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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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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