Hey folks. The first ever Digital Strips Livecast (hosted by talkshoe.com) will be going down on Wednesday, February 7th, at 9:00 PM. We will be discussing the wildly popular The Order of the Stick, by Rich Burlew. All you need is a phone or Skype to join in on the show and offer your opinion as we analyze and dissect OotS before a live internet audience.
It’s that time again, folks. Time to give some less fortunate children the holiday they’ll never forget. Child’s Play is one of the coolest charities I’ve ever had the joy of participating in, not to mention the only real ongoing one spurred from Webcomics. I highly suggest you get involved, even if it’s just spreading the word.
And a happy holiday greeting of your choice, to anyone who reads this.
Webcomics. For me and everyone else involved in this community, this activity, this art form and brand new medium and every other grandiose adjective we can possibly apply to it… The word has gravity. We capitalize it. We emphasize it. We live in this utopian intenet culture called Webcomics and it’s filled with every one od us, convinced tht it is the ultimate. It cannot be beaten, it is the brace new world for sequential art.
I often wonder if it’s being taken too seriously. And this is coming from the guiy who does more than one podcast about Webcomics.
I’ve been labeled as the Quintessential Webcomic Enthusiast. I would gladly consider myself this. Hell, I love Webcomics so much there’s nary a thing involving them I don’t do. Except make them, it would seem.
I look forward and I see the future of Webcomics. This Age of Webcomic history that will come in 15 years or so. Wehere Webcomics are a household name, a common item, and perhaps even overtaking and supplanting the newspaper strips. We’ll have movies and TV shows and your children will be waering Webcomics pajamas on their way to bed.
I wonder who, amongst us, we could see participating and achieveing that. I assure you, it won’t be one of us. It’ll be someone brand new, someone from the outside coming in, taking with them their fame and notoriety that came from their previous career(s). They will go to Webcomics, and the public will go with. He or she is the one that will bring Webcomics to Grandma and Grandpa.
It won’t be one of us.
It might not be any of us at home.
In the common dwelling, where they boot up their arm computers and read their webcomics over coffe. The average person may not be reading Penny Arcade or PVP. They’ve got a narrow topic in gaming, they have taken and gilled that niche. It’s foreseeable that they cannot grow outside of that niche. It ill be the new webcomics, which will be accessable and readible ny grandma and frampa, It will be gamiliar and it will be traditional in srtlw.
It will be familiar.
Er eill not see the success that will come to the mOm and Pop comic. We’re inmdy, we’re alternative. we appeal to the minority. The majority need will be filled, for good or for ill. And that’s where Webcomics will be a thing.
And that bums me out, frankly. I’f really like tosee the blank label guys or PA get that success.
But it won’t be the same. Do you understand what I’m sauing?
I hope you do, because I don’t.
This is NaDruWriNi in action, folks. I have no ide what’s going on, and I seem to have lost most of my luvidity.
Er str nvp,ovd/ Er str yjr ,rfoi,/ Yjod ,rfoi, oid mpy do,[p;lu yjr gpt,s; r;r,rmyd pg yj sty smf etoyomh smf vp,[pdoyopm pg Ernvp,ovd/ Yjr fotrgvy trsfrt=vtrsypt vomminivsyopm. yjr fr;obrtu ,ryjpf/ Yjod od ejsy ,slrd id Ernvpo,vd. gs,,oy/
I… wasn’t looking at the keyboard just then. As far as I can surmise, that’s nigh indecipherable. Basically, what I said what truly makes Webcomics the medium that it is, is less the comics themselves, but the delivery method and the direct creator-reader communication. Where we see as infinite, it still has its limits. And somehow, we need to identify these limits and detsroy them.
Are the limits our topic choice? Is it our deliberate off-the-beaten path content desicions what’s keeping us from becoming that household object? Is it our nerdcore nature? is it the profanity we use, and the harshness that comes with being edgier humor?
Are our very creative desicions keeping us from becoming that household name? Is it by simply being ourselves?
I do wonder.
There’s a less utopian vision I have. More hellish. I also wonder if this is all just temporary. If one day, the bubble will burst and everything comes crashing down. I do worry about that. I’d like there to still be a Webcomic “Industy” by the time I’m ready to make my move. Oh yes, I’m biding my time. That must be it.
I’m on this topic because a friend, a mentor, gave me the idea to talk about how I see the future of Webcomics. The truth of the matter is I can only speculate wildly, because I don’t fucking know. I’m not a future predictor, I’m not a planner. I’m an improvisor. So I’m not worried about where we’re going, or where we’re headed, because I know i’ll be along for the ride. Cuz I’m Phil Fucking Kahn.
I can’t resist. Sorry to say, but I must re-participate in this great event, the one and only NaDruWriNi. And I will do it here.
