The webcomics blog about webcomics


Frank Zappa, in his autobiography, recounted the story of playing his then-favorite R&B tune for his high school music teacher and asking why he liked it so much; the reply was Parallel fourths. That was his introduction to twelve-tone theory and understanding why music works the way it does.

Similarly, when I read a comic and can’t figure out why I like it, there are a few people that I trust to make it clear — Zainab Akhtar, David Brothers, and Oliver Sava are at the top of the list. Sava heads up comics writing at The AV Club, and has gathered other writers that also get comics.

Today, they (that would be Sava, joined by Caitlin Rosenberg and Shea Hennum) talk about the best of the year, and there’s a significant representation of webcomics, and comics from people that cut their teeth in webcomics. Sava holds forth on Julia Wertz’s Tenements, Towers & Trash, Giant Days by John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Whitney Cogar, and Jim Campbell (respectively: words, pencils, inks, colors, letters), and Squirrel Girl by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Rico Renzi (words, art, colors).

Rosenberg adds Tess Stone’s Not Drunk Enough, Wilde Life by Pascalle Lepas, Noora Heikkilä’s Letters For Lucardo (via Spike’s Iron Circus Comics¹), and Abby Howard’s Dinosaur Empire! Hennum’s additions are slightly further removed, but include offerings from Retrofit Comics (founded by Box Brown), Koyama Press (friend to indies everywhere), and 2d Press — Hennum’s definitely further into art comics than I usually read, but the writeups are making me revisit that decision.

The point here being, much like Mark Siegel promised his Macmillan overlords that :01 Books would contend for literary prizes within ten years of launch³, this recognition’s not just for bragging rights. It offers credibility, visibility, and the opportunity for further work, not just to the creators that have been called out by one of the premiere popular culture sites, but to their contemporaries and colleagues as well.

On a day that I noticed some chud on Twitter (no link for him … of course it’s a him) declaring that Andrew Farago was irrelevant and that real geeks don’t care about some museum in San Francisco, and it’s not like he’s Scott McCloud or anything4, it’s just further proof that comics is becoming more and more about new creators, new voices, new kinds of stories, and (crucially) new points of view, and the old stereotypes of what comics are/who reads them are slipping further into irrelevance. It’s a good day to read about some great comics, and an even better day to read some great comics. The list by Sava et alia is a damn good place to start.

Spam of the day:

Girls battle for your heart: choose Veronika or Kristina

Mail order bride spam, or anime series episode title? I can’t decide!

¹ Separate from the best of the year list, Rosenberg also reviews Crossplay, presently funding on Kickstarter, also from Iron Circus².

² Speaking of Iron Circus, Spike spent some time today pre-announcing ICC’s 2018 offerings, and it comes to at least six books (two of which are anthologies); Banned Book Club, previously announced, is due in 2019. Let that sink in — a one-plus person shop is making plans more than a year out, wrangling at least seven books in that timeframe. Try to deny her achievements, I dare you.

³ It actually took less than a year to break out the tuxes at the National Book Awards for Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese.

4 McCloud on Twitter in response: Andrew Farago is a prominent authority on comics and a good guy. Anyone saying otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Take that, chud!

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