The Joy (?) of Webcomics: “Bah, humbug!” edition


Not another piece of wood on that stove, Cratchit! And I’ll see you in hell, Jacob Marley! IN HELL!

I admit it — I’m a big fan of Scrooge, both the Ebeneezer and McDuck variety. And “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is one of the best interpretations of the Charles Dickens original. So in the spirit of the crotchety old man hoarding gold in Victorian England, I give you this week’s edition of the Joy of Webcomics.

  • A big “Thank You” to the Comics Reporter for hosting links to my reviews. Also, thanks to all the sites out there that linked to my “Greatest Trivial Moments of 2008” post. The list, which was meant to me nothing more than trivial (surprise!), got more attention than I’d expected. God bless you every one!

  • khoo

  • Who’s Robert Khoo? Only the University of Washington MBA that’s the president of Penny Arcade. You may have heard of him in a recent Webcomic Weekly where the Half Pixel guys longingly asked the question, “Where do I get my own Robert Khoo?” Read about this fascinating man about town, how he broke into the business, and how he managed to separate advertising and editorial in an article printed in the Spring 2008 UW Business Magazine. (And take it from me, I think it’s wise for UDub to be pointing newly-minted MBAs in the direction of webcomics than, say, banking, real estate, or automotive manufacturing. Friggin’ Scrooges.)

  • So what’s the Best Webcomic Story this year? Gary Tyrrell of Fleen thinks that it’s goodwill:

    …I think the most significant thing that’s happened in webcomics this year is an outburst of collegiality and common good that’s been building. There’s a lot of webcomickers that have gone out of their way to talk about their peers and promote their work, to provide a general “Rah, go Team Webcomics!” feel at conventions, and today, there’s an outbreak of everybody and their dog pointing to webcomics merch made by other creators.

    That’s nice. Especially coming from a site that says, right there in the byline, “Enjoy our Semi-Abusive Opinion Mongering.” I guess it’ll be up to The Webcomic Overlook to cover the ill-will deficit. Bah, humbug!

  • Incidentally, Domingos Isabelinho has some words about how comics criticism should be conducted in today’s world:

    Here are a couple of quotes that may help to explain comics criticism’s place in mainstream media: “”fewer words, more bullets, more lists, more entry points,” tying reviews into the PR cycle for new releases to the exclusion of works that aren’t new or upcoming, tight word counts, limited space for comics coverage” (the inverted commas mean that Collins is quoting Douglas Wolk); “I wish the phrase “the dumbing down of American culture” were removed from this discussion. A look at the top-grossing films and best-selling books during the so-called Golden Age of Criticism indicates that America has always been pretty dumb, a state of affairs not at all unique to America, hey by the way.” PR is the mantis that kills criticism after using it for its personal pleasure. Newspapers have a tough time just keeping afloat these days. Dumbing down is, perhaps, a necessary strategy in order to survive.

    Humbug! That’s why I love blogs. You can be as logorrheic as you can! Here’s my pet theory: as mainstream media dumbs down, more an more people will start turning to outlets with any substance.

  • Has anyone checked out the Punisher Interactive Comic, an online promotion to tie into the Biggest Flop of December … er, Ray Stevenson’s Punisher War Zone movie? (Link care of Ms. Carlson at Comics Worth Reading.) It’s a fairly unreadable series of flash pages with embedded video… hardly qualifying as a comic in my book.

    Man, remember when “interactive” was going to be the future of webcomics? I seem to remember a time when everyone was touting how webcomics would be superior to print comics because of the in-your-face Macromedia gee-gaws. The only examples I can think of where “interactive” is used prominently is the Eisner-Award winning (ugh) Sam & Max webcomic (reviewed here) and the highly experimental Nawlz. The latter does indeed seem interesting, but I find I can barely get past a couple of the interactive blocks before my interest wanes.

  • ad-cat-car-dog-air

  • Also care of Comics Worth Reading, there’s a report on the latest indignity between American Dog creator Chris Sanders (of the webcomic Kiskaloo, reviewed here) and the Disney Corporation (owner of what AD would morph into: the movie Bolt). Disney recently released a book of Bolt concept art, but left out anything contributed by Mr. Sanders. Ouch. Tell you what, check out the original art of American Dog. Tell me that Ogo isn’t the most awesome looking cat you’ve ever seen.

  • This item has no connection to webcomics, per se, but you might be interested in reading this Wall Street Journal article about a Kuwaiti comic book franchise called The 99 — which features superheroes who have powers based on the 99 attributes of Allah — that’s striving to be the next Pokémon.

  • That’s all for now. Time for me to get to be and be visited by three spectral hosts. Tune in to this site in a few days, when The Webcomic Overlook conducts its first ever interview!


About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on December 9, 2008, in comics, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Gary Tyrell’s story-without-documentation may be wishful thinking. Some of us will feel inclined to withhold love and affection until he grows up and retracts erroneous stories he has printed lately. He could start with his discredited critique of my work on webcomic business forecasting, which is now being used as a research source by at least one party. Propagating erroneous information is well covered by numerous sites on the internet, including, at times, my own. The difference is I swallow my pride and take responsibility.

    I did enjoy his unintentionally funny coverage of Meredith Gran’s hunt for a slave at the dawn of the first African-American presidency. I’m sure Barrack, he be down with that.

  2. That last one should have been signed Bengo, but due to the ice storm we’re in day three without heat or power and I can barely see. I’m screwing up left and right. 😛

  3. Gary Tyrell’s story-without-documentation may be wishful thinking.

    Not to mention that it does sound kinda silly. Say someone said that at the beginning of the dot-com boom. “You know what the best story about internet business is? Everyone’s so friendly with each other! Look how we’re sharing links on messageboards!” Eh.

    Maybe Gary Tyrrell knows more about the particulars, since he’s been to conventions and all, but it strikes me that there were some more astounding stories with relation to webcomics happening this year (three of which I sorta covered at the beginning of my Greatest Trivial Moments list). Additionally, I’d hardly call 2008 the Year of Goodwill, as I’d say criticism — real criticism — of webcomics has been growing… like that Yahtzee Croshaw video that seems to have gotten everyone’s panties in a knot. But, you know, I’m the sort of person who gets paranoid when everyone’s friendly, so maybe I’m just a crusty old curmudgeon. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Strip News —

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