Five Webcomics to Keep Your Eye On...
Here in the land of Comic Riffage, whenever the subject of online comics comes up, some passionate readers will take one of two tacks. Either:
1. "You guys at WaPo should really run THIS cool webcomic in print!"; or
2. "We have the almighty Web--hahaHA! We don't need no stinkin' print comics!"
Both points, of course, have some validity. Some webcomics would be far livelier than some of the sleepy, grandfathered-in strips that The Post now painfully publishes. And if you have no need for a fix of print funnypages, the World Wide Web is your oyster. Cartoon readers are living in a time akin to an Oklahoma land grab: Squat wherever you'd like -- thar's unclaimed comics as far as the eye can see.
As a true cartoon junkie, however, I'll take my quality comics however I can get 'em -- one if by driveway, two if by online, thankyouverymuch. Which leads me to several webcomics that caught my eye anew at the recent Small Press Expo in Maryland. These five features were deservedly nominated for SPX's Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic:
Of that handful, I'd like to focus on three.
The two-time Ignatz winner "ACHEWOOD" features liquor-clutching creatures that are cleanly drawn by Chris Onstad. His site explains the strip's title: "Achewood," like wormwood, was used by antebellum slaves in the production of "achewater," a long-since outmoded and outlawed Southern beverage. Drinkers of achewater experienced hallucinations and euphoria, but the after-effects of the liquor produced a deep and lasting melancholy (hence its name)." Me, I tend to prefer the writing in his longer strips; your results may vary.
I also enjoyed this "THINGPART" strip, titled "Beautiful Flat Diamond," by self-described "West Coast gal" Joey Sayers.
I was most intrigued, though, by the thoroughly engaging storytelling in the "traced animations" of Tracy White, including her "true story" titled "Getting Drunk."
After the event, I asked White about the reaction to her comics. "I think people really like the universal experiences I write and draw about in my work," she e-mailed. "I often get email like: 'Thank you for that story, it brought back memories I'd forgotten and made me think about things I hadn't thought about in a while.' " She also joked that the response sometimes is: "I hope you're not in too much trouble."
Describing life as a webcartoonist, White adds: "Comics like 'Getting Drunk' end up being talked about in, say, a web blog that celebrates getting drunk...so I reach this totally different audience of maybe college guys who like to party instead of people who like reading about shared experiences. It's the beauty of the web -- sometimes you have no idea how you are going to reach people but reach them you will."
Thanks to the Web, "TRACED" reached us. We'll check out it -- and the other webcomics we mentioned -- more religiously now.
Do you have your fave webcomics bookmarked? Many Comic Riffsters say they're always on the lookout -- so post 'em if you've got 'em.
| October 14, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
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