Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee is The Grapes of Wrath crossed with Star Wars. And I’ve read large chunks of it at two different times – it just doesn’t always serialize that well. It’s definitely a story that needs to be read in at least chapters to get sucked into it.
I’ve been re-reading it from the start over at Comic Rocket which will help me from losing my place in it. I’m only about a little more than a quarter of the way through it’s almost 400 page archive.
The complete run of Digger in one omnibus edition. The Kickstarter has already blown through its goal and all of the current stretch goals.
Kris Straub’s Chainsawzootsuitriot is the latest comic to riff on the classic Isaac Asimov track:
I didn’t expect this twist but it does set up a really interesting final next week.
Spoilers? after the break:
There’s nothing to spoil other than the challenge itself which involves sending all three to their actual homes for two months to work up a pitch for a webcomic to present to the Penny Arcade judges. No more games; no more eliminations; instead a final competition of pitches for their webcomics from the three final judges.
While part of me was looking forward to two more 90 minute elimination contests; this is probably better for these three final competitors who finally got a chance to pitch their vision for their dream webcomic on the show. At the end of the season it will finally be simply about what the show is supposed to be about — webcomics.
Well webcomics plus a t-shirt design. Still…
Maki versus Lexxy and after one goes home we are down to three contestants:
Spoilers after the jump:
Building jokes off “religion” and “candy” (after Maki used his redraw ticket) Maki went with a pretty funny rapture joke. I thought it was funnier than the judges did (although they did make positive comments about it). Lexxy went with a mock-dramatic strip that dressed up Wizard of Oz characters in religious terms. The comic had a very Sin City feel which I think actually could be funny over a longer story. But it didn’t have a joke. It suffered from all of the problem longer form comics have with updating on the web in a serialized manner, struggling to find a “moment” for each “unit” of updating.
Another set of judges could have picked Lexxy’s comic, but it would have been very unlikely for the Penny Arcade guys to do so.
Heading into the last two elimination challenges I’d say Maki should try very very very hard to win the next pre-elimination contest challenge so he doesn’t have to go up against both Abby and Katie. I think he’s a long shot to win but even more doubtful that he can run the table of remaining elimination contests.
Jamie Noguchi is a talented artist who has been creating his webcomic Yellow Peril for several years now. Some realistic, practical advice in this video:
Dean Haspiel’s The Red Hook is another sharp strong blast of his romantic, Kirby-esque take on superheroes.
After a couple of kind of boring challenge episodes Katie picks Abby and Tavis to head off to the elimination zone. Who will win? Who will talk the most smack back to Mike and Jerry?
Finally a REDRAW ticket gets used. Abby cashes in her ticket to draw another idea. Theater gets replaced with cars. Cats and cars is an interesting premise. Lots of banter of course and Mike and Abby go back and forth.
Abby wins with a funny enough joke. Not quite as hilarious as her last elimination contest comic but the Penny Arcade guys thought it was crazy funny so it looks like Abby’s sense of humour is right on target for Jerry and Mike.
Tavis went for the visual and his joke was as simple as a giant cat on top of a car with mouse ear. Great art, but not the kind of developed and structured joke that Jerry and Mike have been looking for.
So only four contestants left – which works out to three more elimination contests left (which is nine more episodes, right?). Last time I guessed who was going to win, I had Abby second after Katie with Tavis third. I still have to guess Katie has an edge but Abby clearly a chance to win the whole thing. My gut is still that Maki beats Lexxy but there actually should be a bit of strategy going into the end here. If I was Lexxy or Maki I would put Katie against Abby next just to get one of them out of the way. On the other hand if you’re Katie, do you put Abby back up against Lexxy or Maki or do you give Abby a break for a week? If you’re Abby I would guess you put Katie up against whomever of Lexxy and Maki you are the most nervous about.
Okay I’m re-reading Mitch Clem’s Nothing Nice To Say and I want to link to almost every other one. Some of the more topical punk jokes seem obscure (they kind of were obscure when first published anyhow) and I never loved the ones where Mitch imagined his one or two readers angrily storming his drawing table BUT he hits a ton of targets across pop culture over and over with solid jokes every time.
Zach “Joe and Monkey” Miller’s first webcomic No Pants Tuesday seems to have disappeared from the web.
