Digital Strips Podcast 274 – Book Club – Order of the Stick – Final Edition

This is it, Digital Strippers! The final edition of the Order of the Stick Book Club is finally upon us, recapping comics 600-831, as well as going through our overall thoughts on the series as a whole. But before we get to the main course, some tidbits and appetizers to get you by.

Whatcha Been Readin’ bear fruit, as always, and brings us two comics, one by a known creator who spins off to yet another, separate work, and another that delves in a genre all too familiar to webcomic denizens.

On to news! And the announcement of Minimumble falls into both categories, but the other news items are simply that, and full of Riches!

Sure, D&D would have been the appropriate music cue to lead us into our final discussion of OotS, but when have we ever done the appropriate thing? So, I chose instead a remix from Gauntlet, appropriately entitled, “GAUNTLET!”, by Mustin and Nate Cloud (17:18).

There’s nothing to spoil for this final take on the legendary comic that brings us epic tales courtesy of the crudest art this side of a 5-year-old’s scribbles. We leave it all on the field bear no grudges, and in my book, that is a win for everyone involved (even though for whatever reason Steve feels the need to claim it for himself).

To calm everything down and leave on a silly note? Rambling about poo in the ending outtakes. Enjoy.


Digital Strips Podcast 273 – Horizons Watch – Alpha Flag and Arteest

Free at last, free at last, after weeks of protests and a day of blackouts across the Web, the Internet is free at last! Or at least, until the old, white men work their way out of an election year and try to ruin everyone’s fun again. Until then, though, we are free to go about our business. That business? Comics.

I’m actually able to go toe-to-toe with Steve this week in Whatcha Been Readin’:

News? Yeah, we got some news.

A big thank you to those who called and blacked out and at least temporarily shut down SOPA and PIPA! It’s because of your tireless efforts that we are able to bring you remixes from Overclocked Remix, pieces like the ditty taking us from segment to segment this week, “The Shredder”, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtle in Time, remixed by Sixto Sounds (17:15).

Our Horizons picks this week stick to the mystery genre while also allowing for quite a bit of room to stretch the brain muscles and really make you think about what going on in each story.

  • (19:39) Alpha Flag by Jon Cairns and Renee Keyes
  • (28:07) Arteest by Bill Nichols and Robin Ator

These are two great comics that both deserve your attention and multiple re-readings to soak up all the nuance and detail. We also mention in our discussion:

And that’s it! No Rambletron, on account of my voice being half in the bag when we started recording.


Digital Strips Podcast 272 – 2011 Year In Review

I always love doing this show each year. It’s a chance to look back at the year that was in comics, specifically those that are published on the web (a classification that you can bet Steve and I will be fighting about well into this year). We took a look at some amazing comics this year, spanning all possible genres and even forging a few new ones. Before we jump into the discussions and winners, we first must mention a few new ones because, hey, it’s what we do.

Best Horizons Watch of 2011: Corporate Skull

We have the Horizons Watch around to help us keep track of up-and-coming comics that show tons of promise but which are just too early in their life to call. In 2011, we found some awesome beginnings, many of which could have been chosen as our favorite, but, shockingly (to us and you) we agreed that Corporate Skull showed the most promise right out of the gate and more than lived up to it in the following updates. This comic by well-Internet-travelled creator Jamie Smart depicts a world than represents both zany fun and imminent peril. Throw in one of the strangest, coolest protagonists of any comic currently being published, digitally or in-print, and you’ve got a story we’re proud to call our favorite Horizons Watch pick of the year.

We’ve got two video game-inspired selections to lead us between segments this week, and the first is “The Life and Death of Kirby” by Insert Rupee (16:42).

Best Digital Strips-Reviewed Comic of 2011: Jason’s Pick: Velia, Dear; Steve’s Pick: Ellie on Planet X

Now is more comfortable. Again, we reviewed an incredible pack of comics this year, and many of them will be on my regular reading list until they decide to wrap things up and try something new. But when it came to surprising and engaging, there was none better than the more traditionally-presented comic strip, Velia, Dear by Rina Piccolo. This look at a middle-aged woman and her struggles to keep everybody happy while just trying to keep herself afloat hit all the right notes in terms of a variety of genres. It’s got heart, it’s got humor, it’s got suspense, and it’s got the modern edge that keeps it relevant when many other strips have gone the timeless and forgotten.

Steve’s pick, the adorably-quirky Ellie on Planet X, is one that instantly curls up in your heart and won’t leave, not with the hottest hatred, not with the most tangible of terrorizing terrors. Creator James Anderson rockets us up, up, and away from the worries of our troubled planet and lands us on Planet X, where anything is possible and the craziest creatures from our childhood imaginations come to life. Ellie doesn’t understand what’s going on, but she makes the most of her new life on a kooky, fantastical new world and it’s a blast to tag along with her on her day-to-day adventures.

