Friday, February 27, 2015

More Patreon

I figure I should update the Pateron campaign listings.  Last time, I had 19 comics but several more have been added since.  After last week's article, I really should highlight the current best option for making money.  It is a popularity contest, don't forget that, so if the comic isn't well known, well, it doesn't make any money even with a great Pateron campaign.  That said, I hope my little blog and highlighting their campaigns help them along.

These are ONLY comics I currently read, as I'm sure many of the Non-Reads have their own campaigns.  Go forth and keep these comics updating.

Bug Martini -
Chainsawsuit -
Devil's Panties -
Dumbing of Age -
Girls with Slingshots -
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal -
Schlock Mercenary -
Wapsi Square -
Between Failures -
Bohemian Nights -
Broodhollow -
Corridor Realms (Twilight Lady, Subhuman Sanctum) -
Gaia -
Gunnerkrigg Court -
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja -
The Demon Archives -
Blind Springs -
Exiern -
Sandra and Woo -
Commander Kitty -
Dead Winter -
Derelict -
Does Not Play Well with Others -
Little Guardians -
Romantically Apocalyptic -
Sorcery 101 -
Trying Human -
Zebra Girl -
Dresden Codak -

Just a reminder if you are starting a Patreon, make it obvious.  Exiern's was kind of hidden away and I almost missed it.  Also, I haven't gone through these campaigns yet, but Patreon is a monthly thing, so make sure rewards are monthly, not one time or whenever you feel like it.

Next time, um, something.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Web to Print and Print to Web

If you remember the Quasi-Awards return post from the beginning of the year, you may remember seeing me mention Shadowgirls, but not actually link it.  I do make a point of linking comics whenever they are named in an article, unless I'm really rushed (it happens once in a while).  The reason for this incident was that I went to the old link and the comic was gone.

So I did some searching using the holy power of Google, as I usually do, and I found two things.  The first was a string of reviews for a novel named The Shadow Girls, which has nothing to do with the comic.  The second was links to the comic, to be bought, in print form.

This has happened before.  Jeremy is one of my favorite comics, and one of the first to go pure print.  Marsh Rocket (another dead and gone link) did the same.  There is nothing wrong with this, let me be clear.  There is no reason for freeloaders like me to expect a comic archive to remain up forever, especially when the artist is paying for the website to display them.  Still, I think they're missing something important here.

What's missing is that a lot of people don't like to buy something sight unseen.  I imagine they're banking on fans of the comic during it's run to pick it up, but there are only so many of us for many of these comics.  Giving new readers a chance to get their feet wet before paying for the experience seems a much better idea to me.  Faith Erin Hicks did something similar with Friends with Boys, a print comic that was free for a time and I took the opportunity to even review it.

Serenity Rose did something similar when I first read it.  The middle chapters of the story were behind a paywall, but thanks to some clever introductory writing, I barely noticed and it didn't reduce my appreciation of the comic.  Later this restriction was removed and I get to read the rest and was very happy.

Stjepan Sejic, the artist of Sunstone (NSFW) went even further.  One of his print comics, Ravine, failed financially, so he's decided to convert it over to a full blown webcomic.  Yes, eventually I'll review it.  He's even provided copies of Death Vigil, his other series, on his main deviant art page, for free.  I imagine that combined with Sunstone's growing popularity has guided him to this decision, and while he won't make gobs of money on any of those comics, he'll at least make something and people will love it.  And he'll get a lot more commission work, which is growing by the day I swear.

Still, there is another reason for me to be bothered by webcomics going print only.  Back when I started his blog, I did so because I had just lost my very well paying job and I wanted something to do.  But it also made it that I couldn't exactly spend a lot of money on things that weren't necessary to live (the internet survived because of the kindness of others).  So to see these comics, as wonderful as they are, be entirely unreadable without a down payment of some kind is bothersome to me.  How many others out there would love to read Shadowgirls but can't afford the price tag?  I don't know, but I was in that place once and I know I would never had read it if it had been that way from the beginning.  I still probably won't do it due to some frugal streak I was raised with.

