Category Archives: Webcomic News

On Endings, New Beginnings, Gatherings, and Watchmen

Thought-dump this week, covering some recent (and upcoming) happenings in the comics/webcomics sphere. Next week, my thoughts on the (currently fantastic) webcomic that is Erfworld!

The End of Ugly Hill

I was first introduced to Ugly Hill when the Blank Label Comics collective started up. I was already familiar with the works of several of the creators (David Willis, and Kris Straub), and since their own works were very high on my list of comics, I felt any others they were joining up with were well worth checking out. And this was true – the majority of other comics in the collective were quickly added to my reading list, and Evil Inc, Ugly Hill, and Wapsi Square have remained on my list to this day.

But of them, Ugly Hill is the one that has most surprised me in its development. Evil Inc is a fun comic, but bogged down by a deceitful premise and a reliance on bad puns that always leaves me groaning. Wapsi Square started out brilliantly, and remains entertaining, but an ever-greater focus on the mythological has distracted from the core of relationships that is the strongest part of the strip.

But Ugly Hill… Ugly Hill took a cast of unsympathetic characters in a strange, terrifying little world (much like our own)… and made the reader care about them. Drew the reader in to even the most mundane of their stories, connected the reader to their most deranged goals… and left the reader rooting for them to come out on top, in spite of all the triumphs life (and their own failings) set in their way.

Ugly Hill is a comic about monsters, whose greatest failings – and greatest strengths – are that they are all too human.

And now the comic has come to an end.

It has been building for some time, and Paul Southworth, the creator, certainly gave fair warning. And the comic came to a satisfying end, with what seemed a logical conclusion for the characters. Not because their stories were over, really… but they had overcome the obstacles in their way. The comic was about the brothers Kilgore finding their proper place in life. About Hastings, an uncaring workaholic, finding something to care about. About Eli, an ambitionless loser, finally growing up.

Once we’ve seen where that tale leads, there really is no need to see what comes next. So while I’m sad to see Ugly Hill go… I’m glad to see a good webcomic come to a satisfying end, rather than abruptly being abandoned by the wayside, or languishing on well after its story has been properly told.

Paul Southworth shows us how to do it right, and that’s a damn good thing to see.

The New Digs of Digger

But to balance out that loss, a very nice gift has been given – Digger is free at last!

Digger has long been held behind the subscription wall at Graphic Smash. The subscription model for Graphic Smash (and the entire Modern Tales collective) was something that worked well… for a time. It was built around providing a lot of good comics, with the latest updates free but the archives requiring a subscription. The price was low enough that, given the quantity and quality of the comics, it was a reasonably good deal.

But eventually, burdened by poor site design and an ever-dwindling number of updating comics, the model seemed to be abandoned. Most of the comics hosted there switched to full access. Except… for Digger.

Which was an incredible shame. Both because it was a lot harder to justify that subscription for one single comic when it was original intended for a dozen or more. And, perhaps even more important, because of all the comics on those sites, Digger was the one I most wanted to see more people reading. I wanted to share it with my friends, to see people talking about it, chattering about the Shadowchild and vampire squash and all the other lovely bits of brilliance that make up Ursula Vernon’s delightfully smart comic. But… that’s hard to do, with a subscription wall.

So I’m very pleased to see the comic being given its own site, with the archives waiting for countless new readers to dig in! So if you haven’t already checked this comic out – now is the perfect time to do so.

New England Webcomics Weekend

This weekend is the NEWW, which I’m ever more convinced is the work of mad scientists. Think about it – concentrating that many deranged webcomickers in one space, at one time… I’m predicting a singularity of creative madness spontaneously forming, and wiping out the entire eastern coast.

If that doesn’t happen, though, I’m instead predicting a lot of ridiculously entertaining stories emerging from this gathering. I’m looking forward to hearing tales of this event echoing through the interwebs for weeks. While just a bit too far afield for me to venture there myself, I’m expecting the aftershocks alone to provide plenty of inspiration to the artists in attendance, and plenty of fun for readers in the days to come.

