A short history of Time Travel (part One)

Time travel is, by far, one of the most popular and most intricate systems of technological chicanery in science fiction. It has so much potential for great storytelling but because of this, the rules can sometimes get… a little complicated:

But, fear not the timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly stuff! Today (or in the future, I guess, depending on when you read this) we here at Digital Strips are going to give you a quick guide to your most common types of time travel: getting put in a Stable Time Loop or branching off into an Alternate Timeline.
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I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

2017 as a year has had it’s ups and downs. On the one hand, we’ve lived through some apparently backwards technological steps and on the other, we’ve seen some unprecedented technological strides forward. One of the biggest of those has certainly been the government of Saudi Arabia being the first in the world to grant citizenship to a manufactured intelligence. When I first heard about “Sophia,” and started to follow the talk around the decision, it occurred to me I’d seen something similar before

Whilst Jeph Jacques’ Questionable Content might have shifted it’s focus in recent years from the indie rock scene to the nuances of AI/human interpersonal relations, it’s hardly the first or only place in webcomics to explore life with emergent AI. In fact, there’s a wide variety of comics on the web that take place in a post-singularity world. So does the uplifting of Sophia indicate we’re on the path to one of these futures? And how can examination of the topic in webcomics prepare us to best welcome our new robot overlords? Continue reading

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In your dreams! The Magic of LeyLines

Robin Childs’ masterwork LeyLines is one of those comics which seems to have lurked on the internet since forever, so it’s easy to forget the comic has ‘only’ been going since 2011. Part of that longevity probably comes from the author and her involvement with projects like the Webcomic Alliance, but much of it also comes from the unique and well defined world in which the comic is set. This is a world where magic meets industrialisation, where society struggles to integrate their new values with the old, and where the Gods can visit you in your dreams. If you haven’t read it already, here is a good place to start. If you have read it, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the unique way Childs’ delivers her magic system in the story: through the power of the very Gods themselves, deities who live in the realm of dreams… Continue reading

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Book Club Bookmark: The Order of the Stick

The year was 2011. The challenge was epic: Over 800 updates of possibly the wordiest webcomic to have ever graced the stage of the Digital Strips “book” club. Steve and Jason tackled them all, and came out on the other side changed men – with strong opinions on what makes a good webcomic great and a great webcomic… something that might want to consider prose.

It was Rich Burlew’s The Order of the Stick and it’s time, fellow adventurer, to return to the bookmark we left in this comic all those years ago. Continue reading

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Dungeons and Dragons and Webcomics (Part 4)

We’ve spent the last few weeks getting to know a little more about the Dungeons and Dragons franchise. Its beginnings, the way its popularity and infamy grew in western culture, and the influence it had on a selection of creators in both the fiction-writing and webcomic worlds. For the finale of this series we’re bringing it back to webcomics in a big way, by pulling together a thematic overview of webcomics based on the property itself, and seeing where these influences are present in action. Continue reading

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Dungeons and Dragons and Webcomics (Part 3)

In today’s episode of this series, we’re going to take a look at how the meteoric rise of Dungeons and Dragons in popular culture from the 80’s to today is reflected in the comics and cartoons that sprung up around it – firstly, in the works commissioned by the game’s creators and producers, and then by the fans creating zines, fanfiction and yes, webcomics. So. Many. Webcomics. Continue reading

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Dungeons and Dragons and Webcomics (Part 2)

Anyone who’s spent any time reading comics in print or online, is probably familiar with Seduction of the Innocent. This infamous tract by pseudo-psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in 1954 claimed that comic books, with their overt themes of homosexuality, eroticism, violence and murder, were having a deleterious effect on the children of America. Wertham’s book stirred up a frenzy of controversy centred around comics which played out in the media, in the courtroom, and through the establishment of parent’s groups across the American continent. Ultimately, the furore led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority, a regulatory body which oversaw the content of comic books up until as recently as 2011.

If you’re familiar with this story, you’ll see the parallels in the “satanic panic” which erupted around the game of Dungeons and Dragons in the 1980’s. Continue reading

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Dungeons and Dragons and Webcomics (Part 1)

Dungeons and Dragons – the archetypal fantasy roleplaying game which created and defined a genre – is a big part of the internet’s collective conscious so it’s no surprise how often it’s referenced in webcomics, whether directly or indirectly. Digital Strips episode 489 delved a little into the between the game, webcomics and their creators (and podcasters) so this seems a perfect time for a companion article series on just what DnD is, how it came to be, and the influence it has had on the webcomics scene. Continue reading

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Chasing IT: 3 horror webcomics you should read

It’s exam time here in Australia, so I haven’t yet got out to see the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s IT on the big screen. Luckily for me (and us all), there’s plenty of great horror to be found in webcomics, meaning I can scratch my horror itch and still pretend to be working on my essays!

If you’re like me and need something to tide you over until the movie – or if you’ve seen the film and are jonesing for more – here’s a short list of some great horror webcomics that are sure to stand your hair on end.

False Positive by Mike and Ashley Walton

Written and drawn by Mike Walton, and edited by Ashley Walton, False Positive gives plenty of content for your click. An anthology of short-run stories of horror, fantasy and sci-fi that Steve and Jason discussed way back in 2012, it features some truly creepy stories and some deliciously grotesque art. They’re short reads, so if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare they’re definitely worth your time.

The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

Ok, so we’ve talked about The Last Halloween before on the blog and the podcast, and it’s clear I’m a fan. But really, how many webcomics out there open with someone burning (mostly) to death, rendered in lovingly graphic, greyscale detail? If you’re looking for something that reminds you of Stephen King, while still being it’s own, unique work, then this is definitely the webcomic to read and recommend to your friends as the credits roll on IT.

Little Green God of Agony by Dennis Calero and… Stephen King

What can remind one more of a Stephen King story, than an actual Stephen King story? Little Green God of Agony was adapted to webcomic format in 2012 from King’s 2011 short story, and is available to read from King’s website. As you would expect from a renowned professional comic artist, the pages are gorgeous, and capture the creepy tone of King’s prose whilst bringing a distinct and unmistakable comics feel to the story.

Do you know any great horror webcomics to add to this list? Drop them in the comments or link them to me on Twitter – I’d love to check them out (instead of studying). We’ll be back to our scheduled programming on the blog posts from next week, but until then I hope you enjoy a tale or two that send a shiver up your spine. And, as always, remember: don’t eat the clickbait!

 

 

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