Friday, March 18, 2011

Wild Webcomic Quasi-Award Winners

So here we are, the "award" post of this series.  Before I begin this, keep in mind these are ONLY comics I read or have read, nothing else.  There are THOUSANDS of webcomics, and I would prefer to include them all, but I can't, so I go with the couple hundred I know about and have read.

Last week, you may have noticed I put brief descriptions after each nominee.  One of the things missing from the Webcomiclist Awards was any indication WHY those comics were nominated and/or won.  Now I don't strictly think it's necessary to say why the comic was nominated, and really I just did it because I thought it would be interesting, but it did allow me to think about which comics actually deserve to win the award, and why.

So for this, each comic will get a justification.  It'll be brief and describe, as best as I can, why the comic I chose was granted the award.  This doesn't happen in actual award shows, but then they also have the recipients yak on for way too long, and it certainly didn't happen in the Webcomiclist Awards as they had comics for the actual award ceremony for each category.  As this is a purely text driven award here, I am including such statements, and I think they are essential to the award process.  Yes, the winner gets the most votes, but why?  Something like this would have reduced my confusion over the Webcomiclist Awards and I likely wouldn't have written that original post because of it.

Okay, enough of this, let's get on with the awards.  For who was actually nominated, go back to the last post guys.



Creating good black and white artwork is really hard.  Shading becomes far more important and mastery of positive and negative space is essential in order to create great artwork.  With this in mind, the award goes to Joe England's Zebra Girl.  While the earliest strips aren't nearly as good, the current structure and design is top notch and likely some of the best work out there.  Character designs are instantly obvious, and he manages to make a world that is in his chosen medium come to life in a way that the other nominees, and even majority of webcomics, simply can't match.

WINNER:  Zebra Girl



I suppose the winner of this category should be no surprise.  I pretty much gave it away in the nominations.  Aaron Diaz's Dresden Codak wins this award, and if I didn't place a wait period in these awards, probably would win every year.  The art of this comic is amazing, has been from the very beginning, and continues to improve with every strip.  The amount of time and attention he dedicates to his artwork is incredible, and reflected not only in his blog, but also the amount of time between strips.  A month or more can occur between strips, and you know it will look amazing when you see it.  No matter what you think of the stories in these comics, the art is simply superior and worthy of this award.

WINNER:  Dresden Codak



I had to reach for this one, honestly.  I don't read a lot of comics that don't use pen and paper to create the strips, so I had to dig well into my non-read and dead comic folders to find enough nominees.  I did, but that said, the winner was pretty much never in doubt.  Remco Ketting's Lizzy gets this award because no other comic I have ever read is quite like it in terms of presentation.  I originally read this strip in it's non-flash format because I don't like flash operating on my browser, but upon reading the flash version, the entire nature of the comic changed.  Animations created the missing sense of scale and movement, sounds punctuated key moments and the interactions drew you into the world.  That said, I could easily have given it to Leisuretown, one of my favorite strips of all time, except for one thing:  Leisuretown's been dead for 7 years or so.  Lizzy, less than one.  Sometimes the divide is just that small.

WINNER:  Lizzy



Deciding who to actually nominate as a gag comic was one of the harder decisions I've had to make.  Gag-a-day was the original name for the category, and kind of demanded, well, a gag a day.  Going to just Gag Comic opened it up, but even if I hadn't done that, Tatsuya Ishida's Sinfest likely still would have won.  Of all of them, this comic feels as close to what I expect in the newspapers as I can reasonably expect on the internet, while also holding on to it's own ideas of humor.  There's an innocence in amongst the jokes about sex, drugs and hell that few other comics can even approach and it has earned this award, though it deserves so much more.  VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

WINNER:  Sinfest



This was one of the hardest choices on the list.  Shortform means no long, overarching plots, but as it's not a Gag comic, I expect there to be stories, good ones.  And the nominees all manage to do that, but in the end, Tom Siddell's Gunnerkrigg Court wins.  While the others all have good, solid stories, EVERY chapter of GC is probably stronger than entire comic strip runs.  Some questions are answered, while new ones are created with every successive chapter and story, and it's never quite what you think, sometimes it's even worse.  The world is wonderful and the characters are well developed and, well, real to an extent.  The other nominees are good, yes, but none really match Gunnerkrigg Court.