I won't deny these artists their desire to make some money off their work, but with things like Patreon and Kickstarter, I would think this kind of thing wouldn't be necessary any more.

Next week, I hope to have something.  Bit of a stretch getting this up between snow storms and work schedules.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Nothing Week

Yeah, I just haven't had the time to finish my next article.  Snow plus work equals no time.  Lovely isn't it?  Next week kiddies.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Not-So-Wild Review: Kiwis By Beat

My list over to the side there is every comic I read over the course of the month.  I recommend any and all of them to one extent or another.  I also use it in case I'm away from my computer as a way to check said comics.  And all of them have gotten a standard review, except one.  Kind of.  Let me tell you about:

Kiwis By Beat!

By "kind of" I mean that there is a review related to it, about Minus.  Even in my follow up though, I mentioned the full site, so it's kind of a review.  The reality is it isn't one comic, it's an anthology of comics, something that has become a growing trend.  Short Stories built itself on the idea, and several email requests I've received have all been some kind of anthology style site.  Kiwis By Beat is probably the first one I've done any official review on, and will likely become the standard for them.

Which also makes a normal, sectioned off Not-So-Wild Review a little more difficult than most.  In fact, much of it stems from one topic that hasn't shown up in any of the other reviews.  So much so there will only be two topics this round because, well, it all comes down to these.


There is something rather unique about the art.  Ryan Armand's style (that's the artist, BTW) is rather distinctive, though I always get this odd feeling I've seen something similar somewhere.  No idea where though.  While a few stories, Minus especially, are in color, the bulk are in black and white, and he takes advantage of the medium in a way few really do, often swapping between positive and negative space as necessary.

Each of the various comics is different too.  Modern Fried Snake is very flat while Monster Story has layers of shading to make it stand out.  The water color look of The Mildly Inconvenient Journey of Pelen Purul is very different from Minus.  Despite all of them sharing a basic, similar character design, each comic is different enough that it could actually be identified from the rest.  Perhaps that's why I keep thinking I've seen it before, because I'm remembering the other comics in the anthology.


If there is one thing that unites all these comics is there's a certain tone to it.  The way it reads, the way it looks, the stories it tells, the characters, all of them share the same tone.  Trying to simply describe it is, well, difficult, if not impossible, but I'll try.

In Modern Fried Snake there's a part of the story where the main character and her friend go to the city.  They see a movie, eat at a strange restaurant, possibly kill a man (never followed up on), and do some shopping.  Eventually they get handed a strange book, which was a book written against The Great Leader whose picture is like something out of Orwell.  For any other comic, this would be the jumping off point for a great adventure, discovering good and evil, etc, etc.  In this comic, they throw the book away and head home.

Nearly every story is like this.  The mundane of life is often on display, rarely is there any great battle or adventure, or if there is it's temporary or part of a bigger point.  Other stories take weird twists, like Vampire Story where most everyone becomes a vampire because they always live in mansions.  Seriously.  The Mildly Inconvenient Journey of Pelen Purul has the narrator desperately trying to convince the reader that Pelen will eventually journey home, when she seems happy where she is, and that's just a few.

And the characters follow suit as a result.  They're nothing amazing (even in Great), and they kind of go with the flow of the tale.  They're different from each other but the tone of their actions and words are almost always the same.  The majority just live rather ordinary lives, and the few who don't really aren't that extraordinary anyway.


It's hard to talk about something like a dozen comics at once, and dropping everything into "tone" might seem a bit lazy but there is a unified tone to the entire thing.  It's very easy to see it as each comic is read.  And I recommend reading them all.  They're quirky, different and fun, all the things I love to see in a comic, and there's a bunch of them here, just waiting to be read.  Minus may have brought me to the site, but everything else keeps me coming back.

