The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Word About Webcomics

I figured I needed to make this a completely separate post to do it justice.

You all may have noticed, if you peek around my website a bit (both at my two Go Daddy sites at and, and my main page at Roadrunner), that I have links to some really great comics on the web.

Several years ago, I started keeping up with some strips via Yahoo's MyComics options so I could read some strips that were no longer being offered in the daily rag here in Milwaukee. This led me to my subscription to, which is the home of United Feature Syndicate on the web. If the name sounds familiar, it should be: it's the long-time home for Charles Schultz's Peanuts, which (if you know anything about me) is my favorite comic strip of all time.

In my perusing of their various comics, I came upon two separate strips - Brooke McEldowney's Pibgorn (which I've dissected here before) and Sheldon by Dave Kellett. Dave's strip actually led me to two others - Wapsi Square by Paul Taylor and Starslip Crisis by Kris Straub. Straub's collaboration with Scott Kurtz at Halfpixel led me to reading PvP (and realizing that I was very familiar with Kurtz's work from Dungeon magazine - hey, the comics were half the reason I bought the magazines in the first place) - and, pretty soon, I had a whole ream of webcomics that I was reading on a daily basis.

I also frequented the forums over at Blank Label Comics - which was the home for Kellett and Straub until they joined forces with Kurtz - and got into the swing of commenting on the strips and admiration of what these guys do for a living.

I was a bit surprised over the last few weeks or so that changes to Straub's website had been slow in coming, but was even more surprised at the reason - something I had completely overlooked when he switched to the new website domain.

I guess, in looking back, I never really appreciated what these guys do for a living. Yeah, it's not rocket science, and I'd bet that none of these guys would want to exchange jobs with me. (I'd give an example of why, but I'd have to go into more detail about things.) These guys work hard, give me a good laugh in the morning when I'm usually in need of one, and make me care about characters they've put their hearts and souls into making. Kurtz talked about this with his characters a few months back when he was having server issues.

I've done my share of supporting these guys - I've bought all of Kellett's books (except 52% More Awesome - sorry, Dave, didn't have cash at the time), and all of Paul's books, too. Straub and Kurtz, though, I haven't shown as much financial support. I have pre-ordered one of those lovely Jinxlets from SsC, but I haven't been much help for Kurtz's endeavors. I think with PvP it's the sheer size of his body of work (I know, Scott, you thought I was going to stop at "body", didn't you? [laugh]) that has intimidated me from picking up PvP books.

The point I'm trying to make here is this: these guys are trying to make a living at making people laugh and enjoy themselves. And I'd say they're doing a pretty damn good job, if I'm any indication of it. I'd encourage anyone out there to at least check out their sites and their comics. Who knows, it might lead you to looking at some other comic, which would lead you to another, which would lead you to one you couldn't imagine possibly not reading.

And Kris: all isn't lost just because you had to go back to work for "The Man". You've got talent and a great head on your shoulders - and with Erica by your side, you've got another great mind helping you on your journey. Keep it up and stay away from the ledges - because that's where all the bird poop is.