Review From the Vault: Joy to the World (Webcomic)

[Originally posted to Comics class discussion board on March 20, 2014]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this review, Wrathborne DID continue Joy to the World, sort of rebooting it, though he finished through a specific arc. He mentions returning to it later, but currently it isn’t easy to find. His old website for the archive (joyslittleworld) was taken down, and Wrathborne took all of his art off of Newgrounds as of 6/3/2016 in favor of finding a new venue due to some Newgrounds drama that I have no idea of. If you check his Newgrounds page, he’ll likely post where his new stuff is once he figures it out, so here’s a link to his Newgrounds for those interested: https://johnathan-wrathborne.newgrounds.com/art/ ]

[UPDATE 9/4/2016: The archive from below still works for those who wish to read it.
For the record, I can’t find either of his YouTube channels (I was previously subscribed to them), he hasn’t posted on his Newgrounds page in months, and I have yet to find a blog. It could be that he’s done as a content creator (he’s been talking about stopping with animating and writing for several years now), or, more optimistically, he’s taking a break before he starts again.]

[UPDATE 3/24/2017: Christ I have to keep updating this frequently. You’d think I was obsessed or something. Guess I just want to give potential fans all the information on seeing his work as possible. I did actually fine Wrathborne’s new website recently ( http://www.wrathborne.org/ ). He went on hiatus for a bit due to his Grandmother’s health and I won’t get into that, but he does have some new stuff coming. He’s re-drawing a lot of the Joy comics, has some Joy animations planned, and, at some point in the future does plan to return to Joy, though from what I can tell he doesn’t plan on that anytime soon. At the moment, he’s working on finishing an animation that he’s been working on for over two years… so if you’re a fan of his work, that’s where you can follow him. He also updated his Newgrounds page finally, but after he finishes this animation (titled 2XXX), he plans to finally, officially, and permanently leave Newgrounds.]

PRETEXT:

This review is going to be a lot shorter than my other reviews because this particular comic is younger and less complex than the others I have discussed. In addition, this is somewhat a touchy subject as just recently Wrathborne has been struggling with his personal and creative life and has taken an indefinate break from animating and announced that he won’t continue this webcomic beyond December of this year. With that said, this is still a very well done comic and very worth discussing. I’d link to the Joy to the World animations as well, but Wrathborne just recently took them all down in a fit of frustration. If you dig around on the internet, you might be able to find copies of them somewhere.

EDIT 3/27/2014: Wrathborne has officially ended the Joy to the World webcomic as of yesterday due to issues in his personal life. He’s taken the strips and all of the wiki material off of his website, though archives of the comics still exist on this website:

http://joysworldcomic.thecomicseries.com/

Joy to the World was originally an animated series on Youtube created by animator Jonathan Wrathborne (Best known for creating several “Tankmen” animations, Left4LOL, and Bio-Hazardous). The series was about an angry little girl who spends much of her time ranting on her Video Blogs about movies, video games, politics, pop-culture, religion, authority, or really anything that pissed her off. The episodes were short and sweet, and Wrathborne originally intended it to be a short series and was, at one time, writing the final episode to the series. That plan fell through, however, and he instead created the Joy to the World webcomic.

The comic keeps true to the story and contains scenes of Joy simply ranting on her V-Logs, but also includes many scenes of her at school and home depicting her single mom (Who is entirely tired of her Daughter’s crap but has learned how to put up with it), and her friends Neil, Kimmy, and Stanly. The series is able to keep a very casual nature to it and mostly focuses on small adventures ranging from one to ten strips long, keeping things fresh and interesting.

The comic uses a simple four panel setup, which makes each strip a quick read with satisfying payoff. Wrathborne seems most comfortable writing in these short bursts, and it shows, often giving big laughs or very quick touching moments. Wrathborne has a very smooth style of drawing, and despite being black-and-white, the images really overflow with personality and style, from Joy’s smile (seemingly showing fangs) to Neil’s calm demeanor and intent to finish a book he’s reading before diverting his attention elsewhere.

There isn’t a huge overarcing story behind this webcomic, there’s no huge following or huge production budget, it’s just one man telling a simple story about a little girl’s life, and that simplicity is what lends Joy to the World its greatest strengths. Give it a read and maybe you’ll find a little Joy in yourself.

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