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Celebrate the Holidays: help Kickstart Split Lip

So there was this one time — in the Before Times — I reviewed horror anthology Split Lip on this very website.  (4 stars!)  Well, creator/writer Sam Costello is now kicking off a Kickstarter on the webcomics’ 10th anniversary. Here’s the press release:

2016 is the 10th anniversary of Split Lip, my award-winning horror comics anthology. Over those 10 years, we’ve published 45 stories, 6 books, 8 comics, and over 550 pages. To celebrate the anniversary, I’m releasing a deluxe, limited edition hardcover via Kickstarter. The Kickstarter is live now at

The anniversary book—called What Lies Inside—is a 350-page hardcover packed with 13 of the best Split Lip stories, featuring work by artists including Kyle Strahm (Spread, Image), Sami Makkonen (Deadworld, IDW), and John Bivens (Dark Engine, Image). It’s also got over 50 pages of new material, such as commentary on every story by me, art excerpts, interviews with artists, and essays by Sean T. Collins and Lauren Davis. Only 500 copies will ever be printed. Rewards include extra books and PDFs, sketches, and original art.

Well, boys and ghouls, Halloween is coming up. Why not put a Split Lip anthology in the bag of one of your trick or treaters? Why not three?

That creepy clown lurking in the woods outside your house sure could use some reading material, don’t you think?

Split Lip… it’s the reason for the season!

WCO.241: Bluechair


So since I started blogging about webcomics, I’ve been massively curious about the entire “webtoons” thing.  That’s one of the benefits of taking two years off.  When you’re blogging consistently, change never seems to happen.  It’s mainly because you’re observing things on a constant basis, making actual changes seem static.  But the moment you step back, you’re forced to catch up.  Every change over the last two years are compressed, and revolutionary events start to shift more into focus.

And webtoons, to me were the most exciting new thing to pop up in quite sometime.

But wait… what are webtoons even?  Are they like motion comics or Flash comics or whatever new fad that claims they’re going to replace webcomics?  Not exactly. Webtoons are webcomics.  Or rather, they’re a term interchangeable with manhwa, which are South Korean webcomics.  While similar, webtoons evolved in a path that seemed to favor mobile devices over desktops and laptops.  Which is to say: the panels are layed out vertically.

Apparently, quite a few of these became huge successes.  Early webtoon Ragnarok became the MMORPG Ragnarok Online.  Others have made inroads in TV and movies.  Orange Marmalade, a romance webtoon about a vampire girl, ended up getting a live action TV series in 2015.

I’m assuming that there may have been some followers in the West through fan translations.  (Hmmmm…. I wonder if manhwa was subject to an entire “subs vs. dubs” debate?)  A Google Trends query, though, kinda shows that the term itself didn’t gain much traction until about two years ago.  Most of this is probably attributable when publisher Naver launched an English service (snagging the all important domain) in July 2014.

It’s a great looking site, though it’s at the same time daunting and overwhelming.  The design reminds me of an iTunes or app store.  There are all sorts of different icons representing different comics, and each comes with a mouse-over description and a star rating.  Curiously, only a few of them appear to be of the manga-style variety.  As part of their branching out into new markets, Naver seems to be adding artists with more Western sensibilities.  The one that resembles a traditional webomic the most is Shen’s Bluechair, a slice of life comedy strip.

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The generational divide that shouldn’t exist

Sarah’s Scribbles is speedy fantastic strip about young adulthood.  It’s kind of the modern version of Cathy, and I mean that in a good way. As in, this is a strip that compares Jackson Pollock paintings to having a period.  Oh, Sarah… will you ever win?

Then I ran into this strip:

So, as a Generation X type person, this got me thinking. Not negatively of Sarah Andersen, mind you: I do believe her feelings on this are genuine like the rest of her comic strips.

Consider this, though: you could easily have made this strip 20 years ago.  The guy with the face could’ve been “Baby Boomers,” and he could have been saying, “Typical lazy Gen-X’er!”  It actually shocked me more that the Gen-X guy is perceived as a super-successful dude.  Seriously… I thought everyone saw us as slackers.

