The Kea's Nest

The Kea is a well known, cheeky, mountain parrot from New Zealand. What better name to take for myself to comment on the funny drawings I find online?

Friday, June 30, 2006

"No cartoonists are gods. Bill Waterson, maybe. Gary Larson, maybe. Ruben Bolling… definitely."

Amoung the many webcomicer interviews that can be found around the place, I thought it was interesting to see one from Ted Rall.

Rall is controversial and timely but his cartoons have an aesthetic that is very rough. He's said that he works hard to get just the look he's after, and I believe him, but it's not something that you look at and immediately think 'woah, brilliant.'

Usually I'd expect an interview with him to veer into the maelstrom of politics but this one is actually less about how he thinks countries/societies should work and more about himself and the comics world.

It is interesting that he isn't particularly impressed with some of the names that appear to have respectability. Perhaps that's why he was willing to do three compilations of lesser known comics and even devoting the third one to internet artists and not worrrying about politics as he did with the first two.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Finally, I can be a part of the drama!

Can everyone say shitstorm?

It seems obvious that the best way to get a response (and what a response!) is to say something controversial. But it does seem a little strange that a statement decrying rape would come across as controversial.

I had nver read Girly before this. So I clicked on each link that Kate provided. And you know what?

It looked like rape to me too.

Now, Girly looks like a fun comic. I've added it to my lists. But it seemed in those first couple of strips that someone had been raped and left naked in the streets and that this had been done many times before.

In the comments mention is made of a superhero that was able to do this to people as way, make them want to even if it was a bad idea. The principple can raise a lot of questions about responsibiliy and culpability. But what it looked like was someone using some power over another to get something he wanted.

Where I differ from Kate is that I think there is nothing wrong with making jokes about the subject. In that, I don't think I'd want to hear them, but making fun of a thing is about reducing its power, isn't it? That's why making fun of victims is hollow and tasteless.

The creator comments that it is beyond him to see such an interpretation. I do find that a little hard to beleive.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A few thoughts on Home with the Strange.

I'm fairly sure I mentioned that I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this strip when I first started paying attention. It's rapidly becoming one that sticks in the back of my head.

It's unexpected because of what I saw in it the first few times I looked, relationship stuff, funny but serious, somewhat along the lines of Something Positive, which still doesn't tickle me.

But, along the last few arcs, I've become hooked. There was the truly brilliant moment where Izzy 'ruined' a complex and intricate Roleplaying experience. In my mind, it's that sort of thing that brings games alive. There's been a number of 'gag' strips which seem most like the strips I've scribbled out myself, friends together making funny.

But the arc that resonated most strongly was the Superman Returns Trailer arc. I know the betrayal from both sides where new movies are concerned, or TV shows. I don't watch Lost if my wife isn't there with me and when I discovered that she had seen an episode while out at a friend's place I was horrified. It's always those damn little things.

Watching Tom try to pretend that he hadn't seen it revealed just how pathetic it is for me to try and rpetend I didn't see the Da Vinci Code without my girl. She knew the instant it happeend, even though she was in a different city at the time. That whole 'different area codes makes it okay' thing doesn't even cover movies let alone anything else.

One of the things I found interesting was a little note in the sidebar of this strip. The Ferrett had begun Home on the Strange with the idea that Tom reflected himself but as the character grew something has changed. Ferrett appears enthusiatic about the new Superman movie whereas Tom, as do I, finds the trailer unappetising.

The reasoning given by Tanner, to wit 'He takes a bullet in the goddamned eye' seems to sum up the conflict to me. Having only recently seen that particular part of the trailer I feel qualified to say that it's what makes me disinterested. I don't think I'd be going to far to say it's the sort of feeling Tom has.

Superman is invulnverable. He can do anything. Except for this wierd rock that keeps turning up. So what's so interesting about him? you know he'll save the day, he's Superman. It might be interesting if he has some pretty big choices to make, judging the worhtier thing to save. But I don't see him having an out like Spiderman did in the first movie. And I doubt they'd have him let someone die.

But hey, I could be wrong. I'll probably see it eventually. But Dead Man's Chest is going to keep my attention for now.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Actually, screw the Hot wheels, I'll stay...

I haven't been reading shortpacked for long, but it has been fun so far. Some really strange characters that somehow still manage to seem like people I know.