Next time, um, we'll see.  I've run out of my buffer, but I still have ideas in the queue, so hopefully something.  No promises.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Retrospective: Gunshow

When I decided to do this Retrospective, I didn't really think about it much.  After all, the comic was coming to an end, and I do these for those comics.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wasn't exactly sure what to write about Gunshow.  The problem isn't the comic, it's a pretty damn good comic, and I do recommend reading it.  The problem is that it's a Gag comic.  Gag comics are just that, a series of gags, jokes, typically once a strip or whatever.  They are the staple of the newspapers, and what everyone thinks when you say "comic" in reference to print for the most part.

And Gunshow very much is a gag comic.  Oh, there are a few stories over it's run, and I'll get to them in a moment, but for the most part this is just a comic about jokes.  So what is there to talk about really?  The comic is pretty funny, I think, but humor is subjective.

I could compare it to other gag comics, but even that's kind of hard.  Every gag comic is different.  Cyanide and Happiness typically goes for the shock and crude humor, and Gunshow did that, but not all the time.  Chainsawsuit goes for the completely absurd, and Gunshow did that too, but sometimes it wasn't that absurd, and it was clear it wasn't being very serious about it.  Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal often goes for the more cerebral jokes, and, yes, Gunshow did those, but not to the same extent.

Gunshow did it's own thing, as most gag comics do.  It never quite did the same joke twice, or if it did, it tried to put a new twist on it.  Sometimes the gag was visual, sometimes it wasn't.  It wasn't always flat out funny, but often enough that I enjoyed it.  There were some odd experiments, like the series of horror strips this past October, but that was about it.

There were a few storylines, but nothing that would elevate the comic beyond it's gag status.  The Anime Club, the rabbits and the Gravedigger story were vehicles for more jokes, and didn't mean anything to each other or the rest of the comic as a whole.  But they were good, in their own way.  The Gravedigger story, especially, was quite good, especially the ending.

It was a good comic, damn good, and again, I recommend it, and I'm saddened it is gone, but not so much because I love Gunshow so damn much.  I enjoyed it, yes, but it reminds me of the steady disappearance of good gag comics on my read lists.  Oh I still have Bob the Angry Flower and Wonderella (whenever he gets back to updating it), as well as the other three I mentioned, but their numbers are dwindling.  I don't know if it's because I do tend to look for more story driven comics than straight up gag strips or if there are just fewer gag comics out there.  The latter would not surprise me in the least, actually.

But Gunshow also reminds me that even gag comics can tell stories, have good, and interesting art, and occasionally hit that emotional button just right.  The artist is moving on to other projects, including a couple comics, and I will be trying to keep tabs on them.  In the meantime, I will remember Gunshow and maybe reread it at some point, and I think you guys should too.

Next time, I do a Not-So-Wild Review, but this one is kind of different.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 Wild Webcomic Quasi Awards Winners

Welcome to the 2015 Wild Webcomic Quasi Awards.  This post will distribute awards to comics that meet and exceed the standards for which categories they are nominated.  These awards are given out by myself, based on my own experiences with these comics over their life times.  Nominations for this year's award may be found here.  For past winners please see this post.  For a more detailed set of rules regarding the process of these awards please see this post and this post.  Let the awards begin.


Best Black and White Art

When it comes to monotone are, achieving a feeling of depth is a task left to shading, something that even great line artists often can't pull off.  Allison Shabet manages this better than most that I've seen in her comic Dead Winter.  While the characters come across more, say, cartoony than other comics, the effective use of shading makes them far more realistic than other, much more realistically drawn strips.  At the same time, the use of black and white isn't done to save time or due to lack of ability, there are several strips that are in color, typically as dream sequences, so Allison is fully capable of drawing a full color strip.  Instead she chose black and white to more accurately describe the comic and it's themes.  The fact that there is one touch of color, a bit of red on two characters, drives home this point better than anything else.  That is why this comic is awarded Best Black and White Art for 2015.

