Recently in Webcomics Category

Flattr

The people who brought us Pirate Bay -- the very best in organized intellectual property theft -- have launched a new venture. And oddly enough, this one seems... legitimate, and potentially useful.

Well, that's not fair. Pirate Bay was useful. Man, was it useful. It's just, it was useful for stealing other people's shit. So, you know. Its usefulness was counterbalanced by its venality. But I digress.

Anyway, Flattr is a new and exciting way to show your appreciation to the creators and website types who you most like. Well, it will be, when it becomes available for you to try it. Or if you're on the beta list. Of course, until you're on the beta list, you can't either use Flattr to show your appreciation or set things up so Flattr users can show their appreciation to you, but again I digress. Let me start over in a new paragraph.

Flattr is a way to show your appreciation when you like something. You see, it lets you "flatter" the users. See? It's funny! But it also stands for 'Flat Rate,' which is the key to how it works. I know this because I watched a video explaining it. (If that link doesn't work for you -- Vimeo has trouble sometimes -- you can get it on Youtube as well.) This video compares it to birthday cake. So, I'm going to reiterate everything they said here, using their own metaphor, with my own bonus snark.

It's not my fault. It was a long day and I'm sober.

Each month, you "pay a small fee," which is to say you subscribe to Flattr. That gives you access to the magic, and gives you a base pool of cash -- in their metaphor, this fee makes up your birthday cake. Mmmmm... monthly subscription birthday cake.

Then, you go out into the wide world. But you don't bring your cake with you. You leave your cake back in the display case at Flattr headquarters. However, you are given a book of coupons, each representing that cake. Those coupons are infinite in number -- I told you it was magic -- so there's no reason not to hand them out to whoever you want to. You and your coupons go about your website business, going to webcomics, blogs, movie sites, porn sites -- you name it.

Now, let's say you visit a webcomic you like. We'll call it Anime Treacle. And you enjoy Anime Treacle greatly. And you notice that there's a Flattr logo sitting on their site with a number inside it. That is a magical box provided by the Flattr people to creators and website owners on the web. The box lets people slip coupons from their magical infinite coupon book into it, and it keeps track of how many it's gotten (that's the counter). If you like what you see on the website -- let's say Anime Treacle's delighted you with their happy romp through 2004 memes today -- you tear off a coupon and slip it into the box. And you skip along your merry way.

Now, at the end of each month, the Flattr Cake Van is loaded with all the birthday cakes that people bought with their subscription fees at the top of the month. And they drive out to all the creators who have one of the little boxes sitting on their website. They empty out the boxes, count up the coupons, figure out which ones go to what cakes, slice up the cakes -- dividing each cake into the same number of pieces as there are coupons given out against that cake -- and hand the resulting slices of cake to the creators in question.

Now, you have an infinite number of coupons, so you can divide your cake up just as much as you want. If you give out ten coupons -- I'm using their examples again -- then your cake is divided up into ten slices, and the ten sites you 'flattr' will each get one tenth of the cake. Not bad! If you give out just two coupons in a month, then your cake is cut in half and each of your favorites get half a freaking cake! That's awesome! And if you give out 100 coupons, your cake is divided into 100 razor thin slices of cake, each one nearly transparent, and your lucky recipients get... paper thin wafers of cake.

Remember, the cake is money. Your subscription fee, in other words, is divided up equally by the number of 'flattrs' you give out over the course of the month. If your subscription fee is a dollar (not counting whatever Flattr takes for themselves as part of the bargain, just to make things easy), and you give out one flattr in a month, that guy gets the whole dollar. Two flattrs means 50 cents each. Ten flattrs means each person gets a dime. One hundred flattrs means each person gets a penny.

The system works -- they say -- because of an old Swedish truism, which they tell us translates into "many small streams will form a large river." The tiny slivers of cake, when all mashed together into a single amalgam of cake, will add up into a decent slab of cake -- albeit one that's mushy and compressed because of all the different frostings mixing together. Really, it'll look more like candy lasagna. If someone makes something popular, there will be thousands of tiny bits of cake, and that person gets a windfall.

They're calling it "social micropayments," which has people mentioning Scott McCloud and Penny Arcade and old arguments long since passed by. I think this is unfortunate, because not only isn't this a micropayment system, it does the concept of micropayments a disservice.

