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The Joy of Webcomics is all about sharks and viruses

The Webcomic Overlook is back to provide you the weekly scrapbook of webcomic news. So grab your mint julep (or iced tea), saunter off the the patio, and open your laptop. Take care to put something in between your lap and the computer, by the way (a towel, perhaps), because the heat from the laptop can burn like the dickens.

  • You know what week it is? Shark Week, of course! Every year, we jump in the water with the Discovery Channel to visit these toothy menaces of the sea. And every year, Hockey Zombie is there to oblige.
  • Dash Shaw of the Eisner-nominated Bodyworld joins the Comics Comics blog. His first post? Commenting on the storyboards behind Evangelion 1.0. He’s pretty much the perfect guy to be commenting on it, since his comic also transitions to seemingly random scenes from panel to panel. (h/t The Beat)
  • Sometimes, we forget that webcomics aren’t a unique product of the Western World. It seems that even manga is going digital. From the NY Times:

    So while the explosion in cellphone manga is not a simple story of migration from print to digital, most experts agree that the future of manga lies more on the mobile than on paper.

    “The idea of printing the magazine, loading them on the track and delivering them to distribution centers, that whole model is on the decline,” said Noboru Rokuda, professor at Kyoto Seika University, which has a manga faculty, and a longtime artist himself. “I like to keep the paper manga tradition going, but there is an inexorable transition away from paper and into the digital medium.”

  • Speaking of digital manga, Johanna Draper Carlsson is running a poll at Comics Worth Reading as to which online manga is the best.

The Joy of Webcomics lies, cheats, and steals

joyofwebcomicsThere was apparently a big To Do down in SoCal this weekend. Various webcomic types are spending this week coming down from the high of San Diego Comic Con. The event has gotten so large that I swear I saw Stan Lee on CNBC last night doing a post-Con wrap-up. Surreal.

Vice Interviews Chris Onstad

Vice magazine has an Achewood-worthy interview with creator Chris Onstad.

Cartoon Art Museum Call for Webcomics

The Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco ( is organizing "Monsters of Webcomics," a showcase of cutting-edge webcomics work. The show's ten spotlight artists have already been selected. However, the museum also wants to include a virtual gallery of as many other webcomics as possible. If you're interested in having your art included in the virtual gallery, email curator Andrew Farago at

Feel free to spread this information around the webcomics community. The museum wants a wide range of comics included in the show.

The Webcomic Overlook #88: Daisy Owl

Call now, and The Joy of Webcomics will be yours for the low, low price of $19.99!

The AV Club on Kate Beaton, webcomics

How do you know webcomics are gaining ground on their direct market brethren? When the print versions of popular webcomics are starting to pop up with reliable frequency in the AV Club’s comic round-up. In the June 12 version, they have a review of Kate Beaton’s “Never Learn Anything From History,” as well as a bit of commentary on webcomics as a whole:

You Should Have Read These Links This Morning Already

Fleen has the breakdown on where the webcomics at for this year's MoCCA 2009.

A good interview with cartoonist Kate Beaton.  She did get web-famous pretty quickly, didn't she?  Also another good interview with Beaton at Comixology.
Daily Cross Hatch has an interview with Achewood's Chris Onstad.
Comics Worth Reading has an interview with Tara Tallan of Galaxion.

The K Chronicles asks cartoonists why can't we be friends?
Rick Marshall reports that several members of ACT-I-VATE, including Josh Neufeld, contributed to last night's ABC News special Earth 2100.
Brigid Alverson has a good article about her Zuda rule:  making sure the reader can make sense of the comic in the first 8 pages.

The Return of Joy of Webcomics

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!