The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NaDruWriNi - Books and Ducks

[[Edit: It's got a title now. but no picture. Deal with it.]]

Ok, let's get this party started. I haven't titled this post yet, or added a picture to it yet, although I'm sure I'll think of a demonstrative title and picture and add them in later, thereby making this sentence a bit confusing for later readers. But as of right now I haven't really decided what I'm going to talk about tonight. Having not written a serious post in a few months, I've actually got quite the backlog of stuff to talk about.

My drink of choice for the evening is something I discovered at a Halloween party over the past weekend. It's a mix of Bacardi Big Apple apple rum and Apple Cider (in this case, generic supermarket brand apple cider, because I'm cheap). I got ridiculously drunk off the stuff at the party because it's so darn easy to drink. No burning, just sweet, sweet apply taste. And you can actually add a lot of Big Apple to the mix, making it a pretty strong drink (as the Big Apple is 70 proof. yum). I'll keep you updated as I finish twelve ounce cups of the stuff.

Being somewhat of a fatty, with a high fat diet, my tolerance for alcohol is fairly strong, so I'll be measuring my drinking in twelve ounce cups of spiked cider, each cup with probably about two shots of the Big Apple in it (I'm just mixing at will, no real rhyme or reason to it).

I just finished my first cup.

For chasers, I'm using donuts. Sour cream cake donuts picked up at a local grocery store while I was buying my alcohol. Sour cream cake donuts are the bane of my existence. I swear.

And yes, I know that technically a chaser is supposed to be a non-alcoholic DRINK, not a piece of food. But bear with me here.

But I digress. I actually want to talk about webcomics, since there are so many things that have happened since my blog went AWOL that I've really wanted to talk about. And I can't really think of a better place to start, so let's talk about The Biggest Webcomic Loser (Oh, if any links don't work, I just screwed up copying. Precision mousing is difficult while drunk. Use Google to find the site or something. Geez, lazy bums...). To me, The Biggest Webcomic Loser is almost an archetype of webcomics in general. It's a project that started with a whole lot of interest, lots of support and involvement, but then just very quickly disappeared. I mean, how many webcomickers quit within the first month? First two months? By the end even Edward J. "I make fifteen comics a day" Grug wasn't interested enough to keep updating. Now, obviously some of this can be attributed to failing diets, but in large part it was due to the "bandwagon" nature of the internet.

When something is new and exciting on the internet, everybody is quick to jump on the bandwagon. Look at youTube and MySpace. Had anyone heard of them two years ago? Nope.


Ok, so one problem with drinking alcohol is that it makes you very open to suggestion. I reached that post, almost finished with my second cup, and a friend bugged me to go see the Borat movie. So I did. And now, two hours later, I'm back. That's NaDruWriNi for you, I suppose.

Ok, just finished my second cup. Now, where was I?

Ah yes, bandwagons. Anybody remember the Webcomic Hurricane Relief Telethon? Remember what a grand event it was, how tons of people were getting on board and we were making history? It was huge, hundreds of people were involved, tens of thousands were following the site, and all told probably over 30,000 worth of donations for hurricane relief? Why was that such a success while the Biggest Webcomic Loser languished? Because it was short. People on the internet just don't have very long attention spans. Trying to run an event that lasts an entire year is kind of a preposterous suggestion. People don't want to follow you through your struggles and pains, to laugh when you laugh and cry when you cry. They just want their five seconds of humor or drama and then to move on with their lives.

Eh, maybe I'm being too cynical. I'd have to say that in general webcomics fans are the greatest fans in the world. They support their creators directly with donations, emails, and just general encouragement. The reason that some people are able to make their living entirely off their webcomic is not because their work is so great (not to say that it isn't) but because their fans are so great that they want to buy some goofy t-shirt or book from the creator.

And speaking of books... to all webcomickers out there, I've just got to say: Damn you. Damn you all to hell. Seriously. I'm going bankrupt here from buying your books. I'm like a book whore over here.

