Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on January 22, 2009 - 14:50
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):
- 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)
- 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)
- Tell me why! Referencing awards, critics, historical achievements, strengths and weaknesses of the works are all really helpful!
Submitted by El Santo on December 15, 2008 - 00:00
Welcome to â€œWho Are You?â€, the Webcomic Overlookâ€™s first foray into interviewing people involved in the business of webcomics. This feature was actually going to go by a completely different name, but I had The Who on my iPod playlist this morning. You might call it fate.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on November 13, 2008 - 21:02
This is an update to a previous post here, thanks for the cumulative suggestions on that thread. JUST so we're clear - this is open-sourced to everyone research for a possible article to appear next month at ComixTalk. I don't endorse the list or the order at all; at this point I've tried to include all of the suggestions I've gotten and I also went through all of the comics ComixTalk has ever reviewed and pulled quite a few titles.
We're at the point where it'll be most helpful if you tell me comics you think should go on the list, where (what number approximately) and which comic should get bumped. If you just want to change the order you can do that to but there'll be another post before the month's through asking for help with that.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on October 27, 2008 - 09:30
If you're just joining us this Monday we've got new stuff posted this weekend including interviews with the creators of ZAP!, Chronillogical and Misfile. Plus Dr. Haus reviews the webcomic Mistakes of Youth. We've had a big October issue so if be sure to check it out to see what else you might have missed!
BOMB SHELTER WEBCOMIC IDOL
It's another edition of BSC Webcomic Idol and I'm a judge again. I'm not sure if they're letting you vote off a comic each week or you have to vote for your favorite (and the least vote-getter leaves) but either way it's an elimination contest. I keep doing it because the entrants have been strong contenders and the feedback and dialogue over the webcomics has usually been very interesting. Plus ultimately some good comics get a lot of exposure.
I've gotten a chance to look at some representative work from all of the webcomic entrants but I'll definitely be digging into each of them. Unlike the other judges who all are extremely talented comic creators I am the "journalist" type so my feedback may be more general but it'll be aimed at whether I think the comic is working for the audience.
FLEEN in writing about American Elf's 10th year anniversary asks "would yesterday’s American Elf tenth anniversary strip be the first webcomic that went for ten years on a daily basis? I think it might." I think the answer is clearly no. American Elf is certainly a comic that has been created for 10 years on a daily basis but it was only published on the web on a daily basis back to 2002 (here's the Wayback Archive for the site). I have a ton of respect for Kochalka's work but his career at this point in time is largely split between a pre and post-web era. (Moreover, American Elf is not the first journal-style published on the web
comic, Drew Weing's The Journal Comic got to the web first. I saw Heidi MacDonald's panel with James Kochalka at SPX this year and he actually cited seeing Weing's webcomic as a strong motivation to agreeing to work with Joey Manley to put his diary strips up on the web. UPDATE: thanks to James Kochalka for commenting below -- and just to clarify -- Drew's contribution to the genre of journal/diary comics was putting it on the web, essentially as he made them; an idea that someone assuredly would have got to but I think it's generally agreed that Drew acted on first. As to the basic idea of making a daily journal comic, Drew's comic came well after James Kochalka's work.)
UPDATE 2: Very interesting podcast of an interview between Joey Manley and James Kochalka at the recent SPX in Bethesda, MD.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on October 20, 2008 - 16:23
After comments and some email dialogue, I realize I should have been clearer in the recent MOST READ story that almost certainly both The Order of the Stick and Erfworld are on that list somewhere.
I've emailed back and forth with Rob Balder of Erfworld and Rich Burlew of The Order of the Stick and they state that based on their server stats that Erfworld has approximately 65% of the audience that The Order of the Stick has. Another way to put it is that about 65% of The Order of the Stick readers also read Erfworld. That would put The Order of the Stick between the #5 and #6 spots and Erfworld between the # 8 and #9 spots.
Also you may be interested in a recent FLEEN thread where Project Wonderful head honcho Ryan North and others have been discussing the pros and cons of using Project Wonderful data for the Most Read list.
Back in 2003-2004, ComixTALK ran a series of articles under the banner of "Most Read" trying to work through how to measure the respective audience shares of various webcomics. More recently, T Campbell borrowed the idea to generate a list of such webcomics for the former version of webcomics.com.
I've pulled together one more Most Read list, this time relying fairly heavily on Project Wonderful data. Mostly though I went to the trouble of compiling this to point out how someone else could do a better job of it in the future.
