Monday, October 31, 2005

My Digtial Stripper costs $20 a song.

If you're not a webcomic geek, ignore this post.

One of the things I've sort of prided myself on is how little I know about the comings and goings of the whole webcomic community/industry/super-secret treehouse/scene. Up until about 2 or 3 months ago, I wasn't even aware that there were "webcomic collectives" on the Internet, besides Keenspot, and I only recently found out that Jin "I am Not a Goth" Wicked is still alive. A few of you might understand how dramatically "sheltered" that is in regards to webcomics. I stumble back into the scene every now and again. Each time, while I do end up running screaming from the abyss, I go little deeper with each attempt. Eventually, I find someone on the fringe with a good view, and clinge to them like crazy. Bob Stevenson of Journey into History was the first "webcomic reviewer" that I could stomach. Not pretentious in the least, he would actually point out when other people were "over-romanticizing" the whole webcomic phenomenon. (Check out some of his stuff at the Webcomic Examiner to see what I'm talking about.) Sadly, Bob's "real job" took over, and his webcomic reviewing came to a close.
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And thus I started listening to Digital Strips. Well, it's not that simple, but that's close. For the people who don't know, Digital Strips is a website where two guys do a weekly "radio-show" in which they review webcomics. This is both very good and sort of bad.
Here’s the site:
The Good: Digital Strips does not have its own webcomic to peddle. Well, it does, but it's more of a side note, kind of like the Opera section on my site (or even the Comic section, if you're feeling particularly brutal). So without a secret motive, they just give you news. Also, Digital Strips doesn't flood you with too much information. That may not sound like a good thing, but it is for someone who's not drowning in the scene. They don't report every single thing....just the important stuff. That's starting to change a bit now with updates about t-shirts going on sale, but let's not split hairs. I guess that I find their site much easier to digest info about webcomics on than, say, Comixpedia or The Webcomics Examiner. Sure, both of those sources go MUCH deeper into any topic, but whenever I visit those places, I've no idea where to begin. It’s kind of intimidating. They're both great souces, but right now I enjoy my information in a small dose labelled Digital Strips. It just feels more casual somehow.
The Bad: Have any of you seen the movie "Comic Book Confidential" from 1988? It's a documentary film about the history of the comic book industry. It features a whole slew of artist/writers, including Frank Miller, Stan Lee, Robert Crumb, and Harvey Pekar to name a few. You know what's lame about the movie? There's nothing more embarassing than watching an adult try to describe what's going on in a comic panel when you can't see it. You know what I'm talking about. We've all had the friend who likes to "tell you" what was funny about the comic they just read. Sometimes the joke works, othertimes it doesn't. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the punchline is funny in context of the strip, and when you add a phrase like "and in the final panel he's wearing a duck suit" you very often are killing the joke. If you don't believe me, rent the movie and tell me you don't squirm from embarassment for Stan Lee when he starts reading a Spiderman comic to you, complete with voices. Maybe it's just me, but that's the flaw I find in the structure of audio reviewing of a visual medium.

Damn. I meant to write a geeky endorsement of Digital Strips (because it's the only webcomic news source I routinely look at) and ended up getting seriously sidetracked. Reviewing a review site? What the hell is wrong with me? As penance, here’s a comic about the Digital Strips guys that won’t make any sense to you if you don’t know the show/site. I doodled it a while back when I noticed how EVERYONE started doing their own webcomic review-type podcast. Anyway, about two, maybe three, of you should enjoy it:
I've had it for a little while, but didn't have an excuse to post it. So I had to make one. Enjoy yourselves and talk to you later.
“who obviously has too much time on his hands...still.”


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