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February 24, 2005

Dude.

So, you may have noticed, in as much she told you, that I've given the Imperial Wednesday White the keys to the Snarkmobile. This was not, as she might lead you to believe, purely because she caught me when I was stunned at having been invoked as part of a comic book publisher's efforts to get comic store owners to stock a worthy comic, and therefore vulnerable to her virtual wiles.

(As for the reference itself? Holy fuck.)

However, I decided a long time ago that if I let anyone through the gates, it'd be Wednesday. She and I don't have 100% the same tastes or range in webcomics or any of the other blatherings I do around here, but we're darn compatible. More to the point, I trust her opinions and judgment. For one thing, she's smarter than I am. For another, she writes better.

No, we're not dating. And no, I'm not trying to date her. Jesus, can't you think of anything else?

So, while I suspect the vast majority of blatherings will still be mine, I've invited Wednesday to blather whenever she wishes on whatever topic she wishes, because I figure you the readers will enjoy it, and I will too.

She's not going to be on a 'schedule' or 'clock' or 'anything else in single quotes.' But if something comes up where she wants a venue? I'm her hookup.

(Technically, she's the second person I've given the login to. The first person is a close friend who, should I get hit by a bus, will tell all of you where to send stuffed animals.)

Of course, this means I really should pick up the damn place....

Edit: To avoid confusion -- especially on RSS feeds, since it's not set up to say who posts things, when Weds posts, she'll put a [weds] tag in the title. Work for everyone? Cool.

February 16, 2005

A day.

It was a busy day at work. It was a busy day of recovery and internalizing the medical issues I found out about yesterday (the less said about the better). The evening I've spent deep in Gossamer, Sekret Projekt J, and conversations with the smartest human being on the planet. Midway through all of this, I got e-mail from the composer of I'm Just a Bill. E-mail referring me to his publishing company regarding some quoting I want to do in Gossamer Commons, and perfunctory, but dude -- Dave Frishberg sent me e-mail. How bad could it be?

Pretty bad, actually. Both the health issues and things I had to do, plus some monetary things that needed doing. Plus some chores. Including getting new Renter's Insurance, because it's been an interesting enough year that I want to be sure things are okay in case of disaster.

All of which is why I haven't written anything here today. But I still like you.

February 14, 2005

Moving Day, one of these days...

Sometime in the next week to week and a half... we're going to be moving. Pair.com's been mostly good (though with some weird troubles here and there), but at this stage it's costing a little too much to continue as we're going. I'm shifting over to the Talk About Comics Hosting package.

Why? Huge huge huge savings, and a certain symmetry. It just makes sense to me to be hosted at a Comics oriented company.

(Note -- this doesn't mean Websnark's becoming affiliated with Modern Tales or any other of Joey Manley's official sites. It's not that I'd be against being identified with those sites -- they're among my favorites -- but given I do critical commentary, it's best folks know for certain that editorial and creative control for the 'snark isn't changing.)

February 13, 2005

It's that time of the month, again!

No. Not that time of the month.

My latest edition of Feeding Snarky is online at Comixpedia! Go forth and read it!

This one might get me some interesting comments.

Also in this weeks' offerings is the latest of T Campbell's groundbreaking History of Online Comics columns. It seems less about history and more an informative current affairs piece now, but by God it's insightful, and you should read it.

Sadly, I haven't noticed anything by the Invisible Wednesday White yet this month. But I'll keep you posted.

February 07, 2005

Weird Database issue

We had a database hiccup, which was blocking comments (or me updating Websnark) for a little bit. It seems fixed now, but I'm going to keep an eye on it for a little while.

February 02, 2005

Blacklist seems to be turning the tide

For the record, MT-Blacklist has blocked 167 trackback spams. If any of them had gone through, of course, the Nofollow tag would have made them worthless to the spamming company, so with luck I'll get on a list as too much trouble for my worth.

Which is the story of my life, really.

February 01, 2005

Get your hands off me, you damn, dirty spammers!

So, woke up this morning, rolled over, and opened up the powerbook to suck down the morning mail. Hey, you have your traditions and I have mine.

Boom. 60 new messages to Websnark. Now... sixty new mail messages to my websnark accounts is no big deal, but this was sixty new comments. That meant either someone was royally pissed off over my post about Shortpacked, and we had a flamewar in progress (maybe someone doesn't like action figures?) or someone had found a way to spam me.

Yup. It was "B." I had 60 new trackback pings inviting all of you to check out Poker Online. I'd have had more, but the throttling had kicked in (which also meant people were having trouble making legitimate comments).

So, it was finally time to install MT-Blacklist. Which I have now done. We'll see.

Among other things, it means older entries will auto-moderate, which isn't a bad thing, but might mean some delay if you want to, oh, comment on the Megatokyo post or something.

Secondly... it might mean to some that hey -- we don't need Typekey any more. I mean, if I'm going to put in the magic Blacklister, why should we have the largely broken authentication service?

The answer to that is actually simple: Blacklist isn't anywhere near 100%. Right now... as annoying as it is to post through Typekey (especially if you're on Internet Explorer, which just doesn't work with it), there is no comment spam at all. The last time I used MT-Blacklist with a blog, lots of comment spam got through.

Now... it might be a good idea to set all entries to moderate, and then set it so Typekey entries are automatically approved, which can be done with this version of MT-Blacklist. That means that anyone who doesn't do a Typekey thing would need to have their comments approved by me before they appear. The problem there is... well, I have something of a life, and so comments might sit, unapproved, for a very, very long time.

Of course, I could designate some other approvers. But hand in hand with that comes... well, other writers here on Websnark. Which people have been mentioning to me for a long time now, and which I admit might not be a bad idea. Only it is an official Step.

I dunno. What do people think? How best do we repel the boarders, keep me sane, keep me from having to do websnark stuff for hours a day beyond the actual writing, and make everyone happy?

January 26, 2005

A Correction.

As I've said before, when I make mistakes here in the chair -- the mighty, mighty chair -- I will not conceal them. I will own up to them.

I reported that I had a lovely few drams of Dalwhinnie single malt scotch when I was celebrating Burns Night, in yesterday's post.

In fact, I had a few drams of The Dalmore. Which is quite a different scotch. It was wonderfully smooth, though reminded me it was indeed whiskey. The distinction is profound -- Dalwhinnie is a Speyside single malt, while the Dalmore is a Highland single malt scotch. Also, the Dalmore is a definite article, and Dalwhinnie is not.

Just to keep things clear.

January 24, 2005

Some days, I'm just too tired...

...and this is one of those days. Work was a grind, and I'm still pretty exhausted from the slog home last night.

I did play some City of Heroes, but just long enough to earn the second 'event' badge for the Winter Lord attack. Said Winter Lord attack has been underwhelming at best, though the 'snowball' power was practically worth the price of admission.

Maybe next year.

G'night. Snarking tomorrow.

January 16, 2005

Comicsnarkia! Or something like that.

I haven't had a chance to read through all of this week's offerings yet, but I should mention that over on Comixpedia, the next edition of my monthly column, Feeding Snarky, is out. This particular column goes into one style of Funny (since this is the "funny" issue and all), and invokes Men in Hats, Hound's Home and Nukees for examples. And that makes me a happy person, because I loves me the Men in Hats, Hound's Home (well, old Hound's Home. Recent stuff hasn't worked as well for me) and Nukees.

