The War on Fornication

February 22nd, 2008

Peter Bagge on the American right wingers' War on Fornication.

[Via LinkMachineGo]

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"We've brought in the ALA's top profiler…"

February 20th, 2008

Jason Shiga's comic Bookhunter is basically CSI: Librarians.

That's a good thing, in case you were wondering…

[Via Making Light]

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Riot Prrl

November 16th, 2007

1337: the start of a five-part xkcd epic featuring Messrs Lessig, Doctorow, Jobs and Knuth, plus a special (rather hirsute) surprise guest.

[Via Making Light]

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Excessive quotation

September 23rd, 2007

I should probably just post a link to xkcd every day and be done with it.

[Via tanpiover2, posting to a comment thread at James Nicoll's LiveJournal]

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Minus #37

June 3rd, 2007

The last panel of this comic strip is just about perfect.

I don't follow webcomics the way I used to, but reading Minus from the beginning I was strongly tempted to start again.

[Via Needcoffee.com]

2 Comments »

Life During Wartime

October 25th, 2006

The Washington Post published an excellent profile of Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau:

[Doonesbury has…] survived and metamorphosed over the years into what is essentially an episodic comic novel, with so many active characters that Trudeau himself has been known to confuse them. "Doonesbury" has always remained topical, often controversial. Unapologetically liberal and almost religiously anti-establishment, Trudeau has been denounced by presidents and potentates and condemned on the floor of the U.S. Senate. He's also been described as America's greatest living satirist, mentioned in the same breath as Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce.

But for simple dramatic impact and deft complexity of humor, nothing else in "Doonesbury" has ever approached the storyline of B.D's injury and convalescence. It hasn't been political at all, really, unless you contend that acknowledging the suffering of a war is a political statement. What it has been is remarkably poignant and surprisingly funny at the same time. In what Trudeau calls a "rolling experiment in naturalism," he has managed every few weeks to spoon out a story of war, loss and psychological turmoil in four-panel episodes, each with a crisp punch line.

[Via dsandler]

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Adult Fans of Lego

January 3rd, 2005

I haven't touched a Lego® brick in thirty years, but I still enjoyed AFOLs: A Humorous Look at the Adult Fan of Lego® Universe, a comic by Greg Hyland and Jake McKee. Let's face it, a geek is a geek is a geek, regardless of their particular line of interest.

[Via Cognitive Dissonance]

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Whatever would Peter Gabriel say?

October 15th, 2004

Lore "Brunching Shuttlecocks" Sjöberg has noticed a new trend

[Via Websnark]

1 Comment »

The Right Number Part Two

January 16th, 2004

Scott McCloud has posted part two of The Right Number, his online graphic novella about a man with a strange numeric obsession. Come to think of it, having re-read part two I think you can replace "strange" with "creepy". Still worth a read, though.

[Via Neil Gaiman]

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Apocamon 3

January 1st, 2004

Somehow I completely missed the release back in October of the third instalment of Patrick Farley's Apocamon: The Final Judgement. Usually I hear about this sort of thing when half a dozen weblogs post reviews and there are posts on MetaFilter, Plastic and Kuro5hin, but this time round I don't remember seeing it mentioned.

Perhaps it's just that Farley's electric sheep site has been around for long enough by now that people feel it doesn't need the publicity. Maybe the third instalment wasn't deemed to be as interesting as the first two. It could be that I just failed to notice weblog posts on the subject. Or perhaps the relative silence this time round could be attributed to Farley's decision to limit access to the third Apocamon instalment to those willing to pay via the BitPass micropayments system.

I hope that last suggestion doesn't turn out to be the case. If someone with Farley's track record can't persuade a substantial portion of his fanbase to pay 25 cents to read the latest instalment of one of his signature works then the outlook for micropayments is bleak indeed. It may be that he's still going to make enough money from his smaller audience to keep electric sheep going, but if the price is that word of mouth is stifled then it may not be such a great deal. For him, or for us.

(I'll say it before anyone else does: it's awfully egotistical of me to assume that just because I didn't hear about Apocamon 3 it mustn't have been discussed online. To be sure, this is nothing more than an observation based on one person's monitoring of an extremely small percentage of the weblog community. I hope it is just me, because even though I wasn't as taken by the latest instalment as the first two I think Farley is a very talented artist and I'd like to see him continue to prosper.)

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Bolt City, Wary Tales and BitPass

September 21st, 2003

Bolt City is home to the online work of comics artist Kazu Kibuishi. I visited his site because I liked the portrait of the gang he posted as a guest strip at PvP today, and spent an hour or so looking around. My favourite of his works is copper, a charming collection of strips about the adventures of a little boy and his dog.

While I'm on the subject of online comics, I frittered away another hour this afternoon reading Wary Tales, a collection of "fractured fairy tales" by various artists which is being distributed using the BitPass micropayment system.

