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Return to the Angst: An Interview with Inktank's Barry T. Smith

In the early half of the "naughts" Barry T. Smith appeared in webcomics with Angst Technology, a funny webcomic about a small videogame company.  He also created a webcomic about paintball called Weakend Warriors and one about a comic book shop called Sorry, We're Open.  All were pretty solid efforts and he certainly had a decent-sized audience for the time (for example, Angst Technology showed up at #9 on the initial "Most Read" list we did in 2003). He took a pretty big break from comics and only recently returned with his comic called InkTank.  I've been enjoying the new comic and was happy to get a chance to interview Smith about his return.

This Day in ComixTalk (August 15th)

2007

Creator and entrepreneur Tim Demeter guest blogged at ComixTalk with a series called "It's Business Time" (links to part one, two and three)

The most popular pages at the Comixpedia encyclopedia are Girly, Penny Arcade, Cyanide and Happiness, Melonpool, and PowerPuff Girls Doujinshi.

2006

As Scott Kurtz debuted a new site design for PvP, I wrote asking whether webcomic websites be an artistic extension of the comic, essentially extending the look and feel of the comic, or is that not that important?

2005

Ryan Estrada reaches the 168 hour mark in the Ironbutt comic making event.  In related endurance news, we reported on another entrant dropping out of the Daily Grind contest.

Ali Graham released a print collection of his first webcomic Housd.

2004

Alexander Danner wrote about how to promote your webcomic by not promoting your webcomic.

A group of creators banded together to form Found Hat Press.

2003

Warren Ellis reviewed the very first print collection of David Rees' clip art comic Get Your War On!

How To Make Webcomics Without Critics?

One more post I guess:

Scott Kurtz the person online has always had a somewhat dramatic relationship with what... the world?  At least with people who comment on his work, primarily PvP. Today he writes at length, apparently prompted by a passage in a review by Comics Worth Reading of the book  How To Make Webcomics (which Kurtz is a co-author of).  First off, it's a hugely positive review of the book so it's hardly the case that Johnana is slamming it.  She simply makes the point as a writer that there are a few simple tools available for publicizing work that aren't mentioned in the book.  I really think Kurtz is reading way too much into her review. 

While I appreciate his frustration at the negative energy an artist can pick up from a negative review, the answer to that is probably simply to ignore the reviews.  Sometimes a review is useful, sometimes it's not -- there's no obligation for an artist to read anything written about their work.  But some reviews are useful to some artists.  Some artists can deal with all reviews, some can't deal well with any kinds of reviews (and all sorts in between). Maybe the best advice is to find out what kind of artist you are with regards to external commentary and try to stick to guidelines that work for yourself.  You can't stop the world from commenting on what is public art.

new Taking Up Space and Around the Web

Keeping in tune with yesterday's blog post, Wednesday's Taking Up Space takes aim at a familiar and favorite target - the TV news media.

Around the web:

Triumph Visits Comicon 2008

Hilarious stuff, in you’re a fan of the stylings of one Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Scott Kurtz of PvP, by the way, appears at the 2:38 mark and is the butt of some fat jokes. Scott seemed to be pretty stoked about it. Also funny: Triumph giving nerds wedgies.
[...]

ROLLING HUMPDAY NEWS UPDATES

ALT COMIX PAPER DEBUTS IN DC
A new all comics monthly called Bash is debuting in Washington DC this August 1st.

INTERVIEWS
Dave Ferraro reviews Demons of Sherwood by Robert Tinnell and Bo Hampton. (h/t Journalista!)

JUSTIFY MY HYPE
Pop Candy Twitter Comics -- comics based on Pop Candy columnist Whitney Metheson's twitter posts.  Cool interface too. (h/t Journalista!)

TOOLS
Cartoon Snap has a story on how to read comics on your iPhone 3G. (h/t Journalista!)