Anyway -- I'll have a look at the rest of the week's offerings too, but if you're jonesing for me to blather on about webcomics, here's something for you to chew on!

January 02, 2005

Thoughts on the future of Websnark... in a technical sense

So, there's some technical stuff that's always bothered me about Movable Type. Key among that stuff is the trouble so many commenters have with Typekey, which seems very much like a beta service pressed into general release. (I'm sorry -- I'm as big a proponent of Firefox as the next person, but if your browser based comment authentication service won't work with Internet Explorer it's a problem.) So I'm thinking about switching to WordPress. Wordpress is free, and it's robust, and looks like it has excellent features, and it looks like it has ways to block comment spam that doesn't involve blocking... well, everyone else.

Yeah, it means I'm out the money I spent on Movable Type, but so what? MT did what I asked, and if I've outgrown it, that's okay. And sure, I'll need to learn how to tweak Wordpress to get all my stuff. And processing things properly so that all my old linked thumbnails work will be grunt work, but that's okay.

The problem is... it doesn't seem to have an engine to upload and thumbnail images, and that's a dealbreaker.

Yeah, I could manually thumbnail, but I'm not going to. It would take too long. So does manual uploading, for that matter. I suppose I could use MT to upload, and then post in Wordpress, but that's downright stupid and I won't do it.

I see there's a thumbnailing plugin out there (probably based on Imagemagick). But it needs someone else to upload things via FTP first. Which might be workable and might not be. But it brings to mind exactly what I would like in this functionality.

I would like, beyond anything else, to be able to input the URL of an image, have it find it, give me the dimensions of the image, and let me set the dimensions of the thumbnail. It then would save the thumbnail and let me put in the link to the page the original came from, and stick that into a post for me to write. Preferably with settings that would let me decide alignment, hspace and the like.

That would make my life tremendously easier, and it's vastly beyond my ability to code. And yet, I suspect it wouldn't be hard to code.

I wonder if there's anyone out there I could pay to do this thing for me. Thoughts?

January 01, 2005

And a happy new year to all.

It's 2005. I have no joke here. I just hope this is a really good year for everyone.

December 29, 2004

Acknowledgement of my own limitations

I'm working diligently on the "Bringing the Story" Shortbread List, but as I work on it I need to acknowledge where I'm coming up against the wall, hard.

First off, the number of nominees in each category are going to have to drop from six to five. There's just too much writing to do, otherwise. So, if your favorite doesn't get nominated in a given category you think it's perfect for, assume it was nominee 6 and I'm just an idiot who doesn't know a damn thing.

Secondly, as with the Funny Shortbread list, I'm not including traditional Syndicate Newspaper Comics. I don't feel good about the exclusion -- I think the distinction is artificial, when they're both available on the web -- but even with the gaps in my reading (we all have gaps) there's simply too many to consider to be comprehensive. So, no, Annie won't be up for "Surreal Story" or "Adventure" any more than Foxtrot was up for "Gag a Day Funny."

The problem with doing that is it implies there isn't a level field between the newspapers and the web, for whatever reason. And that's not a good thing. Frankly, Narbonic was the strip I felt Brought the Funny more than any other strip last year. That's why I gave it the Overall Shortbread. There isn't a newspaper comic strip I'd have picked over it. But by not including them in the first place, there's a sense of "ghetto." A sense that somehow, the webcomics scene and the newspaper scene are different.

But, there's a practical dimension involved, too. As it is, I spend my time bemoaning all the stuff I don't read. To bemoan all the newspaper and independent paper strips out there too would be too much. So I do what I can. And I acknowledge what I can't do, here, so everyone knows going in what the criteria are.

Thanks, all.

December 23, 2004

Totally meaningless statistics.

Since the start, I've written 365,910 words in this thing, not counting this post.

If we still went by the "typewritten page" standard (man, I totally want a USB printer that's actually a Smith Corona manual typewriter that types itself) of 250 words a page, that 1,463 pages, plus a little bit.

There are essayists in American History that are revered and extolled, to the point that Freshmen in College are forced to read them years after the essays are relevant, that didn't write so much as 500 pages in their entire career.

I am not getting paid for this.

Just, you know, for the record.

December 22, 2004

Gastrointestinal distress is all the rage in Milan, darling.

Hi all. My local time is 4:40 am, I have significant pain in my intestines, and I have a body temperature of 100.2. Obviously, I'm not feeling at my most chipper.

I've decided that the Shortbread lists will have to start coming out next Monday, and proceed until the end of the week. That will give me a chance to get over this piffling inconvenience and do some serious writing without stress. Oh, and there's some family obligation over the weekend if I remember correctly.

I'm going to go lie down and accuse my cat of poisoning me.

December 20, 2004

A fast Anacrusis correction

A reader (not Brendan, but someone else) wrote in to let me know that my examination of Anacrusis's archives wasn't quite accurate. I indicated that Anacrusis had been running almost as long as Hitherby Dragons. In fact, Hitherby Dragons unofficially began on 25 September 2003, and officially began on 26 November 2003. Anacrusis, on the other hand, actually started on 18 July 2003, two months before the earliest dated note in Hitherby's archives, and was off and running full out from day one.

The 18 July 2003 entry is called Stephanie, and while it's not as deft as later entries would become, it's still a good read and shows the strength of the 101 word limit right from the start. I wonder if Brendan's found the weblog equivalent of the haiku.

Mm. Hopefully not. 90% of all haikus suck.

Server move is complete! And Thunderbirds are GO!

People have noticed that the commenting, search, and... well, pretty much all automated features of the site have been down for a little while. As I told you not too long ago, they were moving me to a whole new server, chock full of new server goodness and that new server smell that makes you feel so proud to be an American.

I've done the necessary bits of maintenance to acclimate Movable Type to its new home. At this stage, everything should work. Please let me know if you come across something that's still unhappy.

And thanks, all!

Edit: Okay -- Typekey, which is my eternal nemesis, has decided to bitch about the server move. So commenting's still dead. I'll get it running as quickly as possible.

Comments are working. Game on!

December 18, 2004

Potential Websnark Technical Issues

So, it's pretty clear that I'm going to break the bandwidth limit for my current account, and so it's time to do the move up to the next level. However, this upgrade means moving to a machine. So, sometime in the next two business days, there's going to be some downtime while the shift takes place. The good people at Pair are handling it, and it should have at most momentary outages as far as being able to see Websnark. However, this might break some of the key functions (like commenting, not that commenting doesn't seem broken to begin with), and might need some repairs on links and the like.

With a little luck it'll be smooth sailing, but if not... well, I warned you, didn't I?

December 17, 2004

One note

I'm on cold medication today (I can endure symptoms until they involve bad sinus headaches. I'm a total wuss when it comes to bad sinus headaches), so even though I'm at work and snarking alike, I'm also definitely spacey. So if my word choices or punctuation or spelling or thesis seems... odd, in a snark today... please bear in mind that I'm not entirely sure I'm sapient today.

December 13, 2004

We have a WINNAH!

Wow.

After five days of auctioning, we have a winner in our first ever custom snark Websnark Charity Auction. That winner is Jac Olwyn of the United Kingdom, who bid an astounding $255.00 to beat out Shaenon Garrity of the USA's West Coast in an auctioneering duel to the death.

