King Spot

What Did I Learn?

King Spot ComicA little boy named Brian finds King Spot, a talking dog from the circus who claims to be king of the world. Soon after, we are introduced to compliant parents, clowns who bully and baffle, coupon fairies and police that enforce the law mainly using the laws of logic. Later, we meet purging werewolves and others, too.

It’s very silly but has a pattern to it, reminding me of Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Suess at the same time. Boing Boing, a long time ago, called it a fairy tale. Brian and King Spot have many convoluted adventures in order to save the princess, Brian and his family – often cavalierly sacrificing Brian in the process.

That’s a very wordy description but perhaps you’ll understand why I had to describe it that way once you understand this: You know how in (say) the Rapunzel fairy tale that you never question why she doesn’t just spin herself a cord strong enough to let herself down out of the tower? In those stories and this one, you accept that there is no easy escape the situation and that this is a very natural limit. King Spot is much like that, plus you quickly discover it is pointless to try to predict how the next paragraph is going to turn out, let alone the next episode.

King Spot ComicYes, that’s right. There are paragraphs along with the line drawn comic panels. As you scroll down, panels appear and disappear depending on where you are in the story. Which is one way of taking advantage of the fact that the comic is on a screen as opposed to a screen standing in for paper.

Now, while there is nothing wrong with having your comic made for paper – why not be inspired by King Spot and make your website media do something more than just display the comic? Mike actually has made the coding available if you want to make use of it.

But, you say, my comic is all images and I don’t use text except for the blog notes. Fine. It appears that one could probably have the images scroll and substitute the blog text with a little coding know-how. Also, how easy would it be to do something (anything!) with image sprites, roll overs or all the new, great stuff that CSS3 makes possible? If you do some coding, you owe it to yourself to at least look through what is possible with just basic techniques and be inspired. You might come up with the next ‘standard’ element that webcomics include as a feature.

King Spot ComicBut then I read the last entry, at the end of episode thirty nine. There is a summary of some philosophies that went into the comic. These are a bit abstract for me individually but beyond my grasp to grok as a whole unified concept. Perhaps one of you clever types can explain it for me/us in the comments.

So let’s end on my favorite quote: From chapter twenty~ ‘”Did you say something?” said Vivian. “I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my indifference.”‘ That last sentence should definitely be on a shirt.

What Did I Learn?

Clearly, and at the risk of repeatedly bludgeoning a concept home, the strengths of each media need to be used to their greatest advantage. Maybe you don’t like concepts like infinite canvases or horizontal scrolling but if you are aware of other strengths in the digital arsenal then why not use them? At the very least, that would give you three diverse product lines based on the same comic (print, screen and merch.) Who doesn’t want that? So take a few minutes and look at King Spot. It will not only entertain but it was inspiring enough to win a 2009 Interactive Media Award.


  1. Mike Leung

    Thanks for profiling my site, Delos.

    I meant any reference to theme to be framed by the ultimate disappointment experienced by my alter-ego/nom-de-plume. Theme and philosophy were considered last in assembling the story.

    I think the first rule of any art is that it’s art if someone cares, and references to theme allow the artist to show he or she has an idea why anyone else should care about what he or she presents. I try to not get more specific than I have about theme and philosophy because I think art benefits from allowing, for example, your point about how our lives are carried by an underlying order (re: “It’s very silly but has a pattern to it…”). I don’t think we have to care about art for why the artist intended. Innovations rarely survive only going by the intent of the innovator.

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  4. It’s interesting how the theme came together despite revisions and being last in concern – There was still the overriding connectedness between panels and chapters, too.

    I never once questioned the validity of anything in the comic; it all fit. Good stuff.

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