Amazon now has a program (Checkout by Amazon) for other websites to use Amazon's one-click ordering system.  It looks like it's meant to be a competitor to Google Checkout and to some extent, Paypal.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

Snarkoleptics are a bit put off by the recent parody of Family Circus in PvP calling it "childishly mean-spirited".  I don't know if it's all that mean-spirited -- parodying Family Circus has a longer history on the web than the more recent plethora of Garfield mashups.  From the Dysfunctional Family Circus to the Nietzsche Family Circus.

Hey Webcomic Finds is back.  Author Ping Teo wrote a column at ComixTalk in the early years and her blog was a fun way to find new webcomics.

John "Scary Go Round" Allison posts a sketch page of his character Shelley.

Johnny Saturn

In one form or another, Johnny Saturn has been running on the web for about four years. Compared to some well known webcomics, such as PVP, or any of the other long running strips, that’s not all that long. Still, four years is four years, so I’m proud of the ongoing success the strip has enjoyed. 

Highest Ranked Comics at the Webcomics List

 The Webcomics List is practically a webcomics institution at this point.  In addition to keeping track of webcomic updates, it has an active forum and syndicates news from ComixTalk.  Here's a list of the highest ranked comics there:

  1. Level 99
  2. Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  3. Questionable Content
  4. VG Cats
  5. Penny Arcade
  6. Menage a 3
  7. The Order of the Stick
  8. Dueling Analogs
  9. xkcd
  10. Girl Genius
  11. Dominic Deegan
  12. Misfile
  13. Sinfest
  14. Least I Could Do
  15. PVP
  16. Punch an' Pie
  17. MegaTokyo
  18. Looking for Group
  19. El Goonish Shive
  20. 8-bit Theatre
  21. TwoKinds
  22. Something Positive
  23. Peter is the Wolf
  24. Apple Geeks
  25. Gunnerkrigg Court

Most Subscribed Webcomics at Piperka

Piperka is a pretty cool webcomic list and bookmarking site -- I read 99% of my webcomics through it.  I'm not sure how many users Piperka has currently so take this list of the most subscribed comics there with a grain of salt:

  1. xkcd
  2. Questionable Content
  3. The Order of the Stick
  4. Penny Arcade
  5. The Perry Bible Fellowship
  6. Girl Genius
  7. Ctrl+Alt+Del
  8. VG Cats
  9. Sinfest
  10. Dresden Codak
  11. The Adventures of Dr McNinja
  12. Gunnerkrigg Court
  13. Something Positive
  14. PvP
  15. Megatokyo
  16. Looking For Group
  17. Erfworld
  18. Dinosaur Comics
  19. 8-Bit Theater
  20. minus.
  21. Sluggy Freelance
  22. Shortpacked!
  23. Inverloch
  24. Applegeeks
  25. Dominic Deegan

Justify My Hype: Kris Straub

Kris Straub is one of the nicest guys I've met in webcomics (although 99% of that has been online - our brief in-person meeting was saying "hi, 'sup" at last year's SPX).  Besides being part of the ever-present Half Pixel crew (with whom he wrote How To Make Webcomics) and working on lots of comics and animated series (say, when is PvP Season 2 coming?) he's got a new album out called Aviators Hide the Tears that includes that rollickin' "I'm on the Internet..." song he wrote (I can't remember the name of it but it runs on his slipcast videos).

Also he does make a lot of comics.  His main gig these days is the science-fiction flavored Starslip Crisis which to my mind is one of the smarter humor comics out there.  Kris' strength and weakness in writing is often going meta on things -- making the joke and simultaneously analyzing it.  To my mind it works more often than not and really with Starslip he's broadened his approach to everything so that "meta-ish" isn't so predominant in his work anymore.

If you want a concentrated does of meta, however, check out Straub's re-run of his first comic, Checkerboard Nightmare, where he basically made a comic about webcomics and online culture, circa 2000ish.  For the re-run he's making short video commentaries.  We ran two Straub comics at ComixTalk -- Modern Humor Authority and later installments of Checkerboard Nightmare -- both some of my favorite things we've published (click here for the webcomics archives at ComixTalk).