Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Discoveries from the Internet: Sheldon Audio Tour, and More Dresden Codak

Did you know that Sheldon has an audio tour? You may already know--I discovered it just yesterday while browsing the net. If you click the above link (also accessible from Sheldon's "NEW HERE?" page), it will give you a guided audio tour of the Sheldon site. It makes a great introduction if you've never read Sheldon before, and even if you're already familiar with the comic, Dave Kellett gives a really funny audio tour. If you've got ten minutes to spare, I recommend it.

Does anyone else know of a webcomic with an audio tour? This thing is the first of its kind I've seen.

Anyway, another quick item of news is that Dresden Codak has finished the second half of the Advanced Dungeons and Discourse comic. The art continues to be spectacular (no surprise there), and one thing I particularly liked about the second half is that Kimiko doesn't take center stage. In the first D&Dis, she severely upstaged her companions, the beginning of a Mary-Sue complex that lasted largely throughout the Hob storyline. In the newest comic, however, everyone gets a chance to shine, and I think it works really well.

Bengo, over at The Floating Lightbulb, is particularly critical of webcomics that substitute pop culture references for genuine humor, and I've wondered more than once whether Dresden Codak's "Dungeons and Discourse" comics don't fall victim to this tendency, merely substituting esoteric philosophical references for pop culture. Sure, it's amusing the first time to see philosophies recontextualized as a tabletop RPG, but there's only so much riffing you can do on that theme before it ceases to be creative. However, I do think the latest D&Dis comic succeeds as a comic. All the references serve as an extended build-up for the final joke, which enhances its humor, and the joke is character-based. It's genuinely funny, and it's good art.

What's next for Dresden Codak? Only time will tell. I've got my fingers crossed for innovation.


webcomicoverlook said...

I don't think there's any problem with inserting pop culture in your comics. One day, what's popular culture eventually becomes culture. And even if it doesn't stand the test of time, it's mostly harmless. Like those old Looney Tunes, generally regarded as classics, that refer to celebrities of the day... or even that Peanuts strip of Charlie Brown complaining about the World Series, regarded by many as one of Charles Shultz's best works.

(Incidentally, Bengo, if you're reading this ... I think I tried to make a similar comment on The Floating Lightbulb, but my browser, for some reason, won't let me post comments on your blog anymore.)

Jackson said...

I kind of agree with you. I've given the pop-culture reference issue a lot of thought, and my conclusion is that on a certain level it's unavoidable. We live in this culture. The stories we connect with, the stories cartoonists create, are going to reflect that culture. Realistic characters are gonna talk about Lost and the latest superhero movie and stuff. But the trick is to do that intelligently and not let the pop culture reference be the joke, and all too often I see a comic where they just leave it at the reference.