Winner:  Dead Winter


Best Color Art

Stjepan Sejic is an amazing prolific artist.  Multiple comics in print, cover art for other print comics, guest comics, and of course his webcomic Sunstone (NSFW).  Saying that Sunstone is his best work is difficult as it was, until rather recently, just a side project, but even in this form, it far surpasses most other wholly dedicated webcomics.  Realistic and well adorned characters, amazing use of color and form, and the pages themselves are monstrous in size and scope.  What was once just a string of mildly erotic pin ups has blossomed into a story of love, loss, and some kinky sex whose artistic style is immediately recongnizable and amazing at the same time.  It is with this in mind that this comic is awarded Best Color Art for 2015.

Winner:  Sunstone (NSFW)


Best Gag Comic

Humor is still one of the hardest forms of art ever to exist, and managing to do it consistently is harder still.  Justin Pierce somehow manages, even when on hiatus for kickstarter reasons, to keep The Non-Adventures of Wonderella the hilarious non-adventure it is.  Being a superhero parody gives the comic plenty of fodder to play with, and a main character who is, well, lazy, a little stupid and almost always drunk means the jokes practically write themselves, and yet they don't because there is effort here, a great deal of effort.  This makes this comic the winner of the Best Gag Comic award for 2015.


Best Shortform Comic

Speaking of superhero comics, sometimes it's nice to just read one that is both sincere and playful about the topic.  Krazy Krow's Spinnerette fits this bill nicely, and more.  With each chapter being almost it's own story, it's wonderful how the characters can still be shown to evolve and grow, and how the different pieces fit into place.  With an amazing series of artists, wonderful character designs, and some tight writing, Spinnerette is not just another parody of superhero comics, but an actual one that takes full advantage of the genre and reminds readers why superheroes were so popular for so long.  For this, Spinnerette wins Best Shortform Comic of 2015

Winner:  Spinnerette


Best Longform Comic

The fantasy epic has been done many, many times, so creating one that can stand out is a feat unto itself.  Oliver Kn√∂rzer and Puri Andini succeeded in doing this with Gaia.  The world created is both intricate and flexible, and the story, while only really just beginning, demands the reader's attention.  While epic events are happening, the story manages to keep the focus on the small group of heroes and their actions, but it's clear their roles in these events will only become greater as time goes on.  The art is great, and sharp, the action clear, and the writing crisp, even if it feels a little long in the tooth sometimes.  Gaia is a comic and story set for the long haul and likely will be updating for quite sometime.  To this end, Gaia is awarded Best Longform Comic of 215.

Winner:  Gaia


Best Cast

Few comic allow more than one or two characters to get really good development, and much of this is due to time.  There's never enough strips to cover every character, their strengths and weaknesses, and what makes them who they are.  Then there are comics like Pete Abrams' Sluggy Freelance whose 17+ years leaves MORE than enough room for development for not just the main cast of the comic, but several villains, side characters, and alternate versions of those characters.  With so many plots, it's often easy to forget that the characters drive the story forward, but Sluggy manages this that even with all it's failures, the characters are still appealing and wonderful.  Sluggy Freelance then wins Best Cast for 2015.

Winner:  Sluggy Freelance


Best Character

Most of the first half of Ben Fleuter's Derelict has no dialog.  The comic's main character says nothing for the vast majority of the strip even after that.  In fact, her name, Dang Thu Mai, isn't revealed until more than a hundred pages into the comic.  And yet, the reader really comes to know and understand who she is without even noticing.  Her few words and actions do more to build her as a person than any string of shared dialog.  She's not all around great, or a hero, she's full of flaws and fears, but she's also brave enough to go where she probably shouldn't.  There is so much more to her than a name and a few streaks of green in her hair, making Dang Thu Mai the recipient of the Best Character award for 2015.

Winner:  Dang Thu Mai from Derelict


Best New Comic

Just because a comic is new, does not mean the comic is the first product of the artist.  Minna Sundberg's Stand Still, Stay Slient is not her first foray into webcomics, and it shows.  From her disciplined update schedule, a shocking 5 days a week for such large pages, to the amazing art and wonderful story telling, SSSS has all the trappings of a long running, mature comic, despite being only a bit over one year old.  It's clear that this comic, it's story, it's mysteries, it's characters and it's world are destined to stick around for a long time to come.  Thus Stand Still, Stay Silent is Best New Comic for 2015.