I’m re-reading Spike’s Templar, AZ and I just finished the first chapter. It really is a fantastic bit of story-telling; a complete in and of itself short story which ends on a nice grace note for mainly central character Ben.
I remember at the time that myself and a lot of readers were surprised at the broad world-building route Spike took after this first chapter. I think I assumed this was a comic about Ben when Spike meant it to be a comic about the place. I’m looking forward to reading it (and I have not read the most recent years of the comic which combined with forgetting thing means most all of it will be new to me) without that misconception to color things for me.
Also, what a great character Reagan is. She is a force to be reckoned with…
Another elimination contest and afterwards there are only five Stripsearch contestants left:
Spoilers spoiled and more after the break -Entertaining as most of the elimination episodes have been but Monica may have been the most awkward participant in the elimination contest so far. Which has nothing ultimately to do with the fact that she lost. No that has to do with the fact that she went for emotion and a concept over an actual laugh which is a priority for the Penny Arcade guys.
I did not laugh hard myself at Lexxy’s comic but it did have an actual moment of mirth in it and a punch line last panel which was good enough for her to win and hang on another episode. Monica’s strip may have won if she had done a better job of constructing her comic and tightening up the ending — anything that really delivered something at then end might have been enough.
Regardless having seen two of Lexxy’s comics now I would put her as a longshot to win. Katie is very good and has a sense of humor she can deliver both with words and the art itself. Tavis and Maki both know how to deliver a joke. Abby delivered something right in the PA wheelhouse in her elimination contest win but I wonder if that was a but fluky. I’ve been reading her comic now and while it’s fun, it’s rarely as intentionally funny as her comic on Strips Search was. Still she was utterly confident during her stint in the elimination zone and I think her self-confidence is probably sky high now.
Here’s my guess for who’s most likely to win the whole thing at the end:
After today’s elimination show there are only six contestants left on Strip Search. That’s another 18 episodes which is about 9 more weeks. I guess that means we’ll have a winner in June or July (someone look it up on a calendar, okay?).
Tavis won last Tuesday’s convention sketching contest and so he had the dubious honor of picking the contestants for the elimination show. Without much to go on he picked Erika and Abby. Check out the episode; spoilers after the break:
A pretty entertaining show today. Both Erika and Abby seemed to deal well with Mike and Jerry’s by now expected obnoxious questions. Abby did her entire comic by hand which is a first, everyone else on the show has used the Cintiq tablets. Erika spent the first 45 minutes planning out her comic before getting to work on the tablet. I was honestly worried for her but I’m not sure it had too much of an impact on her final comic.
Abby won. I was genuinely surprised because for the most part we don’t really know how good of a cartoonist any one is until they get into the elimination contests. Abby is really a good artist and while it wasn’t perfect, it was a very funny premise she set up in her comic. I laughed at seeing it — it seemed like the judges did too.
Erika also did a great job but like some of her work it was not a single funny gag but more of a series of things that were weird and unusual and interesting. This was one of those and in this kind of knock out format, I think single best moment is going to take it with Jerry and Mike. They could have picked Erika but I think Abby deserved to win.
Abby has a shot at winning the whole thing. I wonder if the other contestants realize that; after seeing her beating out Erika they probably do.
UPDATE: I checked out Abby’s comic, Junior Scientist Power Hour, and to be honest, it’s uneven. It has a loose, “throw whatever I want on the screen” vibe that feels more like peeking in on the artist’s sketchbook than a specific final product. Having watched Abby onscreen now, I hear her comics with her actual voice which helps a lot; I’m not sure she actually always gets that on the page itself. Still no question she has a good sense of humor and a decent sense of how to construct a comic.
I liked the very last one she posted, not only funny, but speaking as someone who is coaching one of my kid’s soccer teams, so true.
Odori Park by Chris Watkins has a tag line of “East Marries West.” I’ve been an off and on reader since it started back in 2009, but definitely on again this year. It’s very cute, slice of family life comic with a dash of culture clash thrown in. I liked the very recent storyline where the main characters are inspired to create a graphic novel together:
What I didn’t know until very recently was that Chris used to run Border Walker – a relatively old school webcomics site that featured some great talent. In a recent blog post Chris mentions future plans for Border Walker — I wish him luck with that although I hope it doesn’t detract from his updating Odori Park!