Our second segment-leader is “Ebbed Tides and Webbed Feet” by Doc Nano and Evory (35:20). I knew I loved DuckTales on the NES/GameBoy when I was a child, and mixes like this just reaffirm that my affections were not unfounded.

Best Digitally-Published Comic of 2011: Jason’s Pick: The Gutters; Steve’s Pick: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

If there’s one thing that 2011 proved to us, it’s that there is no shortage in our modern world of great comics. Go to your local comic shop, go online, check out your digital delivery device of choice, but they are there and just waiting to be discovered. We try to help with that discovery process and the best one that I discovered this year, the one that kept me coming back for more and wanting more when there just wasn’t any more to be had was The Gutters. Least I Could Do and Looking For Group scribe Ryan Sohmer got fed up with the silliness that goes on beyond the panels of your favorite paper-published comic and decided to do something about it. So he regularly collaborates with the biggest and best creators in the industry on comics that perforate and eviserate, all with a darling love that shows abundant care for the very comics he and his comrades tear apart.

Web-wise, Steve picked a comic that had a banner year in 2011 and which shows no signs of slowing down in 2012. Zach Weiner’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is the most crudely drawn comic for MENSA members that you’re likely to come across in comics. If xkcd is for MIT folks, SMBC is for MIT folks who have side jobs working for a dirty comedy on HBO or Showtime. Those same people also write for the porn industry. It’s not that SMBC is filthy (though it certainly has the ability to go raunchier than even the dirtiest SFW entertainment), but if geeky sex jokes are your thing, then look no further. Also, Batman. As Steve notes, “If you don’t know anything about Batman, get off the Internet.”

And that’s our look back at the best year thus far in comics on the web! We look forward to bringing you even more amazing recommendations in the year to come! Thanks for listening!

Our Rambletron goes South immediately and never really rises again. Listen if you dare (especially applicable to men 30+ years of age).


Digital Strips Podcast 271 – Review – Mohagen

So, Steve notes that the theme of this episode, the first recorded in 2012, is “True Facts” (I think it should be “Rear of the Dragon”, but you’ll understand why at about the 5:00 mark). While I didn’t even bother to correct his repetitive title, I can throw out some statements that I certainly believe to be true.

Antagonizing Steve over the airwaves week in and week out is a true joy that lights me up when the day comes. Appreciating and building up has long been part of our mission statement at Digital Strips and I can guarantee we’ll be checking out at least one of the “next big things” in 2012. As we mention early on in this episode, it’s our job to find the good stuff for you, the diamonds in the really, really rough. Also, for those of our listeners who also like to play video games, either casually or with a more invested interest, we’ll be putting something up later this week on this very front page that we hope you’ll enjoy.

But why waste time right now, gazing into crystal balls and guessing at the future when you can be sure that we’ve got an amazing review for you right now! But first, some news items:

Other comics mentioned, either in reference or as part of what we’re reading, in the first segment:

Mixed in with some Rambletron silliness is our music break, provided, appropriately enough, by another tale of underwater fish tank hijinx, Pixar’s Knick Knack (14:50).

There are lots of comics that attempt the cut-and-paste method of creating comics, but few pull it off to as impressive a degree as Mohagen (15:50), a gag-a-day story-ish comic about a foul-mouthed fish and his decorative skull buddy, Grady. There are other characters who make appearances here and there, but if these two buddies don’t keep putting food in the tank, this comic goes belly up. Luckily, creators Kennon James and John Kipling are more than up to the task of making sure the writing is sharp enough to slice and the art is expressive enough to make watching this fish anything but boring.

Some other comics mentioned in our discussion:

Various other bits to toss in the Rambletron at show’s end include being terrible role models, bus stop warnings, horrible haiku and limerick-esque rhyming schemes, and the fact that, for some reason, we once wanted to be known as the “Dark Windowless Van of the Internet”.


Digital Strips Podcast 270 – Review – Next Town Over

Gonna keep this short and sweet as we’re behind in posting this, our last podcast of 2011, and real-life complications have kept me from whipping up a true notes write-up. Apologies to our featured comic review, Next Town Over by Erin Mehlos, because it deserves much better than this. It is a truly great comic that only has upward momentum left in its future.

Rambletron topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Christmas spankings
  • “The Move”
  • Steve’s dominion over you ALL
  • Semen Week feat. Dickerdoodles
  • The Owen reveal in Paul Southworth’s final Not Invented Here installments
  • Doughnuts (but not just any doughnuts… trust me, just listen)