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Eric: You know, if he doesn't want you reading it, why does he keep linking it?

John Stark calls Ethan Allen a Dick!

(From The Adventures of Brigadier General John Stark. Click on the thumbnail for full sized archive page where this strip appears. It's the one where Ethan Allen gets called a dick, for reference.)

The John Stark comics are doing great, and I appreciate it. And hope you follow along the link to read today's, and go back and read the last few days. That would rock. But as of this writing, John Stark has climbed to #50 on the WCN Top 100. You guys are fantastic. Tell your friends!

(Yes, the primary category for this entry is Self Promotion. And thank you to Wednesday for creating it.)

However... on that same list... Unfettered by Talent has climbed to #39.

What is wrong with you people? It's terrible.

Do we need to do this every couple of days? Do we? All right then, we will! Here's another list of comic strips more worthy than Unfettered by Talent that you should be reading. All on Webcomics Nation. Read them! Bury Unfettered by Talent!

  • Kara, Kali and the Wind: An absolutely gorgeous series, completed and ready for you to read. It's a fairy tale, and I'm a sucker for fairy tales that aren't reduced in scope for children.
  • Return to Green Hollow: A second fairy tale -- this one quite different than the first. (And rendered in beautiful pencilwork.) Also a complete story, which also sells a minicomic version. Diana Sprinkle and Michael Vega have outdone themselves -- they got it absolutely right.
  • Virgin Head 24 Hour Comic: James V. West, who did Catharsis in our last rundown, has a 24 hour comic in today's. It's rough-drawn, of course, as most 24 hour comics are, but he got it finished and it's a lot of fun. Also? There are breasts. I'm just saying, if you're a Safe For Work sort of person, this isn't likely your cup of tea. Otherwise, it's worth a look!
  • Magic Inkwell Comic Strip Theater: I should warn that there's a music file attached to this, so if you're in an office cubicle, you might want to be wary. However, the idea that the work of Cat Freaking Garza is currently ranked below Unfettered by Talent offends Odin and makes the Baby Jesus cry. Go! Read!
  • Pewfell Vol. 1: The first volume of Pewfell stories and strips by Chuck Whelon. Lots of fun, and I swear to God the last page is a fantasy pastiche on The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.
  • Welcome to Oddville. Oddville is an alternative strip in the papers those kids love so much, and it's a good one. This one's interesting to me, as well, because Jay Stephens is one of the first people I know of who's using the "Modern Tales" Subscription Model, the way American Elf does. (Benjamin Birdie, over at Genre City, is doing subscription stuff, but he's got something of a different take on it.) If you know from Oddville, you'll know if you want to subscribe or not. If you don't? Well, today's is free, so go ahead and give it a try!

There. Between those and the other strips on the Top 25 and 100 lists, you should be enjoying the rennaissance of good cartooning that's going on out there. Without needing to go to Unfettered by Talent. And if UfbT's numbers continue to go up, we're going to just have to do this again and again until people get the point and start reading quality webcomics!

(Why do I suddenly have this image of other WCN artists driving the numbers up on Unfettered by Talent?)

Posted by Eric Burns-White at September 28, 2005 10:55 AM

Comments

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at September 28, 2005 11:19 AM

I think when people realize that you're not actually, y'know, doing UFbT anymore, your numbers will start dropping, if that's honestly something that's bothering you. ;)

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at September 28, 2005 11:24 AM

Oh, and I have to second your plug for "Kara, Kali and the Wind", although because a lemur features prominently in it one should probably treat my enthusiastic opinion of it with a healthy suspicion.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at September 28, 2005 12:17 PM

(Why do I suddenly have this image of other WCN artists driving the numbers up on Unfettered by Talent?)
Consider it done.

Comment from: RuTemple posted at September 28, 2005 12:23 PM

It would help if the comics you list actually had a button to enable voting for the top 100 webcomics. Most of them don't have such.
Perhaps if the authors knew folks would actually vote for them, and that rising in the polls actually meant a concommittent rise in readership (and potentially, appreciation, donations, and/or sales of swag?)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 28, 2005 12:26 PM

RuTemple -- you don't vote for them.

