April 19, 2007

Webcomics snobbery

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at April 19, 2007 10:10 PM

I'll confess: I'm kind of a webcomics snob. I frequently prune my reading list, look down my nose at comics that don't meet my standards, and generally struggle with the temptation to just quit reading everything except Dinosaur Comics and Scary Go Round. (And Gunnerkrigg Court, which I think of as less a webcomic than a graphic novel released a page at a time.)

Truly offensive are lame ads for unfunny webcomics. These are hard to avoid since they tend to buy space on the sites of actual talented artists. There was one that I used to see a lot called Least I Could Do whose ads made it look really, painfully bad. I don't know if it was actually funny because the ads made me actively avoid it. Another ad I noticed a lot appeared on Dinosaur Comics and other sites using Project Wonderful for ads; there wasn't much (because Project Wonderful uses little postage stamp-sized images) but it was basically just a cheesecake-looking drawing of some girl sleeping, with her chest displayed prominently. If that's the best it had to offer I wasn't going to bother clicking.

Somewhat more reliable is the links section of a comic I already like. It'll be a mixture of strips the artist artistically admires and those drawn by his friends in the webcomics community, but there's a fair bit of overlap between those two sets and most will be worthwhile. Today I noticed John Allison had added a few links to the list at Scary Go Round, including Gunnerkrigg Court, so I figured the others were probably worth checking out too. I clicked on Dresden Codak and, indeed, it's awesome. The gorgeous, surrealistic art is reminiscent of A Lesson is Learned, and the references to physics may invite comparisons to xkcd. It's not geek humor though, but rather it invokes quantum mechanics in service of its dreamlike ambience. Oh, and it's funny. I particularly like this one.

It's a weekly comic, and hasn't been around very long, so its archive is depressingly small and I read through it quickly... only to discover that it's the very comic that advertised with the image of the sleeping woman. Clearly I need to reevaluate my policy relating to webcomics ads.

UPDATE: Just saw the actual dates in the archive listing: turns out Dresden Codak doesn't update weekly, but only every once in a while. The archive is actually two years worth of material.

Tags: Comics
Comments

as for me i am a order of the stick fan

Posted by: shellock | April 20, 2007 7:36 AM

Ooh, goody, webcomics! Dresden Codak is immediately flagged for perusal -- the linked comic was great, and yeah, I'm still sad that A Lesson is Learned is on hiatus. At least they stopped off on a good one -- "Why? Why?" I also miss Whispered Apologies, which did *not* go out with a bang.

BoaSaS, today's is awesome (as usual).

PBF, This is my favorite out of the recent comics.

Schlock Mercenary is still my prime source of ongoing story (Space Opera in the house!) mixed with humor (and horror during the annual Schlocktoberfest!). Unless you want to suffer unspeakable horrors of art, start with "Basic Training" -- the comic is much older than Howard Taylor's artistic ability.

XKCD is made of win, but you already know that. "The enemy gate is down."

I don't know anyone else who gets any satisfaction out of reading Married to the Sea, but I think it's bloodly inspired.

A similar (though considerably less random) comic is Wondermark. They finally fixed their RSS feed a month or two back.

Posted by: Lemming | April 20, 2007 10:31 AM

Oh yeah, I failed to mention that Dresden Codak did a tribute to A Lesson is Learned when they went on hiatus.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | April 20, 2007 1:45 PM

Heh. I kept thinking how much it was like A Lesson is Learned while I was reading that strip, good to know it was intentional.

Posted by: Lemming | April 20, 2007 2:48 PM

Not sure if you're looking for suggestions or just commenting on your webcomic habits. :)

I thought it interesting that you mentioned ads for unfunny webcomics as offensive. I'm sure a lot of those are, but i'd classify a lot of webcomics I read and enjoy as non-funny (but possibly not negatively funny as unfunny could imply), such as Girl Genius (great story, art), Something Positive (god is this one depressing, but also interesting. Funny at times I suppose), etc. Not that i've seen ads for this type, just curious about the particulars behind that comment.

As far as ones I enjoy the most: Frazz, XKCD, Schlock Mercenary, Girl Genius, Three Panel Soul (Mac Hall's new comic), Order of the Stick, Sinfest.

Also up there: Questionable Content, Scary Go Round, Sheldon, Doonesbury, Something Positive, Penny Arcade.

And I read several others, but the ones above are those I enjoy the most. Since i'm listed so many i'm not going to link them, but if they're not obvious via a search, just let me know and i'll add links. :)

Posted by: Zifnab | April 20, 2007 6:57 PM

Forgot one:

Minus , a recent find via a link from Three Panel Soul. Doesn't update often but very cool. :)

Posted by: Zifnab | April 20, 2007 7:04 PM

Mainly I wanted to say "Dresden Codak!" but suggestions are always welcome. :)

And indeed, I am using "unfunny" to mean "trying to be funny and failing". I certainly don't object to story-oriented comics that don't necessarily have a daily punchline--Gunnerkrigg Court being a good example. I've seen references to Girl Genius before and it looks intriguing, but I've never taken the time to check it out in depth.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | April 20, 2007 9:54 PM
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