The Art of the (Faustian) Deal

Dating can be hard. Getting noticed, making a good first impression – this is why you need a great wingman!

Oh, wait – no wings. Send him back.
(Love Advice from the Great Duke of Hell by Unfins [Damien], episode 3)

Of course, if you’re wanting to secure a happily-ever-after with the love of your life, then perhaps calling upon one of the Great 23 Dukes of Hell, ruler over 30 legions of bloodthirsty demons who could descend in fury upon the cities of the world and reduce them to ash at the mere blinking of an eye… might not be your best option. Some (including Astaroth, the Great Duke himself) might say the idea is patently ludicrous. But Paul, the protagonist of Love Advice from the Great Duke of Hell by Unfins (Damien) isn’t alone in the annals of people selling their souls for ill-conceived reward. In fact, Paul’s Faustian deal is remarkably similar to the one made by the famous Faust himself – and the others that came before them who also sold their immortal souls for… just the silliest reasons.

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DS 534: Burns So Good

Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons lies sick in the hospital, attended by his manservant, Smithers

Webcomics live so long as we, the fans (and erstwhile creators) share them with others and grow the community. To that end, Jason showed someone Hop Dude and they … appreciated it? And now he has a new one to share with The Square Comics, home of the sick burn and … well, not much else. But it does that one thing really, really, scorchingly well.

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DS 533: Surprise! Love, The Internet

Mario is being mean to Yoshi

In celebration of Mar10 (Mario Day!), we took a look at the Mario-like hop.dude by Dave Mercier. It’s … weird, and subversive, with characters you know and love from the world of Nintendo, but who you’ve never actually truly met. There’s no real way to describe this comic, so go view it on Instagram and judge for yourself.

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DS 532: Running To The Firelight

We’re always on the lookout for our next favorite webcomic, so we took a look at a couple new ones in service to that end. Read along with us on the early pages of The Firelight Isle and Kamikaze, and see if they become your new favorites.

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Why 4-Panel Comics Aren’t Always Dominating Your Screens

Last week, a great article by Peter Rubin popped up on Wired.com: Why 4-Panel Comics Now Dominate Our Screens. In this examination of ‘What makes a webcomic go viral’, Rubin posits that:

Four-panel strips have been a fixture since early 20th-century newspaper comics like Mutt and Jeff and the concomitant appearance of yonkoma (“four-cell”) manga in Japan. It’s the perfect three-act-structure: You start at one end, develop conflict in the middle two panels, and resolve with a punch line at the end. But thanks to a number of factors—not least of which is the rise of Instagram and Reddit—a gridded, two-by-two variant has come to dominate the internet.

Peter Rubin, wired.com

Whilst Rubin’s article is clearly well-researched and definitely bags the incredible and recent cultural phenomenon which has been the Aliens from Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet (the erstwhile E.T’s were originally planned to feature in this week’s blog post themselves!), I keenly felt Rubin’s omission of the greatest rival to this ‘dominant’ form: The Infinite Canvas.

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From Pictures to Prose

Webcomic authors are creative people – who can’t always be constrained by the number of words one can fit into a comic panel.

Although Lord knows the constraints haven’t stopped a creator or two from time to time (Rich Burlew, Order of the Stick #282)

As they grate to narrate, more than one webcomic artist has dabbled in the time-honoured practice of the novel – not only for collections of their comics, but for fully-fleshed works of fiction or non-fiction that either tie into their webcomics worlds, or even stand fully apart. Today, we’re going to look at a few webcomic writers who’ve crossed the comic page’s gutters and tested the idiom that a picture is worth… well, you get it!

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DS Podcast 531: They’re Gonna Swashbuckle!

Baby in swashbuckler bib

Aristocracy! Pirates! Anime eyes! Crossdressing! If you want all of those things and more in your webcomics, you can’t miss Tiger, Tiger, a Gilbert and Sullivan-like romp in the confines of your browser, written and drawn by Petra Nordlund.

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DS 530: Of The Woods, Which Are Odd

After Steve teases Jason with The Automan’s Daughter, a great webcomic that is also on hiatus, it’s time to venture back into Oddity Woods, to discover what other fun and sinister creatures await us in this cheerfully tragic story. Don’t miss this one!

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Hourly Comic Day 2019

Bringing you only the hottest of hot takes, today we’re talking about “Hourly Comic Day”, the yearly event which happens on… Feb 1?! Aw, man.

Missed the boat again! (Photo credit, Kai Schreiber, used under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hourly Comic Day is a tradition that first began in 2005, when John Campbell (of Pictures for Sad Children fame—or, perhaps, notoriety). This first outing for the event occurred when Campbell posted a journal page with a series of doodles he had taken every hour throughout the course of the day. Over the following few years, more webcomic artists picked up on the trend, until it finally became An Event To Look Forward To on Feb 1st every year, from 2008 onwards.

1 Feb 2019 was no exception, and many webcomic artists jumped on the wagon to journal their days in comic form: here are a few to whet your appetite if you missed seeing the event unfold this year (like, apparently, some webcomic columnists out there…)

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DS 529: Honey, You’re Scaring The Kids

This week, we begin our look at Oddity Woods, a cute, creepy comic that harkens back to the best parts of comics like Broodhollow and The Last Halloween in giving us quirky, fun characters and pants-wettingly scary creatures with a story that you’re sure to root for. The second part of our review will post next week. Enjoy!

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