Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Thing Today: Cyber Monday

'Tis the season to get your holiday shopping done (if you haven't already), and it's the perfect time to support your favorite webcomics artist. Even if the folks on your holiday list aren't into webcomics (or comics at all) there are plenty of t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, and toys out there that are perfect for readers and non-readers alike.

Planning to do a little online shopping today? Here's what you need to know:

TopatoCo has posted its holiday shipping deadlines. Take note and get your orders in early.

Danielle Corsetto has posted original Girls with Slingshots artwork in her store (squee!), and it's very reasonably priced. If you're looking to buy GWS jewelry, there's free shipping in the jewelry shop until 11:59 ET tonight.

PvP is having a Cyber Monday sale on all the items in its store, including the big hulking PvP Awesomology.

Narbonic and Skin Horse fans should wander on over to the Couscous Collective store for their Cyber Monday deals, including free sketches in all Narbonic and Skin Horse books ordered today.

Penny Arcade has free shipping on all domestic orders over $50 until December 15th, as well as a bunch of items still on Black Friday sale.

I'll probably have a more comprehensive webcomic gift guide up at a later date, so keep your eyes peeled. And post any Cyber Monday deals I've missed in the comments.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Achewood Returns


It appears Chris Onstad's Achewood is back, updating for the first time since February. That is all.

[Achewood]

Best Thing Today: Happy Snakesgiving!


Light on the posting this week since I'm home with the fam. In the meantime, enjoy Gunshow's first Thankssssssssssgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Best Thing Today: xkcd Visualizes Money


I admit, I get kind of frustrated when people treat xkcd as the platonic ideal of webcomics. For one thing, people, there are tons of amazing webcomics out there once you dig past Top Ten lists (which seem frozen in amber at this point). For another, xkcd simply isn't one of the strongest webcomics of the moment (although, let's face it, Randall Munroe has much more important things on his mind). But when Munroe nails it, he nails it. Some of his most powerful comics aren't really comics at all, but striking infographics, such as his radiation chart, his height map of the observable universe, the gravity wells of different celestial bodies, and his epic movie narrative chart. Now, he's added a timely new data visualization to his collection: Money. There's been a great deal of talk about money lately, with the budget crisis and the Occupy protests, but it's hard for us to picture relative spending and cost when the numbers get so big. Munroe breaks down everything from campaign spending to the net worth of professional rappers to how much it costs to raise a child to age 17.

Naturally, the entire chart is huge. See the whole zoomable, scrollable thing here.

Money [xkcd]

Dinosaur Comics' Ryan North Writing Adventure Time Comics


Between Netflix and Hulu, there are few reasons to be a cable subscriber these days, but it meant I was a latecomer to the awesome absurdity that is Cartoon Network's Adventure Time. But after a trip to Comic-Con where no one was talking about anything else, I was won over by the charms of the happiest post-apocalyptic TV show on the planet. And Boom Studios has just announced that Adventure Time is coming to comics, written by Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North!

Now that North is taking on the beloved Jake and Finn and Dr. McNinja's Chris Hastings has done the rounds on Deadpool, could we start seeing a trend of print publishers looking more and more to online talent?

'Adventure Time' Comic Series Coming from Boom! in February [ComicsAlliance]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tomorrow: Narbonic Release Party at Borderlands in San Francisco

If you live in the Bay Area and are a fan of Narbonic (or cupcakes, or wine), get yourself down to Borderlands Books in the San Francisco Mission District. After a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, Shaenon Garrity released Narbonic: The Perfect Collection, the complete collected Narbonic in two volumes. She'll be at Borderlands from 5-7pm tomorrow (Saturday), signing books amidst cupcakes and glasses of wine. Come celebrate the sweet, sweet evil.

Even if you can't make it to Borderlands, you can still pick up the two-volume collection at the Couscous Collective store.

Narbonic Release Party [Shaenon's LiveJournal]

Best Thing Today: My Cardboard Life Sleepover Diorama


My Cardboard Life is perhaps the craftiest comic out there, with its cardboard, fabric, and paper characters, and if you've ever seen creator Philippa Rice at a convention, you may have seen her adorable dioramas. Rice is attending Thought Bubble in Leeds this weekend, and she's made this cozy diorama for the occasion. It makes me want to curl up in a pair of flannel pajamas with my cardboard dog, get under the covers, and read a good comic book.