Actually, I'm not sure what that means. "Book whore". I buy almost every book I see. does that make me like a reverse whore or something? Cause I'm not really selling myself out, I'm more buying in other things, so it's like I'm taking the services of anyone wherever-

Anyways, the point is that I love books. It's as if there is some prehistoric urge within me that can only be fulfilled when I carry the weight of a perfect-bound book into the bathroom for some quality reading. I swear, the bathroom is the natural habitat of reading. I bet when the cavemen first invented wall painting in their caves or whatever, it was in the bathroom caves so they'd have something to look at while they did their business. I mean, it's the perfect activity: you're already sitting, you can't really go anywhere, no one's going to bother you... I've read entire archives of comics in a single trip to the bathroom, and emerged a stronger and more complete man. I mean, I also read in other places; before I go to bed, or just sitting in my desk chair if I'm exceedingly bored, but reading in the bathroom trumps them all in terms of sheer pleasure.

but I'm going to move away from discussing pleasure in the bathroom before everyone thinks I'm a little "off-kilter" and get back to my discussion of how I love webcomic books.

Just finished the third cup. It's becoming clear to me that I'm going to run out of cider before I run out of Big Apple, so I'll have to consider my options at that point. I've got one cup worth of cider left.

Anyways... I love webcomic books. I read a lot of webcomics. Perhaps not as many as some, but more than the average person, I think. And I'm constantly picking up new ones. I get emails from people who happen upon my blog asking me to read their comics all the time. And I always go check them out. I may not read the whole archive (some of them are really, uh, in need of shall we say, retooling (not to say my own comics are that great)), but I always read enough that I get a feel for the strip. And a lot of them I end up picking up, even if I never formally review them or mention them on The Webcomicker. I've got a list of comics needing reviews on my desk, and I'm not sure I'll ever actually get around to reviewing any of them. I also follow links from other webcomics (yes, advertising your webcomic on other webcomics will in fact get people to check you out, at least if I'm any indication), and ever since Piperka added rotating webcomic banners, I've been following a lot of those links and picking up new comics as well. But the point I'm trying to make here is, if I read a webcomic, and even if I really, really like it, I'll read through its archives once online. I don't think I've ever read a webcomic's archives twice online. But if you come out with a book, I'll buy the book, and I'll read through the archives again and again and again in the printed form. And the comics that I feel closest too, the one's I feel most connected to, are the ones I have books for.

I've already got a large collection of webcomic books, and every month I set aside some money to buy more. For example, this month I bought Fragile Gravity books one and two, the HOUSD collection, Evil Inc year one report, Ctrl+Alt+Del volume 2, and the Penny and Aggie book. At least, that's all I can remember. But on to the reason for the damning. The damning is because it seems like a ton of webcomickers are releasing more books for the Christmas season. Here I am at a time when my funds are already ridiculously low from buying presents, and I'm faced with buying a bunch of new books. A Brief History of Webcomics, Evil Inc year 2 report, Schlock Mercenary's The Blackness Between, and some other ones I'm probably forgetting (is Wally & Osborne doing a book? And where the heck is Melonpool Volume 6?) plus all the missing volumes I need to buy - Nodwick and Dandy and Company come to mind (I'm getting too drunk and lazy to link websites anymore), and I'm sure some more will come out for the Christmas season as well. Oh, I just remembered I bought You'll Have That volume 1, and You'll Have That volume 2 is coming out soon. So there's another pair. Oh dang, and the new Penny Arcade book, and the new Inverloch book...

so yeah, I'm basically screwed. Here I am a poor grad student trying to finish his Masters degree and apparently UNEMPLOYABLE (or so the last five companies I've interviewed with have led me to believe), and I'm stuck spending what few bucks I have on webcomic books because they consume my soul. How can you guys be so cruel?

Oh, and I'd just like to take this time to once again re-affirm that I'm standing strong against purchasing the Ugly Hill book. Seriously, Southworth. Ugly Hill is nothing without the colors. I demand the colors! Linework does not do it justice! I will pay the ridiculously high price for print-on-demand colors!

