Okay, folks...this week, we're going to go from "furries" to "amorphous piles of poop." Schlock Mercenary's been around since the year 2000, running seven days a week, and its creator, Howard Tayler, has the distinction of actually being able to earn a living from his comic strip. Take it from me, this is indeed a feat to admire, because most of us who draw web comics simply give the stuff away for free and consider it a major coup if anybody actually reads it.
The artwork in Schlock Mercenary over its thirteen-years-and-counting run has improved markedly. Today it looks exceptionally polished and professional, thanks in part to colorist Travis Walton; not so if you click on the link to the first strip:
It tells the tale of an amorphous life form known as Schlock who enlists with a band of galactic mercenaries under the command of Captain Tagon. As the sign in the first strip reads, "Travel the galaxy! Meet fascinating life forms! And kill them!" That's pretty much the over-arching theme of the strip, but it's done with a sense of humor.
There's been way too many plot arcs to give any sort of cohesive summary here, plot arcs involving intrigue, mad science, heads in jars, clones, space wars, aliens, more intrigue, and time warps. In other words, all the classic sci-fi stock in trade.
Howard's site is also brimming with ads and links and blogs and he often gives reviews of new movies, so it's not just a comic strip you get when you look in on Schlock Mercenary. He's been nominated for a Hugo Award and has the type of following we lesser mortals can only dream about. On the recommendation of the author, a good place to start reading is Book 10: Longshoremen Of The Apocalypse.