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[P]
Dot.Comics and the Death of Sunday: Webcomics At a Glance

By dokool in Internet
Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:41:57 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The day of any student, teacher, slacker, worker, boss, politician, parent, child, or just plain anyone probably starts with one of two things: Coffee, and the Comic section of your newspaper of choice. Some have their favorites, some read the whole page, and some have to buy a new copy at the local newsstand after spilling their cup of coffee. Regardless, we all love our comics. They make us laugh, with humor that, although clean, is genuine. Then comes Sunday, the holy grail of comics, where we get treated to a splash of color in an otherwise mundane week.

Then came the concept of webcomics, and all of that flew straight out the window, into the trashcan, landing on top of the paper that you SHOULD have put in the recycling bin, you inconsiderate bastard.


Yes, webcomics. The digital entertainment that has thrown newspapers for a loop and added even more to my morning routine, for I must be awake at approximately 1AM on any given morning to see the update, as it happens.

What are webcomics, you say? They're... well, they're pretty much like traditional comics. The only difference is that, unless the author publishes them in paper form, they are 100%, home-grown digital, making them free from the restrictions of comics you may read every day.

Yes, believe it or not, newspaper comics are censored. You cannot show drugs, sex, nudity, profane language, and so on, in a newspaper. Otherwise, the newspaper will yank the strip for the day, perhaps yank the strip permanently, and bitch at the syndicate that carries the strip. Funny that a newspaper, the bastion of the free press, would impose such blatant censorship on its readers, eh?

But I've digressed off the beaten path. Webcomics.

What makes webcomics so great is that instead of being restricted by lawyers or syndicates or papers, they're only restricted by the imagination of the artist, in size and scope. A strip can take up a whole page, or three panels. It can be in color for each day, or it can be black and white some days. Storylines can last for months rather than weeks, if the author deems it fit. In short, a webcomic can be anything you want it to be. Yes, anyone with a pencil and a scanner or a mouse can make a webcomic, post it on a schedule they see fit (no meeting deadlines 6 weeks in advance, no sirree Bob!), and rejoice. However, this doesn't make it a good thing.

This is where taste comes in, as well as the comic version of Darwin's Theory. In theory, any comic can be successful, live long, and prosper. For example, look at KeenSpace. This is a list of webcomics hosted by KeenSpace, a free service for webcomic authors. That's a lot of comics, however not all of them have even been used. Of the comics that ARE updated on a semi-consistent basis, however, there are lots. Now, how are we to find the cream of the crop?

First, KeenSpace is simply an all-inclusive version of a smaller, more high-caliber webcomic site, called KeenSpot. KeenSpot hosts the best of the best, and since admission is by selection only, very few comics, as compared to KeenSpace. This is kind of a non-democratic version of K5 or Slashdot, however. Instead of the users themselves choosing which comic they want to elevate to KeenSpot status, it's done by KeenSpot and KeenSpot alone.

That said, the true Darwinian theories of webcomics are measured by one thing and one alone: Buzz. All but one of the webcomics I read were referred to me by friends, who placed great faith in the idea that I'd like this. Such comics are truely great, not because they've been elevated to greatness (i.e. the KeenSpot way), but because they've elevated themselves.

So now, of course, you'd want to know how I got into all this mess.

Well, it all started a while ago with Penny Arcade. I was a regular reader from its early days, and then an occasional reader, and then a regular reader again. Tycho and Gabe are a one-stop sources for opinions on the latest in the gaming world, so stop by. Penny Arcade: It's Wang-Tastic (tm)

Then, a couple months ago, a friend recommended College Roomies From Hell (CRFH, for short). Now, CRFH was a webcomic that seemed to be updated consistently, 7-days-a-week. For some reason, however, I took the bait, and was instantly hooked. I read through 3+ years of the strip in two or three days, which is proof of how addicting it can be. Hell, I even know my CRFH Code, which I won't bother to post here.

After CRFH came the funniest webcomic so far: FLEM Comics. J. Grant is a genius, there's no other way to put it. A strip full of sex, drugs, violence, sex, profanity, sex, drugs, sex, and did I mention violence? A strip that will send the author and anyone who reads it straight to hell. I don't care if they only let me use a 14.4k modem in hell, I'll wait 5 minutes for the latest FLEM strip to load.