The last two strips have been surprisingly disturbing. The concept of someone deciding that his toystore requires a heir and trying to force someone to impregnate his fairly good looking daughter is just twisted. And I'm saying that as someone who loves Edible Dirt and Wulfmorganthaler.

Apprantly this was going to be the way the artist started this strip. Which, woah.

Taking the time to build up characters and understandings (and probably running gags) would certainly help a concept as off-kilter as this. If readers didn't have some idea who everybody was, then what would stop them saying 'these people are crazy, and not in that cool-I-like-it-cause-it-makes-me-laugh way' and moving on?

Nervously looking forward to what comes next...

Oh god, that's not a pun either.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gratiuitous mentions of a piece of paper that has done nothing yet.

I totally ripped apart Rubik's cube when I was young, figuring it was the only real solution to the damn thing. But I never thought of the physicality of the age-old one guard lies, one tells the truth conundrum.

Kudos Order of the Stick.

Also, as someone who holds a degree in Classical Studies, I really love the reference to Alexander the great there. Classy.


Also, having done some papers on philosophy, I liked the way Bunny just asks the great questions of the philosophers. Sometimes there's a hint of an answer, but most times Bunny just captures the feeling we all get as we begin to see the point.

In this case, the emptyness around and the squinting to try and capture both states.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Screech WAS my friends and I...

Why is it that Yirmumah has to reach deep into the shadows lurking in the back of my mind and grab the things that most touch my funny-bone? It's a regular thing, something fairly obscure or odd that I thought was a remnant of my friends and my childhood is pulled out and twisted horribly.

Most recently Coffman mentioned the need to save Screech's house. We all know Screech would have been the only one smart enough to install a red phone. But did we need the horrible topless truth about Slater's cavalier attitude?

Today he jokes about that element of love that implies stalking. I think it's a necessary part, though obviously subject to over inflation. It reminded me of a song from the newest Blindspott album that says "They say that if you love someone you're got to set them free and if they come back to you, make them bleed." Not actually that different to the original saying...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Odds and Sods

How much attention do I pay to Evil Inc? It's hard to say, because I don't even know the name (or hideous evil identity?) of the boss who just sold off the business and retired. It's been some interesting and slightly melancholy strips covering the event, hasn't it? The final day, the impending realisation that life will change and the worry that one won't be able to adjust.

Today gives a sort of split idea how things will go. He's managed to turn his first breakfast with a woman I assume is his wife into the evil boss striding into his territory. It shows confidence and his wife's own strength in resisiting him turning retirement into his job.

Now, what's changing back at Evil Inc?


I love Samuel Jackson as much as the next man, but this Snakes on a Plane thing has gone insane.


I am enjoying the insane sci-fi adventure of Goats. I came in not long before the invention of Fineas.

At the moment there seems to be a lot of confusing double crossing going on. What with the whole in-entirely-other-dimensions things could get too confusing to be funny. But finding humour in one characters own discomfort with the turn of events makes us feel a little more sure of ourselves and our befuddlement.


Finally, an old friend of mine and I used to spend hours imagining crazy sci-fi worlds of our own. Among the ideas we borrowed from were Dyson Spheres, Ring Worlds, and those solar systems that swoop around entire rooms as seen in the Dark Crystal.

Bunny captures the difficulty of creating such worlds perfectly.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Punker's Creed

I know bands (well...) that would give a twenty minute version of the entirety of Annie a decent go. Hell, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes could probably do it as a regular thing.

And I admit that I really would like to hear it too...

Once again, I must tip my hat to Home on the Strange.

A quick update

Sorry it's been awhile. Exams, sister's 21st, etc etc, you know how it is.

Just saw Mr Rosenberg's Diablo doll on his livejournal. Sweet.

But the big one I wanted to mention was Science Idol. Sure, it's pretty much partisan politics, but I love me some funny editorial cartoons. I saw it in New Scientist while waiting for an exam to start and immediately wanted to see what the webcomics world could come up with.

Monday, June 12, 2006

All Things End

Now that megaGAMERZ 3133T has come to an end, I have a question.

What is the best way to leave a finished comic on the internet. In print the question doesn't arise, because reruns are common for popular strips (the Far Side still turns up, as do peanuts and others) and you can buy books which naturally have their own ending anyway (or massive collecters books like the double volume Far Side sitting nearby or the Calvin and Hobbes that I may have to sell a child for).

