Schlock Mercenary

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A daily webcomic created by Howard Taylor, Schlock Mercenary is a serialized science-fiction adventure series detailing the life of a band of space-going mercenaries. More specifically, it centers around the life of a particular mercenary named Schlock, though the rest of the cast is so well rounded that one can forget that a "main" character truly exists.

In a staggering feat that puts many other webcomic cartoonists to shame, Howard Taylor has managed to continuously produce a new comic strip every single day since June 12th, 2000.1 This dedication to hard work has caused Taylor's art to evolve from its humble beginnings to sleeker, more expertly crafted drawings. Other benefits to his hard work and consistency have come in the form of being listed as one of the top ten webcartoonists of 2005 by Comixpedia, acceptance into the up-and-coming collective of Webcomics known as Blank Label Comics, and (most notably) enough monetary success to quit his office job so that he can focus on his art.

Strip History

Readers used to the constantly evolving art styles in the world of webcomics will undoubtedly wish to begin reading from the first strip. Fearing that new readers might not find his earlier art samplings acceptable, Howard Taylor decided that it would be best to provide some story-safe alternatives. Producing a set of introductory pages known as Schlock Mercenary Basic Training, Taylor was able to condense his first 1000 comic strips into six pages of easily digestible exposition. A link at the end of the Basic Training (and a link at the first comic strip for those who don't need to know things like character history or setting) is provided to the beginning of the first Schlock Mercenary book, Under New Management.2

Readers who opt to skip the first thousand strips are invited to go back and see what they've missed once they can vouch for Taylor's storytelling ability. Many running jokes, plot points, and expository details are left out (or at best subtly hinted at) of the later material. Once you've caught up, feel free to reread the Basic Training to catch the inside jokes that long-time readers can fully appreciate.

1Even more impressive is the lack of "filler art" episodes over that expanse of time. Even the obligatory strips celebrating milestones in the strip's history (when the point is made that the strip is another year old, for instance) take place within the plot.2It should be noted that "Book 1" on the Internet is vaguely different than the "Book 1" in print. Both contain the "Under New Management" story, but the print version contains an otherwise unavailable story explaining some of the origin of Schlock, the strip's main character.

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