The rankings are based entirely on pageviews.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at September 28, 2005 12:26 PM

There is no vote. The top 100 is based on pageviews. So if you were to, say, read all 43 pages of The Double, that alone would push it up in the top 100 lists. Although just reading one and then leaving in disgust will also have some effect.

Comment from: joeymanley posted at September 28, 2005 12:29 PM

I've linked to UfbT in the TAC blog today. Neener, neener! I mean, hey, if it means you'll keep linking to WCN comics (grin).

RuTemple: many of the WCN'ers are either new to webcomics (because they came from the indie print world), or have been working online, but far outside the "webcomics community." Things like top lists are new to a lot of them. In the WCN community forum on TAC, I've posted helpful links to the various top lists and to sites that accept press releases about webcomics, but some of them are still pretty slow on the uptake. Jay Stephens does have a couple of vote buttons, though, and I'd love to see his work go higher on those lists. He's put the buttons on this page, specifically:

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/jaystephens/

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Comment from: joeymanley posted at September 28, 2005 12:31 PM

Oh, wait, never mind. Jay's buttons are actually on the page Eric linked to for Oddville.

Click'em anyway!

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 28, 2005 12:35 PM

You know, you never get around to answering the question I first raised in the other WCN-related thread, which is reiterated, by yourself of all people, here: why in hell *are* you linking to UbT if you don't want people to read it? I decided I didn't care whether or not anyone read my LiveJournal, so I never bothered telling anyone what name it's under. (Not that anyone who wanted to look for it couldn't find it.)

I think the fact of the matter is, you do want people to read UbT and are ashamed to admit it for whatever reason.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 28, 2005 12:36 PM

Blast you, Joey!

(Hey, the least you could do is send them to John Stark too. ;) )

Comment from: joeymanley posted at September 28, 2005 12:37 PM

Eric's a sly dog!

I think Shaenon may have given him "false modesty" lessons when he met with her.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 28, 2005 12:41 PM

32 -- actually, I alluded to it in the subject line of today's. ;)

The answer, ultimately, isn't that I secretly want people to read it. It's that I'm obstinate. When I created my WCN account, I moved it over because this was an account where I could put comic related stuff, and I refuse to pretend UfbT never existed. It's a part of my history.

And even though I want to emphasize Gossamer Commons and John Stark over it (more GC than John Stark -- John Stark is fun and all but hardly an effort), to the point that I link both of them in the sidebar, I'm not going to talk about how terrible it is and not give people a means by which to check.

I'm weird. Chalk it up to that.

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at September 28, 2005 12:51 PM

What might sometimes appear to be "false modesty" is often the soluton to the great attention struggle. On the one hand, you want to be as popular and widely-read as possible, so you never miss an opportunity to show new potential readers to elements in your body of work that might otherwise go unnoticed, in case the new viewer might derive some enjoyment from it and thus reward you with fanship (to greater or lesser degrees). On the other hand, you want your more critical readers to know that this opus does not represent your best effort, in your impression. Perhaps you are afraid that they will think that your poor / shameful work is all you can do and will pass your "better" projects by. The solution? Advertise your work as crappy. This also has the added benefit of drawing in people on the irony factor. It's really quite elegant, considering.

Of course, maybe it is all just a massive attention-grab. ;)

Comment from: Dorkboy posted at September 28, 2005 2:20 PM

I really dislike how you don't have the Stark comic setup with a normal archive.

A) that's part of the reason UFbT is so high, because it has several pages of archives, and each time somebody reads through it gets that many hits.

B) It makes each comic SMALLER, and thus the TEXT is smaller, and thus harder to READ.

C) there are no line breaks between each comic, so you lose your place, and understanding that these are seperate comics.

D) that is going to be a pain in the ASS when you get 25 comics up there, and I want to read #17 because I'll have to scroll down, look through all of the comics, with no breaks, and read them in small format.

Blah.

just expand the archives like everybody else in the entire world. Like you do on two other comics even.

Thanks. I appreciate it.

\/\/

Comment from: quiller posted at September 28, 2005 2:35 PM

Hmm, I'm beginning to dislike Stark. After all, if it wasn't for New York and New Hampshire keeping Vermont from becoming a state, Vermont never would have become an independent republic in the first place. Yeah sure, Ethan Allen was kind of a dick, but considering he got his start beating up tax collectors it could be said that diplomacy was not his strong suit. Also worth noting that the Continental Congress's response to the taking of Ticonderoga was "Give it Back!", but the cannons taken there were crucial to the later victories in Massachusetts.

Comment from: joeymanley posted at September 28, 2005 2:49 PM

Have you seen Bold Riley and the Witch in the Wild? Just started, but it looks very, very promising.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 28, 2005 2:49 PM

Dorkboy -- it's not quite as easy as that. But I agree, actually.

(The size of the strip is more a problem with Comic Life than anything else. I'm working on it.)

Quiller -- Stark isn't an unbiased reporter on things. Bear in mind Ethan Allen did... well, essentially one very good thing in the revolution (namely, Ticonderoga) and then got captured in a badly planned siege of Montreal, it's entirely possible our incarnate General is jealous of the fact that he's actually pretty well known and John Stark, for the most part, isn't.

Mostly, so that I can take a shot at being funny.

Comment from: quiller posted at September 28, 2005 3:43 PM

Mmm, this is why I said I'm beginning to dislike Stark, not "I dislike Burns", or "I dislike the comic". Heck, it's a statue of Stark, so its also had years to dwell on things, and get crapped on by pigeons and be in a bad mood. Err, not to overanalyze or anything.

And Ethan Allen is a lot more well known for furniture than anything else. If you consider it, he's a lot less well known than Benedict Arnold is. (Which is not to say that Arnold doesn't deserve to be well known, but once again, he is better known for turning traitor than for his victories in battle) I'm mostly commenting because I can, I wrote a history paper on the history of the Republic of Vermont that I researched in the Vermont state library that I'm kind of proud of.

And I think it is strange how cursory US history winds up being for a subject that only needs to cover a few hundred years in one country. I have to imagine that European history is a complete joke... (I was actually in France my senior year of high school which was the normal European history year, so I got French history instead) Certainly, there are many forgotten heroes and events, and that seems to be one of your themes in these comics.

Comment from: thok posted at September 28, 2005 3:52 PM

I'm sorely tempted to help push up UFbT, just to get you to recommend more Webcomics 100 comics to read.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 28, 2005 4:02 PM

I'm mostly commenting because I can, I wrote a history paper on the history of the Republic of Vermont that I researched in the Vermont state library that I'm kind of proud of.

You... wrote... a paper on....

Congratulations. You have just been commissioned a Lieutenant in the Snarkoleptic Research Militia. We provide hardtack and tobacco, but you'll need to bring your own parchment and gun.

Comment from: miyaa posted at September 28, 2005 4:05 PM

Pewfell is really good. The Viva Las Vargus is his best chapter so far (although his current Modern Tales, Chapter 5 (Green Achers), is looking very appealing.). I'd like an entire chapter focused on his Amazonian/Vakyrie wife, Tina, please!

This and Narbonic are the only two reasons why I subscribe to Modern Tales in the first place. Now, if only the Wisdom of Moo could be moved over to Modern Tales...

Comment from: quiller posted at September 28, 2005 7:08 PM

Woohoo! I'm in the militia! Umm, it's probably going to be harder to research that stuff here in Los Angeles, though. I was going to Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts when I wrote the paper. But, I'm pretty sure I still have it somewhere in my stuff, that wasn't something I was going to throw out.