Watchmen

So yeah, there was this movie, based on this comic book, you know? It was pretty good, I thought.

I mean, it wasn’t perfect. Plenty of little flaws, plenty of room for improvement. A couple stylistic choices that undercut core themes of the work. A few powerful moments conspiciously absent or altered. But the most basic ideas were still there, still intact, and still came across on the screen. The characters were well done, and their stories were well told. Visually impressive, and structurally sound – given how low my expectations were going in, that was more than enough for me to leave feeling well entertained.

But the movie itself aside, I found myself quite interested in seeing the movie’s presence ripple through the blogosphere, leaving a variety of parodies, commentaries and other amusements in its wake. The two that most caught my eye:

Ombudsmen, in which Scott Kurtz sets the core cast of PvP aside for a week to re-cast Watchmen as a referential work on newspaper comics, rather than comic books. Brilliant concept with excellent execution. The second strip, in which the eternally frozen nature of decades-long newspaper characters is connected with Dr. Manhattan’s cross-time viewpoint and his nature as an immortal yet static being… is simply flawless. It works on every level – as a respectful parody of Watchmen, as a commentary of the medium, as an engaging moment in its own right. This is some of Kurtz’s best work, and leaves me hoping for more self-contained (for certain values of self-contained) strips in this vein.

Saturday Morning Watchmen, on the other hand, is simply hilarious. A short animation that asks what it might look like if they had made Watchmen into a kid’s cartoon, the answer is in many ways terrifying – and yet, I’m sure I would have watched it in a heartbeat.

When Watchmen originally came out, it helped alter the comics industry in fundamental ways, giving rise to years of grim comics that tried (and often failed) to look at what a world with superheroes might really be like. I’m glad to see the emergence of the movie instead having (at least initially) more of a legacy of entertainment and humor, instead.

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Several topics, each better than the last.

Chainmail Bikini has announced its trek to the land of the Eternal Hiatus. Chainmail Bikini was, in and of itself, nothing too special – another comic about D&D that makes all the usual jokes about all the usual subjects. It had quality art, but its true claim to fame was being written by Shamus, who had produced the absolutely brilliant DM of the Rings.

Sadly, Chainmail Bikini never quite lived up to its predecessor  – despite having a genuine artist on board, it didn’t bring anything new to the table, and while DM of the Rings had carved out a dynamic little niche on its own, Chainmail Bikini wasn’t saying anything Knights of the Dinner Table hadn’t already said a decade earlier. Sure, the art was nicer – the art was spectacular, in fact – but as a comic entirely driven by humor, the art was also largely irrelevant. The humor itself wasn’t bad – just nothing new, and nothing strong enough to really draw in an audience.

Thus, in many ways the end of the comic almost leaves me hopeful – with this out of the way, perhaps Shamus will find himself stumbling upon a concept for another webcomic as unique and addictive as his first. He has already been doing a number of short comics at his blog, all focused around video games and the inevitable stupidities that come with said video games. From what I can tell, they’ve been funny, though my lack of video game knowledge has rendered several of them mostly inaccessible to me. Still, it definitely provides some hope for whatever he comes up with next.

Until then, however, we’ve got Darths and Droids, which has now smoothly settled into the true void left by DM of the Rings – and, 100 strips in, is going strong. Taking the Star Wars movie as its set-up, and using a game system that seems an amalgamation of all sorts of game out there, it manages to hit all the elements DMotR did… and even add one more. The “art” (screenshots) are well-chosen for maximum effect, the jokes manage to riff on both the mentality of game players and the inherent silliness of the subject matter… and it also manages to present the gamers with increasingly distinct personalities. Oh, in DMotR you had that to some extent – Legolas was played by the power-gamer, Gimli by the role-player.

