Monthly Archives: June, 2006

They grow up so fast…

As they say…

Oooh, pretty!

Happy birthday, CYS!

Once upon a childhood tale…

Click it. You know you want to. Wow.

Just… wow.

Especially given my current craze with fables and fairy tales, this was an enormously pleasant surprise.

Andy Weir’s newest work is called Cheshire Crossing. It is, well… a crossover of epic proportions. Oz meets Wonderland meets Neverland meets who knows what else. With it’s advent, I can accept the end of C&A stoically.

So, first impressions of this new strip:

Humor: Check. Unsurprisingly, Weir adds his usual wit to the story. The Wicked Witch and her monkeys are an especial delight.

Story: Well, it’s early to be sure – but given this seems to be coming out straight from the gate with a sense of definite purpose, I suspect it will handily deliver.

Art: Weir seems to have developed a new art style for this project – which seems to essentially be a very refined version of his normal art. It’s good, no denying it. There are a few perspectives it seems a bit weak at, but they are few and far between. The ladies are, ahem, a bit on the busty side, but I doubt you’ll see too many complaints over that.

Overall: I think I summed it up earlier: “Wow.” The strip looks amazing. Unfortunately updates look to be sparse – an issue will likely be coming out every 3-6 months. That may speed up with the retirement of C&A, but it still is likely to come sparingly.

Of course, the time put into it shows – it’s damn fine stuff. It just means we’ll have to suffer in anticipation over future issues. I’m already gathering up a whole pile of questions and speculation about the series. (Top on my list – who, pray tell, is the Man in Black?“)

In any case, Cheshire Crossing just looks awesome.

Well done, sir, well done.

Spreading the love of Mad Science.

So you may have heard the news – Narbonic is going to be free again.

Good news for me – I can finally get all my friend to read the comic now.

Of course, Scott Kurtz raised an interesting question – is it actually worth going to the effort of reading it, with it scheduled to end within half a year?

Fortunately the answer is easy: Well duh. Of course it’s worth it.

I read books, I watch movies, I engage in all manner of activities with a definite ending. Sure, it’s a slightly difference experience to read a work that is complete vs one that has the promise of many on-going years – but that doesn’t directly impact on the quality itself.

And rest assured, Narbonic is quality. No question about that.

Of course, Kurtz brought up another question, too: “Has the subscription model failed Shaenon Garrity?”

That’s harder to answer. I’ve given my thoughts on Modern Tales before.

Since then, we’ve been promised that big changes are coming. Changes that they’ve been in need of for a long time, and become even more pressing with the departure of Narbonic.

We haven’t seen too much of those changes yet. Graphic Smash has admittedly been adding more stuff to it’s already solid roster. Girlamatic has had a few nice additions, and some comics have returned from hiatus.

Modern Tales itself, though… I dunno, man. I dunno. I’m still waiting to see what’s to come. I mean, they’ve got Eric freaking Burns as the editor – that’s a man who cares about comics! But half a year since the announcement, and Modern Tales hasn’t shaped up yet. The change may be coming, but it is taking it’s time.

Still, anyway, this isn’t anything I haven’t said before. It is simply that things are growing a tad more pressing with this latest bit of news.

So, Kurtz asks, has the subscription model failed Shaenon Garrity?

Well, I can’t answer that question – I imagine only Shaenon can. But I have the feeling that if there was a failure at hand, it wasn’t the subscription model itself… it was this specific implementation of it.

Anyway, enough of the duldrums. Narbonic will be free.

Let me say that one more time:

Narbonic will be free.

So on July 1st, if you aren’t reading it already… well, I don’t think anymore needs to be said.

WCCAs 2006

So amidst the usual clamors of favoritism, popularity contests, redundancy and the like… I’m pretty pleased with the list of nominees for this round of Webcartoonist Choice Awards. There are familiar names in most every category, but also a lot of comics that are new to me, and I know this has been a great resource in the past to finding new and exceptional strips.

So, without further ado, here are the ones I am rooting for:

Outstanding Comic:
A hard call for me between Girl Genius and Narbonic… but since I am still in the intro stages of Girl Genius, while Narbonic is heading towards its grand finale, I think Helen (and co.) get my vote. One way or another, I’m hoping mad science wins the day!

Outstanding Newcomer:
I’m not familiar with a lot of the others, but I find it highly unlikely anything would be able to beat out Gunnerkrigg Court. This comic came out of nowhere to floor a lot of readers on the web, and I think it will have a stellar showing.

Outstanding Artist:
My initial response here was towards A Lesson is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible, but I think Sarah Ellerton (Inverloch) is where my heart lies – I remembered when I was first introduced to the comic (from last year’s awards, even), it was the art that drew me in and kept me reading. That says a lot.

Outstanding Black and White Art:
Hard choices. Very hard choices. I think I’d be happy with either Digger or Sam and Fuzzy – both aren’t just well-drawn black and white comics, but comics that specifically put it to exceptional and brilliant use.

