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Howard Tayler

DRAFT List of 100 Greatest Webcomics: Comedy and Drama

Last year I posted a couple times (Previous posts on this "research" project were here and here) about a possible article on "ComixTALK's 100 Greatest Webcomics" which would be something like the American Film Institute's list of the greatest movies of the last 100 years.

A recurring comment to the previous two posts was what is the criteria for this.  I'm always a little hesitant to give too much guidance when part of the point of asking this kind of thing out loud is to listen to the resulting discussion of what everyone else thinks the criteria should be.  For the AFI list judges picked films based on criteria such as Critical Recognition, Major Award Winner, Popularity Over Time, Historical Significance, and Cultural Impact.

That sounds about right to me.  We've got a round decade plus a year or two of webcomics to look at it.  Critical reception (both from peers and critics), and popularity are both relevant to thinking about the impact of a webcomic.  WCCA awards are somewhat indicative of what peers were impressed with in a given year and more recently awards like the Eisners and Ignatzs have recoginized webcomics.  Historical significance and cultural impact are a little harder to pin down but various "firsts" in webcomics are important and comics like Penny Arcade have had a much wider impact on popular culture than most comics do these days (put aside the legacy superheros of comics -- what other "new" comic, let alone webcomic, in the last decade has had a wide cultural impact?)

Another thing AFI did that might be useful here to help sort through the vast numbers of webcomics one could talk about is to also think about categories or genres of work.  Just as a simple matter of numbers if a webcomic isn't one of the best of a larger type of story -- or frankly, so startlingly unique it's hard to categorize -- then it's hard to imagine it's one of the 100 Greatest...

So to move things along I'm listing another "draft" of titles submitted by the crowds but this time I've tried to break them up into drama and comedy so as to help avoid complete apples to oranges comparisons.  In doing that I've realized (1) it's hard in many cases to decide; and (2) there are probably more comedic than drama on the list so far.  I think it would make sense to whittle down the two lists to 75 each so as the final list is no more than 3/4 of one type or the other.  Of course we could further do genre type lists but for now this was enough work on my part.

So -- your assignment (if you choose to play):

  1. Name the comic you're talking about (you're also welcome to nominate ones not on the list -- I KNOW there are many I haven't even thought about yet -- it takes time to review all of the corners of the web)
  2. Tell me where on one the two lists (comedy and drama) it should be (you could give a range of slots if you're not sure). (If you think I've got a drama on the comedy list or vice-versa let me know!  I'm not "done" - this is fairly dashed off still at this point)
  3. Tell me why!  Referencing awards, critics, historical achievements, strengths and weaknesses of the works are all really helpful!

New Schlock Community at The Time-Waster’s Guide

My friends from Writing Excuses have generously offered to host a discussion area for me at The Time Waster’s Guide under the “Local Authors” section of the forums. You can find it under my name rather than the name of the comic, which is a subtle yet ambitious statement about how Schlock Mercenary is not the sum total of my creative work.

Howard Tayler's Presentation on Making Money By Giving Webcomics Away

I can't recall if I posted to this at the time or not but it's still a good refresher for anyone wanting to make a go at it in webcomics this year.  Last August, Howard Tayler gave a great talk about his webcomic Schlock Mercenary and how he's made it into a full time business.  It's a good talk - not just about Howard himself, but going through how the Internet has disrupted the existing newspaper comic strip model.

Slightly related update: Jeff Jarvis accumulates the depressing statistics of 2008 for the newspaper bidniz here - which only serves to reinforce Howard's point that chasing newspaper syndication is like catching a ride on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

Bargain Plasma Has No Ommminous Hummmm

I’ve wanted a wide-screen television for quite a while, and this year their prices and our income finally curved into a sort of alignment. Sandra agreed to let me have as much as a thousand dollars to spend. At first she was reluctant, pointing out that the things upon which we spend money say something about our values. I pointed out that we’d spent more on my Warmachine hobby in two years than on television-related things in six. But this isn’t a blog post about THAT.

Auctions, Charities, Inventory, and Christmas Shipping

Petey Lives, by Howard TaylerThere are four marker-art pieces up for auction this week. The auctions all close on Wednesday, so if payment is prompt we can hit all of the US Christmas shipping deadlines listed below.

Death by Cliché redux

Death by Cliché, by Robert J. Defendi. Art by Howard Tayler.Last Tuesday I pointed Schlockers worldwide at Bob Defendi’s new audiobook podcast Death by Cliché. Bob’s server groaned under the load and then expired.

Death By Cliché, the Bob Defendi Podcast

Death by Cliché, by Robert J. Defendi. Art by Howard Tayler.My friend Bob Defendi, who is known professionally as “Robert J. Defendi,” wrote a hilarious novel that leverages gamer clichés for effect. Now Bob has done the funniest possible thing with it — he has recorded himself reading it to you.

Twenty-twenty-twenty Four Hours To Go I Wanna Be Webcomic'd

Wow - lots of news and stuff for the day before Halloween and five (5!) days until the end of the Dubya era in the US of A.  (Btw fellow Americans - get out there and vote on November 4th - early if it's allowed in your state..  I already did myself)

BUSINESS
Advertising platform Project Wonderful warns - autosurfing sites are a really bad idea (and a violation of PW's TOS).

DJ Coffman likes what he sees from T-shirt printer Redbubble.com.

Don't miss Howard and Sandra Tayler's guide to shipping -- there's clearly a lot you can learn from their experience before trying to sell your own t-shirts or books.

INTERVIEWS
The New Yorker has an interview with Dilbert creator Scott Adams.

CBR has an interview with Smile creator Raina Telgemeier.

Daily Cross Hatch has an interview with Slow Wave creator Jesse Reklaw.

HOLLYWOOOOOOD!!
Paramount has acquired the screen rights to Dave Roman's supernatural detective series, Agnes Quill.  I've read Agnes stories before (click here for the webcomic version) and just picked up a collection from Dave at this year's SPX (the collection is from SLG, published in 2006).  You never know how these deal will turn out -- movie gets made or development hell -- but I have to say, this is a great premise for a movie.  I could easily see a version of it as Ghostbusters crossed with Buffy.

BASIC TRAINING
Comicspace Colonel Joey Manley is looking for comics about military life.  He lists several he's found already.

Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler

Auction Time!

By Sandra Tayler

The Teraport WarsAs promised we are now offering the special Teraport Wars #0001 Sketched edition. On the final page of this book Howard will illustrate the character of choice in full color. This is a unique piece of Schlock history. Don’t let it go to someone else! Place your bid here.