Buying Time: A Cyberpunk Romance


One of the things that I’ve missed discussing has been web comics. They have been around for quite some time now and the titans of the industry have their own conventions at this point. I’m sure you’ve hear of PAX, PAX East, and PAX South. If not, they are conventions about gaming, and other geeky things put on by the webcomic, Penny Arcade.

I stumbled upon Buying Time about six months ago looking for web comics that had gay protagonists. As the subtitle implies, Buying time is a cyberpunk romance set in Hyperion city. The main character, Vinnie Smalls, works as a welder at Hyperion City Core where he discovers that he has a crush on a coworker. The reader is introduced to a world where, in stead of money, everything is measured in Daily Leisure Credit. How does a poor, lonely, guy meet someone when even having a chat costs DLC?

Buying Time was created by Casey J an animator out of Canada. He is creating a story where we get to explore this futuristic world where human interaction is the ultimate commodity and the powers that be have finally found a way to control even this. His story telling style slowly brings us into the lives of Vinnie, his crush, Galvin, and their supporting cast. He does an excellent job with world building as well. As the story flows, this society is revealed to us in an unhurried and careful fashion. The cyberpunk vibe is there from the beginning but the reasons for the changes are left a mystery. These mysteries, much like the characters, are explained as we spend more time with Buying Time.

I love Buying Time. First, there is the art which is gorgeous. In my head, cyberpunk brings up the idea of hard edges and straight lines and those are present in this story. The thing is that they don’t overwhelm the comic book feel this web comic has. This is gong to sound weird, but they characters are drawn with full figures that softens the edges that are present in the world around them and gives the panels a warmer feel to my mind. The backgrounds are vibrant and alive and draw the eye to them without overwhelming whatever action is happening in the foreground. As I mentioned, I love how the story unfolds to reveal both more about the characters and the world they live in. The characters are inviting and the world has so many questions that I want to have answered.

The unique thing about Buying Time is that it uses a presentation that will be familiar to those who buy their comics through Comixology. Buying time is an animated webcomic. It opens on the page that you will be viewing and takes you through the panels in a way similar to how guided view works. Instead of sliding around on the page, the panel is slowly revealed placing different pieces of the panel up to control the flow of the story. I find this manner of storytelling is very effective and makes the experience even better.

Buying Time updates every Sunday and takes a hiatus about every quarter. I recommend going over and checking out the story. You won’t be disappointed.

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