Girls with Slingshots is "the best comic on the Internet. I have no idea why." But when I think about it, there are plenty of reasons why GWS is so wonderful and so resonant. Danielle Corsetto is a highly instinctive cartoonist, someone who makes her art with little calculation (but I suspect she's a workhorse, too; her comics are always so polished -- and now they're in color!). She's content to let Hazel make mistakes and draw the ire and eye-rolling of the readers. Her characters openly discuss sex, but in a natural, "this is how life is" sort of way, never a "hey look, cute girls talking about naughty things" way. Her characters do stupid things sexually, but the recent storyline where everyone gets tested for STDs felt more like an airing of dirty laundry (intelligent, educated people can still be morons once the genitals come out) than an after school special. Okay, so maybe it was a little bit of an after school special, but one that was realistic rather than overly moralizing.
Corsetto takes risks. If she feels like having a kitty-centric crossover with her buddy Randy Milholland, then we'll be treated to squishy pink kittens. But even at her most self-indulgent, she still puts out a high-quality product that is accessible to her audience and in keeping with her characters and their history. Oh, and it's funny.
In the latest storyline, Corsetto has brought in Robyn, who we're told is Hazel's cousin. Robyn just happens to be a character from All New Issues, a new comic by Corsetto's friend Bill Ellis. Corsetto has been pimping All New Issues hard. It's a cute comic, and it has a bit in common with GWS, both in visual style and tone. And now it looks like Corsetto is hoping to drive a few more readers Ellis' way by having his fledgling comic crossover with her venerable one. It also means that we're seeing GWS simultaneously crossover with All New Issues and Something Positive.
And you know what? I dig it. It's a gentle way to promote another creator's work, and I suspect that, for folks who haven't been reading All New Issues, it's pretty unobtrusive.
I just worry that when Girls with Slingshots ends, we're going to find out the entire series only exists in Tommy Westphall's imagination, and the whole webcomics universe will crumble in on itself.