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.
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
Comix Talk lives! Rather, we talk about a lot of comic book news in the first half of the show, in addition to our Whatcha Been Readin’s for BACK and Spelunkying. Not interested? Tune back in after a questionable midshow break for our fourth (and penultimate) look at Digger. We’re nearing the end of this particular Book Club, so catch up if you haven’t yet!
Kaiju runnin’ wild up in this piece! After some brief remedial Japanese lessons, we get right into Whatcha Been Readin’ with The God-Child and The Forgotten Order. Steve also lets us know just what Ursula Vernon’s been up to since wrapping up Digger before wedelve into our second Book Club featuring that very comic! Go deep beneath the surface to find the still-beating heart of the Digital Strips… then stab that blackened pustule until you can’t lift your arms. Also, listen after the wrap-up for more Rambletron, including where that goat on a rock thing came from.
This episode is all about standing tall! This could be in part because I was trying out a new standing recording station, or it could be … ok, it’s completely about that. Don’t worry, once the novelty wears off (I’m estimating somewhere around the halfway point between episodes 300 and 400) it won’t even come up.
Sticking to tradition, we both found something comics-y to talk about for our first segment:
- (5:22) what if? by Randall Munroe
- (8:05) Commissioned by Obsidian
- (9:10) Whubble by Jamie Smart
- (10:17) The Great Showdowns by Scott C.
The only news story that came to mind was one quickly alluded to on Twitter. Ryan Estrada announced there that the next collection for The Whole Story, the pay-what-you-want digital graphic novel collection that Estrada orchestrated and participated in (or single-handedly created, if Steve is to be believed) will launch on January 1 (13:22). You’ll want to put down as much as you can for this collection as indicated by The Whole Story’s Twitter account …
Our next bundle is going to be launched on January 1st, and it will be so amazing you will pee your pants with joy.
If there’s one game series that will empty your bladder before you’re quite ready, it’s Castlevania (and Steve says my segues are terrible). Playing Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest well into the evening used to make me an incredibly jumpy young lad, something about the change from day to night was just so foreboding and and disquieting. So what better to help us jump from segment to segment than a remix of some classic sounds from the series?
- ‘Of Whips and Strings’ by Super Guitar Bros.
Genre comics are tough to review, let alone Book Club (yep, that’s a verb now around these parts) and The Rack is proving that fact I just made up true. Among our questions and discussions in this second edition of The Rack Book Club:
- Have the characters developed in this passage of time compared with the first?
- Can you tell the guys apart?
- Noses: A sly commentary on the disfigured, gangly nature of our beloved sub-species, or just some oddly-shaped appendages?
- Lydia looks to be much more thought out and stylized in her character design. Does this have anything to do with the spin-off which she received?
- Pop-culture references are not jokes and serve as a common crutch for genre work. Has The Rack escaped this cliche yet?
We also ramble about …
- Validating Steve’s delinquency
- More vacations on the horizon?
- xkcd as an M&M (or an Eminem)?
- Steve wants to spank all the bad video game genre comics
Listen in and leave your comments on any topic as well as comics you’d like to see reviewed below!
This is it, Digital Strippers! The final edition of the Order of the Stick Book Club is finally upon us, recapping comics 600-831, as well as going through our overall thoughts on the series as a whole. But before we get to the main course, some tidbits and appetizers to get you by.
Whatcha Been Readin’ bear fruit, as always, and brings us two comics, one by a known creator who spins off to yet another, separate work, and another that delves in a genre all too familiar to webcomic denizens.
- (4:45) I Am Arg!
- (6:15) MinimumbleÂ (also mentioned are Chris Hallbeck’s other comics, [6:24] The Book of Biff and [6:30] Maximumble
On to news! And the announcement of Minimumble falls into both categories, but the other news items are simply that, and full of Riches!
- (9:26) Rich Stevens (Diesel Sweeties) tries out an experiment on the iPadÂ (assist on this story goes to Gary at Fleen)
- (12:35) Rich Burlew funds OotS reprints via Kickstarter, has two times the needed amount after four days
Sure, D&D would have been the appropriate music cue to lead us into our final discussion of OotS, but when have we ever done the appropriate thing? So, I chose instead a remix from Gauntlet, appropriately entitled, “GAUNTLET!”, by Mustin and Nate Cloud (17:18).
There’s nothing to spoil for this final take on the legendary comic that brings us epic tales courtesy of the crudest art this side of a 5-year-old’s scribbles. We leave it all on the field bear no grudges, and in my book, that is a win for everyone involved (even though for whatever reason Steve feels the need to claim it for himself).
To calm everything down and leave on a silly note? Rambling about poo in the ending outtakes. Enjoy.
Do you, our valued listeners, believe it is ok for Steve to have a strong interest in the goings-on of the world of Disney princesses? Neither do I, and that argument is the crux of our first segment. Oh, and Steve is nice enough to keep us relatively on track with a comic recommendation as well:
- Happletea (5:22)
We also squeak in a few news items before lacing up for the Book Club brawl:
- Butterfly (7:00) returns
- Questionable Content (7:40) hits 2000
- Bongcheon-Dong Ghost (8:40), the pulse-pounding Korean comic from creator Horang (all details courtesy of Robot 6)
- STRIPPEDÂ (10:03), the comics documentary by Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder
Alright, it’s time for the fight. What better fight anthem to roll us into the fracas than the theme to Mortal Kombat 3, remixed by The Dual Dragon (Mortal Konfrontation, 11:15). Of course, if you want to just get back to the action, the second segment starts at 12:52.
If you’ve been checking out this Book Club, you know that Steve is the veteran with Order of the Stick and also the bigger fan of the two of us. I am excited to finally be reading this long-running, very popular webcomic for myself, if only to form my opinion about it based on actually experiencing the story. That said, Steve and I rarely agree on anything this comic does, which makes for an interesting conversation. Listen in, won’t you?
Everyone ready to talk about Back to the Future? How about Halo? Maybe Order of the Stick? Good, because all of these things, and more, are on the menu for this week’s just-under-an-hour edition of the Digital Strips Book Club!
If you hadn’t guessed, the BttF/Halo stuff comes in our first segment, now home to a mix of anything and everything. And leading us from quite a bit of video game chatter is, fittingly, a video game tune, courtesy of Benjamin Briggs titled, “Climb My Mountain, This High” (7:53). His remix of a classic Link’s Awakening tune (out now, on the Nintendo 3DS eShop!) is a wonderful example of how masterful some video game music truly is (if you missed the first ten minutes or so of this year’s Nintendo press event at E3, do yourself a favor and track that down soon).
After this interlude, it’s all business. Â Or as business-y as the Digital Strips News Minute can get!
- (10:48) The Least I Could Do Kickstarter = FUNDED!
- (11:48) Will there be a PAX UK?
- (12:18) Penny Arcade’s The New Kid optioned by Paramount (teaming with Gary Whitta)
- (13:10) Kukuburi’s Ramon Perez to illustrate a Jim Henson screenplay, A Tale of Sand
- (14:17) The Oatmeal has it out with hilarity-scraping site FunnyJunk over ownership
That all pretty much speaks for itself, so why not groove on into our third, slam-bang segment with Stray Dogg’s “Break” (15:54).
It’s hard to say much about this, the 2nd of our 86 part series of Book Clubs on the archivally-engorged Order of the Stick. Possibly because there is still going to be plenty of time to talk about it throughout the remainder of this calendar year. Possibly because things get ugly when the topic of comic strip vs. comic book is broached. Regardless, you should listen and then let us know what your thoughts on this divisive, but incredibly popular series are.
Also mentioned on our ride to insanity:
Finally, after the credits have rolled and the music has sounded, tune in to the after show, where I regale Steve with thoughts about my lunch with a former Digital Stripper (hint: His name rhymes with Brandon J. Carr). Burgers topped with fried egg for everyone!
When we decided to start another show format with Book Club, we were hopeful that it would force us to either catch up and discover for the first time a multitude of webcomics that every fan should have on their virtual (or real, as the case may be) bookshelves. It’s Steve’s turn to pick again and his decision to delve into the deep catalog of Rich Burlew’s Order of the Stick is one that I’m already approving of.
But before we enjoy that, what good news is there on offer? Find out with the Digital Strips News Minute!
- 6:09 – Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal book (Save Yourself, Mammal!) incoming (via Forbes)
- 6:44 – reMIND Book One coming in early June (pre-orders)
- 7:13 – Teenage Satan webcomic/app/game experience to begin in September (via USA Today’s PopCandy blog)
- 9:31 – The System‘s Rosscott ponders web design issues/ideas in webcomics
- 12:22 – David Malki ! faces IP theft in the form of T-shirts (via Fleen)
- 13:47 – Free Comic Book Day (was this last Saturday, sorry)
- 14:39 – Dialogue Free Comics Day is May 13th (2010 edition here)
Mentioned but not featured in the News Minute are:
- 11:54 – Minion Comics
- 11:55 – Adventures of Supergirl
- 14:13 – My Sister, The Freak
- 15:29 – Ryan Estrada
- 15:35 – Wes Molebash
Whew! After that bloated first segment, why not let the light, bouncy techno sounds of Hot Fire’s, “Them Never Love No Bans – DnB Mix (Germany)” cut the load and prepare you for the morsel that is our Book of the Month Club pick, likely for the foreseeable future (and possibly the year after that).
As mentioned, we’re taking a good, hard, long look at the deep archives of Order of the Stick (18:45) for our third edition of Book Club. It’s great fun and takes on the genre comedy challenge in a unique and unexpected way, one that forces the reader to bring a little something extra to the experience. The subject matter at hand brings us to another webcomics that is both unsurprising in terms of its similarities and striking in its differences.
- (30:30) Looking for Group
Steve also mentions an older show, the first-ever DS Livecast (short-lived but maybe returning someday?) which featured Order of the Stick, which neither of us had anything to do with.
Listen in for our thoughts on this long-running classic fantasy webcomic and let us know where you stand! Hunker in, because this Book Club is likely to carry us right into the holiday season! Good thing I’m already wearing my +9 Scaled Undergarments of Uncomfortable Warmth.