Olwyn's already made the Paypal transfer, and I'm turning that transfer around and sending it to Child's Play. So, all Olwyn needs to do is e-mail what custom Snark topic I'm going to be producing, and I'll set myself to whatever research needs to be done to do that topic justice. It should be sent to the Websnark address over at gmail.com, or alternately to the same address used by Paypal to complete the transaction.

Thank you... and thank you everyone. This is going to help out Child's Play a lot... and is an incredibly good feeling to boot. You all deserve to feel a bit of this pleasure... and if you want to feel more, hit Child's Play and donate some cash. It's fun and fulfilling, and who wouldn't want something fun and fulfilling in their life?

December 12, 2004

Sixteen Hours left in the Websnark Auction for Child's Play

The eBay auction ends in sixteen hours, at 8 am Eastern Standard Time tomorrow morning. Now, it's been a phenomenal success (we're at $172.50 as of this writing!) but, since it's for such a good charity (remember -- Child's Play for more information), if you've got money to spare and any inclination to spend it on kids, feel free to do so by bidding. Or, just hit Child's Play itself and donate money there.

In the end, we're going to do some good things for Children's hospitals. And that's a good thing, any way you look at it.

Thanks, everyone!

December 10, 2004

An update on the Websnark Charity Auction

So, when I told you all I was putting a Snark up for Charity to benefit Child's Play, I honestly thought I could end up looking really stupid. "What if no one bids on this at all," I thought. "Won't you be embarrassed?"

Well, sure, I decided. But what the heck. It was for a good cause and it seemed likely someone would bid... and it might even get up to twenty or thirty bucks, and wouldn't that be nice.

Shows what I know. As of this writing, with roughly two days and twenty one hours remaining, we're up to $147.50 for Child's Play. I have some suspicions of some of the folks who have bid... and I'm honestly kind of stunned.

I've also had a number of people say "boy, I'd love to bid, but it's gone way out of my price range" to me. Which I can understand. I mean... a hundred and fifty bucks? While I heartily encourage anyone who wants to bid that to do so, I can fully understand not bidding that. But it seems to me we should do more of these.

No, I'm not looking to do one where I get the money. That would be hubris. But there's a lot of charities out there, and a lot of them could use our support. Maybe one of these a month would make sense -- say, do one in January for the Cartoon Art Museum....

I wonder if I should do a second Child's Play auction now, too -- I mean, sick children and all -- but would that perhaps make the people who've bid on the current auction unhappy? I'm not sure. In any case, I'm thrilled. Thank you all.

One friend, amused by this, said "hey, Eric. You've promised a thousand words -- at least -- on any moderately safe for work topic, right?"

"Yeah?" I answered.

"Well... that's four standard typewritten pages," he said.

"How 'standard' is a typewritten page in today's world?" I asked. "When's the last time you saw someone typewrite a page of text."

"Shut up," he answered. "My point is... what's to stop some kid from bidding, winning this auction, and telling you to 'snark' on the subject of his history or English paper?"

I thought for a moment, then checked the bidding, which was at $122 at the time. "For a hundred and twenty two dollars to charity?" I asked. "The fucker's getting an A."

Words to live by, old chums.

And please. If this has gone way out of your price range, head over to Child's Play and donate. This is for sick kids. You can't get more Christmas Spirit than that.

December 05, 2004

Comixpedia: The Quickening

It's the start of a new week in a new month, and that means a new Comixpedia issue. And it wouldn't be a Comixpedia issue without the latest Feeding Snarky, by me.

Actually... that's a bald faced lie. It would indeed be a new Comixpedia issue without me. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and Comixpedia would just continue on and on and on and on....

But enough of that. It's a good issue, beginning their Year in Review. My column's... well, it's sort of there. However, two -- count them, two -- new parts to T. Campbell's seminal "The History of Online Comics" are appearing, and they're well worth the read. Part Seven covers the growth of professional webcomics and the movement towards subscription models. Part Eight covers the growth of the post-Keenspot/post-Modern Tales collectives and dropdowns that have grown up. These are incredibly simplified descriptions of complex topics that T. handles excellently, so go read them.

And go read my thingy too. I mean, what the heck. It's right there.

December 01, 2004

A simple ground rule and a simple boundary from me, to a very small number of you

Hey all -- it's your pal Eric, with a fast clarification just to make sure everyone knows the ground rules.

This thing you're reading? This is my blog. It's where I go to blather about things that catch my attention, and then move on.

I'm not being paid by anyone for it. Heck, I dropped my Google ads (the day before I got a high profile link that caused a spike in my readership. No one said I didn't have a fine sense of timing). In fact, I'm paying for it, each month. It's here because I like doing it, and people seem to like it.

I only bring this up because I've been getting a (very small) number of e-mails that have been getting increasingly angry because I haven't snarked a couple of strips. Strips which might well be worthy, mind. There are many, many, many worthy strips on the internet. Many of which I've never mentioned.

So, let me be perfectly clear about something, just in case there's some confusion.

I don't need to snark a given strip, just because some of my readers happen to like it.

In fact, I don't need to snark a given strip even if I happen to like it. There's comic strips on my trawls you've never heard me say anything other than the trawl blurb about. There's comic strips on my to-date-unwritten-up "Sporadically Checked" list I've never mentioned on Websnark. It's not because they're unworthy. It's because I haven't been struck by something I wanted to say about them yet.

And there's no rule that says I ever have to.

Now, there's a simple solution, if you happen to want to see critical commentary written about your favorite strip and I'm too much of a blind asshole to provide it for you: you can write it yourself. We could use a lot more sites doing the kind of thing I do, or that Ping Teo does, or that Comixpedia and the Webcomics Examiner do, for that matter. I heartily encourage others to get into the act.

If, on the other hand, you don't want to do that... well, go post it on Snarkoleptics. It might be based on Websnark's fan community, but it's not "my" community -- it belongs to its members (Hell, I'm not even the Mod or owner. I just hang there like everyone else does). Post what excites you about your favorite webcomic. Post what you think is an exciting trend. Post whatever you like, so long as you're not being mean. I not only won't try to stop you, I'll read the post and, if I have a comment, I'll comment.

But don't think for one minute I "owe" a Snark over here to anyone. If I don't get struck with the snarkish impulse when I look at a strip, I don't write about it. That way, you guys know that whatever I do write on here, I actually mean.

Those are the rules. Those are the boundaries.

Thanks, all. Have a lovely cup of chai and enjoy the show.

November 29, 2004

How does someone "un-sell-out?" And what do you even call it?

So. You might notice a difference on the site design.

No... I haven't had my haircut.

No, I didn't lose weight. Jesus.

Okay, look, I'll just say it. Google Adsen-- er, Ads by Goooooooogle are gone.

I didn't mind having the ad bar there, and it was sometimes fun to see what batshit crazy things their algorithms came up with for my pages. But to be blunt, they didn't bring in enough money. After over three full months, I'd made $43.51 -- a nontrivial amount of which was after I got PvPdotted -- and my daily average was three cents.

Three cents.

They don't pay out until you hit a hundred bucks. At this rate, even if I have major links every other month or so, it'd be summer before I even saw money. Without major links (and I never ask people to link to me -- if they want to, they will ), it would be a long long time.

This was meant to defray the cost of running this site, including the upped bandwidth costs. But honestly, I can afford it and it's not like I'm seeing any of "my" money anyway, so screw it. I'll design Cafepress tee shirts or something.

Besides, the page looks nicer without it.