Outstanding Character Art:
I’m thinking Ugly Hill here, though with some of the weird freaky characters from this last year in Wapsi Square, it could be a contender.

Outstanding New Character Design:
Aki Alliance works for me.

Outstanding Environment Design:
There are a few on here I’m not familiar with, but I’d be surprised if they can overcome the wonder that is Copper.

Outstanding Layout:
Man. As much as my heart would root for Copper again, I have to give credit where it is due – layout is what A Lesson is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible takes to all new levels.

Outstanding Use of Color:
These choices are getting harder. This one I’d be happy with any of the nominees winning, really.

Outstanding Use of Flash:
I’m gonna go with Hold My Life for this one, since the others are either unknown to me, I haven’t actively noticed anything special using flash, or it has actively hindered the viewing experience. It’s not just a default win, though – I actively like the little reading style Hold My Life has going for it.

Outstanding Use of Infinite Canvas:
Ah, infinite canvas. A lot of names new to me on here – I think I may do some research on these guys before coming to any conclusions.

Outstanding Web Design:
I am partial to the simple elegance of Starslip Crisis for this category. Some of the others are flashier (no pun intended), but don’t really perform quite so well.

Outstanding Writer:
Hmm. Another tough call, but I think Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic, Li’l Mell, Smithson,Trunktown) is where my loyalties lie. Every one of her strips keeps me coming back, and are all at the top of my reading list. Can’t argue with that.

Outstanding Character Writing:
Because the last category wasn’t hard enough, see. Man, I dunno. Just pick something, they’re all fantastic. I think OotS, Scary Go Round, or Something Positive would be at the top, though. That’s about as narrowed down as I can get it.

Outstanding Dramatic Comic:
Something Positive. Period. Full stop.

Outstanding Comedic Comic:
Man, I knew I should have campaigned more for Dr. McNinja. As it is, I’ll have to root for Shortpacked.

Outstanding Long Form Comic:
This is always something that is harder to tell in an younger comic, but I think Gunnerkrigg Court is the winner here. Whether it’s potential holds out is yet to be seen, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t stay true to form.

Outstanding Short Form Comic:
The Perry Bible Fellowship for the win.

Outstanding Single Panel Comic:
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. For all that it is occasionally hit or miss, when it is at its best, nothing else can even compare.

Outstanding Story Concept:
Both Girl Genius and Gunnerkrigg Court are exceptional. I think Gunnerkrigg Court wins by a hair, since some of the elements behind the scenes are truly inspired.

Outstanding Anthropomorphic Comic:
Digger, in my opinion. Where the anthropomorphism is actually related to the story, and neither an obsessive focus or completely tangential. And, of course, its a wickedly awesome comic.

Outstanding Fantasy Comic:
I know I shouldn’t say Order of the Stick for this one, since it is more parody than pure fantasy… but I think I will, anyway.

Outstanding Gaming Comic:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Penny Arcade is the obvious choice for this, the popular one, the ‘sell-out’… but that’s because it’s the best.

Outstanding Slice-of-Life Comic:
So… of the ones on the list, Devil’s Panties is the only one I feel really fits the category.

Outstanding Romantic Comic:
I know everyone’s going to vote Questionable Content, but as much as I like the indie kids, Sordid City Blues feels a lot more real about the romance.

Outstanding Science Fiction Comic:
In a surprise (even to myself), I think Zap has my vote here. It’s a clever little comic with gorgeous art, and I think it does a great job of preserving the sense of wonder that any good sci-fi comic needs.

Outstanding Superhero/Action Comic:
And finally a tough call for the last spot! Another selection of great comics, and I think I’d either go with The Green Avenger or Magellan. They are very different comics – one is very focused, the other more epic in scope.

Overall, I think the fact I had a lot of trouble picking out my favorites in each category says a lot about the selection – a slew of good comics that have gone up against each other.

We’ll see what is to come, but I suspect I’ll be happy regardless of who the winners really are.

My only regret is that the list needs more ninja.

Adventures in Political Cartooning

We now know the nominees for the 2006 Webcartoonist Choice Awards. I plan to take an extended perusal tonight and figure out which of the lot I’ll be rooting for.

For the moment, however, I must prepare myself for an experience in “cartoons of culture,” as I’ve been invited to an exhibition at the Walters Art Museum, featuring the work of good ol’ KAL.

My only fear is that the locals will somehow penetrate my veil of disguise and realize I am merely a fan of lowbrow webcomicdom, and I’ll be unceremoniously flung off the premises.

…or rather, I’m afraid it’ll happen before I’ve snagged my share of the free wine and cheese.

Friday Surprise

I didn’t even realize, but yesterday’s post was number 100. Color me startled and amazed! Hopefully this blog has provided some merriment to the readers out there, and I plan to keep my (often overly verbose) chatter coming.
The perils of clothing.
Only one thing is really on my mind today – Ctrl-Alt-Del.

I’ve spoken about the strip before – specifically how I like the comic, but Ethan rubs me the wrong way.

