The webcomics blog about webcomics

Back to School!

Yesterday morning I carpooled into town with my housemate on the way to work (it’s a longish story involving a haircut appointment, a crap bus schedule, and the Dalai Lama). I was in the middle of a transaction at the teller window when I heard, “Anne! Look!”
I turned around and saw a scruffy looking kid sauntering across the bank lobby with the Red Robot on the back of his black hoodie, and then my housemate said something that sounded like mumble mumble Exploding Dog? mumble and I realized, interestingly, that even though she reads both Exploding Dog and Diesel Sweeties, she knew the character but didn’t associate it with the comic of its origin.

It got me thinking about how webcomics references pop up in the most random places. Not long ago, I was at a drugstore on the main street of the town where I live, and I was being rung out by a teenaged cashier who’d stuck a hand-written sticker on her uniform which read, “I’m a rocker. I rock out.” It was weird enough that I couldn’t help but comment, “Hey, I know a guy who makes t-shirts with that slogan on ‘em.” She looked at me with the disdain reserved for old, un-hip folks and said, petulantly, “Well, it is a really popular webcomic, you know.” Yeah, I thought, that was kind of my point.

I had begun to wonder if it was just going to be all Diesel Sweeties references (surely other webcomics show up in weird random places!) but last night I returned to my alma mater to lecture, and the first thing out of someone’s mouth in the audience participation part was “goats!” Which of course led to a digression about Goats.

When I got home yesterday evening, I found a charming wee email from Kyle Sanders, prompted by my column last week. He’s the creator of Standard Deviation, which he describes as “a webcomic based on the college experience.” I figured I’d have a look, for a few reasons (including the timing, which was just too perfect with me all nostalgic and such). First, I know that there’s a whole lot of webcomics on the college experience. Second, I usually enjoy reading them since my college experience deviated pretty radically from the traditional experience (did you check out that alma mater link?) It updates Tuesdays and Thursdays, and has been online for just over a year (though, of course, he’s been drawing for a while longer than that…), so it’s still fairly new and the archives aren’t too difficult to read through.

But while I was reading through his archives, I also clicked on a link for Blue House Comics by Stirling Morris and Shawn Miller. It’s also about the college experience and seems relatively new as well (it updates Mondays and Fridays).

I’m still, of course, reading through them both, but my initial responses are fairly positive. I’m enjoying reading through the archives, despite a few small navigation issues, and I was wondering if there were other “college experience” webcomics out there that folks read and enjoy?

[...] Anne Thalheimer of Fleen reviewed Standard Deviation and Blue House Comics as part of a longer piece about webcomic mainstreaming. …read the essay. [...]

I was pretty giddy seeing the “Republicans for Voldemort” sticker on a car at REI ’bout 6 months ago. Like I knew something they didn’t. So I poked my wife, pointed it out, and told her so.

I actually have one of those stickers on my car too, and literally 6 hours after posting this column I’m filling my car with gas in the little town where I live, and the truck in front of me has one on it as well! So I struck up a conversation about webcomics with the truck’s owner. Random & awesome!

That must have been the best digression ever.

[...] Speaking of college themed strips, John Kroes writes to invite you to Last Ditch Effort, which runs both online and in several dozen college papers across the country. [...]

Hey thanks for mentioning my comic, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the strip. I hadn’t heard of this website until Kyle dropped a note on my site about him getting us mentioned on it. Stay tuned for more hilarity!

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