Today’s xkcd comic, unless someone can convince me otherwise, now holds the record for the biggest comic panel ever. Fittingly, the strip is called “Click and drag” and you’ll have to do a LOT of it to read the entire thing.
At 165888 x 79872 pixels, or 1.3 terapixels, the image would fill the screens of 4212 iPads with retina displays in an 81 x 52 grid. The grayscale image is 12.3 gigabytes in size. If it was printed at a size big enough that you could see the people, it would cover a football end zone. And as you might expect in a Randall Munroe comic, there are little treasures to be discovered all over the place. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but yes, Waldo’s in there too.
Yes, there are people who have started stitching the full image together, but we’d like to warn you that the full image is not safe for work. Not that there are any naughty bits, but the full-size image is so large it will crash most computers if you try to open it.
Somewhere, Scott McCloud is smiling contentedly to himself, seeing that someone else has tried the infinite canvas. I wonder where Randall Munroe will float next…
Gentle reader, I know it’s been an eon and a half since last I told you to dust off that bookmark button. But to be honest, I’ve been buried in the same set of webcomics for a long time now, with nothing piquing my interest as such… until now. Found literally by happenstance, I bring to you today a webcomic that is not like any other I’ve brought to you thus far. I bring to you… The Gutters.
Produced and written by Ryan Sohmer, the same dude that puts out a former Webcomic You Should Be Reading, Least I Could Do, The Gutters is truly a unique webcomic beast. Instead of a singular cast, The Gutters uses today’s comic books as fodder for content. Expressing a gripe about “One More Day” or “Blackest Night,” or offering a more general comics in-joke, the strip skewers just about everyone in the industry… fictional or not! Instead of a single artist, The Gutters employs the services of a multitude of industry pros. Past strips has been drawn by the likes of Eugene JjAR, cartoonist Chris Jones, comic book guru Bill Sienkiewicz, and webcomic god Scott Kurtz. Even Least I Could Do‘s Lar deSouza lends his hand on occasion. At the end of the day, the combination of a rotating art cast with Sohmer’s wit and criticism of the comic industry equals a damn funny webcomic that had the Unshaven Comics crew doing spit takes while we roamed through the archives. Although the comic is only 40 strips old, it offers a gold mine of jokes.
Normally, I peruse the wikipedia of the “About Us” page to pick up a little backstory. Sadly, The Gutters is far too new and awesome to have garnered an entry yet. From what I can glean from the blogs, though, the project is pretty straightforward. According to Sohmer:
“In brief, Gutters is a series of standalone pages that parody the
comic book industry and the heroes and characters that dwell within.
Think of it as an editorial cartoon targeting comic books, and you’ll
understand where we’re going with it.
While I’ll be writing Gutters, Lar will be the art director with Ed
Ryzowski serving as colorist. As for who will be doing the actual art,
well, that’s where things get interesting (and slightly different).
Rather than have one artist pencil each page, we elected to have a
rotating roster of professional artists, among them some giants in the
comic book industry alongside new and emerging talent. This way, in
addition to what I hope will be a humorous comic, Gutters will also be
an ongoing showcase of art.”
Have you ever wondered why mad scientists are so intriguing? Many of us can’t help but be fascinated by this type of character. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Horrible — they are all brilliant, eccentric, and villainous. We know their experiments and actions are in terrible taste, but they’re so darn crazy that it’s fun to watch them work. They are like a train wreck, as in you know they’re bad but you can’t look away.
The infuriating yet lovable Dr. Herville Albert Schtein is among these mad scientists. This quirky genius is from Beckey Grundy’s webcomic “String Theory.” The story takes place in a late 2050’s alternate universe, where the Cuban missile crisis went horribly wrong. The story focuses on the laboratory in which Dr. Schtein and his fellow scientists work with plasma wave converters, super magnets, and fluffy test rodents.Very technical stuff. The webcomic begins soon after a deadly lab explosion, which leaves Schtein with two new things to look forward to: a pair of bio-mechanical eyes, and a replacement assistant. However, Schtein’s excessive jerkiness discourages people from staying in the same room with him, which is an obvious problem for his new assistant, Delia Osgood. Though Schtein is the best-of-the-best, his superiors are losing patience with his behavior. He must set aside his disdain for people if he doesn’t want to be canned, or worse, one-upped by his arch rival Professor Langstrom.