It seems a little odd to me that I would be so demanding of having webcomics in print. I mean, I was never a reader of print comics. Go read my "A Firm Grounding in the Basics" post for more on that if you care. And I never really intended to buy print collections of webcomics when I first started reading. The idea seemed kind of silly to me, especially since my first exposure was really from a Scott McCloud lecture (and those comics ain't never making it to print, unless we figure out some way of printing like three mile long single sheet scrolls). But then when I actually saw the print collections available (I think the first site I saw this on was PvP) I was reminded of my childhood days spent reading Peanuts and Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes and I knew I just had to buy those print collections. And I've never looked back.

And that's why Platinum Studios purchase of Drunk Duck is so interesting. This is the other topic I've really wanted to talk about. See, here's the thing. I don't know a lot about Platinum Studios. But they appear to be a comic book publisher (are they big? Are they small? *shrug*), and they bought Drunk Duck. And they took a lot of flak from the webcomic community for all their press releases that they were going to have "comics on the web! Wow!" and everyone pretty much wrote them off as being late to the party and not really understanding the world of webcomics. But has anyone been following their premiere release webcomics, Cowboys and Aliens and Hero By Night Diaries? This isn't your typical comic book publisher saying "Let's put up an issue of the comic every month or two, in some unnavigable flash interface or something!" Nope, each of those comics is releasing a page a day, every weekday, like your typical webcomic, with space underneath to comment and post rankings just like every other webcomic on Drunk Duck. Platinum isn't trying to take webcomics and shove them into some print comics mold. They've embraced the webcomics model, and they're working with it. When issues of Cowboys and Aliens and Hero By Night hit the stands, they won't be as some new small-time comic competing for shelf space. They'll be as printed collections of already existing webcomics that have developed a fan base that wants to support them. And that's what's truly revolutionary about Platinum Studios. They're a publisher that actually understands webcomics. And I'm very interested to see how the partnership with Drunk Duck works out. And I'm reading both Cowboys and Aliens and Hero By Night with much anticipation.

...And I'm done with the fourth cup. And I'm out of cider, which means I should probably wrap this thing up. There's enough Big Apple left for a few more shots but it's late enough in the evening and I think I've got enough logged here already to satisfy myself.

I guess I'm just a serious drunk, what can I say? Over the course of this post I've drunk more than three-quarters of this bottle of Bacardi big Apple, and I'm still trying to address "serious webcomic issues", so I guess maybe I'm just not all that exciting while drunk. Or maybe I'm just supremely single-minded. Or maybe all this typing helps me keep my mind clear... I don't know. In any case I doubt my post is as amusing as many of the other posts on this fine night, but at least I managed to talk about some things I've been dying to talk about, and hopefully you enjoyed it. We'll reconvene tomorrow and I'll link to some other NaDruWriNi posts with my thoughts.

I had a good time, anyways. Now I've just got to finish this stupid thesis and find a freaking job.


At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ah yes, bandwagons. Anybody remember the Webcomic Hurricane Relief Telethon? Remember what a grand event it was, how tons of people were getting on board and we were making history? ... Why was that such a success while the Biggest Webcomic Loser languished? Because it was short. People on the internet just don't have very long attention spans. Trying to run an event that lasts an entire year is kind of a preposterous suggestion. ... They just want their five seconds of humor or drama and then to move on with their lives."

This is absolutely correct. In every sense. Good on you for pointing it out.

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Scott Thornton said...

One suggestion for genre webcomics in print is the deadtree collection of, Agnes Quill: An anthology of mystery, the extras (diaries and reports) in this are more than enough to quantify spending your money.

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just looked up how to mix big apple and I got into your postings.
Frankly, I believe that everybody is so absorbed in their own lives to worry about others. It doesn't matter if your online talking about the Hurricane relief, what are you doing about it?
Great, so you talk about it online congratu-freakin-lations! Other people have lives and are also going through struggles even without nature fucking it up and you bash others for not having the attention to listen or read about that?!!?
It matters a hell of a lot more to those who face it :::shrugs :::
again what are you doing about it ?
You buy all those books that satisfy you and what of your money goes to the Hurricane Relief victims?... try a library or online books
Anyways thank you for the apple cider and big apple mix, I just felt compelled to tell you that people have opinions against your beliefs. Sorry, bout being so frank its easier to tell "it"online rather than voice face to face.


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