Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Purely Visual Notes.

Sinfest: I love the thought (speech?) bubble with the shocked pig.

QC: Child-Marten doesn't really look like a child. I like his crazed look in the dinosaur costume though. It's interesting how masculine his father looks, but then even his mother looks more masculine than him.

Hanna V gets ready for a dangerous climb - to the bus stop. I can tell you it's only a slight exaggeration. Lots and lots of snow this winter.

Marc Johns has a very sad Christmas tree.

Abstruse Goose is so nerdy, even a Christmas tree is a mathematical concept.

Quality beats quantity, at Stuff No One Told Me. Just because it's so cute. I must say, those clouds or puffs of smoke always remind me of farting. I'm sure they're not meant to represent farting, but if you live in the same house with my father for a while, you will see this sort of thing everywhere.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grumpy Fluey Comics Reader.

And now for my weekly Questionable Content rant! Possibly even grumpier than usual, due to my extended flu.

Marten's mother is in town - this calls for more penis jokes! And the waiter looks so much like Dora that I completely misread the first panel. I thought they were at Café of Doom, the mother was non-subtly bringing up the breakup, and Dora was meekly trying to serve them and not cause a fuss. But, of course, it's not Dora - Café of Doom doesn't serve food, and the haircolor and -style are different. Silly me! This is Dora as we last saw her. I had forgotten her hair was purple, but then this was a few weeks back. I mostly like the way the characters look (faces more so than bodies), but they need to look more distinctive.

Then they meet Tai. Apparently Marten's Mom and Tai have some mutual sex-thing going here that is pretty creepy. This is the only strip where even a mother's visit is only prelude to more sex jokes.

Will the Marten/Dora breakup lead to something? Or will they just keep talking about it ad nauseam and then get back together? Will there be more awkward sex jokes out of nowhere, while Mom's in town? Will she stay in town? Will Marten drink again? Will we see Dora talk to the psychiatrist?
All this and a lot more in the next episode of SOAP. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Nerd Special.

2-D Goggles discusses measurements. If Ada Lovelace is 5 heads tall, then so is Tintin! Tiny Asterix is only 1,5 heads. Awww. :D Also: chibi versions of Lovelace and Babbage! If you haven't read the comic yet, READ IT NOW. Especially for nerds.

In the vein of nerdiness: the definition of a mathematician at Abstruse Goose.

Calamities of Nature warns against being a thermodynamist. Or a logician. Dangerous fields, those.

Xkcd shows us how nerd love dies: with a graph. An overly simplified one. Have I ever discussed xkcd here? It's the ultimate simply drawn strip: stick figures, graphs and pie charts, computers and wires. I frequently find it funny, and I equally frequently have to ask my nerd boyfriend about the references. It's interesting that I'd much rather look at this than a poorly drawn but colored Paint comic. Stick figures can be pretty OK, but when almost-cartoonish-looking humans have outlines of squiggly Paint lines, and everything is neon green and pink, it's just visually ugly. I think more online comic artists should go for black-on-white and stick figures.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has employed a xkcd-style graph, but also drawn characters. In this case, a winning combination. I also love all of the little details about how the human eye works. A pretty original look on the old "why?" conversations with children. (I'm linking to the gif image because the latest comic doesnt' seem to have an individual link that will work later. Just enlarge it. The main page is here.)

Then, to digress slightly, a nod to the Christian comics I posted about yesterday. Rock music: of the devil, see previous post. Here evidenced by Buttersafe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Most Important PSA's You'll Ever Read!

I interrupt this blog to give you a PSA. In fact, many PSA's. In fact, so many PSA's that your head is going to spin for JESUS OUR SAVIOR because what is a comic if not a tool to spread the

"As a medical professional, I must tell you the truth. An abortion would be one of the biggest mistakes you two could make." (God will hold you accountable for MURDER!)

"Bobby died of AIDS, Jimmy O.D.'ed. And Don is into vampirism." (Rock music, even "Christian" music, is a tool in the hands of Satan!)

"This is how the Gays are changing the way little schoolkids think."  (All three kids got saved.)

"God tells us in the Bible what happened.. and He should know... He was there!"  (You're calling God a liar! Evolution is FALSE!)

"If you were a true Christian, Susan, God's angels would be at your bedside to take you to heaven." (As it is, you're dying of AIDS and rotting in Hell. Pay at the counter. Next patient!)

"Those girls are about to be sucked into a very dangerous religion called "Islam". (Mohammed did some rotten things! Quite unlike Lot, and David, and Solomon, and...)

"I heard you guys.. He went to HELL, didn't he?" "Yes, Gloria, he's lost." (I know because I am God.)

8 weeks later, Roger dropped dead. (Also, don't commit adultery because an angel will be in the room TAPING the whole thing!)

"Samuel, you were DECEIVED, but you are without excuse!" (You are, in a word, Jewish.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Drive-By Notes

A quick and random stroll in the meadows of the Webcomics List.

Chucklebrain Fritters seems like an interesting comic. I really loved this strip. It's just supremely surreal and random. It may be a one-time thing or a permanent feature, but I love the bizarro world idea.

I keep checking "Not Much, Said the Cow". I love the title, and I've read many strips. And I still don't have much to say about it. It's an easy read, kinda funny... but does it get under your skin? Is there an original voice? If not, why am I still reading? I will read more and comment once I have something intelligent to say.

A Chipmunk and a Lizard - some of these strips are pretty amusing. But of course, I found an annoying fatist one I have to rant about. Yes, that's right! If you tell people they're fat, they will thank you and give you money. Because it all comes from a good place, doesn't it? Doesn't it? I feel like I'm not giving the strip a chance now. So here's one I kinda liked, because it seems so random.


Horseflies bite cows too - at Cows With Phones

"Stop being stupid" - at 28 Pancakes Later

"Thank you veiny dog" - at Buttersafe

"...Steven." - at Bear Nuts

The Usual Suspects.

Question Duck is truly touched by a film about ducks. (I'd say it's Nils Holgersson's travels with the ducks, but I don't know if that's known outside of Scandinavia.) Some strips ago, the comic broke form. The question is answered, the answer is simple, and the duck says something in return that isn't a question. I think I've finally figured out what this comic has been doing: they travel all over the world, the duck's owner was doing some humanitarian aid project, etc. and the duck is always there, unfazed by the circumstances, and asks an unrelated question. Perhaps the questions are related, after all - there could be more here that I've been missing. It's a very fascinating comic with a unique voice.

What's wrong with America, and what's right about Sinfest, all in one Sunday strip. Awesome.

Sometimes I worry about James Kochalka. But then I have those nightmares/feelings in sleep too. I think.

