Friday, January 23, 2009

1/23: Week in Review (Is It Funny Today?)

By now you've probably seen Is It Funny Today, the reader-determined toplist of daily webcomic humor, and its subsite Is It Good Today for more story-based webcomics. IIFT users can track their favorite comics, quickly share comics via Digg or StumbleUpon or other content-sharing sites, and cast their vote on each comic in the form of a yes-or-no answer to the question "Is it funny today?" In a way, it gets to the heart of what we, as webcomic readers, are looking for--we want to read good comics.

But good comics can be hard to come by, even with the collective wisdom of the internet at your disposal, and poking through the day's Top 20 doesn't guarantee you the funny so much as give you a chance to compare your tastes with others'. If you only read a few webcomics or have only recently gotten into them, the IIFT rankings can a good way to find a new strip or two to follow, but if you're already knee-deep in webcomics like I am, you'll recognize the powerhouses of funny that already dominate the lists: Dinosaur Comics, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Cyanide and Happiness, Garfield Minus Garfield, and others. So here we are again, back where we started as readers: looking for good comics, sometimes satisfied, sometimes disappointed, but always coming back to the medium in the hopes that it will deliver what it promises.

That's the spirit in which I started this blog. I'm seeking to do qualitatively what Is It Funny Today does quantitatively: I want to share good comics with you, the internet. But I guess there's more to it than that.

There's this drive inside us to communicate. Some of us communicate with pictures, some do it with words, and some combine the two and communicate with comics. My brother and I used to talk about webcomics a lot because when they were done well, they said something to us, even if what they said was just really really funny. This blog has given me an opportunity to keep talking about webcomics, but it's never quite captured the way that my brother and I could talk about webcomics with each other. Maybe that's just the internet, you know? But I'm thinking about this blog, and I'm thinking about how to really talk about comics with you, and not just stand up in my pulpit every Friday and give you my webcomics sermon.

So, you know, I'll keep thinking about that. In the meantime, I want to know what you've enjoyed reading. What did you find to be really, really good in the world of webcomics this week? If you've got a moment, drop a comment, maybe drop a link. It'd be great to hear from you.

Here's what I liked this week.
  • Thinkin' Lincoln continues a storyline that's been going on since mid-December, in which Amelia Earhart gets lost in the Bermuda Triangle, and Darwin, Shackleton and Pythagoras set out to find her. Very amusing stuff, with some inspired sight gags. You can start reading the story arc here.

  • For those familiar with Jason and Kurt's custom of sitting at the manager's station and riffing on movie news, this installment from Multiplex is guaranteed funny. When Jason discusses movie news with Kurt's girlfriend Melissa, somehow it's just not the same for him. Great comic exaggeration in panel six there.

  • Gunnerkrigg Court's latest issue has been treating the dichotomy between science and magic with its usual wit and charm, as Kat fiddles with robots and Annie discovers more about her Blinker Stone. I went through a spell recently where I was kind of jaded with Gunnerkrigg Court, but I picked it up again a week or two ago, and it's good to be back. The GC art's generally okay, but every so often there's a moment where it really shines. For instance, last Wednesday.

  • And not to be One-Note Jones around here or anything, but Blank It, since I started reading it regularly two weeks ago, has continued to provide biweekly installments of inspired surreality. If you're looking for a reason to go check out Blank It, allow me to refer you to Monday's review.

And on that note, this is your friendly neighborhood webcomics enthusiast, Jackson Ferrell, signing off. Have a good weekend, everyone, and keep talking about good things.

8 comments:

Sara said...

Here are some of my favorites from this week (just going through what I shared on Google Reader)
Gun Show Comic (http://gunshowcomic.com/d/20090122.html) This one is so true that it is hilarious.
Pictures for Sad Children is always one of my favorite webcomics, and right now there are some guestcomics up. This one (http://www.picturesforsadchildren.com/index.php?comicID=229) is especially funny if you are familiar with the typical mood of the comic.
This week was also pretty popular with Inauguration-related webcomics. Overcompensating had a great one (http://www.overcompensating.com/posts/20090121.html) as well as chainsawsuit (http://www.chainsawsuit.com/20090122.shtml) though the chainsawsuit one is funnier if you have read the earlier ones about Two Cops.
I always like Basic Instructions, too (http://basicinstructions.net/?p=910)
i better stop before my comment is longer than your entry =p

Tom Dell'Aringa said...

You really need to check out Astray3.com by Eldon Cowgur. Really cool sci-fi/adventure story updating six days a week - yeah SIX days - color on Sunday. Art is fantastic, story is great. I've been really enjoying it.

Jackson said...

Thanks for sharing the inauguration comics, Sara. I almost did a blurb about inauguration comics in this entry, and I'm glad you were there to pick up the slack. I love the Two Cops jokes and I loved Straub's presidential take on it this week. I hadn't seen the Pictures for Sad Children guest comic you shared, or the Overcompensating, and both of those cracked me up when I checked 'em out today.

Thanks for the recommendation, Tom. The art on Astray3 looks really good, and I'll have to give it a closer look when I get a chance. :)

Brock said...

Thanks for introducing me to Is It Funny? I had no idea that existed. I can see that being a regular stop, if only to support my faves.

Jackson said...

Sure thing, Brock; glad to introduce you to Is It Funny Today. And be sure to let the IIFT people know that you've got a comic of your own!

Brock said...

Done! We'll see if they accept it...

Tony said...

I like Garfield Minus Garfield -- I do, really. It's a clever exercise, and often very funny. But it bugs me to see it classified with and compared against other webcomics that are actually written and (often) drawn by their creators. GMG is another beast, that's all.

Meanwhile, there's something about "Is It Funny?" that feels competitive to me, and I feel like comedy shouldn't be a smackdown. Still, it can refer you to some great stuff you didn't know about.

I seem to get all my best comic referrals from Ryan North's blog, underneath Dinosaur Comics. It's how I discovered MS Paint Adventures and Daisy Owl.

Jackson said...

I agree with you about Garfield Minus Garfield. Truth be told, I actually kinda feel the same way about XKCD--that it's done well in its own way, but it is another beast.