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?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Back in the Summer of '06

Okay, it's everywhere in the webcomic world (well... more than one place at once and, for purposes of this little talk, that'll do). The Oozinator.

I'm curious if this toy exists outside the US? I know there must be plenty of webcomics that exist outside those borders (generally Canadian it seems, where it is still summer...) but I'm not sure if any of them have taken up the 'yay, inappropriate toy' thing yet.

Disclaimer: It is funny and weird and entirely appropriate to be joking about.

But the whole thing makes me very aware of how close most of the webcomic creators I really like seem to be. Most of the Ooze jokes are mentioning the idea of Summer and really looking forward to playing in the warmth with these new terrible toys. It's summer time and it feels good.

And here I sit under a blanket in my warmest clothes with a fire blazing because the cold is settling into the house.

Webcomics should be international, but I'm not seeing anything from outside the northern hemisphere at the moment. I'm not seeing stuff that shows differences to the standard US style of life (unless its drastically different, i.e. Sci-Fi).

This is all my own fault really. I've been trawling US comics for rec's and they have recced comics they know. So this is a call for everyone to point me out some very different country set comics.

Antartica is close but doesn't quite count...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Damnation, that's blood all over my cravat.

I love Medium Large, it's got that great pop reference thing going that Family Guy does too. As I said last time.

But its a mixed blessing.

See, what Medium Large does so well is becoming a little formulaic. We know that we meet down and out characters at the bar. We know that TV shows get pushed to the next step such as Generic Family Sitcom #342.

We know that Teenage Girl President just keeps going... (actually, maybe not?)

Today marks Victorian Era Super Hero's triumphant... um... dressing, and shows that he is likely to be just as regular a fixture as Teenage Girl President.

I thought Victorian Era Superhero was a magnificent addition during Brit Week, and I just hope that it gives Marciuliano some more room to play rather than just becoming a new formula... Although, if the "Mondays this summer" in the announcement strip comes true that could be okay too.

Syndication: A Homonym.

I forgot to mention yesterday, though it seems appropriate, that there is an LJ Feed for the Kea's Nest now and the Blogger xml syndication is here.


I'm very interested in Fleen's little post about Chris Baldwin getting Little Dee a step closer to newspaper syndication. I must admit that, although this sort of thing is obviously important, I ususlly skim discussions of various means of syndication. So I won't say much here other than it would be cool to see comics like Little Dee in the papers but I don't expect it.

So what does being on mean anyway?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Big Respect For Rsspect

I figured a possible solution to the whole 'crap internet connection' thing that was slowing my viewing of webcomics could be solved by various means. The connection appears to ahve become a little more stable, but the important thing is that I divided up my personal livejournal (which had webcomics in it) and made a new webcomic following livejournal. It's not going to be used to update but the friends page is how I'll be following most comics now.

I went through my bookmarks and found every comic that had a feed already included and added it. However, there are plenty that don't have any feeds. What is a desperate man to do? Rsspect it.

Rsspect is really easy to use. This morning I started making feeds for various webcomics that, for whatever reason, don't have feeds of their own (I made some comments on problems that could arise from LJ feeds before...). It was quick and simple and, apparantly, the new feeds will only point me to the page and not deliver the content.

I'd like sites to do their own feeds, perhaps only linking to new comics so they don't lose revenue that way, but putting their blog posts out over feed would be nice.

So, we'll see how these Rsspect feeds work out once I've add some fully paid LJ friends make proper LJ feeds for me. But it certainly looks promising, helping me only spend the time opening a webcomic page when I know there is something new waiting for me there. In theory this means I'll be able to comment on comics more often.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I'm really annoyed that I have to do this so soon after starting to write here.

But my internet connection barely leaves me able to receive email or check in on my family at the moment. Trying to read tens of webcomics during my breaks in study is no longer feasible.

Hopefully this connection trouble will be sorted in under a week.

Until then, Kia Ora.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Or should we just sit in our 'Free Katie' T-shirts?

Given the plentiful oppourtunities Tom Cruise provides for joke making it was interesting to see two rather different takes on the opening weekend take of Mission Impossible III. While I largely agree with Brazelton's 'Keep the Crazy away' take on things, I have to admit that McAlpin has a good point.

