Tags: webcomics


my favorite webcomics in 20 words or less

  • MS Paint Adventures (Homestuck, Problem Sleuth, Jailbreak): Is it the best collaborative point-and-click text-adventure game you've never played? No! It's a webcomic.
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff: Only Andrew Hussie would run a shitty webcomic just to make silly references to it in his other webcomic.
  • Questionable Content: Uber-tattooed indie rock colossus draws comic about an ordinary dude and a bunch of cute hipster girls. Reverse Mary-Sue!
  • Goats: This ancient strip about two alcoholics on a couch somehow became a batshit transdimensional epic beyond description.
  • Achewood: Surreal, sophisticatedly bourgeois anti-humor with astonishingly powerful storytelling and the occasional spot of raw psychological terror. Never predictable.
  • Overcompensating: A hilarious autobiographical strip made entirely of lies. (Also, buttcats.)
  • Penny Arcade: Closest thing video games have to Siskel and Ebert. Oh, and there's a comic too.
  • ErfWorld: (No relation.) Dark, existentially unsettling look at the whimsical, candy-colored wonderland in a tabletop strategist's head. May confuse non-gamers.
  • Dr. McNinja: He's a ninja. And a doctor. And Irish. And the '80s never ended. AWESOME
  • Reprographics! Fumetti blogs are nothing new, but Chris Yates is an independent toymaker and his life is amazingly silly.
  • Dresden Codak: High-concept transhumanist sci-fi, surreal dreamscapes, and gorgeous, gorgeous art. Smarter than xkcd's Randall Munroe wishes he were.
  • Wondermark: What happens when you lend a libraryful of Victorian woodcuts to a Hollywood special effects guy? (Surprisingly, not explosions.)
  • Hark! A Vagrant: World history from the kind of effervescent, smartass gal lonely history professors pine for when they space out during exams.
  • Dominic Deegan: A bipolar mess of emotionally manipulative narratives, unimpressive art, and bloody awful set pieces--but the characterization is magic.

introverts en masse

I guess I should write about my day, huh.

(Even though it's over, and a new one has already begun. Stupid off-kilter unemployed sleep cycle.)

The Brooklyn Book Festival was pretty neat! I guess I was expecting something like a trade show or a convention, what with Brooklyn having a huge and storied literary scene, but it turns out it was both bigger and more laid-back than I expected. (And free! And almost completely outdoor!) I've never been to an event this big and this crowded with this chill of an atmosphere. Lots of tents set up over folding tables in the plaza outside the courthouse, which is pretty small by New York standards, with a couple eight-wheeler trucks opening up into stages for invited authors to talk about their books, and maybe half a dozen hot dog stands patrolling the perimeter. It felt like a county fair crossed with a library.

Hello, sir! Would you like a copy of our new self-printed alternative literary magazine? (Watch the staples, they're sharp.) Our editor is sitting right over there, next to that little lady with the ice cream cone and the baby carriage...

It was kind of reassuring to discover that novelists can be pretty boring people. I got there late so I missed all of the big-name panels (Jonathan Lethem! Jonathan Safran Foer! Paul Auster! The guest list reads like my bookshelf!), but the rest of the writers would bore you to death if you hadn't read their books. One of them was responding to a question on why so many of her books took place in New York with a long, rambling monologue about brownstones and pizza parlors and how she felt about living in the city, and another three were talking to each other about how the iPod takes something away from the experience of listening to music because unlike a boom box it doesn't project a sense of space. It felt like the International Blogger Symposium on the Deliciousness of Cheese Sandwiches. Perhaps these details would please their fans, and reveal insights about the context of their novels, but I always thought the purpose of a panel was to come away enlightened about a subject, or take away a new perspective, and I don't see how these panels achieved that. I'm sure these people could have come up with something witty, intelligent, and interesting if they had prepared something ahead of time, but I guess that just because people are eloquent on the page doesn't mean they're eloquent in real life. I mean...look at me. :(

(p.s. i would totally write an entry about how cheese sandwiches are delicious)

Otherwise, the festival pretty much belonged to industry folks. Big publishers, little publishers, workshops, fledgling trade associations (I didn't know poets had a union!), bookstores...The Strand was there, as was Forbidden Planet, but most of their catalog looked like discount inventory they were just trying to get rid of...

Incongruously set in the meadow of bookstores, literary magazines, and independent publishers was a small section devoted to the New York Comic-Con, at which TopatoCo had a table. I confess that despite my literary aspirations this was the main reason why I went. I got to meet Jonathan Rosenberg, who draws Goats, and Jeffrey Rowland, who draws Wigu and Overcompensating. As these three webcomics have been part of my daily routine for quite a few years now, it was a pleasure to meet the people who make them. Jon is pretty much what you'd expect--he looks like any random New York barfly, which makes sense considering how much of Goats takes place in bars--and, well, I've read Overcompensating and I used to hang out on Dumbrella, so I kind of knew what to expect from Jeff the Cowboy Poet. Jeff recognized my nick from the Dumbrella forums! And he gave me a random high-five on the way back to the subway. I did not think J. Rowland could get any more awesome but oh snap he totally did. And I think Chris Hastings was there, too, but I'd never recognize him without the ninja mask and the doctor's coat.

