Shaenon K. Garrity
There was a time, back in prehistory, when the key to a popular webcomic was lots of computer-programming jokes. Then cheesecake art. Then video-game references. Then, when the competition started growing fiercer, computer jokes and cheesecake and video games. Those days are long behind us, and aren’t we as a people better for it? Today, the secret to webcomics success is Cute.
As the daily newspaper page becomes an increasingly boring place, original and experimental comic strips have moved to two frontiers: the World Wide Web and the free weeklies. Some occupy both spaces at once. So it is with Elliott G. Garbauskas' Buttercup Festival, a sweetly sardonic strip that appears in a handful of weekly newspapers and on its own website, where it has attracted a cult following.
Nerds need to learn how to spell. L33T-speak is the single most annoying mode of discourse in human history, narrowly beating out the otaku patois created when American anime fans pepper their conversation with broken Japanese. While reviewing L33T Pixelz, I am afraid to speak the title aloud, for fear that the sheer irritating geekiness will cause jocks to spontaneously generate out of thin air and beat the crap out of me.
If the popularity of Boy Meets Boy teaches us anything, it's that webcomics need more hot, shirtless young men making out with each other.
It's official: webcomics are better than print comics.
After three successful years, Mason "Tailsteak" Williams recently ended his metatextual webcomic 1/0 at the 1,000th strip. He currently produces comics and miscellaneous ruminations at his new site, http://tailsteak.tk.
COMIXPEDIA: Okay, a little on your background. What did you draw and write before 1/0?
TAILSTEAK: Not much. A little amateur fiction, but nothing I'd want anyone to read. 1/0 really taught me everything I now know about writing consistent characters and making decent art.
Here's the deal. I work for a manga publisher, Viz LLC, purveyors of such titles as Phoenix, Inu-Yasha, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, and Shonen Jump. I'm surrounded by manga and the attendant detritus of Japanese pop culture for eight hours a day, five days a week.
I like it. A lot.
And yet I don't like most manga-style American comics.
On this side of the Pacific, manga-style seems to mean one of two things:
Derek Kirk Kim, the creative force behind Small Stories Online, has his first print comic collection coming out next month - Same Difference and Other Stories, collecting all the episodes of "Same Difference" from the site (with a new font) and some other work.
I draw a comic strip about mad geniuses. You know, evil-scientist types, with the insane laughter and the bubbling vats of unwholesome chemicals and the tampering in God’s domain. One of the themes I try to get across, and probably don’t most of the time, is the idea that genius isn’t just a matter of brains. Genius, the real rare deal, is all about seeing the world in a way no one’s ever seen it before.
Jason Shiga’s a mad genius. A real one.