Promoting this from the comments because it’s great: Tim Tylor notes that a webcomicista has now achieved the last remaining category of noteworthiness, namely a walk of fame at a mall in Sparks, Nevada. Awesome!
In other news:
- Ha, ha! Webcomic artists have stubbly-shaved heads and pink mohawks and are angry about their success! That Chance Browne, or possibly Brian and/or Gregg Walker, sure has our number! Unfortunately, an estimated 83.95% (with a margin of error of +/- 106%) of their audience has never heard of “webcomics”, so the joke is kind of lost on them! By the way, it’s likely that the link to that strip will be gone in a few days, so head on over to Josh Fruhlinger’s webplace where it will be preserved forever; you can trust Josh — he’s got a place in AV Club Heaven).
- Side note: I was flipping through this week’s CSN and noticed that the Dark Horse edition of Sinfest Volume 2 is due in stores next month (or March, or maybe November?). Memory jogged: Volume 1 was due in June, but I don’t recall seeing it in my local shop (which is normally very well stocked), nor at the Dark Horse booth in San Diego, or anywhere since. It’s certainly listed at various online storefronts, but I’m curious — has anybody seen this book in the wild?
- One of the pleasures of writing for this blog is getting to see new work; I got an email a while back from a creator about a new title launching; I usually let those percolate for a couple months and then take a look at the archive — a goodly percentage never manage more than a handful of updates, so it’s as much a time-investment thing as a work-out-the-new-art-kinks thing. I was sorely tempted to break that self-imposed rule and dive in from the beginning because “Jason” (which was the name signed; the webcomic in question is credited to “Jason Dobbins”) promised to swear allegiance to my moustache (speaking of which, everybody knows about the AMI, right?). But on occasion readers of new comics start writing to me and if a new strip has people interested in it enough to prod me, there’s probably something worth checking out; so though Tales of the Eighth Grade Nothing is only about six weeks and twenty updates old, I went to take a peek.
First impression: really nice, unified design to the site, which is presented like the front of a classroom — middle school standard cursive letters (seriously, has anybody ever used that uppercase Q except maybe Fred Quimby?) form the upper wall border, a clock ticks off the long minutes until 3:00pm, and the strip itself fills the blackboard. In a particularly clever visual element, the navigation controls are chalkmarks on the board, which makes them an unobtrusive, organic part of the site.
The art has a little Ryan Estrada here, a little Terry Colon in the heyday of Suck there, (editorial aside: apparently, some content filters don’t like the proximity of the words “colon” and “suck” … I think that the people that decide what’s nasty and what’s not have more depraved imaginations than anybody they’re actually blocking editorial aside over), and a whole lot of chunky linework and very easily distinguished character designs. Honestly, I can’t say enough about artists that bother to give their creations easily-distinguishable silhouettes — it makes reading so much simpler.
Storywise, it’s a bit too early to tell, but you’ve already got your first-day-of-school jitters, unrequited love, flashbacks to embarassing uncontrolled classroom boners, and hot cruel girls who went to bosom camp over the summer. In other words, I’m breaking out in a mild sweat remembering what a nonstop horrorshow junior high school¹ was, which means I suppose it’s accomplishing exactly what it should and that’s all right.
Finally, Dobbins is including a soundtrack of his 8th grade experience, with songs appropriate to the era available in the upper-right corner; the comics-with-soundtrack idea isn’t new (heck, Chynna Clugston built a career on it), but it’s always refreshing. We at Fleen will be keeping an eye on this one to see how it develops. Only possible drawback: Dobbins has such a wealth of material to explore, Our Hero hasn’t yet sat down in 1st period. This is gonna be a loooong school year.
¹ Matt Groening once explained why junior high school is the deepest pit in hell: by segregating kids in their formative, “snotty” years, they are both less likely to abuse the smaller children in grade school, and to receive from the high school kids the beatings that they so richly deserve. Unfortunately, this leaves nobody upon which to vent their overflowing evil but each other. Stir, repeat for three years.