Monthly Archives: September 2008

See you, Space Cowboy

Well, folks, it looks like it’s time to power down The Webcomic Overlook for a while. As some of you already know, in a short while, El Santo is getting hitched! So you’ll probably be calling me “Mr. El Santo” in the near future, I suppose. Also, the updates will probably slow to a trickle. It’s already been rather difficult to update this site lately, what with all the picking up relatives from the airport and wrapping up wedding favors and scheduling spa appointments and coordinating with the bridal party and such.

Yes, this will be one of those weddings of epic proportions. (Really. My fiancee’s brother had to seriously re-do their own wedding plans because they knew that they had to do something at least equally awesome if they had to follow us up. Mwahahaha. Beat the best or die like the rest, I say. I think I’m writing that into my vows. Along with “San Dimas High School football rules!” You children of the 80′s know what I’m talking about.)

After the wedding is honeymoon preparations, paperwork, and the long period when Mrs. El Santo and I are settling into the married life. So, long story short, I have no idea when I’ll get back to this blog I don’t plan on abandoning it permanently, but I do plan on taking a rather long hiatus from this point on.

So what to do in the meantime? Well, you’re lucky I’ve put together a handy-dandy activity sheet for you Webcomic Overlook Readers.

1.) If you’re planning to propose or have a wedding, check out how some webcomic personalities do it.

Not too long ago, I posted a link to David Willis’ online proposal at Shortpacked! Geeks Next Door recently finished a long arc that documented the couples’ real life wedding. (I have no idea if plastic light sabres were really part of the event or whether they were only part of the comic. To be honest, that just might be a little too dorky for me. At least get some Lord of the Rings replica swords, guys. Those look classy, and — for me, at least — it would match our harpist’s instrument, which is totally decorated in the leaves of Lothlorien.)

The most interesting piece I found was Eric Burns-White’s online proposal, which employed a series of strips drawn by several webcomic artists.

2.) Read the Webcomic Overlook archives.

So maybe you’ve read one or two reviews on this site, yet you haven’t delved into the archives because there’s just lot of material look at. And I don’t blame you, really. There’s 55 of the bigger reviews (labeled “WCO Big Review” due to some over-arching branding initiative), 19 of the One Punch Reviews, and a bunch of other various reviews scattered here and there. Where to start?

The Wisdom of the Masses theory states that the collective opinions of a group is better and more accurate than the opinion of an individual. Now, I doubt that this theory is always applicable. Heck, I don’t think it really applies to reviews on this site. Frankly, I think it was invented by a really annoying college student who wanted to validate his opinion by crying, “We’ll I can’t be wrong if everyone’s agreeing with me, huh?” Then he rode his theory all the way to the top, eventually becoming a billionaire that the rest of us decided to pay attention to because he had a lot of money, and how can someone so rich be wrong at all?

Anyhow, in case you do subscribe to the Wisdom of the Masses theory, here are the site’s Top 25 Most Read reviews. Should I be worried that my Top Two both involve anthropomorphic cats? Mayyyybeeeeeee.

The Top 25 Most Read Reviews on The Webcomic Overlook

  1. WCO#35: VG Cats (1 Star)
  2. WCO#46: Sequential Art (3 Stars)
  3. WCO#22: Thinkin’ Lincoln (3 Stars)
  4. WCO#17: 8-Bit Theater (4 Stars)
  5. WCO#7: Marry Me (2 Stars)
  6. WCO#36: Fanboys (4 Stars)
  7. WCO#53: Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi (2 Stars)
  8. WCO#18: Savage Chickens (5 Stars)
  9. WCO#25: Gunnerkrigg Court (5 Stars)
  10. WCO#28: Applegeeks (1 Star)

  11. WCO#44: The Order Of The Stick (4 Stars)
  12. OPR#1: The Critic Webcomics (Webcomics are Awesome, Shmorky, Comicspresso, Ctrl+V Derivitaries)
  13. WCO#21: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja (4 Stars)
  14. WCO#32: Horribleville (5 Stars)
  15. OPR#4: Aliens, Zombies, and Scary Little Girls (Alien Loves Predator, Thorn, and Awkward Zombie)
  16. WCO#40: Alpha Shade (2 Stars)
  17. OPR#11: Kate Beaton (5 Stars)
  18. WCO#52: Erfworld (4 Stars)
  19. WCO#10: WICKEDPOWERED (5 Stars)
  20. WCO#37: Subnormality (3 Stars)

  21. OPR#7: Darths & Droids (4 Stars)
  22. WCO#2: Year One (3 Stars)
  23. WCO#45: Better Days (1 Star)
  24. WCO#16: Lackadaisy (5 Stars)
  25. WCO#55: Jump Leads (4 Stars)

3.) Hang out at someone else’s blog/podcast.