Nothing at all has happened in the past week of Questionable Content. We know Marten's mother is coming because it was pointlessly foreshadowed a week from Friday, but after that there's just been drinking. Marten and Dora broke up, and it seems to have made the strip duller. Kind of like Ethan getting married on Ctrl+Alt+Del made the strip even tireder. Not sure about this filler strip. The thing is, I love Randy. He's hilarious random and awesome. But Yelling Bird is just a cheap bird who screams obscenities, and I think that joke got old a long time ago. Randy is fresh and new. Lose Yelling Bird.

There's something really sad and touching about this Buttersafe. It's a morbid comic, but morbid and beautiful sometimes go together.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Completely Regular Post.

(No, this is not a Thanksgiving special. Finland doesn't celebrate thanksgiving, so I refuse to give thanks for anything and will just resume as usual.)

For some reason, I can't see the last few days' American Elf. Maybe it's taking a hiatus or just acting up for me. But I keep seeing this strip and I love it so much. Oliver is now three. He thinks - or jokes - that this will make him a Daddy. As if all "big boys" are Daddies. So cute! Also, I've been reading the strip about since Oliver's birth or a bit before. I think the pregnancy and birth were a part of what sucked me in, actually. It's strange to see him grow, because it marks how time passes. Yet it's such a short time and that's his whole life. I have these same feelings about relatives' kids, but it's strange I feel the same about a child I've seen in pictures maybe twice. Yet I've watched him grow. I feel like I know James and Amy, Eli and Oliver, but I may not recognize them if I saw them somewhere in person. What an odd feeling.

Dora and Marten broke up. It might or might not be permanent. To be honest, I don't feel much. Marten and Dora - meh. Marten and Faye - meh. Marten and Hannelore? Now that would be something! I just think the girls on the strip are habitually mean, dominating, and hard on him. Hannelore may be the only one who's truly kind. Marten deserves better than Dora. OMG, I'm talking like I actually care about these people. Maybe my cold, hard QC hater's heart is actually red hot lava from the inside?
..Nah. Moving on.

I loved this Abstruse Goose, but it bugs me that the dogs look so much like Dogbert. Is that intentional?

Ascension 3000 Cross Jetpack. Sinfest is usually fun, but when it gets truly blasphemous, it's amazing.

Question Duck reminds us that even while doing charitable work, there's room for questions. (Also, I like that one of the charity people is black. It's not like "white man helps poor black people.)

I'm confused by Selkie. Apparently it's a girl who's alos some kind of animal who was adopted by a human vegetarian. But she doesn't eat any plants and only eats meat. Hmmm. I flicked back quite a few strips and still not sure what I think. I'ts a very intriguing idea. I find Selkie's way of talking a bits annoyings, because ofs everys words endings withs s. It stops being cute after one strip. But I'm not sure if it's meant to be cute. An interesting strip.

Wombania: like the art, very cute. Besides that - jokes that fall flat, fat jokes... Sigh. What's the point of cool art if you're just going to do general three-panel pun stuff?

What You Don't See: another mixed review. Beautiful. Sooo cute. Huh? And the latest one - kinda forced dialogue. I tend to prefer dialogue where there are silences and things you don't say. I didn't get a very good feel of the characters on a quick flick, but this might be a good thing. Will check it again.

Tweep. Looked at several strips, didn't get it. It seems like it might be a cool, creative strip. But I'm not SURE. It seems to deal exclusively in snapshots, with no text at all. Intriguing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Delights, Part 2

Hey, it looks like Jacques is actually doing a "Marten deserves his privacy" storyline. Maybe I misjudged him? Nice to see Marten defend himself for once, and Dora get told. We'll see where this goes, but I'm positively surprised.

Kinoko Fry reminds us of the perils of giving your pet too cute a name. Have you considered that he may not want to be named "Cinnamon"? I loved every little detail in this comic, from the nightcap on the mushroom to the sun chasing the moon away, to everything else. Awesome.

Rooster tails reminds us that imagination is awesome, even if it can make you anxious. Again, love the details, and I can definitely relate... (In fact, my boyfriend sent me this link when I was overthinking/anguishing stuff).

The Oatmeal: Why I don't cook at home.The Oatmeal's particular style of hyperbole is awesome. It's like the scientific formula of just the right amount of hyperbole to make it funny. This is also my experience of cooking at home. I love the recipe with its bison exercising and relaxing techniques. And I know it's probably not meant to be fat acceptant, but I loved that scare-tactics news item in the beginning.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Humorless Feminist Strikes Again.

I keep not wanting to write about QC, but it keeps pulling me back in! Look at this. Marten doesn't want to share his porn preferences with his girlfriend and their roommate in a PUBLIC PLACE. Shock horror! Let's go and search thru his computer to see what he likes!

Is Dora and Marten's relationship supposed to be positive and mutual? Because it comes off as pretty abusive. Being a humorless feminist, I don't think Marten needs to be the one to "wear pants". But he does need to have some say in what matters are private and his own. Otherwise, what is the relationship? Is he Dora's toy?

If we need to see what kind of porn Marten likes, here's an idea: show Marten watching porn. It doesn't have to be public to every single person in the strip universe. The viewers can see it.

On the other hand, you could just forget about it, because it's hardly character development. Unless I'm really misjudging Jeph Jacques and he's building up for a big Marten/Dora showdown about privacy and equality. Which would be kind of awesome. I doubt it though.

The strip's juvenile obsession with sex is pretty tired. If they're so OK with sex, why can't they shut up about it? I know they're supposed to be rude baristas and all that, but I think it's in poor taste to discuss masturbation and porn loudly at a café. It's just obnoxious and self-indulgent. "Aren't we cool about sex, if u don't like it then u r a prude."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things I Liked Today.

I did enjoy this fan fiction parody at Questionable Content. Much more than I enjoyed the actual storyline, which mostly featured awkward sexual stuff. But then there was this strip, where Tai instructs Marigold on how to show, not tell. I think most fanfic writers need a guide like this. And I must admit - I really like the fact that Marigold is a writer of terrible fan fic. (Although I'm not sure if that's just part of the nerd stereotype these days, like taped-up glasses or loving Star Trek.) I also like knowing Tai writes good fic and has trouble getting Marigold to get what makes a fic good. The storyline, ultimately, is tired because it's about sex or rather lack thereof. But there were good things. 

I find sexual content in American Elf vaguely disturbing. It's a natural part of every person's life.. I'm not a prude.. I think it's because I read the strip for the childlike stuff. So it's a bit like watching Winnie-the-Pooh and suddenly switching to, I don't know, Anal Intruders 4. (I did enjoy that joke though.) 

