The Joy of Webcomics lies, cheats, and steals
Submitted by El Santo on July 29, 2009 - 12:53
There was apparently a big To Do down in SoCal this weekend. Various webcomic types are spending this week coming down from the high of San Diego Comic Con. The event has gotten so large that I swear I saw Stan Lee on CNBC last night doing a post-Con wrap-up. Surreal.
There was a slightly smaller event here in Seattle, too: The Webcomic Overlook has just passed the two year mark. Yup, I started reviewing webcomics in some way, shape, or form back in July 24, 2007. I had played around with doing something special â€” maybe making an illustration or doing a â€œBest Webcomics to Introduce to Beginnersâ€ list â€” but, seriously, itâ€™s too hot in the Northwest to think. Worse, we have no air conditioning or a basement. So Iâ€™m going to have to wrap up some time later when Iâ€™m not lounging on the floor and keeping my temperature down by conserving my internal energy.
Now on to the weekly scrapbook of webcomic/comic/Aishwarya Rai news and information!
- How do you deal when you realize your parents have been lying to you your whole life? Iâ€™m not talking about the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus level deception here. Iâ€™m talking about if your dad lies about being on the National Security Council, writing papers for Henry Kissinger, and possessing a Ph.D. Laurie Sandell, a contributing editor at Glamour Magazine, had to live with the reality that her dad was none of those things, and she worked out her issues in a comic book called â€œThe Imposterâ€™s Daughter,â€ which is covered in The Wall Street Journal.
- Over at fellow webc-â€¦ excuse me, digital comic blog MPD57, guest blogger Rob Berry takes a look at Azure. I especially loved his two intro paragraphs:
Webcomics, in its really short lifetime as a medium, has been a pretty closed craft. By this I mean to say most of its look, methodology and expression comes not so much from how it operates as a new and web-based media, but how the web can be a distribution model for what is still essentially a print-based product. Most of the earliest success in the industry came from gag cartoonists using the web to distribute comicstrips in a dwindling print market and a lot of the current measures of success still rely on turning online comics into bookshelf properties. Thereâ€™s nothing inherently wrong about this, but it does seem that most of us are following the HalfPixel tips about â€˜How To Make Webcomicsâ€™ as opposed to Scott McCloud theories about how to see the web as an entirely different canvas. It works fine, but its a bit like designing jet-propulsion to make ground travel faster; a bit limited in scope.
Not sure if McCloud has used him as an example before, but theories on the possibilities artists are given by new media always put me in mind of William Blake. Blake and his brother opened a print shop which, dealing in Revolutionary material of the time, provided him a unique outlet for developing his own artistic voice. This allowed him to develop a process of relief etching placing words and images together in a style like that of medieval illuminated manuscripts and lead to Blakeâ€™s unique fusion of poetry and drawing. He saw how print allowed for distribution of art in new and more profitable way, as all engravers had been doing in his time period, but he also saw past that to the uniqueness of book-making as object and artform.
Why did you let this guy say the â€œwâ€ word, Mike? Methinks his ass is fired. Needless to say, Mr. Berry has some glowing praise for Azure: â€œThis is not what youâ€™d expect webcomics to give you. Its what Dan wants to make webcomics into.â€ Wow. Guess Iâ€™m gonna have to read this (as if the girl in the spandex didnâ€™t hook me in already).
- During last weekâ€™s nomenclature discourse over the nature of the term â€œwebcomics,â€ I discovered a fantastic webcomic-related blog run by Olaf Solstrand. Hereâ€™s a sampling of some of his excellent posts:
- Brigid Alverson talks with Scott Christian Sava of Dreamland Chronicles at GraphicNovelReporter.com. Dreamland Chronicles is just one of those webcomics I really wanted to get in to but intimidated me with its sheer volume. It sure is purty, though.
So, hereâ€™s a huge question on most economistsâ€™ minds:
Dreamland runs as a free webcomic, yet people buy the books. Why do you think that is?
They want to support the creator. They appreciate the free comicâ€¦they know what efforts I put into itâ€¦and they (very kindly) support those efforts by buying the books, toys, and such.
Also, for anyone whoâ€™s seen the booksâ€¦the resolution is much higher. And the detail is wonderful. IDW has really done a great job of printing the books. And I get so many emails from parents whose kids take the books everywhere. Itâ€™s great for trips.
Ohâ€¦and I also do sketches of peopleâ€™s favorite characters inside the books when you meet me at cons. Bonus!
- NPR is talking about webcomics again. Glenn Whedon tries to sift through the worthy ones, though it ainâ€™t easy:
(From what I can tell, for instance, there seem to be an inordinate number of webcomics about sexy, sword-wielding, anthropomorphic kitties in leather bikinis. I cannot speak to their merit, or lack of it. On account of the creepy.)
I canâ€™t vouch for that. Most of the sexy, anthropomorphic kitties Iâ€™ve seen are wielding submachine guns. Maybe if I started reading more Comic Genesis offerings?
Here are Glennâ€™s faves: Goats, Pictures for Sad Children, Achewood, xkcd, Wondermark, Penny Arcade, PvP, Dinosaur Comics, Partially Clips, Cat and Girl, Octopus Pie, The Rack, Lydia, Perry Bible Fellowship, Sheldon, A Softer World, and AD: After the Deluge (which, incidentally, got a nice write up at The Wall Street Journal). He also seems to think that web folk are weirder than people who watch Americaâ€™s Got Talent. Nah â€” weâ€™re just too intimidated by the Killer Mojo of The Hoff.
And, finally, your Aishwarya Rai Tasteful Picture of the Day, where she Lounges on a Sofa in a Nice Dress. Did you know that even Julia Roberts thinks Aishwarya Rai is the most beautiful woman sheâ€™s ever seen? Itâ€™s true!