Monthly Archives: February 2012
Have you ever had a Skippy Peanut Butter?
If you were a child growing up in the United States, you probably have. They come in varieties like Creamy, Super Chunk, and Natural Creamy with Honey. You can use Skippy in many things like Asian Spinach Salad, Big E. Quesadillas, and Peanut Butter & Honey Sushi. One serving size of the Creamy Skippy (roughly 2 tablespoons) provides with with 190 calories, 150 mg of sodium, 16 g of fat, and 20% of your daily requirement of Niacin. Skippy Peanut Butter was the primary sponsor for the Dennis the Menace TV show, and had ads illustrated by Norman Rockwell.
Skippy is also the current owner of the no-doubt much coveted web address of peanutbutter.com. But why is it called “Skippy”? The history on the official site does not touch upon it, going instead for the rather vague “Rosefield Packing Company obtains trademark registration for Skippy peanut butter in all 48 states and Hawaii.”
That’s because Skippy was named after a cartoon character. The history about how the company picked up that brand name is a sordid tale of tax evasion, copyright infringement, and charges of insanity.
No one really talks about RPG/MMORPG webcomics, even though I’ve encountered, literally, a poo-pile of them. 8-Bit Theater. Darths & Droids. Order of the Stick. Erfworld. The Noob. Ding!
Maybe it’s because the source material is not easily categorized. I mean, there’s debate going on whether MMORPGs (or, as Yahtzee Croshaw calls ‘em, “muhmorpergers”) are even games, since they’re really more about tedious grinding and chat room socializing. So it feels really weird to call an MMORPG webcomic a “gaming comic.”
Then there’s the whole dual nature of RPGs where characters often are two characters. There’s the character of the person in the game, which is usually a fantasy race like an elf, a dwarf, an orc, or a bard. And then there’s the flipside… the character in real life. Can the writer reconcile the fictional fantasy life with the real world? It’s not impossible. South Park‘s World of Warcraft episode, I think, did a good job portraying the stakes on both sides.
Many comics choose to ignore the duality. Not Jen Brazas’ Mystic Revolution, where the role-playping aspect is called out continually. Does it work as a webcomic? Let’s find out.
Skullkickers, written by Jim Zubkavich (a.k.a. “Jim Zub”) and illustrated by Chris Stevens, Edwin Huang and a team of artists has been getting quite a bit of press lately. Robot 6 had a recent piece on how it swiftly reached 500k page views (or 38,000 unique readers) in the span of a month. Skullkickers already had debuted in print, but it seems to be gaining an online following after back issues were posted on Keenspot for free.
Our two amoral leads — a bald dude and a dwarf — fight monsters for money and get in trouble with the local law when they do so. The lovely art has a painterly Heavy Metal feel to it: colorful and keenly detailed at the same time. Skullkickers is also light on plot, aiming instead for action sequences and slapstick humor. Which is fine, because Jim Zub and his team do action and comedy really well. It’s a fun comic for folks who just want to see dudes punch out another dude. But really, would you expect anything less from a comic called Skullkickers?
Earlier today, I did a presentation about webcomics (and a little comics history) for Scott King’s class on cartooning. (Mr. King is the creator behind Holiday Wars) ebcomics (and a little bit of comics history). I just wanted to say thanks for inviting me and letting me drone on and stuff. It was fun.
Tommie Kelly wrote me about his recent short webcomic entitled Ouija. It’s a fairly simple horror story. It’s presented through Panelplay… a Flash-type interface that’s low on the glitz… and that’s alright by me. What it does is focus on single panels that don’t vary much in the way of composition. The basically click-though limited animation gives the reader a slight sense of movement, something that adds to the dreamy, ominous atmopshere.
Man, if nerds are known for one thing it’s … not … being … able … to shut … the hell … up. Seriously, man, check out some of the comments posted this AV Club review of the game Borderlands. You’d think that, by not liking a video game, someone just insulted their religion. I’m sure pretty much the rest of you can come up with your own examples… including, um, several reviews posted on this very site.
So it’s time to channel that apoplectic manchild within, because today we take a look at a comic about nerds, rage, and the consequences thereof. It’s Andy Kluthe’s webcomic, Nerd Rage, where nerds are more ragin’ than Cajuns.