It's something that comes up again and again and really will never be resolved. How much of the artist's personal life do you take into account? When I find Tom Cruise plastered all over the media around me, which I find annoying even when he's being nice like changing a tire for a family while filming the Last Samuri here in New Zealand, I want to punish him. By not going to see his movies hopefully the media will stop shoving him in my face so much. But Last Samuri and Minority Report were movies I enjoyed. Shouldn't I have kept away from them too?

Also, there's other actors in M:I.III that I want to reward, such as Phillip Seymour Hoffamn. But I don't know anything about his personal life. What if he's worse than Tom Cruise? Or is it just the intrusion that I want to punish?

Here in New Zealand there is an art collective known as et al that has represented the country in art shows. One of the things that has created controversy is that they simply refuse to be identified or do interviews. The art stands by itself and there is nothing to fall back on or hint at its purpose.

Obviously most comics aren't so esoteric as all this. In fact, most of them make a show of the creator's personality and regularly talk about their work to their readers. So, should we or should we not encourage this sort of thing? If we do, isn't it fair that Cruise's couch jumping influence my decision to see a movie? Or is the title the best option (someone remind to fix that link we needed).

[Edited To Add]
Theatre Hopper is in desperate need of more pre-prders in order to get the book off the ground. Please go and show some support if you can.

This is the catch-up post.

Well, it had to happen. After roughly three weeks of getting in an update every day I missed yesterday. In my defence, I'm having serious trouble getting my crappy rural dial-up to hang in there (I don't even know that this post is going to work). Hopefully it won't happen again. what made it particularly frustrating was the fact I was unable to even see most of the comics I wanted to.


I was beginning to wonder if I'd missed the introduction of the new writers for Fleen. Surely the gap between the competition, with it's very interesting entries, and a new writer was beginning to become noticable (At least in Interweb time, where a week is forever)? But over the last couple of days Gary introduced us to Sommer and Alison. I'm looking forward to reading some more stuff on Fleen, and trying to guess which Contestant they were.

Welcome Girls!


Over at Comixpedia Krishna mentioned feeling like there was less interaction between comics nowadays. It may just be nostalgia for those giddy days of the internet oh so many years ago, but he has a point. One of the fun things about the medium is the way artists can mix and match a little. It's what made things like Queen of Wands ending, Something Positive's twisting that and Checkerboard Nightmare riffing off that so much fun to watch.

Because of the way an artist can change the comic he plans to upload (thus bypassing any queue he has set up to ensure updates) he doesn't have the same problem as a newspaper artist trying to comment on current events (even if they are webcomic related). Although two newspaper artists recently co-ordinated nicely to produce the following crossover (follow the 'Get Fuzzy' tag).

Funnnily enough, about a week before hand The Webcomicker had a link to this very classy little website: The Webcomic Crossover and Cameo Archive.

This has to be easiest way to keep track of clever uses of other characters. Although it really does emphasise another point I saw made recently: there are more interesting webcomics out there than anyone can ever possibly write about.


Speaking of Fleen and the Webcomicker, gilead has started his very own static art comic called Birdsworth. Because of the troubles with my connection I haven't looked at it yet sorry, but please have a look.

One of the reasons I didn't go after signing up for Fleen was because I have a notebook full of skeches and comic scripts. I have no equipment to get it online, so you won't have to suffer it yet, but Fleen's requirement for its contributors to not be comic creators made me keep a distance. I want that option available in the off chance I ever manage to get some gear to put my ideas online.

Monday, May 15, 2006

In Which I Enjoy My Hobby That Takes Me Away From Real Work

When I first started posting to the Nest one of the first comments was from a certain Lucas Teodoro da Silva. In an attempt to avoid the incestuous back slapping routine that could arise from reviewing everyone who mentioned themselves here, I held off for a while to get a feel for his webcomic 8 1/2 by Eleven.

But now I feel the need to let you know it's lovely.

da Silva provides a couple of handy guides for the new reader, which are nice places to start. He mentions that he started the strip as a way of keeping his drawing hand in and I think that can be seen in some of the strange images that accompany otherwise potentially normal conversations. He also mentions that any humour is largely coincidental, but I found that the strip I link right there is one of the funniest I've read in a long time.

But one can see his point. As Joe and Monkey also commented on recently, da Silva ponders on the strange effect of reusing words too often. There is a lot of text and the action is slight, which carries a sense of lazy whimsy to me. It's a strip that strolls past and mentions amusing stories rather than jumping at you with a custard pie.