I mean, that’s how Generation X got its name, right?  I know, the “X” made it look cooler than it really is, like we all have mutant powers or something.  The “X” stood for a lack of identity.  That it was a generation of lazy bums who had no idea what to do with their lives.  Growing up, we were inundated by editorial cartoons and media telling everyone that we were the “lost” generation.

Maybe our choice of music wasn’t helping.  “Did you hear that song they’re listening to?  It says, ‘I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me’!  There’s no way they’re going to amount to anything.”

(Incidentally, one of my most vivid memories of my dad? Him plopping down a magazine article in front of me that was titled: “The ballad of the lazy teenager.”)

For the most part we all still feel that sense of inadequacy.  Here’s a fairly recent strip by fellow Gen X’er Ted Rall:

Curiously, you get the view from the other side… you know, the guy with the GEN X face in the first strip… and it’s almost the exact same story.

So here’s what I think is happening:

  1. Every generation feels inadequate.  Millennials feel inferior to the Gen-X’ers, Gen-X’ers feel inferior to the Baby Boomers, the Boomers feel inferior to their WWII-vet parents, etc.  The natural outgrowth of parenting means that mom and dad are usually held to an unrealistic high standard, meaning that no matter what you do you will always feel second place.  You rationalize hard why you feel that way.  For Sarah Andersen it’s crippling debt.  For Ted Rall it’s the lack of any respect.
  2. Every generation has its successes.  Not everyone is a Bill Gates or a Mark Zuckerberg.  But if the successful people crow, it’s because it’s a sense of relief that the destiny threatened by their elders — that of utmost failure — did not come true.

So why do we even have this generational divide?  We’re all i the same boat, feeling like everyone is literally against us.

Then again, maybe it’s good to be antagonistic  Otherwise you get self-congratulatory garbage like this:

… which can screw right the hell off.

Happy El Santo Day

Apparently everyone was celebrating El Santo’s 99th Birthday today, including Google.  Might as well join in on the fun!  Being that it’s my online handle and all.



Q: El Santo, where have you been?

A: clearly developing a video game set in the Webcomic Overlook universe!  Like a real person is transported to the world and they’re transformed into a luchador.  Don’t worry though… Webcomic Overlook Season 7 is coming soon.

The Hugo Trifecta

You may have heard that, yesterday, recognition for the most prestigious works of art in a specific genre were awarded yesterday. And also the Harvey Awards were given out. But first, the Hugo Awards!

You may as well rename the Best Graphic Story Award the Foglio Award now, because Girl Genius has walked home with the trophy for the third year in a row. Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse beat out Fables: Witches, written by Bill and Mark Willingham; Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot; fellow webcomic Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler; and The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.

Awards were handed out at Renovation, the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada. Congratulations to the Foglios!

Not related to webcomics, Lev Grossman walked home with the Best New Writer award. Despite that name, he’s a science fiction writer, not the fictional movie producer that appeared in Tropic Thunder. I haven’t read any of his stuff yet, but I do have The Magicians on order from at this moment.

Captain Nihilist says this rant isn’t about Mary Sues


From the desk of El Santo, a.k.a. Captain Nihilist:

If you chased me down, trapped me in an abandoned wine cellar, tripped me with wire to land me in a hollowed out pit, flipped open your John Locke Limited Edition Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, and demanded of me, “What is the most important thing in you look for in webcomics?”, I’d have to reply: “The characters. Please put the knife away, you psycho.”

More than anything, characters keep a webcomic grounded. The comic may go through shifts in art style. The story may evolve from a horror story or a gaming comic to a teen romance or an office humor strip. But it you keep your characters true and engaging, I’m usually happy every step of the way. It makes the webcomic memorable, even if I’m grasping to remember certain plotlines. Print comics have been sticking by this principle for decades. This is why I know that I like a decent guy like Superman because he’s a great character … but hell if I know what he’s be up to in the last ten years.

So I decided to take some time to look at characters. This is aimed at both critics and webcomic creators. I’m going to be posting excerpts from one essay in particular, so all accusations of me being myopic are probably true. Folks looking for reviews might also enjoy reading it, as it will deepen your understanding. If not, come around next week for my take on a highly popular romance comic.

“OK, Captain Nihilist,” you sneer. “What in the heck makes a good character?”
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