I will be drunk, and I will be talking about Webcomics. This is something you may want to check out this page on November 4th (or 5th, depending on what time of day I decide to write). If you want to see previous drunken writings on Webcomics, they are found below:
Those two drunken writings are ones I count amongst the best pieces I’ve ever written in blogform. Possibly the two I’ve recieved the most feedback on as well.
So yeah. It might be a good one.
Thanks to the dozens of donators and Wiki-ers, and the support from all around, I’m Just Drinking: The Podcast is now live. You can find it at www.imjustdrinking.com/podcast. This episode features the webcomic Fragile Gravity, by Barb Fischer & Chris Impink. The drinks displayed are The Girl Next Door and The Bitter Stoat. Please enjoy the show and stay tuned for the next episode, which will air on October 9th.
Hey guys. Quick update on the drive. I must give credit where it is due:
- Barb Fischer & Chris Impink (Chris is also the webtender for the wiki… make sure you thank him for building its backbone)
- Chris Pollock
- Joseph Kovell who’s just been working like a dog, contribution drinks and games all over the damned place (PS: Keep it up, Joe)
- Eric Richardson
- Mary Hentges
- Bernie Hou
You guys. Seriously, you guys. You’re the best. Thank you.
If you want to donate, and therefore get your comic a guranteed episode, there’s still one week left for the drive. First episode will be filmed on Sunday the 17th, and will air on Monday the 25th.
I look back at my archives of this blog and I see someone I was once. That’s what we all do when we reflect. That’s what’s to be expected during reflection. About a year and a half ago, when I started this, I admit I was jumping aboard the Webcomics Critic Bandwagon (before it was really a bandwagon to speak of, in my mind). It was a field that was not densely populated. To put it bluntly, not many people were doing it.
So I often wonder why I did.
I love Webcomics. The raw accessibility is what draws me to them more than anything else. Second, of course, to loving the medium itself. If you know me personally (and even if you don’t you could probably gather this from my general attitude), you know that I hunger for success. Validation. Any sort of tangible proof that I’m an intelligent or creative person. A lot, if not most of us, also want that. It’s a pretty basic human need. Seems to be often more at the forefront of my mental wish list than other things, and I just want to be honest about it. Webcomics helps me feel like a big shot, even though I’m so not there yet.
Conventions have fueled this greatly. At this point, I’ve been to fewer Cons as an attendee than as a participant of some kind, whether it be as a panelist, a member of the press (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) or pushing my wares in the artist alley. That’s 7 out of 10 total. Not many cons altogether, but I’ve only been seriously doing this for a year anyway. And I don’t intend on stopping, for what it’s worth. When I’m at these cons, I’m making new friends. New contacts. Both professionals and casuals. More people than I, regretfully, have the mind to remember. There’s just so goddamned many of them.
I’ve managed to “con” my way into these things, usually, by convincing them I’m some sort of Webcomics Expert. I’ve done a shitload of Webcomics 101 and other type panels, moreso than my background of experience truly warrants. I regard it scathingly because I have to continuously remind myself (not just in Webcomics, but in all the walks of life I partake) that I haven’t done that Goddamned much. Even less successes. Fortunately, I’m often able to use my failures to help others in the “Do What I Say, Not What I’ve Done” model of advice. Generally speaking, it’s been good. I’ve received no complaints.
I’m better at talking about comics than I am at making them. That, as any critic who yearns to be an artist can sympathize with, is a painful thing to embrace. Because, dammit, we want to make things and entertain people.
This past summer of cons has thrown my dissatisfaction of my station into my face repeatedly. Wizard World Philly, ConnectiCon, Otakon… people ask me the question that is to be asked, as I am a man who surrounds himself with Webcomic professionals every chance he gets:
“So, what Webcomic do you do?”
Generally, I explain like this:
“I’m kind of a rare case, where I’m at conventions moreso for my knowledge than my craft. But to put it simply, I do everything in Webcomics that doesn’t actually involve making a Webcomic. I used to make a Webcomic called The Hoojie Crew, but these days I do a criticism blog, a podcast, I run a collective, I’m on the committee for the Webcartoonist Choice Awards, I’m involved with Clickwheel as an animatic editor, I run a Wiki dedicated to compiling and creating Webcomics-themed cocktails…”
That’s usually the point where I trail off and wrap it up when the person I’m talking to stares at me blankly, as if to say, “So, you’re not a real Webcomic artist, are you?” And that’s uncomfortable. I do a fucking lot, more than I usually have time for. But to the average viewer, none of that fucking matters. Because I don’t actually make a Webcomic. Why don’t I make a Webcomic?
Well, I used to. You may have known that, you may have not. I don’t bring it up often, specifically, because as most “artists” do, I’m thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of my previous efforts. An artist’s their own toughest critic. Even tougher, you might imagine, if they were also a practicing fucking critic at the same time.