You see, the core idea behind micropayments is you cut out all the middlemen. Instead of charging $3.95 for your comic book, you charge people a quarter because you don't have to pay a distributor, an editor, marketers et al. (This is an idealized example -- I know I'm oversimplifying.) People get the same content for a quarter that they once paid four bucks for, so they're getting a tremendous deal. At the same time, the creator's getting as much or more money per transaction, and because the transactions are so cheap, lots more people buy in and you get more money! Huzzah! Cake for everyone.

It was a really neat idea, and its only real failing was it didn't work. No true system emerged that would let people easily pay micropayments, and for the most part people weren't willing to pay micropayments in the first place. Even today, they enrage some people. Trust me. I play MMOs. If you have a microtransactions store that lets people, oh, unlock a Playable Klingon on the Federation Side, that infuriates some people, because they're already paying a subscription fee, damn it! If you want to charge for new things, make the game free to play! And then there are eighty forum posts arguing both sides of the issue and calling each other unoriginal names and finally someone locks the thread.

The key to the micropayment process is simple: the creator is setting a value for his content. The consumer then plunks their quarter down and gets the content. Values are clear and set.

Flattr doesn't do this. In fact, Flattr does the opposite. With Flattr, the creator has no say in what his content is worth -- and certainly can't lock it away unless someone clicks the Flattr button. An individual flattr is given when someone actively likes what they see.

This isn't a micropayment. This is busking, pure and simple. This is a street musician sitting out on a sidewalk playing his music for free, and people toss whatever change they feel like tossing into their instrument case.

But even that breaks down, because people aren't tossing in their spare change -- they're tossing in promissary notes for indeteriminate amounts. In fact, the people tossing flattrs into the instrument case don't even know how much they're giving. They have no idea how many of these they're going to give out before the month is up. They don't have to keep track. I'm sure they're not even encouraged to keep track. And whether they give 1 flattr out a month, or 100,000, the counters on the creator's website will go up the same amount.

To complicate things more, we don't know how much a subscription is right now. (The video says it will be "a small fee.") I rather suspect we will all be able to set our own rates -- we'll make as large or small a cake as we feel comfortable doing. Some people -- richer than I -- will stick a hundred bucks into Flattr each month. Others will put a buck or two in. I'm sure there will be more of the latter than the former.

So. Some people will be stingy with their flattrs, no matter how little or much they're paying in. They're going to wait for the truly exceptional things, and then give it out. That way, at the end of the month there will be more for the really good folks. Other people will give them out absolutely willy nilly. If they have a favorite webcomic, they'll give it a flattr every day without fail, even if it's kind of weak one day. It doesn't cost anything, and the ego boost of having that counter go up will be nice, right? Others will fall in-between.

And the creator will have no idea which is which. He'll know how many people in a month liked his website enough to click the button, but he won't know how much it's worth until the Cake Van drives by at the start of the next month. Will it buy them groceries? Maybe. Maybe not.

Flattr, in other words, will take the nasty business of thinking about how much you want to donate to a site you like, and just let you donate. It will give you that warm feeling of having contributed, but there won't be any accounting (even to yourself) of just what that donation is.

That's not a revolution. And it's not "micropayments done right." It's not micropayments at all. It's the equivalent of those little doodad presents you can 'buy' and 'give' on Facebook, without even the doodads. It is bulk good will.

Will I put a Flattr icon on the site? Probably. There's no good reason not to. Will that Flattr icon take in more money than Project Wonderful ads? Probably not. Will it bother me when it doesn't go up? Yes. Will it be meaningful when it does? Maybe, and maybe not.

I suspect this will be a fad for a little while, and then it will all but die out except for hardcore users. In the end, Flattry will get creators exactly nowhere.

Okay, that pun was beneath me. Look, you try ending one of these things.

Compare-20

(From Least I Could Do! Used by permission.)

We have mentioned, long ago in a distant past that perhaps you may not remember, and perhaps you do, assuming I haven't made it up myself in my delerious Monday Morning Haze, that one of the downsides of Webcomics as they're generally implemented is the inability to revise.

Wow, does that sentence look ugly. Let me try it again.

As we've said before, Webcomics -- unlike most traditional publishing -- can't easily be revised as you go along. If you're writing a story or drawing a comic book, and you get three quarters into it and realize that you really should have had one less character and done things differently and maybe made the wisecracking sidekick a girl and perhaps set your tale in Hoboken instead of Mordor, you can always go back and do just that. In webcomics, however, you're essentially posting your rough draft as you go along, and that's it. It's released. Major revisions aren't in the cards, unless you do significant surgery.

