Archive - May 2004 - Article
Have you ever had one of those really vivid, epic dreams, one where the first thought that crosses your semi-conscious mind when you wake up the next morning is, "Damn... that dream would make a great book! Where's my pen, I gotta write this down..."?
When you try to write it out on paper, however, it comes out all clumsy, incoherent, and incomplete. You look at the words inked there and know that they are supposed to be brilliant, but you just can't seem to make that crucial jump from dreamagination to readality. Sound familiar?
Last November, Hard, author of Sexy Losers, asked in his comic's Livejournal why women read his comic. He was asking because he had so many women writing to him, and as he put it: "â€¦sometimes they will add 'Yes, there are females that read your comic' as if I am suddenly shocked that there would actually be females that would find sex humour at all interestingâ€¦"
Taking a look at my bookshelf, I find the two best books ever on the subjects of writing and drawing comics. Both are written by director/screenwriter/playwright David Mamet.
The books are On Directing Film (which is about writing comics) and True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor (which is about drawing comics). I donâ€™t know why the titles make them sound like theyâ€™re about directing films and acting in plays; maybe the publishers figured they could sell more copies that way. Whatever. Theyâ€™re about making comics.
Rob Balder has been delighting webcomics readers, readers of independent newspapers, convention-goers, and booklovers for several years now with his Partially Clips. He paused long enough in a busy schedule to answer ten questions at some length – with his observations on the current state and future of webcomics, of his trials and tribulations in book publishing, and what started him on this path... and his plans for the future.
Webcomics have wasted no time in taking advantage of the unfiltered, uncensored, and plain uncontrollable nature of the Internet. Webtoonists have also in their own small way acted out like smaller-scale rock stars, now and again trashing a virtual hotel room. In the spirit of celebrating the abuse or stretching of good taste, artistic boundaries, and/or common sense, we present our somewhat brief and arbitrary list of 17 notorious cartoonists. Some get the nod for a one-time act of notoriety while others continue working on their lifetime achievement awards even as we go to press.
Let's say you like television shows about how to cook chicken, because chicken is your favorite food. There are a million ways to cook chicken, and many of them are very basic and ordinary – these aren't going to be as interesting on television as the unusual ones. You might have a few favorite recipes, but you still enjoy watching chicken be prepared in a different way. What this boils down to is a wacky metaphor for how to approach pornographic comics as a reviewer and not a consumer.
Over the last twenty years, the Western world's attitude toward nudity in forms of pop culture has shifted toward a more liberal attitude at an unprecedented rate. Images of nude bodies and sexual themes that used to be confined to either underground or exploitive â€“ i.e., pornographic â€“ venues have today become a mainstay of most primetime programming and blockbuster cinema.
A recent Comixpedia.com discussion attempted to gauge whether the same trend can be detected in webcomics. With the advent of the Internet and its infamous gray legal waters, the passive bystander might have expected a proliferation of nude comic strip scenarios.
It depresses the hell outta me that when I first learned that the May issue of Comixpedia would revolve around the topic of "sex and violence", I thought that it might transcend some of the old punch-drunk tits n' blood bullshit cliches and instead tackle the issue from both ends of the creative spectrum â€“ perhaps some mock comics about "Mr. No Pants Stabbing the Mailman With His Penis" mixed with a few frank and earnest dialogues regarding the rift between the lightest of psychological violence to stark-raving sadism in comics. Instead this monthâ€™s cover seems to suggest that the content within the site may serve to propagate every goofy sex-and-violence-related comic book clichÃ© imaginable, and thatâ€™s a shame.
Perception Is Reality Is The Difference Between Angry And Paying Readers
When I went to Scott McCloud's panel on experimental comics at San Diego Comic Con International 1999, he planted the idea of webcomics in my mind, and set me on a wonderful journey of discovery and experimentation. I listened to all of the ideas and reasons he had for the Internet as a great new place for comics to flourish. In my mind, one of the most obvious advantages was the ability to maintain an open comic archive so that new readers â€“ rather than jumping into the middle and having to somehow hunt down the rest of the story in other comics, collections of strips, etc. â€“ would instead be able to just click the Back button to read the previous strip, or go back to the very start and read it the whole way through.
This seemed like such a great idea at the time, and over the years it has by and large become standard practice in webcomics â€“ a "no-brainer", really. It is a great convenience to be sure, though perhaps a little too convenient for our own good.
A befogged pigeon, an abrasive squirrel with a strap-on, a gay robot who collect vintage records, a skull-faced stripper, an insecure head without a body, and a lustful pumpkin. All are the main characters of Stoopid Pigeon, a long-running (coming up on five years!) webcomic that nevertheless has been under the radar of many webcomic readers. Al Schroeder interviewed the two creators of the admittedly offensive and explicit, but often delightfully funny comic, and you can read the results here.