Thursday, November 26, 2009


Hi, everyone. I just wanted to take a moment to wish you a happy Thanksgiving and to do a Thanksgiving blog post.

First, I am thankful for Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for the forgiveness and grace that God has shown me.

I'm thankful also for my family. I'm thankful that my parents were able to come visit me and my brother for Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful for my brother. I'm thankful that we all have time off to celebrate the holiday and spend it with each other.

I'm thankful for my friends. I'm thankful for the friends I've made online and offline. I'm thankful for people who care about me that I can count on, and I'm thankful that I have people to care for too.

And I'm thankful for Blank It.

Have a good Thanksgiving, everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Press Release: Haunted Goes to Print

As I take my hiatus for the holiday season, looking over the webcomics-related emails in my inbox, I begin to realize: receiving a press release is like receiving a blogpost already halfway written for you.

Here is a press release concerning Joshua Smeaton's comic Haunted.

Haunted, the Xeric-winning web comic by Joshua Smeaton, makes its graphic novel debut. It is currently available for preorder from Orion Books.

What did you do for Halloween when you were 12? Trick-or-treat, bob for apples or run from a psychotic ghost bent on ripping out your soul?

It was supposed to be a night of carefree fun for a group of junior-high friends. All they had wanted was to sneak into the high school Halloween party thrown at an abandoned mansion. Unfortunately they aren’t the only uninvited guests.

Haunted is an adventure story about a group of kids that get trapped in a mansion with a murderous ghost. The story is a fantastical thrill ride with moments of calm made all the more enjoyable with its colorful vibrant art.

Haunted is a 104-page full color graphic novel priced at 12.95, ISBN 978-0-615-31563-8. Scheduled to be released January 2010. It is available in the November Previews catalog. Order Code: NOV090896.

I took a look at Haunted for myself, and if it sounds like something you've seen before, that's because it is. The familiar teens-in-a-haunted-house trope is played entirely straight, with no major twists or turns on the basic concept. That said, it takes a done-to-death idea and does it reasonably well: the art is good, the dialogue is authentic, and the characters are an interesting, individuated bunch of quasi-delinquent teens. For all the familiarity of its premise, it doesn't really do anything wrong.

Might not be worth a buy for you, but it might well be worth a look. Ladies and gents, judge for yourselves.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We Interrupt Your Regularly-Scheduled Hiatus to Bring You a Publishing Studio

So, the blog may be on hiatus. But the other day I got an email with some webcomic news worth mentioning, so I figured it was worth taking fifteen minutes and compromising my principles to bring you this newspost.

Tom Dell’Aringa (Marooned) and Steve Ogden (Moon Town) have launched their own indie comic publishing group: Wishtales Publishing Studio.

Tom's the one who emailed me. I took a look at the new project, and from the site and the info in Tom's email, I gotta say I like the ethos of this thing. The About page gives an explanation: these guys are willing to take some chances on unusual projects in an industry driven by doing more and more and more of the same. Their first book will be Marooned - Out of Orbit, which begins preorder next week. A book for Moon Town is also on their agenda, at some point in the future.

In short, Wishtales looks like it's worth your attention. I know Steve Ogden produces some jaw-droppingly good art (just check out the sample above), and Tom Dell’Aringa is a good cartoonist in his own right. They both produce some really creative work that isn't afraid to take chances, and I expect that even more awesomeness will result from their joint venture into publishing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life, the Universe, and Webcomics

Hi, everyone. Today I've got a couple of reflections on comics to share, and an announcement to make. I was reading through Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics the other day, the section where he talks about the universal relatability of a simplified human face rather than a detailed one. And I've been thinking a bit about relatability in comics in general.

Why do we like comics in the first place? I think it's because on some level, they reflect the realities of our own lives. Yes, they often contain robots and wizards and other unreal things too, but I don't think any of us would read about the adventures of Spider-Man or Dr. McNinja if we couldn't relate to how they deal with highly stressful situations through wit and humor. Nevermind that their stressful situations involve bizarre mutated supervillains and conflicts resulting in massive property damage! The humor-as-a-coping-mechanism schtick is something we can grab onto, and we do: because on some level, that's us.

