Comics Are Another Reason to Ditch Newsprint

    November 22, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

I’m sure works like “Cathy,” “Garfield,” and “Mary Worth” have their devoted readerships in the comic sections of newspapers, but I’ve found more than adequate replacements for them in the form of original works by webcomic artists.

I barely touch the local paper these days, as demands on my time and exposure to news online have combined to limit my interest in it. I still love the comics, but I’ve found the creations appearing in the print pages have not aged well.

Once the power trio of Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes, and The Far Side all departed the newsprint world, there was a significant gap in funny funnies until Scott Adams got a syndication deal for Dilbert, which might be gently called “overexposed” today.

The stuff hitting the papers just wasn’t doing anything for me. But over time I found a welcome oasis of creativity, in art and dialogue, in the wonderful tubes of the Internet.

I’ve read Iliad’s User Friendly and Scott Kurtz’s PvP for a few years. Over the past few months, I’ve added to that entertaining duo through a combination of suggestions and blind luck.

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew reminds me of the geeky fun of pen and paper gaming that has been superseded by MMORPGs today. Characters break the fourth wall, and RPG in-jokes always make my inner geek chuckle.

The regularly profane Little Gamers by Swedish creative duo Christian Fundin and Pontus Madsen regularly comments on modern gaming, but doesn’t hesitate to skewer some of the sillier aspects of American life and other topics. They don’t feature ninjas as much as they used to, an omission I hope they’ll correct seeing how they just brought back the poking stick.

I’ve always been a fan of fantasy artist Phil Foglio ever since his “What’s New?” days in Dragon Magazine. His online comic, Girl Genius, creates a world of Victorian steampunk in his incredible artistic style. Three days a week isn’t enough, Phil!

I’m a latecomer to Fred Gallagher’s MegaTokyo, a comic done in a black and white, manga style. It’s mostly about a couple of guys who get stranded in Tokyo without the money to get back to the US. Giant monsters, mechs, and the coolest ninja in the world, Junpei, all make appearances too.

Kurtz’s PvP led me to Schlock Mercenary, a daily space opera comic about a mercenary company finely rendered by Howard Tayler. He’s smart and funny, and in a world where Star Trek:TNG has been out of production for several years it’s a serviceable replacement to satisfy one’s sci-fi fix.

Jeph Jacques’ Questionable Content has become for me what Dilbert used to be, a must-read. It centers on the life and struggles of Marten Reed, music nerd, and his circle of hip-without-being-hipster friends. Jacques does humorous dialogue as well as anyone ever has, and his artistic evolution from comic number one to present day has been astonishing.

So there’s a few things for you to read along with me during the Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone have a safe trip, no matter where you’re going.

posted by David Utter
Staff Writer, WebProNews