Webcomic Overlook’s Greatest Trivial Moments of 2008
Ah, 2008. It may seem a year just like any other. I mean, sure, the US elected its first African American President after, like, two years of campaigning. Meanwhile, a peppy governor from Alaska stole our hearts.
And then there were the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where a big-eared man taught us he could swim pretty fast, a Jamaican fellow lived up to his awesome surname of Bolt, and China shamed the world with its absolutely ginormous opening & closing ceremonies.
And there was a devastating earthquake months prior, too.
And the financial giants of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ushered in a recession, while bank giant Washington Mutual ceased to exist and the government issued a record bail-out, which automakers were eager to get a piece of the pie.
And the lowly New York Giants managed to topple the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
But how about the big things to happen in webcomics? OK, so this site is mainly an informal blog, so it’s not going to cover the really momentous occasions. Such as R. Stevens’ decision to pull Diesel Sweeties from newsprint, striking a salvo for the digital format. Or Half Pixel’s decision to pick up the webcomics.com domain from T. Campbell. Nor Marvel Comics’ huge push into the digital world, causing PW Beat’s Heidi MacDonald to declare that “the end of the pamphlet draws ever nigh.”
Nah, that would make this humble little blog some sort of authority on the subject, which it is not. I’ll let the big dogs cover those. This list focuses on smaller events, things that may not affect the business as a whole, but were probably important to someone. Things that will be forgotten if Megatokyo suddenly gets animated by Gainax or Sluggy Freelance gets mentioned on, say, The Big Bang Theory. Things that are more trivial.
Thus, the Webcomic Overlook’s Greatest Trivial Moments of 2008!
(NOTE: Yeah, I know this is a tad early, but you’re crazy to think if I’ll be compiling this list over friggin’ Christmas holiday season. The first week of December is as good a time as any.)
The Great Debate About Critics
PvP creator Scott Kurtz gets in an online debate about the role of critics with Johanna Draper Carlson of comicsworthreading.com. At its root is Kurtz’s assertation that criticism is not an art. The debate manages to escalate into a drama bomb of epic proportions, resonating to several corners of the webcomic community and eventually becoming a topic on the Webcomic Weekly podcast. So is criticism an art? The question may never be answered.
Yet, when you think about it, it’s not that silly of a question. 2008 also marks the year where Ebert and Roeper retired from “At the Movies,” and their show was turned into a Hollywood promo show. On his own blog, Ebert has been discussing why criticism is, in fact, an important and swiftly disappearing role in society as celeb-worshipers become loathe to antagonizing the powers that be. Let’s not forget that 2008 still stood in the wake of Jeff Gerstmann’s firing at GameSpot for (allegedly) daring to write a bad review for a game published by a major GameSpot sponsor.
While all sides seem to have arrived at an uneasy truce, I think that this is a debate that deserves revisiting.
Best thing to come out of this debate, by the way? An anecdote Kurtz relates to in Webcomic Weekly, the Lost Episode (check around the 40:00 minute mark). Scott is helped by a very friendly young woman at the Baltimore ComiCon. She’s so nice that Scott gushes about her to his friend and Half Pixel running mate, Kris Straub. Kris then reveals her name. Who is it? You guessed it… Johanna Draper Carlson.
And now you know… the rest of the story.
Most Touching/Affecting Webcomic of the Year
Speaking of the true list of most monumentous events of 2008, here’s a comic that deals, head on, with the year’s worst tragedy. Coco Wang’s China Earthquake Strips. They are sometimes funny, like the story about how workers tried to evacuate some spooked pandas. For the most part, though, the comic contains the saddest, most personal, and most honest sequences ever illustrated.
Best Pun of the Year
I’m still bowled over by Brad Guigar’s “Phenomenal Lass” in Evil Inc. Sorry. I’m just a giggling teenager at heart.
The End of Hob?
After what seems like a few decades of set-up, Dresden Codak‘s Hob storyline finally ends. There were a few times, like when Kimiko Ross morphed into an angel or when the universe imploded on itself, that I was certain that the story was done.
But nope! This time the ending is for real! So… can anyone explain any of it to me? Or was this one of those mind control experiments where you tend to remember certain fidgety details — like those kids in matching lightning bolt shirts — only to realize that your memory’s wiped clean?
It all smacks of a “mind-blowing” anime ending (see: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Metropolis, RahXephon… pretty much all of them) where the final details are left vague an inexplicable to seem more monumental yet only leave the reader with a vague sense of unpleasantness.
This Year’s Companion Cube/300/Thing That All Webcomic Artists Seemed Compelled To Chime On
I know lately it’s been all about the Twilight hate, right? But… where were you when Gary Gygax died? Incidentally, if I ever see another “Why so serious?” comic again, it will be too soon.
The Webcomic Community Event of the Year
No one in the webcomics community is more loved than Tim Buckley. No one. Consider when, in his comic Ctrl+Alt+Del, his main female character, Lilah, suffered a miscarriage. Now, the more cynical among you might dismiss this was a cop-out, since Buckley seemed to have no idea how to realistically handle childbirth, or, indeed, the presence of a child, in a comic where characters prattle endlessly about Xboxes. For shame. Other webcomic artists and webcomic-like media rallied around the heart-breaking event to show their undying support. God bless you, Tim Buckley. God bless you for showing us that miscarriages are often much harder on the woman than the man.