Best Completed Comic

Webcomics can end, and while many do seem to go on forever, many more are designed to end, with a story arc that demands an ending at some point.  As the first recipent of this award, Jon Kilgannon and Mark Sachs A Miracle of Science was chosen because it is a complete story, and was meant to be one.  The story is rather small, not an epic tale that could change the course of history, but a simple detective story, with a love interest on the side.  It manages to balance the harder science fiction with the more fanciful, play with psychology and memes and still have the main characters get together in the end.  It's a remarkable tale and one that deserves to be read which earns it the Best Completed Comic of 2015 award.


Best Overall Comic

Selecting a Best Overall Comic for any particular award period is always difficult because all the comics that win, or are even nominated, should be considered.  At the same time, simply excelling in one field or another is not enough.  With good to great art must come good to great characters, good to great story and good to great humor where applicable.  This is difficult for any single comic to achieve, and yet there is always more than a few that succeed.  This time, I have selected a comic that has done all of the above and more, and that comic is. . .

Tom Siddell's Gunnerkrigg Court.  Tom's story of a strange school on the edge of a forest is definetly one of the best comics currently updating on the web today.  It creates a wonderful world, an enduring mystery, and an amazing cast that it is almost impossible to read webcomics today without it being mentioned amongst the greats.  It captures what is great about webcomic, their evolution and scope, and encourages the reader to come back again and again.  To call Gunnerkrigg Court anything less than great is a mistake, and it more than deserves the title of Best Overall for 2015.


Thank you for read and congratulations to all the winners and nominees.  I encourage everyone to read every nominee and I'll see you next week.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Wild Webcomic Quasi Awards Nominations

Once again I am back with the Wild Webcomic Quasi-Awards.  The goal of these awards is recognize comics for their achievements in a wide array of categories.  Each nominee for their award category should represent their category at their best.  As I am the lone judge and nominator of these awards, these are my opinions based on the comics I have read and reviewed as part of this blog.  On to the nominees.

Best Black and White Art - Nominees should express great use of line, form, shape and shading using a mostly monotone pallet on a consistent basis.

Dead Winter - Zombies and the people struggling against them rarely look as good as they do in this well drawn piece whose world's only hint of color is a dash of red and a dream here and there.
Deep Fried's Weapon Brown - The post-apocalyptic Sunday funnies is dark, gritty and gorgeous.  Though it revels in the violence of the world, it also does so with detail rarely seen in most comics.
Little Guardians - The imaginative monsters that inhabit the strange world of the guardians and the human characters that struggle against their natures and destinies make this comic one of best drawn comics out there.

Best Color Art - Nominees should express great use of line, form and hue using a multi-color pallet on a consistant basis.

Sunstone (NSFW) - This absolutely gorgeous comic about love and bondage started life as a series of pinups and has only become more beautiful as time as gone on.
Romantically Apocalyptic - The photo realistic artwork of this comic is second to none and the bizarre events and characters that inhabit it are almost beyond amazing.
The Demon Archives - Soldiers in identical battle armor might seem easy to draw, but to make each stand out and create a story using those same looking characters might be one of the greatest feats one can imagine in art.

Best Gag Comic - Nominees should express excellent use of timing, word play and humor within a single strip or page on a consistent basis.

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella - She's not a hero, but not a villain either, and her non-adventures usually result in more damage than any villain can ever hope to do.  And yet, she still hasn't caught that leprechaun.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - While some jokes are more "intellectual" than others, the basis is that humans can screw up just about anything if we put or minds to it, or not.
Chainsawsuit - Sometimes a random joke is all that's needed.  There's no rhyme or reason to it, no high minded idea, and no hero to poke fun at, just random events that are too silly to pass up.

Best Shortform Comic - Nominees should be able to tell coherent and independent stories based around a small cast or idea without requiring an overarching plan or story to the comic as a whole.

