Thursday, April 03, 2008

Funny Pixels

So as part of the general futzing with the page, I'm chosen to engage in the most dangerous subject first - messing around with the comics page. Any dead-tree newspaper person can tell you, you can move news of national importance to page A5, or hire a troupe of syphilitic baboons to run the editorial page, and the readers won't care. But drop "Marmaduke" and watch the pitchforks and torches come out.

The general rule - is "I read this stuff, you should too", but I recognize that some of it will offend more delicate or reasonable sensibilities. So I'll add both ratings and how frequently they update.

Girl Genius is the best of the lot, from Phil and Kaja Folgio. The comic is a steampunk adventure where the world is divided into Mad Scientists and the rest of us. The strip melds both outlandish inventions with interesting characters and tops it off with some of the best dialog in the biz (Rated G, Three times a week, regular like clockwork)

PVP started off as a gaming strip but has gotten more about the characters over time, which I guess is a mainstream move if there were comics that still did character-based comedy (OK, outside of Crankshaft). Saga of the staff of a computer game magazine and their mascot troll (Rated PG (fart jokes), daily, pretty dependable, misses occasionally, and sometimes relies on "guest artists" (like now)).

Penny Arcade is still a gaming strip, which means is will be impenetrable for those not nose-deep in the industry. This is why I post to the blog page, which often gives some sort of framework for the strip. Local guys, incredibly successful, darn funny (Rated a hard R for language and topics, three times a week, incredibly dependable).

Order of the Stick is a D&D strip that plays deeply inside the beltway, with references to various rules in the game. A party of Fisher-Price style adventurers get involved with larger epics. If you don't know about Flumphs, you may get lost.(Rated G, Supposedly three times a week, but pretty erratic. Server clogs up every time they launch a new strip).

xkcd is stick figures, philosophy, the Internet, advanced math, and code. Yeah, its pure geekdom in its unrefined form, but it is hard not to spend an afternoon just going through all the previous ones. (PG, three times a week, dependable like the radioactive decay of a strontium atom).

Sinfest is a religious/philosophy comic with an anime style and the occasional hot babe. Jesus, God, the Devil, Buddha, a dragon, a horndog, a heartbreaker, and a drugged out pig. Best recent strip: Punxsutawney Jesus (PG-13 for substance abuse, language, occasional hot babe, Daily, pretty dependable).

Darths and Droids is a photostrip telling the Stars Wars story as if it was an RPG. Start from the beginning (Rated G, Three times a week, As dependable as R2-D2)

Diesel Sweeties is weird, since it has a paper version (which auditioned in the Seattle Times and is now auditioning in the Seattle P-I). Both are about young hipsters and robots who are drawn like primitive computer graphics, but the online version has more sex and drugs. Don't know how this plays with the traditional comic page crowd. (Rated PG-13 for drugs, sex, robot sex. Weekdays but they miss occasionally)

Don't Forget To Validate Your Parking comes out of the recent writer's strike. Mike Le writes on his laptop and takes phone calls. That's about it. Just got a gig with WRITTEN BY magazine. Yeah, I shortened the name so it could fit on the blogroll. Deal. (Rated PG-13 for language, Weekly, pretty regular, but also pretty new).

Freak Angels is the closest thing to a traditional comic book, in that it shows up in five and six-page chunks at a time. In the near future, a group of teenagers have destroyed the world. This is what happens next. (Rated R for occasional nudity and the British cursing that Americans find cute. Every Friday, regular so far).

Doodle-A-Day, also called Doodlestan, is last but not least - the daily sketches of Stan!, who is a really cool guy and always makes me smile (Rated G, Daily, Hasn't missed a day)

More later