Because of the leisurely pace, we can find ourselves facing touching moments and still finding time for a laugh, or discussing light weight fluff and remembering the real world.

I personally cannot get enough of main character Nillan's younger sister. She reminds me of every person I ever thought was great to hang around with. Apparantly she will be receiving a name soon, as da Silva has been running a fan competition for it. I can't wait.

So, go and enjoy. It's one that I think you'll want to catch up with every day. Oh, and the titles kick arse.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I wore the funny hat and everything.

Today I received a piece of paper proclaiming my intellect to the world by telling them I have a BA in Classics and English.

So it seems pertinent to mention Piled Higher and Deeper. PHD comics reveals the slacktastic world of postgraduate university study and all the trials and tribulations that go along with it. I'm only sorry I did a large number of papers via distance learning and avoided some of the more interesting elements of campus life. Although watching the nude scull at the drinking games in Auckland was enlightening.

Like Unshelved, PHD Comics show how the internet is a great place to find yourself a comfortable little niche and exploit it for all its worth. In this case it's the world of the grad student. And, according to the tour diaries, it's a fairly good market to have.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Γνώθι Σεαυτόν

Ahh, doesn't it feel good to see that something you've decided to try and put some effort into is still denigrated by a section of people?

It's the same old story. Some people watching the LJ Feed for the Perry Bible Fellowship got confused by this recent strip. I for one agree, it's a little harder to follow than usual, unless you make the connection between the shape of the volcano and the drawing of the house. But even then you have to realise that the clown being in front of the red house could be seen as being inside the red volcano. I don't naturally see that version of the picture, I just see the smoking hill and the clown man.

Anyway, there was a discussion about what the cartoon meant. It goes back and forwards and people get annoyed at each other. Such is discussion on the internet. But then someone says "It's just kinda combining the two last if there was a second volcano seen in the distance of the last panel, and a big square red lava hole, then it'd click like that. This just necessitates too much concession in my opinion.

But hell, here I am critiquing about internet comics on the internet.

Not only did the enunciate why it didn't quite mesh into a conclusion that makes me laugh, but they did it simply and precisely. And then they make a comment that implies that they shouldn't be worrying about such trivial things.

It makes me so frustrated. Yes, webcomics are trivial. They are pictures that I get from my fancy machine that make me laugh. But geez, is it too much to ask that people be willing to think a little? Sure, it's fun to just watch TV or listen to music for fun. But can you understand why it's fun? Or, more particularly, when it's not WHY it's not?

It's self knowledge really and even the Oracle at Delphi knew that was important.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The denezins of Ugly Hill are mosters. Seriously, monsters. They have tenacles and wierd skin and everything. However, they are saurprisingly normal, for sufficient values of normal. They have countries and immigrants, credit cards and horrible amounts of debt. And, when things get down to it, wars.

We can empathise with these... people.

Part of what drags someone in to a story, be it a webcomic or otherwise, is how much they can see 'Human' in the characetrs. If someone wrote a tale about truly non-human characters doing unhuman things, odds are that it wouldn't be interesting, just more confusing than reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man backwards (actually, that might help...). But, if one human character was put into the mix...

Part of what Southworth has done to keep my attention is his care in making everything human, down to the people who are oblivious to what's going on around them.

And the introduction of the B.I.C.L.O.P.S. conspiracy blog just adds to that feeling. What with a major war on a physically different race of monsters, we all know that someone is going to be crying rascism... Eyeism... whatever.

I don't care if people talk about the blog as a construct of the artist. To me, it'll always be another sign that Ugly Hill is real and there are monsters under my bed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It would be funny once but I've done exactly the same thing at least twice.

I tihnk we can all relate to what Coffman is showing us in the latest Yirmumah. In my particular case it was something along the lines of:
Kea's Wife - I'm so glad that the Tool Concert sold out. I'm looking forward to going out for...
Kea - Hey, did you hear they're doing door sales!? If I take this money we had for going to a resturant I could probably buy one!
Kea's Wife - ...
Kea - See you afterwards!

What I particularly like about the comic is the small satisfied smile that Drew has in that doghouse. The punishment is so worth it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just leaves Sex and Religion to ensure offense...

