There are some interesting conversations in this episode. Possibly to the detriment of our chosen podcast topic, none of these have anything to do with webcomics. However, they are so far into left field and humorous in nature that they inspire me to write a webcomic about them. Not yet, but they inspire such an action. Anyhoo, check the Rambletron section below for some of those discussions.
I took a look at a comic that, at the time, had not been recommended to us. At least, not to my knowledge. Hinges (6:51) is a pretty comic. That’s about all I know about it, after having read roughly twenty pages, but it seems like a good story and a late recommendation from a listener/creator (what up, Walter Ostlie from Shiver Bureau?) mean it must be pretty good, right? Steve’s has been testing his patience with Hobo Lobo of Hamelin (8:33), a side-scrolling comic that uses elements of HTML5 to create a comic that can only be fully enjoyed on the web. We don’t galvanize the crowd of comic creators who work on utilizing the unique creative aspects of the web enough, so here here for Steve finding this gem.
Reading comics on the web is an experience that should not be hindered based on how it is viewed (and yes, this should come off as a bit hypocritical after Hobo Lobo requires a certain browser to properly view it). Table Titans (10:40) by Scott Kurtz is such a thoroughly enjoyable experience, both with the included Tales and without, but this can be marred when trying to read the comic at certain resolutions. The site does its best to respond to the differing viewing sizes, but on an iPad 2, the comic is unreadable due to a bottom portion being cut off. Considering the pedigree, both of the creator and the fiction from which the work is derived (that being accept-no-substitutes D&D), this is unacceptable and should be fixed ASAP.
Knowing ahead of time the downer turn that our review is about to take, I figured something light and fluffy in the midshow break would suffice nicely. What’s lighter and fluffier than Kirby, the powerful pink vaccum? Nothing I say. Nothing. Enjoy halc’s remix of “Blowing Bubbles in Space” from Kirby Super Star (13:56).
Steve likes cop stories. I’m not opposed to them, so long as they’re good. Double Cross (17:52) creates a clear divide between us in this regard. Sure, we ramble in our discussion, but we hone in on what it is that we disagree upon and ultimately end up in a place where we can both appreciate the work that this comic does.
The Rambletron consists of the following topics: Jason’s high school yin-yang phase, how a little Ice-T makes everything better, why the secret to a happy life is apparently consistent pooping, and we introduce you to Steve Shinney: the original accidental racist. Also, help me convince that a “Nazi phase” is not normal for any child, even in Idaho.
Before we kick into our usual shenanigans, we must take a moment to remember the passing of Roger Ebert. No matter the size of the impact we make in this world, our critical eyes have been informed by his knack for taking criticism and analytical thinking to another level and he will certainly be missed. Now then, do you like your comics whimsical or do you enjoy being forced to wear your thinking cap for every single, last panel? Good news for you then, because this is Horizons Watch, and we have plenty of both on tap! Before we get to those promising young comics though, let’s delve into What We’ve Been Reading:
Also, news, wherein we find out about two promising comics that are so far away on the horizon, we can’t even see them yet:
- (8:37) Jeff Smith’s first webcomic is coming soon
- (9:39) Tauhid Bondia is returning with a zombie comic
The midshow break probably seems like a rerun, but I promise it is original, Digital Strips content. You can groove to a remix of the underwater theme from Donkey Kong Country by The Distortionist titled, “Submerged in Ambiance” (11:25, a tune that I featured in that same spot several shows back) and hear me (Jason) talk about what a bad idea it is to eat chili cheese tater tots twice in one day. What is not in our usual toolbox, however, is me bringing the more serious comic to our Horizons Watch while Steve finds a more whimsical comic to show off. So savor the flavor, because it’s not likely to happen again:
And Bigfoot reminded us of a few other comics as well:
All this, plus: Jason finished Bioshock Infinite in (his) record time, why you shouldn’t travel all the way to Utah just to do a drive-by on Steve, what in the Lord’s name is a “chalking blot”, why mercantile is not a word which should ever be spoken, and the exciting follow-up to Bigfoot, The Untold Tales of Hairy Bowling Pin! Enjoy!
Happy Digital Strips Day, Digital Strippers! It’s time for that Digital Strippiest of Digital Strips podcasts, Digital Strips! If everybody else is claiming days left and right, who’s to say we can’t do the same? After all, we are the oldest, currently updating webcomics podcast in the world (come at us, bro!).
Do you like webcomics? Good, because we talked about some!
We come back with more comics after the break, but not until I present to you “Jason Sigler, Electronics A-hole.” As always, a sweet video game tune backs our inane chatter. This time, it’s “Spelunking in Space” from Kirby Super Star (15:30), remixed by Hylian Lemon (man, the crew who do music on Overclocked Remix have the raddest names).
As promised, we bring the volume with mentions surrounding this week’s great find:
- (19:05) Loading Artist
A slew of mentioned comics does not a bad comic make. Evidence to the contrary is of ample supply in this case, as Loading Artist is a great comic in its own right.
- (19:27) Anyone for Rhubarb?
- (19:28) I Am ARG!
- (19:30) Amazing Superpowers
- (19:38) Optipess
- (20:21) The Oatmeal
- (20:23) Cyanide and Happiness
- (20:25) Perry Bible Fellowship
- (21:49) Bolt City/Copper
- (23:45) xkcd
Further inane chatter: Jason takes what he can get, Happy Star Wars Day from Steve’s mom, we put the word “nerd” in front of every possible state of mind and/or being and coming soon to the Digital Strips Podcast Network: Audio Gigolo.
You know when we talk about both reality TV and Dr. Strangelove in the same episode that we have the makings of something discordant and chaotic. Luckily, we agree on the things that matter. The others, not so important (if you don’t know which is which in that scenario, then I feel sorry for you).
Should this feel dirty? Because it feels dirty.
Speaking of disagreeing, it’s time once again for Horizons Watch! We pick two fresh-ish comics and bring them before our two-man tribunal (hush) for judging, mockery and entertainment. Before we get to those more in-depth looks, we have other comics that have crossed our paths recently:
The big news this (past) week was the launch of Penny Arcade’s much-anticipated reality competition series …
(9:10) Strip Search
While Steve has long since sworn off shows like this that don’t involve sweaty dudes rolling around together and 30 Rock parodies, I watched the first episode and came away feeling like it was a show that was produced by a production company (Bionic Trousers Media). More thoughts can be found in the podcast proper. During our discussion, we couldn’t help but pick out one contestant who we’ve previously talked about and reviewed on the show:
I read an article recently about the purpose of video game reviews in the modern gaming culture, specifically with regards to setting discourse. Many reviewers find themselves tasked with establishing the faults and/or strengths of a particular property and leaving it for the audience to judge whether they are right or wrong. While it can debated whether or not this should be the goal of a critic, it is certainly true that I have set the discourse for this series and the remainder of its episodes will have to work to change that. For me, at least, I hope you will tell us if your experience was different.
One of our featured comics has the word “diablo” in the title, so naturally I picked something from the game series of the same name for our midshow chat.
(15:30) ‘Wet Grass Inspired’ by AmIEvil
Two great comics come over our Horizons this time, both wildly different, and showing how things should be done in comics while also displaying some missteps in their lives on the Web. First up, Kris Straub’s newest comic confection:
If you want a comic that looks like Starslip (a previous, now completed Straub creation) but has a sinister undertone, Broodhollow has what you’re looking for. Protagonist Wadsworth Zane represents the everyman while also possessing demons, both figurative and (possibly) literal. It makes for a fun read that offers just enough mystery to keep you coming back for more.