Sleepover Diorama [My Cardboard Life]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Thing Today: Menage a 3's Yuki Crotch-Attacks Giz's Characters

In Gisèle Lagacé's manga-inspired sex comedy Ménage à 3, the virginal Gary quite nearly got it on with the phallophobic Yuki -- until Yuki's tentacle delusions kicked in. Now Yuki is on a quest to save the world from the evil tentacle monsters in men's pants, and her rage is bleeding across Giz's earlier comics, with characters from Penny and Aggie and Cool Cat Studio feeling the force of Yuki's tiny but powerful foot.

Very nice [Menage a 3]

Octopus Pie and the Infinite Canvas

Okay, so I just linked to Octopus Pie a few days ago, but the most recent page is a must-read, especially if you're a subscriber to Scott McCloud's belief that webcomics should employ such Internet-specific forms like the infinite canvas. Also, there's a nice callback to the Duck of Enlightenment. Infinite Ducks!

You Should Call Him [Octopus Pie]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Redditers Also Ask James Kochalka Anything

Somehow I completely missed this until late last night, but Jeph Jacques wasn't the only webcomicker answering questions on Reddit yesterday. James Kochalka, rockstar, diarist, and Comic Laureate of Vermont also participated in an Ask Me Anything thread, talking monkeys, robots, and "Monkey Vs. Robot." It's been a banner couple of days for cartoonists on Reddit.

Also, I learned today that at least one publisher (Top Shelf) thinks AMAs are good for publicity. Huh. Go figure.

I am James Kochalka, Poet Laureate of Vermont. [Reddit]

Best Thing Today: Only Robots Can Read This Diesel Sweeties Punchline

Okay, technically the best thing from a couple of days ago, but it's not often that I find myself pointing my phone at my computer screen in order to understand a joke. Is Diesel Sweeties the first comic to tell a punchline via QR code? I knew those ugly things had to be good for something.

You can also buy a QRobot t-shirt if you're into people aiming their barcode scanners at your chest.

I'm Multi-Lingual, If Insults Count [Diesel Sweeties]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best Thing Today: Shelley and Lottie Team Up in "Murder She Writes"

John Allison, I think I love you.

After Allison ended his quirky horror webcomic Scary Go Round, he picked up with a successor series Bad Machinery. This is actually the second time Allison has done this (Scary Go Round itself was a successor series to Allison's earlier webcomic Bobbins). Successor series are a handy notion; you get to draw in new readers with a fresh cast of characters while reserving the right to bring back your old favorites any time you please. And plenty of Scary Go Round regulars have popped up in Bad Machinery, now the quasi-responsible adults to Bad Machinery's mystery-solving tweens.

The official Bad Machinery storyline is on hiatus for the rest of the year, but readers get to spend November and December with a new story, "Murder She Writes," starring Scary Go Round's Shelley Winters. Today, we learned the identity of Shelley's intern and de facto sidekick for the inevitable coming shenanigans: Charlotte Grote, loud-mouthed grammar schooler and possibly the best thing about Bad Machinery. Our last Bad Machinery story was dreadfully light on Lottie (like much of the cast, she spent most of the arc brainwashed), so it's grand that we'll be getting some Shelley-Lottie quality time -- with a side of murder.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to order me up a Lottie drawing as a Christmas present, I wouldn't object.

Murder She Writes [Scary Go Round]

Ask Questionable Content's Jeph Jacques Anything

Questionable Content's Jeph Jacques is hanging out on the social bookmarking site Reddit right now, answering questions in the site's popular "Ask Me Anything" Subreddit. Got a question for Mr. Jacques? Go ask it now.

I am Jeph Jacques, AMA [Reddit]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feed the Artist: Today Nothing Happened Volume 2

I can't explain what draws me to Shazzbaa Bennett. Maybe I just like typing her name: Shazzzzzzzzzzbaaaaaaaa. Try it. It's fun. Maybe it's because I'm not a generally happy person, but Shazzbaa comes off as relentlessly cheerful in the best way possible. Seriously, this lady makes Target seem like as magical a land as its Bull Terrier mascot would suggest, and she faces even the most WTF customer interactions with dorky grace.