November 21, 2004

A day without merit.

It had to happen, eventually.

I don't have anything to report or snark on today. I've got nothing. I did some City of Heroes (mixed day of it), and I did some research and notes and math for Trigger Man, and I did a whole lot of nothing.

Well, tomorrow should be a productive day, at least. I hope you guys had fun.

November 14, 2004

UPDATE ON BOING BOING

I e-mailed Mark Frauenfelder, who posted the link in question, before I put the snark up. I then snarked, because... well, that's what I do.

Mark, when he got my e-mail, immediately deleted the link and said he was sorry. He found it funny, and wanted to pass it along.

That is an amazingly cool response for him to take. It doesn't change the fact that I've lost a day (I can feel the effects coming on now, though the heart's still racing), but quick response and contrition counts a lot in my book.

So yeah. They remain a class act. For the record.

November 13, 2004

Dogpile on Greg Dean!

Over on Comixpedia, they've posted one of their regular "pose questions to a Webcartoonist" calls, this time for Greg Dean, who writes the widely read Real Life Comics. They've cleverly hidden this open call in an article called Call for Questions for Greg Dean of Real Life.

In the week since the call got posted, they've had exactly two questions for Dean posted. And I wrote both of them. I assume this means that Greg Dean's audience isn't Comixpedia's audience. Well, I don't know if they're Websnark's audience or not, but on the off chance they are, schlep on over there and ask some questions, already! This is a long running strip with distinctive art. It's sometimes inconsistent -- long time readers of Websnark will know they spent a good amount of time on the "Why do I read this webcomic, again" list, but they also pulled off that list -- but it's always beautifully drawn and often hits the truly excellent stage. So go! Go now! Ask questions, already! I want to read the answers Dean puts out! Entertain me!

November 10, 2004

Community Spirit

Your friend and mine, mckenzee, of "Sinister Bedfellows" has started a Snarkoleptics Livejournal Community. While I'm going to cheerfully leave it in the hands of others, I'll be glad to make note of new snarks on it, giving LJ users another tool for finding stuff.

What's it best used for other than that?

...I dunno. What exactly do we do around here?

Still! Check it out, if you want!

November 07, 2004

The Comixpedia Shuffle....

It's another month, and that means a new "issue" of Comixpedia. This month is Journal and Autobiographical Comics, so naturally I did a column on comparing photo-based comics. Damn it, can't I get anything right? On the other hand, this is my third column, which supposedly is the magical point where I go from being "some guy who writes a column for Comixpedia" to "Contributing Columnist," and that's just damn cool because it makes me sound like I should be working out of a newsroom exposing corruption. Plus, it was a chance to talk about A Softer World, Sinister Bedfellows, and the fact that they're not nearly as similar as they appear, and that's just plain fun.

This issue also features the extraordinary Wednesday White's review of The Devil's Panties. I'm hopelessly besotted with the thought processes of Ms. White, as you all know, and Jennie Breeden's The Devil's Panties has to be about my favorite comic strip that's never actually been snarked. I couldn't tell you why it's never appeared on Websnark, but it's a failing of mine, not Breeden's.

If that weren't enough, Kelly J. Cooper has a very interesting examination of the core definitions of the autobiographical in comic strips, and that's neat and deserving of a read. And in addition to my column, I actually got to be a news item, on the strength of my having named star systems after webcartoonists and the like for Trigger Man and NaNoWriMo.

So, a fun time at Comixpedia this month.

October 24, 2004

Four minutes to midnight, and I'm just saying "hi?"

I have four minutes to post something and maintain my streak of posting something in this every day since the day I started it.

I haven't even read a webcomic today.

What have I done?

Well, let's just say this. Whoever thought it would be cute and funny to have giant ROCK CREATURES move FASTER THAN ANY OF US HEROES and maintain an idea of where you are after you teleport TWO HUNDRED YARDS to get away from them and then KILL YOU WITH GIANT ROCK HANDS needs to be shot.

Oh, and teleport self is the coolest power ever.

October 19, 2004

Making a couple of changes to the old FAQs

Hey all! Just letting you know we've made a couple of changes to the FAQ. First, we've added an entry on "Biscuit, Tasty Tasty" to the Lexicon. It seems like I use it enough that I should say something about it.

Also, by popular demand (believe it or not), I've added an e-mail address to the About Websnark FAQ. That address, for those of you wondering, is websnark AT gmail DOT com.

Salut!

October 13, 2004

If anyone is wondering if a lot of people read PvP....

...let me assure you that yes, they do.

For the record, I did half as much Bandwidth yesterday as I did for the entire month of September.

That's a nice feeling, for the record. And no one parked on the lawn or spilled chips on the carpet, either.

On the other hand, I'm completely out of Sobe juices, now.

October 06, 2004

Change is good

Now that we have a new mascot, it seemed like a good time to take a step (just a step) away from the "cookie cutter Blog" design of Websnark. So, I went with yet another cookie cutter blog design -- but this one doesn't see as much use.

I've saved the old stylesheet, so if this one really isn't liked, we can go back.

Comments?

October 05, 2004

I have not forgotten you!

Hey all. Busy day today. Very very busy day today. There will be snarking, but it will come later, after the busyness.

Wait, does anyone actually care?

October 04, 2004

Column number two!

My second "Feeding Snarky" column is up at Comixpedia. This one's on the pitfalls of politics in webcomics. Or topical content of any kind, really. It's less specific than the last, and there's more smartass in it. With luck, people will like it.

In other news, it seems I do have some fans, and there is at least tentative discussions of bowling shirts.

That's right. Bowling shirts.

Admit it. It sounds cool.

September 30, 2004

We've turned the tide!

No presidential ads, no fart dolls, no Latin dating services... just a bunch of links for comic book art. Google Adsense has regained its sanity!

For now.

Jesus Christ. All right, all ready. I'll block the damn site.

Clearly, I'm just cranky today, but I've had it up to here with the "George W. Bush Fart Doll" ad that keeps coming up. Why on Earth Google thinks I want that on my site is beyond me, but it's the first damn thing added to my filter list. In a few hours, Fartin' George should be banished forever.

Yeesh.

Mrph.

I fully accept that webcartoonists want to and deserve to protect their art. I don't have any complaint about that at all. Whatever steps they take are okay by me.

If, on the other hand, you use javascript tricks to make it impossible for someone to download your art in any capacity, there's no way for me to get a thumbnail of it for an entry.

I respect this. I honestly do. But more people click-through on the entries with the bit of color and art on them than the ones that lack the color and art on them. And I'm not going to go and ask for samples. I'm just not. To do so would involve pre-snark collusion, and that would color the result.

Which might be fine with people. However, if you're one of the people who does the javascript trick so people can't download your pictures -- especially if you're one of the folks who really wants to increase your traffic, and hopes that people render feedback and commentary on your work -- just bear in mind that this snark isn't on the strip I was going to snark, but instead is on the fact that I can't put up a thumbnail.

Just, you know, for the record.

On the other hand, I may be convincing a few hundred artists to do the javascript trick now... which is fine too. It's their art, and their choices. Always.

Of course, it's also my choice as to what I'm going to talk about here, now isn't it?

September 28, 2004

Bereft of Snarkiness

I got nothin'.

Seriously. If I look at my daily trawls one more time, I think I'll throw up. Not because of them, but because my eyes hurt, my head hurts, I'm tired, and nothing's jumping out and saying "really good" or "really bad" today. I just got nothin'.