Over on the right-hand column, I have a handy list of blogs and podcasts you may want to follow for a short while. Here are the ones that I think are the best:

  • Webcomic Weekly – Great chemistry between four of the most popular webcomic artists out there: Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett, Kris Straub, and Brad Guigar. Even if you’re not a fan of their respective comics, they do provide valuable insight on what it’s like to be at the forefront of the brave now world of webcomics.
  • ComixTalk – Not just because I’m one of the review writers. It always surprises me of the things Xaviar Xerexes manages to cover, such as interviews with long forgotten web personalities to picking up on business stories that are only tangentially related to the webcomic business.
  • The Floating Lightbulb – Part review site, part trade chatter, The Floating Lightbulb always provides a fresh perspective on the art of making webcomics.
  • Comic Dish – Right up there with Webcomics Weekly as one of the best webcomic podcasts out there. Other podcasts tend to sound very amateur. Comic Dish, though, keeps things moving along, and the hosts are generally chatty and personable. The Brad Guigar interview was one of the best interviews I’ve heard.
  • Comic Fencing – Lots of reviewers, plenty of different perspectives. What’s great about this system? If you identify yourself with a reviewer’s perspectives, there’s a good chance you’ll feel the same way about the comic they’re chatting about.
  • This Week in Webcomics – Webcomics from the perspective on a diehard fan. It’s got the comfortable, free-form style that makes it sould like a pal is just shooting the breeze about the latest webcomic storylines. Truly one my favorites to follow week in and week out.

Well, I think that should tide you over for now. Thanks to all you great readers who’ve been check this site for the past year. WordPress says I was getting something like 470 pageviews a day in September, which is truly humbling. Not bad for a silly little blog that started off gushing about Nedroid’s marathon stick-figure session and eventually ballooning to some ridiculous 2,000+ word essays about, say, a sentient poo spawned from a turn-of-the-century novelist in Baltimore. Or a couple of vagrant cats who talk exclusively in internet memes. Or a ninja that is also a doctor. Or a boxing otter that talks purely in symbols. Or incestual furries.

I hope I introduced a lot of you to the wild and crazy world of webcomics yet entertained you at the same time. It’s kills me that I’m abandoning this blog just when I seem to be attracting a decent amount of readers, but a man’s got to have his priorities straight, amirite? Besides, it’s not like I’ll be gone forever.

See you, Space Cowboy.

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One Punch Reviews #19: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Fellow webcomic blogger Ben Gordon recently wrote a post about the different forms of humor at the Floating Lightbulb. This led to a link that itemized humor in pat little categories. I come from the point of view that humor cannot be delineated, mainly because it’s evolving year after year. (Try to find someone who genuinely thinks Much Ado About Nothing is funny AND isn’t a stuffy English major and/or professor.) So it was a small surprise that I couldn’t think of any humor that didn’t fit at least one of the types on the list. (Before you argue that “pun” isn’t on the list, I should tell you it’s right there under “conundrum.” A better argument is whether or not puns belong on a list about types of humor at all.)

One of the more interesting humor forms is something called “switching”: “a common form of switching is changing the main parts of the story, such as the setup or the punch line, and creating a new joke.” Is it something like those Seinfeld “yadda yadda yadda” jokes? Or could this be referring to Zach Weiner’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, where, oftentimes, the punchline actually changes the meaning of the drawing itself?