The highest-profile work available via BitPass is Scott McCloud's The Right Number – that was the work that persuaded me to throw US$5.00 in BitPass' direction – but if more work of the quality of these two comics shows up then I won't hesitate to spend more money on my BitPass account once I've used up my initial payment. Despite what Clay Shirky claims I didn't find the "mental transaction cost" of clicking on the link which debited my BitPass account by 50 cents as the price of admission to Wary Tales terribly onerous. By effectively postponing my next decision to spend until I've burned through the few dollars in my account, BitPass makes it easier to browse their new content painlessly.

In fairness, it's still early days for me and BitPass: if I become seriously addicted to the content they're distributing I'll find myself having to top up my account every month and will then find myself having to decide whether it's a worthwhile use of my funds. But the thing is, BitPass allows you to buy access to content for months at a time, not for a single visit. I can read The Right Number for six months or 32 visits, and I have access to Wary Tales for the next twelve months. Unless a lot of compelling new content comes online every month, I'm only going to have to top up that BitPass account fairly infrequently. And remember, BitPass doesn't force me to buy access to a bundle of content to get at what I'm interested in. If they don't add anything in the next four weeks which interests me, I don't pay a penny (or rather, a cent).

Furthermore, it's in BitPass' interests to make sure that maintaining my BitPass habit is painless. If they did significantly ramp up the amount of new content to the point where keen readers would find themselves having to add more money to their account every week (or, as Shirky would say, having to make a purchasing decision too often) then I'd fully expect that BitPass would do the sensible thing and offer some sort of "frequent reader" discount in return for a larger regular deposit to my BitPass account. Depending upon the price I might or might not want to pay that sum, but it would ease the mental transaction cost quite a bit. It's not inevitable that this'll come to pass – BitPass could be run by idiots who'd rather lose customers than offer discounts to heavy users, or perhaps they might find that they can't afford to cut their rates and remain in business – but it's certainly a plausible scenario. One way or another, it's going to be interesting to see if BitPass can pull it off.

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Spiders 3.5

August 8th, 2003

Part 3.5 of Patrick Farley's Spiders is now up. If you're already familiar with the story, you know you have to go and catch the latest instalment ASAP. If you haven't come across Spiders before and you have the slightest interest in graphic novels or speculative fiction, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted with the story so far. Part 3.5 can be found at e-sheep, or at this mirror site.

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"Free your mind and your ass will follow"

June 25th, 2003

Patrick Farley has been watching The Animatrix:

Story 3: The Second Renaissance, Part 2: Dude — they were borrowing imagery from the Book of Revelation. Not just the Horsemen and the trumpets; there was also the fact that the Machine's homeland was on the area which is today Iraq, and which in the Apocalypse is the place from which the Angels of Death arise from the River Euphrates to sweep out and kill one-quarter of humanity. Also: we see the Sun Woman, except she's in a glowing gear, not the sun. Also, the blotting out of the sky — that's one of the Trumpets of Tribulation and also one of the Bowls of Tribulation. Etc.

Also: I dug that scene where the robots take over the United Nations. That fucking ruled. Every child under the age of 5 in America should watch that scene, just like every child under the age of 5 should watch humans get hunted by monkeys in the original Planet of the Apes movie. (And of course, that excellent scene where the demolished Statue of Liberty appears on the beach. ALL American children should see that. It will give them a properly warped attitude towards icons of authority.)

Farley notes that seeing Final Flight of the Osiris had reminded him of his hope that Square Studios might one day have produced an animated HBO series based on Delta Thrives. That would have been something to see.

If you're wondering who Patrick Farley is, what this Delta Thrives thing is, and how come he's so knowledgeable about the signs of the Apocalypse, you really should visit Electric Sheep Comix and check out Delta Thrives and Apocamon. While you're there, take a look at The Spiders (no relation to Vernor Vinge's spiders) and Saturnalia and … pretty much everything he's published.

[Animatrix review via Electrolite]

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Same Difference

February 21st, 2003

Earlier today Derek Kirk Kim posted the final episode of Same Difference, a very fine online comic which he's been writing for about two years now. Or, as he put it when he posted the last image: "2 years. 79 pages. 9 pens. 2 countries. 3 computers. 4 residences. 6 conventions. 725 lonely nights."

You can easily read the whole story at one sitting, spread across 16 archive pages. Believe me, it's well worth the effort.

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About Nowhere Girl

December 16th, 2002

Warren Ellis interviews Justine Shaw, creator of a fine online comic, Nowhere Girl.

The web gave me near-complete control, only having to rely on hosting facilities. I'll be the first to admit I have trouble trusting people, so just putting it online and skipping the "middle-man" was very appealing to me. And, though I didn't think about this at the time it's very clear to me now: if I'd published NG in print, I'd be out several thousand US$, and no one would have read it. Online, people from all over the planet have seen it.

[Via linkmachinego]

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Nowhere Girl

December 1st, 2002

Chapter Two of Nowhere Girl is up. I read the first chapter ages ago and forgotten to check back for an update. Well worth a look if you have any interest at all in well-drawn, realistic online comics.

[Via linkmachinego]

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