The End of Something Wonderful

Clicking through the world of webcomics any time since 2006 there has been one small bit of text, so omnipresent that you might not even have noticed it, that has been with you as surely as the pixels on the screen translating colour and shape into humour and drama:

These nine words (plus a price tag) have been the staple of every self-respecting cartoonist or comic artist who’ve placed their work on the web (and even some of the not-so-self-respecting ones). However, an announcement by Project Wonderful creator Ryan North on June 11 2018 that the service was shutting down for good has brought this experiment in independent advertising and democratisation of ad revenue to a close.

So if you only know of the service as someone seeing the ads, what even was Project Wonderful – and what made it so different to the other advertising options out there? Today, we’re looking back on the service, what it promised, and what it means for webcomic creators to see the service go extinct.

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Ready Player: Webcomics

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Steven Spielberg’s latest movie Ready Player One– based on the novel by Ernest Cline – was a commercial hit. In an age where the real-L.I.F.E immersive qualities of Virtual Reality are only beginning to be explored, Cline’s story of a digital Willy-Wonka-style Golden Ticket hunt clearly spoke to modern audiences.

Of course, Webcomics long pipped Parzival at the top of the leaderboard, having used their digital platform to explore life within simulations for almost as long as the medium has existed. Today, we’re looking at one of the clearest examples, and dissecting how it’s built its own Oasis for readers to escape to.

Not a Villainby Aneeka Richins Continue reading

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Talking *to* webcomics – Part 2

In our celebration around the show’s 500th episode, we looked back at some of the Digital Strips interview Alumni – people who, since their appearance on the show, had gone on to either great webcomics success, or [INDEFINITE HIATUS].

Today, we’re going to have another look back on some of the names and personalities that have graced the Digital Strips airwaves in times past, and examining what these creators are up to today. Continue reading

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Worth 1000 words…

We’ve spent the past month looking at words – podcasting webcomics is, after all, dependant on the hosts or interviewees talking (or else is dull listening, indeed).

My experimental podcast series “Enemy Mime” never got off the ground for some reason…
Image credit: Bandita

But webcomics are a vast and descriptive medium that doesn’t, itself, always rely on those words. We’re talking, of course, about the pantomime comic, and how they speak to us simply and effectively through their art – not their dialogue.

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The Big 500 – Thirteen years, above all, of: Webcomics

Over the past month, we’ve taken a retrospective look at the institution that is Digital Strips. We’ve looked at the people behind the magic, from the early days of Daku and Zampzon, to today’s fearless duo of The Geek and Midnight Cartooner. We’ve looked at some of the creators that have graced the Digital Strips airwaves to speak about their comics and their experiences as creators on the web. But we would be remiss if we didn’t look back on the core of the podcast, the very thing that gets the hosts coming back to the mic every week, what gives us the opportunity to write these incessant and sprawling articles. That is, of course – the Webcomics. Continue reading

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The Big 500 – Thirteen Years talking *to* Webcomics (Part 1)

Last time on the blog, we took a retrospective look at some of the people who’ve helmed the fair ship Digital Strips as it sailed the still-virgin waters of 2005 internet radio and beyond. But those stalwart few aren’t the only voices who’ve been heard on the podcast – in fact, a wide variety of people and perspectives on the Webcomic world have graced this digital stage. If you’re a relatively new listener, you might not be familiar with the proud lineage of the Digital Strips creator interviews, as they more or less came to a close in 2009 – therefore, this week we’re looking back on some of the Digital Strips interview alumni and seeing where those creators are today. Continue reading

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The Big 500 – Thirteen years talking about Webcomics

This is it, guys. The big one. And whilst it’s a common webcomics mantra not to get caught up on milestones, every now and again one comes along that’s just too sizeable to ignore. This, friend reader and listener, is one of those times.
For thirteen years Digital Strips has been a constant force in the webcomics world, providing recommendations and insight into the medium we each and collectively love. Today, to commemorate the 500th episode, we’re going to look back on the people who grew the podcast itself and the special place it holds – the niche within the niche – in the webcomics world. Continue reading

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Queer Eye for the Comics Guy

If you’ve been on Netflix during February, you’ve probably noticed the revival of the early noughties classic Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – Netflix’s own Queer Eye has been getting a ton of praise from critics and audiences alike and seems well on track to be a lasting hit.

The show is notable for taking the Queer-positive message of the original series and updating it for the modern era: whereas the initial Queer Eye aimed to bring LGBTQI issues into the spotlight in a manner never seen before on TV, the modern incarnation is focused on normalising this presence and reinforcing positive attitudes in both the episode’s subjects and viewers.
Of course, this campaign has also long been a feature of webcomics: some of the greatest comic art on the web has either been created by LGBTQI artists/writers, and the themes of acceptance and tolerance, and deep explorations of sexuality and gender are common on the digital page. Below are only a few examples amongst dozens of webcomics which have elegantly and eloquently presented these issues to their audiences. Continue reading

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(Horse)playing with the Sacred

So Hellboy, Brooklyn, Frasier and DEATH walked into a bar…

Ok, but you got to admit they’re kinda close! In fact, although Boredman’s take on the book and characters of Revelation (as reviewed by Steve and Jason in Episode 497 of the podcast) is as unique as it is brilliant, Christian theology has long been a source of material for a wide range of media like television, movies, novels and, of course – webcomics.

Or even what passed for cartooning in the days (circa 2003) before this author had heard of ‘webcomics’…

Today, we’ll be looking at how Apocalyptic Horseplay weaves the minutia of Catholic Dogma around the apocalypse into its narrative, and how the distinct personalities of characters like Mot, Warrace, Pesty and Marvin reflect the historical interpretations of their generally more sinister selves. Continue reading

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A Short History of Time Travel: Part Two

Last week, we looked at the way webcomics such as StarslipHomestuck and Girl Genius, each have used time travel as part of their narrative – specifically, the time travel trope known as a stable time loop. But in an alternate reality out there somewhere, that was the topic for today’s post instead – and last week was when we stopped to look at how time travel can result in the future you left looking much different to how you remembered it, upon your return… Continue reading

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