Wonderfully random stuff from Marc Johns again. I'm linking to the main page because I can't pick my favorite one today, and because, ultimately, if you click that link a year later, it's probably still wonderful and random. I love his way of thinking so much. 

Sinfest is back to doing awesome stuff. Serioustron needs cartoonists, don't drink and draw

Finnish, but mostly visual: Norpatti goes out with the old man. I.e. the old cat she's taking care of. <3! 
Also - the florist panther. Lovelovelove. Especially since it's drawn in this super-serious style. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Comic I Love.

I discovered this comic just now, via my Toby, and I must say I love it. In fact, I like almost all strips I've seen, and thus I have nothing interesting to say. Lovely color palette (unusually periwinkle too!), original and funny ideas. The world view seems benevolent, slightly strange and hilarious. I love comics like this. This is what I aspire to.

Tuckered-out gentlepups.

Dr Grover is in every hospital.

Stop thinking about dicks. 

The inspector was lonely.

Cranky Feminist Comics Reader

"Once you hit that, all other girls seem flat". I know I'm just a fat humorless feminist (like many QC readers told me when I last dared complain about size issues in this comic). But honestly. There are so many offensive layers to this. In the QC universe, Faye is the only buxom girl, so possibly the others feel flat because they ARE. None of the other QC girls have even realistically small boobs, so this might actually be the problem. Faye is about average, with an hourglass figure - not fat, or really even chubby. On the other hand, not all guys like big breasts. Not all girls like being objectified, either.

Once upon a time in another blog, I criticized the depiction of Faye as the only "chubby" girl in QC and the way her body is constantly played for jokes - not hatefully, but it's an issue and it marks her as different. I was ridiculed at the QC forums (where I chose not to respond) and flamed at my blog for about two weeks. Feisty readership. Jacques responded - possibly without reading my blog - that "every time some girl complains" about this, we apparently ignore how Faye is a SEX OBJECT. Even if she's chubby. To my mind, this does not mean equality, or respect, or realistic depiction of female bodies. But if Jacques thinks it does, that explains a lot. I know he means well, but this is what happens when an artist completely ignores issues like sexism and objectification of women. It's a hot mess.

Casual Fur Day recommends "keeping your bitch on a leash". Yes, I get it, it's about dogs. That doesn't mean it's funny or appropriate. And what about this lewd-looking publicly breastfeeding cow? Breastfeeding: all about sexual titillation! Domestic violence: funny!

"Outlandish humor" is author Mr E's own definition of his style. It looks more like "outrageous" to me. We're meant to find it funny because it's so wrong yet so true! Well, it's not true. But of course, I'm just a humorless feminist if I don't find this funny.

It's also offensive to men, of course. Hey, your son has no digestive tract, head or limbs! Oh great, less work for me. Then there are racist overtones. And ha ha fat people who eat too much, you don't even need a joke or pun really, just show how in denial they are!  It's almost so outrageous that I considered not mentioning it, because this type of reaction might be exactly what they're looking for. "Look at me, I piss people off! Woohoo! I'm cool like those South Park guys!" You know what, you're not. And when they just go out of their way to offend people - they're not either. (South Park does have good social commentary and parody sometimes though, which this comic doesn't.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Cranky Comics Reader, Part 2

Today's Questionable Content strives to answer the age-old question: 

You know, there could have been plot, or character development, or something funny, but when you have such a popular comic, these kinds of juvenile ideas must come first. Most of the readers are adolescent boys (mentally or physically), after all. 

Jesus, Marvin, how many setup strips do you need for the joke "Marvin's Dad is a giant nerd"? I know that when you have to do seven strips a week, thinking of a new drawing and joke for each one is a bit of a chore. But you know, that's what they pay you for. Doing the same exact joke three or four days in a row, with almost the same picture over and over is just... the reason why newspaper comics are dying. 

(x, why) bores us with yet another pun that has to do with math. It's just not very clever, or funny. I'd like to give some points for originality - I haven't seen this idea before. So I will give points for that. But the jokes in this comic always sound too much like "I am now going to be funny. Wait for it.. here it comes! Now laugh!" 

A Cranky Comics Reader

I'm in a bad mood today, so I intend to complain about any comic that rubs me the wrong way. Grrr! Let the hating begin!

Questionable Content is back to the old boring stuff: two characters talking about a third character and sex. I don't think I've ever laughed at the sex jokes. They just seem somehow too purposeful, like "isn't it cool and daring that I talk about sex in this way?" Also, I dislike Tai, perhaps more than any other character. It seems like she was brought on just to be the Wild Sexy Lesbian Who Has Wild Sex Adventures With Other Girls. As a bisexual I say boo-urns. I'm sure such girls exist and read the strip, but it could just be a cheap way to lure in young guys who like to imagine hot chicks making out.

Skipping Out has our titular hero, Skippy, returning home. He promises to be a new man. Well, that might bring some life into the strip. The old format reads way too much like Garfield. Skippy even looks like Jon, with his baby blue shirt. Mattie is the Garfield, the rude and snarky one, while Skippy is the Jon, the responsible yet loserish one. Laird is the Odie, dumb and blonde. This bugs me to no end. I also dislike the way you can't navigate with "previous"-"next"-"first"-"last" like with most comics. You have to go through the comics page, where you can't even click on individual strips, but rather get clusters. Also - the strips are tiny and compressed, so the banner actually looks better. I'd like to like this strip, but it's making it very hard. The "s-smite the homo" one is funny, actually. That's about it.

I only realized today that Bellen isn't going to be updating anymore, ever. :( I loved this comic and its depressing, yet somehow funny ponderings on life. This is the third beloved strip that dies, after The Perry Bible Fellowship and Animals Have Problems Too. I have a lot of respect for artists who quit while they're ahead, but it still makes me sad. Box Brown has a new comic, linked to on the Bellen page, but I'll look at it and write about it on another day. I'm in a bad mood today so I wouldn't want to spoil that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why Is This so Awesome?

Question Duck. OK, this is honestly just... wow.

This strip looks amazing. Every drawing looks detailed and the color ones are just... I was reminded of Calvin and Hobbes, that's how good it looks. Take this strip for example. (It may actually be a conscious nod to C&H, because they're sitting under a similar tree thinking philosophically.)

In each strip, the boy and his duck go to some place and then the duck asks a seemingly unrelated question. I can't really explain why this is so great. It's just a very novel idea and it's rendered beautifully. Not sure if it's meant to be "funny ha ha" - I didn't laugh at any strips, but I greatly enjoyed them. Especially the duck's gleeful expression when asking a puzzling question.

