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Eric: On the Backtrack.

(Taken from Planet Earth and Other Tourist Traps. Click on the thumbnail for full sized secret origins!)

I'm trying, generally, not to snark strips from the same site more than once a day (or even twice in a row). This isn't like the lamented PvP Update Pool, which wasn't based on individual strips. We're not a reprinting service and (yet more unwritten rules of snarking! Yay!) it's not cricket to take strips from someone's site too often. People shouldn't come to Websnark to see the latest Queen of Wands. They should go to Queen of Wands, and see it in the context of Aeire's site, commentary and advertising.

But, when I'm reading the archives of a new strip for me, naturally I have snark fodder come up for more than one strip. Hopefully, Deely will forgive me a second snark in 24 hours. Besides, I absolutely love this strip -- it's the kind of Supervillain secret origin I think at least half of all supervillains should have.

More to the point, this gives me a chance to talk about my method of adding a new strip to the Daily Trawl. See, when I sample new strips, I do just that. I read a couple of days worth, weigh them, see if there's Funny or Story to be had... give them a chance to catch me. If they do, I'll usually decide to go through the archives and see if I really enjoy them.

Only, I pretty much always go through the archives backwards, from most recent strip to oldest, moving backwards in time. And I'm pretty sure no cartoonist wants me to do it that way.

Why such a weirdass method of reading comic strip archives? Simple. Survey of British Novels, back from Boston University.

My British Novels class at BU was pretty terrible. (I retook it years later at a different school and had an excellent teacher, for the record.) All I got out of that class were two things: an abiding hatred of Joseph Conrad and a good method of proofreading essays. The teacher recommended we read the paper backwards when we were done. Mistakes would leap out at us if we didn't get caught up in the narrative of the essay. And it works.

I don't remember when I started doing it to webcomic archives, but the method works well for me. If I can go backwards through the archive, follow what's going on even in reverse and enjoy the strips, I've found the strip won't disappoint me moving forward later on. So far, it's never failed -- I have yet to find a strip of quality that I didn't enjoy reading backwards as well as forwards. It's one of the neat aspects of the web, as well. It's easy enough to read the strips backwards if you want.

So far, Planet Earth's passing the backtrack test. I'm having a lot of fun with the strip. It seems likely it'll get added to the daily trawl. And, when Websnark evolves a bit more and begins doing full out reviews, this'll likely be among the first.

In other news, I'm feeling pretty ill tonight, so it'll be a relatively light snark evening. Unless it isn't.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 25, 2004 11:03 PM


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