The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Melonpool having some trouble while interviewing a kid from the Melonpool Quickcast.

So, once again Steve Troop is managing to be ahead of the curve in webcomics. Melonpool is one of the grandfathers of all webcomics, first appearing on the web in the olden days of 1996. Before PvP. Before Penny Arcade. Before... well, before just about everything! Steve Troop saw a new medium, and he grabbed it.

Well, he's doing it again. The hot new technology this time is on-demand streaming video on the web. It's gaining a huge amount of steam with Google Video and the upstart new boy-dandy of the webwide world: YouTube. There are several folk out there that have already managed to leverage the concept of a "vodcast", short video clips once a week or so, into popular online features (such as RocketBoom and the ever-amusing Ask a Ninja). And we've begun seeing some webcomickers provide video-on-demand service, most notable Kris Straub, ever the innovator, with his highly entertaining Slipcast, in which he answers questions and discusses all things Starslip. But Steve Troop has taken it to a new level. He's the first webcomicker to use video on-demand services to bring his characters finally and fully into the real world.

Obviously the puppets have been an integral part of Melonpool for its entire history. The Melonpool Movie existed before the webcomic did. If you went and visited Steve Troop at a convention you probably got entertained by a puppet in one form or another. But actual video content from Melonpool was sparse. After all, video was not in terribly high demand on the web, and the bandwidth costs would have been immense (take a look at some figures from Homestar Runner sometime, which keeps almost all its files under one megabyte). But at the end of last year, accurately gauging how the winds of the web were blowing, Troop put the Melonpool webcomic (which was taking a huge amount of time to keep up every day, and wasn't seeing any appreciable increase in traffic) on hiatus and decided to focus on his puppeteering skills, going out every day and practicing, practicing, practicing, knowing that the most popular thing on the web right now, the thing joe average surfer is most likely to be looking for, are silly short videos.

And then, last Friday, he launched the Melonpool QuickCast. It looks like the gist of it is going to be Melonpool and company interviewing people, probably a combination of random people on the street and fan-famous people at conventions. We'll see if it evolves into more involved adventures in the future. The first episode was Melonpool interviewing little kids, and it had a very "Sesame Street" vide going to it, except for the part where one little like five year old kid said his favorite cartoon was South Park. That part made me shake my head in disgust at parents these days. But I digress...

Interestingly, rather than encorporating the QuickCast as a part of the Melonpool site, or the Melonpool Video Blog, Troop joined up with fan legend Kevin Smith to launch the Melonpool Quickcast as one of the premiere features of Smith's new entertainment website: Quick Stop Entertainment. I don't think Troop could have possibly found a better person to partner with. Kevin Smith like unto a god in fan circles, so you can bet this new website is going to get a lot of traffic. And chances are it will be the perfect kind of traffic for Troop: people who have both never heard of Melonpool and who are likely to be interested in it and keep following it.

So go, check it out, and experience Melonpool in a way you've never experienced Melonpool before. And good luck, Steve Troop! Way to stay on the cutting edge!


Post a Comment

<< Home