Comics are about life. In comics, no matter the medium, you will find people working hard to make ends meet, people who hate their jobs, people who love their jobs, people messing up their interpersonal relationships, good friends, loves lost and won, conflict, challenges, and hope for the future. In comics, there are characters doing the exact same things you are doing--just doing them in space, or in a sparsely-populated void of absurdity, or with the disembodied heads of historical figures, or maybe just failing at doing them with hilarious results. Comics take real life and look at it through a funhouse mirror--but in doing so, they affirm the value of real life.

Comics have to be about something, you know? Something besides just comics. And on some level, comics are about you and me.

And recently, I've been reminded--in some ways through comics!--that I need to pay less attention to comics, and pay more attention to just living my life.

The holiday season is coming up. I'm gonna be visiting relatives, doing Christmas shopping, and getting a lot of things together. Also, I'll be pretty busy at my job--the business of liftgate and snowplow parts is highly seasonal, and things pick up this time of year. And then there's the webcomics stuff I'm already doing: I've been chosen as a judge for The Webcomic List's TWCL Awards 2009, and there's the work I do at the Multiplex Store. Couple that with the racquetball, running, and role-playing stuff that constitutes me having a life, and yeah, there's a lot going on.

So, TWIW is going on holiday hiatus until the new year. Of course, I'll still be reading comics and talking about comics, and I may even drop a post or two here--because, as you all know, I can't shut up about comics. But this holiday season, I want to pay attention to my whole life, not just the "comics" part.

I'll get back to posting regularly in this blog after New Years--sometime between the 1st of January and the 8th. As I said before, I may even drop a couple of posts between now and then too. If you want to stay up to speed on TWIW, there are a number of ways to keep yourself informed: via Twitter or TWIW's RSS feed. If you want, you can even shoot an email to DeathbyChiasmus -at- gmail -dot- com requesting a notification, and when I make the first post of the new year, I'll email you right back.

Today is my brother's birthday. Today he turns 25. I'm not sure what we're doing to celebrate, but I know it'll be fun.

I'll see you back here in 2010. Keep on reading good comics, and don't forget to live your life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

11/2: Week in Review

Welcome back, everyone. I hope you had a good weekend, and now it's time to start your week with webcomics. In the tradition of This Week in Webcomics tradition, let's look over the past week and see what's been good.

In Monday's Real Life strip, what starts as an exchange between nerd couple Greg and Liz turns into an exploration of the different forms of geekery. It goes on to expose the face of a prejudice deeper than racial and economic biases: that of nerdism.

Nobody Scores dished out several quality comics this past week, but this update casts Jane Doe's life as a movie, and her circle of friends and acquaintances as the supporting cast. The image of Sara frowning in the playplace ball pen is fantastic, and the riffing on movie trailers is pretty humorous overall. It takes an abrupt and hilarious twist for the postscript, so check it out.

Also, this week I found out via press release that the webcomic SMASH has finished its 12th episode, with almost 140 pages of comic content under its belt. In the Episode 12 finale, ten-year-old superhero Smash faces off against his arch-enemy, an insane mastermind known as the Magus. I haven't had time to check it out fully, but I can tell from a brief read that the creative team of Chris and Kyle Bolton are putting out a quality comic here. The art looks like one part Calvin and Hobbes to one part Marvel Comics, and it's dynamic and well-detailed. You can read the season finale, or start reading from the very beginning of season one. If you like reading offline, you can even download season one in a PDF.

It's been a busy weekend, but when I have the time, I'm definitely going to have to come back to this comic.

A few other comics from this week that I thought were good:

I was going to do a whole rundown of Halloween comics, but instead, let's get a little reader interaction going on. Did you come across a memorable Halloween-themed strip this past week? Drop a link in the comments and share some Halloween webcomic funtimes with us all.