Book Club Bookmark: Schlock Mercenary

Back in 2014, our very own Digital Dynamic Duo took on a challenge of truly diabolical proportions – bringing the vast, 16-year old sprawling universe of Howard Tayler’s Schlock Mercenary into your earbuds, through the tried-and-true stalwart of the airwaves: the Digital Strips Book Club!

Turns out, though, that reading through every update of a webcomic that’s being going since June 2000 is a galaxy-sized task all of itself. So rather than saddle you, dear readers and listeners, with the boredom a grind like that can bring, the Geek and the Midnight Cartooner moved on to greener pastures vowing that they would, one day, return.

And so, in the spirit of that fine tradition we introduce the Book Club Bookmark: A look back at the comics which have been covered by the podcast in Book Club form, and seeing where those comics are today (if they are still updating at all). Continue reading

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Goodbye Old Friends: Reinvention in Long-form Webcomics

 

There’s nothing quite like getting stuck into a long-running long-form webcomic.

I mean, gag-a-day and strip comics are great too, but you don’t get the same kind of joy you get watching your favourite characters grow and develop week by week: fleshing out backstories, deepening their characterisation, refining the way secondary characters interact with the protagonist/s and even watching them go off on their own adventures, and…

Hang on, whatever happened to that character? It’s been years now since they took that new job in another city, shouldn’t we check in to see how it’s going?

Nope! That character you were invested in has fallen victim to the trope so common in this form of storytelling: the rotating cast roster.

“But I loved that character”, I hear you cry! “Why would the author do this to me?” – now before you rage-quit the comic, or lose interest and let it languish as an open browser tab with the dozens of others you’ll never get back to (looking at you, Steve!), let me explain why your favourite comics do this, and why it really is a good thing. Continue reading

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5 ways to support webcomic creators (without even trying)!

We all love webcomics – but sometimes expressing that love can be hard! We don’t always have the time or the cash to support the people creating these digital scribbles we hold so dear: sending emails, buying the merch, ordering print collections… if only there was an easier way!

Despair not, Digital Strippers (um…)! There are indeed easy ways for you to support your favourite creators – without even trying! Here’s five of the best you can do right now: Continue reading

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Searhing for Strip Search – Finale

Finales are exciting!

And on 14 June 2013, the Strip Search finale was no exception! We had watched them battle through the ranks, we had watched them face off against all the challenges, and it was finally time to find out who was going to win the grand prize of a year working in the Penny Arcade offices and $15,000 in cold hard cash. Continue reading

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Melodrama, Mayhem and… Mmmmmwebcomics?

Boy, aren’t Soap Operas just the worst?

Crazy, never ending plotlines, cliched, insipid characters with terrible acting, and don’t even get me started with those weird filters they use on the cameras! You turn on the TV, and the very moment the screen lights up you know if you’re inadvertently watching a soap opera – they’re just that recognisable. No thank you.
But even with all those problems – when you do turn on your daytime TV, these things are everywhere! So they must have an audience, they must have fans and a large community base who’s gots to watch their stories.

But if they have fans, do they have webcomics? This week, I set out on a quest to find out where all the soap operas be at in the webcomic world.

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Webcomics – for all, or for some?

Webcomics do so many things right. The way they engage with their audience and the medium of the web. The way they explore issues like gender, diversity, the more adult stuff, and the just plain rude. But there’s still one place webcomics (like pretty much every other web-based enterprise out there) has largely failed to push the envelope – accessibility to the blind and visually impaired.

In the past week, you might have seen the Instagram post by Chris Pratt, where the Guardians of the Galaxy star apologized for some comments that were insensitive to the deaf and hearing-impaired community. Now, being a pop culture troglodyte, I hadn’t heard of this until – predictably – it cycled back around to webcomics. Specifically, a Facebook post where Charles C. Dowd (of asked:

Saw this story in my feed… Are there examples of audio comics or services out there that could potentially appeal to the visually-impaired?”

The answer, as I found, was: yeeeaaaah…kinda. Continue reading

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Searching for Strip Search – Part Two

Last week we looked at a few of the contestants who competed on Penny Arcade’s Strip Search in 2013 – what have they been doing for the past five years? Are they still in webcomics? Are they still creating art? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Today we’re going to continue that, scouring the interwebs for clues about the next four contestants eliminated from the competition: Mackenzie Schubert, Nick Trujillo, Amy Falcone and Erika Moen. Continue reading

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Searching for Strip Search – Part One

The year was 2012. America said they could (again), I launched my own webcomic (oh God, the art!) and as if in response JPEG juggernaut Penny Arcade ran their very first Kickstarter campaign. This campaign was nominally for the removal of ads from their site, but the real reason we all backed it was hidden in the stretch goals – the promise they’d create the world’s first webcomic reality game show: Strip Search. Five years on I wondered, what happened to the twelve contestants on that show which was, perhaps, before it’s time? Here’s what I found.

For those of you unfamiliar with the single-season show produced by PATV and Loading Ready Run, here’s a quick run-down. Strip Search aired online between March and June 2013, running a familiar “reality TV” format: twelve artists were picked from a multitude of applicants (yeah, including me), and proceeded to battle their way through thirty-one episodes of coaching, industry experience, and tense elimination challenges. The prize? A year working in the Penny Arcade offices, hosting and advertising through the PA site, and access to all their internal resources.

Depending on what webcomics you read, those twelve names might be a bit unfamiliar these days. I know I found most of these guys – particularly the ones eliminated early in the competition – had fallen off my radar. I wanted to know what they’d been doing over the past five years, if they were still making webcomics, and how their art and writing had developed since the show. Today, I’d like to share a bit about the first three contestants who left the show: Alex Hobbs, Ty Halley, and Lexxy Douglass. Continue reading

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What’s in a Name?

If you’re on this website, chances are you’re familiar with webcomic creator Evan Dahm (Rice Boy, Vattu, Order of Tales). Even if you weren’t before this week’s podcast episode, you’re probably at least now familiar with a tweet he put out on April 6 2017 questioning the relevancy of the term “webcomic” and calling the word “obsolete.” Steve and Jason had a good chat about this in the podcast, and I’m not going to rehash their arguments here but I did want to weigh in on two points myself – that webcomics have an unique identity and are, at the end of the day, still an important (if not as niche) scene.

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