Friday, September 28, 2012

The Newspaper List

At the end of August, my local paper (Syracuse Post Standard) declared that as of January 1st, they will shift to a 3 day a week publishing cycle, instead of a daily one.  That sucks, as reading the paper is how I wake up in the morning.  Oh, there's another local paper we could get, but, it's not that great.  Either way, I will still miss the funny pages, which is how I ACTUALLY wake up.  No, I don't drink coffee.

This is actually starting to emerge as a growing problem.  Newspapers are losing readers quickly because they're no longer the heart and soul of the American news media.  That goes to the 24 hour cable news networks, and Google News.  This means that the traditional avenue for comic artists to get popular is shrinking at an alarming rate.  Luckily, they know where to go:  The web.

Which is where I'm going for my newspaper comics starting the first of the new year.  It's very likely that we will be canceling our subscription to all but the Sunday edition of the paper (coupons!), so I'll need a source for daily strips.  Or sources as the case may be.  In any case, this article will cover where I've found the comics and be the set up for a new list on the site:  Newspaper Comics, which I'll be using daily to check strips because not all of them are in the same place.

A lot of them, however, ARE in the same place.  For this site, I actually have to thank my newspaper because of their issues with a particular comic, it led me to finding this site.  The comic in question is 9 Chickweed Lane, which I have covered in a newspaper review before.  The issue:  The comic page is in color, but at the time of the issue, the comic had a series of strips in black and white.  It was a story telling point (it took place during World War II, before they discovered color), but the paper was annoyed that their bright colorful funny pages had one lone, black and white strip.  So they shipped it off to the classifieds and replaced it with another strip (Mutts, I believe).  There have been days, however, where finding this strip has been more of a challenge than others, so I went looking for it online.

This led me to GoComics, a site FILLED with comics.  230+ comics, plus editorials, plus classics that aren't in papers any more (Calvin and Hobbes anyone?).  Most of my comic reading will come from this site as it includes comics that aren't my current paper, but ones I loved.  It even offers a FREE account feature to keep track of comics.  As of this moment, my current list has:

Garfield, Peanuts, Foxtrot, Pearls Before Swine, Adam@Home, The Boondocks, Close to Home, Fraz, Get Fuzzy, Grand Avenue, Overboard, Shoe, U.S. Acres, The Duplex, Wizard of Id, Non Sequitur, 9 Chickweed Lane, Ripley's Believe It or Not and, of course, Calvin and Hobbes.

Quite a list isn't it?  And there are far, FAR more comics there, I just haven't gone through them all yet.  At the very least, I'll have new comics to look at all the time.

But, there are quite a few comics missing.  For example, Dilbert.  There's two listings for Dilbert on GoComics.  One says "Dilbert Classics" and links to comics hosted by GoComics itself.  The other, which just says "Dilbert" leads to the official Dilbert webiste.  Odd, but I like Dilbert, so I'll have to link to the website for that.

Still others, though, are COMPLETELY missing.  And many share the same thing in common:  the same syndicate.  Syndicates, for those who don't know, are the comic middle men of the industry.  They buy comics from artists and sell them to newspapers.  Aside from sounding damn sinister, the syndicates are the reason zombie and legacy comics continue to exist in papers, and why new comics don't get into papers much, because those other comics have made the syndicates a lot of money so they pay those same comics to keep producing.  For good or ill, they'll be around as long as newspapers, and those days may be very numbered indeed.

Alright, so most of the comics that aren't on GoComics are from King Features, the syndicate that produces Blondie, Spiderman (not the comic book version) Family Circle and many others.  Why?  Because King has it's own comic site, DailyINK.  Only one small problem with it.  When I mentioned GoComics and it's accounts, I mentioned it was free.  There is a premium version of the account, which gets rid of ads, lets you access more than a week's worth of archives and a couple other features for about 12 bucks a year.  DailyINK?  There is no free account and it's 20 bucks a year.  So I'll have to find another source for these.

Which is what will mostly fill the Newspaper Comics List as most of these comics do have their own websites and I'll link directly to them.  That said, many (like Baby Blues) are two weeks behind the newspapers (which won't matter after a couple weeks of reading them, honestly).  Others are a touch harder to find stand alone (The Amazing Spiderman strip is going to be a pain to find), but I'll do my best.  This is going to be an ongoing process over the next few months as I try to find most of the comics I like reading, not just for me, but for my entire family.