Our second pick:
(28:02) Muscles Diablo
In the fun and nothing but category, Muscles Diablo stands second to none. Muscles is, as described by creator Pat N. Lewis, “a tough guy with a shady past who punches a lot of things”. No mystery there! The only question we had is why would you host such a great comic on such a terrible template for Tumblr (re-reading comics is a chore, though this may not affect non-reviewing types). We’ve encountered this problem before, and speaking of that, here are the comics that naturally came up in our conversations:
It’s time for Episode 313 of The Digital Strips Podcast, where we review the comic, Dead Duck, and I have more comics to talk about than Steve. What.
I’d also like to extend a hearty, warm welcome to Steve’s wife, who has now had her first Digital Strips experience. Unfortunately, it was probably also her last due to copious amounts of weiner talk. Whoops.
On the webcomics front, we’ve got a full docket of news and opinions. If you want to catch up with us on we’ve been reading, you should check out these comics:
- (5:21) The Mighty Fine Adventures of a Seemingly Heroic Ejector Guy!
- (7:21) Mothership Blues
- (8:01) Desmond’s Comic
We also have a news item, that of Kazu Kibuishi being chosen as the artist to do new covers for the 15th anniversary of Harry Potter (9:14). Even with all Kazu has accomplished in his illustrious career, that is pretty cool news. Congrats, Kazu!
On more of a downer note, our final, pre-review mentions come courtesy of a couple of creators who have gotten out of their creative rhythm. Sure, this happens all the time, but when I see two higher-profile people laying out their woes for all to see, it feels like something to talk about. Their comics are:
If you’re a fan of either creator and have a moment, why not drop them a line and remind them how much you love their stuff? For that matter, why not take a moment and write your favorite creator, regardless of medium, and tell them you like their work? If there’s one thing creative people need more than money, it’s validation. Also cupcakes.
The midshow break/chat is complimented by a mix from Super Mario Galaxy by Guifrog called “Little Glockenspiel”. I chose it because I love that game. We talked about urinary infections because that’s what we do.
Our reviews system is based on finding smaller, off-the-beaten-path gems that might otherwise go overlooked in this massive comics ecosystem we inhabit. Steve can take credit this week for finding a true diamond in the rough.
- (18:47) Dead Duck
I’ll go on record as saying this didn’t impress me much from the get-go. Actually, Steve will as well. But by the time the final, archived strip is finished, you come to root for this band of underdogs and their tattered, broken relationships. That creator Jay P. Fosgitt can drive us to have emotional reactions to these cartoonish heroes is a credit to his abilities. Some other comics that came to mind in our discussion:
I won this one, so I’m going to go savor the flavor of this victory and come back again next week to defend my title. Later!
SHAMELESS PLUG: Fes of The Webcomic Beacon was kind enough to feature both Steve and I on his show, which you can listen to here. Show some love to a fellow comic podcaster and give it a spin or something.
In an effort to be true in our resolution to bring you more Horizons Watches in 2013 than we did in the year prior (by our count, five, four and a half if you don’t fully count the unprecedented episode where I failed to bring one to the table), we bring you the first one of the year. With our first effort posted just before the 1st of February, that chance is alive and well. But before I get carried away, the bits that come before that are just as compelling.
In Whatcha Been Readin’, I found an entire site that houses not one, not two, not three but four different comics, all by the same creator. Visit Scott Ferguson’s sites (this link will take you to one of them, from which you can get to the other three) and enjoy what appears to be high-quality work in a variety of genres (6:08). Steve, on the other hand, presents us with a comic that he admits may not be able to wholly support some otherwise good writing. Check out The Monkey and the Mouse (7:43) and decide for yourself.
Never one to leave the public spotlight too soon, Ryan Estrada doles out the updates on his Kickstarter for The Whole Story (9:53) in a nearly daily fashion. The latest news informed us that this collection has been so popular, Estrada has decided to make The Whole Story a year-’round entity, housing some of the biggest and brightest names in comics today. So go get your pick from this selection and then wait for more to come, apparently very soon and very frequently.
