Interest Piquers #6 ~OR~ History Has A Purpose

Greetings, DS loyalists! The entirety of my week has been spent working my way through T Campbell’s A History of Webcomics, which I just finished last night. While I’m still gathering my thoughts for the impending review, I can tell you that my main focus will be this: the book is unnecessary.

A history, huh? Of something that, by Campbell’s own definition and admission, is no older than a decade, if THAT. And someone thought it necessary for us to look back and see where we’ve come from ALREADY? It’s a self-servicing idea that does nothing to advance the medium that is still too young to HAVE a history. I’ll save any more lambasting for the review, which will be coming sometime early next week!

But the news in Webcomicylvania is not all bad!

  • Feast your eyes on the new site redesigns of Paul Southworth’s Ugly Hill and the finalized (?) and live revamp of PvP! While many have already gazed upon the office-themed PvP site, Southworth’s more recently revealed retooling is being seen for the first time, with a layout akin to that of a small town’s official website. You know the kind; bland, probably done by someone using Yahoo! Sitebuilder, with maybe a summer’s worth of programming classes. I think Southworth would be glad to know that he’s done a pretty good job capturing the banality and likewise for Kurtz’s Office Space-esque hotness.
  • Speaking of Kurtz, the man who must shake hundreds of thousands of hands every day due to his insane popularity has incurred another illness due to too much germ-swapping with eager fanboys (could have worded that sentence less erotically but there it is). A condition which he admits is common amongst creators and affectionately refers to as “con-rot”, Kurtz is finally taking a stand against this unnecessary affliction and hopes to help other creators do the same. His answer? A move he calls the Convention Reverse Nod (CRN).

Executing the CRN is simple. When you approach your favorite comic book creator, keep your hands safely at your sides. Make eye contact and slowly lower your chin 2 to 3 inches towards your chest. Quickly snap your head back up to its original position and offer a verbal confirmation or greeting. A quick 'Sup' will suffice. Or, if you're attending Dragon-Con, a more elaborate 'Hail, and well met' is acceptable.

    Will his efforts go unrewarded? Considering how loyal his fans are and how this could actually help solve an industry-wide problem, I’m willing to bet this thing catches on like WILDFIRE. That’s right. It’s an untamed, uncontrollable inferno.
  • And chugging right along with the revamp-your-site train, even Bill Charbonneau, editor-in-chief of Zoinks! and creator of Voices In My Hand and Weird Theorem, has something in mind for his webcomics. A visit to either site shows only the WT logo and this message:

Where is VoicesInMyHand.com? Where is Weird Theorem? All will be revealed soon. – Bill

    Mystery? Or something far bigger at work here? Only time will tell…
  • And finally, a kudos to the Digital Strips podcast for finding another diamond in the rough! Episode 86 has unearthed the strip, Dan and Pete, which follows the daily lives of Dan, a super-uber-hero with nearly every super-power ever conceived and his roommate, Pete, who is as normal as can be. The interactions between the two are the draw with this strip, especially when Dan gets together with one of his superfriends to play some sort of prank on Pete. Though only updating weekly (yeah, like I have any room to talk), it’s worth the RSS feed to keep up with Dan’s sophomoric hijinx and the fallout they cause for his hapless, defenseless roomie.
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8 thoughts on “Interest Piquers #6 ~OR~ History Has A Purpose

  1. What, pray tell, is an acceptable period of time for valid documentation?

    Because, I can name a handful of things off the top of my head that, under your “ten years aint enough” guidelines, fail to be valid topics of documentation:

    World War One

    World War Two

    The Reagan presidency

    The Cuban Missile Crisis

    The war in Iraq

    9/11

    Now I suppose you could make the claim that those were world altering events and wbcomics is just entertainment. But then, to apply the time constraints of ten years, any discussion of disco, grunge, early punk, The Sex Pistols, The Doors, tv shows like Lost, 24, Futurama, etc, are also invalid.

    Unless you’re suggesting that webcomics are simply not valid enough of an entertainment to need someone documenting them?

    I think you may want to rethink your critical approach before pounding out a review.

  2. First off, the review will be opinionated. That’s just how I write. The more scientific side of things can already be found over at Fleen, so I’m really not interested in fleshing out that aspect. I think that a book about webcomics should be a) written so that people who know little to nothing about webcomics can pick it up and learn something and b) fun to read. This book is neither of those things in my view.

    Secondly, discussion is FINE in whatever context you wish to make it about, but discussion is different than writing and PUBLISHING a work on the same subject. There have been books written on TV shows like Lost and 24 and, while a HUGE fan of both shows, I personally think it’s much too early to talk at length about either of them. The Sex Pistols and The Doors, however, are further back in history and the changes they brought to their medium can clearly be seen over time. It takes that time to put things into context and gain perspective and this amount of time has not yet passed for an art form so young as webcomics.

    Let’s keep these comments coming! If this keeps up I won’t even need a review!

  3. Isn’t it a bit to soon to be reviewing T Campbell’s book?

    It only came out recently, and I’m not sure we’ve had enough time to reflect and gain perspective on its importance.

  4. Not sure which of us that’s a slam on…

    I can say though that, in all seriousness, it’s not hard to read a book and immediately gain the perspective that you really didn’t enjoy it.

    Still, well done.

  5. I wondered about that book as well when I heard it was coming out. I’ve not had a chance to browse it but I was surprised that anyone was able to make a valid argument for a “History of” book. I mean, the Internet is only hitting it’s stride. It’s evolved tremendously in a relatively short space of time and webcomics is such a tiny part of it. I would think any examples that could be cited would be at risk of being obsolete by the time the book hit print.

    I’ve read a number of books on the history of the comic strip and the history of comics, and pulps etc. They draw upon a rich, multigenerational history. Is there any webcomic that’s more than ten years old (if that?)

    I look forward to your review 🙂 Later!

  6. Pingback: Fleen: Written by bitter, haggard wordbeasts » Speaking Of Round Numbers

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