Finally, Kung Fool, a comic which skirts the boundaries between comic and cartoon. Done all in Flash, Kung Fool can have strips that are motionless (but not without easter eggs), strips that are animated, or just sketches from the drawing table. More suitable for anime-lovers, but still entertaining nonetheless.

A brief warning, however. Webcomics are an addiction, which must be taken seriously.  I'm not saying that you're gonna sell your car for a fix or anything, but one will lead to another. A Penny Arcade reader might jump to PvP, then User Friendly, then others. Read any KeenSpace or KeenSpot comic and you'll get sucked into a dozen others. Read FLEM and I'll save a seat for you in hell.

Of course, what must be asked, of course, is what will be the future of comics? Obviously, picking up your morning paper and flipping to Ziggy will be a tradition that, hopefully, will last for a while longer. Are webcomics the death of the traditional comic? I think not. Webcomics are a renaissance, the heralding of a new era of entertainment. They are proof that as much as technology may advance, we still long for our 3-or-4-or-10-panel strip, which we will read daily. They are proof that comics have the ability to be so much more than a minute of entertainment followed by a day full of torment. These things have fanfics, man. Fanfics. Dilbert works his ass off daily for the Pointy-Haired Boss, and does HE get a fanfic? I think not...

Regardless, I say don't abandon the morning comics if you read any of them. Read your Non Sequitur, Family Circus, or Zits. Do the crossword if you feel like it. Just realize sooner or later that the genre you've loved for years has evolved, and that unless you want to do a LOT of archive reading (essential for webcomics, and feasible since sites like Keenspace have archives so big that they could shake a stick at you), you'll catch the fever now.

Besides, do you really want to be the last person on the face of the earth to laugh at a storyline involving a mutant Jesus clone?

-DOKool

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Poll
What webcomics, if any, do you read?
o One/Many KeenSpace or KeenSpot comics 7%
o Penny Arcade/PvP/User Friendly 19%
o Something Else 13%
o I read my favorite newspaper comics online 4%
o Dilbert 7%
o Any combination of the above 39%
o None of the above, comics should remain on paper 2%
o I don't read comics. 5%

Votes: 89
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o KeenSpace
o KeenSpot
o Penny Arcade
o College Roomies From Hell
o FLEM Comics
o Kung Fool
o mutant Jesus clone
o Also by dokool


Display: Sort:
Dot.Comics and the Death of Sunday: Webcomics At a Glance | 79 comments (60 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
Webcomics are not anti-censorship (3.66 / 6) (#11)
by jasonab on Fri May 10, 2002 at 03:35:18 AM EST

Your thesis is a bit skewed.
Yes, believe it or not, newspaper comics are censored. You cannot show drugs, sex, nudity, profane language, and so on, in a newspaper. Otherwise, the newspaper will yank the strip for the day, perhaps yank the strip permanently, and bitch at the syndicate that carries the strip. Funny that a newspaper, the bastion of the free press, would impose such blatant censorship on its readers, eh?
Newspapers don't impose censorship: governments do. Newspapers make business decisions, same as everyone else. Is it censorship if the newspaper doesn't print the goriest picture of last night's shooting on the front page?

Why do you think certain comics run in the paper? Because that's what the readership wants! Choosing Foxtrot over Peanuts isn't an editorial decision, it's a business one. It isn't the newspaper's job to impose your personal comics taste on its readership.

Regardless, I say don't abandon the morning comics if you read any of them. Read your Non Sequitur, Family Circus, or Zits. Do the crossword if you feel like it. Just realize sooner or later that the genre you've loved for years has evolved, and that unless you want to do a LOT of archive reading (essential for webcomics, and feasible since sites like Keenspace have archives so big that they could shake a stick at you), you'll catch the fever now.
Since when is evolution defined by how much blood, sex and gratuitous cursing you can cram into a strip? Would Peanuts be better if Charlie Brown busted a cap in Lucy's ass? I'm sure webcomics will continue to draw a readership, part of which is me. I'm equally sure that the Washington Post won't be running FLEM anytime soon.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
Censorship. (4.50 / 2) (#21)
by StrontiumDog on Fri May 10, 2002 at 06:57:48 AM EST

Newspapers don't impose censorship: governments do.