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja - He's a doctor, a ninja and Irish and these are his adventures.  They're silly, over the top and often don't make a lick of sense in the long run.  Well, as long as they don't deal with King Radical.
Aptitude Test - While the story started as a simple one shot tale of a test, the ongoing short stories continue the fact that the real test is life, and a multiple choice test can only hint at person's true potential.
Spinnerette - With superhero comics either becoming pale imitations of their former selves, selling out to big media or simply dying off, it's great to find one comic that makes an honest shot at telling classic heroic tales.

Best Longform Comic - Nominees should be able to tell a coherent and consistent story over a long period following a character or cast from the first strip to an eventual last strip in an interesting and engaging way.

Girl Genius - One day, her locket broke, since then Agatha has been on a quest to claim her heritage from those who fear it, those who desire it, and those who would like nothing more than to destroy it in a world where mad science is the norm.
Gaia - A group of friends finally graduate from school, amongst the best in their class, only to have things go horribly wrong.  Through making new allies and friends, a greater adventure awaits all of them and it will take all they have and know to make it through.
What Birds Know - It was just a school project, but when three friends head into the woods what they found was a history they never knew and a fire looking for a lone spark to rise again.

Best Cast - Nominees should have a cohesive cast of characters who support and build each other in ways that make each essential to the other and creating a great whole from the sum of their parts.

Sluggy Freelance - For 17 years the ever expanding cast of Sluggy Freelance has grown, but in numbers and personally into a memorable group where no one character ever stands completely above the others.
Dumbing of Age - A kind of rehash of previous comics, the various characters from four different comics are brought together to tell a new story with fresh eyes.
Bohemian Nights - When a group of twenty-something friends get together, wild parties and drinking contests occur, but they only get a few hours to play before returning to their dreary lives and planning the next meeting.

Best Character - Nominees should be a single character that stands out from the rest of the cast with a strong personality, history or story, but also one that drives the story through their actions.

J. Thomas Blackwell from Between Failures - Though manipulative, Thomas spends his time trying to bring together his crew of retail workers to make them a stronger team, and better friends, even while he deals with his own demons he can't quite control.
Alison Green from Strong Female Protagonist - She started a revolution by taking of her mask, and now seeks to save the world without fighting a supervillain, a task more daunting than any she has ever faced before.
Dang Thu Mai from Derelict - A survivor in a world destroyed by disaster, Dang isn't some gun ho hero or ruthless monster, but a normal person struggling with her own fears and insecurities in the face of survival.

Best New Comic - Nominees should show general excellence in the creation and publication of a new webcomic starting between now and the previous nomination announcement.

Stand Still, Stay Silent - The end of the world wasn't the end of humanity, and the plaque that killed billions was only the start of the world's troubles.  Now a small group seeks long lost knowledge in the world that was.
Blindsprings - A lost princess who finally returns home hundreds of years later.  A group of persecuted magic users.  A collection of spirits who want to make a deal.  The truth of this world is slowly coming to light in this fantasy tale.
Subhuman Sanctum - A chance encounter turns a boy's life upside down, but while this new world beacons him onward, old obligations rear their head and the question of whether to follow a new way or stay with the old becomes the center piece of this comic.

Best Completed Comic - Nominees should be naturally completed comics that stand out as great pieces of fiction and art.

Errant Story - This epic fantasy tale continues to hold the standard for long pieces of webcomic fiction and stands as the artists current masterpiece.
Miracle of Science - A science fiction tale of love and mutual discovery that enthralls the reader in a wonderful world and amazing action.
Rice Boy - There are few worlds as creative and amazing as this and with a story that is epic and characters who are great.

Best Overall Comic - Nominees must show general excellence in the fields of art, writing and publication over the length of the comic's lifespan.

Derelict - A comic that hits every note of what great comics should strive for with interesting, realistic characters, great art, and an intriguing world.
Gunnerkrigg Court - The continuing story of a school on the edge of magic and science and how the two collide and interact remains one of the standards webcomics are held to.
Gaia - This epic fantasy comic picks up the torch set down by other great comics and stories and begins a new, exciting journey where the final goal is still a mystery, but it's coming up fast.