The webcomics blog about webcomics

How To Convey Exactly What’s Happening With The Fewest Possible Lines

Sometimes things that scarcely resemble each other in intent grab hold of me and demand to be considered together. My brain just works that way sometimes.

Case in point #1: Today’s xkcd, which is taken from Randall Munroe’s forthcoming (and apparently far more unhinged — in a good way! — than even I’d anticipated) book, How To. There are not many people that, faced with a theoretical swarm of drones that are unwanted, would seek to solve the problem by having Serena Williams swat them out of the air with her mighty serve.

There are even fewer that could reach out to Serena Williams and she would say Sure, let’s try that.

But the reason I’m mentioning this comic — aside from its self-evident hilarity — is that one lower left panel. Although she is rendered, as near as I can tell, with 8-10 main lines, plus small hatchings to represent tennis racket strings, hands, and perhaps 20 more to represent her air, the power and determination and competitive drive for which Williams is renowned come through perfectly. All I’m saying is, if I’m a drone, I am not annoying Serena Williams¹.

Case in point #2: I’ve long said that it’s pretty much a tie between Kate Beaton and Meredith Gran when it comes to who can convey the exact emotion of a character with the least detail. A purse of the lips, a cocked eyebrow, a hunch of the shoulders — the expressiveness of Eve at the start of the latest rerun story arc runs the gamut. I’m seeing the same skill, presented in deliberately glorious low res, in Gran’s new autobio diary strip, where she talks about her experiences in gardening.

The Garden Of Everything has seven strips in the buffer, updating not quite daily, and presenting illuminating little vignettes about kale, meeting neighbors, and the sheer delight of watching her toddler pluck a tomato from the vine and chow down. They’re charming, they’re obviously done super quickly in between the tasks of game-making and childrearing, and they are absolutely perfect. Introspection is one of the things that Gran conveys best in her work, and I’m going to be coming back to The Garden Of Everything² to get my quasidaily dose.

Spam of the day:

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There is not a single damn thing in that subject line that makes a lick of sense and amazingly, the body of the spam is even worse.

¹ Although as the alt-text notes, Drones don’t bother [Williams].

² I reserve the right to skip any updates that speak well of beets. Beets are gross.

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