Then I'm afraid you'll have to get a dictionary and look up the meaning of censorship. Government involvement is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for censorship to exist. Calling editorial censorship "business decisions" is a euphemism. Behind all censorship, governmental or otherwise, are rationales; a newspaper's might be business or sponsorship concerns; a government's might be political; censorship it remains in both cases. Need more convincing? Read a rag put out by a group with obvious and explicit interests: corporate glossies, environmentalist publications, or porn mags; and see if any not only tolerates, but publishes dissent within its ranks.

Why do you think certain comics run in the paper? Because that's what the readership wants! Choosing Foxtrot over Peanuts isn't an editorial decision, it's a business one. It isn't the newspaper's job to impose your personal comics taste on its readership.

Among a host of other reasons, which have little to do with taste, such as syndication and media ownership, choosing Foxtrot over Peanuts is an editorial decision. Newspapers don't pander to their readership's wants, they pander to that vague entity known as a demographic. The newspaper decides on its target demographic, and then tries to entice that demographic. Who is actually reading the paper is unimportant, the question is who should be reading it. After all, when last did your local rag run a referendum to decide which comics to publish?

[ Parent ]

example (5.00 / 2) (#41)
by janra on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:47:59 PM EST

Last September was the first time I directly encountered this censorship, or "business decision", or whatever you want to call it. For Better or For Worse ran two versions of the strip one day, with a comment to the effect that the second one had to be provided as an alternate to the newspapers because some of them didn't want to run the first, original, one. This continued for just under a week (Starting here). I went out to find a copy of one of the big local papers, and sure enough, the alternate was printed.

I was kind of shocked, though I suppose I shouldn't have been. It's not like there was some sex & violence or anything even remotely R-rated in it, though. The original content in question was this: Two of the characters were getting married, and the mother of the bride had a problem with the fact that the best man, the groom's best friend since they were kids, was gay. The alternate content had them arguing about a gift of flowers. But the original content wasn't printed, because apparently showing tolerance and intolerance in an effective way was not something the newspapers thought readers would be comfortable with.

In my opinion, the original content was far more powerful, as well as saying something very different about the mother of the bride.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Censorship and alternative outlets (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by brion on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:48:08 PM EST

The original versions of those strips did run in the Los Angeles Times, the "big local paper" in my neck of the woods. Apparently people in your area are more reactionary, and your local papers know they would receive complaint letters and lose some subscriptions had they run the strips.

Freedom of the press, as they say, is for people who own one. There's nothing stopping an artist from finding a different publisher, or self-publishing, if some publishers are unwilling to publish their work.

Nobody owes you North America-wide newspaper syndication, and if that's your goal, you have to accept the fact that you have to deal with a wide array of publishers, a wide array of audiences, and a wide array of decisions about what's publishable. Ms. Johnston's alternate-strip policy for the homosexuality-related themes is a business compromise that she clearly finds more acceptable than either a) having her strip dropped from some papers with reactionary readerships or b) not exploring the storylines she wants to tell.

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]

but (none / 0) (#47)
by spacejack on Fri May 10, 2002 at 02:50:14 PM EST

No-one ever thought that the newspaper was where you'd go to find avant-garde comics. (Newspaper comics are merely the gateway drug that leads young readers to news addiction.) The best place for comics is still the specialty comic shops. Web comics aren't doing anything traditional comic artists have been doing for decades besides maybe adding some animation.

[ Parent ]
More censorship (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by jasonab on Fri May 10, 2002 at 03:52:14 PM EST

Calling editorial censorship "business decisions" is a euphemism. Behind all censorship, governmental or otherwise, are rationales; a newspaper's might be business or sponsorship concerns; a government's might be political; censorship it remains in both cases.
I don't understand how choosing which comics to print is "censorship." The word has been abused to the point that the only meaning it now carries is "you didn't print my version of the truth." Why is a paper choosing not to run an obscure comic that its readership doesn't want, censorship?
After all, when last did your local rag run a referendum to decide which comics to publish?
Actually, my local rag (the Washington Post) regularly runs Comics surveys (every year or two), and in fact is in the middle of one right now. All the comics are being rated by the readership, and the editors will then go through those answers to revamp the comics page. They even reinstated a comic that was dropped the last time after a large outcry.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]
web comics suck dick (2.09 / 11) (#13)
by Your Moms Cock on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:55:55 AM EST

except for Leisuretown and Jerkcity.