It was called The Hoojie Crew, and it was about (shock!) the random fictional adventures of me and my dorm-mates with the more than occasional reference or discussion of a video game. I could rarely stick to my own update schedule. I made practically every mistake you could make when starting out. I even made one of the characters into a catgirl for Christ’s sake.
Although, I do look upon it fondly, as well. It was fun while it lasted. I learned a ton just by doing and failing and re-trying and failing again. It was the work I cut my teeth on. Experimented on occasionally, fucked around with, and learned with. I jumped right into Webcomics expecting fame and notoriety, not knowing a damned thing about Webcomics. Heck, at that point I don’t think I was even fully aware of the existence of more than a dozen Webcomics. I didn’t know what PVP was. I didn’t know what Webcomics were. And this was in 2003. By then, things were really starting to take shape. And I was jumping in expecting immediate rewards (on then-KeenSpace, no less).
But the fact remains that while I was doing it, I was enjoying it. While I was working on it, I was learning a lot. So I’m glad for it, and I am lovingly and respectfully putting it to rest for multiple reasons, including ones that don’t really need discussing right now.
And I miss it. The act of making Webcomics, that is.
I’m pretty tired of going to cons without something wholly tangible to show off. I’m tired of speaking to all my Webcomics partners and friends about traffic and business and method without having anything to really go on than outdated experiences and speculation. I’m tired of being the guy that does everything in Webcomics without actually making a Webcomic. That missing element needs to be re-inserted. And after a year of being totally burnt-out on drawing comics, and the enjoyment thereof. I miss making comics very, very much. And I feel ready. Ready to get back into the habit.
What I’m trying to say is, rather than shutting up, I’m putting up.
I’m going to start making comics again, the way I want to make them, in the most professional manner I’m capable of. I’m doing them with my lovely girlfriend Sarah. I’m going to do my best. I’m going to make something I’ll be proud to show off, and use to practice and get better at the craft, so that when I want to make something truly big and artistic, I’ll be ready.
So. Premiering September 1st, PUPPIES!! will be born. You will find that at www.puppies-comic.com and I do hope you will enjoy it. I will be updating it on Fridays, and Sarah will be updating it on Mondays. I’m going to have some fun, Goddammit.
I’ve had a great run here. I feel satisfied with what I’ve done so far on I’m Just Saying. And that’s a good feeling. I’m putting this blog aside for now, and putting that energy into Digital Strips. Though, I’ll still be using this space for announcements and things. The archives have had the riffraff and othersuch unimportant entries cleared out. What remains is all the substance I’ve put in here over that year or so, whether good or bad. I also added a list in the sidebar of some posts that I consider to be classics (also, whether good or bad). You never know, though. Something might just move me to write some new stuff here. I guess that depends on Webcomics, et al.
There’s a few people I’d like to thank for their parts of the duration of this thing. Thanks to Eric Burns, Wednesday White and the Snarkoleptics, for giving me the idea to do this thing in the first place. Thanks to AleX Kujawa, for encouraging me and sticking by me with Biscuit Press as the best webmaster I could ask for (through all the good and the bad). Thanks to Zampzon and Daku for bringing me on to Digital Strips. Thanks to Rob Balder for the massive help in launching I’m Just Drinking, and all the general sort of comradery and mentoring he’s given me. Thanks to Annie, LucasTDS, Abby L, and all the other frequent-commenters that indulged me in discourse (including that motherfucker, Will G). Thanks to T Campbell for getting me involved in my first paying job as a video editor with Clickwheel, AND the WCCAs. Thanks to Xaviar Xerexes for all the times he’s quoted me, or otherwise pointed people here for Important Webcomics Stuff. Thanks to anybody I forgot to mention, because this list turned out to be a bit more than “a few” as I was typing it.
And, of course, thanks to all of you people that have simply read along. I obviously wouldn’t have been doing it if it weren’t for you.
Sorry, gang. Another rerun. But still highly entertaining. Our interview with Dave Cheung of Chugworth Academy. Jay, unfortunately, was not present for the interview.
I wanted to take a brief moment and thank the people that have donated to the birthday barstock drive so far. Here they are, those nice and wonderful people who have bought me a drink this past week:
So far Tim’s in the lead with the highest donation ($15), so unless anyone tops that, we’re doing the first episode on him and Reckless Life. Possibly the next runner-up as well, because there’s only one drink for Reckless Life at the moment. Unless more drinks are made for it, and that would be a different story.
I’ll be closing off the drive on the 16th, so if you want to help, or if you want to ensure that your comic and drinks are done first, that’s the day to make it happen. Big thanks to everyone who’s helped donate or spread the word so far.