The webcomics blog about webcomics

Circles Of Friends

Lots going on in webcomics that addresses the ideas of “collectives”. First off, you have a thinky piece by Gilead Pellaeon over at Comixpedia about what makes a collective. There’s been a range of opinion about his conclusions, both in the comments (scroll down), and in a group interview with Blank Label Comics (or at least 7/9ths of Blank Label). The lads hold forth on what their group identity means, plans for the future, and how they feel about each other (hint: look for Kris Straub and Howard Tayler to get in a knife fight soon)

The print edition of Wizard is an unreadable morass of comic fanboy stereotypes, but they’re doing some interesting interviews on their website. Case in point: at the recent New York Comic Con they spoke with Steven Cloud and Jon Rosenberg of Dumbrella; it’s an interesting contrast of philosophy reading about how Dumbrellists seem themselves as a group, versus how Blankers do.

Nor is collective behavior always predicated on ongoing relationships; sometimes all you need is a one-off, sorta-collaboration to make a gag work. By way of example, take one part xkcd, which is published under a Creative Commons license. Add one part Help Desk, and bingo: a derivative work (fancy legalese for ‘mash up’) that’s funnier than it has any rights to be.

It works with complete strangers as well: as Ryan North tells us in the newsbox for March 8 (read it quick, because it’ll scroll away in a few days), one of his cartoons inspired somebody named Dr McMuffin to compose an opera. There’s sheet music there, but Dr McMuffin’s contribution is not merely compositional; the good doctor has added some defining characteristics to our favorite dinos — namely, the fact that T-Rex is a tenor (and Dromiceiomimus a soprano, Utahraptor an alto and raccoons a chorus; I wonder what the tiny woman is?).

Lastly, we at Fleen wish to announce that we are enlarging our community a bit. Anne Thalheimer has jumped on the Guest Columnist program with brio, and since she keeps writing stuff that sparks conversation, we’re just making it official. Welcome aboard, Anne.

Update: And in other collectives/network news, Little Gamers announced late yesterday that they’re now part of the National Lampoon Humor Network, along with such luminaries as White Ninja and Superman Is A Dick.

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