Schtein may be an ass, but we can’t help but want to see what will happen to him next. Grundy’s character-based story draws readers in, and does a great job of making an unlikable person, surprisingly, likable. The plot has interesting twists and turns, but this webcomic seems far from over. It feels like Grundy has quite a bit of story left to tell, and I am personally looking forward to every update. Mood wise, the plot goes up and down. There are comedic moments along with several sinister situations. Perhaps a better way to describe it is that the basic plot is serious and mature, but a layer of lightheartedness keeps it from getting overwhelmingly dark.
The first half of the story is in black and white, though some color was thrown in on occasion. The more recent pages have been in full color, which is lovely. Well, as lovely as the gloomy atmosphere allows. The character designs are great, and Grundy has a talent for making them distinct and fun. Emotions are captured very well through the character’s expressions and behavior, and they are a delight to watch in action.
If you’re looking to get a fix of mad scientist adventures, I’d recommend “String Theory” for your reading pleasure. I don’t envy this Schtein fellow, what with him being neurotic and disgruntled, but it sure is entertaining to watch his mind at work!
“Gunnerkrigg Court” doesn’t need me to play its publicist, but then again, a little extra publicity never hurt anyone. (Unless you’re Kate Gosselin…Ahem!) This webcomic has truly earned its fame and fans. It offers a crisp look, detailed environment, fine-tuned story.. everything that ultimately captivates the audiences.
Created by Tom Siddell, “Gunnerkrigg Court” follows the adventures of Antimony “Annie” Carver, a model for calm and collected characters. After the death of her mother, Annie enrolls in Gunnerkrigg Court, a boarding school devoid of nature and saturated in artificiality. The Court is filled to the brim with friendly robots, magical creatures, secretive teachers, lively students, and mystery; don’t forget the mystery. Although Annie is more comfortable around ghosts and shadow creatures than her fellow students, she soon befriends the outgoing, techno-savvy Katerina “Kat” Donlan. Together with her companions, Annie explores the Court to unveil the truths hidden within its walls — Why are the Court and Woods divided? Who exactly is Reynardine? Where is Annie’s father?
Siddell has worked on the webcomic for over five years, and avid readers are still hanging on every update, hoping to discover answers to the mysteries that plague the Court.Siddell assures his audience that by the end of “Gunnerkirgg Court,” all major mysteries will be solved. The creator throws his readers bones (i.e. clues, hints, explanations) throughout the story, some of which you may not notice unless you’ve read through the webcomic more than once. Now don’t let all this talk about mysteries intimidate you. If you’ve developed the impression that “Gunnerkrigg Court” will leave you unsatisfied due to a lack of answers, then please don’t fret. A substantial number of answers have been revealed since the start of the webcomic, and trust me, the unanswered questions are nowhere near as frustrating as LOST’s.
Hear ye, hear ye! WYSBR is now in session! I hope everyone has been keeping up with their webcomic reading. There are many webcomics to explore and rave about, so lets not waste any time. We’ll start this segment with a personal favorite of mine: Lackadaisy.
Created by Tracy J. Butler, this webcomic takes place in St. Louis during the 1920’s Prohibition. Lackadaisy focuses on the adventures that ensue when running a speakeasy, an establishment that illegally serves alcohol. The stakes are high as characters risk everything to save their cherished speakeasy from being crushed by the competition.
You may be wondering why the characters are a bit on the furry side. Butler’s characters are all anthropomorphic cats, but don’t let that give you the wrong impression. These aren’t the type of furries that make you wonder what the heck “yiffing” is. You can’t help but be charmed by these fluffy cats. Each character has a unique personality that is projected through smart, snappy dialogue and wonderfully detailed expressions.
Speaking of details, Butler never holds back when it comes to detailing every aspect of Lackadaisy. Clothes, furniture, vehicles, and architecture are exquisitely designed to capture an American 1920’s atmosphere. The talented Ms. Butler sucks readers into Lackadaisy‘s lively St. Louis, which is fine with me because it’s an exciting, dramatic place full of colorful characters.
For the past few years, Lackadaisy has gained attention, praise, and thousands of fans. Butler’s webcomic won her the 2007 Webcartoonists’ Choice Awards for Outstanding Newcomer, Artist, Character Rendering, and Anthropomorphic Comic. More trophies were added to Butler’s cabinet after winning the 2008 Webcartoonists’ Choice Awards for Outstanding Artist, Black and White Art, Character Rendering, and Website Design. Many people would agree: Lackadaisy is full of win.
If you like the roaring 20’s, cool cats, or impressive webcomics in general, then give Lackadaisy a read. Chances are you’ll find something you love about it.