But Darths and Droids has that, and also manages to make some of the characters likeable – like Sally, the younger sister of one of the players, who seems to grok roleplaying in the way that only a child’s view of make-believer really can. (And who manages to make Jar-Jar Binks an enjoyable character, even as the power-gamer playing R2-D2 makes the droid seem like a colossal jerk. Seriously, that’s impressive.)

So, what could possibly be better than a comic about a game that uses movie screenshots to tell its story?

How about a game about a comic that tells its story through… fisticuffs!

I think it is safe to say I’m excited about On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, and rather amazed it is only a week away from launch. Even better, Penny Arcade is celebrating the occasion by producing their own prequel comic for the game. I continue to find myself amazed that they’ve captured an interesting and exciting backdrop (steampunk adventures in the 1920!) that still feels completely and fully Penny Arcadian. The same sense of whimsy, the same saucy humor.

I suspect May 21st will be a day to remember.

Yo Ho Ho

I think PvP has the best take on Talk Like a Pirate Day that I’ve seen to date. 

Meanwhile, Tycho’s ability to wax eloquent on the fundamentals of extraterrestrial erotica is downright frightening – and I’m referring more to the man’s command of the English language than the subject matter at hand.

But enough of random linkage to the kings of the field, however noteworthy their performances today. Let’s talk about Modern Tales, and the recent changes to the line-up; specifically, the addition of some very promising rising stars, and a farewell to a comic I am very sad to see go.

First up, the additions.

Little Dee is a comic about which I have heard a great deal. Friends have pestered me into reading it. Reviews have celebrated it. Fans have sung its praises. And yet, it isn’t actually on my reading list, largely due to circumstance more than anything else. The premise sounds remarkably Calvin and Hobbes-esque – which, when pulled off right, is generally a recipe for success. This is what newspaper comics should be, and even if it has parted ways from syndication, their loss seems to be our game – and it’s addition to Modern Tales seems to mean my turn to step up and join the readers cheering it on.

Planet Saturday Comics… well, I’ve mentioned them before, and my feelings on the comic remain the same – it is an elegant and gorgeously illustrated remembrance (and celebration) of childhood and family. Modern Tales is very lucky to add them to the collective – and hopefully this will help share their work with an even larger crowd, to the mutual benefit of everyone involved.

Gothbunnies I already reviewed last week, and was suitably impressed with.

No Stereotypes is one I’ve long been a fan of. It has also been a comic I’ve seen go through more changes and transitions than most, and while returning to Modern Tales only seems to be continuing that trend, it will hopefully only make the comic more accessible, rather than less so. No Stereotypes is one of those comics that manages to be both fully epic and yet staggeringly personal, and that is among the least of the great things it has going for it.

Finally, All Knowledge is Strange – a comic I haven’t heard of, by an artist I’m not familiar with, who has written other comics I haven’t read. Which, to be fair, isn’t a bad thing in any way – new material can be refreshing, and given my familiarity with most of the other comics added to the site, having a wild card is entirely welcome.

So, all in all, some fine new additions to the line-up. Unfortunately, their addition comes with sad news – the end of Where Am I Now?

Where Am I Now? has been on hiatus for a long while now, so it had already fallen off my radar in some respects. And yet, reading back through the archives (a relatively easy task, with under 70 strips available), I am reminded of why I so enjoyed it the first time I stumbled upon it. It is both beautiful and sad, joyous and melancholy, and I’m a sucker for any story that can blend those so effectively.

This comic is about a world where humanity has died off. The survivors? A handful of robots, artificial intelligences left alone in a world and unsure what to do other than pass the time from day to day. We don’t know specifically what brought about the end of the world – just that it happened, and it seems nearly complete.

It is a dark idea, but the comic is filled with bright moments and its fair share of humor. And it delves into some powerful and thoughtful philosophy. But it does have plenty of bittersweet scenes, almost heartbreaking in their subtlety. (“Real children, or robot-” “Real, robot children.” Now that is a well-put together moment.)

