Webcomics Thisandthat

So Scott Kurtz is full of these empty ideas about the value of “Making It Big.” And then there’s this ignorant review of PvP and Penny Arcade… I dunno. If I have read all of something, I don’t need to hear a review of it from somebody who has attempted to sample representative parts of it for purpose of reviewing it. If you have to do that, just say “I don’t like it much” and leave. That’s your review. You don’t have to like it much. Nobody’s asking you to. Just let the people who like it like it and get on with life.

Would you read a review of the Lord of the Rings from a guy who said “I couldn’t be bothered to read the whole book, but I read a whole chapter from each book of the trilogy for purposes of this review.”

Maybe you could pull something like that if you are a paid reviewer who is handed something to review that you may or may not want to review but it’s your job. But if you’re just a yutz on the web with a blog? Here’s a clue, there are a lot of us yutzes on the web with blogs who are willing to talk about things we actually have read all of. Perhaps too many of us. For that reason, if you can’t be bothered, don’t bother, and don’t bother the rest of us with it.

I could criticize PvP myself. It’s not the world’s greatest, funniest, most perfect webcomic. Sometimes it’s not funny for long periods of time. Sometimes Kurtz makes an ass of himself. Maybe I’ll get sick of it and stop reading it next week. But somehow I’ve come to care enough about the characters and laugh at enough of the jokes to just keep on reading it so far.

As for Penny-Arcade, I’m completely not the target market, most of the inside references mean nothing to me, but enough of the comics have, despite all that, made me laugh hard enough to threaten urinary continence, that I’m a devoted fan. But you know, nobody else has to be. It’s fine if you don’t like it. I don’t like lots of things other people like.

I only heard of this review cause Kurtz linked to it in his news, and Websnark had snarked it. From Websnark’s description of it I actually expected it to be worth reading. I was disappointed.

Don’t know why I’m blogging about it except to express my disbelief that this guy would go to the trouble of reading small portions of a work he didn’t enjoy in order to say “Eh, I dunno. It’s not that great” to the World Wide Web.

More Cool Wapsi

Wapsi Square – Thursday, March 24, 2005

Man, Wapsi’s getting intense again. Last time it was Monica and her strange history of supernatural encounters and suicidal depression, and now it’s Shelly flashing back to her childhood and, I believe, the time of her mother’s death (which we’ve heard about earlier in the comic), while she tries to deal with her increasing intimacy with Heather…

Paul Taylor’s good at this. It’d be easy for this kind of drama & expressionism to just be over the top, but at least to me it seems really intense and real.

Spiny Forums :: An Open Letter to Web Cartoonists

Spiny Forums :: View topic – An Open Letter to Web Cartoonists

here’s this webcomics viewing app for OS X called “Comictastic.” (There are actually a bunch of them; Comictastic is one which has gotten a lot of press.)

It existed for a couple years without anyone noticing, then it got some press, and then a bunch of people within the “Webcomics Community” got really angry about it. (And some of its users got stridently defensive of it.)

Through the course of this messageboard thread, the authors of the software try to open a dialogue with webcomics people. A bunch of angry people call them “bandwidth thieves” and “copyright violators” for making what is essentially a specialized web browser. The angriest voices seem to come either from righteous folk who are not actually webcomics creators, or webcomics creators who are not actually paying for their own bandwidth or profiting from their own ad sales (that is, they get free hosting on Keenspot, which pushes its ads on people to pay for it). (UPDATE: Actually I may be displaying my ignorance there: I read something subsequently that suggested Keenspotters do get ad revenue.)

I dunno. My limited experience hosting a web site and paying for it myself suggests you’d have to be insanely, INSANELY popular before bandwidth costs bit you in the ass (or else you’d have to be really foolish in your choice of hosting providers). I pay $20/month and use only a minute, tiny fraction of the bandwidth I receive for that. Definitely less than 5%, probably less than 1%. (Yeah, I know, I’m paying too much for my needs, but Dreamhost are cool and let you compile your own software and stuff.) If you’re so popular you’re hurting for bandwidth, then you probably could find ways more efficient than banner ads to parlay that popularity into cash (i.e., merchandising or the like) pretty easily. And that’s what the most popular webcomics all do. I don’t imagine apps like this would make a giant difference one way or another in how many people buy T-shirts. (And either way, the authors of the app want to work with people to allow them to deliver ads and merchandise links via RSS.)

Anyway… The funny part is that one of the best known, most popular webcomic artists on the net, Jeff Rowland (creator of Magical Adventures In Space, the latest in a series of spiffy and whimsical comics), has been participating.

As far as I can tell, he’s the only “A-list” comic artist that’s there. Certainly the only one I’ve ever heard of.

Anyway, at least as far as I’ve read in the discussion, Rowland started out mildly skeptical of Comictastic but not that worried about it, and as the discussion went on he got more and more tired of the righteously indignant protestors and finally declared himself “pro-Comictastic” and happy with the programmers’ efforts.

It’s a super long thread and gets repetitive after a while, so I’m posting about it without even having read the whole thing. Interesting stuff.

UPDATE: the thread ends with a few pages of comment spam. Sad.