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

agreed (none / 0) (#35)
by tps12 on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:49:57 AM EST

Though Pokey the Penguin is also quite strong, IMO. SegFault makes me want to break my face.

[ Parent ]
Spacemoose is the best webcomic ever (4.33 / 6) (#15)
by oconnoje on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:29:29 AM EST

Spacemoose
--
KTHXBYE
Spacemoose is a guide to happiness. (4.66 / 3) (#18)
by Holloway on Fri May 10, 2002 at 06:18:18 AM EST

For the first birthday that my girlfriend and I spent together I got her Spacemoose. We've now been together for 3.5 years.

Draw your own conclusions.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

HOORAY!!!! (3.00 / 5) (#16)
by voltron on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:43:30 AM EST

web comics are dumb. i don't feel like discussing them.

but, lots of people seem to like them, therefore this will probably get voted up.

to continue this prohpetic streak, i'll venture a guess that instead of any discussion, people will just say "hey! you didn't mention [some comic that i like]".

this brings me back to my first sentence. there is in fact one web comic that isn't dumb.

pokey the penguin.

to sum up, "POKEY THE PENGUIN IS AN EDUCATIONAL CHILDRENS CARTOON! POKEY AND HIS PALS HAVE FUN AND LEARNING ABOUT THE HAZARDS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE!"

you won't get it. at least not for a while.

Let's read webcomics chicago-style! (none / 0) (#39)
by j1mmy on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:43:27 PM EST

Thusly the pants came off and comment ratings rose!

[ Parent ]
You left out an important one (3.87 / 8) (#17)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri May 10, 2002 at 06:01:10 AM EST

Linux Zealot

--em

Adequacy is funny (3.20 / 5) (#26)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:23:05 AM EST

Adequacy is funny.. simply to see how much effort pathetic people will put into ridiculing others.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
I agree with Estanislao (none / 0) (#68)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat May 11, 2002 at 08:55:11 PM EST

Linux Zealot is just about the most pant-wettingly hilarious cartoon strip about Linux Zealotry on the Internet today. You owe it to yourself to check it out...

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

A very good one, but only in German (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by moeffju on Fri May 10, 2002 at 07:51:51 AM EST

Those who speak german will probably love Nichtlustig. Although I don't know whether it counts as a "comic", seeing it is just one "panel". It's damn funny nonetheless.

Sorry to those who don't understand German, though.

Sinfest (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:20:40 AM EST

Just mentioning one comic you left out.. Sinfest is a great find on KeenSpot.  It's often very funny, but that doesn't stop it from touching on philosophical and religious issues.  Religion is a main theme in the strip, which makes it stand out from most other web comics.

You did mention Penny Arcade and I just want to back that up.. if you are at all interested in the gaming industry you'll want to read this strip.  They basically skewer every aspect of gaming.  You can bet that the top people in the gaming industry have one thing in common - I'm sure most of them read Penny Arcade.

Me?  Since you asked, I don't really read these strips any more.. nowadays I mainly look at HARDCORE TENTACLE HENTAI.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

Wrong link (none / 0) (#29)
by Gully Foyle on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:56:21 AM EST

Umm, the comic's at www.penny-arcade.com and not www.pennyarcade.com. Two very different things.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

oops (none / 0) (#30)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:58:22 AM EST

My bad.. I usually check my links.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#42)
by panck on Fri May 10, 2002 at 01:44:32 PM EST

wow, for a second there I thought penny-arcade had done an amazing send-up of Mahir-style "weclome to my Home-Page" type web sites, in an attempt to garnish donations.

[ Parent ]
ghastly's ghastly comic (none / 0) (#49)
by kataklyst on Fri May 10, 2002 at 03:06:46 PM EST

I don't really read these strips any more.. nowadays I mainly look at HARDCORE TENTACLE HENTAI.

Why settle for one or the other, when you can have both.

[ Parent ]

My day (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by jabber on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:25:59 AM EST

My day starts with tea and K5, then a few private blogs, then the news, weather, movie listings if the wekend is coming up...