He’s always doing wild, zany stuff, see. Usually for the sole reason that the unexpected is, ya know, suppose to be funny and crazy and stuff.

And of course, whenever he does something stupid just for laughs, there isn’t any fall-out. Ethan might have his schemes foiled or not turn out perfect – but he never gets in any real trouble for acting like a total dick to friends, family, strangers… anyone.

So, the latest story arc seemed true to form. Ethan gets to meet Lilah’s parents – and unsurprisingly Ethan humiliates himself, he can’t go five minutes without a gaming reference, and he manages to inflict bodily harm on her father.

And, as expected, her parents just smile and accept his tomfoolery.

I shrugged. I’m used to these arcs and the way they go. So be it.

And then Tim Buckley decides to throw me off my game, as Ethan recognizes he was acting like an idiot and seems determined to make it right.

Now, I’m sure that will consist of even more elaborate hijinks… but still.

That’s more character than I’ve come to expect from Ethan, and stumbling across it was a very pleasant surprise.

Trolls as a unifying topic.

Blogger has been troublesome today, so you guys get to miss out on my thoughts on Digger, Fables, and other assorted myths… at least for a few days.

Instead, I’m simply going to say this:

Scott Kurtz, keep doing what you’re doing. Your Shecky storyline is a blast. Even if it wasn’t, follow the story where it leads you, regardless of what naysayers may pop out of the woodwork.

Yo espeako el espanish!

Upside to a sick day: Finishing Kingdom Hearts 2.

Downside to a sick day: Agony, pain, and assorted other synonyms for torment.

In any case, I’m back and mostly recovered, though still a bit hazy due to, say, medication and so forth.

Amidst my drug-induced haze, as I perused my daily comics, I found myself inordinately delighted that I could understand the small amounts of spanish found recently in Candi.

You see, I took something on the order of 6 or 7 years of Spanish, between High School and College… and came out with nothing to show for it, with many of those years having simply repeated the information learned beforehand.

(Disclaimer: I did, admittedly, come out with a large number of humorous anecdotes, as I’ve had some exceptionally interesting spanish teachers. I wouldn’t be able to share those anecdotes in spanish, however, which is the matter at hand.)

In any case, being able to easily understand even 3 or 4 admittedly simple and basic lines in spanish was enough to make me quite happy! Some days the small and silly pleasures are the best.

Also, Candi is a great comic.

I’d say more, but yaknow, still drugged up. So I’m just going to go lie down now, k?

I’ll never be able to look at a flaming car the same way again.

So I went and saw X-Men 3 the other day.

I won’t go into too much of a review of the movie myself – others have already covered everything I could say.

In the end, it had quite a few nice touches I liked, some plot decisions I did not, but proved to be enjoyable in spire of my disagreements with it. So that’s cool by me.

The movie-watching experience itself, unfortunately, went less than smoothly – upon seating ourselves for the movie, we discovered a band of twenty or so hooligans who proceeded to shout, laugh, throw shit, and do their best to ruin the experience for the rest of us.

Rather than get in a confrontation with that crowd, we consulted the theater managers – who seemed similarly disinclined to confront that many people. So, instead, they just moved us into the next showing for free. As good a solution as possible, I suppose.

Even in that room, we had a small infestation of warbling chattybitch just behind us – but compared to the previous scofflaws, hardly worth the effort of being irritated by.

The upside of the shift, meanwhile, was getting to see all the freaking awesome previews before each show. Ghost Rider, Pirates 2, Superman, etc – all the good stuff. (Also: that one with the angry superchick throwing a shark through a window. Wicked.)

The one that really sparked my interest was 3 Fast 3 Furious… er, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Now, watching the trailer made it look really cool. But I’ve never been a car person in general. I fell asleep during the original the Fast and the Furious, and I found Initial D to be the worst show I had ever seen in my life.

For a while, I had thought I just didn’t like the subject matter – but Misfile has managed to keep me entertained – and not only that, but has had me actively excited and engaged during the racing scenes, and intrigued by the racing tricks and tactics.

So maybe the lesson is simply that it is a subject only interesting to me when done right.

Also, I don’t know why, but I really thought the flaming car manuever rocked, as silly as it was. I mean, flaming cars. I am a man obsessed.

There is much to be said for brevity. Ironic, no?

Alright, let’s see.

-Thank god, Ornery Boy is back. Just… please, please put his eye back in. I don’t know why, but that really wigs me out.

-I really liked the subtlety in the other day’s SMBC. Alright, it may not be all that subtle, but I thought it was clever, ok?

-Ah, right! Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards are into nominations. Go and give your suggestions, etc.

-Note to self: Gaming Guardians is going to have to go on my List of Really Good Webcomics That I Need To Reread The Archives Thereof In Order To Know What The Fuck Is Going On.

-Note to self: Find a new name for that list. Brevity, yes, good. Endless torrent of words, no, bad.

-I’m thinking of seeing X-Men 3. Should I see X-Men 3? I’ve heard really conflicting reports about it.

That is all.