The webcomics blog about webcomics

How Many Days Until The End Of Finals?

This is the first post from Contestant #10

As a college student in the final week of class, I am fighting between a deep desire to be a fangirl slacker and … reality.

Fangirl: Is the package in my mailbox my Wigu book?!
Reality: Oh, grr, paperwork to fill out for my study abroad. Which will be awesome, but … reality bites.

I’m just glad that my webcomics mirror my moods, and do it well.

I’m not sure if Multiplex is meant to be college students. The majority of the characters, according to the cast page, are 19 years old. Which is, of course, how old I am. Perhaps this particular Multiplex is located in a college town, but the characters are certainly pretentious enough about popculture to be college students.

Today’s strip features J.J. Abrams, Lost, Alias, Star Trek, Obi-Wan Kenobi, jumping the shark, and a passerby so frightened by the fanboys that she walks away. If that isn’t college in a nutshell, my friends, I don’t know what is.

If only there had been a reference to 24. WHERE IS THE DEVICE?!

The reality side of college is quite artfully done by Sandra in Friendly Hostility, formerly of Boy Meets Boy fame. The current arc deals with real college problems. Where to sit in a crowded lecture hall? Who would be the least unpleasant person to drag through a group project? Surely it is not the girl whose hair has an absurd poof. And the kid with the Jesus Pencil? Sketchy. The only thing that would have made that arc even better would be running into an ex. But Collin is asexual, so that point is moot.

Oh, college. Where else would I have hours on end to nap and read the entire backlogs of new-to-me webcomics in days? Until next time, ♥

The Next Fad Diet?

This is the first post from Contestant #3

Silent Hill is running amuck all over my favorite comics today. I was shocked at how well the game was captured, bemused at how much wasn’t. More importantly though, it put me in the mood for disturbing storylines and unsettling characters. No Rest for the Wicked delivered today with a pie-sized helping of both.

Those unfamiliar with the story (which just turned 3 years old) need only extract the best of the Brother’s Grimm, a little Hans Christian Andersen and set about on a quest for the grittiest graphics and dark-darling characters. This is what you’ll find. I admit my impatience with her slowly unfolding story arc these past two months had nearly worn me out. Today she released two comics in tandem in order to allow the plot twist to be revealed without sacrificing suspense.

I like jokes involving eating babies and cannibalizing children as much as the next guy, but today’s plot twist revelation has left me more than a little uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the way Andrael drew the story so that it was only deliciously implied that there was child-eating. Maybe it’s because these characters and their stories are so familiar to me and yet the story is so original and unpredictable. Either way, when I went searching for the scary and the distinctly uncomfortable, I found it.

Reading web comics with an obvious plotline, character development and plausible ending are far more painful than reading the ones that rely on gag strips and cultural parodies that could theoretically go on forever or until the artist explodes, hand poised over Wacom tablet. No Rest for the Wicked feeds on an obsession some of us have with great stories, one page at a time, a spoon feeding of good storytelling. Addicts were never meant to live this way.

Busy Being British Blokes

This is the first post from Contestant #6

What constitutes “news”? in the webcomics world is a murky issue, at best. Sometimes it can be as hilarious and thrilling as the latest call-to-arms against the day’s Jack Thompson. Often, though, it is more like wondering what substance Jeff Rowland was ingesting when he made the day’s Overcompensating. Such are the lives of the fabulously rich and powerful masters of webcomics, and we are at their terrible, inhuman whim.

Anyway, I was going to write about the news over at Dinosaur Comics today (Monday, April 24th, 2006, for those of you in the blasted, dystopian wasteland of the grim future). Ryan tells us that he has added a new feature to the RSS feed site he created, RSSPECT: “Now you can use RSSPECT to create an RSS feed for almost every single website (or document) on the internet!�? Rock out, Mr. North. I salute you. But not as much, because someone already talked about that.

But I digress. Today marks the St. George’s Day British Webcomic Piss-Up. It’s a get-together for British webcomics to ostensibly celebrate St. George’s Day, but mostly to make comics about swords. Honestly, I can’t think of a good reason not to celebrate swords. Delicious, delicious swords

Check it out and the comics involved. It’ll do you good, and you’ll get your recommended daily serving of iron. You might find a couple comics of your liking that are outside of the usual community.
I certainly did.

On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again, Off-Again …

This is the first post from Contestant #2

Tatsuya Ishida has me right where he wants me. Despite the unexplained disappearances, the less-explained reappearances, despite the waiting (Oh! The waiting!), I’m still checking Sinfest every day.
This would make sense, you know, back when Sinfest actually had a frequent update schedule. Nowadays we get our strips in spurts, much like a lab rat being fed pellets by disinterested researchers.
And yet, I’m still going back every day. Why? Because today could be the day that Sinfest returns! You may well be calling me crazy at this point; I can’t say I blame you. Why not check back once a week and save myself the letdown?
Because today could be the day. Intentionally missing a day would be giving up, admitting that I don’t know when Sinfest is coming back.
Today could be the day. Even though the whole Slick’s date with Monique never really got resolved …
Today could be the day. And lo and behold, dear readers: a Sinfest strip dated April 25, 2006! Yessssssss.
And looky: It’s got some sort of alien fembot chasing the Devil with a butterfly net! I’m not quite sure what it means at this point, but let’s get real, here, people. It’s an alien fembot chasing the Devil with a bleedin’ butterfly net. With shit like that, Ishida could stop updates for years and I’d still be there every day. Ishida could egg my house, key my car, slip a roofie in my Piña Colada, whatever! I’m still a-clickin’ on that link in my bookmarks.
And the worst part is, he knows it.

Research Animals Are Hi-larious … And Full of Science

This is the first post for Contestant #8

When I have the desire, nay, the need to read about sarcastic, indignant lab animals I go straight to the source … Able and Baker by Jim Burgess.

It’s guest-week at Able and Baker; so let me refresh your inter-web memory on the subject of amusing research animals.

Able and Baker are a monkey-sheep duo that spends their time working as lab animals for a research facility. (Don’t worry folks; they are there for science! Not for makeup companies or shampoo products)

Able is the egocentric, grand-scheming monkey who dreams of fame and it’s saucy cousin, power. Baker plays the straight-faced foil to Able’s schemes and half-baked ideas. Together they are a formidable pairing whose hijinks know no bounds … none I tell you.

This week Jim has let others draw his comic for him, stating that this is his first guest-week ever. The first guest artist is Forrest from Reality in Repair. Forrest does a mighty fine job at staying true to the character’s personalities, and more importantly, staying true to the hijinks. If prank calling people from space isn’t enough hi for your jinks, then I don’t know what is. His artwork is a little more jagged than Jim’s, which adds a Reality in Repair touch to the comic.

It should be interesting to see how other artists later this week interpret and render his comic about a monkey befriending a sheep.

You know, It’s a proven fact that monkeys make great B. F.F.’s.

(Best friends for-ever fool)

Just A Little Bit

This is the first post from Contestant #7

Dinosaur Comics creator and wonderful human being Ryan North has made an interesting update to RSSPECT (his free, ridiculously simple RSS feed generator for your site). You can now generate a personalized feed from any existing site (for example this strangely topical one I made just now, or this one he’s linked). This thing makes it so incredibly simple for comic authors to syndicate content and updates, and I think he deserves a cookie for his efforts. Maybe even like five cookies. Seriously, somebody get on that.

So, what else. Natalie Dee’s got a few new shirts for sale, limited edition! She will stop selling them May 5th … or will she? It’s a lie. Seriously, every time she has a sale like this I just have to shake my head in some mixture of confusion and rage, because to my knowledge she has never discontinued a shirt, ever, and this is definitely not the first ‘limited time offer’. A pox on thee, wench, and thy unclean merchandise. Maybe even like five poxes.

On to other things. Bunny! Honestly I cannot stress enough how much you should all buy this book. Vaguely similar in style to the aforementioned Mrs. Dee, with a hell of a lot more substance. If you’re looking for a good time run through the archives, it won’t fail to amuse. There are few webcomic artists out there who can write as well as they draw, so a comic of this quality by a single author is kind of a rarity.

Oh, and Scientology jokes never get old. Ever.

Alien Loves Predator Versus Shark?

This is the first post from Contestant #9

As soon as the word ‘Acid’ was mentioned by Hilary Clinton, I knew that Abe would somehow save the day. I love being right. However, beneath the smugness, there is an underlying worry that Alien Loves Predator is in danger of Jumping the shark.

Take a minute to boo me, throw your rotten tomatoes and broken bottles. It’s okay. I can wait.



Mainly, I’m worried about the whole Corinna moving in situation. I know that might seem like a long time ago now, but what with the guest Strips and the baby being born, it feels like the Bill Clinton story line is the first chance we’ve had to see Corinna in action as a main character. The question is, where does the ALP dynamic go from here? Already, it seems like Preston and Corinna are going down the Nials/Daphne or JD/Elliot path of will-they-wont-they sitcom cliché. Of course, they might not. After all, a comic starring an alien and a predator in action figure form tends to be pretty clear of cliché. But if they don’t, where does that leave Corinna as a character? Will she just fade into the background like Ctrl Alt Del‘s Scott? or PvP‘s Robby and Chase?

I hope not. If there’s anyone who can put a fresh spin on a situation, it’s Bernie. Even if sometimes it involves forcing me to imagine Bill Clinton’s genitals being melted by acid.

But All Elves Do Is Make Cookies And Star In Commercials, Like M. Night Shyamalan

This is the first post from Contestant #1

I have a lot of conversations that leave me wondering how a garage door opens, especially after that Monk aired. Robots are too literary to watch television, so how did the colloquy in Killer Robots From Outer Space start? Now that I think about it I would assume it would start by walking past a garage door opening, since that is how most conversations commence. But as led to believe the Killer Robots are from space. In space I could not picture garage doors, although they could just be from space, not currently residing there.

I think today’s Killer Robots From Space gave me the best metal picture since the suicidal Arby’s sandwiches. Acrobatic elves climbing on top of each other just to open a garage door, or elves with smug expressions controlling the roller coaster esque garage door opener.

On a side note I listened to the Point of Futility “podcasts‿. They were some kind of awesome. The whole time I was listening I was trying to decide whether there were a lot of inside jokes, or if Max and Nick were just that cool. I finally settled on the latter.

Coming Soon: New Voices

The first round of finding new Fleen writers is complete. Starting sometime tomorrow, I’ll be posting (under my account) pieces written by those invited to Round Two. Tomorrow is the Current Events challenge, and Wednesday will be the Unknown Strip Review challenge.

You, the loyal Fleen reader, will be part of the selection process. If you see something that you think is particularly well-written, please add a comment. If you find something that’s inane or done poorly, do the same. Think of it as being like a reality show, only you’re basing your votes on skill instead of personality. Your opinions will be weighed along with other factors to figure out who achieves the long-sought goal of every writer: a pittance of a salary and booze bought by the publisher.

Now That’s What I Call A Response

We are approaching a dozen respondents to our recent call for contributors; there have been some questions about the gig, so we’ll address those here, in no particular order.

  1. Did you get my submission? ‘Cause you haven’t written back yet.
    Yes, we did; we’re still going through and deciding which we like best. We’ll be contacting some of you for a second round of submissions.
  2. Wait, “some of you”? You hate me, don’t you? I suck.
    No, no, nothing like that. It’s just that some of you have a style that’s a bit more in line with what we’re looking for, and some of you sound a little bit like you’re submitting an essay in English class. Part of what we’re looking for are writers that have their own voices and don’t sound 95% similar to the other applicants.
  3. When’s the deadline?
    Well, let’s say that Fleen is on an open-admission plan. If you don’t think you have the time to commit now, but find you have the time in the future, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll consider you (I’m talking to you, Mr Math Guy). For this round of submissions, let’s say that getting something to us by the weekend would be good.
  4. You said “compensation”. What’s up with that?
    Actually, what we said was, “The compensation is so small that you may not even notice it is there.” It involves a cut of the ad revenue (my share from inception to date comes to about US$0.20) and you get your beer bought for you when in the physical presence of the publisher, which is helped by a proximity to Manhattan (for me, fairly regular; for Jeff, not so much). There’s also the intangible benefits you get from sharing your opinion with the world, and occasionally annoying William G.
  5. I’m thinking of submitting samples. What would make my writing better?
    Best damn question we’ve gotten! First of all, read through and make sure that what you’ve written is logically and grammatically solid. Check for spelling. I have poked some fun at Eric Burns for his … verbosity, but I can count on one hand the number of typos that he’s made in the past 100,000 words.

    We’re a blog, so show us that you can locate links that support your ideas, and include those in the body. Did we mention spelling? Check again. And so far, the front-running topics are Penny Arcade, Questionable Content, and PvP; you might want to address something a bit further afield so we can see your range. Also, that 15-paragraph opus looks nice, but remember the goal is to convince us that you can write something five days a week. Two to three hundred tight words a day will thrill us.

  6. Can I be an asshole? Or write about what sucks and say that it sucks?
    Sure. We’re here to talk about the good and the bad in webcomics, but we’ve attracted something resembling a reputation for having well-written and well-thought-out stuff here, and don’t want to lose that just because you got a mad-on for the world. If you can channel Ambrose Bierce or Dorothy Parker, great. If the best you can do is THIS SUXXORS [name of creator] IS A FAG, don’t bother.
  7. Can we work from home?
    You sure as hell aren’t going to be working from my home.
  8. Seriously, you hated my very personal, soul-baring essay, didn’t you? I suck.
    Yeah, you suck. Everybody else is okay.
  9. Tuesday Crimson sounds hot. Can I date her?
    You suck, even more than that last guy.