As for the news?  Google News all the way.

Anyway, that's enough of that for now.  The new list will probably start going up in the next couple weeks.  Until next time kiddies.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Touching Base #11

Time for another edition of Touching Base, wherein I bemoan comics that are dead, resort the ones that aren't, and maybe actually say something about the content of the comics themselves.  Maybe.

So let's start with the dead summary.  Angels 2200 hasn't updated since December 2011, and while this would normally not be long enough for me to declare it dead, there has been absolutely NOTHING from the creator since then.  As such, I think it's time I let it go.  Same story with Nobody Scores!, which annoys me to no end.  I love this comic, and I'm really, REALLY disappointed that nothing has come of it in the last 9 months.

I'm finally sending Return to Eden to the Completed category.  I left it hoping to see when the new comic from the same artist was going to start up, but, um, it hasn't come yet.  I wish I could watch and wait more, but checking a finished comic on the off chance of another update.  Ah well, I hope I'll happen across the new comic when it starts.

Finally, Road Waffles and Starslip are heading for the completed pile, ending their long stay on the main list.  I'm still not convinced Road Waffles is done, but for the time being, I'm going to let it go.  Speaking of Starslip, however, the complete book edition of the comic has been released, so if you liked the comic enough, now you can own it on paper.

Emergency Exit is going into the Hiatus folder.  It might, MIGHT come back at some point, but with the artist's recovery aimed for 2013, and the current plan is a new comic, I think it's just about dead.

Actually, quite a few comics are going into the Hiatus folder.  Finder's Keepers stalled out back in May, and while I think it'll update in the future, I need to make room on the Weekly list.  Roza was updating up through April, then stopped.  Considering it is basically repeating the last story, I think dropping it into Hiatus is only fair.

U.F.O., joined Roza and stopped updating back in April.  Though I think some of it was due to some kind of computer error.  Special Level hasn't updated since August, however, so not every comic halted early in the year.  Either way, both are going in Hiatus.  Honestly, I don't think the artist of Special Level had the kind of passion for it as they had for Totally KotoR.  Sad, but not unexpected.

With the dead, gone and nearly gone out of the way, let's get on to actual comic updates.

Cleopatra in Spaaace! has started updating again.  Looks like this chapter will have a bit of a space cowboy motif, which makes the comic even more outlandish and fun.  If you can find it from its main page, look in the right sidebar, it's there on the top.

Elsie Hooper's long delays between updates continues.  Felt like about a month, or two, since the last update, but it did update early this month.  When will it update again?  Not sure, but with two updates, it looks like we might be finding out what happened to everyone in town.  Wonder how that film thing worked out. . .

Kiwis by Beat, home of Minus, finished up his most recent work, Vampire Story, and promises at least one new comic, and likely more updates to Modern Fried Snake, in October.  I love this artist and hope the updates continue.

Looks like The Meek will likely be updating again before the end of the year.  Maybe even by October!  I'm really excited by this and glad it's coming back soon.

Justin Pierce, over at The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, has developed a seriously nasty hand injury, and has been ordered not to do any comic work for quite some time.  Luckily, it looks like some guest artists have taken up the call, and the comic will keep going while he heals up.  I wish him luck.

I almost put Haru-Sari into the hiatus group, and am still considering it (U.F.O. hasn't updated as long as this comic), but I am holding out hope it comes back.  The last strip was kind of a down note, so I want to see how this finishes at some point, and I think it will happen, not that anything has been said about it.

Makeshift Miracle has been quiet for a bit.  I THINK they're working up another chapter, much as Skullkickers did, but it's taking a bit longer.  That said, I think the art and story for MM is requiring a bit more work to get going, where Skullkickers is mostly about violence and humor.  Priorities, I think, are part of the issue here, so I hope it starts updating soon.

Blip is still being plagued with software glitches and injuries.  I wish I knew more about what is going on with the comic, but there's not much to work with at the moment.  If I learn anything, or it updates, I'll try to let you guys know.

