The webcomics blog about webcomics

Recent Readings

Before we get started, I have a pair of time-sensitive reminders. Firstly, Sarra Scherb is still collecting your input as to which webcomics should be included in the digital portion of an exhibition at UW come March, at least for the next two days. You can nominate up to three — I threw my love to the Three Ks of Webcomics: Kate, Karl, and Kmeredith.

Secondly, SPX 2012 registration is now open. The show traditionally fills its vendor space quickly, so don’t delay.

  • As mentioned previously, I received in the mail a preview of MoD2¹, which contained the first story from MoD², plus two from the upcoming collection, due this summer. They’re a nice contrast, too — I’m not including the titles because at least one of them will give away a central premise — with one asking the lighthearted question How would the Machine of Death change the field of organized villainy? and the other asking the depressingly serious question If they threw an Apocalypse and nobody came, would anybody notice?

    These two stories were really good, you guys. I mean, imagine you’re a James Bond type supervillain, and the governments of the world stopped sending agents whose deaths were LASER or TANK FULL OF SHARKS or BULLETS; instead they only send agents that will die of THYROID CANCER or ALZHEIMER’S, so now what do you do with your elaborate deathtraps? You get creative, that’s what.

    As MoD editor David Malki ! had a not-insignificant career creating trailers for major motion pictures, and as I know that he hated it when the client’s marketing requirements had him give away all the good material in the trailer, leaving the rest of the movie a disappointment, I have confidence that these two stories are not the only good ones from the book and that the full volume will contain many stories as good or better.

  • Hey, funny thing, you know where Colleen AF Venable works? :01 Books. And you know what :01 Books sent me just before Christmas? Review copy of Friends With Boys, collecting the still-running webcomic by Faith Erin Hicks. Put those facts together and you know what it means? I know what the next 50-odd pages of FWB are, and arrrgh I can’t tell you because it’s really well done and I don’t want to spoil you.

    So here’s what I can tell anybody who’s been reading FWB in its free webcomic incarnation³: Hicks has a sure eye for the perils of navigating the waters of adolescence, a sure hand at giving her characters distinctive yet recognizable designs4, and an ear for natural dialogue5 . Ignore the occasional Canadianisms (most noticeable: Grade 9) and the story could take place in any small town on the eastern coast of North America from Connecticut to New Brunswick. Ignore the ghost that’s silently stalking POV character Maggie and it could be the story of anybody making their way to a new high school for the first time. Some day, the setbacks and victories in these characters lives might look small, but right now they’re the sort of things that stay with you for life.

    Oh, and there’s a drama club musical with zombies, which instantly makes it better than any musical ever put on by my high school.

    I’ve come to accept that :01 can be trusted implicitly to publish works that are worth your time and money. Unless you have an unreasoning hatred of a book list that tilts towards YA material (or, as I prefer to think of it, material that appropriate for the YA audience but crosses over to the A audience just fine, thank you very much), there’s no reason not to follow just about everything that they produce. They’ve become the Pixar of graphic novels, where the vetting has been done and the assurance of quality can be assumed; I’ll even go so far as to say that :01 might actually score higher than Pixar on my “implicit trust” scale, since I don’t believe :01 would ever have released Cars 2.

¹ Electric Somethingaloo.

² “FLAMING MARSHMALLOW”, read by Colleen AF Venable here.

³ Anybody who hasn’t been reading FWB in its webcomic incarnation, I would encourage you to start because it’s really good.

4 For example, Zander and Lloyd look like a pair of teens desperately trying to find hair and clothing choices that will distinguish them, given that they’re not entirely thrilled with being (presumably identical) twins at the moment. Likewise, there’s a family resemblance between Zander and Lloyd, older brother Daniel, younger sister Maggie, and their father.

5 Even better, an ear for when dialogue is unnecessary; there’s a lot of quiet time in Friends With Boys

[…] I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that we all end up liking this at least as much as Friends With Boys¹, on account of :01 Books (who are hosting NCPGW in webcomic form and publishing in book form […]

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