The webcomics blog about webcomics

Things You Want To Check Out

It’s unusually busy for a Wednesday. Here are some things you may want to observe in the near term.

Today! Okay, we’ve all pulled the odd all-nighter and felt like crap the next day, but do any of us know what real sleep deprivation is like? Unless you’ve been through elite military training (some kind of special forces, or SERE), the answer’s probably no … and even your SOCOM operators might shudder at the thought of 205 consecutive hours — eight and a half days — without sleep.

The story of four guys (of course it’s guys) that did exactly that in service to a medical experiment in the early ’60s (of course it was the ’60s … it would never pass ethical review today) to determine if enough lost sleep would turn a person permanently psychotic is brought to us by Olivia Walch over at The Nib today.

I want to make sure you didn’t miss the word permanently in that last sentence, and I wonder if the investigators were prepared to deal with a subject that wound up permanently damaged.¹ It’s equally fascinating and terrifying, and it’s made me want to trawl all of Walch’s comics … they aren’t all about deranged science experiments, but some are about math, so I’ll take it.

Today! Mary Cagle brings the sequential part of her diary comic, Let’s Speak English! (an account of the 2.5 years she spent in Japan, as an English language classroom assistant in a series of elementary schools) to an end. There may be other strips, but this is the conclusion of the time to return to the States story arc that began here, and progressed through tearful, sometimes painful goodbyes.

It’s been an enlightening, sometimes myth-deflating time following Mary-sensei as she navigated a very foreign culture and all the memorable bits therein. Let’s all thank Cagle for her efforts and encourage her to do her best forever!²

In One Week! Jim Zub’s latest creator-owned comic, Glitterbomb, releases its first issue to comic shops; I talked about it (mostly his artist, Djibril Morissette-Phan, in my SDCC interview with Zub … he is super good at art, you guys), but didn’t tell you much about the book beyond the descriptor Chtonic horror, so let’s remedy that a bit.

It’s a satire of Hollywood. With elder demons, bloody death, and a mid-30s actress who’s not quite good enough to avoid being discarded because she’s no longer 24. It’s about the need for fame, how our society is evolved to deliver it, and what happens when we don’t achieve our dreams.

The first issue doesn’t have anybody acting in a particularly malevolent manner (at least, nobody human), but does feature some really thought-provoking (and guts-spraying) situations about what happens when the desperation to be loved (personally, by the public with their attention) overcomes our social conditioning. It does all of that by page two.

If you’ve ever wondered what will happen to the entire Kardashian clan when the public collectively decides not to pay attention to them any longer, pray (if you’re the praying type) it’s more like Norma Desmond and less like Glitterbomb.

Some Point In The Not Too Distant Future! The Joe Shuster Award nominations (Les nominés pour le prix Joe Shuster 2016) are out, and webcomicky types are all over the place. Names like Fletchter, Immonen (Kathryn), North, Zdarsky, Lemire, Belanger, Immonen (Stuart), Staples, Stewart, DeForge, Tamaki, Chmakova, and Soo are to be found across all categories.

I’ve said to before and I’ll say it again: Canada has the greatest density of comics talent to population of anyplace in the Western Hemisphere, and possibly the world. The Shuster Awards will be presented at a time and venue to be announced, in Fall 2016.

Spam of the day:

Get a free tactical headlamp with an adjustable focusing beam!

Dudes, headlamps are about the nerdiest thing ever, why do you think it’s the key element of Frontalot’s stage persona? You’re just overcompensating your nerdshame by trying to convince me yours is tactical. Show me it’ll hold up to the rigors of a week of mud, rain, sleep deprivation, and explosions, then you can call it tactical.

(Says the guy who actually went and bought these because oh glob, so cool … but I am actually an EMT who has crawled into half-crushed cars, so it’s only half pathetic.)

¹ For a payout of US$250-$400; somewhere in the US$1800-$2800 today, adjusting for inflation, according to this calculator.

² Insert image of small Japanese children all shouting Ganbatte! in unison.

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