Daily Archives: August 20, 2009

The Webcomic Overlook #95: Legend of Bill

WCO-big-review

The Sword and Sorcery fantasy subgenre began in the mind of a troubled young Texan named Robert E. Howard. He peppered his stories with aspect of his life. Growing up in the 1900′s, he witnessed the transformation of his state from a wild frontier to industrialized oil towns. He saw the anger and loss felt by disillusioned former Confederates, still bitter about losing the Civil War. He heard myths and legends passed down by his grandmother and ex-slaves. These elements came together in stories of one Conan the Barbarian, a big bruiser from the Far North who loves lusty wenches and despises evil wizards.

After Howard, several authors followed his template. Fritz Leiber (who actually popularized the term “Sword and Sorcery”) attempted to humanized its protagonists with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series. Michael Moorcock proved that scrawny albinos built like Iggy Pop could attract an audience with his Elric novels. And Marion Zimmer Bradley proved that the ladies could be just as kick-ass in her Sword and Sorceress anthology.

Yet the genre has always been ripe for parody. I mean, we’re talking about stories where beefy dudes regularly walk around shirtless, hot warrior babes rush into battle in skimpy outfits, warriors have unpronounceable alphabet soup names like “Grignr,” and the prose is so tortured* that Amnesty International is filing formal complaints. Yet everything is taken deadly seriously, like their pulp paperbacks were King James Bibles or something. Sergio Aragonés and Dave Sim got their licks back in the day. It’s only natural that webcomics got in on the action as well.

Verily, we have already laid our eyes upon several webcomics spoofing the venerable swords and sorcery genre. Among their honored ranks are Skadi (reviewed here), Dawn of Time (reviewed here), and Gastrophobia (reviewed here). So powerful is the allure of the female barbarian that the one presented today shall mark the first, and hopefully not last, day we visit a comic featuring a lead of the male gender. For today we shall review Legend of Bill, a webcomic formed from the very fingers of David Reddick. Will Crom smile upon his efforts? Or shall he see this webcomic driven before him?

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The Dog Days of Joy of Webcomics

joyofwebcomicsAmidst all reminders, like back-to-school sales and the dawn of Oscar-bait films in our multiplexes, that summer must one day end. So, put away the air conditioner that you hastily bought at Lowes the one day the temperatures crept over 100. Scramble to finish that 1000 novel that you were supposed to finish for summer reading. Meanwhile, I’ll be right here, bringing you the weekly scrapbook of webcomic-related news from around the internet.

  • Brace yourselves: the internet has just been given a huge influx of cartoon teenagers with huge doe eyes, impossibly smooth skin, and the heightened propensity to suffer nosebleeds. Tokyopop, the publisher of imported and original manga series, has gone through some major restructuring. Brigid Alverson reports that most of the series will go online.

    Brigid Alverson: Why did you decide to go this route? Why does it make sense from a marketing perspective?

    Marco Pavia: About a year ago, when we restructured the company due to the economy, we told the artists and writers for these series that we wanted to publish their continuing volumes online to get them in front of hundreds of thousands of manga fans. The book retail market was having its challenges— at the time, booksellers and publishers were describing it as the worst retailing environment in memory—and in most cases, bookstores were taking in very few copies or skipping the next volume of a series entirely…and they were also returning books in droves. Last month at Comic-Con, we invited our creators to a summit, at which we let them know we’d begin to serialize these series on TOKYOPOP.com, which has become a destination to enjoy comics, from our published series to user-generated content. We want to continue to give fans access to these talented creators and storytellers.

    Brigid: Which comics will go online?

    Marco: Continuing volumes of Psy*Comm and Boys of Summer will start the online serialization, and we’ll continue with Earthlight in early 2010. Other series on the schedule include—in no particular order—Afterlife, Grand Theft Galaxy, Dark Moon Diary, Pantheon High, Project DOA, We Shadows, Undertown, Gyakushu. There will be others, too—I’m sure I’m leaving some out—and we’ll update the schedule in the coming months.

  • Josh Neufeld goes on tour to promote A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge (reviewed here), which just became available in book form. Important piece for y’all in the Pacific Northwest:

    October 8–11: I will be a guest of Portland’s Wordstock Literary Festival, “the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest.” Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon.

  • The Halfpixel guys are starting up something called Webcomics.com University.

    Fans of our book How To Make Webcomics, and its sister site, Webcomics.com will be interested to hear that we’re starting a brand new live stream called Webcomics.com University.

    Our hope with Webcomics University is to feature in depth lectures from comic pros, bringing you their favorite tips, tricks, techniques, and thoughts on making Webcomics.

    I’ll be starting things off with our inagural episode, this Friday at 9pm central time. The show will be broadcast over my Ustream.tv channel. Bookmark my page or watch right here at PvPonline.com or Webcomics.com Friday night.

    I think this is a good idea; it’s basically mentoring in the Digital Age. Aspiring artists who have the time and money should still enroll in classes at a local art school to learn the fundamentals, though. Watching demonstrations is nice, but direct interaction with a teacher is always better.

  • Over at MPD57, Rob Berry takes a look at A Stinking Corpse, which is apparently a comic that features big butts. He also comments on the difference between comics and pin-ups, and how a simpler style can be more effective than a series of Dore-esque illustrations. (Among the examples of “good comics” are panels drawn by Chris Ware and Barry Windsor-Smith). The sample art for A Stinking Corpse features bare buttocks and some topless nudity, so it’s probably Not Safe For Work.
  • This Week in Webcomics interviews Lemuel Pew and Aric McKeown of Blank It! Comics. In comic form! I just skimmed through it this morning and I have to say… I think Jackson and Aric are dopplegangers.
  • There’s an interview with Ryan Burton, writer of The Stephenie Meyer comic, where he reveals that the comic is going to be narrated … by Dracula?!?!

    You have been quoted as saying that a very recognizable vampire will be narrator, I’m guessing Edward. I don’t know if you can confirm this, but did you
    try and keep the narration as close to this characters style as possible? If so, examples?

    RB: “Well, I’ll give you a hint: it’s not who you think it is. I know there are lots and lots and lots (lots of lots) of fans who want it to be a certain vampire, but that’s Stephenie’s vampire, isn’t it? I can’t steal him. So we’re dealing with a worldly vampire in our story; someone much more menacing. Someone who’s been around for a bit longer. That might be the biggest hint I can give you…”

    Admittedly, the interview is rather coy about the subject though. Who knows… maybe it’s Blacula. Or Vampire Hammurabi. (h/t Robot 6.)

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