I'm going to get yelled at for this one, if someone actually read this blog.  I'm giving this award to Brian Clevinger's 8-Bit Theater, and that should raise some eyebrows at least.  A year ago, no way, in fact 8-Bit likely would have been in the Shortform category, but between now and then, the comic ended with one of the longest jokes ever.  The setup and punchline were separated by almost 9 YEARS, meaning the comic had a planned storyline from nearly day one, which qualifies it here, and the audacity to actually do it deserves an award, and while comics like Errant Story and Girl Genius are probably superior and would win any other year, THIS year goes to last, great sprite comic of all time.

WINNER:  8-Bit Theater



The Cast and Character categories were actually the hardest to pick not only the nominees, but the winners as well.  So many comics are built on their stories or jokes or setups that characters often get a back seat and are rarely touched on outside of a few stand out moments.  Finding comics that require it's characters to prop it up, AND still be good is a tall order.  For the best cast, the winner is R.C. Monroe's Out There.  It is the definitive cast driven comic, defined for the first storyline being built around two people talking, and it really never stopped being that.  The cast has expanded greatly, but it still comes down to two characters talking about stuff, and that's what earns it the best cast award.

WINNER:  Out There



In many ways, writing the nomination blurps helped establish the winners of each category.  Best Cast was determined shortly after writing what Out There was about, and K from Sage Leave's Blip was determined the same way.  Despite all the weird things that happen in the world of Blip, K remains perfectly grounded in reality, a reality that isn't strictly in her favor.  She smokes and drinks too much, cusses like a sailor and when she falls into a depression, she FALLS into a depression.  She also bounces back, finds life and energy and is, well, pretty normal.  The fact that she forms such close friendships with people that they are willing to dive into the mind of a person who wronged her and do horrible things to him makes her compelling because she could never do it, and that's probably for the best in the end.

WINNER:  K from Blip



Now it's time to dig into the meat of these awards, the best of the best.  New comics come and go, often quickly.  Staying power is hard to see early on, so to get this award, a new comic has to show some serious ability and talent and encourage the reader that, no, it isn't going anywhere, and it's going to be damn good in the process.  My choice is Krazy Krow's Spinnerette.  I'd call him by his real name, but I can't quite find it.  Anyway, this comic manages to get all the cylinders firing properly, which is no surprise given that Krow has multiple comics already under his belt and has manged to come up with a creative idea and story direction.  The art by Walter Gustavo Gomez is sharp and creative, Krow's writing is witty and fun, and the stories are just right for the tone of the strip.  For a comic to come out this strong and seemingly ready to STAY this strong is something rare and special, and should be rewarded.

WINNER:  Spinnerette



And now, the final and highest award.  Being the best means doing everything great.  It's not just the art that's great, or the story, or the characters or the humor, or the drama as the case may be, but all these elements combined must be done very well indeed.  To one extent or another every comic that has won an award here could have been considered for Best Comic (except Spinnerette, sorry, you got nominated for new comic, maybe next year), but they all excelled in different areas, and few of them did all of them at once.  I also have already pretty much stated which comic I constantly think is the best, so if you've been reading this blog, you already know.  The winner is. . .

Howard Taylor's Schlock Mercenary.  This one comic has managed to do what few other comics even remotely do:  Present excellent artwork, create wonderful stories, have a large, colorful, and memorable cast, have almost impeccable comic timing, and most of all, it updates every day.  Every, SINGLE day.  To my knowledge, it has NEVER missed an update, even when the comic's servers went down, somewhere it was actually updated, and that's practically unheard of in the webcomic community.  To do all the other things would make this an impressive comic, but to do all of that AND update like clockwork every 24 hours mean this is practically a comic GOD.  It is then the Wild Webcomic Quasi-Award's Best Comic.

WINNER:  Schlock Mercenary 


Well, that's it, I'm finally done with this string of posts.  I do have to say, it's actually pretty hard, especially with a limited  library of strips to pick from.  Perhaps I was a touch too hard on the Webcomiclist and their awards, but at the same time, I think mine are, over all, a bit better.  The definition of each category and the explanation for why each comic won gives this that much extra punch and I hope you understand why I did what I did and chose what I chose.

So will there be another one?  Probably not.  I simply don't read enough comics to do this on anything like a regular basis.  Perhaps someday it can be a more regular thing, but until then, I'll just do my normal thing.

Until next time kiddies. 

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