The webcomics blog about webcomics

Sic Transit A Softer World

It’s a little somber up ahead; you might want to have a picture of adorable animal babies ready in case it gets too heavy.

  • I had all sorts of stuff cued up to talk about today, but that’s before the news broke (scarcely fifteen minutes ago as I write this sentence) and all previous plans got scratched. A Softer World — bastion of weirdness and melancholy, in the best possible sense of all of those words — will be coming to an end:

    It’s the end of the world. A Softer World is ending, and we want to do something fun to celebrate! Are you with us?!

    I feel like I just pushed a big red button.

    There have been other melancholy comics, other places where weirdness reigned supreme, but none so perfectly encapsulate the beautiful and banal horror of everyday life like the joint effort of Emily Horne and Joey Comeau; their comics pulled no punches and after more than 1200 they aren’t about to start now. This will not be an extended goodbye, old favorite characters trotted out to give their storylines a wrap-up¹; the trigger gets pulled today, the bullet lands in 27 days.

    Which date will coincide with the ending of the Kickstarter campaign to print a hardcover collection of the very best 200 strips from A Softer World’s dozen-year history. Emily Horne and Joey Comeau, claims in their Kickstarter video notwithstanding, are not going to fake their deaths and disappear in a month; they both will continue to share their creativity for as long as there are such things as photos and words.

    Well, Horne certainly will; Comeau’s always been the sort that you suspect will end up in circumstances that cause bystanders to be completely baffled until they’re running in terror. But until then, he’ll totally be sharing his words! Until then, you can ask them what their future plans (creative and/or destructive) this weekend at TCAF, where they’ll be exhibiting and delighting their fans.

  • One other thing that was on my to discuss list for today fits the mood that’s come over Fleen Central today, so I think I’ll keep it. In my time writing this here page, I’ve been privileged to meet many, many creators; some were friends and acquaintances before I joined the ranks of pixel-stained wretches and have been kind enough to continue to be seen with me, others I have come to know specifically because I’ve pounded out maybe a million words on the topic of webcomics.

    It’s pretty unusual for well-known creator to be completely unknown to me, as I’ve been able to wrangle at least a passing Hey with so many. But for all that, I’ve never been lucky enough to meet the creators of the internet’s most sporadic piece of great art and know little about them. David Hellman has had acclaimed pursuits outside of ALILBTDII, but I knew nearly nothing about Dale Beran until this morning.

    Dale Beran, I learned, is a weekly contributor of comics to Baltimore’s City Paper, which has done so much valuable reporting of the terrible events of the past week, and which is not a newcomer to the story of inequality, economic challenge, and systematic oppression in the Charm City. I learned this because today The Nib ran a lengthy piece of cartoon reportage by Beran about navigating the recent events in Baltimore, where he is a public school teacher.

    It’s a powerful read — enlightening as to the sociopolitical state of Baltimore, depressing in the sense that everything we see happening now has happened in nearly identical form before² — and one that you should take ten minutes now to absorb. It’s not a new situation, but only first-hand accounts by observers that middle America will give credence to³ will get the rest of us to own up to the reality of what’s always been happening.

    I still don’t know who Dale Beran is from personal experience, but his words and pictures are doing a pretty damn good job of convincing me he’s somebody we should all know and listen to.

Spam of the day:

The many shades in brown, from dark to mild, will help you pick a unique one.

I don’t even want to know.

¹ It doesn’t hurt that they don’t have characters or storylines, apart from the ever-popular spot the Ryan North cameo.

² And unless we as a society are much smarter than we have been to date, will inevitably happen again.

³ That is to say, not the people who have to live on the receiving end of a system built on centuries of dehumanization and marginalization, who were not miraculously elevated to political and economic parity in 1965.

That is to say, a white guy.

Thank you, Gary, for a great post! I immediately went and supported the Kickstarter, and now I’m reading Dale Beran’s piece! As a fellow Balti-moron, I’m pleased to see someone highlighting the deep inequality in Baltimore.

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