As the Helsinki Comic Festival was just last week I..



It was at LEAST four weeks ago!

But nevermind that! I bought a shitload of good, bad and ugly comics for y’all to laugh, gasp and awe at and one of them is

Pretty in brown!
Pretty in brown!

..I can’t belive it’s been so many weeks. I seriously thought I could make a report RIGHT after the con, but.. THE BOOZE IS JUST TOO GOOD OKAY!?

I need to switch the sponsor.. but I cant *sob*
I need to switch the sponsor.. but I can’t *sob*

But enough of my trademarked, drunken self-pity! I got a real treasure for you from the depths of the hell we call “finnmanga”

This comic is done by Maaria Laurinen and I have dissected her comics before(Shadow World) so I got quite high expectations for her next comic.. which is this here and now! Phantomland! And I have to admit, I was not let down by her talent.


Let’s dwell deeper in this. Deeper than the seventh level of finnmanga hell! Let’s start this journey with the main characters.

The Tough Guy

Im so though
I’m so tough

And The Clumsy Apprentice

Im so clumsy and.. apprentice!
I’m so clumsy and.. apprentice!

Those images were from the very first pages, and the characters already fell into their cliché niché’s. This can be bad or good depending on the length of the comic. For a short story stereotypical “bad guy”, “good guy”  type of cast is easy to get into and requires no lenghty explanations. Long journey to the depth of the character will force the story to get longer or off-focus. You cannot get known to a person in a week, hardly in a year and you cannot get into a character in one chapter or a short, action filled short story.

I heard Maaria planned this story to get rather long, the first chapter is just about 55 pages, and there is apparently more to come and she seems to be full of ideas. I mean.. look at this!

I ripped it straight from here: http://maaria.deviantart.com/art/Miniature-concepts-116776129 go give it views and fave it so Maaria will not rip my head off
I ripped it straight from here: http://maaria.deviantart.com/art/Miniature-concepts-116776129 go give it views and fave it so Maaria will not rip my head off

She seems genuinely excited about her own ideas, and that’s always a positive thing. If everything else fails, at least people will see how much effort the artist put into their work and how they gave it so much love.

So why so two-dimensional characters? Instead of them gaining more persona their two-dimensionality comes only clearer as you get to “know them better”. I hope their personality gets deeper in the later parts, but to be honest I highly doubt it, they seem to be based on the Generic Anime Stereotypes, and I am yet to see a person who has fought that off. When you draw with a certain style, you are also in danger of telling the story with a certain style.

At least she doesn’t have that “annoying, cutesy, big-eyed fluffy thing”-syndrome.


Or the watered down version of this syndrome “silly, young little girl who never shuts up”. The Apprentice might be quite close but not really. She is barely saved by the stereotype of a clumsy apprentice who is trying too hard.

She.. tries too hard
She.. tries too hard

And the Tough Guy is always drunk. Always. With drunk blush on his face, hiccups and all.

Though, he kinda tried acting more drunk he was by hiccupping there, but yeah. Drunk though guy.
Though, he kinda tried acting more drunk than he was by hiccupping there, but yeah. Drunk tough guy.

Oh yeah, and..



THIS GUY IS SUCH AN ADDICT! Why is he still on his job?? And why did they give this drunk an incompetent little girl to drag around!? Probably so they can stand back and laugh how they have driven their friend to mix pills with alcohol again because human misery is heeeee-laaarious~ and this guy is clearly not deep enough for their amusement. Damn! I’d be mixing drugs with alcohol too if I’d be one eyed, gene manipulated, mole-faced gangster who has to babysit a whiny, little, trying-too-hard kid while trying to kick ass.

The story of my life
The story of my life

The story didn’t really have much time to kick into a start in mere 58 pages. There’s not much time for any in-depth plotting as this comic has ALOT of action. Sweet, awesomely drawn and enjoyable action.

DAYMN! Tough Guy is the bastard child of Batman and Dr. Gregory House!
DAYMN! Tough Guy is the bastard child of Batman and Dr. Gregory House!

Honestly, this professional and steady use of line is so good that she could easily fake being a “real manga artist” from Japan, and she is damn straight real manga artist.  None of the other finnmanga artists even compare to her level of technical skill, and even that her characters are cliché and plot doesn’t seem to be anything unseen, she beats them at that too. You can follow the “finnmanga” tag so you can see this for yourself.

So what is the plot, exactly?