So, chalk up today as the first unqualified miss, even if I did put up a post saying "hi, I got nothin'."

More tomorrow.

September 25, 2004

On weekend posting

So... here's the thing. I don't seem to be good at updating on the weekends, except for those days that I am. Today wasn't a banner day for Websnark, though there was an actual entry.

Should I just declare weekends optional, or set a schedule, or should I just not sweat it as much as I seem to? I mean, I've posted a Hell of a lot of posts in the last seven weeks. Sooner or later I have to accept I'm just not going to post in a given day, don't I?

September 24, 2004

Some people will assume this is my normal state of being.

I've come over all dizzy and overly hot, which might be dumping syndrome (if those two words mean nothing to you, then you'd druther I not explain further. If they do mean something to you, then it's going smashingly so far, thanks.) or might be the flu, so with the blessings of my boss I've taken to my bed. I am now drinking fluids and rereading Digger front to back.

God, I love Digger.

In other news, I got my copy of the Narbonic collection in the mail today. Once more, there were gerbils drawn on the packaging. That is so freaking cool.

In other, other news my cat is sleeping on my leg. She likes it when I'm ill.

More later, when the world isn't spinning and Wombats aren't talking to me.

September 22, 2004

Internet Explorer 6.0 hates Websnark. DAMN YOU MAX POWERS!!!!

Well! Here's the latest directly from Six Apart, the cheerful people who make Movable Type and who are working on helping us all with our Typekey problems:

Okay, it looks like you've encountered yet another IE quirk that has to do with what Microsoft calls "leashed cookies". This will affect those whose MT installation is on one domain but their blog site is on a different domain.

"Leashed" cookies are new to Internet Explorer 6. They're cookies that Internet Explorer prevents from being used later, by a third-party site. So when the TypeKey commenter cookie is set (for the domain where your mt.cgi script is installed), IE won't allow that cookie to be used on your blog site, because it thinks it is a third-party cookie.

You can add both sites to your Privacy settings in IE so that it will permit cookies from both domains to be used (but your visitors would need to do this also). You might also be able to set up your MT cgi script where it is accessible from both of your domains (your host can advise you on if this is possible and if so, how to do it), so you can use the same domain name in your templates for the CGI path as your blog site.

There may be some other workarounds available on the support forums; these are the two which I have heard about as potential solutions.

Regards,

Shelley

So! If you absolutely have to use Internet Explorer, make sure to add www237.pair.com and www.websnark.com to your privacy settings and it should work. But I personally recommending setting IE on fire and using Firefox instead, and it should be okay.

Thanks to Shelley. I'll keep working on my end and see if we can resolve the greater issues.

September 21, 2004

Internet Explorer's puttin' a hatin' on me...

For whatever reason, it seems to be that (some) people using Internet Explorer can't get Typekey to work right now. Six Apart is working with me to try to fix it. Firefox is working fine, so that's what I recommend folks use. Plus, you know, it has less of a stench of evil.

Meaningless Acknowledgements

For the record, as of yesterday Websnark.com was one month old.

In that month, while we had a couple of extremely light/crap days, we never had a day where no posts at all showed up. This is the 161st post.

On the one hand, I can't believe so little time has passed. It feels like I've been doing this for a year.

On the other hand, I can't believe I've managed to keep this up for so long.

On the gripping hand, I can't believe you people are coming and reading it. Thanks for that, by the way.

Onward....

If you have had trouble with Typekey...

...please try again, commenting on this very post. The good people at Six Apart have given me a suggestion I've used to hopefully resolve the issue, but as I can't reproduce the problem myself, I count on you, the reading public to tell me if it's still causing trouble.

Thanks, all!

September 20, 2004

I'm home. Isn't that enough? Well? Isn't it? Punk?

It was an excellent trip back, beautiful and sunny. And I came across a 200 foot tall obelisk commemorating a Revolutionary war battle.

Well, of course I went to look at it. When you're driving along, round a corner and see a massive granite phallic symbol arching into the Vermont sky, you don't just ignore it. I took pictures, too.

Anyway, I'm tired. Back on the regular 'schedule' tomorrow.

September 18, 2004

An acknowledgement, both of an event and of a point.

This is a quote from the author of Comanche, from the Comixpedia thread.

You are completely right, and I have conceded to that before - in its current incarnation, Comanche (as every other comic viewer of the many that are available), is using bandwidth from artists websites without paying for them by displaying the ads! We need a new business model that allows the web artists to get their money when people use the alternative viewers they prefer. This model is nowhere to be seen (and not too many seem to be looking for it).
I have, therefore, made a decision: Until a viable solution is found, I will pull the program from the web! As of now, Comanche isn't available anymore!

Yet I don't think you have any reason to be happy about that! There are other comic readers out there, and there will be new ones in the future! Eventually webartists (as well as providers like Keenspot) will have to find a way to incorporate alternative viewing methods into their business model.

(The emphasis was his.)

First off... cool. He recognized the points being raised and he acted. While pandora's box is still well and truly open (and was open before Comanche), he's acted with responsibility and I think he deserves credit for that. It's not easy to do.

Secondly... in the rest of his point....

Well, he's right.

This is something webcomics are going to have to deal with. If not Comanche, than with something else. Some have taken drastic steps already to ensure that rippers have a hard time ripping (I know Something Positive's files have all been renamed to non-sequential things, to prevent automated scarfing).

Pandora's Box is open, and it won't be closed again. And people who deliver content over the web -- and who want to make money doing it, in particular -- are going to have to deal with the result.

He went on to quote Jack Valenti -- as I said in my last snark on the subject, there's been an attempt to conflate Comanche with file sharing and things like the betamax decision. While I don't think the situations are equivalent, there is something to be learned by looking to the past: you can't uninvent technology, and you wouldn't want to try.

So.

How do we do this? How do webcomics creators get to continue their creating and explore new business models without having them circumvented by people who want to read the strips in new ways? Do we have to begin incorporating the advertisements and business models into the structure of the strips themselves? How do we avoid overwhelming bandwidth with larger graphics files then? And there won't be any links involved, then. And people will hate it.

I don't know. I honestly don't have any answers here. And Comanche's author has been right about one thing: the questions have been asked, now.

On the other hand -- this is the internet. No doubt we can find some way to use porn to solve these problems. Porn: is there anything it can't do?

September 17, 2004

And! I survived the trip!

I am typing this entry from a Wifi hotspot in the internationally known Moosewood Restaurant, in Ithaca, New York. I survived, and except for a screwup on the Penny and Aggie snark, everything distributed.

Ithaca is rainy today, but Ithaca is always rainy. I lived in Ithaca and I lived in Seattle. Seattle had an omnipresent mist from November to March. Ithaca has big-ass drops of rain from the moment the Cornell students arrive to the moment they leave.

It felt nice. Like a baptism. Like a homecoming.

Okay, it felt wet. What do you want -- I'm exhausted.

September 16, 2004

Trying desperately to fit everything in before driving until my eyes bleed....

It's a busy day at work, naturally. Even though I'm trying to get everything done, because the sooner it's all done, the sooner I can get in my car and drive. From central New Hampshire to central New York. At least eight hours on the road.

Snarking will come as quickly as possible today, but understand if it's a hair... abbreviated.

