Monthly Archives: December 2009

Metapost: The 15 Worst Comics of the Decade

Apologies for not being able to do any posts lately. It’s been a ridiculously busy week.

Anyway, while you’re twiddling your thumbs out there in internet world, check out Comics Alliance’s excellent list of The 15 Worst Comics of The Decade. Good Lord, does this list bring back painful memories.

Sue Dibny raped and murdered?

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver incest?

Gwen Stacy’s grown up daughter making the moves on Peter Parker, who she thinks is her dad?

Sexy Aunt May?

Come to think of it, the 00’s was a terrible time to be a Spider-Man fan (not counting the movies or Ultimate Spider-Man). Which was a shame since the 90’s weren’t a hot time for the webslinger either.

(h/t The Beat)

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Come see the Roundtable

I’m a bit late on posting this (just came back last night from a long interstate roadtrip up and down some snow covered mountains), but when you get a chance, check out Comixtalk’s End of the Year Roundtable.

The chat involves luminaries like Gary Tyrrell from FLEEN, Delos Woodruff from ArtPatient, Brigid Alverson from Robot 6 and Paperless Comics, and Johanna Draper Carlson from Comics Worth Reading. Also some ridiculous joker named “El Santo” somehow got included on the roster. Come see what people who read webcomics thought of the year! And find out my prediction for the ultimate fate of Bad Machinery.

Webcomics for a good cause: Starthrower in Haiti

This Christmas, rather than wracking your head over whether to sink your money into a Droid smartphone or a Blu-ray player or a Burberry scarf, how about giving a small gift to someone in the world that would really change their life? That’s what Daniel Lafrance over at Starthrower in Haiti is doing.

From the site:

Hi, my name is Daniel Lafrance and I’m doing this webcomic to raise funds to sponsor young Haitians adults for high school education.

$600 gives one Haitian the chance to go to high school for a year. This sponsorship is provided by the Starthrower Foundation and includes school fees, school supplies, uniforms including shoes, socks, underwear, transportation if necessary,tutoring, drop in centre, hygiene products, medical and dental support, potable water and when available food sacks.

I’m also creating this webcomic to raise awareness of the great work the Starthrower Foundation is doing in Haiti. I was drawn to them because of the philosophy behind their actions – they seek SOCIAL JUSTICE, not just charity. They are a small foundation with no big money sponsors and they rely on donations from people like you and me to make a real difference in the lives of the people they serve. They provide financial support for more than a hundred Haitians who want an education. Due to limited funds however, they cannot provide sponsorship for education to all who come.

Donations are accomplished through CanadaHelps, “Canada’s only donation portal that provides access to all of Canada’s 80,000 charities, from national organizations like national cancer charities to smaller groups like local animal shelters and soup kitchens.” FYI, donations are quantified in Canadian dollars, and you’re going to need at least a credit card. (There was not an option for Paypal.)

Starthrower in Haiti is based on a story written in 1969 by anthropologist Loren Eiseley. Like the original, the webcomic begins with a man observing someone, a boy, throwing starfish into the sea.

“Surely you realize there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish,” the observer says. “You’ll never throw them all back, there are too many! You can’t possibly make a difference!”

“It made a difference for that one,” the boy replies.

The illustrations of Starthrower in Haiti are lovely, and the story has a soul. Check it out some time, and think, perhaps, about opening your heart and sending a child off to a brighter future.

Why Captain Nihilist reviews the “big” webcomics

A long, long time ago (e.g., two months ago), I promised to do a piece on “Why review webcomics at all?” I turned out to be a more massive project than I realized, and The Webcomic Overlook Central, it turns out, does not employ enough scribes, researchers, and eunuchs to tackle the question in one piece. So, as a way to make this go down easy, I’m breaking the main question into a smaller question.

Mainly this: “Captain Nihilist, shouldn’t you only review webcomics that don’t get much exposure?”

Perfectly reflecting this way of thinking is a comment from Koltreg over at Nerding Blog Jamboree (h/t Art Patient). In the wake of the Jeph Jacques “State of the Webcomics Union” piece, he posted the following:

As for the jab at webcomics bloggers, well … as ironic as it may be, I agree that there’s no real value in writing webcomics reviews other than my ego, as Scott Smith pointed out. Reviews seem to offer little to nothing of value to most readers, except for the one thing Jacques seems to forget: reviews can send readers to new webcomics they might not otherwise discover. The problem is that to my knowledge there are no major webcomic blogs with wide readerships. There are just blogs like mine that are read by small pools of people. Approximately ten people, in my case. If I gave up though, I’d do the opposite of what I need to do – practice my critical-analytical thinking and writing skills.. I am a better writer I was before and as long as you are supportive, there is nothing wrong with writing about webcomics.

Now, according to Koltreg, the most important part of reviews is to send readers to underexposed webcomics.

This is actually a very noble aim. I mean, does the world need another person gushing about how much he loves Penny Arcade? Do we need yet another person saying why xkcd is the greatest webcomic of the century? Isn’t ragging on Ctrl+Alt+Delete just getting a wee bit tired? Wouldn’t you rather hear something new?

I applaud all bloggers who live by this code. I’ve encountered quite a few, in fact, have expressed the same sentiment as Koltreg.

This site, though, will go ahead reviewing the “major” webcomics. And here are my reasons.
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The Webcomic Overlook #101: Azure

As the month transitions from summer to fall and eventually winter, we’re caught up in an absolutely magical mood. All across the country, people start putting up decorations and turning on tiny lights to give beauty to the night. At the same time, we begin to wonder: wouldn’t it be cool if the world ended right now?

My pet theory is that this hunger for post-apocalyptic imagery is fueled, in part, by childhood fears that the end of the calendar year coincides with the end of the world. (Laugh all you want about childhood innocence, but is this really so different than the current 2012 mania?) Hollywood is only happy to oblige. During the Christmas season, movie theaters are filled with end of the world scenarios like I Am Legend, The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, and The Day After Tomorrow, which laughably featured a first-person view of killer cold.

This year is no different. Blockbuster movie buffs can thrill to the collapse of the world in 2012. On the other hand, those with more art-house sensibilities who look down upon people who enjoy mindless orgies of explosions can bathe in the more muted desperation of The Road. See? You CAN be a hipster AND an end times enthusiast!

So it should be no surprise that I’m kicking off December with a webcomic that foresees the end of the world as we know it. It’s an offering from Zuda Comics called Azure, a webcomic written and illustrated by Dan Govar. Azure is set in a world where the polar ice caps have melted and most of the world is under the waves of a new globe-spanning ocean.


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