This is especially true when you have a shift in style or tone. It's one of the things that leads to the Cerebus Syndrome attempt, and it's one of the leading causes of First and Ten: you get several months (or years) into your comic and you realize this isn't what you wanted to do at all -- less light gag-a-day, more deep storylines and character development.

Or... and this is actually really common... your style may simply change over time.

We've seen this a lot. If you look at the early days of almost any long running webcomic, the early days will have a much different, often rougher style. This makes sense. If a person draws a strip day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year they eventually find better ways to do things. Their renders get tighter. Their techniques get broader. They get more stuff in their toolbox.

Or, in the case of a strip like Least I Could Do, they just hire another artist.

So, you can have someone who is proud of his webcomic throughout -- he loves it, he thinks it's wonderful, he's excited every time he posts... and then one day he looks back to the beginning of his strip and he suddenly becomes horrified at what he sees. "Oh my God," he says. "I was such crap! If only I could go back and revise all that!"

And that's problematic, because people don't like change.

It's a truth in life. People like the past to stay the past. They want the strip to match up with their half-forgotten memories. If they need to go back and look at it, and it's not the same... well, they get uncomfortable. They want to see the old strips. They liked the old strips. And why would you ever change the old strips?

Some artists go ahead and do it anyway -- I know that David Willis has revised a bunch of his old stuff to bring a consistency of style, for example. Others just sort of shrug and laugh about it. After all, it's no big deal, right?

Until it is. And that brings us back to Least I Could Do.

There have been three different artists on Least I Could Do. The strip was started by Ryan Sohmer as the writer -- of course -- and a man name of Trevor Adams. Then Trevor Adams left and Chad Wm. (For William, I assume) Porter came in. Then Porter left and Lar de Souza came in, and here we are today.

Now, Sohmer has gone on the record that he wasn't proud of the writing in those early strips -- fair enough. It's not just art style that evolves over time, after all. But what's unspoken is... well....

Look, I'm a terrible artist. I'm the worst artist in the world. I'm Antidextrous -- I can't write (or especially draw) with either hand. I have no basis to cast aspersions on another person's art. And Trevor Adams is a significantly better artist than I am.

But being significantly better than me isn't anywhere near enough to be good. And Trevor Adams just wasn't very good.

I mean, it's not horrible art by any stretch. It's kind of a fun anarchic style. And there are those who like it quite a bit -- and, like many webcartoonists, Adams improved by leaps and bounds. By the time color came into the strip, he was solid and getting moreso. But when Trevor Adams left and Chad Porter came in, the strip improved by an order of magnitude, and it all came back to art.

But, this was part of the history of the strip. This was part of the past. Events in those early strips still have impact today. And people like the past.

The problem is, Sohmer and Blind Ferret wanted to do a print collection. And regardless of one's opinions of the art as art, as graphics files they were simply unprintable. We're talking low resolution gifs in black and white here. Sohmer's print collections are top notch in quality, on good paper and with great production values. Putting a 72 d.p.i. GIF in that... would not be a kindness to the strip, the consumers, or Ryan Sohmer.

It is, in one real sense, the same issue that the owners of the original Star Trek had to deal with when Blu-Ray came out.... and the same issue that George Lucas had to confront when DVD came out before that. In both cases, Star Wars and Star Trek: The Original Series, the writing was excellent but the state of special effects had advanced so much both projects looked cheesy, dated and fake.

Lucas chose a broad revisionist course. The Special Editions, he announced, would be what he had always envisioned Star Wars to be, now that special effects had improved to the point that "his vision" could be created. The problem is, he didn't simply revise the look of things, he revised the substance. He made editorial decisions. He added whole sections. He changed sequences to match what he thought was appropriate in the 90's, even when they conflicted with what he decided in the 70's.

It was a monumental success, but it also made a lot of people angry. Han did shoot first, damn it. Just because Lucas decided that Han as a bastard who became a lovable rogue didn't match up with his current vision of Han as a lovable rogue who just became more lovable didn't take away peoples' memories, and the change meant they focused less on the movie as an improvement and more on how it "desecrated" the movie.

Never mess with a geek's childhood, man. He will cut you.

Star Trek, on the other hand, tried very hard when they did all-new special effects to seat those effects into the original story, rather than revising the original story. Sure, the grey backdrops became digital matte paintings and the Gorn blinked -- but the Gorn did the same stuff he did before and the backdrops did nothing more than add more eye candy. Kirk stayed the same. Sure, they put in new music, but the new music was based on the original compositions, so the musical cues remained the same. It was far less an attempt to update the original series of Star Trek, and more an attempt to make the original series look acceptable in Blu-Ray.