And… now it is come to an end. Not even a proper end, but a bittersweet one – a sudden stop, the story only partially told, the characters now left to linger in limbo forevermore. It isn’t as harsh as it could be – the greater story was never the focus of the comic, and regardless of the handful of hints of larger plot, it was a comic about people, and society, and ideas, and not about any specific tale I will suffer without knowing the ending.

But it is a sad goodbye, and in some ways, a grim reflection of the comic itself. Modern Tales may be gaining some bright new strips, but webcomics as a whole are losing a comic that could have been one of the greats.

On Promotion

So, my post last Friday mentioned Ryan Estrada joining onto Life’s a Bluff – but this was apparently just the tip of the iceberg. The Cartoon Commune was launched, assurances were given concerning the return of Aki Alliance (among other new comics), and finally, an attempt was made to blanket the internet in guest strips – Fleen and T Campbell have done most of the round-up for those who didn’t realize the scope of it all. There is a confirmed count of at least thirty-seven, and I’m confident the actual number is at least in the forties. For the full list, Ryan will be running the strips on his own site, one every five hours, with commentary, so that’s the place to be for any who want the complete experience.

It’s a pretty impressive feat, to come up with that many comics emulating and celebrating so many different styles – all the more so because many of the guest strips were amazingly well done. But while most were inclined to tip the hat to Estrada on a job well done, I noted a number of others who were upset by his attempt to become the “ultimate attention whore” – and it is that crowd I feel the need to address.

Now, I can understand their point. Having a product thrown in your face too many times will often turn it sour, regardless of the product itself. I can think of several different webcomics that I found myself dissuaded from reading specifically because of overaggressive self-promotional advertising. So for someone not a fan of Estrada’s style – or those simply looking for actual content from the comics they read, and running into guest strip after guest strip – I can see how the Estradaganza could be aggravating. And yes, it is certainly true that Ryan is going out of his way to attract attention with this – it is clearly a stunt being done with the goal of promoting his new site and career.

But that said – seriously, I can think of few worthier causes for this sort of stunt than celebrating someone’s chance to go full-time with the webcomics gig. Sure, he’s not going to be the first one to do so – but the crowd of those who make a living from webcomics is still only a few dozen at most. Each person who adds to those ranks is another bit of reassurance for those working towards such a goal, and an accomplishment worth recognizing.

Secondly, this isn’t just him asking for a shameless plug on his friend’s sites. This is him producing dozens of strips, each of them carefully crafted for the subject. This is him giving dozens of webcartoonists the chance to sit down for a day and rest, or try and get caught up, or work on building up their buffer. They aren’t posting the guest strips because he forced them to do so – they are posting them because they appreciate what he did, and because they think it is worth sharing with their readers!

Is it self-promotion? Yes, of course it is. But it is self-promotion done well, in service of a worthy cause and with the glad participation of all those involved in the matter. This isn’t something for people to be repulsed by – this is something for people to aspire towards.

Some Friday News, in brief

A recent JLA issue featured an exceptionally Shortpacked moment, as seen on right.

Anyway, the big news floating around at the moment is the webcomic exhibit at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, in New York. Fleen has a full rundown on the exhibit, and it certainly sounds like good stuff. It features some of the best work out there – including some amazing things I had never heard of before.

I kinda like the fact that, even though odds are low that I’ll actually have the chance to see the exhibit, it still managed to put me in touch with at least one awesome comic I had never seen before.

So, apparently Ryan Estrada is the new artist over at Life’s a Bluff. Which is certainly awesome news, though I’d be even more overjoyed if there was any sign of Aki Alliance returning from its long hiatus. That said, Estrada has definitely shown he can produce some quality work when dealing with other people’s comics, as is clearly demonstrated by the greatest PvP guest strip ever.

Speaking of PvP, apparently Scott Kurtz has started taking the drugs. Seriously, though, the recent anime storyline hasn’t been bad, but it has certainly taken the strip’s surreality meter and thrown it right out the window.