I can't remember the last time I deliberately went for web comics.. I only do that when I'm truly bored. But it's an intresting, albeit presumptious article nonetheless. +1.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

User Friendly (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by wiredog on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:33:55 AM EST

User Friendly is fun. And has a comment board.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
but not funny [n/t] (none / 0) (#36)
by tps12 on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:52:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Censorship of newspaper comics (5.00 / 2) (#32)
by gbd on Fri May 10, 2002 at 10:55:19 AM EST

This reminds me of a story related by Dave Barry.  One Sunday back in the 1980s, the Miami Herald refused to run one of Berke Breathed's Bloom County strips because it contained the phrase "Reagan Sucks."  To explain why Bloom County was missing that week, the Herald inserted a short explanation which contained the phrase (you guessed it) "Reagan Sucks."  In response to this, the Herald received and printed many letters to the editor that contained the phrase "Reagan Sucks."  As a result, the Herald printed a final bit of commentary on the situation that contained the phrase (yes, you've got it) "Reagan Sucks."

This is a neat little reminder that in many cases, self-censorship can be self-defeating.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

The sucess story of webcomics... (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by Armaphine on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:30:33 AM EST

PvP, or Player vs. Player. Drawn by Scott Kurtz, it's practically the gold standard for webcomics. He's had such great success with it, that he's finally been branching off and doing his own comic book of the series. In fact, IIRC, Kurtz actually does this as a self-sustaining job.

In addition, PvP has done something else that a lot of webcomics has slipped on... he kept it clean. At least for the most part. An occasional swear word has been known to slip in some of his storylines, but overall, he's kept it to a level that would actually be acceptable in a newspaper setting.

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.

A rare strip. (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by watchmaker on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:01:43 PM EST

Kurtz does something that almost no other web based strip can do. He packages a real joke into every four frames.

PVP is a real "Strip" in the classic newspaper sense. He has a sharp sense of wit, he plays it clean, and he knows how to do what only Berke Breathed has done in the past - He can write a strip with timing.

The fact that he can make a living at this is just icing on the cake. It's something RIGHT with the world, that a talented person can make a living by doing what they do best.

[ Parent ]

The original web comic... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by jmzero on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:09:55 PM EST

Updated almost every day for years...  And it doesn't suck!

Dr. Fun
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

And, of course, Megatokyo (4.00 / 5) (#38)
by Skywise on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:21:14 PM EST

For an American spin on manga...

www.megatokyo.com

What the Hell? (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:44:25 PM EST

"We all love our comics"? Excuse me. Comics suck. I can't stand the Sunday Funnies. They're so stupid. Who the hell reads the comics every day? The only exception I make room for is Calvin and Hobbes and those aren't being written anymore so that's somewhat of a moot point. No modern comics are worth anything.

Similar gripe, different subject. (none / 0) (#62)
by antizeus on Fri May 10, 2002 at 08:07:45 PM EST

Coffee sucks. Some of us here don't have a caffeine habit.

I don't subscribe to any newspapers either.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]

MLP (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by dogwalker on Fri May 10, 2002 at 01:57:16 PM EST

Daily, I read: PvP, Sinfest, Superosity, (my fave), Penny Arcade, Exploitation Now, Pentasmal, Bobbins, and Real Life. (yeah, I know it's very funny.)

Also good are Diesel Sweeties, Goats, Bob the Angry Flower, and Sluggy Freelance.

User Friendly sucks.

I love Cat and Girl

The above article definitely should have mentioned Modern Tales, which is a new subscription web page with lots of web comics. You can read the most recent strips for free, or subscribe and be able to dip into the archives for three bucks a month.

On the twisted humor side, Spacemoose takes the cake. Leisuretown is also a work of complete genius, especially QA confidential. Also see Jerkcity.

Artsy stuff can be found at Electric Sheep. Also see When I am King.

That's just off the top of my head. There's plenty more out there, so if you like the comix, don't be afraid to spend some time sifting through the web. I guarantee there's at least something out there that you're gonna love.
--
share and enjoy

s/it's very funny/it's *not* very funny/ [nt] (none / 0) (#44)
by dogwalker on Fri May 10, 2002 at 02:16:23 PM EST


--
share and enjoy

[ Parent ]
Finally (none / 0) (#77)
by Rizzen on Tue May 14, 2002 at 01:01:27 AM EST

Someone mentioned the only web comic worth reading:  Sluggy Freelance.  Although, I must admit, the quality has been sliding a bit.  But the archives are awesome.

I used to be really into UserFriendly (still have a wall plastered with them at work), but they've lost their appeal over the past year.  I read them maybe once a month now.

I was also really into Player vs. Player, but they become just inane after the first month or so.