Found, once again, thru the webcomics list. Many strips have funny names but are disappointing when you see them, and then there are these little masterpieces. I will keep looking for more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Delights

I really enjoyed today's Questionable Content. Visual joke, surprise element, and Hannelore. The nightmare panel looks really good, especially the evilly gleeful devil character. More of these please, Mr Jacques.

Observations about cats in a Finnish comic blog. Mostly just visual, so should be cute for non-Finnish-speakers too. Amusingly, she renders the cat's throat sound as "Pör" (which is usually used to denote a bee's buzzing). I like to use "krrr" myself.

Speaking of observations about cats: I loved this strip at American Elf. Diary strips can be dull if it's all "this is what I did today". But Kochalka mixes his everyday observations with whimsy and imagination, and it's an irresistable mixture. Also, my cat licks like that all the time. Hee!

And a new find: Brainless Tales has got me excited. I love the vintage style and the one-panel ponderings. This usually works well for a comic (Family Circus and Ziggy being, obviously, the exceptions). There's something original to this comic, and it seems both good-hearted and hilarious so far, somewhat verging on the surreal, which is always enticing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recap Comics

Instead of ending the fork storyline, Sinfest is now recapping it in this strip where absolutely nothing happens. Also it's not funny at all. I really hope this isn't the beginning of the end for Sinfest. It has been funny and innovative, and it's sad to see it muddle down into boredom.

Questionable Content is doing much the same in today's comic. Of course, with the pace of life in this strip, we're talking about something that possibly happened last night, but it's many, many updates ago. Namely here. After spending so many days going over this between Dora, Faye, Sven and Marten, it's nice to see that Faye and Angus are also discussing it. You know, like life proceeds by something minor happening and leading nowhere, and then a bunch of people talking about it.

Last but probably the most read of the bunch, Ctrl+Alt+Del has two characters discussing a third character while standing in one position with huge speech bubbles over their heads. (My girlfriend, who's read the strip more, pointed out that the story itself has been done before in the strip.)

You have an established style, a readership and thus a podium to say whatever you want. So why does this happen? Too many expectations on you? Drawing the same strip for too long? Updating too often? Either way, it's not a proud day for webcomics.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Doing It Wrong vs Doing It Right


(x, why?) has a strip on the miners who were underground for two months. "It was just a miner incident." Eh. No. That's not funny. It's not an amusing pun or an amusing situation, and this comic just rubs me the wrong way. Puns don't really work in comics anyway. A pun is essentially a textual joke (usually an unfunny one), and if you might as well write it in text, why have any drawings at all?

I Fell Down the Stairs demonstrates making a visual joke instead. So here the drawings are essential. However, the joke doesn't really work. It's a nice idea, but it's just not funny enough. It might be in the delivery - I just don't buy a teacher saying "here concludes our lesson at [lesson topic]". Feel free to spam me with angry comments if American teachers actually say this. It just sounds like a clumsy way of saying "This is the joke. Now laugh."

The good side of a randomly hilarious comic is that it doesn't need a conclusion for every story. Sadly, today's Sinfest tries to conclude a story that has already run its course. It's beginning to seem like the evil fork will chase them forever and they will patch the hell roof forever. I love the strip in general, but sometimes it seems out of ideas. Like all strips that run daily.

I love the title of Gentlemen's Beards Monthly, and I love the intentionally simplistic art. And it's funny. But DON'T KILL THE SNAIL! Snails are your friends! *sniff*


I didn't get today's Abstruse Goose, but I still loved it. It's an unusual angle and a funny joke, even to non-nerds. It's probably funnier to a nerd.

Buttersafe urges us to get over it!

Crowbar Benson instructs us at how to stay regular.

IDGet  seems like a fun strip in general. But I especially like the text bubbles - it seems like the author actually took the time to make the text tidy and readable while it still looks original. Um, and I really love the content and drawings too, but that just stuck out. (Is that as bad as saying a movie has "local color"? I do think it's a good comic. Really.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Purfect People?

I hate Marvin. I probably won't talk about it much because it's best mocked by the Comics Curmudgeon.

However, I stumbled upon the Wikipedia page, and I just have to comment on this:

In 2010, the Millers got new neighbors, the Purfects, who are so perfect they make the Millers feel inadequate. 

So the Purfects are... perfect? Oh, my! Marvin has been running since 1981, so there must be a need for some new ideas, but this doesn't sound like a very interesting one. In fact, it's a very worn-out idea in comics and TV shows: the perfect neighbors who put our protagonists to shame. Even if the Purfects are, undoubtedly, braggy and loathsome, the Millers will want to spend every moment of their free time with them, so that "hilarious" moments of envy and inferiority may occur. Wouldn't a mature grown up just shrug it off and spend their time with someone who's friendly and doesn't brag about their achievements?

Rodney Purfect has a Ph.D. and is a company president, has won the Heisman Trophy and climbed Mount Kiliminjaro. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall and very manly.

So the perfect man is tall, manly, athletic, and a business genius. Which is, of course, a bit much to ask of all men. Not to mention that "perfect" is always relative. These same qualities might make him an insecure, pretentious jerk who doesn't have time for his family and friends. But I didn't get mad until I read the female bit:

Barbie Purfect is a housewife who attended cooking school in Paris, was a cheerleader, class president and sorority president. 

Wait, what? So she was sorority president. That means she went to college. What was her major? What does she like outside of being a housewife? Why does it matter that she was a cheerleader and class president? That only means she was popular in high school, ages ago. Rodney's achievements were at least all achieved while he was an adult.

The cooking school in Paris is so comically old-fashioned that I had to laugh. This reads like it's still 1950, and a woman may go to college if she feels like it, but her most important achievements will always be in the fields of cooking, cleaning, and child care. It's troubling that the "perfect" woman is depicted as a housewife. Marvin's mother is a writer, so it would be more efficient if "Barbie" - groan; at least Rodney isn't named Ken - were an accomplished novelist or Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist. This would also put her on even keel with Rodney. But no. A woman's highest ambition is to be a trophy wife to a very successful man.
Rodney Perfect II is two and a half but reads at a third grade level, performed his piano composition for Queen Elizabeth II and was potty trained at 6 months.

Well, this is just ridiculous. Rodney Jr is actually putting his own parents to shame, because there's no mention of them performing to Queen Elizabeth II. (Why is it the queen and not the president - this is an American strip after all?) It's a bit confusing that Rodney's achievements are in the field of art, while his parents don't seem artistic at all. Is the idea of the artistic "wunderkind" still this pervasive?

