Q: Why review webcomics? Are they really worth your time?
I’m doing this mainly because, while I know a lot about comic books and comic strips, I know absolutely nothing about webcomics. Oddly enough, this puts me on par with the Eisner Awards committee, which, this year, awarded their Digital Comic prize to the small 12-page Sam & Max comic. I feel that this relative innocence gives me an advantage … a sexy advantage. In that basically I harbor no favorites nor vendettas. Webcomics will be evaluated as I first see them.
Q: And who made you an authority on webcomics. Be it God or Caesar?
Well… I’m not an authority. However, I have taken classes in cartooning and figure painting (the one where you paint nekkid people), so I at least have some artistic background.
Q: You have never drawn a webcomic! How can you possibly know the rigours of webcomics when you haven’t webcomicked a webcomic?
That’s true. I’ve never done a webcomic. However, in college, I drew a comic the old fashioned way: getting it published in the local school paper with hopes of something greater. So yes, once upon a time I did publish a comic. However, it was terrible and you will never ever ever ever ever ever EVER see it EVER again for the life of God because it was that bad. Also, I have no idea where I kept the originals. They’re around … somewhere in my trunk I think. But I’m not taking the time to dig them out. Because they were BAD.
Q: A-ha! You admit it! You’re no good at comics, thus your claim is invalid! I am the God!
Hold it there, buddy … who happens to be an alter ego of me. I claim the Roger Ebert Credibility Clause. That is, Ebert was responsible for writing the script of one of the worst movies of all time, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. however, he is today the most respected movie critic in the world. I look at it this way: Ebert was a terrible screenwriter, but he’s great at criticizing movies. He found his calling, and the real-life experience didn’t hurt, either. (Inversely, how many of you honestly think that being a good screenwriter would make you a great movie critic?) I’m not saying I’m the Ebert of webcomics, but the experience with putting together a print comic, no matter how horrible, is at least something to help me understand the trials and tribulations of those in the field.
Q: What other review work have you done?
There’s some stuff at guthwulf.com written by me. Look for a writer named “Rook.”
Q: Why do you rate things with whole integers?
Now, see… every reviewer from Roger Ebert to Nathan Rabin seems to hate the star scale. I’m the same way. I’d rather have people read their reviews and make judgements based on the writing. But … I understand why the scale is there. It’s nice shorthand, plus it helps readers decide which reviews to read. So I keep it, with one caveat: I’m sticking to whole numbers. Halves just double the scale and cause controversies: like what if I rated Generic Webcomic 4-1/2 stars and Brand X webcomic 4 stars? Why people would be wondering why one is 1/2 star better than the other, and then the crying starts. I don’t want people to cry, so there you go.
Q: Will you ever rate anything a 1 (or a 0)?
As of this writing … yes, I am reading a couple of webcomics that fall in that range. Problem is, these comics are such a bear to read that I’m having a hard time motivating myself to finish it. (That’s the true trait of a bad webcomic, right? The inability to progress?) This is probably the biggest reason I haven’t rated any webcomic that low yet. Civility is only a minor factor. I guess I could do a write-up now, but I think I owe it to the author to read their stuff beginning to end in case it managed to improve somewhere, thus staying my blade.
Q: So what’s a webcomic? Is Diesel Sweeties still a webcomic since it’s now published in a print format? How about Pibgorn?
Yes. The first got its start on the web, and the second is on the web only. There’s definitely going to be a lot of vague overlap. Lethargic Lad, for example, was printed in comic book form initially, but is now exclusive to the web. It’s the nature of the beast: webcomics are still a young, burgeoning format, and there will be new challenges popping up all the time.
Q: So why did you decide to create yet another webcomic review site, anyway?
I was inspired by John Solomon’s now defunct “Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad” site. (A pity, that. I felt it was just gaining steam. And detractors of the site should note: it probably did a lot in increasing the exposure of the webcomics it was lampooning.) I wanted to do something similar, but kinder. From the feedback I’ve been getting, I think I’m doing a good job so far.
Q: What’s that one quote from Ratatouille about critics?
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”
Why do you ask?
Q: Oh, nothing.
Q: Why are you such a dead sexy beast?