Shazzbaa just released the second volume of her autographical webcomic, Today Nothing Happened. The book covers Shazzbaa's last few months at the Savannah College of Art and Design and her first few steps into the post-collegiate world. As fun as those SCAD comics are (Seriously, that Game Design class looks awesome; can I audit courses from the Bay Area?), the post-college months are where TNH really finds its voice. Amidst all the funny cat antics and teleconferenced D&D games, Today Nothing Happened is ultimately a comic about a (geeky and extraordinarily nice) young artist making her way in the world: moving back home, finding a day job, late nights spent drawing, keeping in touch with friends from school, and (a Shazzbaa bonus) learning to drive. After a few dozen strips, I just want to give her a big warm hug. (What was I saying last week about diary comics creating a false sense of intimacy?)

Also, there are pudgy cats who hate each other. Who doesn't love a good catfight?

Today Nothing Happened Volume 2 [Today Nothing Happened]

Kickstarter: A Fairy Tale Anthology from Sorcery 101's Kel McDonald

Kel McDonald of Sorcery 101 fame announced a while back that she was putting together an anthology of comic fairy tale adaptations. This weekend, the book (titled Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales) reached the all-important Kickstarter stage, with Miss McDonald hoping to raise $9,000 in the next two months. It looks like her book has lost a couple of contributors (it happens), and while I'm sad Evan Dahm and Amanda Lafrenias are off the project, at least we'll see what's sure to be an insane rendition of "The Singing Bone" from KC Green (incidentally, Mr. Green provides the lovely illustrations in the video above). McDonald's own contribution to the book, "Bisclavret," is already online. Sadly, it's not my favorite of McDonald's works; she's a lot stronger when she sticks to her own werewolves.

One key thing about that $9,000 McDonald is asking for: it's not just for the printing and shipping costs; it's also for paying the contributors. Personally, I'm all about seeing folks get paid for the art they do so well and too few anthologies pay their contributors. That peace of mind is just added incentive to kick in $20 for the book or even just $5 for the PDF.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Thing Today: Dumbing of Age, Now Sponsored by Pajama Jeans


I don't know why it took me so long to read a David Willis webcomic. There's no particular reason; it's just that some comics inevitably slip through the cracks and the It's Walky family of comics were among them. Dumbing of Age places many of the characters from Roomies/It's Walky/Shortpacked! in a parallel universe, but my unfamiliarity with the original characters hasn't hampered my enjoyment of Dumbing of Age whatsoever. It's such a charming ensemble comic, and I'm kind of in love with Dina. (Ooh! And I can pre-order her shirt! And maybe buy her adorable hat if Willis ever decides to make more!)

After the excitement of the creepy-but-ultimately-empowering-and-heartwarming attempted party rape storyline (yeeeeah, not nearly as awful as it sounds), Willis has slowed things down a bit with Walky's quest for pajama jeans. This has, lo and behold, resulted in contextual ads for pajama jeans. Wait, those are a real thing? Do they actually look like jeans? Do they pill horribly?

Also, why isn't Willis shilling for product placement like one Mr. Kurtz? Seriously, David, I think you've got a potential new income stream here.

Of course, Willis himself knows a thing or two about appropriate contextual ads.

Contextual ads work [Dumbing of Age]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Worst Thing Today: Hope Xinyuan Sells Bad Books to TopatoCo

This sad story comes via Fleen, your daily source of webcomics news. Check out Fleen and TopatoCo founder Jeffrey Rowland's Twitter for the full rundown, but the short version is that TopatoCo commission Hope Xinyuan to print Ryan North's latest Dinosaur Comics collection, and when the books arrived with pages falling out of their spines, Hope Xinyuan mysteriously vanished off the face of the earth, leaving Topatoco shy $25,000 with a stock of unsellable books. Oof.

If you've been thinking about making a purchase from TopatoCo, now might be a good time to do that. Also, with the inevitably holiday crunch upon us, consider adding some webcomical gifts to your shopping list.

As Regards Smoking Craters [Fleen]

Best Thing Today: Eve Ning Gets Manga Face

I love that Meredith Gran is an animator. I love that constantly stretches and squishes her Octopus Pie characters into new an fun emotional shapes. Behold "Eve Fails at Watching Porn," where Gran conveys so much emotion with the eyes and hands (and eventually bug eyes).

