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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(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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Widdershins: What your Magic says about You

Magic, by its very nature, is a force which can be infinitely variable when used in fiction. So it’s remarkable how often we come across the same recycled tropes over and over again: wizards with wands or staves, sorcerers weaving magic out of thin air, latin incantations or innate magical abilities like flight, strength, etc. So when something comes along that is a little out of the ordinary – like bargaining with a spirit  to imbue magical properties on an object – it’s worth a closer look. Welcome to the world of Kate Ashwin’s Widdershins. 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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Episode 420: Snickers or GTFO

Can You Dig It? Feat. Macho Man Randy SavageOn this Halloween episode, you just have to ask yourself one question: pants or gun? Steve has a story that asked that very same question, and Jason has a story about a time when he was terrible to someone. Shock, I know. After the break (yep, it’s back), there’s plenty talk about wrastlin’ Kickstarters, spooky treats from well-tread creators, and trying to understand why RSS just doesn’t work for some folks. These boys are becoming men, but that’s about all they can handle this year. WEREWOLVES 2016

Also, because I promised Steve, here’s the link to the Corporate Skull comic he talked about.

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