I know Marvin is not the place to look for modern ideas, but do we have to be this backwards? Maybe we could agree, as a culture, that some stereotypes just deserve to die.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quick Hits, Part 2

Mystery of the day: what does the dog's speech bubble say? I can't make it out. Something, something, people? There's intentionally sloppy, and then there's unreadable. Here, while the man and puppy are well drawn, I had to cringe at the tiny-headed woman (?) in the right margin. If you can't fit her to scale, only show her legs. You can still draw in the speech bubble. As it is, she looks like she's from another, evil dimension.  I know my comics are shoddily drawn too (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not). It can be good if you try to work around it. Always act like it's intentional, is my advice.

All that said, it's an interesting-looking new comic. I liked this one a lot, and will keep checking how this develops.

I love this comic. I'm not sure I get it. It freaks me out. I love it.

This is gross and wrong and I probably won't read it again, but I recognize a good-in-its-genre gross-out comic. So linking to Saggy Nutbag. Yes, that's right. Yes, they drew the nutbag. Eww.

"BirdBreath is a light hearted satire. It offers a unique perspective that is guaranteed to make you laugh."

Is that sarcasm? Because if it is, not bad. If not - don't call yourself unique, and don't tell me what will make me laugh. (Incidentally, I didn't laugh; this is why you don't say "guaranteed".) Also, if you make your archive like this, the days with a new comic should be the only ones with links. The art is good, but this reads more like a newspaper comic. In other words, I'm not sure about the unique outlook. Maybe it needs to be pushed further.

I love reality zone! Nice way of breaking the fourth wall. I must admit I'm not totally excited about the "flying evil fork" story, but even when Sinfest fails to engage me with plot, it delights with the visual and/or verbal wit.

And Kuvatuksia has more people spotted lately. I never get tired of these. Synth player in the subway? A lady who goes around with her (papery) home office? A lady who only changes hats and not the other clothes? So much fun. I love the expressions in particular.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Tried, Robyn.

I find it a bit hard to write about Roddy's Film Companion. It's one of my favorite webcomics, but I know the author personally. And let's not forget that, when I'm writing this, she's probably the only person reading this blog, thus making it unnecessary to advertise her comic. But you know, I am hoping to gain some new readers eventually.

The dialogue in this comic is just so... natural. It's like a real couple talking to each other. It's intimate, subtle, human. It doesn't go for easy punchlines and puns. The expressions are the same way: real and human, yet somehow comically endearing.

I especially like this strip. And eh... *feels self conscious*

Maybe I'll give this a shot later.

Quick Hits

I found this strip totally empowering and touching. And, well, read my comment at the strip. I don't feel like going into that much personal detail here. Either way: Rooster Tails, highly recommended if you like genderqueer/gay/well-drawn stuff.

I have nothing to add to this, only laughter. "If you do this in an email, I hate you" at the Oatmeal.

I thought I'd be on board with The Bible Belt, a strip poking fun at Christianity. But it's less poking fun than preaching that Christianity is wrong and illogical etc. Which isn't inherently funny. Each and every strip seems to have the same girl and minister, and we're meant to think the girl is right and the minister is wrong. A little subtlety wouldn't hurt.

Growth spurt! at Buttersafe. I love "growth spurt!" as a sound effect, and the way the strip is set up as "the average guy's life". The baby panel is especially amusing. I must say he has a great family if they allow him to have his band and play video games at the stairwell. Not to mention bringing the dinner table there. (But how is he ever going to masturbate?)

The title of this comic sounded fun. But then I looked at it and - it's half-nude babes. Really? Is that all you want to say as an artist? You can obviously draw. We don't need more comics like this. Also: No one is going to wear a top like the one on the girl to the right. You may as well go out naked. (In case it's a parody, I'm willing to take my words back though.)

Dirty spiders. Yes, I might end up linking to each individual Oliver strip, but he's just too cute!

And now for something completely different: a sock.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nerd Recommendations

This post is mostly brought to you by my very nerdy girlfriend. She loves Brown Sharpie and I do urge you to check it out, at least if you know something about math. I found these a lot of fun, even if I didn't get all the mathematical implications:

Sigma Freud: functional analysis
Sigma Freud: motivational speaking 
Sigma Freud: couples therapy

One of my new favorites, Abstruse Goose, shows us what exactly happens in our brains during the average phone conversation. Awe-inspiring or kind of disturbing? I'm not sure. Probably both.

Meanwhile, xkcd continues to make graphs about topics that are too often ignored by science.
Frequency with which various adjectives are intensified with obscenities. It's also good to include some unusual words, like peristeronic. On the other hand, if you have to define them, maybe the answer is obvious. At least I learned another new word through xkcd.

Last but definitely not least, if you're a fan of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace's work, do check out 2-D Goggles. The ongoing saga of Lovelace and Babbage vs. the Organist has reached episode 7. In reality, Babbage was an avid hater of street musicians. He even had a chapter in his autobiography called "Street Nuisances". You can read more on that here. The comic's depiction of him as a crazy-eyed organist hater who's trying to end all music as if it's a battle of good and evil - is really pretty close to the truth, if you read his book. What I love about this comic is that it makes superheroes out of math geniuses. It's also damn funny.

Random Panel Reviews

..because I have ADD and just had too much Coke so I keep flipping around tabs of comics eeee sugar high.

Buttersafe gives us the Earth's giant butthole. It's a pretty depressing strip - like Buttersafe often is - but this image was a barrel of laughs. Or really, maybe it's the mental image of the Earth having a butthole. Insert mandatory fart joke here.

I complimented the art of Questionable Content, and I still stand by that. BUT. Some of the city backgrounds he draws are just so... dead. Look at this strip from Friday. Why are there no people walking down the street? Or, even if we assume they are above street level, why are there no lights in any windows? Where are Sven and Hannelore dining - Silent Hill?

I love the last panel of this Sinfest strip. The Devil is a menacing sight here - something you cannot take for granted with Sinfest. The opening door, the silhuette in the light... Reminds me of some old-timey comic villains. A fun little play with styles.

"People I've spotted this summer" at Kuvatuksia - it's in Finnish, but the text isn't really instrumental for getting it. This artist has a great skill for capturing people's expressions. If you liked that, check out all the strips with people she's spotted.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

American Elf - Celebrating The Little Moments in Life

I love American Elf. Today's strip is just a simple, childlike moment: standing inside an oil rainbow circle and feeling happy.

I don't read many diary strips. It's a big challenge to draw something about yourself every day, even if you never run out of material. Such strips may or may not be relatable to the reader. I'm not sure if I could pull it off; there are so many things to life that you can write about, but there's also a huge temptation to do "these are the things I did today and, in fact, nothing much happened, sorry it's so boring". James Kochalka is doing something very right, but what is it? Could it be that he only picks small moments of wonder/joy/love (or anger/sadness/regret), moments that are relatable? In other words, he doesn't feel responsible for giving us his schedule and every aspect of his life. Less is usually more in comics.