I'm also quite enjoying the latest storyline, in which Hanna's boyfriend camps out at the Occupy Wall Street protests, much to Hanna's chagrin. And I adore this panel from today's installment, where Eve is so drunk on bass (the music, not the beer) that she goes suddenly manga.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Feed the Artist: Cat and Girl Fun Club


I'm always impressed by webcartoonists' ability to find new and creative ways to earn money, and none sound quite so mysterious and intriguing as the Cat and Girl Fun Club. Dorothy Gambrell has written a bit about how her income breaks down in the past, and recently she came up with an exciting new product for her fans. For $99, readers can become year-long members of the 2012 Fun Club, which gets them a special regular newsletter, tons of special Cat and Girl gifties (including a mystery CD and DVD), and discounts at Gambrell's store. It's a nice way to encourage readers to become patrons of the comic, and if you're a huge Cat and Girl fan (and I know many people who are), it sounds like you get some nice swag out of the deal.

Oh, and Gambrell has put a ticking clock on Fun Club membership (which I think is a pretty clever touch). If you want in on the ennui-filled grab bag, you'd better sign up by December 1st.

2012 Fun Club [Cat and Girl]

Best Thing Today: Augie, The Littlest Reaver

I can't believe I forgot to post this earlier in the week, but Mike Russell posted his short comic "Augie, The Littlest Reaver" from Patton Oswalt's Serenity one-shot "Float Out." It's face-eatingly adorable!

Augie, The Littlest Reaver [CulturePulp]

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Best Thing Today: Action Athena Debates Diary Comics

Athena Currier is on my list of cool comic diarists I don't talk about enough. Her webcomic Action Athena traces her mainly post-collegiate life in the Twin Cities area, through crappy jobs, money woes, fun times with friends, and generally figuring out how to live her life. One of the things I love about Action Athena is Currier's apparent lack of posturing. She gets frustrated, but doesn't aim for snark. She revels in the simple pleasure of drawing with friends. She celebrates the wonderful mundanities of paying her student loan, failing to catch a customer's rude comment, and running in the rain.

In her latest installment, Currier tracks her evolving view of her diary comic and whether it is a wise thing for a twenty-something to do. There are downsides certainly to diary comics: they create a false sense of intimacy (which can make things uncomfortable for the cartoonist), they can make it difficult to get one of those fabled "real jobs," and they're not necessarily the key to success in the comics field. But Currier offers one undeniable argument in favor of continuing her illustrated diary: love.

Hasty Most-MIX Update [Action Athena]

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal App Delivers Funny Things to Your Phone


First, you could read Zach Weiner's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on the interwebs. Then he had his comics printed on the guts of dead trees. Now, you can experience all the glory of SMBC and SMBC Theater on your iPhone with SMBC: The App!

For 99 cents, you get access to all the SMBC comics and videos (although at present, my version of the app is showing only one video) -- and we even get that fancy red button for bonus comics. But please, Mr. Weiner, could we get a full-sized app for the iPad as well?

SMBC: The App [iTunes]

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feed the Artist: Jen Oaks' Cheeky Pin-Ups Calendar

Jen Oaks isn't a webcartoonist -- she is, however, a contributor to my book The Comic Book Guide to the Mission and a kick-ass illustrator. I acquired one of her lovely pin-up drawings (this charming cyclist lady) at SF Zine Fest, and said pin-up is hanging on my wall as I type. Oaks has a bevy of busty beauties (in print form) at her Etsy store, but if you can't choose, consider purchasing her 2012 calendar, cheekily titled "Cheeky." It features 12 of Oaks' zaftig dames, including Kitty Bon Bon, who started life as an illustration in Fat Zine.

Also worth checking out is Fat Zine creator Laura Beck's interview with Oaks about the "Cheeky" babes and how they came into being.

"Cheeky" is available for $25 from Oaks' Etsy store. It's the perfect gift for the pin-up loving lady (or gent) in your life.

What Webcomics Should I Read? Lovecraft Is Missing


Lovecraft is Missing
by Larry Latham
Status: Ongoing
Synopsis: What if the works of HP Lovecraft were drawn from the writer's own life? Aspiring horror writer Win Battler leaves his home town of Tough Luck, Oklahoma, to visit Howard Lovecraft, with whom he's struck up a penpal friendship. But the moment he arrives in Providence, Lovecraft goes suddenly missing. It turns out that Win isn't the only one looking for the wayward author. Nan Mercy, a Brown University librarian with a dark past, believes Lovecraft stole several pages of plates from the university's occult collection, and both she and the Catholic priest Father Jackey are eager to get them back. Soon, the three of them are caught up in a conspiracy of Eldritch cults that stretches all the way back to Tough Luck.
Categories: Historical, Horror, Supernatural
Read it if you like: the works of HP Lovecraft, gun-toting librarians, and literary Easter eggs.