Want to hear about the oddest take on Pac-Man in that game’s illustrious, storied history? How about a hauntingly minimalistic take on the admittedly simple theme of that game? Then our chatter, backed by Israfel’s “Glass Cage” (14:00), should be right up your pellet-filled alley.
Civilian by Dustin Parker (19:22) and Sidekick Quests by James Stowe (27:44) are both comics which stand on their own as early, yet promising comics with hopefully bright futures. Each has their challenges to mount in the future, but the solid foundations they share in various fundamentals bring them that much closer to realizing their potential.
Man, that makes a good summation for the intention behind our Horizons Watch feature. Summarizing other, less focused elements of the podcast, we talk about They Might Be Giants by way of Tiny Toon Adventures, why it’s important to remember that everything good has already been done before, and why I’m worried that Steve had a little birdhouse put in his soul when he was young. Forget about the fact that comics have “other thinged” his body parts in the past. If you want the incredibly loose context, you’ll have to listen in!
It’s January and Winter has finally come to Virginia! Sure, it was barely enough to cover the cars and bring down a tree into a power line here and there, but it came just the same. The first month of a new year also means it’s time to start another Book Club! Or something. Really, it all boils down to me (that’s Jason, so there’s no confusion) picking a comic that, while of a good quality (namely The Rack), did not lend itself well to the task of reading a couple hundred pages at a time in an effort to go through the back issues. So Steve is up this time with a pick he says will do the name Book Club proud. We’ll see.
First up, however, we must tell you what we’ve been reading! And my picks are those sent to us by the infinitely talented, always available Ryan Estrada, straight from his latest pay-what-you-want graphic novel collection, The Whole Story (6:14). If you haven’t already contributed to this wildly successful Kickstarter, then I can tell you that two of the stories chosen for the collection proper, The Dog’s Sins by KC Green, and Plagued by Ryan Estrada, are worth the price of admission alone (but you still get at least two other books on top these already high-quality stories!). Both are on the shorter side but offer wildly different and highly entertaining experiences for your eyes and mind to enjoy.
Steve, on the other hand, has been engulfed in the frivolity and whimsy that makes up Bearmageddon (9:02). It’s from one of the minds that brought us the soon-to-be-a-TV-series Axe Cop (9:45) and the title should be a dead giveaway as to the mindless fun you’re going to have with this one. Seriously, bears. It’s in the title.
In our first segment chatter, we also mention another of KC Green’s projects, the currently-running Gun Show (7:45). It’s thought-provoking, random, and at times randomly thought-provoking. Rarely not hilarious, too. Check it.
Ok, so normally I mention where you can find our midshow music so you can check it out for yourself. But this week, I urge, nay, demand, that you clicky the link and download all of “Dirty Coins” by bLiNd (Jordan Aguirre) from Overclocked Remix (11:07). I’m rocking to it right now as I write this post because I CAN’T GET IT OUT OF MY SYSTEM. AND I LOVE IT FOR THAT. Oh, and we talk about the Glee/Jonathan Coulton situation during the break as well. Women’s lib gets a nod as well, I think. Just listen.
We are going to get through this comic, come Hell or high water, but we encourage you, the listener, to participate with us and read along. We’ll be sending out Tweets and Facebook posts when we’re gearing up for the next edition, so keep an eye out and join us in this first (only?) Book Club of 2013. For our first edition with Harry Potter and the Illuminated Bridge … er, Gunnerkrigg Court, we dissect each chapter, page by page, and come to a consensus that, while incredibly derivative in a number of ways, this is a comic worth reading in its entirety. We read the first 200 pages (11 chapters, if you want to count that way) this time around, so catch up and let us know what you think! With Book Club, your thoughts are just as important as ours. Probably more so, since we’re tired of hearing ourselves speak/think.