Or maybe it's his likeable personality, the childlikeness and joy of small things. He's honest to who he is, and he has a signature style. The strip is friendly, it doesn't mock people he finds annoying, or attempt to be faux-witty when he doesn't feel like it.

Sometimes I don't appreciate his honesty so much. Like when he makes a strip about how his crap looked in the toilet bowl, or how he has a pimple in his scrotum. Some stuff you don't want to know. But maybe this is part of his integrity. The gross stuff is his to share; maybe a part of his childlikeness.

A couple of moments that touched me lately:

Pizza rocket! I love basically everything around children in the strip, because Kochalka lets the children speak.

I've been following Oliver since Amy was pregnant, and it feels bittersweet to see him grow and speak and all that.

He still has a very endearing baby view on things though.

And I love when Kochalka just gets silly and plays with the kids. He looks like the funnest Dad ever.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Reasons for Hating Garfield

About once a year, I get the inspiration to write a blatant hate post on Garfield. It's not a very remarkable comic, and if it were a webcomic with a small readership, it would be easiest to just ignore and read something I like instead.

But Garfield is frakking everywhere. It's plush toys, T-shirts and mugs. It's still running in many newspapers worldwide - in fact, I think most Finnish newspapers have a Garfield slot too. (The Finnish name is Karvinen, which is a surname, like Garfield. I think they were just going for a similar-sounding name.) Every time I see a Garfield image somewhere, I remember how much I loathe this comic. It's hard to forget.

I know I can't change the environment I live in. Many comic characters live among us in merchandise. I mind it less when it's Peanuts and Snoopy, because Peanuts was an actually creative comic. It wasn't perfect; the later strips were mostly tired, and there were way too many about golf. Very few strips can thrive under "7 strips a week forever and ever", and this one was no exception. But the characters were great, and a lot of the humor and story was character based. It wasn't just setup setup pun, and I think it often expressed some real things about life. It was a philosophical strip. Unlike Garfield, Snoopy is a great character. He's not a human on four legs, and he's not just a typical dog. He's imaginative, a failed writer, a fighter pilot, the friend of a very small bird. He surprises you and makes you smile. This is why I don't loathe Snoopy or Charles Schultz. Snoopy is a fleshed-out character, and he's welcome in my life in the form of toys and greeting cards. There's a breath of life to him.

But Garfield? Even when I read the strip, I feel it's all about the merchandise. It's like Jim Davis took out a notepad and listed what people laugh at: fat people, dumb people, hillbillies, losers. Turning things upside down - a cat who HATES mice! A dog who's dumb! It seems calculated and uncreative, even from the start. Yes, I loved it as a child, because it was easy to get and I liked the art. I wanted a Garfield T-shirt and plush toy, and was upset that my parents couldn't afford them. (Or wouldn't waste money on a fad product; either way, I see the point now.)

I really consider Garfield a "what not to do" guide, if you want to have a comic with artistic value.

Some of my reasons for hating it. (This may not be my only post on the comic, but just to outline my (excessive?) hatred a little.)

Lazy art. 
The characters look cute and are well-drawn. The backgrounds, on the other hand, are a big nothing. Often it's just a wall of one color, with a shadow falling on it, and a straight line for the floor/table Garfield is on. In most strips, there is little to no action, and the images get very similar: talking heads with lots of text. Davis has talent for drawing, but he rarely uses it.

Too few characters.
The strip started out with Jon and Garfield, Odie and his owner Lyman. Lyman was quickly dropped and it was just Jon with the two pets, with no explanation. Mistake number one. This strip really needs more characters, more voices. How much can you do with two talking characters? Odie never speaks, and there's also the issue of whether or not Jon can hear Garfield. (This could be an interesting dilemma, but it's not really played out that way.) I don't think any other comic has had such a small gallery of personalities to draw from. It's definitely a problem if you have to fill 7 strips a week.

Interestingly, the Wikipedia article mentions Davis' motivation for dropping Lyman:

The fourth character, Lyman, was Odie's original owner; he was written in to give Jon someone to talk with. Davis later realized that Garfield and Jon could "communicate nonverbally", and Lyman was written out. 

Right, but in the interest of having different voices, you can't just substitute one character for another. There needs to be some variation. Jon and Garfield's communication is rarely conversation per se. It may be scolding-defiance, or setup-pun, but there isn't a real exchange of ideas.

Stereotypical characters. 
The characters are really stereotypes more than rounded-out personalities. Garfield is fat, lazy, and selfish; Jon is a loser, cowardly and lonely; Odie is dumb and that's all. They are often treated as symbols. How cool would it be if, for instance, Garfield talked back when Jon scolds him for being fat? But as the symbol of laziness and gluttony, how can he talk back? He's a cautionary tale.

It's not funny anymore when you do it a hundred times. It seems like, in later years, the same themes are repeated at intervals: a week of Garfield-swats-a-talking-spider jokes, another of Garfield-and-the-talking-scale jokes, a third of Odie is dumb jokes. I don't think any of these ideas is very funny to begin with, and once you milk them for a few years, there's nothing left. Because really, the spider always ends up dying, and all the scales do is tell fat jokes, and Odie being dumb is really not news anymore.

Unlikeable characters. 
There are kind comics and then there are mean ones. Ones where everybody's flawed and a butt of jokes, but at the same time, they all act superior to each other. Jon acts superior because Garfield is so fat, and Garfield acts superior because he thinks he's smarter than Jon, and much smarter than Odie. Liz acts superior because Jon keeps trying to hit on her - until the day she finally agrees to go on a date with him. And everyone's superior at Jon's family, because they are from the countryside, I mean that's hilarious, right? Really, the only character I like is Odie, because he's just cute and oblivious and never mean to anyone. But he's also very...empty. He never speaks or does much.

There are sweet moments, of course - Jon bonding with his pets, Garfield and Odie having an actual friendship, Jon and Liz liking each other, and so forth. But then they go back to despising and mocking each other. To bring it back to Peanuts, one of the reasons I love it is probably the warmth. That comic has a heart, even if a lot of the jokes are on Charlie Brown. He's sad about it, and it breaks your heart to read that. You're supposed to sympathize with him. He isn't mean to anyone.

I think this all boils down to one thing: lack of creativity. The sad part is, Davis does seem to have some talent, and he had originally pitched a different idea, Gnorm Gnat. It was praised for originality, but no one would publish it because people wouldn't get it. So he decided to go very lowest common denominator with Garfield.

Maybe Gnorm Gnat would have just been dull too, who knows? But I do wish the syndicates had given it a chance. It could not be less creative than Garfield. I'm so glad I live in the era of the internet, when anyone can just publish their comics online. There are many poor strips, for sure, but creativity will be rewarded.