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 13, 2008 - 09:56
We had a bit of downtime with the site after the upgrade to the newest version of PHP5 went a bit off. All seems okay now (although please email me at xerexes AT gmail DOT com if you notice problems). Along with some site stuff I'm working on you'll notice that the center aisle of the site is now a daily feed of new stuff -- news from staff, staff-selected talk posts and feature articles from the magazine. On the right hand side you can get the most recent magazine articles, or click the tab for the most recent talk posts from Comixtalk members. Two more tabs -- webcomics and creators -- are not active yet so stayed tuned.
Also please check out our new sponsor the art exhibition The Great Great Grand Show featuring artists Graham Annable, Scott Campbell, Jon Klassen, and Israel Sanchez. The OPENING RECEPTION is this Saturday, August 16 from 7 to 11 pm and it's Free!
Criteria for Criticism Continued
Scott Kurtz wrote a bit about critics (here's the ComixTalk post on it). El Santo wrote a pretty good post on the ideas percolating through the discussion Kurtz kicked off. One more thought occurs after reading some of this -- I'm sure Kurtz has encountered plenty of people who do live up to his stereotype of the self-important, uneducated, and/or otherwise useless critic but even if there are a lot of such creatures it doesn't mean every person writing about comics fits that stereotype. (Just like every webcomic creator isn't craptastic despite the existence of a lot of not-yet-or-never-will-be-decent webcomics). There is a bit of a disconnect going on here though -- Kurtz is absolutely right that an artist should be looking to get constructive feedback to improve and grow and Kurtz gets that from his friends and colleagues in comics. I think that's a perfectly valid way to do that. On the other hand I made some of the biggest leaps in my basic drawing skills in college under an absolute ass of a teacher. But the times when he didn't blast me in front of the class, I knew I had made real progress.
FLEEN has a bit more on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign show featuring comics creatorsin October (lots of webcomic creators in the show catalog). FLEEN also has a link to DIY magazine show creator Oliver Brackenbury recent show on webcomics in general (which has a nice conversation with creator Ryan North).
AROUND the WORLD in 80 BLOGS
Buzzcomix is back open for public business. If anyone has reactions to their new reader/bookmark function please let us know.
Theater Hopper has a donation drive to help creator Tom Brazelton out with the bills for data recovery of his webcomic files. If you can chip in a bit and than make sure it doesn't happen to you and your files!
David Malki!'s wedding is the must-see movie of
2009! More like 2007 I think. Still a pretty cool trailer. :)
An interview with uber-blogger, Dirk Deppey of TCJ's Journalista!
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on August 1, 2008 - 10:29
August's cover art is from pear-pear.com and goes along with a number of reviews of how-to books and sites we'll be posting this month. (I will have the larger art on the site later today).
The Buzzcomix beta is live and I still have beta codes to hand out if you're interested in trying it out before it goes public on August 8th. Email me at xerexes AT gmail DOT com (first come,first serve)
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on July 22, 2008 - 09:59
UPDATE: Rick Marshall interviews David Willis of Shortpacked!
Joey Comeau from A Softer World interviewed Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics -- sort of like webcomics own version of Interview magazine.
Daniel Whiston has an interview with Alan Moore on writing that is awesomesauce. (also h/t to Journalista!)
AROUND THE WORLD IN A BLOG
FLEEN points to a strange website called mezzacotta that apparently Irregular Webcomic creator David Morgan-Mar has something to do with. Funny, cryptic or what: the website states that the asking price for the URL and the "idea" is €1 million prior to launch and €5 million afterwards.
JUSTIFY MY HYPE
A few folks pointing to Capes and Babes a comic about comic book culture. A topic ripe for tackling (I like SubCulture which also hits this subject) and if anyone else has some sugested comics in this area fire away. (Thanks)
Anyone been reading My Life In A Cube? Funny autobiographical (?) stuff from about first job (thereabouts) working in a cube farm.
ALSO - Melonpool creator STEVE TROOP has a new comic called CryptoZooey! He plugged it here last week but I don't think a lot of folks saw it over the weekend. Full press release for the new strip -- click "read more"
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on June 13, 2008 - 12:38
Rick Marshall interviews Joey Comeau and Emily Horne of A Softer World. Later Marshall, goes underground to report on illegal rock lobster fights. That guy gets around!
The Daily Cartoonist links to a Universal Press interview with Jim Davis of its syndicated comic strip Garfield -- Scott Kurtz of PvP brings the drama in the comments that follow.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 3 BLOGS
Super-talented Jon Morris has been posting various alternate versions of Superman - check them out and then vote in his poll for which one you like best.