Daily Archives: January 29, 2010

Joy of Webcomics 2010

Wrapping up Friday with some tidbits from around the World Wide Web:

  • I’d heard of Axe Cop, the webcomic based on a 5-year-old’s stories, but I hadn’t realized that it was part of an interesting phenomenon where the comic was passed, word of mouth through Twitter. The synopsis provided by Robot 6 sounds fascinating:

    One look at its genuinely childlike imagination, action and sense of humor — my favorite bit is when a guitar-wielding supervillain called Bad Santa is defeated when another character gains his powers and becomes Good Bad Santa — seems to have been all it took for the twitterati to get hooked, no doubt recalling all their own afternoons spent making up stories and playing hero in backyards and basements. Indeed, the site has been fairly groaning under the collective interest of the Internet; it was completely down last night, and the strip’s image loading has slowed to a crawl as of this writing.

  • In some more Robot 6 news (and boy are they full of webcomic news today), a new charcoal-drawn webcomics comes to life courtesy of Mark Siegel, the editorial director of First Second Books. It’s called Sailor Twain, or the Mermaid in the Hudson.

    “It is 1887,” Siegel told Publishers Weekly, “and the depths of the Hudson River hold the unfathomable secrets of two men: the owner of a steamboat, who throws a bottled message overboard each morning, and the boat’s captain, who saves a wounded mermaid. Into this comes a famous writer whose love for one of them will keep both men from taking their secrets to a watery grave.”

  • Something’s bugging Fizz over at The Cranky Old Gnome. And it’s webcomic fans who are too critical, and webcomic fans who can’t stand criticism. And its sounds like something I might say:

    The ‘hyper-critics’ spent all their time criticizing every aspect of the comic, from it’s art and writing, to the author’s broken promises and lack of commitment. Nothing the author did was good enough for them. Most of the time they complained about the lack of updates, but then even when there were new comics, they called the art hackneyed and the writing trite.

    The ’super-fanboys’ on the other hand blindly defended everything the artist did no matter what. The artist was above reproach. No-one had a right to complain that the comic never got updated because it was free content. Nobody could call the art or writing bad because they aren’t artists–they can’t create anything so they don’t know how hard it is.

    To be honest both sides ended up sounding foolish and childish. All their arguments, even the most intelligent ones, eventually devolved into bitter name calling.

    Anyway, Fizz makes a plea that while it’s wrong to be negative all the time, it’s equally wrong to think art is above criticism, even if it is free.

  • The Washington Post is trying to figure out: what’s the best webcomic of the decade? I thought this was going to be a shoe-in for xkcd (again), but surprisingly it’s a dead heat between Penny Arcade and Perry Bible Fellowship. My own list (where Gunnerkrigg Court tops all) can be found here.

The Webcomic Overlook #106: Raine Dog

D. C. Simpson is probably one of the most successful webcomic creators today. Her first published comic strip, Ozy & Millie, won an impressive number of awards: the 1999 College Media Advisers Award for Best Strip Cartoon, the Ursa Major Award in 2002, 2006, and 2007, and the Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards in 2002. (Remember those?) She also struck gold last year when her comic strip, Girl, won Amazon.com’s Comic Strip Superstar contest and was awarded a publishing contract from Andrews McMeel Universal.

So I don’t doubt that D. C. Simpson has talent. But, then again, so did the people behind Dreamcatcher, which was a terrible movie but had a two-time Oscar winner writing the screenplay and Morgan Freeman on screen. Talented people make bad mistakes. And sometimes the worst missteps happen on the most personal, autobiographical projects.

In D. C. Simpson’s case, it’s Raine Dog, the comic she hosts on Keenspot. It’s a webcomic responsible for spawning a minor internet meme, and for good reason: it contains quite possibly some of the most baffling and ludicrous scenes I’ve ever encountered in webcomics.

Read the rest of this entry

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