(Does anyone actually care if it's abbreviated or comes at all, for that matter? I mean, this isn't a webcomic -- it's just me blathering on about stuff I can barely understand through all the fumes.)

September 15, 2004

Yeesh. See what happens when you say 'horror' and 'pantsman' on the same page?

Suddenly, three out of five Google Adsense ads Ads by Gooooooogle (who thought up that silliness?) are for surgical scrubs or kids' sized scrubs.

I don't get it either. Well, at least scrubs are dirt cheap. Or they were. Some of these feature logos and characters, which means they're probably more expensive than jeans now.

September 14, 2004

The power of scheduled posting compels you!

Today's snarks have been served up, despite the extraordinarily busy workload, thanks to Movable Type's latest version having the ability to schedule posts in advance. So, after my brief coma last night, I whipped out some snarkage and scheduled it for today. Assuming all went well, you had momentary entertainment through the morning, while I was able to desperately slave at work. What a glorious world we live in!

I'm going to Ithaca, New York this coming weekend. I'll be online from there, so Snarking should continue, but we'll ration the posts out through the glory of scheduled posting. Scheduled posting. It makes it seem like I care more than I do.

September 13, 2004

Today and tomorrow...

We are handing computers out to our student body. The school year is beginning.

Snarks will be later rather than sooner. However, after this, it's all biscuits and gravy.

Thanks, all!

September 11, 2004

This is a small test.

Hi all. This is a small test of the "scheduled posting" system. We'll see if it works. If it does... um... go me!

More snarks later.

September 10, 2004

And now, a word about my sponsor(ed link’Ѣ)

If you've been watching the (cough) Ads by Gooooooogle block on the side, you'll notice it's learning about us more and more. The pet food seems to be mostly gone, and more and more comic strip stuff is appearing. This is cool.

However, it's not actually capable of reading. Otherwise, it would have noticed that I have little to nothing good to say about current Dilbert. Once, I liked Dilbert. Dilbert however won't get a "you had me and you lost me" essay, because I try to be detailed and insightful in those essays and there's no good way to pad "it stopped being funny around 1997" to 250 words. And I have a degree in English Literature, so I know from padding.

That's not what gets me, though. If you click the Dilbert merchandise link, you discover it takes you... to a Cafepress site.

Does Dilbert, arguably the most popular modern first run comic strip in the free world, really need to use a Print on Demand shop for its tee shirts and mugs?

September 07, 2004

Wherein the author gets pulled into paid copy

Hi gang!

One of my paid RPG writing projects just went into playtest. As I'm contractually bound to those folks, a lot of my ancillary writing time will have to be devoted to that for the next couple of weeks. I should have at least some snarking every day, but understand that when someone slips me filthy lucre, they buy my loyalty, so.

I can't say what project or for whom, yet. If I did, they'd haul me up the thirteen steps and throw me off the pyramid, and no one wants that, do we?

Random reader question randomly answered

"Why do you care so much about webcomics, anyway?"

Because art matters.

September 03, 2004

It's like they can see inside my mind. Of course, they *do* have six years worth of my archived e-mail....

It's another killer day of systems administration. Between that and reading the Narbonic archives and giggling like a madman every second I can spare away from the machines handling everyday life, there's going to be another day of late updates from me. But, like yesterday, I do promise there will be snarks, as soon as there can be. I don't promise they'll be any better than yesterday's snarks, but then you're used to that, right?

In the meantime, I have to point out something Google (excuse me, Goooooooooooogle. I mean, what the Hell?) Ads have managed to do.

After days of pet food, cat comics, and "make your own blog," they've started advertising Krazy Kat shirts.

God help me. At the rate I'm 'making' money off of Google ads, which after all are meant to defray operating costs for Websnark, it'd be months before I could afford to buy a Krazy Kat shirt. And yet, it's classic Herriman. On a shirt. Damn it, Google ads have figured me out! It's insanity! Insanity!

(How has Narbonic managed to avoid my radar before now? This is brilliance! BRILLIANCE! Garrity's opinions of my patter aside, of course.)

Unsnarked out of fatigue...

This was a brutal day's work at the day job. And tomorrow's likely to be the same, though I'll try my level best to have higher levels of snark for you all.

For the record, I have strips in my upload directory, but I don't have the brainspace, the energy or the concentration to do them justice. So, Greystone Inn, Irregular Webcomic, Achewood and American Elf? I'm sorry. I'll try to get you guys in tomorrow.

As for now? Bon soir.

September 02, 2004

It's a busy day....

...and me with eight strips set aside for snarking, too. Sorry gang, but for the moment the day job has me in thrall. You'll get stuff at some point today, though, and that's a promise.

August 30, 2004

FAQ: Cast Page

So, I've received more than one note from folks that while it's all well and good for me to campaign for webcomic cast pages, I don't have one of my own here on Websnark.com.

"But..." I said in reply. "This isn't a webcomic."

"Put up or shut up," they replied.

So. Here's my cast page. Enjoy.


burnsbio.jpegEric Alfred Burns is one of the heroes of our story. Like all good English majors, he makes his living as a systems administrator. He also has a bad habit of writing. Born in a very small town in the very far north of Maine, Eric has lived in different places in Maine, in New Hampshire, in Ithaca and Syracuse, New York, and in Seattle, Washington. He currently lives in New Hampshire, but is wondering if his roots are beginning to get a touch long and therefore need uprooting.

While systems administration puts food on his table, Eric lists his occupation as writer. In addition to Websnark.com, Eric has written and published short fiction and poetry. He has also written for and designed Role Playing Games, including work for Decipher and Steve Jackson Games. He was one of the primary authors on the ENnie nominated Sidewinder: Wild West Adventures, and the subsequent Sidewinder: Recoiled won the Gold ENnie for best Electronic Game (non-free). He's listed as a contributing author on Recoiled, and would be much prouder if the sum total of his 'contributions' wasn't stuff from the first edition of the game which they rewrote parts of to make it sound less like the somewhat urbane Bat Masterson and more like Festus from Gunsmoke. But Hell, they got the gold with it, so why should he complain?

In the webcomics world, Eric writes a monthly column called "Feeding Snarky" and occasional features and reviews for Comixpedia, where they have learned to curse his procastinating name.

In addition, Eric has the unfortunate distinction of being an amateur novelist, but is deep into work on a novel that will hopefully change his professional standings. He has tried his hand at webcartooning himself, and epitomizes the old saw "those who can't draw, snark." He has learned from this mistake and is now hard at work at writing webcomics instead. He is hard at work on Gossamer Commons, as drawn by Greg Holkan.

Eric has a cat named Sarah, which is short for Seraphim Kyriotate. He has yet to notice angelic behavior from her. He can be reached at "websnark" "at" "gmail" "dot" "com." It's like a reverse rebus, isn't it?


wedsbiol.pngWednesday White is, at best, a cameo in all things. An uneducated boor, she used to sneak onto university newspapers' staff because the high school papers wouldn't let her in. Every few years, it occurs to her to write something. This time, it landed her in webcomics. "If I write about it for a little while, I'll learn how to do my own sensibly." God help us all.

This way lay contributing to Comixpedia, then throwing stuff at The Webcomics Examiner. At the moment, Wednesday is the associate features editor for 'Pedia, heading up columns, which means she's effectively Eric's editor. Everyone can laugh now!

