Second Looks

Websnark is back, in force. Websnark is the grand-daddy of webcomic blogs, but I’m pretty sure everyone already knows that. The esteemable Eric Burns has set a challenge for himself in 2007, and set out to accomplish a certain amount of writing by the end of the year. Towards this writing, he’ll be endeavering to post daily on Websnark.

I’m pretty pleased to see this for a number of reasons. One, my own webcomic blog was inspired largely by Websnark. Two, the final motivation for actually starting it was to give myself something to keep me actively writing day in and day out. And three – well, let’s face it, he writes some damn powerful stuff.

Already worth checking out is his final tribute to Narbonic, which says it better than I ever could.

I’m confident he doesn’t need the plug, but for those who weren’t aware of his resurgence, I figure it can’t hurt to mention it.

The Webcomicker is launching similarly forward with a hefty goal of a post for every single day in the year – and has brought back his webcomic, Birdsworth, as well.

While I don’t have any such lofty ambitions for my own blog, I do have some big ideas in store for the coming year. More will be revealed in time!

Moving on to other topics – I’ve got to give props to Questionable Content for some strips earlier this week. After suddenly (and skillfully) making Ellen into a villain a little while ago, he equally skillfully has rendered her human again. Despite being let-down by a lot of the other storylines in the strip of late, J.J. has done this little exchange extremely well, and I have to give him credit for that.

PvPAnd finally, Scott Kurtz seems to be continuing his recent trend of stealing material from Tim Buckley, as he suddenly has his characters launching their own winter gaming holidays (complete with bizarre holiday outfit) in eerie similarity to Ctrl+Alt+Del’s Winter-een-mas.

Which, let me clarify, I don’t find despicable for its own sake. Stealing ideas you like from other sources is a long honored tradition in pretty much all forms of creative work, and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that.

The problem is that Kurtz has spent so much time lambasting Ctrl+Alt+Del for just that – being a rip-off of PvP and Penny Arcade. Taking their ideas and somehow finding success with it. Kurtz has ripped into Buckley time and time again for this very thing. I simply find it rather… ironic that Kurtz is now doing the exact same thing. The plagiarism is fine – the hypocrisy, a little less so.

PvPI’m sure Kurtz would give the same defense he gave when he launched the Animated PvP Series – namely that even if he was doing the same thing as Ctrl+Alt+Del, he was doing it better, funnier and with more quality than Buckley ever did. While I don’t believe that renders the hypocrisy null, I can’t deny the truth of it – I’ve generally flinched when I saw a new Winter-een-mass storyline, whereas this last week of PvP has been one of the funniest I have ever read.

So I can’t deny having enjoyed this storyline. I just hope that, after all this, Kurtz will at least ignore Buckley, rather than continue accusing him of ripping off other artists.

Oh, and a final disclaimer – I’m not saying all this in defense of Tim Buckley. Even if he’s behaved himself in recent drama this year, and regardless of his comic’s quality or lack thereof, his actions in the past have still rendered him, in my eyes, the vilest webcartoonist I know of.

Rather, I’m simply taken aback by Kurtz’s actions after his rants in the past. It seems a strange note on which to start the new year, but I suppose if Brent can do it, then so can he.

8 responses

  1. Thanks for your excellent blog.

    Do you have links to material that would illustrate these points:

    “Kurtz has ripped into Buckley time and time again…”

    “[Tim Buckley]’s…the vilest webcartoonist I know of.”

  2. Yeah, I noticed that too, it was rather similar to wintereenmas. I can’t say I’ve been finding it as hilarious, but I’ve certainly been enjoying it.

  3. Satchel,
    Here’s a few links, just glancing quickly, that cover a bit of Kurtz’s feelings. (Though you may need to dig through them for a bit.)

    It’s a bit harder to dig up the dirt on Buckley, due to his general tendency to purge his forums and site of any news that paints him in a bad light. The things that I think poorly of in general are his treatment of fans, his tendency to whimsically ban people from his forums, and his public interactions with other webcomic artists.

    The two specific events that most spring to mind are his treatment of his WoW guild (which you can read about in one of the links above), and when he threatened to sue a high school kid for creating a tribute to Ctrl+Alt+Del.

    It might be harsh to say that such abject self-centeredness makes him the vilest webcartoonist around – but by and large most webcomic creators seem to be decent folks. Many have a tendency to get lost in drama in the heat of the moment – but Buckley callous disregard for anyone but himself has cropped up time and again, and that’s what really wigs me out.

  4. I think it’s a deliberate parody, not a ripoff. He’s going, ‘Look, this is how it’s supposed to be done.” Kurtz may not be the most level-headed cartoonist, but I think even he would realize that his readers would notice the storyline bears similarities to Wintereenmas.

  5. Oh, those shining examples of decency that are webcomic’s “A-listers”

  6. Great point, and thank you for saying it. No matter what kind of person Buckley is, I like his strip. I also like PvP, but I’m a more longtime fan of CAD, and personally I think everything about CAD ripping off PA is a bit ridiculous, as it’s always been my opinion that PA isn’t freakin’ funny. And no matter what kind of person Buckley is, again, if Kurtz is going to actually take the high road, he needs to follow through on that. He bashes Buckley (I mean, bashes him) for being “derivative”, and I honestly think “so what”? Did Gabe and Tycho invent gamer humor? Computer humor? Not even close. And then he does something like this, and I absolutely cannot believe it. What -j said could be correct, I suppose, but not a single comic I’ve read in this storyline has suggested to me that it’s meant to be a parody.
    Do I like the storyline? Is it fun to read? Yes.
    Do I think PvP is ripping off Ctrl+Alt+Delete with “Pixelmas”? Yes.
    It’s ridiculous all around. No one in the whole fight is now, nor ever really has in any instance I’ve seen, been acting like a mature adult.

    Right. I’m done. Sorry for ranting all over your comments page, Myth. Thanks.

  7. Forget creating original material. From now on, I’m just going to copy other people.

    Did I mention I’m starting a new comic? It’s called Bang Bratstill, and it’s about a guy who solves his problems by hitting zombies with hockey sticks in the future.

  8. Kurtz has said in his forums that this is a parody of Buckley’s yearly Wintereenmas wank-a-thon. Thats why at the end of the storyline Brent talks about turning Pixmas into a commercialized holiday, because thats what Wintereenmas is: An excuse for Buckley to sell merchandise. Even more fun is the year he shit on the idea of a webcomics appreciation day (because he gets enough e-mail to feel appreciated every day) and then shit all over how commercialized holidays in general were getting…..and then announced last years Wintereenmas campaign. SLICK.

    You can find the thread at the PVP forums, its titled “Ooh, Take THAT Buckley (1/2/07)”

    As for as ripoffs go, and I’ll stay away from how CAD is just a sloppy PVP and Penny Arcade rip off for the sake of keeping this brief, Wintereenmas is just a ripoff of Homestar Runner’s Decemberween (only done with a gaming slant). So even if Pixmas were serious you’d have to point the finger of blame right at Buckley too.

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