Not too many webcomics wear their politics on their sleeve. Most of them are more interested in telling a story or getting the reader to laugh. Although I must acknowledge that sometimes one just has to say something. Even so, there are more 'editorial' cartoons out there. Some of them seem to have jumped straight out of the newspapers, complete with single panel and names to ensure one understands the symbolism.

I really enjoy reading these, so I thought I quickly talk about a few favourites. Fair warning, on the ever popular Political Compass I come out somewhere in the vicinity of Ghandi. Which may well be an indictment of the Political Compass.

Cox & Forkum is one of the ones that really looks made for newspaper opinion pages. The artwork is supurb and most of them time their are small jokes hidden in the artwork, though sometimes it can get very simple and require labels, which I see as a failing in this sort of cartoon. It is also very right wing, though they are secular and the religous right gets it occasionally too.

Somwhat less right focused (in fact I wasn't sure where to place it for the longest time. It's really quite 'centre' I think) is Filibuster Cartoons. This has a similar presentation, generally one panel editorial cartoons. However it is much more prone to using labels and the aesthetic seems more like something you'd find in a computer game than on a newspaper page. I like the art.

Most of the political cartoons I read move outside the one panel approach, althoguh they mostly do a 2x2 grid instead. IDrewThis, This Modern World and Ted Rall all use this approach. I said a while back that I thought Ted rall was abrasive in a good way, and I stand by that. This Modern World has a fun 'clip art'-esque aesthetic which I enjoy and IDrewThis is very simple. IDrewThis was one a thrice per week schedule but since the 2004 elections it has dialed back to one a week, which has meant Simpson can make cartoons that focus on his point rather than just riffing on a recent event.

One of the elements of online comicry that I love is the interaction, the way most artists have blogs or at least accompany their cartoons with small posts. This, of course, has a whole different meaning in political cartoon land. Some have columns and irregularly updated blogs like Ted Rall. most have commentary related to the cartoon of the day and some even have full-blown blogs like Tom Tomorrow's. There are a few of the smaller cartoonists whose comics fit into their blog almost like drawings they've done for their online friends, such as Minimum Security, Mikhaela's News Blog and What Masheka Did.

Unfortunately there are a great mass of American centric politcial cartoons out there but very few New Zealand focused ones. Most of the cartoons in our papers also find their way online in various forms. Dorking Labs provided decent enough editorial style cartoons but appears to have died shortly after the South Park/Bloody Mary fiasco when it reached our fair isles. Thankfully Mark O'Brien, inventor of the Monsta, a favourite character from my youth, has started a (semi)daily comic here. To be honest, these show more flair and humour than Dorking Labs ever did...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dead Comcis: Zombie Jesus

Something I find sad about the internet is the way the past gets frozen in place as time moves forward. There are pages out there that were once updated regularly, interacting with their viewers, but somehow real life took over. As it always does. My wife still tells me off for not going out with our real life friends as much as I spend intereacting with online (thus false) friends. Anyway, I have found many webcomics that must have once been thriving, funny, clever comics but have fallen by the wayside. The way they sit, endlessly paused a few days before a never coming update is terribly poignant. Or something.

The first example I'll give today is the Living Tales of Zombie Jesus.

Zombie Jesus is really a self explanatory concept. We are all familiar with tales of the dead coming back to life, only most of us realise that it is more appropriate to run in terror than to poke our fingers through their wounds. Zombie Jesus is uttered on at least one episode of Futurama and I have seen other writers independently come up with the concept.

What makes the Living tales so special is the down to earth/modern take on the relationship between ZJ and his disciples. It's easy to picture this as almost any crowd of twenty-somethings confronted by an old friend as a zombie. Which allows the subtle nods to the 'actual' story to get us grinning.

It's been about two years since Zombie Jesus died. Hopefully one day it will rise again. Unfortunately it looks like the archives are dying too. That's a shame, we'll lose a very clever comic there and you won't even be able to revisit it in memorium.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I like the lion, though it must be used sparingly.

Straub himself pointed out Radioactive Panda's recent storyline. I'm enjoying it so far. I may even check back through the archives if this arc is any indication of previous quality.

But it's clever enough to read now anyway, and I want to see where he takes it.

Basically, Ferrett sums up my position nicely, although I'm already hooked.

The latest Home on the Strange truly does emulate the feel of reading the Wheel of Time series. As Tom says, 'Friends don't let friends read Jordan.' I was introduced to reading and fantasy as something I really enjoyed by a friend of the family who gave me a copy of Magician for christmas. But even he swore never to read Jordan until the series ended.