Beautiful Drawings, Questionable Content

Today's Questionable Content was good. The first panel is taller than usual, and Hannelore is seen in unusually pretty clothes. The latter panels are just Hannelore being awesome. I love this character and the jokes based on her personality.

I read this comic every day, and have for... how long now? Two years? It's strange, because I don't actually like it very much. The "slice of life" quality can be frustrating when nothing much happens. Or it could work if the comic were more philosophical in nature - pondering on being a human being in general. As it is, with the puns and the dating and drinking and sex jokes, it doesn't really go anywhere. This is a very popular comic, and one of the best-looking ones for sure. The drawing style and coloring has developed in leaps. Jeph Jacques clearly puts a lot of effort in the drawings. But, with the exception of Hannelore, I don't find any characters very interesting. They all seem like copies of each other, only Hannelore has a voice of her own.

One problem is that the comic attempted to be character-based before it had developed any characters. The humble beginning was this, Marten and his little robot. (I'm definitely not one to carp on humble beginnings, by the way.) The first strips are really just a bunch of hipsters sitting around talking about music. Faye and Dora were introduced before they had backstories and personality, so the "Faye's father killed himself" story seemed to come from nowhere. Many of the side characters have disappeared - Sara, Raven, Amanda, Penelope, etc. - and/or replaced each other. You don't really notice, because they all have a similar voice and place in the strip (employee at Café of Doom, Marten's friend).

Another issue is the juvenile type of humor. I don't think being drunk is cool. Fun, but not cool to read about. I also don't think it's particularly cool to make crude sex jokes the whole time. It gets old very quickly.
Marten's Mom being a dominatrix? Also not cool. Weird and a bit disturbing, maybe. Not in a dropping-my-monocle kind of way, more like "Marten would be more frakked up than this".

A lot of the strips are just people bantering about indie music/sex/other stuff. The art quality would support nice action strips and interesting creatures*, so the talking heads feel dull. For instance, why did they have a discussion about starting a music review blog..?  I know Jacques started one, but this is the stuff you advertise in the sidebar, not put in the comic.

But there IS Hannelore, and other occasional glimpses of creativity - Hi Randy, for instance, and the sequel with Shelby the dog. And this is probably what still draws me to QC: it has promise. I feel like I'm watching someone's talent dawning. It's growing and trying at different styles. I'll be very curious to see Jacques' future work.

* = I seem to recall action strips about the "VespAvenger", as well as some fun tequila hallucinations. But I can't find them now because there are so many strips, and the titles are usually jokes. It's hard to find anything.
Edit: aha, my girlfriend, being more nerdier than am I, found some on google. VespAvenger, hallucination reading "Drunken Hallucinations Weekly". The VespAvenger storyline also found a way to use the often neglected robots. This is good stuff.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Educating the Children, Sixties vs. Eighties Style

Comics With Problems is a hilarious collection of (mostly) old-timey comics dealing with dangerous issues. Like drinking while pregnant. And smoking at all. And taking drugs. And being openly gay in the army, not that there's anything wrong with that, you just get fired.

Dennis the Menace Takes a Swipe at Poison is an especially interesting example, because it has two versions: one from the sixties and one from the eighties. It really shows how educational comics have changed.

Part one: the sixties starts off a bit disturbingly, with Dennis making jokes about what an awful kid he is, and how he's poison to his neighbor. Ehh. So on to the story: Dennis has decided to give the dog some medicine! Luckily his parents get to him before he does! I know kids can be stupid about stuff, but would they really say all this stuff about drugs looking cute, like candy? How convenient when you want to deliver the kids a lesson about how drugs are NOT candy!

This bit is actually pretty outdated: you need to shake the bottle well before using! But don't shake yourself ha ha! Then comes a chaos of various safety issues. From this, we go straight into how you should never eat spoiled food, and then they get a call that Dennis has been eating weird berries outside with Margaret, and then Dennis tries to kill a fly with Ruffy's flea powder and on and on.

This could have been divided into separate stories, which would make more sense. I don't think kids can focus on this many lessons all at once. It's also awfully wordy for children, especially when we get to the parts where it's all instructions with illustrations. Or even worse, all instructions without illustrations. It's asking a lot of young readers. To add insult to injury, all of this reads as pretty dull and forced. But the page to the parents is the worst of all - it's just a list of how many children die each year because of the hazards discussed herein. Ehh. Most parents are probably kinda sensitive to hear about children dying, right? I'm not even a parent and I felt this was ghastly. And I don't even want to think what a child would feel reading this. At least make it a separate pamphlet.

Then the eighties. You can tell right away that this is taking a completely different tack.

Firstly, there's a picture/text puzzle of the kind I used to love as a school kid. Fewer words, more fun, one simple rule.

Then the storyline. Now, I'm not going to give this an A+. It's still a bit forced and "let's teach 'em kids a lesson". But at least they've taken some lessons in how children learn. We have a familiar song with new lyrics, visual clues, and repetition. The song may have worked better in a video, but it's not a bad way to teach kids. 

Nitpick about the final comic page.
Father: "That sounds like Three Blind Mice!"
Mother: "Right - sung by two smart boys!"
How would the mother know what the song is about? Dennis is just coming home from school. Also, the story about how Dennis ate too many vitamins because he thought they were candy - is kind of forced. But miles better than "xxxx children die each year of..."

As an adult reader, I'm already sick of the song, but it might be efficient for a child.
We get a list of safety tips, which is probably best for adults. But it's not super wordy this time, and seems way more focused than the sixties one. Also: no ghastly death statistics! Just a brief countdown of how "many poisonings" happening. Nothing about dying. It doesn't read like scare tactics, and I wouldn't worry about a child reading this page by mistake.

I wonder how this would be done in 2010?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Snap Judgements.

I've been checking the Webcomic List a lot lately. They automatically update every two hours, with a list of all webcomics updated that day (from the 16,652 comics tracked). It's a nice service for someone who wants to get to know webcomics more widely.

I thought it'd be interesting to make a little rundown of what I've seen here and how I react to them. Since there are so many comics in this list, I will limit myself to only some. This is just conveyor-belt reading, so I might feel very differently if I were to give each comic individual time and effort. But it might give some idea of how a reader (with my preferences) experiences the comics.

This post is brought to you by the letter A, because I probably won't get much further down than that.

1.00 FTE - A corporate comic. The art uses an illustration style you might expect from bathroom doors and other corporate places. This was a fun touch, but also feels dehumanizing, which might alienate me in the long run (no faces). The content reads a bit too much like Dilbert to truly pique my interest.