A quick tip of the hat to two Webcomics You Should Be Reading:
Monster Commute just celebrated a year and 267 strips online on September 15th, 2009. “While it’s not 10,000 pages or anything that grand, it is cool to have gone a year and and not missed any updates. It’s little, but it’s OUR little milestone” claimed artist/writer Daniel M. Davis. “I also invented the savory porcupine,” he said.
To mark this occasion, the LA band Puke and Spit has written and recorded the “Monster Commute theme song” which is being offered for free on www.monstercommute.com.
And speaking of monsters, Bernie Hou’s Alien Loves Predator has just hit a somewhat obvious milestone of its own.
It’s not true that every webcomic will eventually have a
book, even if it seems that way. There are some projects that even [[[Lulu]]] will
choke on; some things that are too short and obscure and just plain pointless
to be immortalized in cold print. But, with magazines and newspapers running
around like the proverbial head-chopped chickens – all the while conveniently
neglecting to mention the fact that newspapers had the most profitable two
decades of their existence right up to a handful of years ago, and collectively
blew those profits on buying each other out and paying off the families who
were smart enough to take huge wads of cash and toddle off to do something less
glamorous, like badger sexing – webcomics are beginning to look like the only
good game in town, so even staid book publishers – like Del Rey, the science
fiction imprint of Ballantine, which, despite being part of the massive,
serious, Bertelsmann/Random House empire, has made buckets and bushels of money
over the past thirty years from [[[Garfield]]] books and even less likely drawn items – are surfing heavily from work, calling
it research, and drafting up big-boy contracts for cartoonists whose work has
only previously appeared in shining phosphor dots.
(And, now that that
sentence has cleared the riffraff out, let me get down to specifics.)
The house most active in snapping up webcomickers is the
comics publisher Dark Horse; I don’t believe they intended it that way, but
they’ve taken a strong line in signing up nearly all of the webcomic creators
that I read and appreciate on a regular basis. What does that leave for other
publishers? Well, it’s a big web, and God knows – despite my occasional
pretense otherwise – I’m not the Czar of Online Comics (though that would be a great job to have – mental note: give BHO a
call later to see if it’s possible), so there are almost certainly dozens of
damn good comics online that I don’t already read.
Which is a really roundabout way of saying
that I wasn’t familiar with [[[Goats]]] – even though Rosenberg has been doing it since the end of April 1997,
and the entire archives (including the strips reprinted in this book) are all
available online, costing no more than a few cents for electricity and an
attention span unusual in any web-surfer. If you don’t believe me, have a link – that goes back to the very first
strip, which, in usual daily-comics fashion, bears very little resemblance to
the strips reprinted here.
Yup. I’m sick. Twisted. Perverse. Warped. Dare I even say (dare… dare….) a little insane in the membrane. Why you ask? Simply put… someone sent me a link to this crudely drawn little webcomic, and after a single strip, I knew I must share this with the six or seven of you who haven’t heard of it. What lay ahead in this article will make some of you angry. Others will throw their hands up in disgust and curse loudly at the screen. But there will be those who see this as a new beacon of hope. Yes my friends, I bring to you something so wrong it must be right. A webcomic that appears to challenge xkcd in artistic merit, and tickle the nethers of the Parking Lot is Full for content. Look quickly beneath this velvet drape and behold the evil hilariousnesstitude of… Cyanide and Happiness!
The strip starting humbly by a young Kris Wilson, who was then suffering from strep throat (seriously folks, if Wikipedia didn’t exist, I might not know anything.). Kris caught the eye of web hosts Matt Melvin, Rob DenBleyker and Dave McElfatrick. Soon thereafter, the strip was given a home on what is now Explosm.net. While Wilson was the originator of the comic, over time, Matt, Rob, and Dave joined the fray, helping to add strips since it’s inception in 2005. But seriously, enough with the “information”… I know those who didn’t heed my warning above want to know why I’m giggling like priest in an elementary school over this ugly ugly strip.
Cyanide and Happiness by definition is described as “dark, cynical, often offensive, and exceedingly irreverent. Frequent topics of humor include disabilities, rape, cancer, murder, suicide, necrophilia, pedophilia, sexual deviancy, sexually transmitted diseases, self-mutilation, nihilism, and violence. The comic does not always have a definite punchline in each strip, or may have several panels of “awkward silence” after (or instead of) the punchline, with characters simply staring at each other.” (again, kudos to those wikipedia writers… where do they get the time?!). If that description doesn’t make you foam at the mouth for examples, well, you’re probably more normal than I am.