Kickstarter: Sarah Becan's Shuteye

Sarah Becan is one of those enviable cartoonists who is able to wring strong emotions from very simple ideas. Her Ouija Interviews, which are based on a series of conversations with a Ouija board, are strangely affecting, and her webcomic I think you're sauceome started as a quest for bodily self-acceptance, and has evolved into a celebration of food and being nicer to ourselves.

At present, Becan has a Kickstarter running to collect her Shuteye minicomic series. I love the pitch: each story in the series ends with the main character waking up as the protagonist of the next story, forming an interconnected loop of stories that sounds more Ouroboros than Inception. You can read the first two stories in the series, "Vea" and "The Liar," on Becan's website. The Kickstarter is to fund a shmancy print job with Pantone ink and an embossed felt cover, but if you're like me and you're more or less indifferent to the tactile sensation of books (sorry!), she's offering PDFs and ePubs of the book for a mere $1 donation.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where Cartoonists Work: Lucy Knisley


Because I love peeking into other people's lives and because I'm a wee bit obsessed with Lucy Knisley, I was terribly excited when Knisley posted photos of her new New York live/work space, dubbed the HMS Tinytub. Her Flickr set has full annotations, detailing all you could want to know about her worldly possessions. And yes, I am sitting here reading them all when I should be working on my NaNoWriMo.

Lucy, could I please live in your apartment? Or alternatively, could you fill my office with warm, wonderful things?

HMS Tinytub [Flickr]

Other Best Thing Today: Gronk Pajamas!

Katie Cook is an astonishingly good illustrator as well as creator of the webcomic Gronk, about a sweet young monster who lives with her human friend. She also happens to be a mother. What does every mother/cartoonist need? A child-sized costume based on her own monster character, that's what. Crafty pal Patricia Brick whipped up this Halloween costume for Cook's daughter, which look like they could double as chilly weather pajamas.

Seriously, that thing makes me want to have a kid just so I could stuff her in something that adorable -- and take humiliating photos for later.

Halloween Gronk [Gronk]

Best Thing Today: Questionable Content Blackout Comics

Guest comics are one of the greatest things about webcomics. As terrible as it is that popular characters in the superhero industry are owned by increasingly large, faceless corporations, at least it means that multiple creators get a crack at those characters over time. Fortunately, webcartoonists understand that one of the great joys in having creator-owned characters is seeing them through the loving (and at time torturous) lens of other cartoonists.

Much of the East Coast lost power this week, and the great webcomicking town of Northampton, Massachusetts, was sans electricity for a few days (and right when I needed to put in an order with Topatoco. Harrumph). Among the stranded cartoonists was Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content. Not one to miss an update, Jacques enlisted the help of those cartoonist pals not felled by a freak October snowstorm. The result: guest comics from Unshelved's Bill Barnes, Shortpacked and Dumbing of Age's Dave Willis, and HIJInks Ensue's Joel Watson. Plus, Jacques timed in with a very on-point comic where his own characters get blacked out -- both metaphorically and visually.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Comic: Penny and Aggie Spins Off into Quiltbag

T Campbell skipped over Penny and Aggie's senior year, bypassed college, and went straight for the five-year high school reunion. The ending was actually quite sweet, leaving the door open to a new, mature relationship between our titular heroines. But at the same time, it was a bit disappointing that we missed the big moments on their journey to adulthood.

Thankfully, we're going a bit backwards in time with Campbell's latest project, Quiltbag. The new comic follows two P&A secondary characters, Sara and Lisa, as they adjust to life in college and the new (LGBTA-friendly) relationships that come with it. I'll admit, while I've always liked Sara, I find Lisa a bit irritating (which I suppose is kind of the point). But there are hints that Campbell and artist Jason Waltrip (who collaborates with Campbell on Fans! and took over Penny and Aggie after Gisele LaGace's departure) might explore Lisa's vulnerable side and not have her constantly sound like the Creature from the Internet.

Another interesting aspect of Quiltbag is that some of the supporting cast members are based on P&A readers (and reader suggestions). Campbell and Waltrip invited readers to send in their photos and self-descriptions (factual or otherwise), and we've already met some of the resulting coeds.