And it was the right choice to make. To be honest, if I look at the originals of Star Wars and the Special Editions of Star Wars today, they both look pretty cheesy. We've come so far since the Special Editions came out that now they look just as bad and dated as they did before, which means all that's left is comparing the two cuts of the movie -- and the 70's version of Star Wars is a better cut than the 90's version. (Return of the Jedi's 90's version is, admittedly, a better cut than the 80's version, but that may have to do with Ewoks singing). And Family Guy's shot-by-shot parodies are fantastic, but I digress.

So, enter Lar de Souza, and LICD: Black and White. This is a new print collection of strips, all of which are being redrawn by current artist de Souza, in the current style of the strip, but working hard to reflect the characters as they were then. And the question is, did they go with Star Wars and George Lucas, or did they go with Star Trek and the remasters.

Sort of neither, sort of both.

The strips -- as you can see by the comparison above (you can't click to a larger version because that's the size of the original -- M. Sohmer was kind enough to let me reproduce it full size for these purposes) -- are radically different. They are not higher resolution retraces of Adams's version of the characters. They are not the old strips with increased details. They are Lar de Souza drawing these strips, using his interpretation of the characters, albeit with echoes of the original hairstyles and other things.

At the same time, the writing is (apparently) not changing. The same things are happening. The same choices are being made. Even where the characters don't ring necessarily true to who they become (Rayne, for example, failed sometimes. And didn't know everything. Or is that catty of me?) they're not changing them.

And, more to the point, the original Trevor Adams versions are staying up on the web. Right now, they haven't decided whether or not to put de Souza's art up alongside it, but I suspect this will be a print-only thing for at least a good long while. Which makes good economic sense... and even better sense in terms of keeping people happy by not radically changing the past.

It's an exciting way to do things, and I hope it is successful for them. I'm curious enough that I plan to buy a copy, and I suspect I'm not the only one.

Now, if I could just talk Wednesday into redrawing Unfettered By Talent for me...

Admin Mourning

(From xkcd. Click on the thumbnail for full sized digital footprints in the sand.)

Every so often -- every so often -- a pun doesn't make me groan. Every so often, a pun is an accent to a mood. A clever note on a feeling. And every so often, xkcd manages to touch on a universal behavior through an incredibly idiosyncratic method.

Comparatively speaking, very few people run servers -- and even fewer run servers with other users on them. The behavior that Munroe is describing is unique to a specific profession and a specific type of user. I occasionally administer boxes where I have folks running screen sessions, because that's part of what I do for a living. Most people -- even most readers of xkcd -- don't.

And yet, in one sense we've all been there. Or at least we all can see where this is coming from. If nothing else, keeping the last voicemail you received from someone who died, because you can't bear to erase it, even if you also can't bear to listen to it... that's something that's very human, very part of the grieving process. So long as you have that 1 next to the total messages, then you still have an active connection to someone the rest of the world can only remember.

Or take the last post someone makes to Livejournal or the like. That post, no matter what it's about, becomes a de facto memorial post -- comments fill up as people express condolences to the family... but just as often they send last message they ever can to the person who's died. This is their post, so when you send a comment you're sending it to that person, right? Right? That's how Livejournal works. So if this is your last chance to say how special they were, how much a part of your life they were... then thank God you have it. So you have someone who posts something... well, utterly banal like "Well, time to go grab lunch. I hope the tuna doesn't smell like ass today," and underneath it you have 600 comments from people saying how much they loved the poster, and how they miss them, and how they think of them every day... there's a disconnect there. The mundane touches the spiritual. The everyday touches the eternal. And it feels active. It feels real.

On the other hand, I have to wonder how much more a user's eternal screen session evokes this feeling -- because this was more than a message left or a post made. This was something ongoing. You see, screen sessions allow you to disconnect from a server while leaving a... well, ghost of that connection active, so that when you reconnect the screen looks exactly like it did when you left, and any projects you were doing are sitting right there, waiting for you to pick them up. This is the digital equivalent of a half-written poem, the paper still sitting on the desk, the pen still uncapped on top of it.

And then there's the alt-text, and that's universal too. In a sense, it's even a part of that same grieving process -- because hey, they'd love the joke, right?