Apparently Tough Guy and Overenthusiastic Apprentice are part of some law enforcement gang called “Ghosts”. I have no idea why they are called that or what makes them different from any other guy in this comic except their title but..

No.. wait a minute..

Let me compare a bit

Wheres Waldo?
Where’s Waldo?

..Got it yet?

Well, ladies and gentlemen the difference between a “Ghost”, special, virus-carrying, superpowerful human and a regular human is..


..a mole on the either side of the eye.

DON’T ASK ME! I just.. what.. If these moles don’t shoot laser beams, open portals to terrifying realities or even store electricity like pikachu’s cheeks – what’s the point!? Why moles!? Are ugly, mole-faced people just considered dead in this universe or what’s up with that. I need some answers, this is too silly and random just to accept. Do they tattoo those on newly created “Ghosts”? Are they some sort of identification microchips? gahh!

At least that’s rather.. original. Though, I don’t really watch enough anime to come to any conclusions about that. I can pick up some of the major “movie clichés” and that’s it.

Like how the Tough Guy only gets pretty bruises that bleed prettily.

Too cool to care.. or bleed profusely
Too cool to care.. or bleed profusely

And at one point he goes all Alucard on bad guys, or for you non-anime folks, he goes all Joker on bad guys. You know.. that korny “FIGHTING IS SO MUCH FUN MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”-frenzy


..that scene was full of action and kinda cool BUT STILL! Korny. Yes.

And holey moley is that Maes Hughes!?

Someones been reading Fullmetal Alchemist
Someone’s been reading Fullmetal Alchemist

Gah! It’s like the evil twin brother of Hughes!! In fact, this whole comic is like some sort of evil twin of the Fullmetal Alchemist, she even has the same style to draw bristling, cracking or breaking objects than what Fullmetal Alchemist does.

Okay okay! I will not make fun of your moles ever again! IM SO SORRY SIR AIEEE!
Okay okay! I will not make fun of your moles ever again! I’M SO SORRY SIR! AIEEE!

But the ultimate korny thing that I just can’t forgive is one joke that was made during this comic. So.. here’s like this real tough, shade wearing big boss.

These are no Raybans, theyre fucking Serengetis you ignoramus
These are no Raybans, they’re fucking Serengetis you ignoramus

But he like.. hides something behind those shades!!


TEE HEE HEE THE BAD GUY HAS PRETTY EYES! Wow, you just did the most cliché joke ever being told in a..



Well.. that was rather.. awkward.


Dispite all of the kornyness and the Fullmetal Alchemist – influence shining trough, this comic is a good read. I enjoyed the whole of it and stayed amazed and amused by the good halftones..

This scan doesnt do it justice. For once theres NO dot disease!
This scan doesn’t do it justice. For once there’s NO dot disease!


For once, the characters do not live in a white void
For once, the characters do not live in a white void

..and exaggerated perspective.

Groooooovy, maaan!
Groooooovy, maaan!

The plot and depth of characters wasn’t anything we’ve not seen before, but dammit the girl can draw and tell a story. There wasn’t a single “wait.. what just happened?”-moment, which is what killed the previous finnmangas dead. Every other finnmanga has failed to make a comphrehensive story, even that they had writers, inkers and the artist to fold it out as a team. I highly recommend you go read at least the first 18 pages at Phantomland’s own web page I will list on the sources under this post.

So.. as we near the end of this post..

Hes my drinking bud from now on 3
He’s my drinking bud from now on ❤

..I should be nice and reveal that, yes indeed the Tough Guy and Overenthusiastic Fail Apprentice have real names.

Cool jacket.. whered you get that one?
Cool jacket.. where’d you get that one?

And now, I’m out! I have to run fast before I draw more slash about Hawke






My friends who could spot the anime clichés. I owe you a beer.


11 Responses to “Phantomland”

  1. 1 Link
    October 16, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    *Om nom noms the entry*

    Maaria’s art is just so stunning, and natural. I didn’t expect her to be cliche in her own story, but hey, I still want a copy of Phantomland 😀

    FYI, did you know Vartijat was taken over by one of Puukangas’ friends? One of the ones that helped her with the rushed pages, their art styles are dramatically different so it won’t do much for the inconsistency problems, but she does some really lovely stuff, do you plan on dissecting the second and third volumes too? *hope*

    Also, one thing I noticed in your spelling, you spell ‘Tough’ as ‘Though’- please don’t shoot meh x3

    • 2 finnishcomicsdissected
      October 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm

      I quarantee you, it’s worth a read if you can appreciate art. This is her first “very own comic”, so being cliché with characters that still manage to work and be likeable is really a minor mistake with first comic. I’ll toast her more about that if she keeps repeating that mistake.