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Comic Fencing Review of Here There Be Robots

Avast, mateys! It be Talk Like A Pirate Day at The Webcomic Overlook! Should ye leave a comment on the boards today, ye must take care not to speak like a landlubber, or ye be walking the plank! (Now now, don’t be crying there. When was the last time anyone walked the plank and actually, you know, got sent straight to Davy Jones’ locker? It always be some last minute swashbuckling or some save by the hero. It be more for theatrics, says I.)

In honor of this most honorable of days, I be back at the Comic Fencing for one more time to unsheath me cutlass and do battle with the latest webcomic review that comes our way. Ah, and this be a doozey. It be a title called Here There Be Robots, and it be hosted on something that be called Random Pirate Comics. Sounds to me like it be a worthy adversary.

El Santo be reviewing Here There Be Robots. Click here, ya scalawag!

Also, on Shortpacked!, this be very sweet, methinks.

The New Medium

I don’t know how I managed to miss this, but a couple of days ago PW Beat mentioned that Marvel was going to produce their own original webcomics (here too). These include two rather lightweight-sounding titles with obvious ties to this year’s blockbusters: “Iron Man: Fast Friends” and “Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files” (with the Sam Jackson Nick Fury).

This comes on the heels of PW Beat’s previous report that periodical sales have been declining for the 7th month in a row. This is not new news, by the way. Print comic readership has been on a steady decline for a long, long time. I remember reading an interview with Spawn‘s Todd McFarlane in the 90′s mentioning that there was nothing that could be done to stop comics’ spin into irrelevancy. (This was before he went full-throttle on his admittedly successful toy business.) Some blame the ghettoization of comics to comic book shops (i.e., the direct market). Others blame the extremely lax publishing schedule as of late, as comics tend to never meet their publication dates. (The theory here is that once the comics get collected in trade paperbacks, no one will care when the single issues came out.)
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The accolades come in!

Well, after doing the interview on Comic Dish, it looks like the feedback is coming in! Ah, finally El Santo’s day has come. First up is Drowemos Eseotevahi of Exiern. You may recognize his creation as one of the center squares in the above banner for The Webcomic Overlook. (It’s the buxom lady with the ripped up dress.) It led him to this post and prompted him to write this e-mail:

So I heard you on the Dish today and a jumped over to your site to take a look. And low and behold up in the banner was an Exiern image. “Oh sweet,” I said “perhaps he’s done a review of Exiern”. Well a quick search revealed that no, no you haven’t. There was a reference to Exiern as the worst example of advertising. Then you simply pointed to YWIBAYSFB and said you agreed with every thing they said.

Wow.

I mean, wow.

Did I set your dog on fire at some point or something?

Anyway, there is one fact I would like to correct. I don’t make any money off of this comic. Last year I spend $1,724 more that I received on Exiern and associated comics. This year I have already spend 2,000 more than income.

Where does all the money go? To the artists. By contract artist gets the lion-share of the profits any extra is reinvested in commissions of wallpapers and such. I hold no allusions that I am some sort of literary genius. That I am infused a divine gift and my every excretions is a work of pure artistic brilliance. I am a hack and this is a hobby. I write little stories that amuse me and then try to find and artist with some talent to bring them to life. The artists deserve all the credit and money and I try my best to give them both. It’s my job to try insure that the artist gets a fair wage for their work. That means bringing in the most profit for them. No me.

As for the members area. No, it is really not worth the price of membership. But it is not about the members area it is about supporting the comic. The members area is a little reward for paying the artist for his brilliant work. I go into the origins of the members area on my blog:

http://exiern.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-did-we-get-here-part-1.html
http://exiern.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-did-we-get-here-part-2.html

And honestly when it comes to making money there is much more I should be doing. I should be selling t-shirts and other crap for one. But honestly I am breaking evenish now. I would rather spend my time in writing classes and such (www.writer.org is awesome by the way) in a desperate attempt to improve my skills than coming up with dumb memes to put on a shirt.

Well that’s my piece.

Sorry about your dog…

…or bike…

… or grandmother…

…or what whatever it is I set on fire to annoy you so.

Drowemos
http://www.exiern.com
http://darkreflections.exiern.com
http://www.legacycomic.com

PS: In hindsight burning down the Cherished Item, Puppy and Grandmother Emporium had brought me all sorts of trouble. I probably should have thought about that ahead of time.