I laughed when I realised it was Websnark who gave this little piece of information a while back. It's always Burns that gets me the stuff I need. I know that a man's life is at stake and there are horrible horrible things that he must face. But one of my immediate thoughts upon reading the news was, Thirty years? Thirty years worth of books!? Now, that just seems unreasonable anyway. What the hell else needs to happen before the end of this series!? Maybe its another series he means.

Its what has kept me from commiting to unfinished series. Like the Martin of the title.

A thought though: I am willing to read webcomics without knowing how the story ends. Even ones based around a particular narrative. So what is the difference? The immediacy of the interaction. Although I feel sorry about strips that end midway, I have seen enough around to know that the chance of dissapointment is slim. Whereas I have seen far too many unfineshed series of fantasy novels.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One day I'd like to feel mauve. That'd be interesting.

Cat and Girl is a very interesting little comic. The concepts that Dorothy (didn't see a last name, but I'm sure I'm missing it) uses aren't really that high brow but the way Girl attacks them tends to imply it. Just like so many bands that use language that is simple but try and make it sound weighty and meaningful.

What I love about today's comic is that it attacks pink for all the right reasons. It attacks the ideas that are often linked to pink, although pink may be innocent in and of itself. Cat trys to defend it with something that sounds good but is really not a good thing (lying to oneself). Girl lists all the downers that are associated with pink (often attempts to sugarcoat something unpalatable).

Then Girl mentions blue as the opposite of pink, associated with all the positive and powerful forces that she feels are denied her on a whim. She also mentions white as a perfect neutral colour.

And then we are left with an obvious and, really, quite powerful down association of blue. It's not just funny but it also makes me sad that people can't get around the associations that colours have already been given.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gah, all my bookmarks are at home!

I am a long way from home right now. I've gone to visit my family and go to a concert. So, there's a strange familiarity and yet distance where I am now, my mother's home having changed since I left nearly five years ago.

So it's nice to see those familiar cartoon faces cracking wise all around me anyway. It gives me a feeling that I'm still right where I started.

I can totally relate to Dean's horror of not having the complete uniform. In my current job I didn't wear a nametag for a month or two, but the job before sent me home to iron my shirt once, an hour and a half round trip.

I too have noticed that Tom Cruise's crazy is far too contagious.

I'll be away still tomorrow. I don't expect to have anything hugely relevant then either...

Monday, May 01, 2006

On Being A Freeloader

I read a large number of webcomics via their Live Journal feed. Does that sound like something from some form of Anonymous Association?

Anyway, I get LJ feeds for some of my favourite webcomics so that I can catch up with them alongside the happenings of my friends. I understand that you can also get programs that basically do the same function, although I've never strayed from LJ really... I've been wondering if these are detrimental to such a niche group as webcomics though.

I notice that the income for a large number of webcomics relies upon ad banners or merchandise sales. However, most feeds that I have seen don't carry ads with them. In fact, until just very very recently, the Real Life feed didn't even bring the image of the comic with it, it just gave me a link to the comic that sometimes didn't even work. And, by being a reader who almost never checks out the homesite of the comic, those vital sources of income don't manage to pull at me.

Another lack that the feeds have is communication. One of the things I have come to love about the world of webcomics is the interaction with the creators. If I want, I can go and comment or directly email pretty much any of the artists I admire (or despise) and let them know. Heck, I can email them a tasty recipe that I think they may like. Sure, it's a downfall and potential annoyance for them, but it makes reading the comics so much more interesting. And reading the comics via feed strips out a lot of the commentary that goes along with them.

There are some who find ways around these issues. Dinosaur Comics includes a snippt of commentary or advertising at the bottom of its feed. Penny Arcade's feed includes there oh-so-loquacious blog posts. And there are a few comics who seem to work primarily through Live Journal before anything else, such as McMillan's Minimum Security or How To be Happy (Formerly Too Much Coffee Man, and probably an off web comic first).

So I was thrilled to see that Real Life's shift to a new server (created by one of the minds behind Goats) includes the ability to get posts as Dean makes them. Now all he needs to do is include an ad at the bottom of each one. I don't mind the 'intrusion', because I'm getting off even more scott free by using the feed.