Feeding Snarky by Eric Burns

Do you know something? "Year in Review" columns are a bitch and a half to write.

It’s not that things didn’t happen this year. Tons of things happened this year. Strips started and strips ended. Grand plans were launched and grand plans failed and — every now and again — succeeded. Arguments were launched and flamewars fought and webcomics were turned onto their head nine or ten times.

And sitting here in front of the Smith Corona, I have trouble recalling any of these things. Continue Reading

Feeding Snarky by Eric Burns

Feeding Snarky on Photojournalism Versus Picture-Art.

The assignment is "journal comics," and I read some. And yet, I’m turning in a column on my two favorite photo comics, instead of one on actual journal comics. This is because I can’t do anything entirely right.

And yet, when I think of "journal comics," even though it’s completely… well, not the genre at all… I think of Sinister Bedfellows by mckenzee. And whenever I mention Sinister Bedfellows, someone else mentions A Softer World by joey comeau and emily horne.

As an aside, what is it with producing a photo based comic strip and using all lowercase letters in your name? I’m just asking? Continue Reading

Feeding Snarky by Eric Burns

Feeding Snarky on Pitfalls amidst Pratfalls

So this month here at the ol’ ‘Pedia we’re supposed to talk about Politics. I’d note, by the way, that nine out of ten of our readers (a statistic I have generated through the "out of my butt" method) are so utterly sick of politics that they’re angrier now than they were when Comixpedia featured a woman having sex with an iMac as the cover art. Why angrier? Because a certain percentage of the people who decried the iMac-humping-art secretly described it as "funny" or "pretty hot," but absolutely none of those people describe Politics in 2004 as anything but "a miasma of horror and despair the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression, (which was so-named because we had no Paxil back then) and they get furious the moment the site loads right now. "I don’t read webcomics for politics," they scream. "I read webcomics to get away from politics!"

Well, my own political opinions aside (you guys couldn’t care less, and you’ve heard it all before, and if after the last four years you don’t agree with me, there’s nothing on Earth I could say now that would cause you to do so), I’m intrigued by the metaquestion raised by the topic. "Politics in Webcomics" is less about what individual webcomics espouse and more about how political content — or more broadly, topical content — can be slid into a webcomic effectively. Continue Reading

Feeding Snarky by Eric Burns

Feeding Snarky on Language and Art

All written language is visual communication. This seemingly innocuous — even obvious — statement mystifies many who hear it. "I know from language," they say. "It’s verbal. It’s communicative. It’s certainly not visual." Of course, unless someone’s reading the sentences aloud to them, there’s noting verbal about the written word. It’s all ideograms in patterns we’re trained to recognize and manipulate.

And for the cartoonist — or any sequential artist, really — the number of ideograms they have to work with approaches the infinite. It’s what’s heartbreaking about "talking heads" comics, even when they’re great — yes, you can make your point or direct your story or tell your joke with the twenty-six letters of the standard English alphabet, with your figures standing, cut and pasted into four panels, barely showing dynamic motion or range. You can even be brilliant at it (two of my favorite webcomics in that vein are Her (Girl vs. Pig) and Lore Brand Comics). But as dry and witty and pleasant as these comics are, they do not take advantage of the richness of linguistic possibility in cartoon art.

Obviously, when considering "Romance and the Relationship" in webcomics, I’m drawn to those folks who do take such advantage, both in the traditional, glorious palette cartoons enjoy, and in the ways that webcomics break free from the traditional. And that focuses me, in entirely different ways, on Queen of Wands and No Stereotypes. Continue Reading