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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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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