But on the internet, odds are that most of your audience will turn up at the website. Even if it's finished, shouldn't the site be left in a way that encourages your readers to read through? I guess I'm saying I feel that, after a suitable lapse, the megaGAMERZ main page should begin at the first strip instead of the latest. Any potential new readers (or nostalgic older ones) will be in a perfect place to begin and read through (particularly handy with that new 'remember where I am' thingy so many comics have now).

Obviously this is different to a comic that has stopped due to outside influences, simply having to be left aside by the creator. I know Queen of Wands is doing a director's commentary version, but that too will end eventually.

I'm not aware of many actually finished webcomics. How are they doing it in the wires out there?

Friday, June 09, 2006

When will someone contact me and tell me I'm wonderful?

Grrr, Blogger, making me wait around to post today...

I few days back we acknowledged the truly evil date that had arisen. We had a few laughs and worried about the people who seemed to take it all too seriously (that includes marketing campaigns and release/commencement dates that co-incided with the date).

But there was other news that is the sort of thing that we really should be taking notice of.

A webcomic artist has an agent.

It may not be the first time. I'll not pretend to be as up with the really intricate and wide-ranging examples in the field. But it's got to be an important thing to acknowledge.

I don't read Digger because I don't have the means to constantly check a site like Graphic Smash in order to catch the one day at a time along with all the other sites I monitor. But the pay format implies to me that Vernon must be used to working to deadline and following schedule and all those other 'drawbacks' that come with having 'legitimate' projects on the go rather than 'hobby'ing it out on teh intarwebs.

An agent means recognition in a tangible world of print media. That implies a belief in potential profits to be made (and talent. But while you might watch talent, you snap up a chance to make money).

I know the webcomics world already makes its own books and merchadise. I know some of them are working with various ways to get regular print versions out (and some came back the other way). But I'm fairly sure none of them have agents out, hopefully setting things up to push the artist out into a wider world.

I think it sounds like a step up in the general recognition of webcomcis in the 'real world.'

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mywife's family would love this.

Why did no-one tell me about this!?

It's one thing to have actual physical books of comics that I can leave around the house. They are great to read when I don't want to pick up one of the numerous novels that clutter the surfaces too, but others generally flick through them without much attention.

Some people let out a little yelp of recognition for the big names, like Andy Capp or Garfield.

However, I don't think they'd be fussed on any webcomic book I managed to find unless it was outstanding (Which the ones I'd buy would be, but I have limited resources...). But if I got them to play a game...

Of course I've seen this once before, with the Penny Arcade cards that work with Sabretooth's fighting system, but what I like about Get Nifty (from the .pdfs of the rules anyway) is the way it lends itself to imagining outlandish scenarios.

So, this is some of that more interesting merchandising that I like. T-shirts are well and good but i'm not likely to buy one because I have plenty. Books are the basics. Card games, stuffed animals and the like? Way cool.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Livejournal Whore

You know, I think I like reading young miss Kate Ditzler's posts at Fleen. Why? Because she seems to have a large focus on running the internet through her livejournal, as do I.

I admit that she hasn't made a huge number of posts on the subject, but when she does she makes some good strong points from the perspective of someone who spends time using Livejournal.

She pointed out the magnificence of Kawaii Not to me, which has just recently begun it's own fully fledged website. You can still rely on the LJ feed if you want though.

On one of her more recent posts I made a comment that some webcomics around the place seem to be getting into the swing of icon viral marketing because I saw an icon for the Coffee Outage strip at Yirmumah. But then when I tried to find the link, it had vanished. I even started to write a comment over at Yirmumah's website, wondering what had happened.

Then I found it.

Like the best icons, it had been made by someone who reads the comic and decided that the funny had to be distilled and taken to further corners of the internet. The guy from Livejournal, Allah_Sulu, does read webcomics, though he focuses on other things. He has made an icon that goes with Goats (in that it matches a t-shirt they sell, not really based on the comic strip itself). And he has created a very useful program called Allah_Sulu's Massive Tool which he uses to read his webcomics all together. Some day I might try getting it to use for that purpose too.

Finally, I found that Least I Could Do has a well stocked avatar page that could work wonderfully for livejournal icons.

Throw up your goats.

Okay, So I know lots of people took the oppourtunity to make jokes about the date yesterday (06/06/06 for the very few who didn't pay attention). And it was amusing. I saw a few posts about the silliness of it, or how some people didn't want to be a part of it, or enjoying the random devil day-ness.

