Digital Strips Episode 230 – Review – Molly and the Bear w/ Guest Co-Host Brock Heasley

We’re kicking off Digital Strips Guest Co-Host Week with a man who needs no introduction, but gets one anyways: Brock Heasley!

Though I do a terrible job of it on the podcast, I will gladly link to all of Brock’s online work, a portfolio that is sure to grow exponentially over the next few years. Watching his depth and creativity emerge since The Superfogeys began has been a joy, one that is now quickly and easily possible through the joy of delivering comics via the Internet.

If you like introspective thoughts behind the creation of a work of art and conversations with those who craft these stories, I hope you will at least be entertained by my attempt. After Thee Oh Sees take us to the break with their guitar-riffin’ romp, “Crack In Your Eye” (23:00), it’s time to get to what Digital Strips does best: a review.

The strip, and yes, it is very much a comic strip, that Brock and I took a look at exudes a timeless feel that is as deceptively simple as it is intelligent in the way it appeals to the kid in all of us.

Comic strips rarely have the life that Molly and the Bear does, but coming from a seasoned professional who has worked on the very best that Pixar (culling from our childhood dreams since Toy Story first dropped into our laps) has to offer, we’d expect nothing less. Truly, the characters in this strip look like they’ve jumped right off of a storyboard sequence for their next animated short.

Along the way, Brock mentions another children’s comic artist that brings incredible life to everything he touches, Mike Kunkel, most specifically his childhood daydream adventure:

It’s interesting having two artists of the visual leaning working on the critique and Brock comes up with some insights which are details that I wouldn’t have given a second thought about. It’s deep, it’s fun, and it’s well worth a listen or two.


Digital Strips Episode 229 – Horizons Watch – The Adam and Twilight Monk

Two up, two down! Horizons Watch is at its best when Steve and I pick diametrically opposing forces and pit them one-on-one against each other. Seeing eye-to-eye on matters doesn’t make good podcasting. Now tearing someone’s opinions and preferences to shreds? That makes for a good listen! Of course, we don’t pick crap around here, so both of these comics are good enough to warrant a good discussion and discuss we do.

Before we actually talk about any titles, Scott McCloud blogged recently (2:43) that there are too many great comics coming to the web to keep track of. I simultaneously agree and disagree, Scott.

The first comic we mention is …

Unfortunately, the context we put it in this time around is in terms of delayed updates. Jon took a little time off to see to his affairs and though I want that next SFaM update as soon as I can get it, I’m glad he stepped away to do what needed to be done.

There is nothing that earns my creative respect more than watching a creator take a small cast of characters and really open them up to a larger world, one that can be expanded upon and developed further.

Sinfest is the best online comics example of this that I can think of, even though Steve thought of it first. The storylines are funny, sweet, poignant, and adventurous and the characters exist in a world that feels real, playing off one another in ways that are both hilarious and touching. Truly an inspiration for anyone hoping to take their established creation to the next level.

And it wouldn’t be an episode of Digital Strips if Steve didn’t mention his favorite comic:

I’d say the latest storyline is a can’t-miss, but really, the entire archive is can’t-miss, so go read it and Steve promises to stop mentioning it. Cool? Cool.

A brief mention, but deserving nonetheless:

And at precisely 13:26, Steve admits that my show notes and infinitely superior. This is not the hand of skillful editing talking, it’s just the truth.

Thanks to the Art Boys Collection for their song, “A 1 Freedom Voice Of My Soul” (14:11), which takes us into the second segment, where we enter Thunderdome! Our first competitor:

I really hope this comic sticks around and takes our, and any other criticism, to heart, because there is great potential in this work. It’s visually really rough now, but some polish and technique development could make this an amazing comic. Best of luck, Matt!

Steve’s pick realizes it’s potential from the beginning, even if it’s not my particular cup of tea:

It’s got some fantasy, it’s got a hint of manga, and it’s quite nice to look at. The archive is really shallow but what is here thus far makes this comic one to keep an eye on. Our discussion also brings up The Bean (29:09), as the two share some similarities in terms of style.