Some folks will be upset that this one isn't funny -- or think that the pun at the end means it's trying to be funny -- but really, this strip's a lot closer to the angular momentum strip -- one of those brief moments that are a touch sappy and a touch wistful and still a touch geeky. Less about the funny, more about life, as seen through the eyes of a math, physics or computer geek. It's been part of xkcd from the beginning, and it's often done ham-handedly, but when it's done well it has tremendous effect, and today's was done well.

This one just nailed me. I'm not sure anyone would still care, but Randall Munroe gets himself a biscuit for this one.

A tasty, tasty biscuit.

Real Life Comics!
(From Real Life Comics! Click on the thumbnail for full sized block-shattering fun!)

I realize I'm very new to being back at this -- way too new to be touching on a strip two days in a row. And yet, I think I can get away with it for two reasons:

1. Yesterday's 'critiques' weren't exactly... critiques (hey, I thought they were funny. That counts for something. Right? Right?).
2. I wanted to do it.

Anyway, there were two things I wanted to touch on here. The first is Liz herself.

No, I am not implying I am touching Liz. Yeesh, people. Clean that cesspit you call a mind up. I mean I'm touching on her characterization. I've really enjoyed the last few days of Real Life Comics, because it's allowed for Liz -- often the Mary Richards of RLC -- to be the one who's gone nuts, while Greg has been the voice of... I'm gonna go with reason. I know it's an odd thing to type, but let's call it like we see it, okay?

Excuse me? Oh, you're not sure what I mean by the 'Mary Richards?' I guess it's been a while since we've touched on the Websnark Lexicon, hasn't it? Right -- let me recoin the phrase for you.

One of the most groundbreaking television shows of the 70's -- and indeed, one of the most important television shows in the history of the medium -- was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary Tyler Moore had spent the 60's as a traditional Sitcommish wife in The Dick Van Dyke show, but in the 70's she went 'on her own' as a single woman making her way in a city without the comforts of traditional sitcom marriage. She had a career (as a television producer, no less), friends and travails. And the writing was among the best television has ever had.

What was interesting, however, was the role the character "Mary Richards" played on the show. In effect, Mary Richards was the sane character. The only sane character, surrounded by nutjobs ranging from her boss Lou Grant straight past cheerfully evil Sue Ann Nivens straight through to egotistical moron Anchorman Ted Baxter. Where in earlier sitcoms she might have been the straight man, feeding setups while the comedians went nuts, on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Mary Richards wasn't a straight man -- she was sane, reacting to the insanity around her with her own comedic timing. As a result, she became the anchor the show revolved around -- the character that viewers identified with and empathized with. She made everything around her not only work but feel realistic.

Liz normally has that role in Real Life Comics, so every so often having her switch off with Greg is a fun thing. Dean did a good job in these strips by fully switching the roles off. Greg is actually sane during Liz's descent into video game mania, and it works across the board.

The second thing I wanted to touch on -- and honestly the real reason I'm writing this -- is right in the first panel. Liz doesn't say the lack of Rock Band 2 is bad or even uncool. She says it is undude.

Undude. "This is very undude."

Wow do I like that. I know I abuse the word 'dude' both in my writing and in everyday speech as it is, but I had never considered what might something undude before. It's like a whole new world is opening up -- a whole new perspective is dawning. Perspective is no longer limited to "dude" or even "duuuuuuude." Now things can be undude.

And that, my friends, is worthy of mentioning Real Life Comics two days in a row.

The Action Reggie Mantle Blues

| 8 Comments

Fans

(From Fans! Click on the thumbnail for full sized Action Hero Move!)

When T "T" Campbell and Jason Waltrip returned to the world of Fans after several years away, I was excited but -- I'll admit -- cautious. The end of the original run of Fans was such a complete... well, ending that it seemed perhaps ill-advised to try and recapture the magic. As much as I loved the original run, I had to wonder three things:

  1. Where could a story like this go?
  2. Could the Fans-based magic of flaws and consequences making our heroes endure Hell they couldn't entirely blame on outside forces persist?
  3. Did Campbell and Waltrip continue to understand not just how science fiction and fantasy have changed but how fandom has changed, and push their comic into a similar evolution as a result?

I think it's safe to say I'm not wondering any more.

The first two questions are somewhat nebulous to answer, and they're really not the point of the essay you're reading right now. Suffice it to say, they hit upon the magic formula: having had the Science Fiction Club break up and key components join the government instead of fighting it, the conditions of the new series are different enough to allow for something new instead of just rehashes of the old -- and both the old and new heroes of our story continue to have flaws and issues that lead to mistakes and consequences, both from the old days and wholly new ones. And that is awesome.

