Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Eros Inc." returns with more corporate Cupiding

Eros Inc. has really grown on me. I've long felt that the comic, which follows a company that employs Cupids in their matchmaking endeavors, was a sort of lighthearted answer to Dead Like Me. But at the end of the last "season" (creator Michael Jonathan works in TV, after all), the company Eros Inc. went public -- that is, revealed itself to the world. Now Mot Fleishman and her fellow Cupids have proper jobs in proper office buildings -- and I'm excited to see the change (and, hopefully, an expanded cast).

Incidentally, if you ever run into Michael Jonathan at a convention, be sure to pick up a copy of Quail: The Song of the Blackbird EP, a brief comic about an antlered bard who has musical battles in the woods. Honestly, it's not a pitch that grabbed me, but the comic proved a bit of a stunner.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Webcomic Fairytale Anthology is on the way

Hello. This looks promising.

Kel McDonald (of Sorcery 101 fame) just tweeted a link to this Tumblr blog, which details plans for a Webcomic Fairytale Anthology. I suspected we'd be seeing more multi-creator anthologies in the coming months, and this one seems a particularly good match for the folks involved. Appropriately, McDonald is taking on a werewolf tale, the French story "Bisclavret." We've also got Evan Dahm (Rice Boy, etc.) on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Nightingale," KC Green (Gunshow) illustrating the surreal "The Singing Bone," Amanda Lafrenias (Love Me Nice) on "Thumbelina," and much more. It may not be as big a seller as I'm sure Spike's Smut Peddler will be, but we should be getting some visually very interesting stuff out of this.

One bone to pick, though: why aren't Jenn Jordan and Sophie Goldstein on this puppy? It's solidly in their wheelhouse, and I'd love to see what they'd come up with.

Fun with Project Wonderful Ads

Okay, this is pretty freaking funny. In related news, there's some major sexual tension being resolved over at Penny and Aggie. [via T Campbell]

Edit: Jeph Jacques offers his own (slightly NSFW) response.

Monday, February 21, 2011

SMBC battles homophobes with hotlinks

Speaking of viewing comics out of context, the folks at the unintentionally hilariously named N.O.M. (The National Organization for Marriage) managed a rather impressive misreading of one of Zach Weiner's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics. The comic in question posits that once technology becomes sufficiently advanced, old geezers will delight in disturbing children with icky tales of natural insemination and gestation. I'll admit, I'm a little unclear as to why someone from N.O.M. decided to embed the comic on their website; are they trying to say that same-sex marriage is one step down the slippery slope to the artificial womb? I somehow suspect that if they had read just a few more of Weiner's SMBC comics, they would have thought twice about it.

Anyhow, the joke was ultimately on N.O.M. Weiner changed the comic's hotlink to a very explicitly pro-gay message, and made sure to grab a screenshot before the group could take it down. Granted, the prank probably didn't win hearts and minds, but at least Weiner got to control the message he was delivering.

N.O.M. N.O.M. N.O.M. [The Weinerworks via Boing Boing]

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Talking "Tozo" on io9

I keep forgetting to post these, but since they're so hard to find with the new layout, I really should. This weekend, I highlight Tozo: The Public Servant on io9.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Periscope Studios Covers Wonderella

On the list of things you should be following is the Periscope Studios Tumblr, where the talented lords and ladies of Periscope post the results of their weekly sketch challenges. Last week, the crew took on Mad Men (Jonathan Case's faux Red Ryder ad featuring Betty Draper and Tally Nourigat's Valentine's-themed Joan and Roger illustration are both things of beauty).

This week, they pay tribute to Wonderella, heroine (to use the term loosely) of the webcomic The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. And yes, she's holding a cigarette in nearly every picture.

At left, Dylan Meconis' Wonderella the Non-Riveter.

Kate Beaton Travels with the Doctor

As if the world needed further proof of Kate Beaton's awesomeness, Beaton delivers, via Twitter, her impressions of the long-running British TV series Doctor Who. It's actually a bit shocking that Beaton's never seen the show given her similarly irreverent takes on history and historical figures, but then again, I was only introduced to the doctor a few years ago, and I might have been a full-time blogger at a science fiction site.

It's actually surprisingly accurate, save for the lack of clever gambits and speechifying -- and the fact that Daleks are actually alien cyborgs, not robots. But even folks who've watched the show get that one wrong.

[Twitpic via Metafilter]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pizza Island vs. The Internet

If you didn't catch it last week, Sarah Glidden and Domitille Collardey of the Pizza Island comics collective posted a lovely comic diary surrounding the recent events in Egypt. The comic is titled "Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away," and it's an apt title -- after all, it's not about the events in Egypt themselves; it's about the experience of watching the events unfold from very far away, from a place that seems so detached, so alien from what's going on in Egypt. It's about the way social media has changed the way we experience significant events in other countries, and how we can now choose to stream news from Al Jazeera rather than rely on network (or, Christ, cable) TV. It's about how technology has equipped us to engage these events not only intellectually, but emotionally.

So they sent their comic down the river and it touched a chord with a lot of folks who'd had similar experiences but hadn't quite been able to articulate them. But it traveled far beyond what I might consider its intended audience, and into the ever-hungry maw of the Internet. It arrived on many a computer screen (including some in Egypt) without context, and some folks seemed confused. Why, with all the momentous things going on in Egypt, did Glidden and Collardey make a comic about themselves? Why weren't they hitting the talking points, leading us through the events that led to Mubarak's resignation? (I suspect many of these commenters were unfamiliar with Glidden's fabulous travelogue-cum-cultural-mediation How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less.) Were they patting themselves on the back for their own political awareness, only to admit to "turning back to their lives" once the thrill of the protests were over? The thread reached a point where Glidden reluctantly stepped into the comments to explain their reasons for making the comic.

Okay, so people were saying mean things on the Internet. Big whoop. What's new? But, beyond the normal sort of comment trolling, I think we're seeing an aspect of webcomics that I personally hadn't considered before. To me, diary comics feel like an invitation into someone's living room. Granted, it's a very carefully maintained living room, and you're always wondering if there are unwashed pans shoved in a closet somewhere. Still, they're sitting you down for a cup of virtual tea and sharing some aspect of their life experience with you. But I'm also way oversubscribed to diary comics. Not a day goes by that I don't read some installment of somebody's diary -- which, now that I think about it, makes me sound kind of pervy.

But the Internet -- which is so wonderful for Twitter feeds and streaming news -- is the land of decontextualization. When free-floating diary comics hit unfamiliar eyes, I can see how they might come off as performance or back-patting. Maybe this is just a growing pain of first-person comics meeting cross-cultural communication.

Or maybe it's just the uncomfortable experience of having our observations reflected back on us -- in which case, this is just another reflection in what promises to be an endless mirror.

Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away [Pizza Island]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Curse of the Sabertooth Vampire

Lately, much of my personal bandwidth has been soaked up by this little book I've been trying to get out the door (available soon!), but I had to break my radio silence with this amazing bit of silliness from CulturePulp's Mike Russell: "The Sabretooth Vampire." Yes, it's a one-note joke, but damn if Russell doesn't milk it for all it's worth. He even manages to make a Twilight joke without actually making fun of Twilight.

Some days, there's just nothing better than a solid comic riff.

The Sabretooth Vampire [CulturePulp]