From the same mind that conceived Bobbins comes its somewhat-sequel Scary-go-round, starring bit players (and occasionally major characters) drawn differently enough to be able to be considered “New and Improved” but without needing to. Tessa and Rachel work for the (newly resurrected) school newspaper, chasing down leads and otherworldly happenings, with just the right mixture of sass, luck and good looks to pull it off. Friends of theirs get dragged into the proceedings as often as the proceedings are drawn by the friends, as in one storyline featuring Tim the spectacularly failing inventor. And so on. So far it’s been pretty strong (full archives of course are provided) and yet it can only get better. Or stranger, either of which is just spiffy!
This was supposed to be an ongoing blog of interesting (if not worthwhile) links and my commentary about them. I'd planned to update it daily, then weekly, and then I gave up before even reaching ninety posts. I make no guarantee these links work anymore, or if they do, that they're worth visiting.
Four four titillating years John Allison regaled readers with tales of the silly, mundane, melodramatic and weird, tying them all together with an overall sense of whimsy, engaging characters, and good illustrations. His stories of a ragtag bunch of twentysomethings working for a magazine in the small British hamlet of Tackleford and thereabouts were filled with secret agents (well, one), exciting journalism and an eggnog shoppe, and never failed to bring a grin.
And then, midway through 2002, John pulled the plug. Knowing how to quit at the top of his game, he did just that, leaving the entirety of Bobbins archived on the site. He then moved onto other artsy pursuits, which may have had a little to do with plot twists and new characters introduced into Bobbins before its finale…
For over 15 years Mark Parisi has been toiling over his one-panel strip “Off the Mark”. He lays claim to over 1000 strips, and thusly has tapped into hundreds of sources and inspirations. One strip may make fun of Volkswagens, comic book characters and Dr. Suess while another takes a dig at Yoko Ono. His influences are easily discovered, as he publishes, for free, every one of his comics on his web site. Even more considerately Parisi has categorized a good number of the panels, allowing visitors to see all of his jabs at Pokemon and health care.
In addition to all the comics, Parisi’s site also links to an online store selling various merchandise and books. For a dead-tree cartoonist, Mark Parisi seems pretty clued-in to the internet and that’s pretty cool.
Often the best comic strip is the one that takes reality, tweaks it just slightly, and runs with the premise (and scissors, too, probably). Diesel Sweeties is such a comic, and its subtle twist on the norm is that intelligent, sensitive robots exist and want to be loved. The site’s namesake, Clango, is a hunka-hunka-hunka metal with a porn star girlfriend, Maura. The rest of the strip’s characters include Indie Rock Pete, Maura’s vapid sister, the toaster, and Red Robot #C-63, who wants to kill all hu-mans! Scathing in its commentary, simple in its design but nuanced in its details, Diesel Sweeties is just plain cool.
A full archive can be found on the site, with around 700 different strips to input and enjoy. Creator Rich Stevens also sells the shirts, stickers and a whole raft of merchandise from the strip, so readers can share a wardrobe with their favorite characters. Truly hardcore fans can download desktop icons to compute with their pals. How about that.
Please allow me to introduce… the best damned online comic.
With a regular cast including Slick the teenage pimp, smokin’ hot Monique, God, the Devil and a pair of housepets, Sinfest by Tatsuya Ishida is one hell of a comic strip. Like none other, it regularly combines beat poetry, kung-fu parodies, hiragana calligraphy lessons, sexy banter, moral debates and the tribulations of a teenage pig so seamlessly to such a hilarious degree.
Especially since the majority of those moral debates happen with the Devil, snazzily dressed and on the ground, versus God’s hand puppets in the sky.
It’s brilliant to say the least, and staggering to discover that more than ten syndicates have turned Ishida down. All the better, though, that they did, as he’s free to put the entire archives (going back to January of 2000) online for easy perusal and enjoyment. It’s a cool site for a cool guy with a cool strip (which has been collected into a cool book).
Long appearing every Tuesday at Salon.com, Carol Lay’s Story Minute is a fantastic comic strip, every one encapsulating a funny, snarky, ironic or merely touching story in a comic taking, oh, about a minute to read. Before the dot.com economy ‘correction’ readers were able to read complete archives of the Minutes at Salon, but alas, now they too fall under the subscription-only section of that site. A fair number of the strips have been collected offline in the book Strip Joint. She’s produced a number of other books as well.
As far as comic strippers’ sites go Carol’s is top notch. Story Minute archives, current strips, other Lay art, and even originals for sale can be found there. It’s a veritable treasure trove of whimsy and satire.