I particularly enjoyed Yirmumah's whimsical take on celebrating that special day.

But the comic that makes the most sense to mention it is Holy Bibble. The Holy Bibble is retelling the bible in an amusing and sacrilicious way (check God's powers and brilliant green eyes over here man).

So, showing the Great Adversary sitting back and shooting the breeze with some buddies, preparing for a lazy and remarkqably fluffy afternoon, was simply the perfect tribute to a date that, when it comes down to it, means absolutely nothing at all.

This is relevant.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Walking around, listening to the birds.

A few days back, Mr Pellaeon made an animated short of his static-art comic Birdsworth Comics. Unfortunately I still haven't made time to go and read that comic... I feel guilty...

The talkie doesn't load properly for me. I would blame my increasingly annoying computer for this, but I managed to see the jaw-droppingly expensive recent blamimation from PVP with no troubles. I don't think I saw a loading screen on the Birdworth one, something that might make a difference in the future.

As I was typing I jumped because voices started talking to me. The comic loaded up segments and did them and then stopped to keep loading. A loading screen to buffer that sort of effect would be good.

I mananged to get a glimpse of the animation style taken and I liked it. It was still static but the movement made sense and wasn't too confusing.

However, the point of this entry isn't about Birdsworth Comics really.

Pelleaon mentions that he would like to put the animation (and any future ones) onto Clickwheel so that they can become vodcasts. As I'm sure you can imagine, with my lesser connection and the complete lack of iPod online services in New Zealand, I don't know much about this. But it seems like a much cooler idea than simplky having the day's comics on one's iPod. I imagine they would seem small and squashed, or I'd have to pan around them somehow, and generally not as much fun as reading them online or in a book.

But little short animations for one's iPod? That sounds clever.

A follow-up.

This isn't actual a back down from a potential strip changing event. The strip fundamentals have changed, but Mr Kurtz is wise enough to not try too many new things at once. We have been given an idea how strong Max's aversion to seeing the trolls and we have seen a new source of drama for the stories.

We could see that it wasn't going to be as huge an issue as it may have been because of the timing of this strip. The funny comes from us knowing Max doesn't see trolls but there is no real sense that he has changed, just that he is shocked/scared.

This was nice.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wham! Right in the kisser!

So, things just took a turn over at PVP. This really is one of the more interesting events that Kurtz could have put into his strip.

Recent storylines have often included some note of how Max perceives the world, in that he doesn't see Skull. Kurtz had to explain how that all works fully after a strip that seemed to break the rule. I get the impression that he's having fun thinking of new ways to show the disconnect.

But now he's smudged that line that divided Max from everyone else. By introducing a new character that shares elements of Skull's make-up but with a personality that is much more likely to create conflict, Kurtz has pushed that 'What Max sees' thing to its limit.

A new character is always an interesting thing to add to a story strip, especially one like PVP that already has a fair share of characters. At the moment there is an equilibrium between them all, Kurtz knows how they interact. Shecky can only upset that balance and create fodder for new material. Which is why I found it interesting that he would be more happy to run this storyline, which changes the fundamentals of his strip, than the back-in-time/magic die storyline which didn't change so much. The blessing/curse of magic is that it can be discounted rather quickly (a sudden delorean perhaps?) but a new character will leave effects even if Kurtz removes him.

I get the impression that the 'new baby troll turns into ruffian' ploy didn't leave the best impression on some others and, I must say, there was something uncertain about Shecky's introduction. But now the he is playing poker with the gang, I think he'll settle into things in a more natural way. And the particular event that caused me to comment? Could be very classy.

Now, it's the Queen's Birthday and I'm supposed to be on holiday. Go read something else.

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Even Male Librarians Are Lesbians."

So, it appears that Mr Rosenberg has decided to bring megaGAMERZ to an end.

Now, that's a shame.

megaGAMERZ must have been an interesting challenge to write for. As Rosenberg himself says, the non-sequitor nature of the lines in it have seemed like the products of a random generator at times. And that is what I've loved about the comic (when I could get the site to open for me. I don't know why but it was one of the longest loading webcomics I read).

Looking back we can see that there have been a few notices that things are coming to an end, intersperesed with the surprisingly timely culture commentary that the insane nature of the comic allowed.

And now we are left with DeathRumble 6000. I'm sure this will get bloody.

And then we can see his new thingy, yes?