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There are several fun runs going on during the Christmas Season. Just this weekend there was an Ugly Sweater Run and the Chase the Grinch Out of Town Run pretty close by to where I live. But I travel the extra distance because there’s only on Christmas Run that’s webcomic themed: the Oatmeal‘s Beat the Blerch Holiday Run around Seattle’s Green Lake.
The run is held just as the sun sets and it gets pitch black, which mean you gotta take extra care not to step into puddles or wipe yourself out when making a wrong step. (One runner related to me that she tripped when she hit the drop off beyond the pavement.) There’s one spot where the path narrows, and I remember in daylight that on the left side you run right into the lake if you stay off the path. So running in the dark is not without its perils.
The appeal, though, are the dress-up opportunities. Everyone’s encouraged to dress up in Christmas lights. We look like a Disney electric light parade making its way in a circle around the barely perceptible waves in between us. Of course, there are plenty of ugly sweaters — quite a few had done the Ugly Sweater run earlier that day — but there’s quite a lot of creativity on display. One team I ran into earlier were dressed up as toy soldiers. Then there was one guy who looked a little like a reindeer, but he had way more arms than was socially acceptible. So I asked him what the heck he was supposed to be, and he said, “I’m a Humbug.”
Mat Inman was there at his table with his “Exploding Kittens” card game and wearing a turkey hat. It still remains a bizarre amalgamation of interests… but it attracted over a thousand people to dress up and run around in the dark with lights awkwardly dangling from their heavy sweaters.
If there’s anything amazing about webcomics, its how they have this magic of keeping things from getting too serious. Penny Arcade sorta brought the fun back in video game conventions. The Oatmeal? The connections may be tenuous except for the Blerch prominently displayed on the participant’s medal. But they whole idea is that running should be fun, and the trappings of a humorous webcomic makes all of that possible.
So I’ve undertaken quite possibly the most foolish endeavor in my life. I am currently trying to finish reading Homestuck before the end of the year. I picked up at Act 6, Intermission 5, which pretty much induced a headache in about 15 minutes. Who’s this Davesprite guy? Why is the juggalo troll at the birth of the cherub character? Do I really have to read all this page-long exposition where all the “b”‘s are replaced with “8”‘s? What’s this deal about twelve planets and a single dead planet that has to be reborn? Where are my pants?
These unique tribulations would cause most to either a.) drink heavily, or b.) put on gray make-up and head to the local comic con to hang out with the Undertale cosplayers. Fortunately, there is a far less self-destructive solution available: find a cheery webcomic to momentarily take your mind off of your troubles. The internet is not at a loss for charming comics that can put a smile on your face. For my money, there are few more adorable than Joho’s webcomic about her cats entitled Saphie: The One-Eyed Cat.
So for those of you running inclined and preferably living in the Seattle area, Matt Inman and The Oatmeal are doing another race this year. This time, it’s a 5K/10K around Green Lake on December 3. It’s way more newbie friendly than the vanilla race, which starts you off at 10k. Probably colder though, so wear mittens.
Wearing of Christmas lights is encouraged, what with it getting as dark as sin around these parts at 4:30 now! I plan on being there, decked to the nines like a Christmas ham.
Check out the Beat the Blerch site for more details.
So there was this one time — in the Before Times — I reviewed horror anthology Split Lip on this very website. (4 stars!) Well, creator/writer Sam Costello is now kicking off a Kickstarter on the webcomics’ 10th anniversary. Here’s the press release:
2016 is the 10th anniversary of Split Lip, my award-winning horror comics anthology. Over those 10 years, we’ve published 45 stories, 6 books, 8 comics, and over 550 pages. To celebrate the anniversary, I’m releasing a deluxe, limited edition hardcover via Kickstarter. The Kickstarter is live now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/samcostello/split-lip-horror-comics-anthology-10th-anniversary
The anniversary book—called What Lies Inside—is a 350-page hardcover packed with 13 of the best Split Lip stories, featuring work by artists including Kyle Strahm (Spread, Image), Sami Makkonen (Deadworld, IDW), and John Bivens (Dark Engine, Image). It’s also got over 50 pages of new material, such as commentary on every story by me, art excerpts, interviews with artists, and essays by Sean T. Collins and Lauren Davis. Only 500 copies will ever be printed. Rewards include extra books and PDFs, sketches, and original art.
Well, boys and ghouls, Halloween is coming up. Why not put a Split Lip anthology in the bag of one of your trick or treaters? Why not three?
That creepy clown lurking in the woods outside your house sure could use some reading material, don’t you think?
Split Lip… it’s the reason for the season!
Q: El Santo, where have you been?
A: clearly developing a video game set in the Webcomic Overlook universe! Like a real person is transported to the world and they’re transformed into a luchador. Don’t worry though… Webcomic Overlook Season 7 is coming soon.
You may have heard that, yesterday, recognition for the most prestigious works of art in a specific genre were awarded yesterday. And also the Harvey Awards were given out. But first, the Hugo Awards!
You may as well rename the Best Graphic Story Award the Foglio Award now, because Girl Genius has walked home with the trophy for the third year in a row. Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse beat out Fables: Witches, written by Bill and Mark Willingham; Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot; fellow webcomic Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler; and The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.
Awards were handed out at Renovation, the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada. Congratulations to the Foglios!
Not related to webcomics, Lev Grossman walked home with the Best New Writer award. Despite that name, he’s a science fiction writer, not the fictional movie producer that appeared in Tropic Thunder. I haven’t read any of his stuff yet, but I do have The Magicians on order from Amazon.com at this moment.