Wednesday's proudest creative achievement to date is having some of her artwork appear on a Bill Mallonee album traycard -- she imagines it's something like having your fanart appear as part of the packaging for your favourite TV show's DVD boxed set, only with whiskey involved.

August 27, 2004

Websnark Update Pool: Sauce for the Goose, Mr. Saavik....

Hey, if Websnark can't update at a consistent time in the morning, the least we can do is mock it incessently, right? Pot, my name is Mr. Kettle.

I'm on vacation today through Monday, so I slept gloriously, deliciously in. So while you might used to Websnarking having happened sometime before now, it's only happening now. And that's okay.

(Of course, I also snarked stuff after midnight, so technically the first snarks of the 27th already happened. Also, this is a blog, not a strip, so people are used to new entries coming up randomly. Also, no one gives a damn when this thing updates.)

One week from philanthropist to sellout -- I rock!

You'll notice (if you're reading the site instead of an RSS feed, anyway) that I've thrown up Google Adsense ads in the sidebar. I like the Google ads. I kind of enjoy playing "what ads show up for my weirdass posts" anyway, and a few pennies towards future bandwidth won't be a bad thing.

I can understand its fixation on Little Orphan Annie merchandise. I actually make reference to Annie on these pages, and how often do you figure that happens on Adsense aware sites? But why it's trying to sell my readers Pet Supplies is utterly beyond me.

August 26, 2004

It's like playing with LEGO sets, except instead of blocks I'm using EGO!

We've started tweaking the templates. This is a beginning of the process, not an end, but as we were coming up on a deadline (namely -- the daily comics trawl lists were about to expire from the front page) we needed to adapt so people could easily find the ground rules.

So, over in the sidebar we've now added three sections. "About Websnark.com" currently has the Mission Statement, such as it is, and will ultimately have the about the author and (not so) frequently asked questions list, along with explaining the funky terminology we seem to be developing. You know, "The Funny," "The Story," "First and Ten Syndrome" and the like.

Below that, we have the Daily Comics Trawls. Soon to be added to that are the Collected Page Trawl and the Sporadically Checked Trawl. I might or might not put a specific "Why Do I Read This Webcomic, Again" list here. If I do that, however, I'll probably make a whole new Safari tab group for things on that list, and that's one more step to oblivion. OBLIVION!

Below that is the "You Had Me, And You Lost Me" list, which lists the snarks I write about those strips once read and why I stopped reading them. Which, if you get right down to it, is meant as a public service. While I don't expect cartoonists to change their strips to reflect my tastes, it can't hurt for them to know why someone who once read their strip faithfully decided to give it up.

Below that is the Category archives and all the other tchochkes Movable Type throws in by default. Eventually, because I can already see a pretty hefty impact on my bandwidth (and right now that's more exciting than frightening), Google Adsense ads will get slid in there to help maintain the site.

Slowly, we're going to make this into our place. And by 'our,' I mean 'mine.' No offense.

August 25, 2004

A quick note on webcomics and bandwidth

I tend to put part or all of the strips I'm reffing up on my Snarks, with a link back to the comic itself. Generally I put a thumbnail of the strip up, with a "click to enlarge" option, unless the original's size is conducive to just being there.

For the record, I move copies of the strips into my own storage space and all bandwidth consumed by Websnark is my own, not the creators. Ultimately, I want people to follow the links and read the strips for themselves (yes, even the ones I bitch about). I don't want to steal the bandwidth from the people I'm snarking about. That's just not cricket.

So the costs for this site are mine, not others. That's the upstanding way to trash people, damn it!

August 20, 2004

Daily Comics Trawling: the Day Comics List

I read a lot of webcomics. And by a lot, I mean "almost none, compared to how many web comics are out there." I mean, there's a ton of digital art floating around, and I read... well, everything I have some interest in reading. Jesus, what do you expect me to do? Read stuff I couldn't possibly care less about?

Actually, some of you do expect me to do that.

So, while I always reserve the right to update these lists, here's what I'm consistantly checking.

My method of organizing this ton of comics is through Safari's 'bookmark tab groups' feature. When I'm ready to read a block of comics, I select a bookmark that opens up some 20-25 comics at a time. That way, they all show up and I can just read and close window, read and close window. It's not quite as fast as scanning a comics page in a newspaper, but it's a Hell of a lot faster than schlepping out to get a newspaper in the first place.

I have two of these tab lists, plus a 'clearinghouse' page for a third group. These are the fodder I'm almost always going to have available to comment on, so you'll see a lot from these.

This first list is called "Day Comics." Originally, this list was formed out of comics that update in the morning. Over time, it's become something of a Keenspot clearinghouse with a few ringers (including some that really should be in the "Night Comics" block, like PvP.

These entries (in the order they come up in the tab list) are:

