Monthly Archives: July 2009
Apparently, there’s a huge comic to-do in San Diego that every comic creator seems to be going wild over. Being a horrible shut-in, I’m not too much a fan of being located in a throng of sweaty, germ-filled people. Not a fan of San Diego either, having been there too often and being bored by relatives most of the time. (If you are going, though … there’s an awesome fish taco place about 2 miles north of the Mexican border.)
Still, The Webcomic Overlook is somewhat amused by a tradition that some folks are looking to revive: the Sunday funnies section. Is syndication that old thing that’s brand new again?
- Kotaku.com begins its tradition of keeping Sunday funnies alive … by showcasing the latest in video game webcomics! It’s sort of a narrow focused effort (and if Owen Good follows up on posting everyone’s favorite video game comics, the page may soon number as much as the sands on the beach), but I do appreciate the spirit. Even if it DOES inadvertently spur an new wave of video game webcomics for people hungry for the publicity. (h/t Robot 6)
- Speaking of the agenda to keep video game webcomics alive, Xaviar Xerexes at ComixTalk informs us there’s an opening at the WiiSpace website for yet another video game webcomic. If I were them, I’d see if I could get Katie Tiedrich of Awkward Zombie. You’d be rolling in Smash Brothers-centric comics, WiiSpace!
- Fleen mentions that about twenty webcomics are putting together a unified front at The San Diego Comic Con by publishing a four-page, full color sampler. I’m not sure who’s all in it, but the sample picture shows Shortpacked! and Diesel Sweeties. Sounds like a fairly effective marketing tactic, if you ask me.
- KC Green wraps up his first story about The Anime Club at The Gun Show. If you haven’t yet read this story about four friends torn asunder over animes, you can start here.
- As part of the ongoing San Diego Comic Con festivities, the AV Club interviews Michael Kupperman, he of Snake ‘N Bacon, Tales Designed to Thrizzle, and the mkupperman Twitter (where he gets quite artsy, apparently). My favorite entry:
AVC: There can be sort of a fine line between the Dadaist or situationist free-association approach, and being simply incoherent. How do you negotiate that?
MK: That’s a tough one. I’d say I keep an eye on that line and try not to step over into it. I came out of first a fine arts background and then underground comics, so certainly there have been choices that I’ve made in my approach along the way, and one of the first was to try to be funny rather than bizarre. Certainly I enjoy the outré and I enjoy artistic comics and surrealism in comics very much. But the decision I made and have stuck with and refined was the decision to try to be funny and communicate humor. Once you put that ahead of everything else, it resolves those other questions for you.
- The Thought Bubble blog has published the Best of The Web list, highlighting favorite webcomics (both active and inactive). Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.
- The Beat takes a look at Leigh Kellogg, artist of Wayfarer’s Moon (reviewed here) and a nominee for the Russ Manning Award for Most Talented Newcomer. The award will be presented as part of the Eisner Award ceremonies at the San Diego Comic Con.
- Fellow blogger Bengo seems to be at the end of the road with his Floating Lightbulb webcomic blog. Best of luck to him and his wife on whatever they have planned next.
And now, your Aishwarya Rai Tasteful Picture of the Day. Did you know Ms. Rai once traveled to the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world at 13,000 ft above sea level, to boost the morales of Indian infantrymen? It’s true!
PS Brigid Alverson has put together a very handy list of activities at the San Diego Comic Con for webcomic fans. Check it out at Robot 6.
It’s a shame that the Grindhouse movie entered and left theaters so quickly. I’m too young to know what real grindhouse movies looked like, so I would’ve appreciated the experience. Now all we have are two separate DVDs for Planet Terror and Death Race… though everyone who’s seen all of them tells me that the original theatrical release was the superior version.
I guess what I like most about grindhouse is the poster designs. One of my favorite SomethingAwful Photoshop Phridays was the one that re-imagined famous movies as grindhouse posters. The aesthetic is partially reflected in the site redesign. Hell, I spent the weekend designing an online invite for my brother-in-law’s bachelor party, all done up in a font called “Feast of Flesh” and rendered in half-tone with images looking like they were clipped out of the local newspaper.
Today’s review focuses on a comic that seems to be the modern embodiment of a grindhouse film, steeped in viscera, horror, and gratuitous full-frontal nudity. Oh yes, there will be boobs. So many boobs that eventually you mind tricks you into a trance and you have to rind yourself that boobs in comics is kinda risque. It’s impossible to keep your mind out of the gutter after you’ve finished reading Locus. Now it ain’t no Oglaf or Sexy Losers; if Locus were a movie, it would likely score an R rating rather than a hard NC-17 or X. However, I feel I should warn you that everything after this paragraph should be considered NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Click on links at your own risk.
It’s Friday, it’s time for some webcomics talk, and I’m here to be your personal concierge! Before you get your weekend started, here are a few items that’ll make ya go “hmmmm”:
- An interview with the guys of Let’s Be Friends Again (reviewed here) at Living Between Wednesdays. Finally, we get the answer to a question that’s been haunting me for days:
So how about those Harvey Award nominations? Do you think NASCAR Heroes #5 will sweep?
Chris: Imagine us both answering ‘Yes’ in unison.
Curt: YES. If it wins, I think we deserve full credit. That whole thing is ridiculous, but if everybody was working within the system I can’t see anybody blaming a publisher for trying their best to get awareness of their comic out.
- Angry Aussie wonders when your website should ever have a Flash intro. In a follow-up post, Mr. Aussie mentions that a reader pointed out that his decision-making flowchart bore a strong resemblance to a Toothpaste for Dinner comic about pan flutes. Aussie insists the resemblance is purely coincidental. In all likelihood, he’s probably telling the truth; I just wanted an excuse to post that comic panel.
- To celebrate the rise of vampire literature in general, Ces turns Medium Large into the All-Nosferatu Edition! … What, that’s supposed to be Lord Voldemort? Who’s that guy?
- I don’t know how I missed this: Brigid Alverson over at Robot 6 reviews Dylan Meconis’ Family Man, that historical, supernatural webcomic about that guy with the huge schnozz. I’ve actually been fairly curious about the comic, and Ms. Alverson lays out her thoughts very matter-of-factly. Also, don’t miss her interview with Gina Biggs of Red String.
- Speaking of which, Tangents also reviews Red String and its recent senses-shattering development that promises to sever the very bonds of fate! Also, if you wanted to follow up on my Girl Genius review, Rob also has a good write-up regarding the back-up stories.
- Over at webcomics.com, Brad Guigar recently linked to Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of a Radical Price. I have been meaning to comment on this for a while, only that I have no idea what to think of it. (My business degree is useless! USELESS!!!!) The article has been languishing in my blog for two weeks now. Anyway, I’ll give you a few handly links regarding the debate and you can make you your own mind:
- Chris Anderson, Wired.com editor and author of Free, believes that all information has a right to be free. At least one business model, “advertising,” comes very close to the one independent webcomic publishers are following nowadays. His theory is that the cost of technology (namely bandwidth) is approaching zero, so there’s no excuse to give information away… provided you have the right business model.
- Malcolm Gladwell of The New Yorker magazine, differs, mainly arguing that there will always be a cost associated with the transmittal of information. Gladwell especially calls Anderson out on his lionization of YouTube (which will actually be a huge profit loss to Google and not just some magical provider of free content).
- The AV Club review of the book, which concludes that Anderson cannot back up his own suggestions.
This has very strong implications for the webcomic industry, no doubt. Word of warning: several of the articles include the word “freemium,” and I seriously want to deliver a savage beating to the person who coined that term.
- Incidentally, I just found out this week that, not only was the Mars Rover Spirit stuck in a volcano, it also has a Twitter. It turns out that it’s the NASA guys updating the status on the Mars Rover, and not actually the Mars Rover twittering from space. DISAPPOINTED! Anyway, major props to the NASA guys for operating a malfunctioning robot that managed to last 20 times past its original mission life!
Want more Aishwarya Rai, former Miss India World? You got it, dude!
Some of my ideas for this site never pan out. A few weeks back, I had played around with doing a theme week. Specifically it was going to be Girl Power Week. (Motto: “Girls rule, boys drool!” Eh heh heh … so true.) A marathon session, reviewing webcomics with sassy, brassy ladies in the lead role! I even had a logo designed and an intro paragraph written (which can be found in The Black Cherry Bombshells review. OK, so it took me all of 3 minutes from googling “gurren lagann yoko” to slapping the logo together in photoshop. But still!
But, you know, actually finding the time to read webcomics and write about them takes forever. I finished about two-thirds of Girl Power Week: along with The Black Cherry Bombshells, I also finished the Earthsong review. But the third comic was too long to do properly. And now here we are, almost a month later.
More than one Webcomic Overlook reader has enthusiastically requested that I take a look at this comic. It’s one of the few comics set in the steampunk framework and does it right. It’s been nominated for Hugo Awards and Eisner Awards, and has won WCCAs and Squiddy Awards (whatever the hell that is). It’s the comic about “Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!”
Yup, you guessed it. The Webcomic Overlook finally reviews the eminent, notable, and prestigious Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio. The webcomic takes a lot of surprise twists and turns, so I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. However, there will be some revelations (minor ones, I hope), so proceed reading this review at your own risk.
Warren Ellis (who created the webcomic FreakAngels, among other things), gave a speech at Dundee University. He claims its was written in chickenscratch … but, as Abraham Lincoln could attest, sometimes the most timeless and memorable speeches come from concise yet powerful ideas that just mentally congeal into perfect nuggets of wisdom. For Ellis, comics are a superior medium. Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve worked in television, and there are a hundred people between you and the audience. I’ve worked in film, and there are a thousand people between you and the audience. In comics, there’s me and an artist, presenting our stories to you without filters or significant hurdles, in a cheap, simple, portable form. Comics are a mature technology. Their control of time — provided you’re not intent on reversing universes (or even if you are) — makes them the best educational tool in the world. Hell, intelligence agencies have used comics to teach people how to dissent and perform sabotage.
When done right, comics are a cognitive whetstone, providing two or three or more different but entangled streams of information in a single panel. Processing what you’re being shown, along with what’s being said, along with what you’re being told, in conjunction with the shifting multiple velocities of imaginary time, and the action of the space between panels that Scott McCloud defines as closure… Comics require a little more of your brain than other visual media. They should just hand them out to being to stave off Alzheimer’s.
Although I think a headline of “Grant Morrison staves off dementia” might be a little premature.
The line I always quote in talks like these, the one I want you to take away with you, is something the comics writer Harvey Pekar said: “Comics are just words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures.”
He also talks about doing brown acid with Grant Morrison, which would be a major no-no if he was giving an address at an American university… unless it was Evergreen State College.
(h/t Robot 6.)
Well, time for The Joy of Webcomics to get back to its roots. This entry was originally set up to look at a smattering of interesting comics, and somehow I lost my way. Well, no more! This Joy of Webcomics will be all about sampling digital comics that make our day just a little bit more joyous.
- First, though, a news item. The Oklahoman talks to David Gallaher about High Moon. How did the state where corn grows as high as an elephant’s eye influence the western comic?
“When it came to developing the second season, I wanted to do something that felt authentic to me,” Gallaher said. “The first thing that came to mind were my experiences in Oklahoma. I thought about the geography, the Arbuckle mountain range, all-black towns like Langston, and everything developed from there.”
Also, Gallaher gives a shout-out to the digital format:
Creating for the Web first offers many advantages, Gallaher said.
“From a creative standpoint, it’s pretty similar. We have to keep the story fun, fast, engaging and compelling,” Gallaher said. “But, in terms of distribution, the Web offers an incredible place to bring your ideas to market without the financial burden and liability that comes with print.”
- Over at Nedroid, Reginald and Beartato discover what it really means to discover the greatest treasure.
- Is Winston Rowntree (not “Rountree,” as was widely suspected) doing a videogame comic now? Winston, HOW COULD YOU?!?!? Well, I’ll forgive you, just this once. Subnormality does a tribute to Tetris.
- Even wonder what the Bronte Sisters talked about on their free time? Kate Beaton did. It’s true: no one likes Anne Bronte.
- There’s been some talk about negative webcomic reviews lately. This gives me an opportune time to mention the Bad Webcomic Wiki. I’m not involved with it personally, though if you read their Earthsong and Boss Noodle reviews, the similarities to my own conclusions may have you wondering if I ghostwrote the thing. The wiki is sort of a successor to John Solomon’s site, though not as witty or as well-written. Still, for fans of vicious reviews, this might be a place to check out.
- Meanwhile, Dresden Codak updates, and Kimiko Ross takes a look at a secret message imprinted in our genetic codes.
- They say that in space, no one can hear you blog. Internet access is generally unavailable to our fine space men and space women. But things may be changing! According to this Popular Science article, modifications are being added to the ISS to make the internet possible! Finally, webcomics and The Webcomic Overlook will be available to astronauts!
And now your Aishwarya Rai Tasteful Picture of the Day. Did you know that Ms. Rai was named the Second Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Roger Ebert? It’s true! And who was the most beautiful woman in the world? Aishwarya Rai, of course. Gee, wonder what his wife must’ve thought about that one.