Even Dilbert is getting banal.

It would appear that a comic can only be fresh and original (and thus interesting) for so long.  :(
The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]

And of course... (none / 0) (#46)
by Erbo on Fri May 10, 2002 at 02:44:33 PM EST

For comics that are topical and highly profane, you can't beat:

Get Your War On

Page 10 was just posted last week...
--
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org

Major one forgotten (3.50 / 2) (#48)
by El Volio on Fri May 10, 2002 at 02:56:46 PM EST

We can't forget Sluggy Freelance, now can we? Though it truly takes some archive reading, the story lines are great and the characters are memorable.

And it's not truly a webcomic, but The Boondocks is available on the web and is true greatness, even if it is on the evil uComics.com.

Sluggy is an investment. (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by watchmaker on Fri May 10, 2002 at 03:54:15 PM EST

You don't just read sluggy, you have to invest time in it. You really REALLY can only truly experience Sluggy by going back to strip #1 and reading forward through five years.

Pete Abrams is truly a genius. Storylines in Sluggy can range from the absurdly silly (see the recent running "Chick Magnet" gag), to extended forays into the serious (Check his "Fire and Rain" storyline from earlier this year. Artistically fantastic, a gripping storyline.)

Pete answers to no genre. Where a comic like User Friendly basically tries to imitate the style and humor of Bloom County (without the artistic ability or humor), Pete doesnt even stick with a style within his own strip. Some strips are drawn intricate and artsy, others look crude and, well User Friendly like. And this is a good thing.

Wheras strips like Peanuts were the same thing every day (and don't get me wrong, without Charles Schulz, the world would have been a lesser place) Sluggy is like a buffet, you never know what you're going to see. Sluggy is the first link I click in the morning, and will probably continue to be.

I spent four days around christmas time, reading Sluggy from the beginning. I was hooked.



[ Parent ]

Yet Another Webcomic (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by mikecap on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:33:10 PM EST

Something Positive is an example of a comic that would never, ever get run in any format other than on the web. It has immature, voilent, raunchy humor that appeals to a 20-something audience.

Mike

Gyah (none / 0) (#55)
by spacejack on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:49:10 PM EST

That is so tame compared to the kind of stuff that's been printed by alternative comic publishers for decades. Haven't you heard of Robert Crumb? Chester Brown? Dan Clowes? The Hernandez brothers? Start here.

[ Parent ]
Comics are a diversion. (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by watchmaker on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:33:25 PM EST

I read several comics a day on the web. They are diversions. Small bits of levity to start my day. I wouldn't be without them.

There are others that I read when the whim strikes me. And those that I've given up on.

User Friendly, a geek favorite, just leaves me flat. He isn't funny. He can't draw any better than my six year old. Pete Abrams of Sluggy has been known to crank the art level down at times as a stylistic choice (And he's also cranked it up.) "Illiad" simply can't draw. And yet, UF is wildly popular. Go Figure.

For the record, I also make sure to read Matt Wilson's Writing every day. If there was ever a site that was a literary equivalent to a comic, this is it. Screamingly funny.

Incidentally... (none / 0) (#70)
by fluffy grue on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:03:08 PM EST

Sheldon started out as a Keenspot webcomic, and United Media liked it so much they picked it up.
--
"#kuro5hin [is like] a daycare center [where] the babysitter had been viciously murdered." -- CaptainObvious (we
[ Parent ]
More comics to check out (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by dDave on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:52:06 PM EST

Howdy,

I have a list of comics, some have been mentioned already, but there are some gems that have not.

One of the very cool things that webcomics have allowed is the breaking of the format of the printed page. Check out the following for interesting examples of what can be done on the web with a static image.

Framed! - Inventive strip that specializes in smashing the fourth wall. Some of the strips (you'll have to seach for them in the archives) have very creative layouts.
Scott McCloud - a comic artist who is busy reinventing comics as we know them. His online comics are beautifully laid out.

Another is lowering the cost to entry. I was lurking on the borders of being a semi-pro comic artist long ago, and webcomics have given me a way to get back into the art at my own pace and without significant expense.

There is a lot of drek out there, but there are far more webcomics than your local comic shop or newspaper can provide. I hope that you will take sometime to find a couple to enjoy.

