Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary
















November 9, 2008


A Dozen Comics I'm Reading On-Line

Given the historic election last week and how giddy that's made so many comics people, I've been informed it's been something of a depressing last five days on this site. Not only have I kept bringing up the ongoing recession like someone at a dinner party looking to start a fight, I've been critical of how certain comics are being put on-line for folks to read. Because I want you to know I really don't hate comics that are on-line, and because I wanted to end the weekend on a positive note, I decided to take some time out this morning and just list a few comics I happen to read on screen rather than on the page.

This is in no way a complete list. There are probably about twice this many comics that I follow as closely as those here and about twice that number with which I catch up occasionally. This list is a snapshot, the first dozen comics that popped up in my on-line comics bookmarks folder. What I liked about this little group is that there are comics all over the place here, not just in terms of genre but also from what "world" of comics they come and how they're presented. I think they're all at least pretty good.

What I'd like to get across is that I'm by no means an on-line comics guy. I don't have a morning circuit of webcomics I hit, I don't have any brought to me via subscription or e-mail, and I don't belong to ComicSpace anymore (I don't think), or even know if it's still around. If there were an All-American webcomics team appearing on a Bob Hope special and being photographed later that day for an article in Playboy, I'd have a hard time recognizing the linemen and defensive backs. I'm a paper guy. And yet I read a bunch of comics on-line. The On-Line Era of Comics is already here, and it asked no one's permission.

*****
*****

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1. Sin Titulo, Cameron Stewart
An intermittently updated, solid, straight-forward (in its way) mystery comic. I have some problems with it overall, but I've continued to read it (I can't say that about most webcomics) and I've come to enjoy its stronger elements.

*****

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2. Buz Sawyer, Roy Crane
Roy Crane's secondary achievement in the comic arts, and I have to admit I look at it more than I read it, but boy is Buz Sawyer pretty. I get this on the King Features DailyInk.com paid service, a gift subscription to which was purchased for me last year.

*****

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3. Cul De Sac, Richard Thompson
It should be no secret to anyone how much I like Richard Thompson's still sort-of new comic strip effort. I think it's one of the strongest half-dozen early strip launches in three decades. One thing that might be worth noting is that I read both the strip as it's presented on-line in its daily, updated-by-the-syndicate form, and also Thompson's blog, which runs a few strips every now and then interspersed with new and old Richard's Poor Almanac offerings, illustration gigs and his funny commentary.

*****

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4. Achewood, Chris Onstad
I'm beginning to think Achewood may be this decade's defining hit the same way that ACME Novelty Library was last decade's.

*****

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5. The Trial Of A Sober Dog, Nick Abadzis
I haven't quite got a grasp on this newspaper serial (The Times) yet, but it's fun kind of giving myself over to the characters and Abadzis manages to produce something bearing his unique voice no matter what external storytelling measures he adopts.. It must be great to have something like this in your newspaper.


*****

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6. Super-Sam and John Of The Night, Darryl Cunningham
This runs on the Forbidden Planet International blog, but I also catch up with it at times on Cunningham's own journal. I like looking at it, and I also like that I have no idea how Cunningham is going to end it.

*****

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7. Les Petits Riens, Lewis Trondheim
I love the formatting of this strip, the way it fades from view as the images linger for several days. It's also hard not to fall for the watercolor work frequently on display. Best of all, reading it helps me practice French. There's an English-language selection here in advance of the second book in the collected print series.

*****

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8. Tom Toles Cartoons, Tom Toles
I think Tom Toles is North America's best editorial cartoonist, and the Washington Post site designed for him is consistently rewarding in terms of the extras and supplementary materials provided.

*****

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9. Laura Park's Flickr Pages
I never quite know where or when I am when I crash Park's pages, but I enjoy the flashes of visual sumptuousness amid the loose cartooning. Plus I think she's funny.

*****

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10. Bodyworld, Dash Shaw
The next big thing. I don't have a grasp on this to say much more than that, but most people I know with whom I talk about comics are following this with great attention as well.

*****

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11. Danny Dutch, David King
David King is one of those criminally under-appreciated cartoonists and the Danny Dutch strips -- recently collected for print by Sparkplug -- are my favorites.

*****

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12. Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau
When I worked in alt-comics in the mid-1990s a common complaint was that it was difficult explaining to family and loved ones what you did for a living. I found it to be a lot easier when I started using Doonesbury as a starting point. It's the greatest strip in the newspaper still on its initial run. I like the Doonesbury on-line set-up mostly for looking at archived work, like during an election year being able to go look at that great Ginny Runs For Congress sequence. I don't read any of the supplementary material, but a lot of people enjoy it. I wish more syndicates paid attention to how Doonesbury works on-line as opposed to throwing up stuff in big chunks.

*****
*****
 
posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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