  • Superosity, by Chris Crosby. This strip is utterly, totally weird, in a good way. It's incredibly consistent, too. If you didn't like it yesterday, you're probably not going to like it today. If, on the other hand, you liked it yesterday, today's probably not going to disappoint you.
  • Sore Thumbs, by Chris Crosby and Owen Gieni. Touted (and often reviled) as a Gaming Comic and a political comic, this still-freshman strip really isn't either. This strip takes on political and gamer trappings, shoves them through a manga cheese grater, and comes out with something not quite as weird as Superosity, but still pleasantly warped. These aren't liberals and conservatives. These are complete idiots on crystal meth and LSD.
  • Greystone Inn, by Brad J. Guigar. One of those "why am I reading this, again?" strips. I think I got into it because Guigar is a true student of the comic strip art form -- when he gets into the history of comics, he doesn't talk about "User Friendly" or "Sluggy Freelance" or even "Bloom County" or "Peanuts." He brings up "Popeye" and "Dick Tracy" and "Lil' Abner" and "Mutt and Jeff." I respect that tons. And the art is really clean. And he's never late. So it stays on the list. Maybe sometime soon I'll laugh at it again.
  • Nukees by Darren Bleuel. Now this one I know why I read. Besides having a great sense of humor and a fantastic sense of character, Nukees manages a balancing act a lot of webcomics fail: it has full out storylines (some of them quite series) and yet manages to be funny every single time. It never has to put a cavet about how this is a serious, plot building storyline and no, honest, the funny will come back later. The funny is there, damn it. Even when Gav is lying on an operating table having a near-death experience with an Egyptian Goddess.
  • Ozy and Millie, by David Craig Simpson. On its last legs on my list. Inconsistency in publishing along with a real feel that Simpson's either burnt out or just doesn't care like he used to -- and a systemic loss of funny along the way -- mean one of my favorite "Calvin and Hobbesesque" webcomics from the last several years just doesn't thrill me any more. We'll see.
  • RPGWorld, by Ian Jones-Quartey. This one I stick to, despite an increasingly sporadic schedule. Its quality has remained high since the beginning, but we've also seen a real growth of the artist throughout. Ian J. was literally a kid when he started this strip. As he moves forward, learns more about Art (he's in Art school now) and develops as a person, increasing sophistication continues to flow into his strip. I'm willing to wait for quality like this, and can't wait to see where he goes from here.
  • Sinfest, by Tatsuya Ishida. One of the most (pun intended) slickly produced webcomics out there, Ishida has a fantastic understanding of his own sense of humor. The common complaint is that Slick is a knockoff of Calvin (or of Milo Bloom), but honestly I don't agree -- there's nothing wrong with being influenced in art, and I don't see Calvin macking on Suzie in the reprints, do you? There's artistic validity in taking the familiar into unfamiliar territory. Besides, Satan and God rock. And the animals. The animals, man. Normally rock-solid in updating, but with exceptions.
  • The Suburban Jungle by John Robey. Not the best work that Robey's done (it doesn't hold a candle to Robey's brilliant Never Never (which itself suffers with its new artist, who is brilliant but doesn't bring out Robey's whimsical cynicism very well), but by far his most popular, so he sticks with the one he came in with. It's my favorite "furry" comic, even eclipsing the technically superior "Kevin and Kell," for two reasons. One, it doesn't rely on the fur to bring the funny or the serious, which makes the anthropomorphic characters more a style choice than an end unto itself, and two, because it doesn't make every anthropomorphic character exactly like every other. Mice are mouse sized, even if they walk on their hind legs. Dogs are much smaller than tigers. Tigers are larger than housecats. That appeals. Plus, he has strong characters. Now, if he'd stop with the furry community in-jokes, it'd be better still ("Spiked Punch?" Someone has to be kidding me....)
  • Goats, by Jonathan Rosenberg. Distinctive and funny, unafraid to experiment, but also pulls its experiments off, Goats is generally damn good. Occasionally, it falls flat, but hey -- what doesn't? I do like the fact that the superfluous and unfunny junior character added to the cast is named "Oliver." It gives me hope that he's meant to be a riff on Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch. And with luck he'll soon die. Of cancer.
  • PvP, by Scott Kurtz. I have a total love/hate relationship with this strip, because Kurtz can be and often is a total asshole, but his strip is extremely funny. By far the best of the "Geek Humor" strips, because it's not actually a gamer comic, or a tech comic, or an RPG comic. It's a comic about geeks, and it's brilliantly pulled off. It really should be in the "Night Comics" section, though, because the last time Kurtz actually put his strip up on time Clinton was President.
  • Irregular Webcomic, by David Morgan-Mar. Proof positive that you don't need to be able to draw to create a comic strip, and further proof that funny is not dependent on medium. Entirely composed of digital photos taken of lego characters and painted miniature figures (excepting only a very occasional dip into "Supers" drawn by a collaborator), Morgan-Mar distills the essence of funny out of Role Playing Games (and popular culture) and pours it through peg boards. As of this writing, it's the newest addition to my daily trawl, and I'm glad to have it.
  • Two Lumps by J. Grant and Mel Hynes. I admit it freely. I'm a major J. Grant fanboy. His level of brilliance is hard to achieve, and Flem Comics is high up on my ’Äňsporadic check list.' (I don't do it daily because I find I like it better in bunchs. Also, like many others, I prefer Grant's storylining to his random comic drawing, and Flem's currently in random mode.) However, Two Lumps is by far the best thing he's produced. It may be the influence of his writer, Mel Hynes, but I think it's because the subject matter is universal (to cat owners, anyhow), and therefore J. Grant's utterly horrific twisted sense of humor can deliver its steaming payloads when you least expect it. I love this strip.
  • Real Life Comics, by Greg Dean. I have no idea why I read this. Inertia, I guess. It's not bad and it used to be fantastic, so I keep up with it. It's on the ’Äňmaybe drop' list, right now. I can't point to why. I just can't point to why I'd keep it or why I'd recommend it. It's just there, taking up a Safari Tab.
  • /usr/bin/w00t/ by Chaobell. Still a journeyman comic in a lot of ways, but one that's fun to follow. Unashamed to be a gamer comic, though falls into a few of the more common webcomic pitfalls. Still, it's got some good resonance and it's a lot of fun, and it encapsulated the LARP experience better than any comic I've ever seen (in part because it didn't try to encapsulate the role playing experience, but instead the batshit insane group politics that surrounds most LARPs. Now that's funny.
  • Penny Arcade, by Mike Krahsomethingorother and Jerry Holkins? Hopkins? What the Hell? Gabe and Tycho. I can say Gabe and Tycho because they put those names on their site in a LEGIBLE FONT making it POSSIBLE FOR ME TO SPELL THEM! Seriously, people. If you're going to put your name in a copyright notice, make it possible for critics to read it. Oh sure, I could do a websearch and get the spelling from an article or something, but that's already more effort than I'm willing to put into this piece of shit bullet point. Oh, and the strip? It's funny. And they have a juicer that fucks fruit.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day, by NASA. Okay, you got me. This isn't a webcomic at all. But it's in my tabs list because... well, because! It's gorgeous! It's majestic! It's the universe we live in! Take eight seconds out of your day and be impressed with the incredible place we call home. Jesus Christ, life isn't all webcomics and snarking, you know!
  • Road Waffles by Eight. Incredibly sporadic, as Eight runs out of enthusiasm on projects, puts them on hiatus for a long time, runs random weirdass crap in its place, then picks it up later. And yet, I could read Eight doodling randomly for five screens and still groove on it. This isn't a webcomic, it's a Jazz riff, and the man can play a sax.
  • Her: Girl versus Pig, by Chris Bishop. A weekly cut and paste comic, so we're not talking about significant effort here. And yet, it balances surrealism with cynicism just about right for my tastes, so I read it. Weekly. You know, because that's how often it comes out.
  • Lore Brand Comics by Lore Sj–berg. Like Her, a weekly cut and paste comic strip, generally. Really, just a medium for Lore to say weird things. And that's enough for me.

Later on, you'll get the Night Comics, plus the Collected Comics Page, and the "sporadically reads." And if you're very good, the "used to read but then they lost me" list. Which has Megatokyo on it, so it's very, very likely it'll piss you off.

Mission Statement

Do we really need another commentary blog on the web? I mean, honestly. How many of these are we supposed to accept, willy nilly? And who actually says willy-nilly in casual conversation? Or is that getting off the subject.

Why are we here?

It's more than the core of Western Philosophy going back to the Greeks as refined through Augustine and briefly sidetracked through the Asharites who figured we can't know the answer anyway so why ask the question? It's a justification for effort: the effort I put into creating websnark.com, and the effort you put into reading it.

Well, I've always been snarky and opinionated. My tribal totem is the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons (though a friend always claimed my avatar should be the Sea Captain. I don't know why. He also thought I was most like Nate from Overboard. I'm generally polite, though. An outlet where the ground rules state explicitly I'm being an opinionated bastard can only be a good thing for my psyche.

And besides, like a lot of websurfers ("surf" the "web." Is that hopelessly 90's or what? Should we have an updated phrase for the 21st century? Like "powerslacking?") I consume an absurd amount of web content every day. I read over sixty comic strips on the web. I read news sites and commentary sites and livejournals and weblogs. We live in an era where your office computer and your living room television have exactly the same capacity to entertain, with only differences in production values.

Looking back over my Livejournal for the past couple of years, I realize the ratio of content (defined as me bitching about my life, which is what you do in a Livejournal. It's in the terms of service) to "hey, look at this funny picture of a drawn dog" posts is pretty lame.

So. Why not put the dog pictures into their own shiny website, complete with automated systems for posting and automated comment systems so you, the reader, can agree that the picture of the drawn dog is in fact funny.

That kind of answers why I'm here and what I'm doing. But it doesn't really get into why you're here and what you're doing.

I have no answer for that. I mean, I don't think you're my mom, who wouldn't be reading this garbage anyway.

Whatever. Thanks for coming.