For those into tangents, our Rambletron chokes on the following: Why are snow plows such dicks to people who live on side streets, the useless superpower that is pre-cognitive professional wrestling color commentary, Steve reminding us of his cockamamie Axe Cop conspiracy theory, science brooms, basil vs. basil, whether or not “artificial habitat” can be considered dirty, and the threat of death in Candy Land. Join us?
With the beginning of a new year, we decided to start things off like nothing ever changed. I’m still sick from something or other, Steve asks me to explain myself when it comes to my pick of the week, it’s like the calendar never flipped over! We might as well be Bill Murray waking up to “I Got You, Babe” for the bajillionth time with the amount we haven’t changed in 2013.
But that’s not all a bad thing! It’s the same quality Digital Strips Podcast (for better or worse) and all your favorite segments are here! What have we been reading? Glad you asked:
- (6:27) Duk and Run (careful! Google searches for this term can result in unintended Three Doors Down discoveries)
- (9:01) Greyfriars
This episode is bereft with weiner jokes, not terribly different than any episode of DS before it. But with our featured comic in mind, it seemed more appropriate than ever to feature a midshow backing track from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. So, enjoy some bathroom humor while “Innocent Deception” (13:20) by Claire Yaxley and DJ Mystix try to bring some class to this whole thing.
Of course, then we bring it right back down into the muck with our first and filthiest comic review of 2013 …
- (18:21) I Am ARG! by Andrew Gregoire
This gag-a-day, penis joke-infused, pseudo-journal comic has both a trashy and a touching side. And I can almost guarantee that 2013 will only get more interesting from here. We only mentioned one comic by name in our discussion, appropriately one also focused on genitalia:
- (23:15) Least I Could Do
We don’t get around to much Rambletronning, but we do ask the important questions like, “Who will carry on the Twinkie legacy?” and “Is there a good way to crap your pants?” Enjoy it all on welcome to 2013!
It’s that time of year, the one that makes everything we touch, everything we do, everything we attempt both scatter-brained and unfocused. Why, take this podcast, for instance. Sure, it’s well-intentioned and full of mirth, but behind that joyful facade lies a think layer of respiratory ails and troubled children. Sometimes these circumstances breed the best podcasts though, so we’ll see what turns up this time around.
How about the Wii U? Enough webcomics have focused on the newest kit from Nintendo to make it a worthwhile topic on our show. And since I actually have first-hand accounts of the magical, mystical device, all the better! If that’s not enough, we also have comics we’ve been reading, checking out, and talking about:
- (9:02) Ninjasaur by Jason Horn
- (9:52) Dr. McNinja by Christopher Hastings and Anthony Clark
- (9:57) White Ninja Comics by Scott Bevan and Kent Earle
- (10: 50) Monster Soup by Devin Blake
- (11:46) Ctrl+Alt+Del by Tim Buckley
- (12:14) The Webcomic Overlook
Our featured review comic this episode purports to have a heavy dose of the supernatural (our discussion reveals possibly otherwise), so I’m using that as an excuse for another awesome remix of Castlevania tunes from Overclocked Remix.
- (15:48) “Enough Time To Dance” by Magellanic
Using the copy direct from the comic’s website, our review centers around a comic that features “a supernatural office dramedy romance about murder”.
- (19:49) Walking On Broken Glass by Samantha Mathis and Caytlin Vilbrandt
It’s hard to say whether we just don’t get this comic because it’s not “for us”, or if it just doesn’t hit enough of the right notes to sing the way its potential would have you believe it does. That distinction aside, the work on this comic has come a long way since the beginning back in October of 2010. Our recommendation is that you plow through the archives yourself and come back to us with your thoughts on this unique webcomic.
Also, don’t forget our thoughts on why we hate all of you one-webcomic-reading bastards, Steve confusing The Honeymooners with Moonlighting, me admitting to watching Moonlighting (my parents’ fault, I swear), and why Steve and I are both tired of picnics. Enjoy!