Strip News

  • First of all, I’ve been looking for two more reviewers for Comic Fencing. Most would like to participate but don’t have the time to add a weekly review into their schedule. Those that visit this site have some interest in reviews, so if you think you’d like to give it a whirl send me an email.
  • Relatedly, the newest reviews are up at Comic Fencing, so head over there and see what kind of brouhaha we are getting ourselves into. This week’s subject is Muddle Creek. (And we also have a new reviewer.)
  • This might spark your interest. What do “Mad Magazine” and “Tales From the Crypt” have in common?
  • El Santo already pointed this out on Webcomic Overlook, but I think you should see what he wrote. The “How To Make Webcomics” guys have a podcast and they discussed the recent scuffle over the ignore-reviewers part in the book. I won’t get a chance to listen for a couple more days, but let me know if there’s anything else interesting there. Also, I read about five more reaction articles to Kurtz’s comments – it’s interesting to note that he doesn’t even consider reviewing a craft. I’ve said what I thought needed to be said about critics and reviewers, so I’ll leave it at that.
  • Tim Demeter had an article at Comixtalk that discusses business strategy for long-form comics.
  • If you haven’t heard about this, Tom Brazelton of the “Theater Hopper” webcomic has had some recent troubles. His hard drive broke. It contained five years of Theater Hopper strips plus personal family stuff and that sort of thing. To get as much of that back as possible, he had to send it to a professional restoring service which costs several hundred dollars. He has a donation page to help cover the cost, but he’s not just looking for a handout. He plans to work to earn that donation. He’s almost three quarters of the way there, so help him out if you can.
  • We’re heading toward the end of the month, so stop by Zuda and vote for your favorite comic.
  • Via The Daily Cartoonist, there is a request for commentary on an interview with “Cul De Sac’s” Richard Thompson who responds to a question about how similar his comic is to Calvin & Hobbes. It’s interesting. How can you not be influenced by Calvin?
  • Also, The Daily Cartoonist points to an article discussing the Modern American Comic Strip. That’s a very concise description of the newspaper comic industry. Adding to that is the fact that newspapers are in decline. That doesn’t leave much room for all our favorite Sunday comics. Times are changing.

That’s what struck me as pertinent this week (along with some overlooked gems from last week.) Care to suggest anything else?


  1. I agree that criticism can, in themselves, be a craft in itself. (Which is why that Kurtz comment sort of struck me and I posted it on my blog entry.)

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say Kurtz disses reviewers as a whole, though. He does state at the beginning of the podcast that a lot of his movie, music, and entertainment experiences are informed and enhanced by reviews.

  2. I actually got a chance to listen to it earlier today and he did say he checks out reviews (for everything else but comics.)

    I agree that for anyone else (even a reviewer – gasp) to tell an artist what they should or shouldn’t do with their creation is not right. I can also see how you can’t listen to one million other opinions. I also don’t think it’s right for a reviewer to try to put down a comic to make themselves look good.

    They have this hangup that anyone can put up comic reviews. That is true, just like anyone can post a comic. It seems to be a problem only when they are criticized. After all, checking out reviews of a car or restraunt is fine. Why not their comics?

    The fact is that sometimes reviewers are going to be right about one or two things that need fixing. I don’t think they should be advising artists to listen only to established artists who are better than they are. Good ideas can come from anywhere.

    More importantly, what I’d like to know is if their podcast is generally useful for aspiring artists? I’d be willing to consider listening to more of their discussions if there was added value.

    Also, I appreciated the informality of the podcast, but I was also a little put off by the one guy who was noisily eating and burping into the microphone. Does that happen every time?

  3. Well, Webcomics Weekly is generally one of my favorite podcasts, period, so any opinion from me is likely biased. But, yes, I think it’s very worth it for aspiring artists.

    In previous podcasts, Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, and Brad Guigar have covered things like creator rights, working for a comic syndicate, reaching out to other markets (like librarians), converting readers into paying customers, and whether or not you need to modify your comic to work on mobile devices. I think they even did an interview with Ted Rall once over whether giving content for free on the web would be the death knell for comics.

    It’s kinda tricky to find some of the older podcasts, by the way. They transitioned to a new host around Webcomics Weekly #40. I can’t remember the site address where their old podcasts are archived, but I remember they do mention it at the end of the current podcast.

    Incidentally, they were having more technical glitches this time around for some reason. Don’t know why. Usually the quality’s so good that you can be tricked into believing all four guys are in the same room — which they actually did, once. Trick everyone, that is. As for the eating … I think each guy brings food along, because the podcasts usually last an hour or so. (They riff on it at the beginning of some of their shows, mentioning what food they have in front of them.) I never really noticed it, though. :\

  4. Delos

    The guy who wrote the post has some beefs with people offering him advice on his comic. There is more to it, but it’s all just a wall of noise to him (and the other authors.)

    In their book, they say that aspiring webcomic artists should ignore all critics and reviewers. (Included in these authors is they guy who draws Sheldon, the Evil, Inc artist and the Starslip Crisis artist.) They claim you should only accept advice from someone who is better than you are at what creating comics.

    My beef is not so much with them feeling that way (due to their situation) but rather that is poor advice. I’d hate to overlook a good idea that comes from any source.

    Reviews are useful to readers but also to let the artist know how other people see the comic. I think it’s useful information to know how both non-artists and artists feel about your comic. The artist can only have one point of view, so getting a variety of feedback is good.

    I am starting to think these guys simply feel over-criticized. They’ve chosen to only listen to their comic peers as a result, which does come off as arrogant and shortsighted. Hopefully, the next book they make will have something more practical on the topic.

  5. The Doctor

    Perhaps it is simply because I am not an artist with ink and pen, personally, but I do have a question/observation – doesn’t it seem a bit arrogant to put forth the idea that artists “shouldn’t” listen to critics? Are they believed to be so far above the rest of we mere mortals that they suddenly are above reproach/criticism/improving their work because someone else sees something they don’t? To me that buys into the whole “misunderstood/angst filled/no one can REALLY understand you because you’re a genius and they aren’t” nonsense that too often gets parceled out along with art. When dealing with a webcomic, especially, that seems almost laughable.

    That’s the impression I get from these discussions and articles of the nature of the one mentioned. Hopefully this comment won’t go unanswered as others on this page have (ahem) :)

  6. The Doctor

    I concur. To me, that is like my disregarding any and all advice you may ever give me on something I write simply because you are an artist of pen and paper, not words. I don’t think, furthermore, that their idea could be put out in the manner in which it was without it coming across as arrogant, to be quite honest. Perhaps it’s a matter of how it was phrased, more than anything else.

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