Stunning upset of the day: It isn’t unheard of for two popular gaming strips to happen to make near identical jokes on the same day. What was a shock, however, was the realization that on this day, Ctrl+Alt+Del managed to thoroughly out-humor Penny Arcade.

I… I’m sorry, but I think I need to go lie down for a moment.

More Endings and Beginnings

Another comic that, sadly, appears to be drawing to a close is Get Medieval. I mentioned this strip a month ago, and spoke highly of it – thus it should be obvious while I am sad that it is heading towards what appears to be an ending.

It isn’t an entirely a surprise – the comic has a moderately intact storyline, and such things usually come with endings. But this is one of the webcomics at the height of professionalism, that does just about everything right, and it is always a shame when one of them walks off the stage.

(And, of course, it might not be ending – I’m merely basing that off of where the narrative is going, and it is certainly possible I could be completely and utterly wrong.) 

But either way, I am excited – because the creator of Get Medieval is involved in launching another comic, and one that looks awesome.

There is, currently, one strip available for Knowledge is Power, so I can’t really make much in the way of judgement calls.

There is now a co-creator, so we’ll see how that pans out. But I have high expectations thus far – especially as KiP has a nice, proper webpage, while I was never quite as satisfied with Get Medieval being hosted on livejournal.

Additionally, the word on the street is that the comic is about superheroes in college, or something along those lines. Given that some similar comics are among my favorite webcomics out there, I’ve got a good feeling about this one, too.

So, now that I’ve spent a post mourning a comic that may not actually be ending, and reviewing a comic that has only barely begun, I’ll leave with a promise for something a bit more eloquent next time.

Endings and New Beginnings

Stuff Sucks coming to a close took me by surprise – and though it was sad news at first, it helped me realize a number of things about the comic, and for that I am grateful.

I hadn’t seen the ending coming – or even suspected one was in store – because I had become accustomed to the many, many webcomics out there with perpetually ongoing plots. Stuff Sucks, I naturally assumed, would be another such comic – the characters would continue to have wacky hijinks and interactions, relationships would hover up in the air, and resolutions would only come one small step at a time.

Instead, however, the comic has a cohesive storyline that has been heading for a very specific end. It reached that end perhaps sooner than intended, but the ending is a genuine one nonetheless.

It may not be an entirely satisfactory one – there are some open-ended questions, some plots left unresolved, some characters ending up together in a fashion that is both jarring, and yet all too tidy. And yet… I found I didn’t mind.

I realized that the story has never been what drew me into the comic. This isn’t to say the story was bad – but it was the art, the character designs, and the everyday extraordinariness of the scenes and concepts that won me over. All elements that will be just as fascinating regardless of what story is being told.

The story was a perfectly fine vehicle for delivering all these excellent moments, and phrases, and personalities – but I didn’t need it to be anything more than that.

Which just means that while I may have had a moment of sadness at seeing the current comic come to an end, I am all the more eager to see whatever Liz Greenfield comes up with next. Cause let me tell you – I’d bet good money that it will be awesome.

Meanwhile, DM of the Rings has come to a close as of today (and while the final comics were inevitably anticlimactic, I do fully approve of the farewell speech given, and wrapping things up with precisely one hundred and forty-four comics.) With this close, however, we immediately are moved forward to the new comic – Chainmail Bikini: The Nightmarish Legend of Deuce Baaj.

Right off the bat, it is clearly a different creature than the previous comic by Shamus Young – but the work of the new artist, Shawn Gaston, is quality, and the same irreverant humor is immediately present. While the LotR jokes may be left behind, this may open things up for more general commentary, and I suspect this strip will be a top-notch addition to the likes of Order of the Stick, Goblins, and Erfworld.

The first page itself certainly isn’t bad, and had some solid humor present – but it is the character profiles that already has me eager to see what comes next. The site is a little hard to navigate – but I’m willing to give that a pass on the first day of the comic.

For now, it’s got potential, and that’s all that really matters on day one.