So Damn Bright suffered a, and I quote, “catastrophic failure," which turned out to be, again I quote, "a tad more catastrophic than I thought."  Yeah, that's a nasty issue, and the comic has been rendered dead for the time being.  It'll stay on the weekly list because, well, it's not HIS fault, and I suspect he is drawing still.  I hope so anyway, we'll see.

Bunny hasn't updated in a while either.  I don't know what's going on with that comic.  I almost put it into hiatus, but it updated back in June, so it's far, FAR too early to call it.  I don't know though, I don't know.  I blame Issac.

And wow is this getting long, so let's finish this up with comics moving on the list.

Haru-Sari, Bunny, City of Reality, currently on hiatus after a completed chapter, Aptitude Test, which misses it's Monday update more often than not but is finally getting to the meat of the conflict, Edible Dirt, Kawaii Not, neither of which has updated regularly in quite a while, and Winters in Lavelle, which I have nothing to say about, are all being moved to the Weekly category because, well, that's about as often as I should be checking them anyway.

I won't be including last weeks reviews on the read list on the sidebar, not because I'm ashamed I read them, but mostly because I don't know WHERE to put them, and the Weekly list is plenty long enough.  I think they'll end up split between T-Th and M-W-F lists, but I'm unsure.  Once I figure it out, I'll update it.

And that's it.  Wow, that turned out to be rather long.  It'll be longer as after I'm done writing this, I actually have to move the bookmarks, sort the sidebar, and update The List to not only reflect these changes, but to add last weeks new comics.  Next week I hope to have an article about something happening closer to home, so until then kiddies.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Forbidden Wild Webcomic Review: Part 2

Previously, on the Wild Webcomic Review:

These comics are a bit, fetishy.  DON'T JUDGE ME!

Now, the continuation.

Okay, it's review time.  Of the 5, two of them are NSFW (Not Safe For Work), and will be marked as such.  Four of them are on deviant art, and if I can link to the comic itself, I will.  If I can't, it'll be the artist page.  Ready?  Too bad.

231.  Vampire Cheerleaders - It's a comic about high school cheerleaders.  Who are vampires.  Hilarity ensues.  This is a manga style comic (read right to left) that isn't nearly as fetish heavy as the other comics on this list.  Oh, there's implied sex, and some self censored nudity, but nothing too risqué.  In fact, if the vampire part of the comic was pulled, no one would likely notice.  This is actually my issue with it:  nothing is really done with the vampire part of comic.  Oh, it's there, it plays a role, but there's no consequences to it.  No conflict over their nature.  Even the last major storyline, while it had a bit of the vampire as part of the storyline, most of it was focused on a cheerleading competition.  The art is manga style, very clean and very good.  They're doing a crossover with one of the other comics in the "group" so the art is very different right now, and whether it goes back or not, I do not know.  Anyway, it's a light, fun comic, but nothing serious, heavy or important.  Hell, I often forget to check it regularly.  It's probably the worst of this batch of comics, but that doesn't mean it's bad.  Maybe worth the time.

232.  The Legend of Zelda:  El Rey - I'm not much of a fan of fan fiction, and it doesn't come up a lot in comics.  The only two I can think of off hand is the part of the old Earthbeta (I still have nightmares), and 8-Bit Theater.  Still, this is an AMAZING comic.  I am not joking, fan of Zelda series or not (I am a fan) this is a great comic.  It has direction, a point, really good art, well written, and turns the classic Zelda characters on their head, but without sacrificing what makes them classic characters.  I think I know where the story might be going, but I want to see it get there, and if it's really what I think.  Completely worth fighting with deviant art to read, and as a fan of the series, it's the best I could imagine.  Go, read it.

233.  Material Girl - This comic is about crossdressing.  The basic plot is one day a boy gets attacked by his sisters neglected clothing, and they for him to wear them.  Hilarity ensues.  Then it gets a bit dark at the end.  Yes, this comic is complete, so there is an ending to it.  The crossdressing is the center of the comic, which makes sense as the artist, I believe, is a crossdresser himself.  I don't think this comic is meant to be, in any way, autobiographical, but I suspect there are elements there.  The comic is simple (4 panel, penciled strips) and focused more on individual jokes per strip than anything else.  It's light, fun, and probably worth a read through.

