Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Webcomic Overlook #72: Sister Claire

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Scott Kurtz recounted an unforgettable anecdote on one of Halfpixel’s Webcomic Weekly podcasts. I’m not sure which one, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to dig it up just to post a link here (says the guy who’s been updating Comixpedia like a dog on crack the last couple of days). A webcomic creator solicited Scott’s advice. She gave a barebones explanation of her concept: it was to be a story about a pregnant nun. Mssr. Kurtz thought it was a cool idea at first, and he had a few suggestions lined up about how to run with the story. The creator, though, elaborated that the nun would give birth to a robot which the nun would then ride. At that point, Kurtz, exasperated, admitted that he was at a loss as to what to suggest.

I, on the other hand, had a different reaction. It sounded more like: “Hell with you, Kurtz! That sounds like an awesome story!” Incidentally, I’m also the guy who used to own a nifty PVC of the title character in American McGee’s Alice.

OK, so the premise sounds a bit tacky, and I can think of at least 70 different ways where such a story could go off the rails… and, frankly, I was betting on it. However, the concept is, at the very least, intriguing. I vowed that if I ever found that comic, it would be treated to a full-length review here at the hallowed halls of The Webcomic Overlook.

Well, there are rumors on the net that comic in question is none other than Sister Claire, whose tagline is “Pregnant Nun? Holy crap!” It’s written and illustrated by a creator who goes by “Yamino.” While I found no evidence of the mecha-baby, I admit that the comic is still quite new. Perhaps Yamino hadn’t gotten around to it yet … or perhaps she’d decided to go in a different direction.

Anyway, cyber-tot or not, I gotta say there’s plenty of other weirdness to be found in these pages. The question, of course, is whether or not it’s going to be worth your while. Will you, dear reader, see a pregnant nun and cuss like a sailor like that tagline suggests?

Sister Claire 1
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Te Joi Of Webcomicz: Sum moar webcomicz stuf

A few items around the world of webcomics that might interest you, dear readers:

  • Looks like the reviews are in for the new Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out collection by Adam Koford. Here’s a review at Blast Magazine, and one at the AV Club (warning: link begins with picture of Superman and Lois Lane lookalikes in kinky play). Sadly, all signs indicate that this is not as fun as the original effort, which I reviewed here. That said, it does come with a foreword by John Hodgman, which all of you know as PC.
  • Canada is going crazy over Kate Beaton! First off, she’s going to be in the new MySpace Dark Horse (h/t ComixTalk) collection. Something that’s not been said yet: this might be an opening for all creators to compete for the Eisner Digital Comic Award. You may have forgotten that last year’s winner, Joss Whedon’s Sugarshock!, also came from the MySpace comics.

    Also, according to her LiveJournal, Ms. Beaton is being flooded with interviews lately. Librarian Beat, Culture Magazine, and a yet unpublished one at Canada’s weekly news mag, MacLean’s!

    (Full disclosure: The Webcomic Overlook was contacted by a reporter from MacLean’s to talk about Ms. Beaton. Not sure if it’s making it in the article, though.)

  • Speaking of MySpace Dark Horse, how much money does that make for the parent company? Probably nothing. According to editor Shawna Gore: “It’s essentially outreach. Basically what MySpace is trying to be, is the MTV of the Internet, which makes them attract younger viewers.” (h/t Robot 6.)
  • By the way, if Groening goes totally webcomics with Life In Hell (h/t ComixTalk) I will be personally blown away. I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the comic, but it was my introduction to the world of counter-culture strips.
  • Finally, The Battle of Dovecote Crest, by Hailey Bachrach with art by Bridget Underwood, was reviewed by both Ping at Webcomic Finds and Delos at ArtPatient. Judging by the sample artwork alone, the comic looks all sorts of awesome. It’s a comic about Civil war re-enactors. Man, I love comics with off-beat premises like that.

Who Are You?: An interview with T Campbell (Penny & Aggie, Divalicious!, and others)

whoareyouIf you spend any time with webcomics, chances are you’re going to run into something written or created by T Campbell. Mr. Campbell’s flagship work is the high school drama Penny & Aggie (reviewed here), which he co-created with artist Gisèle Lagacé. Yet, this comic writer has done much more: Rip & Teri, Search Engine Funnies, Cool Cat Studio, and the long-running Fans! Along with artist Amy Mebberson, he created Pop Star for the “Rising Stars of Manga” contest at TOKYOPOP, which would later become the comic known as Divalicious! T also co-created the webcomic transcription tool Oh No Robot with Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics.

I contacted T by e-mail, and he was very gracious about answering several questions I had, including a few about a project that he nowadays regrets: his book, A History of Webcomics.

T Campbell (left) in a tense hostage situation.

T Campbell (left) in a tense hostage situation.

The Webcomic Overlook: You wrote A History of Webcomics, which was published in 2006. Now, I haven’t read it, though I have followed its progenitor, the History of Online Comics essays at Comixtalk. What in the world compelled you to take on that project?

T Campbell: Idiocy? Hubris? Maybe I was just tired of being moderately respected by my peers.

Just as well that you’ve read those essays instead of the book, because they were much better-received, and, to my mind, much better. The book took the idea too far, and I wound up alienating a lot of people I respected, all for a project that I can’t even look at today. I still sort of like my old fiction, where the amateurishness gives it a goofy charm, but if I could burn every copy of that book I’d be happier and live longer.

WCO: I keep trying to imagine how you managed to compile the information for your History of Online Comics series, and I get a headache… especially when I think about the material from the earliest chapters. How in the world did you manage to gather that information?

TC: Though I looked at books and magazines, most of my research came from the Internet itself, and from interviews. (The Internet Archive is great for recovering lost information, up to a point.) If you do get a copy of the book, you’ll see it has a thick endnotes section. That’s one of the few things I still like about the book: at least I cited my sources and made it easier for someone else to do a good book when the time is right. They should have been footnotes, not endnotes, but oh well.

One of the criticisms of the book that I have come to agree with is that I didn’t rely enough on interviews. If I absolutely had to do it all over again, I would have socialized more and exercised more patience. And published around 2020.

WCO: Even though it’s only been 2 years or so since the book was published, things have changed a lot in the world of webcomics. Are you considering publishing an updated edition?

TC: Good God, no.

I was thinking about it when the book went to press, which is why it’s labeled “v1.0,” but that was when I was still deluding myself that the problems were minor.

I did a couple of webcomics-coverage projects in the years after History: the “Blowing Bubbles” podcast interviews, and an earlier version of webcomics.com. They were not earth-shattering, but they were a big improvement. But by that point, not many people cared.

These days, I’m happy to focus on scriptwriting, and readers seem happy for me to do so, too.

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