The webcomics blog about webcomics

Now That’s A Name I Haven’t Heard In Nigh On Twenty Years … Yep, Yep, It Was The Night With All The Murders It Was

Sometimes, I surprise even myself at how long I’ve been in the webcomics sphere, which was for a considerable time even before I started opinion-mongering back in December of Aught-Five. I got a reminder in the ol’ inbox¹ from Steve Conley, perhaps best known presently for The Middle Age, but who has been doing comics online for a considerable time; even in my first writeup of The Middle Age, I noted Conley’s past work:

[Conley’s] Astounding Space Thrills I was enjoying back in the Dawn Age of webcomics, some 20 years back.

And what the heck, everything from the past eventually comes back into fashion again, either as treasured vintage or [shudders] nostalgia. From Conley’s email:

Steve Conley’s Astounding Space Thrills webcomic made its debut online in 1998. The series, which ran for ~500 episodes, received a number of honors including:

  • 2000 Eagle Award for “Favourite Web-Based Comic”
  • 1999 Eisner Award nomination “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition”
  • 1999 Squiddy Award for “Best Webcomic”
  • 1998 Don Thompson Award for “Favorite New Series”

Two of those awards are from Compuserve and That’s how long ago we’re talking about. :)

So why the history lesson from Conley? Oh, you know, just because in addition to vintage and nostalgia, there’s a third possibility: long-overdue reassessment as a new audience finds appreciation for artistic forebears. Or, more succinctly, there’s gonna be a print collection:

These award-winning webcomics have never been in print and this new Kickstarter campaign aims to fix that.

This first hardbound volume will be 40+ pages and collect the remastered first storyline Undersea Menace From The Year 3200. If the campaign is successful, Steve plans additional volumes collecting the next two storylines Space Quakes, and The Faberge Omelet. These beautifully-produced hardcover books will be signed and just $25 each. The campaign has a modest $3,500 goal.

For those that never read AST, think 3- or 4-panel daily newspaper strips, something with a retro Flash Gordon feel, but with a late 20th Century sensibility. Individual story arcs ran from 10 or so pages (short, interstitial stories) to 100+ strip behemoths.

The Kickstarter’s not live until Wednesday (click here for the preview), but the description and the mock-up make this look like a Euro-style collection, which is a form factor we don’t see in the US very often and I’ve more than once wondered why. They’re durable, convenient to read, and look great on the shelf; think any Tintin or Asterix reprint volume² and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, Conley’s been cranking out good webcomics for longer than some folks making good webcomics have been able to dress themselves³, and that’s ’cause he’s been damn good at what he does. Give ‘er a look-see on Wednesday and decide if it’s for you.

Spam of the day:

Stanford researchers have discovered a simple tweak to your breakfast routine which can have a dramatic effect on how often, how easily, and how fully you empty your bowels. In fact, Adam used this to eliminate decades of constipation in just 3 days when nothing else worked… Along with 4 pounds of “stuck poop” that made him feel bloated, fatigued and heavy.

I’m not sure what part of this is spam is more delightful: the return address of easy.poopin@[redacted].com, or the remarkable specificity of 4 pounds (did they take it out and weigh it?). Glad you’re feeling lighter, Adam, and if you weren’t flagged as a likely phishing email I might actually check out your nonsense claims on account of I’ve reached the age when I have to go for a colonoscopy.

Pro tip: the receptionist that answers the phone when you call to make your appointment will not be amused if you refer to the procedure as an anal probe.

¹ Phrasing? Are we doing phrasing? It sounded a bit rude.

² Alternately, check out the Castle In The Stars series from First Second; it’s not often a US publisher reproduces that Euro collection form factor.

³ I won’t hold the underwear on the outside against you as long as you were intentionally trying to dress up like a superhero. If it was on backwards, I’m less impressed.

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