Frustrating - dungheaps in a diamond mine.
What DMFA offers is a good, funny, dramatic story in a richly detailed, well-thought-out world. Unfortunately, this is marred by the fact that the concepts evolve behind the scenes as the comic progresses from a silly injoke to its current form. The comic as it stands now rewards careful inference of background details, but continuing this into early strips is all but actively punished
, with only an extreme Watsonian
perspective able to save them. Worse, there's no real line between "you have to know this" and "you should ignore this," leading to no especially good starting point; the author and fans talk of "the first hundred strips," but this is only the worst (and, fortunately, least plot-relevant) of it continuity-wise. Long ago, I was introduced to the strip and wrote it off, and but for a series of links from this site to various highlights, and a somewhat random-access first run-through, would have kept doing so.
However, it is worth it
. If you've ever been frustrated at, yet fascinated by, the twisted morality of Kevin And Kell
, this world is comparable, but with far more thought put in. The story itself I would compare to Gunnerkrigg Court
in intrigue, the characters are interesting, and technically never quite
having stopped being a gag-a-day comic, it's frequently good for a laugh.
Tell you what: my initial thought was "read it backwards," but the situation isn't quite that extreme. On balance, start with chapter 19 (and ignore the goth fox in the first strip; he had been a fun character, but that's his final appearance), likely best after the first part of Abel's Story (on the archive page). You'll be a little lost, but this is the first chapter to really escape the strip's humble origins. The second part of Abel's Story requires more familiarity with the main strip, but chapters 26 onward will mean significantly more to you if you stop after 25 to read the second part, then the clan leader guide on the Demonology page (labelled "Demo. 101"). Finally before starting the current chapter, read the first 18 chapters backwards (chapter-by-chapter, not strip-by-strip), to better understand what's going on (and of course to get some good, albeit inconsistent, material), and save the rest of the extras for a palette cleanser. That's my advice.