Best,

Dave


dDave
Pander. A webcomic. Mature Content.
More comics to check out (1.00 / 1) (#57)
by dDave on Fri May 10, 2002 at 04:53:45 PM EST

Howdy,

I have a list of comics, some have been mentioned already, but there are some gems that have not.

One of the very cool things that webcomics have allowed is the breaking of the format of the printed page. Check out the following for interesting examples of what can be done on the web with a static image.

Framed! - Inventive strip that specializes in smashing the fourth wall. Some of the strips (you'll have to seach for them in the archives) have very creative layouts.
Scott McCloud - a comic artist who is busy reinventing comics as we know them. His online comics are beautifully laid out.

Another is lowering the cost to entry. I was lurking on the borders of being a semi-pro comic artist long ago, and webcomics have given me a way to get back into the art at my own pace and without significant expense.

There is a lot of drek out there, but there are far more webcomics than your local comic shop or newspaper can provide. I hope that you will take sometime to find a couple to enjoy.

Best,

Dave


dDave
Pander. A webcomic. Mature Content.
Actually, the coolest Linux geek strip is... (4.33 / 3) (#58)
by gonzotba on Fri May 10, 2002 at 05:37:59 PM EST

...the ecol comic strip. This weekly spaniard (you know, from Spain, that bit of Europe) comic strip has gotten damn successful in the last year, with around 2000 visits each strip. Good news is that they are now available in english too!

You're asking what are they about? They are about Linux, its newsgroups, Linux, windows(tm), Linux, computers in general, Linux, life and death and, of course, sex ;)

Bilo is a Linux geek. He shares an apartment with Nano. Bilo runs icewm on Debian and uses Vim to edit his stuff. Bilo gets through life plotting plans for the Total World Domination, trying to understand why people use emacs, getting his little robot high on FreeBSD and last but not least, the PITA of dealing with Nano, your average Windows user.

It's worth a glance. Clever humour :)

No Way, Jose, (none / 0) (#67)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat May 11, 2002 at 08:50:17 PM EST

The coolest Linux comic strip by FAR is Linux Zealot over at adequacy.org

LZ never fails to make me wet my pants with laughter.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Yes, I did enjoy your strip (none / 0) (#73)
by MegaReader on Sun May 12, 2002 at 05:54:33 PM EST

You are doing a great work with your weekly strip, congratulations ;-)

P.S Great translation as well.

[ Parent ]

The Real "Evolution" of Comics (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by kyrhysnan on Fri May 10, 2002 at 07:40:00 PM EST

The "genre we've loved for years" has evolved...but not necessarily as you're suggesting.  Everything's going online, but webcomics aren't the end-all and be-all of funnies evolution.

Almost all comics found on a newspaper page can also be found online. A key difference from webcomics: the update time is consistent and prompt.  I'll always get my new Non Sequitur at 2 am EDT, but waiting for PvP or Something Positive to post rolls over to waking up the next morning.  
Most also have archives to browse, if you come across a comic at a late date or just feel like saturating yourself with one.

For an "evolved" comic, you might turn to TheNorm, a combination of traditional and web comic form.  The strip became syndicated largely due to the reader base and influence of the website (www.thenorm.com); not only is the comic found online, but a host of related treats provided by the artist that beat anything I've found on a webcomic to date.  And I can still get bound paper collections if I so choose.  The internet is not quite taking over the world.  No keyboard will ever replace the feel of a book in my hand, and a compilation of traditional syndicated comics is certainly easier to browse than the web.  

Call me a minority if you will, but keep in mind also that the web isn't as accessible as we'd like.  Many (including me, when not at school) only have internet access through local libraries; my dentist has yet to install computers in the waiting room for my browsing pleasure.  A truly "evolved" comic will need to meet the needs of both internet and no-internet worlds; the webcomics you've mentioned don't quite measure up.

Re: The Real "Evolution" of Comics (none / 0) (#76)
by Hai Etlik on Mon May 13, 2002 at 10:52:49 AM EST

Many web comics are published on dead trees Plan 9 and Maverick Camel are publishing companies that specialize in book archives of them. Obviously only fairly popular web comics can be published this way, but they are available. Keenspot also has a line of comic books based on some of their comics.

As to the update inconsistency: print comic artists are paid to make said comics as their job (or in some cases are paid to sign their name on the comics churned out by subordinate cartoonists) while web cartoonists almost all have other jobs and cartoon in their spare time for little, or no money, and even at a loss.