Our final mentions come courtesy of the guest hosts I have lined up to assist me in the coming weeks while Steve is in flagrante delicto (that means “out of the country”, right?). They are, in no particular order:

And if you’d like to stick around afterwards, we discuss the comparison between Lady Gaga and Ke$ha, the fact that watching Jeopardy automatically qualifies you for senior benefits, and the why I can’t just seem to let a sleeping segue lie. Enjoy!


Digital Strips Episode 228 – Book Club: Templar, AZ – 4th Edition

It’s time again to gather at Daku’s house for another Digital Strips Book Club! I brought lemon squares and my recipe for those Swedish meatballs and I hope you read the assigned pages for this month. We don’t… well, we don’t have too much to say about Chapter 4 because it embodies the antithesis of that classic Elvis tune (a little less action, a little more conversation).

But we kick things off with a team-up effort on the part of Rosscott and Caldy, both so named because they live on the Internet. Their comics? Respectively:

After a mutual friend of theirs was wrongly ripped off, intellectual property style, they decided to collaborate on a comic/flowchart (see als0: here) to determine whether or not you, the average-to-above-average Internet user, are harming the Web with your ability to give credit where credit is due. We debate the effectiveness and necessity to point out these facts to those who don’t seem to care about them in the first place.

Amongst this debate, I’d be remiss if I didn’t correct the first of my many mistakes in giving you the name of the store where you can find the fruits of this labor:

Another online shop destination that offers various shirts for geeks, supposedly (miraculously) devoid of any copyright infringement or IP theft:

Finally, we tardily note the rewarding of the Xeric Grant to Steve LeCoulliard.

His work on Much the Miller’s Son (which we reviewed here) is both old-school and rowdy, never anything less than hilarious and professional. This grant will help him produce Book 3 of his comic and couldn’t be granted to a more deserving cartoonist.

The Toothaches’ “Sisyphus” takes us into our second segment, where we give our thoughts on the fourth chapter of Templar, AZ. I’ll let that conversation speak for itself, but needless to say we hope the comic finds a new drive and purpose in the next chapter.

Regardless of where we end up at the end of this Book Club, I’ll be glad I read this comic for myself, so the opinions I have about it are none but my own. I encourage you to follow along with us and do the same!


Digital Strips Episode 227 – Review: Scenes From a Multiverse

Not only does this mark the first podcast of 2011, it also marks my first time editing this bad boy! Long gone are the days when Steve would cut out choice, prime rants of mine! Welcome the dawn of getting what I want out of this! At least, until he returns.

And under my watch we’re kicking the year off with a little bit of everything! In our first segment we’re hitting some video games! Specifically…

We’re talking about SMB because… well, it’s just a great little frustrating game that everyone should try. Ghost Trick comes up because this upcoming DS puzzler recently teamed with your favorite Internet-born-and-bred superhero and mine, Dr. McNinja, to produce a comic befitting them both. Steve also found a quick, infinitely-canvased comic that relates to the world of video games. Creator Nicholas Lieske has worked on many PC games, including the RPG Sacred, and is now branching out to try his hand at webcomics. His first foray?

Our thanks go out to Joystiq and Kotaku for stories about both! If it’s in video games, they talked about it on either Joystiq or Kotaku. Most times, both.

Our final topic has three ingredients: Reddit, our featured comic of this week, and the whipping post of webcomics:

It’s got it all! Controversy, betrayal, humor, and tragedy. At least it does the way Steve tells it. The whole thing wouldn’t mean much without again mentioning El Santo’s comprehensive dissection, lovingly spread out over two parts at The Webcomic Overlook. And yes, I have neglected to link to anything of Carlos Mencia’s for your benefit. You’re welcome.

Our musical interlude comes to us courtesy of Silence is full of birds. It is their (his? her?) song, “Flowers” (19:00), and it’s a jaunty way to bring us into the meat and creme, the creme de la potatoes of our show, the second segment review.

This comic comes from a well-known, well-worn creator and gives us not only a great comic but a new take on the updating schedule that we haven’t seen yet. That’s right, in this day of look-alikes and been-there-done-thats, here’s something new. And of particular note are the Star Wars homage we mentioned as well as the rabbits. Oh, the rabbits. Wee.

Finally, when our outro’s concluded, there could be some talk of Oglaf (link behind an age-check wall but EXTREMELY NSFW), Steve Carell movies, and bikini car washes? Possibly, I heard a guy say something…

Other webcomics mentioned briefly: