From Pictures to Prose

Webcomic authors are creative people – who can’t always be constrained by the number of words one can fit into a comic panel.

Although Lord knows the constraints haven’t stopped a creator or two from time to time (Rich Burlew, Order of the Stick #282)

As they grate to narrate, more than one webcomic artist has dabbled in the time-honoured practice of the novel – not only for collections of their comics, but for fully-fleshed works of fiction or non-fiction that either tie into their webcomics worlds, or even stand fully apart. Today, we’re going to look at a few webcomic writers who’ve crossed the comic page’s gutters and tested the idiom that a picture is worth… well, you get it!

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DS 514: The State Of Our Webcomics Union Is Strong!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg falls asleep at the State of the Union addressJason Brubaker (reMIND, Sithrah) has some thoughts on the current state of webcomics, including what it takes to succeed in an ever-increasingly bloated ecosystem, and the guys provide their thoughts on those thoughts. Also, Steve wants to check in with Order of the Stick, which is still big on words. Not to be outdone, Jason brings it back to Gunnerkrigg Court, which has finally taken a turn towards the exciting again.

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Digital Strips Episode 494: Oops I Drew Interspeciesal 4 AM Showers

Matchbox Twenty's 3amJason personally gets to know Oops I Drew This, Steve wakes us up with the delightful 4 AM Shower, and a discussion about Penny Arcade’s latest target provides a frivolously heated moment between our two best webcomics buddies.

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Episode 415: S*** Is Gettin’ REAL

Making your own fun can be so rewarding! To that end, Jason has been creating and partaking of the levels of Super Mario Maker.

A hard level in Super Mario Maker (but not the hardest)

Not one of Jason’s, but devious nonetheless

Hear his pro tips on finding the diamonds in the rough. Meanwhile, Steve has been watching the Rugby World Cup and he’s ready to answer the question: is it more like football or soccer? Once that’s settled, there are many webcomics to chat about, many of which are popping off in one way or another. Knuckle up and head into the fray!

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Episode 403: American Idle

Taylor Hicks on American IdolSteve has never watched the majesty and pageantry of American Idol, but with YOUR VOTES (or reviews on iTunes), we can change that. Once Jason is finished running down his brief (but not brief enough) history with the now-ending show, the second segment brings webcomics.

The guys chat about Randall Munroe’s next book, Thing Explainer, Rice Boy returning for a commentary-laden rerun season, John Allison’s latest comic, and some Order of the Stick plot predictions. Vote for your favorite topic when the lines open … NOW.

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Digital Strips Podcast 274 – Book Club – Order of the Stick – Final Edition

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.

On to news! And the announcement of Minimumble falls into both categories, but the other news items are simply that, and full of Riches!

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.

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Digital Strips Podcast 264 – Book Club – Order of the Stick – 5th Edition

Jason here, back in the editor’s seat. Sure, I sit in on all of Steve’s posts to make sure they’re Internet-approved (and not regular Internet, but intelligent Internet), but now I’m here to make sure you get nothing but high-quality podcasting delivered directly to your earholes. And outside of the audio quality issues on Steve’s side towards the end of this episode (again I stress, on Steve’s side), I think this one fits the bill.

We kick things off by hearing about how awesome Steve’s life has been in his return to bachelorhood since his wife and kid went on vacation without him (listen in for a few minutes and trust me, you’ll need the same for yourself). D0 you like hearing about Motown on your webcomics podcasts? Hope so, ’cause we’ve got that, too! From there, it’s a hop, skip, and jump away from discussions about Trunk or Treat and an actual webcomic…

I love PvP, and I love Penny Arcade (I believe I’ve mentioned before that these two comics formed the tag-team tandem of my introduction to webcomics) but the team-up on the century just isn’t doing anything to blow up my skirt. It’s still really early in the life of this pre-destined-to-be-amazing comic, but I have yet to be impressed. The stories that accompany each update, however, serve as a great (and hopefully truthful) window into the truly horrific life of a game tester. Remember when you were young and you couldn’t imagine any job cooler than that? Read a few of these and you’ll quickly smarten up.

Rolling us into the main discussion, I hope you like Super Mario RPG and dubstep, because… well, that’s what I’ve got for you.

Rerecorded for your amusement (and because the first version sucked), this Book Club installment represents our deepest inspection upon any given section of Order of the Stick yet. Blame this on the fact that we decided to double the amount of comics included in each section from here to the end of the comic, but we encourage you to listen in so you can offer your own opinions based on this, what I consider to be the best storyline of the comic thus far. Of course, my final position as to the comicky comicness of this story might drive some to chime in as well. The more the merrier!

Some parting thoughts: the status of Steve’s bachelor pad, McRib , the variety of douches in any given high school, the genius of Google + Circles, and remembering fondly MTV’s Daria.

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Digital Strips Podcast 257 – Book Club – Order of the Stick – 4th Edition

The Disney Princesses, not excepting Mulan, of courseDo 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:

We also squeak in a few news items before lacing up for the Book Club brawl:

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?

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Digital Strips Podcast 250 – Book Club – Order of the Stick – 3rd Edition (There Sure Are A Lot Of Animated Movies About Dinosaurs)

The Land Before TimeI can’t think of a snappy intro, so just imagine Jason in a Hawaiian shirt and a straw hat with a couple comically over-sized maracas singing “Zombie Jamboree.” That way, you’ll be entertained and we don’t have to worry about copyright infringement.

It’s Book Club time again and that means (for the foreseeable future) more Order of the Stick. Before we dive deeper in to the monster and punchline-filled catacombs of this comic, however, we idly chitchat about how Jason thinks he looks like Harry Potter and probably thinks he looks like everyone else in the world. Meanwhile, I’m just happy to be awake for this episode.

We then mention the milestones recently hit by Dinosaur Comics and Girls with Slingshots and I get a little pissy about how there’s no chance for me to high five all the comics creators I’d like to. We then talk about a couple interesting examples from both sides of the spectrum on the art theft that recently happened to The System (although now I found the story and it wasn’t as much of direct copy as I was led to believe, you can read up on it here) and Hijinks Ensue as well as a comment by Scott Kurtz on the whole issue.

Jason does a quicker version of his recap and we get into the comic by around the 21 minute mark. We then talk about character development, the growing relationships, and how sometimes, a silly comics about adventurers can lead to some pretty in-depth discussions about philosophy and morality. Or at least how they can for me.

The music this time was “Airbrushed RAC” and “Mess”, both by Anamanaguchi. As always, we live for feedback, please leave it below.

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Digital Strips Podcast 245 – Book Club – Order of the Stick – 2nd Edition – No One Remembers The News, Only Huey Lewis

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.  Or as business-y as the Digital Strips News Minute can get!

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!

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