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Daily Archives: October 6, 2010

xkcd sucks … no more!

Not entirely true… in more ways than one, depending on your opinion of the webcomic anyway. I’m talking specifically about Carl Wheeler’s site xkcd Sucks (formerly called xkcd: Overrated). The site is one of the most notorious agitprop blogs about webcomics, namely dissecting every xkcd strip and talking about how bad it is.

I’ve read a few. I guess I’m a little bit of a believer that even the worst webcomic creators have good days, hence I am not necessarily a fan of the format. (Plus the whole “If you hate it so much, why do you keep reading it” argument gains a lot of traction here.) Still, I am also in favor of honest criticism if something is bad, and the write-ups in xkcd Sucks were, for the most part, valid and well-argued.

But that changes now, because xkcd Sucks is going in a new direction. From the blog:

When I first started blogging here, I was doing it out of a frustration I no longer feel. That’s not to say xkcd has gotten better, of course – in fact, it’s gotten worse. But some things have changed: When I started, it was because I felt like no one else seemed to realize that xkcd was getting so terrible. It was just frustrating to feel like I was the only one who “got it”, which I know is a super pretentious thing to say, but it’s how I felt. I was hoping that someone else online had come to the same conclusion, so naturally I googled “xkcd sucks.” I didn’t find much. So I decided it was up to me. I had some brief experience with blogger.com, so I set up an account and started posting.

So here’s what’s different now: I’m not the only one who thinks xkcd sucks. There are you guys, certainly, and I love you all for it. But even elsewhere – it’s far more common to hear people say that xkcd is getting a lot worse. I no longer feel like I’m doing anyone a favor by having this blog. That alone, though, wouldn’t be enough to stop – I truly do enjoy this sort of thinking and this sort of writing, and the practice is certainly good even if no one is reading. And recently, that’s dropped off too – the overarching problem with most recent xkcd comics is not that they are terrible but that they are boring. It’s not fun to write about. A lot of the problems in the new comics are the exact same problems as in old comics, so to criticize them properly would be to merely repeat myself. That’s not fun.

At the same time, I’m reading tons of other comics. I link to them when I can, but usually the amount of time I spend on xkcd crowds out the rest of the stuff. I want to spend more time reading new comics and writing reviews of those, or writing more book reviews, or interviews. And I want to have a few more voices represented, not just mine.

But all this I had decided long ago – the problem was, I still felt like xkcdsucks should continue too, and I didn’t have time for both. So here’s my compromise: “xkcdsucks” is now going to be a weekly feature of the new blog. Rather than feel the need to comment on every single xkcd no matter what, this will let me be more adaptable – if only one comic is worth commenting on that particular week, then that’s all I’ll do. I always say that Randall’s problem (ONE of his problems) is that he forces himself to update constantly, regardless of quality. So I shouldn’t do that myself.

Hey! I still haven’t told you anything about the new site! And this is what I am super excited about, too. So! It’s a wordpress blog, right now it’s pretty basic visually but I hope to work on that in the comic weeks. If you want to help out that would be cool. I certainly want some nicer images around, and maybe some help with the general visual theme. My idea is that everything can be done through one blog, but that there would be links to only certain by certain features (like, “posts written by this guy” or “interviews,” etc.) so it would feel a little more organized than just “all posts here, read in order.” I have a few ideas for what to write about – actually a whole lot – so I’m pretty excited to get started. The URL is www.webcomics.me , so that’s a pretty nice place for it. I don’t have a name for it besides just calling it “webcomics.me” so if you think of a good name let me know. Actually if you think of anything at all let me know.

So there you go. The head prophet for the proposition that xkcd might not be the greatest webcomic in the world has gone and started an all new blog, scaling back xkcd Sucks duty to a once-a-week at best. Will Carl start talking about webcomics he actually likes? Maybe.

(h/t reader Dane Thulin)

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