Pandas are typically not used when dueling.

PandaXpress is a beautifully-detailed full-color webcomic created by Eric Anderson (Grammar Cowboy) and Manny Trembley (Art Monkey), located at The two creators were co-workers at Cyan, and the idea for the comic grew from a joke to an experiment to a more serious artistic endeavor. (There's even a mini-comic available on the site presenting a dramatic re-enactment of the comic's beginnings.)

At the beginning of the comic, a little girl named Dahlia gets bored of watching TV by herself for days on end and runs out of peanut butter. So, she unplugs Panda from a glowing green vat in the garage and says, "We're going to go find Dad." With no further explanation, she rides him away into unknown adventure. Other characters are introduced in separate situations, but their paths begin to converge, and Dahlia and her giant panda seem inextricably involved.

The main story threads focus on the following additional characters and their relationships to Dalia and to each other:

This sounds much like a generic webcomic setup for an adolescent display of contrived "awesomeness". But somehow, the comic instead maintains (for the most part) a mix of fun and enchantment, entertaining without slipping into predictability. The intentionally cliched elements (ninjas, exceedingly proper British gentlemen, robots) are presented with a tongue-in-cheek attitude rather than over-earnestness, with a sometimes over-the-top indulgence reminiscent of old B-movies and more recent works inspired by them. And in the end, the characters are developed and deepend beyond their labels, and you really do end up caring about them as a reader (if anything, Dahlia is a bit under-developed as a character, but she's small and adorable and has awesome stripe-y socks, so I can forgive her for it).

The art is smooth, luminescent and professional-looking, as is the website design (which includes a jarring, love-it-or-hate-it bubblegum pink color scheme). Presented in 700x500 pixel pages, a single image may take up the entire space, or the page may be broken up into separate frames to accommodate dialog and action. The comic is ongoing (as of this writing), with the archives available to read for free. Updates are presented in a blog-like format along with offbeat factual tidbits tangentially related to the comic. Like footnotes, they aren't strictly necessary, but are a fun part of the experience (did you know that a naked body in the Antarctic will die of exposure in 20 minutes?) The artists are aiming for an eventual print release, with an ambitious 500-page, 4-book goal.

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