234.  Demon Candy:  Parallel (NSFW) - Tagging this with NSFW is only because, well it isn't safe for work, but not because there's lots of sex or nudity.  One would be forgiven thinking that, as it does take place in the mansion of the Succubus Queen, in Hell, and everyone is in leather, latex and other bondage gear basically all the time.  There is no nudity in the comic.  No sex either.  Can't even think of a moment where it's even implied that there is sex.  For a comic about various forms of BDSM play, it's very clean.  Artwise, it's very good looking and some of the best ink and paper work I've seen.  Characters are interesting, far deeper than simple demons for the most part, and that seems more the focus of the comic than even the fetishes.  How they relate to each other drives the story, which is pretty good, but I'm not sure on the direction.  The basic plot is outlined on the page I've linked, but where it's going and how it's getting there is, well, undefined.  Most of the chapters are standalone stories around some form of BDSM play.  I think it's still building up to that point, but by the rules of the comic, it's at LEAST halfway done, so I hope the build up starts showing a bit more direction.  It's interesting and well done.

235.  Shiniez (Sunstone) (NSFW) - Where Demon Candy barely even implies that sex occurs, Sunstone (the probable name of the comic) makes no bones about what it is and what is going on.  It also has some of the best, realistic artwork I have ever seen.  Perhaps TOO realistic in some regards.  Considering it started as simple fetish based pinups, I suppose that's not that surprising, and definitely one of the reasons many would consider this more useful for that reason rather than for the comic's content.  The content is actually pretty good.  The artist states that it's actually educational about the true nature of bondage, and safe practices and such.  I like it more as a character piece, where we learn about the characters and while not WHY they like what they do in the bedroom, it at least goes into how it effects their life.  Great art, good writing (if filled with typos, don't mention it, the artist knows), and an interesting story make it one of the more interesting and well done comics I've read in the while.  I will warn right now that these strips are HUGE.  One strip is easily 4 or 5 regular pages for most large comics, so be aware it could take a bit to load.

And that's it kiddies.  With that, I finish the third year of this blog.  So what's in store for the fourth year?  No idea!  I suspect I'll be finishing up the old reviews (didn't think they'd last THIS long), but beyond that, no idea.  Should be interesting to say the least, hope you kids stick around for the ride.  Until then kiddies.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Forbidden Wild Webcomic Review: Part 1

Who knows the darkness that lurks in the hearts of men?  The


Hey kiddies, finally doing another review set, but this one is a little different.  It's a two parter, for one, and for another, this doesn't have any of the comics in it.  Or any of the actual reviews.  That's saved for the second part.  The reason for this is many fold, but it comes down to this:  These are comics I've been reluctant to review.

It's not that they're bad comics, far from it in a couple cases.  There are a couple problems with them, however.  One is that 4 out of the 5 are on deviant art.  I've spoken before on how annoying deviant art is for a comic, specifically in sorting the archive.  This makes it difficult to even READ these comics, let alone share them with others.  It's doable, but annoying.

Deviant art also has it's mature content wall.  I have no problem reading a comic that features mature content (sex, nudity, violence), but deviant art does, so in order to see mature content, one must have a deviant art account.  This can seriously limit accessibility to a comic, and I don't like that at all.  I understand why deviant art does it, but it is still quite annoying.

Which brings me to the real issue, actually.  The deviant art stuff is annoying, but I have reviewed deviant art comics before.  The real issue is the content itself and how it might reflect on me.  Three of these comics feature what could easily be called fetish material, one of which is VERY fetish heavy.  The other two can be as well, to a point, and one is actually a glorified fanfic.

The point is, many of these comics are viewed for reasons other than their comic nature.  And if you can't figure out what that reason is, you probably shouldn't be reading any of these comics.  That said, I did not look for these comics for that reason.  Many were stumbled across via the favorites of artists or even comics I already follow.  Once found, the idea of using any of them for that reason is completely foreign to me.  Even the last one.  You'll see.  Anyway, I want to clear that up before I actually get to the reviews, so there's as little confusion as possible as to why I read them and why I've been reluctant to review them until now.

So next week I'll post the ACTUAL reviews of these comics, and celebrate the 3rd anniversary of this blog, so look out kiddies.  Until then.