Some Fine Reading for the Weekend

Some things that have been interesting this week:  

First topic of note, David Malki! vs Comic-Con. I imagine most people have seen this by now – if not, it is worth watching, both due to the classy comedy of Malki! himself… but also due to providing a good look at the convention for any who weren’t able to go, and putting faces to the names of many of the webcomickers who were there. That’s good stuff.

Secondly, I mentioned two weeks ago that Scott Adams was providing advice to Scott Meyers on getting Basic Instructions into syndication. That advice wasn’t confined to a single post, however, and it continues to be interesting to see the different attempts they are playing with, and their discoveries as to what seems to be working and what does not.

Scott Adam’s Advice: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 
Scott Meyer’s Thoughts: 1, 2, 3
Also, compare one of his original works with the attempts to retool it.

And if you’ve managed to wade through all of that but haven’t actually read through his archives, you should probably do that too. The archiving system at the site is a bit of a pain, but this is a damn funny comic that is pretty much unique in concept.

There has also been a number of new webcomic blogs appearing recently, especially ones that are pretty… aggressive in nature. Your Webcomic is Bad was the forerunner of them, and while I had hoped it would simply fade away, it doesn’t seem inclined to do so. The biggest thing that bothers me about his posts is that they often have genuine, insightful criticism… buried under a festering mound of invective and obscenity, thoroughly obscuring the point from anyone who might be able to make use of it. But given his admitted goal is simply to entertain himself and those of like minds, I suppose that isn’t a surprise.

What was a surprise was the other blogs that have sprung up in his wake, and the fact they seem to be getting progessively more useful. Me and You and Mary Sue is largely about drama in webcomics. I’m still not really a fan of spite for spite’s sake, even if he focuses on the (largely deserving) Buckley. However, the information to profanity meter is pretty good, and having an actual catalogue of all this nonsense will probably simplify things years from now.

But the winner would seem to be Your Webcomic Can Still Be Saved, which thus far has a number of really useful advice on fonts, a somewhat overlooked issue with many webcomics. (And jumping on the stupid anti Comic Sans bandwagon doesn’t count.) Anyway, the site only has a few posts thus far, but this is the sort of solid, technical advice that people need to see, so hopefully it will keep going.

Anyway, in an attempt to balance out some of the negativity of those blogs, I’d like to direct folks towards T Campbell’s recent posts on Broken Frontier, which are recording his thirty favorite moments in webcomics.

I may not agree with all of them, but he isn’t putting this out there as a definitive list – just as scenes that have stuck with him. But as he has gone through them… well, there really are some powerful scenes in there. I found myself having to hold back from rereading all of Narbonic and Questionable Content, or hunting down the non-theoretical work of Scott McCloud.

It can be good, to remember why these comics are great. It can be good to remember the moments we are reading for.

The Road Goes Ever On

With my somewhat pessimistic commentary earlier in the week, I was hoping to spend today discussing some of the really awesome webcomic stories currently taking place, which includes pretty much everything going on at Blank Label (especially Starslip Crisis), the current cliffhanger goodness at Girls With Slingshots, and the stunning revelation that I live two hours from Dr. McNinja

But alas, sadder news was to claim the day – Suburban Tribe has come to a sudden ending. Not the ending, perhaps – but an end to the current format and schedule.

And this, my friends, is tragic news indeed. Suburban Tribe is the comic that has most impressed me with how it matured and developed throughout its run – while many webcomics are reknowned for improving on the art, I find it a rarer thing for story, plot and characterization to undergo as great a shift. But John Lee managed to do so, and to do it well – despite the cast of the comic being far from the most likeable or heroic of characters, I found myself emotionally invested in them, and their stories, to a degree that few comics had managed to achieve.

The reason for the shift is not an uncommon one – four years of producing a comic every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for free, with no real payoff in sight… well, I can understand how that can begin to wear thin. And while it may leave me, the reader, saddened, I can’t fault any artist who makes that decision. Especially not while there remains hope for more content in the future – as the artist tries to refocus, add in new projects, and see if a change of format can help to lead to greater success.