      Thanks for the news! I had no idea and I’m really excited now! The comic was so exceptionally bad that it’s interesting to see if it transformed to the better. But if I remember right and Elli didn’t have any other friends doing that comic than that one(and her teacher) girl who did one pretty shit-tastic comic to an old collaboration called simply “Finnmanga”.. I bet there will be lots of fun to be had with that comic!
      ..I wonder what happened to Elli, tho. Last time I heard about her was when she was hooked to WoW and healing from an operation. I might be an ass, but damn.
      Anyway, I will dig up some release dates about that thing, and probably try to find it second-hand somewhere!

      Thanks for pointing out! You can’t even imagine how hard I fought NOT to do that, and it still happened!

      • 3 Link
        October 17, 2009 at 10:48 am

        Yeah now I just need to find somewhere that sells it in my country 8D
        But gods cliche or not, you can’t deny she really has beautiful art.

        Yes! Puukangas moved to Britain donchoo know? So Hogman has taken over Vartijat, I think it’ll be so interesting to see if it’s improved (I think it will) because Hogman has some rather good art and is always critiqueing herself etc, unlike Puukangas who has a ‘that’ll do’ attitude.

        Oh well, the English is still readable 😀

    • 4 finnishcomicsdissected
      October 18, 2009 at 2:28 am

      Okay, I’m such a wordpress-virgin I’m not sure if I replied to you right, so here’s the comment again:

      Send her a note trough deviantart here:
      Last time I heard about her, she was selling it for ten euros, even if it’s going abroas BUT she was sending them in big portions and she had a deal with post office for it. But it seems she’s used to sending them even far away.

      What’s Hogman’s whole name? I don’t think it was even mentioned in the last book.

      • 5 Link
        October 18, 2009 at 10:54 am

        Oh cock! Now I just need money xD

        It’s Pauliina Högman, her and Puukangas share a site, http://www.fruitless.us/
        Her stuff is very clean, whereas her style isn’t something I’d usually get on with she has some good stuff.
        And from what I just read volume 2 is soon to be released 8D

    • October 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm

      Link: Glad to know you’re interested! You can check here for more info on mail order: http://amph.nipponfever.net/phantomland/buy.html
      It’s a really easy process if you have a PayPal account 🙂

  2. October 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Let me get this straight. You bought the book from me in person and didn’t even introduce yourself?

    WHY? 😀

    And now I feel kinda awkward getting another positive review of my work on a blog that’s pretty much dedicated to the mockery of everything… please pick something else that you liked for a change.

    I’m still grateful for the feedback though. Thank you! I’m glad you appreciated the art and the action scenes, I worked really hard on those after all. Your slash doujinshi absolutely floored me too. It’s genius. You should upload it to DA so I can +fav it.

    Oh yeah, I’m not surprised if the story and characters seem kind of plain at this point… and you’re not the first one to point out the FMA influence either, haha. I hope I’ll manage to change your mind in the future, though. I’m the kind of storyteller that doesn’t reveal all their cards right away, so I’d say the first chapter is really only scratching the surface so far. Look forward to the next issue!

    • 10 finnishcomicsdissected
      October 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

      I don’t want to get known to people trough this blog, it leaves a false impression if you’d see me only as a critic. Though when I was there buying that comic I felt a sting on my concience for doing “ninjas” to you and I kinda felt like chatting with you so for a case like this, I gave you a mean of identification. You might still have it in your purse.
      I cherish my anonymity in all my projects, so if you’d like to give me an earful for being a ninja you can send me mail at finnishcomics@gmail.com

      : D

      Don’t you worry, I have plans for dissecting two good books in a row so you don’t have to be embarraced being in the spotlight. I hope I was still harsh enough on you, we can’t hve you slacking on the second issue! This far the audience knows absolutely nothing about the Ghosts, and even I thought to the end that they would be a rivaling gang, not some sort of police.
      I’d want to see you triumph and break from the clichés.

      When I was drawing that slash.. thing, I thought I would have to write you a formal apology xD But you reminded me now that I should really get a deviantart account for this blog. All I have is one troll-ish, old account that I just want to leave behind anyway, and I am not associating anything non-critique related to this blog.

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