The webcomics blog about webcomics

Gettin’ To Be That Time Again

The time when hopefully-smart people tell us what the best things of the year were; a couple of well-curated lists have hit in the last day or so, and I thought I should point out some of the recognition that webcomics (and the webcomics-adjacent) have earned.

  • There are very few writers on comics (of all types) working in English that are as good as Oliver Sava at The AV Club; even better, Sava has an eye for talent and has sought out others that have interesting, smart perspectives on comics and gives them plenty of space to write. He’s joined on the 2018 list of best comics by Caitlin Rosenberg, who nearly always has something to point out that I’d missed in whatever we both read.

    Giant Days (by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar) continued its run of excellence, so no surprise to see a little love for the Tackleverse. Print (or reprint) runs of On A Sunbeam (by Tillie Walden) and Rice Boy (by Evan Dahm) also get nods — they’re both still available in their entirety online, but this is the year that :01 Books and Iron Circus, respectively, pushed the stories wide. Finally, they note that the single best strip — heck, the single best panel — of 2018 can be summed up in three words: Sluggo is lit, from the revamped Nancy by pseudonymous webcomicker Olivia Jaimes, who’s made the comics page safe for weirdness again.

  • NPR, meanwhile, has produced a deeply curated list of the best books of 2018, and as usual they include a healthy selection of words+pictures; close to 10% of this year’s recommendations could be called comics. Like On A Sunbeam and Rice Boy, you can find much of the comics that went into Check Please!: Book One (by Ngozi Ukazu) and Your Black Friend (by Ben Passmore) online; the print editions of both are surely spreading their reach, though.

    I’m on record as being deeply conflicted about Jen Wang’s The Prince And The Dressmaker, but I’m not going to say that the NPR reviewer’s delight is misplaced or wrong — we all get from books what we get¹. Other books from onetime or sometime webcomickers include Vera Brosgol’s delightful and cringey Be Prepared, Lisa Hanawalt’s Coyote Doggirl, and Luisa — Now And Then, adapted by the invaluable Mariko Tamaki.

    Finally, in the realm of pure literature, you get some love for the only book that will let you jumpstart an entire civilization if stranded in the past, How To Invent Everything, by Ryan North (illustrations by Lucy Bellwood). Fun fact! According to North, one of the key technologies for your civilization is non-sucky numbers², which seems a random thing for me to mention here for no reason at all, but I sure did that.

  • Hey, you know what you can do with non-sucky numbers? Measure stuff and calculate ratios! And you know what the greatest ratio in the world is? North, building on the work of Karla Pacheco, gifted us with such a ratio just today:

    Big Cow was photographed next to Small Cows. So how does Knickers compare to REGULAR cows?? Well @THEKarlaPacheco is slightly taller than a standard Holstein, and since I am slightly taller than Big Cow, the ratio between Big Cow and a regular cow is about… THIS

    Pacheco, I should note, has made a habit of being photographed with taller people — because pretty much everybody is — including, sometimes, much taller people like the Northesque Jeph Jacques. And North, I should note, has made a habit of being photographed with shorter people — because pretty much everybody is — including, sometimes, much shorter people like the Pachecoesque Shin Ying Khor. It is now my goal to measure as many comics folk as possible against one of these Big Cow/Small Cow metersticks, for science. Moo.

Spam of the day:

Target customers directly with email marketing tactics

a) No. b) Your email domain is, which sounds … wrong. Like cinemarama or perhaps Estradarama, but with duders?

¹ However, I stand by my contention that Molly Ostertag’s The Witch Boy covered much of the same topical ground with more subtlety and honesty. It was released in 2017, so it’s not on the list. The sequel is, if anything, even better, but both books suffered from releasing at the end of October, too late for inclusion in lists that must have already been under construction.

² The others being verbal language, written language, the scientific method, and a calorie surplus.

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