Webcomics and the art of avoiding work
Posted by: Ian Chipman
So I was perusing the list of the 2009 Eisner Awards nominations this morning (I’m most invested in seeing the results for this category:
Best Publication for Teens/Tweens
- Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
- Crogan’s Vengeance, by Chris Schweizer (Oni)
- The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Scholastic Graphix)
- Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale and Nathan Hale (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
- Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)
All five really are outstanding choices, but I’m rooting for Crogan myself because, well, pirates. Am I still inside that parenthesis from up there? Yup.) and was lamenting the fact that I hadn’t read nearly enough of the nominees. I felt a little better knowing that there are no less than 26 categories (down from last year’s 29), each sporting five contendors. But that was rather passive better-feeling, and I wanted the active better-feeling of actually becoming familiar with some content. Happily, the Best Digital Comic squad was there to provide some morning reading right here on my starebox:
Best Digital Comic
I thought they were all pretty great, but was especially taken by Eliza Frye’s The Lady’s Murder. It’s a near-perfect example of minimalism and negative space combining to stunning results. It’s short, so you can read it over lunch or while dodging whatever it is that you’re really supposed to be doing right now. Frye’s got another story going as well, Savannah & Georgia, which features one of the slyest bits of naughtiness I’ve ever seen in comics. It’s SFW as long as W isn’t looking too closely.
In any case, the point is that besides being at the vanguard of pretty much everything else, comics are unsurprisingly right at the forefront of digitalia becoming king of the hill. But I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to see all of these on paper. One of my favorite webcomics, Gunnerkrigg Court, transitioned so smoothly to print that Archaia Studios’ collection of the first 14 chapters netted a starred review. As a pure object, it’s lovingly crafted and gorgeous to behold, readily apparent before you even crack it open. Of course, there’s no telling how it will sell, especially with the content already freely available online, but I think publishers ought to be taking heed in any case. Just so long as they don’t start robbing their customers (I’m looking at you, record labels) (okIstoppedlookingyourwaypleaseholsteryourlawyersthanks).
Also, since Booklist doesn’t really have the means to review webcomics at present, I think I’ll use this space to run reviews of some that catch my eye, so stay tuned. And if you’re needing a way to read comics that looks like work (if your work doesn’t = reading, of course*), try Comical.
*Here at Booklist we hurriedly minimize Excel and snatch up a book when the boss rolls by.