My one beef with Quiltbag: how had Lisa, who has the attention span of a mayfly, kept that same labor-intensive hairdo since junior year of high school?

Quiltbag [Penny and Aggie]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feed the Artist: McPedro Cross-Stitch

You know what your house/apartment/dorm room needs? More hallucinatory cacti. Even if you're already the proud owner of a McPedro plushie, you  can add to your tequila-filled madness with this McPedro cross-stich sampler from Girls With Slingshots -- also available as a DIY kit (for considerably less moolah), or just a plain-old downloadable pattern.

I'm sort of surprised other webcomics haven't gone the cross-stitch route, especially given how crafty many cartoonists are. To be honest, I have enough funny t-shirts; I might be more willing to invest in a couple of cross-stitch patterns -- provided cross-stitching is one of those activities one can do on BART.

Girls With Slingshots Etsy Shop [Etsy]

Curvy's Sexy Comics Support Planned Parenthood

Lately, I've been spending an awful lot of time yelling at Herman Cain. Well, actually, I've been yelling at my radio when Herman Cain's voice is coming out of it, but you get the picture. I know, I know, yelling at Herman Cain in absentia only makes him stronger, but when he starts railing against Planned Parenthood, I feel the word bile rising up from my gut. In my post-law school days, before I got myself onto RomneyCare (and during those times when I was abruptly dropped from RomneyCare -- grumble, grumble), Planned Parenthood was my primary health care provider. Planned Parenthood was key to keeping all of my bits -- not just my lady bits -- happy and functioning. Without Planned Parenthood, getting routine medical care would have been a pricy proposition.

This month, Sylvan Migdal is offering her readers a chance to donate to Planned Parenthood and get some sexy sci-fi comics in return. During November, all proceeds from Curvy book sales go to Planned Parenthood. So, if you're a proponent of Planned Parenthood, grab your Curvy books now, and maybe buy a couple to gift to your porn-loving pals. And if you love multiversal sexy times but aren't so keen on Planned Parenthood, you can a) wait until December to make your purchases or b) take a deep breath, and think of all the annual physicals your dollars will fund.

Curvy Store [Curvy]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dresden Codak Lays Down Some Orwellian Dark Science

Dresden Codak is one of those comics without a regular update schedule, so if you've been itching to see the next full-color chapter in the life of Kimiko Ross, here it is. Kim has traveled to Nephilopolis, a place where her estranged father was revered as intellectual giant, and bureaucrats license all scientists.

In the latest installment, Kim's father looms large over the city, and we see that Nephilopolis's bureaucracy extends even to insomnia brought on by existential despair.

Dark Science #12 [Dresden Codak]

Kate Beaton on NPR's Sound of Young America

With a new, highly acclaimed book from Drawn & Quarterly out, it's no surprise that Kate Beaton is everywhere these days. Her latest guest appearance is on PRI's The Sound of Young America, where she talks about her evolution from autobio cartoonist to historical lampooner, why she set her sights on drawing a New Yorker cartoon, and how she, Carly Monardo, and Meredith Gran came up with their Strong Female Characters.

I do love all the Beaton love of late, but I can't help but feel a twinge of frustration at some of these press outlets. Beaton is awesome, true, but couldn't they take her mainstream success as a signal to pay more attention to the wider, wackier world of webcomics? I'm sure they could find plenty of equally talented, accessible creators to fawn over.

The show is available in digital form at The Sound of Young America's website, or through the iTunes store.

Kate Beaton, Author of Hark, A Vagrant Interview [Maximum Fun]

Best Thing Today: Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Vampire Poets

If you prefer your ahead-of-their time Victorian geniuses heavy on the humor and light on the steampunk, you'd do well to check out Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles, or The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage starring Charles "Father of the Computer" Babbage and proto-programmer Ada Lovelace. The mathematically inclined pair battle the evils of street music and economic collapse while occasionally pausing to debug their difference engine.

Now Babbage and Lovelace face their greatest foe -- the Vampire Poets. They're an apt enemy at least for Miss Lovelace, the sole legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron, who was himself the inspiration for the titular bloodsucking nobleman in John William Polidori's novella "The Vampyre" (which, in turn, greatly influenced Bram Stoker's Dracula). Padua has released the introduction to the newest Lovelace/Babbage tale, which is, appropriately, written in verse.

Be sure to read the notes at the bottom for actual Victorian poetry featuring Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace.

Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Vampire Poets [2D Goggles]