As one cycles through Cyanide and Happiness, it’s obvious there’s a good sense of timing, and a deliberate storytelling ability, despite the art being all but non-existent. Yes, it’s essentially stick figure humor, much like the aforementioned xkcd, but for all of dumb people who find strips like these far funnier than these. And yes, I know I’ve already waxed poetic on xkcd, and now you loyal FOMAFers (again, if you DON’T know, well, look it up.) are getting your panties in a bunch. Did Marc just go back on his word? Is he saying Cyanide and Happiness is somehow superior to xkcd? Is he trying to start a flame war? Yes. I am. I want all of you to get riled up and start a crazy posting war. Tell your friends… get them involved. Tweet about it on your dingleberries, and update your mybooks with your facespace messages. I want to see vile comments lambasting my parents for even giving birth to me, which leads (eventually) to you having to read this article, and now you’re so angry you just have to…. AAAAHHHH!!!
I admit it. No need to twist my arm behind my back and make me cry “Uncle! Uncle! Oh Uncle, why would you twist my arm like this? What have I ever done but love you!!!”…Ahem. I admit to you I am a nerd. A dweeb. A dorkus-milorkus. I have from time to time sat at a table with nothing more than a pile of books, dice, pencils, and Mountain Dew, all to play an evenings worth of Dungeons and Dragons. I have from time to time, fired up a video game system to bring death and destruction with linked Ions Cannons. I even admit that I know that Ion Cannons are primarily used to destroy shields in the X-Wing vs. Tie-Fighter series… so saying I would use them to bring death was a false statement. Nerdy enough? Thought so. My collective of FOMAFers… I return once again to tickle your faces, as I bring you another webcomic to toss into your web feeder gizmo-gadgets. I bring you “Full Frontal Nerdity”!
Born as a sister comic to the popular Nodwick series by Aaron Williams, Full Frontal Nerdity takes the “Gamers at a Table” concept to fruition. Updated every week, Aaron delivers a ton of yuck-yucks to those of us who have spent an evening or two under the thumb of a wicked DM. For those of you who don’t know what a DM is… you may want to wikipedia “Dungeons and Dragons”. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Back? Good. You may have noticed that “Full Frontal Nerdity” doesn’t have an entry on said online encyclopedia… so, consider the history lesson here over. How about instead we open up the floor to the humor.
FFN places us (generally) at the table of three live (plus one webcam dude) gamers. The jokes generally stem from traditional things we nerdy-nerds tend to deal with. From the DM who invents problems and can’t out-think his players, to the players who simply swing their axe at any problem that comes to them. Aaron obviously knows his RPG jokes down pat. While certainly less accessible then some of my other picks, it didn’t take long to scour through the archives of FFN to determine I had to share it with you. There’s enough pop culture reference as well as ventures outside the gaming, that are too good to pass up. It also didn’t hurt that my fellow Unshaven Comic creator (and my roommate, and one of my best friends of 15+ years….) told me about it, and even helped pick the list of examples to share with you. What list you say?
You walk down the dimly lit corridor. You notice cobwebs flickering in the torch light, in every corner. The dungeon smells of sulfer, rotting meat, and Calvin Klein’s Obsession… And then from out of the darkness a horrible giant list of comics confronts you!!
Roll 2D20, and see if you make your will save before checking these out:
Truth time, FOMAFers*, I found this webcomic a couple years late. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s still going… but I know out there in cyberspace, someone will snicker when they see this week’s choice. I can see them now, sipping a Brandy Alexander, puffing away on a grape cigarello. I can see them, and frankly, I hate them. Anyways, back to the topic at hand. On a recent tour of the internet (which seems to get bigger every day, I tell h’yew h’whut, I came across a comic that made me chuckle. I skimmed back across a few more strips, and more laughs fell from my mouth. Two hours later, I’d realized I forgot about addressing my save-the-dates with my fiance, and was promptly put in the dog house. Because I was in the dog house anyways, I cracked open a browser, and continued laughing until the wee hours of the morning. What made me laugh you ask? Why don’t I tell you… it’s the “Least I Could Do”. Get it? See what I did there? Yeah, I’m that awesome, and that’s why you’re a FOMAFer**.
“Least I Could Do” is a wonderfully humorous tale of a would be casanova, Rayne Summers. In another world, Rayne might be just like most of us… a bit of nerd, a pinch of geek, a jot of immaturity, and a dash of twenty-something sex maniac. The misadventures of Rayne have been dutifully written by Ryan Sohmer, and drawn first by Trevor Adams, then Chad WM. Porter, and now Lar deSouza. The strip has been going on since February 10th, 2003. Presently, it’s boasting daily updates. Kudos to them. But enough with the wikipedia crap, right? Let’s get into why this strip is heavy on the yuck-yucks.