It's been awhile since I've updated my Robot Army and the "Webcomic Related Stuff" links, and there's some a-changing that needs being done.
First off, some cuts. It seems Eyeballing It and Writing About Webcomics have gone the way of the dinosaur. So I must bid them adeiu. If they ever decide to come back, they can let me know, and I'll add them back in. I also reordered the blogs in what I would consider "importance level", although obviously that's somewhat debatable. Oh, and if anybody out there has a webcomics critical commentary blog (I'd prefer a blog which talks only about webcomics, but something in the Websnarkish vein is fine as well) can feel free to pop me an email and I'll add you to the robot army. Soon we commentators will strangle the life out of these creators and bend them to our collective wills! Woo hahahahaHAHAHA!
As for some neat new webcomic related stuff, I never did get around to adding a link to the Webcomic Crossover & Cameo Archive, which is a superfluous site for keeping track of trivial information, and therefore is of vital importance to webcomic fandom. Rock on. That site is lots of fun for Easter Egg hunters.
The guys at Terror Island illuminated me to Webcomic Battle!, which is a ridiculously awesome idea. I think the concept has been done before, but the execution here is so simple and so clean that it really just sparkles with ingenuity. Basically the idea is that a bunch of people submit a comic they have made, and the comics compete with each other, one-on-one in a series of competitions. Every day your comic is paired against another random comic. When a random person visits the site they are shown a random one of the battles, and they simply click on the comic they think is funnier. If your comic is voted funnier than that comic at the end of the day, you survive and the other comic is "retired". The longer you keep winning battles, the more people will see your comic, and if you make it long enough, you may even get into the Hall of Fame. It's a great way to promote your comic, a fun way to kill a couple minutes if you're a webcomic reader, and a good way to get some feedback on your comic's quality all rolled up into one! The more people we can get participating in this, the better.
Oh, and let's not forget I'm Just Drinking, the Webcomic-inspired mixed drinks wiki, brainchild of Phil Kahn. This site needs a fair amount of work, as the many of the drinks on there now are just ripoffs of actual mixed drinks with the names tweaked. I just checked it when making this post and it's made a lot of progress since its inception, but it still needs creative people inventing totally new drinks that have a strong connection to the webcomics they are being mixed for. I myself plan to make a few entries for Birdsworth in the near future.
And lastly we have Arbuckle. Arbuckle is the result of a lot of webcomic-types speculating on how Garfield could be made, well, funny again (some say Garfield was never funny. But in my opinion is was one of the funniest strips out there for about ten years, and then Jim Davis ran out of jokes and passed the buck to a committee of cartoonists). It began with the Garfield Randomizer (which has since disappeared thanks to Cease and Desist letters), which took random panels from Garfield strips and threw them together in a dada-esque, mish-mash style.
Then came the idea to have a strip which showed the world from Jon Arbuckle's point of view, because technically according to Garfield canon Jon cannot actually hear or otherwise ascertain Garfield's thoughts. The original version just had people remaking the strips by removing Garfield's thought bubbles. Of course, that got Cease and Desisted pretty quickly as well. But the latest incarnation actually has people redrawing the strips in their own styles, keeping Jon's dialogue the same but removing Garfield's. And I think that actually adds more power to the concept because many people draw Garfield as a very normal looking cat, and we begin to see the truth in Jon's life.
Arbuckle shows us that Jon is really a very sad and pathetic man who tries to somehow cope with his depression and loneliness by talking to his pets and imagining them to be his best friends. Some strips are pretty funny, some are a bit surreal, and some are just downright depressing. But in all cases, it's taken Garfield, which was essentially a soulless "fat, lazy, and sarcastic gag-a-day" strip, and given it a huge amount of depth and soul. Anybody who wants can create and submit an Arbuckle strip, and this is yet another website that will just continue to get better the more people get involved. And since it involves both alterations to the script and original artwork, Arbuckle is well within the realm of parody and protected from copyright law. So we shouldn't have anything to worry about cease and desist on this one.
It's sites like these that really highlight both the innovative spirit and the strong community of webcomicdom, and I'm proud to link them from this site and partake of their goodness. Heck, I'll probably even contribute something to them.