Web Comics & the Circle of Life (a.k.a. Spoooooky!)

This past weekend was the second annual Intervention, a convention about online culture. I didn’t go but I have friends who were a part of it (one of which makes the web comic Sticky Comics).  In discussing their experience this year the topic of web comics of course came up and again I had to lament that I’m very unaware of the web comic world.  There are many many options out there catering to a variety of tastes.  Below I will discuss a sampling of them and my views.

First, there are the really well-known and long-lasting series (I believe the two go hand-in-hand.)  There’s a handful of them, and I’m sure there could be significant debate on which particular series are in fact well-known. Off the top of my head I can think of the following:

  1. Penny Arcade
  2. XKCD
  3. Questionable Content
  4. Dinosaur Comics
That is all. Frankly, even Questionable Content is … questionably well-known.  After that, series devolve into increasing levels of obscurity that may be popular among certain crowds (action figure collectors know about Alien Loves Predator and Shortpacked while video game players are familiar with PvP and CTRL+ALT+DEL) but never attain a real level of universal recognition.

Of the series I regularly read:

  1. VG Cats
I’m not even sure why.  Maybe it’s just that I thought the characters were cute and didn’t scream of artist self-insertion.  Years ago (back in college) I had a real affection for Sinfest. I thought the art was sharp (and still do) and the comics were funny, if predictable.  Even then, I didn’t spend much time reading the comic online; I bought the print editions.  Just now, while researching for this very post, I learned that the artist of Sinfest, Tatsuya Ishida, used to work for Entity Comics; a long defunct comic book publisher best known for Zen: Intergalactic Ninja. While they he drew the two issues of an obscure series called Strangelove that I really enjoyed and was always disappointed never took off (it was a weird sci-fi/political/business themed series.)
At the Small Press Expo I learned about a comic series I’d like to read, Dresden Codak. This reminded me of another series that came to my attention years ago, Gunnerkrigg Court.  It’s kind of silly that I’d want to read it since I only noticed it when someone posted an image that was one panel of the series with the text “THIS COMIC IS SO DEPRESSING” plastered over it.  The art style was interesting with very stylized (and not quite anime) designs using very thick lines everywhere so I sought the series out.  I never took to reading it, though. 
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