. Today I want to review my second favorite, Schlock Mercenary.
Schlock Mercenary derives its name from Sergeant Schlock, an intelligent amorphous creature with a strong penchant for violence. He serves in a mercenary group known as Taigon's Toughs whose illustrious career is set within the late 31st century of our world. While Schlock may be the title character, the comic is populated by a large cast of characters, whose importance to any particular story arc comes and goes as the comic progresses.
The series is aptly described as comic space opera, staying true to the tropes of space opera while ending each and every strip with a punch-line. Like the classic comics of old, the Sunday strip is always several panels long. Most remarkably, the author publishes a new comic each and every day, without fail, 365 days a year, as he has done for the past thirteen years. And for those who subscribe through his multi-platform app, you receive improved graphics and access to comics three days in advance of the website.
The series is divided into individual books, which of course are available for purchase. Fortunately, they are also arranged this way in the archives, which makes it easy to jump in to the last completed story arc to get your bearings on the series or help you decide whether or not this series is for you. There is also a wealth of background information available on the series' wiki page, but most of this is unnecessary to enjoy the comic. I confess until I wrote this blog post I had never even glanced at it!
With perhaps one caveat: if you're going to read Schlock Mercenary, you can't miss the infamous Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries.
Anyway, enough info-dump. I confess the major reason that I got into this series was the fact that there was something new each and every day. This is highly unusual for webcomics, and that alone makes it worth checking out. The characters are also varied and interesting, the story arcs involve a good mix of combat, exotic locations, political intrigue, and character development, and the humor - while not typically of the 'laugh out loud' variety - is quirky, sometimes subtle, and pretty good considering the demands of coming up with a new one every day that doesn't detract from the story the author is trying to tell.
If you're a fan of the space opera genre, webcomics in general, or just enjoy a good read, Schlock Mercenary may be just what you're looking for. Check it out today!