I do like making my papers unusual, though. I had a philosophy class which left me unadmiring of most philosophers. Particularly Spinoza, who tried to prove the existence of God, but wound up with nothing more than saying that he wouldn't want to live in a world where God didn't exist. So for my philosphy paper I wrote about the writings of the early scientists of Modern Physics. Heisenberg, Bohr, etc. They thought that philosophy would want to embrace these new understandings of the nature of the universe, but philosophers didn't seem to be that interested in Natural Philosophy anymore so they wrote their own philosophical works.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 28, 2005 7:17 PM

Um, Eric? See how I mention in my post that I saw you mentioning it here? I already caught the title of the post. ;)

Now, I can understand being willing to admit to your work. Trust me, I did some truly corny groupfic on Usenet (if anyone seriously wants to track that down, it was on alt.games.final-fantasy). And there's assorted writing here, there, and everywhere that's under my nom de plume. Some of which I'm quite proud of and some of which... I'm not. And there's also some truly ugly flame wars that I got myself involved in, years ago, that I wish hadn't happened more for the sake of my friends than anyone else.

However, while anyone who wants to look at my first stumbling steps into becoming a writer can certainly ask and look for them, I don't see any reason to show people everything. I'm glad to have gone through that stuff, even the bad parts, if it has made me a better person and a better writer today (and I like to think it has). But I've left it in the past, and I don't see any reason to remind people of it.

Also, it seems more than a little strange that your stated goal is to make it drop in rankings, but keep mentioning it on Websnark, which you know will get UbT more hits. I can accept your little oddities, like how you won't admit that [Darth Vader] is your [father] (replace with actual person and relationship as appropriate). Trust me, you still seem fairly normal, all things considered. Still, I can't help but point out where your personal quirks are at odds with your stated aims.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at September 28, 2005 11:02 PM

Yeah, I mean, the best way to keep people from seeing the work you don't want people to see is to develop a moderately crippling inferiority complex, then hide or destroy the originals.

This "DON'T CLICK ON MEEEE" thing? Dude!

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 29, 2005 10:02 AM

Aw, I think it's cute. And silly. And fun. Y'all are bein' hard on this little.. er.. quirk of Eric's.

Of course, it could be that he's actually being crafty and clever. After all, it's given him the opportunity to tout a whooooooole bunch of strips without actually snarking them, and improved their rankings and recognition in the process.

Or it could just be an experiment to see how high he can really get the ratings on something he himself calls crap. Who knows? Either way, it's fun! And cool comics get highlighted in the process. yay!

Comment from: siwangmu posted at September 29, 2005 10:12 AM

Dude... hasn't that whole Darth Vader thing been out of the closet for a while (I know a thing can't be out of the closet and this is either a mixed metaphor or word soup, but shh!)? Didn't he say something about meeting his, um, father on a blog and that being awesome? On the aw thread from the engagements comic.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 29, 2005 12:30 PM

Well, perhaps I'm being a bit hard on Eric. But then again, if anyone should be ready to take some constructive criticism, it should be someone so willing to hand it out. And yes, I mean myself just as much as Eric right here.

As for dear old Darth, Eric did say in that thread that he, um, had a father, but not the name of said father. Never mind that pretty much every single Snarkoleptic figured it out months ago. It's just a silly quirk of his that I find amusing, and it entertains me to entertain it.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 29, 2005 12:53 PM

32 -- I have no complaints. ;)

As for Darth? Dude. You do not understand the power of the dark side.

(Besides, I thought we'd more or less shifted from coy to "just not being blatant about it.)

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at September 29, 2005 2:39 PM

To me the admission on the Sniffle thread was a minor revelation. Lack of blatantness works on me, I guess. I did have to look over Morgan-Mar's "to be or not to be" joke last week for about a minute and a half.

Comment from: Nate posted at September 29, 2005 2:56 PM

As for Darth? Dude. You do not understand the power of the dark side.

(Besides, I thought we'd more or less shifted from coy to "just not being blatant about it.)

You have now given me the mental image of Darth Vader posing coyly after being presented flowers. It's a very disturbing mental image.

And I can't even draw well enough to exorcise it from my brain.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 29, 2005 4:44 PM

I'm going to have to spend some time digging through the archives, but there was an admission a good month or two, at least, before the Sniffle thread. It was in a thread where Eric talked about pushing himself way too hard in terms of his writing. Of course, going through past snarks, I'm discovering there are alot more snarks about that than I had remembered.

Also, I still think what little admission there was in the Sniffle thread still counts as coy. But like I said, it really amuses me. By no means should you interpret what I'm saying as criticism of what you're doing in that regard, Eric.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 29, 2005 4:47 PM

I hope you people are happy. I now have the phrase "Sith Cleavage" to contend with in my relationship.

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 29, 2005 5:47 PM

oh, AUGH! The mental imagery, it burns! It burns!

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 29, 2005 5:51 PM

Sith Cleavage, I mean. I mean.. uhm. What'd they be, robot boobies? Ugly, slimy, blue-tinged robot boobies? And combine THAT with the Darth voice... /shudder.

Comment from: quiller posted at September 29, 2005 7:07 PM

I think Sith Cleavage is what you get when you cut a dark lord in half with your light saber...

Comment from: vark posted at September 29, 2005 7:20 PM

Both the comic and this thread were educational.
I didn't know there was a republic of vermont, and I'm generally up on my micronation lore. I didn't know it was stark who said Live free or die. It was a guy named Wooley who in Wooley v Maynard (unless it was Maynard, gee?) won the right to cover up the live free or die on his plate, making the bigger point that the government isn't supposed to force you to say things you don't believe. I litigate, off an on with little success, about this right to be free from compelled speech, specifically the right to anonymous online political advocacy. Just got an idea for an episode of my webcomic...

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at September 29, 2005 7:25 PM

::folds arms across chest::

What now?

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at September 29, 2005 9:08 PM

No, no, no. Different Sith. No moogle riding.

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at September 29, 2005 9:26 PM

No, no, no. Different Sith. No moogle riding.

I know, I know, but I saw an opening and had to go for it. Can you blame me? ^^

(And actually, the name can be and has been intepreted as both kinds of Sith.)

Comment from: quiller posted at September 29, 2005 10:13 PM

Yep, Republic of Vermont from 1777 to 1791. Only Vermont and Texas were independent republics before joining the United States.

Early history of Vermont in a nutshell. Settlers settle into the area between the Connecticut river and Lake Champlain. The governor of New York believes that that territory is part of New York. The governor of New Hampshire believes that territory is part of New Hampshire. Both governors send tax collectors into the area. Settlers get mad. (Ok, it's more complicated than that, but it does have to do with disputed land rights and double granting of lands) Ethan Allen, his brother Ira and others get together, dress up as Indians and start beating up tax collectors and sending them home. They avoid the military in the mountains of Vermont and call themselves the Green Mountain Boys. This goes on for a while. The revolution stuff starts in Massachusetts, and the Continental Congress is formed. The Green Mountain Boys hear about this and volunteer to help out. Benedict Arnold comes up with force of what passes for regulars and impetuously Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys take Fort Ticonderoga in New York, by slipping in at night and take the fort without a shot fired. (For reference, this is May 10th, 1775, the battle of Lexington was April 19, 1775.) The cannons taken here were brought down in winter by sledge to Massachusetts on the Connecticut river and used by Washington to break the siege of Boston.

Vermont sought to become a state, but was blocked by New York who still considered Vermont to be part of their territory. So Vermont went independent for 14 years, before joining the Union. Whether they were ever serious about joining with British Canada or were simply using that for negotiating leverage with the US is debatable.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 29, 2005 10:52 PM

"I hope you people are happy. I now have the phrase "Sith Cleavage" to contend with in my relationship."

"Is it possible to learn this power?"

"Not from a Jedi."

Hey, look, Episode 3 is finally good for something!

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 30, 2005 9:11 AM

Episode 3 is great for some things... a little piece of tape over the hole can make it possible to record Lost on it. Or CSI, or ..

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 30, 2005 9:13 AM

Oh - and Return to Green Hollow? Gorgeous. Gotta love fairy tales set in Texas - I'm a sucker for that, especially since it didn't feature ten-gallon hats and cows (they have their place, but that's not all Texas is).

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