IMO the lack of consistency is worth putting up with. Admittedly, many web comics are awful, but the good ones are truly incredible, especially compared to the collection of repetitive, unfunny gags that can be found in newspapers.



[ Parent ]
more links (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by ajaxx on Fri May 10, 2002 at 08:03:07 PM EST

redmeat
the parking lot is full
surprised no one had mentioned those yet.

webcomics (and independent media in general) rock. the only dead-tree comics i'll bother reading anymore are doonesbury, fox trot, and non sequitur, and even those you can see online.

PLIF is over :( (none / 0) (#71)
by fluffy grue on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:03:42 PM EST

I'm glad they had the good sense to end it before they'd completely run it into the ground, but that empty feeling that PLIF gave me by reading it is going away... :/
--
"#kuro5hin [is like] a daycare center [where] the babysitter had been viciously murdered." -- CaptainObvious (we
[ Parent ]
Crazy people on a space station (none / 0) (#63)
by jasonab on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:35:23 PM EST

Last fall, I remember some mention of a comic set on an abandoned space station, but I can't remember what its name is. Does that make any sense?

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
WIGU (none / 0) (#64)
by komet on Sat May 11, 2002 at 02:47:31 PM EST

I particularly like WIGU. Today's strip is particularly cool, I think.

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.

I read five consistently. (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by The Great Wakka on Sat May 11, 2002 at 05:36:12 PM EST

I have them all in bookmarks in my toolbar.
User Friendly
Sluggy Freelance
General Protection Fault (Keenspot)
Real Life (Keenspot)
Goats
I also read Avalon's (Keenspot) archive recently. I enjoyed it, although there hasn't been an update in months...

Linux Zealot at adequacy.org (none / 0) (#66)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat May 11, 2002 at 08:48:48 PM EST

If you think User Friendly is funny, you will LOVE Linux Zealot. He just LOVES open source software.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Avalon Hiatus Over (none / 0) (#74)
by Hai Etlik on Mon May 13, 2002 at 10:22:18 AM EST

Avalon (My favourite Comic, followed by Sluggy and Ozy and Millie) just came off of it's month long hiatus (the dates on the comics are when they SHOULD have been posted had Josh not fallen behind so don't be fooled by that.)

[ Parent ]
Linux Zealot (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat May 11, 2002 at 08:58:05 PM EST

They don't get more funny than Linux Zealot. If you are a linux user, then you may find them annoying, on the other hand, they may help you to see the error of your ways :-)

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long

Ozy and Millie (none / 0) (#72)
by Alfie on Sun May 12, 2002 at 01:28:46 PM EST

Ozy and Millie is a cute web comic which is entertaining without resorting to fear or being absurdly anti-social. (Not that there's anything wrong with such comics, but there are already plenty of them out there.) I wish my newspaper carried comics like this one--the last time I dared open the paper to the comic section I was underwhelmed by the sheer blandness of almost every comic on the page.



Absurd Notions (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by Shren on Mon May 13, 2002 at 10:25:54 AM EST

I really enjoy Absurd Notions. It's been around forever, and is one of the few web comics to consistantly maintain my interest. Somehow it manages to stay really, really far below radar, and probably doesn't deserve the non-attention.

Some of the comics are about gaming. Most are not. Right now they're in a gaming story arc, so I thought that it was worthy to note that they're not all on that topic. If you don't like gaming comics and want to see Absurd Notions in a different light, just start at the beginning instead.

On this general topic, the links page at Absurd Notions is worth a visit if you're in to this topic - it lists a lot of web comics, many of which are also underrated.

This Modern World (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by Andy P on Mon May 20, 2002 at 12:51:24 AM EST

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow is great if you're into the political thing. He also has a blog going, and his archive has some real gems, especially the late 01'. The Parallel Earth ones are gold.

Few more favs of mine... (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by jurgisb on Fri May 24, 2002 at 02:12:02 AM EST

I noticed noone mentioned 8-Bit Theater which is a brilliant and very funny, shall I say, fanfic of FF1.


Also Triangle and Robert to ease your geometry figure fetish. It is also quite different from the crowd, but one of the more intellectual (on par with Pokey, imo).



Dot.Comics and the Death of Sunday: Webcomics At a Glance | 79 comments (60 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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