2300. I did not get this at all. Maybe it's the kind of comic where you have to read from the beginning to get it. We're given three different time frames - "9:45", "12:30", and "15 years ago". This is very confusing. I'm not sure if these are all happening in the same day and the person is traveling in time, or if this is someone's dream (as we're shown sleeping people). Looking back a few strips doesn't really help me. The art is solid but I tend to be unimpressed by too computerized-looking (if that makes sense) strips.

2pRestart! This seems to be an action/pun strip, which works well on a quick reading like this. The fun thing about the art is distance - the two characters (Pikachu and the boy from Pokémon?) are seen in silhuette only, as if we're watching them from a little way back. I'm not sure if I get the joke, probably because I haven't played the game, but I enjoyed the visuals here.

A Bit Sketchy. I totally didn't get this. *does some research* A teamster is apparently a truck driver. So... this is a truck driver who gets wings, becomes a fairy, and starts to beat people while they sleep? O.o It sounds like it could be awesome, if it were taken a bit further perhaps. And if so many strips didn't end with "I'm a teamsta!" I'm not a fan of the color choices here, and I wouldn't use jpeg for drawings. Well, I did at first, until my girlfriend told me the jpeg compression is burning her eyes, and I should definitely use PNG instead. I must admit she was right.

The Academy. This time it's GIF, but the strip is still burning my eyes. It may be compression, or the choice of color and font - this comic is not pleasant to look at, and it's a shame because the content might be interesting for me. As it is, I can't read it.

Agent-X Comics. The visuals and one line of text make this look oddly like an old-fashioned newspaper strip, something like Ziggy perhaps. It's a strange combination with the nerd jokes. Unless that's the intended effect, and this is trying to parody ye olde newspaper format. I'm really not sure. But the content seems like it could be... *flips back a few pages* Oh, I love this strip! Here we have three long-clawed gentlemen from films, voicing their discontent with the new touch screens. That's an original concept. I think I'll follow this comic.

A Terrible Mind. Pleasant to look at. I like the look of the characters, and the shades of grey used for color here. The style is nice and solid. But the content is, well, a cat poo joke. Seems like it could be very on and off. I might read it again, but on a first glance, it doesn't seem like my thing.

Allan. OK, I'm in love. Naivistic style, childlike life observations. This guy puts his personality into the comic, and I love that. My only complaint is that the text is a tad hard to read on some of them. I prefer the color ones to the black and white ones, nice color choices. And cute animated guy on the front page. Um, I guess I have nothing negative to say about this one.

And Shine Heaven Now. Love the title. Hmmm, this seems like a story arc comic, and the author is helpfully linking to earlier strips, but I don't have the energy for them now though. I'm liking the one I linked to, because the wings go beyond panel boundaries, and that's a sign that the author has given the visuals some thought. You don't actually need panels on a webcomic, and it can make the strip look cramped, but in that one it works. It looks like a promising strip, I might want to check it later.

Anti-Bishie. I can't read this one. Too much black and white = instant anxiety. The art looks like it might be good, but it also seems like a battle/dystopia strip, and I can't handle those. To each her own.

Antiportrait. I'd comment on this one but I can't stop reading these strips. It's fun, original and well drawn - loving it! Anything negative? I guess the text, again, can be hard to read. I'd say cramming too many drawings into a small space can get clustered, so maybe even it out a bit by doing several images instead of a tight panel construct. But the content - awesomesauce.

Anything But Real Life. The latest one doesn't really interest me, but I flipped back a few and found this (see link) - a leopard changing its spots while smoking. I'm thinking this strip might be better off doing this kind of one-image stuff with surrealist ideas, instead of - what the others strips seem like - puns among roommates.

Apple Valley. Instant reaction: way too much text, won't read. But I did look at it and I enjoyed "Dr Hubris" and "Drop your font by two or three sizes, I'm hung over". It looks promising yet hard to get into without context. Will check it again. I like the drawing style, which is kind of rounded as opposed to sharp. I enjoy rounded drawings the most for some reason.

Armageddon is apparently an online graphic novel. That's a little too ambitious for a snap judgement, but I'll link to it anyway.

Arthur, King of Time and Space. This looks like a fun comic, and I might get into it. BUT the comic looks... well, disturbing. The colors are too much, and it looks low quality. Minimalistic style is good, big screaming pixels are bad. Also: the color of the page is in stark contrast with the cute old-timey "first" and "previous" buttons. Major style clash.

Ask Chris. Looks like a lot of fun - especially the comic I linked to, which isn't the last one but the one I found funniest. It had me looking back a few strips, which is always a good sign. The comic is apparently based on a little guy answering random questions sent via email. (Or are the emails made up by the author? You never know with this stuff.) Seems like they're playing around with the format, which I love. Will check this out again.

Avatar Unlocked. It's a strip about gaming and..well, I don't game, so it's not really for me. The art looks solid but not overly original. Probably won't look at this one again.

Blogger's complaining about the list of labels being too long, and I'm at the end of A. I'm not sure if this type of post works, but it's all trial and error here, and it was fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's This Blog About?

This is my new blog about comics. I used to have one, simply entitled "A Blog About Comics", back in 2008 and so. I recently re-read it and deleted all but one entry, which I will probably repost here sometime.

I decided that blog didn't have enough of my own voice. Also, it was kind of pointless, mostly carping about the most popular webcomics. I want to do something different this time. You could say I'm on a quest to find out what makes a webcomic good. This may be because I'm trying to launch my own - it's here, as it is right now, yes in a blog with this same template, and it's very simple images so far. As you can tell, I have a lot to learn.

The links in the side are not necessarily recommendations. I'll say this now, because I will probably complain about some of these in the future. They are webcomics I've read, for one reason or another, more than once. In other words, they've caught my interest, and I assume they'd be interesting for other people too. I'll be adding new links as I find new comics that pique my interest.

I'm not 100 % sure what I will do here. If a webcomic really disappoints me, I might write a rant. If I really like one, I might write a rave review. But I'm more likely to discuss and analyze certain aspects of the comics, while criticizing some other aspects. I did some "eee I love this comic" gushing, as well as some "ugh, this comic sucks" hating, in the previous blog, and I don't really think that's very interesting to read in retrospect. I mean, I loved or hated it, but so what?

Brief rundown of my taste: I enjoy comics with random everyday life observations; well-written characters and character-based humor; deep thought and analysis; and/or beautiful visuals. I do not enjoy comics that are primarily about gaming, because I don't game. Comics about drinking/dating/sex tend to bore me. Many webcomics are about the web and nerd stuff, which is very on and off for me as I'm more of a semi-nerd. (My girlfriend's a total nerd, so she's managed to convert me somewhat.) I very much enjoy black humor.