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Chopping Block

I Hate You All by Dalton Wemble

Death of the Funny What?

Now if I were going to be all knee-jerk about this, I'd be all about "out with the old, in with the new, the traditional comics page was stale and it's time to bring in some fresh blood, viva the internet, viva webcomics, viva endless chatter about the newest video card from Alpha Omega Corp and people getting off on their bloody brilliance by yammering endless about whether or not Green or Blue dragons spit acid in AD&D first edition."

But Jeebus Godot, let's take a look at what's replacing what, here.

Webcomics Ranked by TimeWasters Guide

TimeWasters has reviewed (and ranked on a 1 to 5 clock scale) quite a few webcomics now. 39 according to their website. Here's the world of webcomics ranked by TimeWasters (PvP is the highest ranked, Limited Space is the lowest ranked):

Keenspot Entertainment Announces 2003 Revenues Increased 81.2% Over 2002

Temple City, CA, March 15, 2004 - Keenspot Entertainment, the most popular publisher of exclusive online comics since its launch in 2000, has announced its total revenues for 2003 grew by 81.2% over the previous year's total, making it their highest-grossing and most profitable year ever. With the soaring popularity of new and existing features, even greater growth is predicted for 2004.

"Our 2003 gross of $188,475 is an 82.5% jump over 2002's $103,976 in revenues," said Chris Crosby, Keenspot Co-CEO "These numbers certainly aren't spectacular in comparison to major traditional print publishers, but they show that webcomics are a thriving, growing industry that could be a major force in the future of entertainment. Along with fellow digital comics publishers like Modern Tales and Wirepop, we're slowly but surely building a webcomics industry chock full of original new characters and concepts."

Tuesday Morning Update

Another solid update from Journalista! Deppey is a o­ne-man newscast for comicsland.

MICROPAYMENTS: Deppey points to a fairly useless article on micropayments from ecommerce times.  Recycled quotes from Scott McCloud (optimist) and Clay Shirky (pessimist) included.  I don't think this is so hard really - if there's a perceived vaule for the price people will pay if it's not too hard to do so.  Same as offline transactions.

Shirky's big mistake is creating a straw man of multiple, piece by piece purchases as if we wanted to buy every little thing separately.  As if I went to the grocery store and paid for each thing when I picked it up. Or per page in a bookstore to be even more ridiculous.  No o­ne is advocating that.  No o­ne (that I'm aware of is even trying to be that boneheaded about it).I think there's a real question of whether people want to buy the equivalent of a comic book (like McCloud's I Can't Stop Thinking) or a magazine subscription (Modern Tales) but really it comes to down to perceived price to value.  A buck a song - yeah that works.  A quarter for a comic, that'll probably also work.  I think we're getting there.

:  Nicer site layout for the Keenspot site along with less garish logo.  However, now that they're classifying their comics I'm scratching my head.  They've grouped the following comics as "Surreal": BoxJam's Doodle, Checkerboard NightmareChopping Block, Framed, just another Vice,Men in Hats, and Road Waffles.  Compared to several other Keenspot comics I'm not quite sure what's so surreal about this lot.  BoxJam's Doodle is a rather PG-rated blend of painfully honest-Charlie Brown stories and clever word play.  Chopping Block is a pun-filled horrorfest.  Checkerboard Nightmare and Framed wear their meta-hearts o­n their sleeves but I've never heard meta described as surreal.  The others don't even come close really.  Even beyond the mislabeling here is grouping them together at all.  Sure a Chopping Block fan might like Road Waffles (similar violence content) and Framed fans might go for Checkerboard Nightmare but I'm not seeing much guaranteed cross-over beyond that.

What T Campbell is Reading

T Campbell is editor of Graphic Smash, writer of Fans, Rip & Teri and more than a couple of Comixpedia articles, and a slave to trends. What's he reading?

"In webcomics, I'm currently working my way through the Modern Tales lineup in alphabetical order. Most of them I read all the way through, though a few of them just don't interest me at all. Just got through No Stereotypes. I also regularly read a few standbys: Sluggy Freelance, PVP, CRFH, GPF, It's Walky, Clan of the Cats, Gaming Guardians. And of course, everything on Graphic Smash.

"In printed comics, I'm sticking with Strangers in Paradise for a little while longer at least, now that Terry's finally getting around to some of the stories I wanted him to write three years ago. Mark Waid just 0wn0rs Fantastic Four. The fanboy in me craves it, along with JLA/Avengers and a lot of Brian Michael Bendis' work.

"Textwise, I just got through Chris Sherman's The Invisible Web and a book of Harlan Ellison short stories, and I'm reading a whole lotta blogs, 'cause all the cool people are writing them these days. Only half kidding: they have a perspective that I miss from my college years.

"What's next? I want to finish off Preacher (yes, I know the series wrapped years ago) and pick up Cory Doctorow's new collection... I've read a couple of his short stories and he's an author to watch. Webcomics-wise, I'll keep working my way down the alphabet with Modern Tales, then start on one of the other collectives... probably Keenspot or Girlamatic.

"Yeah, I'm serious, I really do read all this stuff. Scary, huh?"

Todd and Penguin's 3rd Anniversary!

Todd and Penguin turned 3 this month, and since I don't want to sing praise of my own comic, I will use the words of Lee Adam Herold of Chopping Block to describe it:

David Wright has taken a truly funny, well-drawn, engaging comic and done what I’ve seen precious few others do well. He’s imbued it with actual love. The pitfall in trying to do this is that invariably it comes off as corny or trite, and elicits more groans than laughter from readers. Witness the bane of all contemporary comic creators, The Family Circus. But with Todd & Penguin, the love is a natural part of its fabric. Like Calvin and Hobbes or Peanuts, it walks the line between sentimentality and sharp wit, and you never notice how difficult it should be to pull off.

Spiders in Webcomics

It just hit me that not only are spiders showing up in my FANS strip, they're also playing starring roles in CLAN OF THE CATS, SKRITCH and WAPSI SQUARE. All this month.

I just find that very strange. I'm not sure what it means. Can people think of any other examples?

Q&A: what makes a comic a favorite?

I was thinking - being the curious and over-analyzing type - what makes a webcomic your favorite?

Look at your favorite webcomic - or your top five or your top ten - and think about which elements put it at the top of your list.

Is it good art? Good storylines? Humor? Memorable characters? In-jokes? A detailed universe that you want to explore? An approach that's fresh and intriguing? An example of a genre for which you have some strange attraction? Consistency in updates (or perhaps a failure to dissapoint)? Quotability? Shock value? Topical issue coverage? The mockery of things you like to mock as well? The exploration of stuff you enjoy (gaming, programming, talking to pets) or hate (working in a cube-farm, paying bills, living with strangers)? Other stuff I haven't thought of here?

Lee Adam Herold's Chopping Block, reviewed by Damonk

Question: What do you get when you cross a stand-up comic who specializes in one-liners and puns with a habitual psychopathic murderer?

Answer: A serial kidder who really slays 'em by repeated club gigs.

Alternate answer: Butch.

Get Scared or Get Silly: A History of The Fright Night Project by Xaviar Xerexes

In 1999, there were a number of webcomics in regular publication, but nothing like the vast number of creators today. It was before Keenspot and Modern Tales, when the webcomic community was a much smaller world. In this smaller universe of webcomics, creators seemed more aware of their fellow peers, more prone to help each other out, and more likely to collaborate with one another. There were crossovers between webcomics, guest art for other webcomics, and on April 1st of 1999, Terrence Marks organized the first Great April Fools' Webcomic Swap, where webcomic creators surprised their readers by swapping webcomics with other creators for a day.