Incidentally, since sarcasm is difficult to portray on the net, Drowemo’s e-mail was plainly tongue in cheek. He really set fire to my grandma while she was riding a bike while walking the dog.

I may review Exiern one day just for the sake of being a completionist (I have part of the review stored up on site and it was originally slated as Webcomic Overlook #40). But if I were really keen on completing old reviews, you’d have seen my takes on Sore Thumbs, Chugworth Academy, and Sluggy Freelance already.

So…

El Santo is on The Dish! … and more.

The folks at the Comic Dish podcast were kind enough to invite me in for an interview yesterday. However, for whatever reason, two of the normally three man crew didn’t show up, and the whole episode ended up being just Shayne and myself. Which was still pretty cool. We ended up reviewing The Warehouse manga, chatting a bit about the origins of the Webcomic Overlook, my experiences with doing a comic in college, the Nazis, and my total and utter ignorance of the Penny Arcade Expo.

I understand this might be the first time a lot of you have ever heard my voice, so just to head off some disappointment ahead of time: I don’t have a British accent, and I don’t sound like a girl. I think.

Listen to El Santo on the Comic Dish!
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Metapost: Roger Ebert on the Five-Star Rating System

So why am I posting a link to a blog posting from Roger Ebert on this here review site? This is a webcomic site, not a movie site! No doubt some you want to sit me down, pour me a nice, cold glass of milk, and say: “El Santo, webcomics are COMICS on THE WEB.”

And I’d drink that milk because it’s a particularly warm day in Seattle today, and because I need some calcium. But Ebert comments on an interesting grievance that may be of interest to the many reviewers who drop by this site: “You give out too many stars.”

Roger Ebert on giving out stars.


Really a little man jumping and clapping.

Hence, I’m posting this link because I get a lot of questions — surprise! — on why certain webcomics are ranked the way they do. Ebert discusses the topic of star ratings, and he elaborates on these nifty points:

  • Gene Siskel boiled it down: “What’s the first thing people ask you? Should I see this movie? They don’t want a speech on the director’s career. Thumbs up–yes. Thumbs down–no.”
  • Once the scent of blood is in the water, the sharks arrive. I like to write as if I’m on an empty sea. I don’t much care what others think. “The Women” scored an astonishingly low 28 score at Metacritic. “Sex and the City” scored 53. How could “The Women” be worse than SATC? See them both and tell me. I am never concerned about finding myself in the minority.
  • I have quoted countless times a sentence by the critic Robert Warshow (1917-1955), who wrote: “A man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man.” If my admiration for a movie is inspired by populism, politics, personal experience, generic conventions or even lust, I must say so. I cannot walk out of a movie that engaged me and deny that it did.
  • I cringe when people say, “How could you give that movie four stars?” I reply, “What in my review did you disagree with?” Invariably, they’re stuck for an answer. One thing I try to do is provide an accurate account of what you will see, and how I feel about it. I cannot speak for you. Any worthwhile review is subjective.

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The Webcomic Overlook #55: Jump Leads

What is it with science fiction’s obsession about getting lost?

You’d think that, a hundred years from now, scientists would’ve created something that would put GPS to shame. Or, that in a universe governed by either an interstellar federation or a corporation that controls wormhole jump points, there would hopefully be enough regulations and protocol to keep hapless starships from getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.

But no.

The Voyager, due to no small part of the Captain’s ridiculous interpretation of the Prime Directive, gets stranded 75 light years in the Delta Quadrant. The Robotech series is partially based on the Super Dimensional Fortress accidentally teleporting to the outer rims of the Solar System and the valiant crew trying to make it back to Earth. Sam Beckett bounced from body to body in Quantum Leap, clueless for the most part as to why he ended up in a certain period of time. And the family from Lost in Space … well, you get the idea.

Which bring us to the central premise of Jump Leads. The series was created by head writer Ben Paddon and an artist from Moscow who goes by the name of JjAR. Mssr. Paddon can’t take total credit, though: Jump Leads, like a continuing series, is written by a stable of writers, and Paddon, thus far, wrote the first two issues. Other writers with their names attached to the comic are Psycheverse associates Andrew Taylor, Euan Mumford (who wrote Issue 3), and Paul Varley.


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