So while I’ll hope for a chance to see where the story of Suburban Tribe goes from here, I’ll also give my thanks for the great story told thus far, and my best wishes for success with John Lee’s future endeavors, whatever they may be.

A Wrong Turn in the Right Place, at the Right Time

So I had totally been going to try and get an actual review in this week, and had gotten a solid bit of the way through discussing the awesome that is Get Medieval when events conspired to divert my attention. It is now late in the hours of the morning and I find myself wanting to do nothing so much as ramble on about a great many things – so that’s what ye’re gonna get, and next week I’ll be back to writing webcomic reviews, you know, like I’m supposed to.

The first item on the entirely-arbitrarily-formed-list is drama! Specifically, relationship drama, which I’ve seen very, very, very few webcomics really handle in a realistic and honest fashion. And right now we’ve got two doing so! Scene Language managed to show how a perfect evening can quickly turn into an ugly fight, and do so in a fashion that is heartbreaking, even while you want to punch everyone involved with the situation.

Punch an’ Pie, meanwhile, also shows something of a rough discussion, but one that pushes a lot deeper than the normal pettiness of everyday life – and, perhaps, cuts even keener because that is the case. A lot of webcomics toss in fights and drama and tension because they need some quick conflict in the plot.

For both of these comics, it’s because that is what these characters, in these situations, are inevitably going to do.

Switching gears entirely, Scott Adams has posted some of his advice on how Basic Instructions can break into syndication. ComixTalk has some good discussion on it all, but I really wanted to make mention of it, as I suspect this will be a far more fascinating thing to watch than the attempts of (sorry) Diesel Sweeties or PvP to break into print comics.

Not just because Basic Instruction is a really brilliant strip (which it is), but because I see it as having just the right brand of humor to take the newspaper by storm – and also because it comes in a format that is very not-newspaper-friendly. Which means that seeing him try and whittle and hone and produce a perfect gem for the papers is going to be an exciting challenge, and one I’m quite interesting in keeping an eye on.

Also, I think it is just all-around-cool that Scott Adams is giving this sort of advice out, and even more than that, making it publicly available for everyone to enjoy. That’s pretty rad.

Speaking of rad, I should have mentioned this earlier – but go see Stardust. This movie is just awesome in every way.

Also awesome – Mind Flayers wearing their tentacles as curly mustaches. I’m not even sure if I can adequately describe why this is awesome, but I know it is, because it left me laughing at it for days.

And on the topic of laughter-worthy, I found the latest Ctrl+Alt+Del downright hysterical, and then needed to spend a good bit of time analyzing why .The conclusion I arrived at is that the behavior which I find obnoxious in Ethan is not only acceptable in secondary characters, but actually pretty good stuff. It is only when combined with Ethan’s built-in wish-fulfillment that the absurdity annoys me – when tossed in as a gag with some throw-away characters, it manages both to give them some character and produce a surprising amount of laughter. Rock on, Ctrl+Alt+Del!

Ok, I know I’m not done yet… Ah! Anywhere But Here has just gotten through redrawing the early strips of its old archives, and is about to embrak into a solid year-and-a-half of missing time from the original story. (At least, I think that is the comic’s plan.) I am quite eager to see this – while the new strips are very nice to look at, and the jokes aren’t bad by any means, the repetition has slightly dulled it for me, and seeing all-new territory should really freshen things up.

And, seriously – see Stardust. It’s worth it.

Finally, a small note of criticism – Dire Destiny’s latest page is in color. With the vast majority of strips out there, adding color clears away flaws and is an easy way to make a simple comic look good. With Dire Destiny, unfortunately, it doesn’t get work. It isn’t that the addition of color is really all that ugly – but rather, the black and white art works fantastically well for the series, and putting that aside is something of a crime.

Well, that wraps up my list. Next week, more reviews.

For now, more sleep.