But it's the third point I want to discuss in depth, especially since the current installment (as of this writing) touches on it conveniently.

In our world -- the mundane world outside our window -- the popular view of geeks, nerds, fans and fandom have changed. Geekdom has gone mainstream in a big way -- to the point where a television show like Chuck lets the main character have geek qualities, Star Trek, Iron Man and Transformers make unimaginable amounts of money at the box office, the biggest movie not only of the year but the third biggest grossing movie of all time is a 3-d computer animated film featuring hot blue alien chicks and allegory (seriously -- Avatar has grossed over a billion dollars worldwide in under three weeks), and lead characters can reasonably be expected to talk up comic book minutia and still come across as 'everyman' figures. Thanks to the iPhone and Android, our cell phones have pushed beyond flip-open Star Trek communicators headlong into Star Trek tricorders. We live in the world of Mythbusters as cultural figures and Olivia Munn as Playboy Cover Model, and when a big SF, comic book or fantasy adaptation hits the big screen, the Hollywood A-Listers behind it automatically say "hey, I've been a huge fan of [Geek Cultural Touchstone] my whole life. When this opportunity came along, I grabbed it."

How much more would all this be true in a world where magic and aliens weren't only real but were widely and publicly known? Where the Fans-verse version of the High-School-Popularity dramady Peggy and Aggie involves a hot chick concealing herself in zero prescription glasses and a fake Librarian look to be cool?

(Yeah, let's reduce an alternate Penny Levac to 'hot chick.' This is a good plan.)

Fans has nailed this new zeitgeist, while still reflecting our own world's evolution, with the 'new breed' of Fan they've introduced, and Action Reggie Mantle from today's strip (okay, his name is Marc, but still. He's totally Action Reggie Mantle) is the best of breed.

Action Reggie Mantle is a gamer. In fact, he's one of the top gamers on the pro circuit -- a G4ish breed of attitude and skill, camera friendly and yet the kind of guy you want to wipe the smug expression off of. Which makes his inevitable victory all the sweeter for him -- he knows you want to take him down. You just can't.

And now here he is, trying to be a hero outside of virtuality and XBox Live. Yearning for that sense of accomplishment. Yearning to prove to all the people who dismiss him as an overgrown kid playing games that he's real. He's for real. And along the way he wants to indulge himself. Indulge himself with hero worship, with women, with whatever he wants.

Action Reggie Mantle isn't a classic geek -- he's too close to the kind of hero geeks traditionally fantasized about being. He's Chris Hardwick with a blaster and skills, funny and quick and sarcastic but always a crowd pleaser. He has every reason in the world for his brash overconfidence, because he really is that good. And if that overconfidence was born of self esteem issues or a yearning for legitimacy... well, that fits geekiness as well.

It's nice that several of the other Fans -- including team leader (and old school leader) Rikk -- are cowed by this new breed of Fan. Sure, Rikk may have saved the world a bunch of times and may be the charismatic and inspirational leader the others all follow, but this new guy sure is confident, and did you see what he did to that statue? Man... I wish I could do that....

There will be consequences. There are always consequences in Fans, but I am comfortable that Campbell and Waltrip understand how to present a Fans for this new decade.

As a side note, I have to wonder if one of the threats Team Alpha's forced to confront will be old guard Fandom -- that breed of fan who loses interest in fantasy or science fiction but loves the Fandom Subculture, conventions and the like. Between those guys and the sort of geek who resents when something they love is embraced by the mainstream, it seems to me there would be a solid Team Omega out there, just ready to inform the world that these stuff isn't for them....

But, as always, I digress.

Logo: Sleeping Snarky

Some Recent Entries

Eric Quickly Interprets Webcomics: 1st Week of the Year Edition
Have you found yourself incapable of understanding the delicate subtext that transforms a sequence of illustrations into a comic…
The Curse of Webcomics.com
You would think the name alone would have made it a slam dunk. Seriously. "Webcomics.com." If there is such…
The Fall of the House of Keen
If someone had walked up to me on January 1, 2005 and said "hey, in five years Keenspot's going…
Things Change, after all.
(From Scary Go Round.) Oddly, given that it is the harvest time, September has become a time for beginnings…
No, I don't have "Star Trek: Online" on my brain to the point of obsession -- why do you ask?
(From Starslip! Click on the thumbnail for full sized OH JUST KISS ALREADY!) I like endings and beginnings. When…