The webcomics blog about webcomics

Time To Open Up The Ol’ Mailbag

Anybody else remember the Henry Mancini-penned “Viewer Mail” theme that Letterman had back on NBC? I once saw the Red Army Chorus sing it with awesome Russian accents. That was great.

  • Gingerbread Houses, by Alexander Danner and Edward J. Grug III reached the end of its story. Two years and nearly 100 updates in the making, it’s a modern twist on the Hansel & Gretel story, with a particular focus on the question, Okay, we’re back home with parents that tried to kill us — now what? One may note that both Danner and Grugg are webcomics vets, and a two year story is kind of like a warmup for them; Danner’s got plenty of comics work on his website and Grug came within a half-dozen guys of winning the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge, racking up more than five years of longevity in the ultimate contest of Man and Machine. No, wait, that’s the Indianapolis 500. The DGIMC is the ultimate contest of Cartoonist and Internet. Anyway, congrats to Grug and Danner, and don’t forget that if you liked Gingerbread Houses, mini comics (three so far, fourth and final coming soon) are available for your purchase. Any chance of a collected volume, guys?
  • Discovered recently: Death At Your Door; it’s been running since last May, but I only heard about it via an email from creator Rod Salm recently. It’s interesting in that it almost entirely reminds me of other things, yet manages to appeal on its own merits. The art is reminiscent of early Chex-N mixed with (really dating myself here) Angst Technology and a soupçon of Larry Marder’s Beanworld. The main plot point — that Death (that’s capital-D death, and no perky Goth girls here) gets to live in the ‘burbs with housemates — reminds me of the situation with Mort over at Chris Eilopolous’ (perhaps permanently hiatused) Misery Loves Sherman. But somehow DAYD feels fresh.

    I think the likeliest candidate for that fresh feeling became pretty apparent on Monday. DAYD has a sense of place; it’s firmly set in Manitoba and while it doesn’t go out of its way to beat you over the head with that fact, it does show up just enough from time to time to root the strip in a way that lots of comics don’t. They could take place anywhere, but that just means that they aren’t really taking place anywhere. DAYD might have brought up Louis Riel Day, but that’s just the icing on the Prairie Provinces cake. Much like Octopus Pie‘s Brooklyn, or Alien Loves Predator‘s Manhattan, DAYD’s Manitoba is almost a part of the cast.

  • Finally, I got an email from a gentleman (presumably) that signed himself (presumably) as -3-. Not the most obvious moniker, but hey — internet. Mister (presumably) -3- pointed me towards a webcomic known as eMT, which name immediately caught my eye and which (somewhat disappointingly) turns out to stand for experiMental Theatre.

    Pretty wacky stuff, sometimes verging on wacky for the sake of being wacky, but there’s something grabbing me. It’s like how a lot of people that work with aggressively experimental or alternative forms, it’s quickly clear that that’s all they can do? By contrast, -3-‘s work gives hints that there’s much more craft and technical skill lurking underneath. The bio page bears this out, revealing that -3- worked on a mess o’ videogames, can work in lots of different styles, and colored a now-concluded webcomic that I quite liked, La Muse. So we’ll see — as long as I keep getting glimpses of structure behind the experiment (after all, the scientific method teaches that experiments require rigor and formal structure), I’ll keep looking back from time to time.

Thanks, Gary! Yes, there is definitely a high probability of a collected volume down the road. At his point, though, that’s as far as we’ve gotten in the conversation. With the story itself wrapped up, I’m sure we’ll be hashing out how we want to make that happen in the coming weeks. It will probably be a while before it’s available, though.

Also, the link off of my name in the post doesn’t seem to be working.

Thank for the review.

But this is why having someone impartial review your work is so valuable, I hadn’t thought about this direction of my work at all. I guess I’m too busy actually making the comic to worry too much about the larger picture of what I’m saying with it.

Thanks again,
Rod Salm

Yes, -3- is indeed male. (Though the name precedes my working mainly over the internet. Just try searching for that and see how quick editors can find me.)

As you say, some of the ongoing strangeness appears to be weird simply for the sake of being weird. That’s why i waited a bit before sending out any notice on the series – so that hopefully signs of an underlying structure and rationale were beginning to appear. I’m not a fan of weird for weird’s sake – i much prefer an internal logic. That’s why i always liked Northern Exposure more than Twin Peaks.

I’m glad you saw enough to whet your curiosity a bit, and i hope you enjoy what develops.

[…] (last mentioned about six months back, in the context of noting how it’s a product of its place²) creator Rod Salm […]

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