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Webcomic Overlook’s Webcomic Moments of 2010

Welcome to this year’s webcomic wrap-up for 2010. And what an insane year it’s been. I’ve been poring through the archives of my own site, and I have to say that even I’m pretty stunned about all the major upheavals that happened this year, both industry-wise and story-wise. It was tumultuous. It was triumphant. It was continually evolving.

However, as with the last time I did this (2008, it seems — I must’ve been in a coma December of 2009), I’m not trying to put together any sort of definitive inventory. Rather, I’m keeping things loose, informal, and hopefully fun. I mean, this is webcomics we’re talking about … not the economy or global tensions exacerbated by North and South Korea.

So what greeted us in the first year of the Third Decade of webcomics? We’ll start with a couple of goodbyes:

The last 8-Bit Theater.

Fond Farewells of the Year:

This was a year for some farewells to webcomics. Cue up Lawrence Welk’s “Adios, Au Revoir, Aufweidersehn” and let’s take a trip down memory lane.

8-Bit Theater ends its unlikely long-lived run with the comic breaking from its pixel format to finish with the characters rendered in manga-style artwork.

In a more camp vein, Wendi Pini’s Masque of the Red Death ends with an ending so glam it rivals the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. I mean, seriously: a curtain call where everyone, who were apparently actors in Ms. Pini’s dramatic retelling of Poe’s short story, sashays in the most fabulous outfits imaginable accompanied by racuous applause? I admit… it’s definitely something I’ve never seen in webcomics before.

Meanwhile Order of Tales wrapped up with an ending that was fantastic, epic, heartfelt, and bittersweet. Everyone should read it. However, the Overside tales are still ongoing, which makes it feel less final than the previous two webcomics I mentioned.

Webcomic Superheroines 2010:

The last time I mentioned a superheroine in one of these end of the year pieces, it was “Phenomenal Lass,” who took home the 2008 Best Pun Award. (“Phenomenal Lass.” Ha ha ha.) This year, none of these gals have punny names. They are, however, superheroines.

My roster of the Webcomic Superpowered Charlie’s Angels includes a trio of ladies whose names begin with “S”: Superhero Girl, Spinnerette, and Spy Gal! Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape:

Spinnerette, Superhero Girl, and Spy Gal.

Superhero Girl (The Adventures of Superhero Girl): debuted this year. Can lift objects ten times her size (like ants). Can also leap over tall buildings (not to be confused with flying). Canadian. Greatest challenge: laundry day. Second greatest challenge: Space monsters.

Spinnerette (Spinnerette): trying to become a superhero after growing extra arms. Failing at that. Kinda clumsy, but full of heart. Obviously stole costume from Marvel’s Spider-Woman. A member of some sort of Justice League of Anime Stereotypes.

Spy Gal (SuperFogeys): Experienced. Tough. Old. An homage to Marvel’s Black Widow. Senility may or may not be an act. Greatest challenge: the director of the retirement home. Got engaged to Captain Spectacular in 2010.

Which of these three is the greatest webcomic superherione of 2010? What do you, the viewers at home, think?

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Toughest Dude of 2010:

It was not an easy decision (especially in a world where a guy named Commander Badass and Rob Liefeld’s take on the Apostle Peter made their debuts), but I’m going to have to go with Axe Cop. Debuting in December 25 of 2009, Axe Cop and his head-chopping ways really caught many readers’ imaginations this year. What can I say? Little kids know tough dudes.

Axe Cop also gets my vote for the “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” Award. While the joke is sorta played out now, very few comics really captured the zeitgeist of being a young kid and making things up as you go along. Paired with the fantastic opening sequence of Toy Story 3, 2010 was a great year to remember being a kid again.

In-Story Gut Punch of the Year:

I was very close to putting the Martin/Dora split from Questionable Content here. However, this was also the same year that saw the end of Anders Loves Maria… and that finale was perhaps one of the most controversial ways to end the series. What to make of a story where it seems like nobody wins … or if somebody won, it was the wrong guy?

Webcomic Nudity of the Year:

For some weird reason, the adult-oriented collectives were popping up, like, every other day in 2010 for some reason (cough cough gotta score bank from lonely pervs cough cough). However, the winner of this award will go to a character based on a novel that’s often embraced by stuffy, hopefully less pervy, liberal arts professors: Ulysses Seen. Why? Because of its direct conflict with Apple’s censorship standards. The Ulysses Seen app was modified and then restored in an interesting study in what is and isn’t appropriate to be seen by app users.

Drama Bomb of the Year:

This is the year Kate Beaton tweeted how she didn’t really appreciate “compliments” that included the words “marry me/have my babies,” which touched off an online spat about feminism. This was not the Drama Bomb of the Year.

This is the year Tim Buckley (Ctrl+Alt+Del) lazily downloaded the first image from Google Image Search for “punk girl” and turned her into a character named “Abby” without the original artists’ permission. Despite the rampant anti-Buckley sentiment webcomics, somehow this is not the Drama Bomb of the Year.

So what does The Webcomic Overlook consider the Drama Bomb of the year? I’ve got two words for ya: Dick. Wolves.

Charlie Brown: Teen dreamboat or post-apocalyptic angel of death?

Best Charlie Brown Fanfic of All Time:

Weapon Brown. To compare, let’s check one of the best Peanuts related fanfic on In the epic romance/drama “The Van Pelt Saga” (rated “excellent,” “so good,” and “deep” by readers), a now 13-year-old Lucille Van Pelt finally realizes that Charlie Brown is the only man for her. Blushing and stammering ensue. Chuck, meanwhile, ponders her strange color-changing eyes: “Listen, I’m worried about Lucy…. She looked like she was about to cry. And there were her eyes… They were green. Not hazel, not brown. Green. That’s weird. Did anything happen today?”

Weapon Brown, on the other hand, spent 2010 owning the kids from Boondocks and making sweet, sexy love to a grown up version of Li’l Orphan Annie. At the same time, his enemy Cal-V1n blows up the guys from Bloom County.

Case closed.

Metaphorically Pouring A Bottle On the Curb for My Homies

Zuda Comics, RIP.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they were a force in the field of webcomics over the last three years. Many entries were frequently excellent, the contest format got people excited, people from all over the world got opportunities that never existed before, and the Flash interface was frequently frustrating. Wait, that last one wasn’t such a good thing. But I’ll miss you, Zuda, and most importantly the previously free updates to High Moon, Bayou, The Night Owls, and LaMorte Sisters. And speaking of which…

Metaphorically Pouring A Bottle On the Curb for My Homies, Part II:

All the excellent blogs that popped up covering Zuda Comics exclusively that have now been relegated to the dustbins of time. Starting with my old running buddy, Mike Perridge, at mpd57. To coin a phrase from Woody, we’ve lost friends along the way …. Zuda Fan, Zuda Follower, Pigs of the Industry…

Webcomic Viewing Device of the Year:

My laptop, and sometimes my cellphone. Eat it, iPad!

And, finally…

The Biggest Webcomic Story of 2010:

As voted by the Webcomic Overlook readers, the most significant event of 2010 happened when the Machine of Death book takes the number one spot on Amazon bookseller’s list. While Glenn Beck’s reaction to this about America’s “culture of death” was certainly something to chew on, it overshadowed what was perhaps the greatest accomplishment: a bunch of writers in what is generally seen as a very niche medium were suddenly number one in another medium with comparatively little promotion or fanfare.

Filed under: The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics