Comics / Essays / Notes & Observations

Essay: A bluffers guide to comics on the web

Father and I loved them; mother couldn’t read them. Her inability to connect words in pictures and build a narrative excluded her from a shared world of fun.

We bought Uncle Scrooge & other Disney series, Superman, and much more from DC, Marvel, Dell and forgotten others. The barber’s was a place to read Phantom and the inevitable war comics. Later, R Crumb and A Spiegelman explained and gave context to in the 60’s and 70’s while the student newspapers revived the earlier Little Nemo and Krazy Kat.

The later genre of “graphic novels” merely gilded a lily, and we understood the term was a pandering to the highbrow, because our comics were no lowbrow yellow paper ephemera. But it does add a nicer academic gloss.

Boxes were filled, and stored; to be later rediscovered, sought out during the rainy holiday days and winter evenings.

Mother would also have had to miss out on the latest iteration of Comics.

Webcomics are a phenomenon. Some are general, some seek out specific audiences, others are just plain political or satirical. I think the first I came across was Penny Arcade – dedicated to game players – on a link via Slashdot (which dates me, to the era of CmdrTaco and sundry Anonymous Cowards). It wasn’t that interesting to me, but our boys took to it.

Penny Arcade has grown into its own games expo (PAX), to be held in Melbourne this year. Attendance is expected to be over 60,000.

Since those earlier days, the field has expanded. My kids introduced me to JibJab, which is more a satirical video than a drawn comic, and on my own I found many more. Here are a few examples:

Nerd/ Science
XKCD stick figures of brilliance, wry and funny. Try this, for example.
SMBC

Risque (or in coy American, NSFW)
Oglaf
Groovykinda
Perry Bible Fellowship

Game playing
Penny Arcade
Three Word Phrase

Life (college, 20 somethings)
Questionable Content
Dumbing of Age
Girls with Slingshots

Political
Tom the Dancing Bug is on Boing Boing and occasionally The Daily Kos blogs. It seems to be investigating new business models at present, so access may change.

Many are gone, and many remain undiscovered …

Recommendations. please?

Lachlan Myers

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