There is always a profound awkwardness to first meeting someone you know online, but have never met.

Halfway through my time at the fair, I heard a snatch of song I thought was a little familiar, and naturally I brushed it away as a coincidence. But as I got closer to the courtroom--wait! Is that--no--it can't be--yes! It was Jonathan Coulton! Performing "IKEA!" It turns out he lives in Brooklyn! It's funny, I've been listening to his stuff for so long (before he did that ending song to Portal) and I never even knew that he lived around here, much less gone to a live show. It was a lot like the live performances I've seen of him on YouTube, except...three-dimensional.

...Yeah, I need to get out of the house more often.

Considering that I was there with maybe a thousand people who like the same books, read the same webcomics, and listen to Jonathan Coulton, some of whom looked like they were in the same cohort, it's kind of sad that I didn't meet anyone besides a handful of minor web celebrities. Then again, I guess the thing about people like me is that they're...like me. That dude, curled up with a book in the corner, or surfing the web, invisible.

also, i held a picnic for most of my neighborhood friends in prospect park and no one came.

touche, onstad

"She was busted goods from the get-go, same as everyone, but I got this thing in me where I wanna step up, you know. Be the big savior. Bad habit.

Turns out people ain't things you can fix. A broken lover's like a fat guy in a suit--he's a hoot at the bar, but back at the hotel room, it ain't nothin' but mind games."

- Lyle, Achewood
  • Current Music
    LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
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thank you, mario, but the buddha is in another castle!

Dresden Codak cartoonist Aaron Diaz's recent hourly comic mentions "Buddhist Mario," in which he plays through Super Mario World without collecting any coins, killing any enemies, or picking up any powerups (and, for that final Buddhist touch, you must walk through the goal slowly, to show humility). This was such a silly and fun-sounding idea that I had to try it myself. Turns out that while dodging all the coins, powerups, and enemies is a lot of fun (and makes the game significantly more challenging!), and you can get pretty far if you think outside the box, beating the game this way is not possible. While you can get past some seemingly unmissable coins and such by doing clever tricks like crouch-jumping under platforms and and spin-jumping on top of invincible enemies, there are some levels in the game--particularly the floating platform levels--in which you will have to jump on a few flying turtles or jump through corridors completely filled with coins to get to the end of the stage. I suppose you could argue that jumping on a flying turtle doesn't count, since jumping on one doesn't kill it immediately, but I'm pretty sure tearing off a flying creature's wings so that it plummets to its death is bad karma. There's also a few stages, including World 1-1, in which walking through the end goal will unavoidably kill all enemies on the screen and turn them into coins, violating the prohibitions on both murder and avarice. And don't even get me started on Yoshi.

Then I did a forum search to see if anyone else had tried it, and it turns out Mr. Diaz was talking about the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES, not Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo; he just used SMW as a visual reference for his hourly comic. That sounds considerably more doable, although I'm not really willing to try it. Super Mario Bros. is difficult enough without the Four Noble Truths. (Not that it keeps pretentious postmodernists from trying. Oh no.)

Oh, and since I promised this entry would be less depressing, here's a fatally adorable video of anthropomorphized Japanese text-to-speech mascots acting out Super Mario Bros. in cosplay. Meets the Japanese government-mandated quotas for both weird and cute.

And if that isn't really your kind of thing, here's a cat in a bag.
  • Current Music
    Braces Tower - Eleven Twelve (Sesame Street pinball song drum 'n' bass remix)
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you have died. would you like to continue? (y/n)

MS Paint Adventures: A classic Sierra-era point-and-click adventure game semi-participatory webcomic amazingly silly MS Paint monstrosity.

This is what all text-adventure games would be like if there was no need for "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean by 'FUCK YOU OPEN THE STUPID DOOR'".

Massive brownie points for the sort of bizarre, surreal Text Adventure Game Logic only an Infocom ex-employee could love: "You dial the number on the phone. The phone opens to reveal a SECRET NOTE!!"

(edit) the part where one of the characters gets frustrated and looks for a strategy guide on GameFAQs is BRILLIANT.

fantastic things

Before I forget!

One of my favorite online graphic novels, Rice Boy, finished a month ago. I was sad to see it end, but it just wouldn't be right if it went on forever. It's a shame that there is no actual physical book, because this is really the kind of thing that is meant to be read cover to cover (instead of day by day). If you're a fan of quest narratives, surreal minimalist landscapes, and raw imagination, this is worth spending an afternoon reading through.

Also, remember when I posted the Bearforce One video and declared it to be literally the gayest thing ever? LADIES AND GENDERQUEERS, WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION. (nsfw: burlesque humor and censored nudity)

still life

pear-pear: cute webcomic about a pear and a coffee cup who are friends.

Notable: all the dialogue is in hieroglyphs.

Amusing: the attention to detail in the gradually increasing tabletop clutter that comprises each strip's foreground.
  • Current Music
    Bree Sharp - We're Going To Be Friends
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