Your webcomic started off amazingly. One question though. What exactly is cynical about commentary on Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead? My advise? Go back to your middle comics. A Defense Of Teddy Bears. The happy clam. The fairy tale ending. All of my favorite comics from RPC now look out of place compared to what you're putting out now. Just my two cents.
First off, thanks for the honest feedback. My response is a little long, but I do hope it’s satisfying.
If we’re understanding the cynicism to mean the rejection of impractical social values, then there actually is something quite cynical in poking fun at the cultural artifacts fill our television screens and search histories.
Of course, since I’m a geek at heart, I’m bad out outright rejecting the things I love; my commentary ends up being more of playful satire/parody than an outright attack. More snark than bite.
But by these standards, the Fairy Tale Ending comic is actually kind of un-cynical. The cynics weren’t so interested in the culture artifacts of older generations, but of the artifacts and values of the current generation. Diogenes of Sinope didn’t exactly have internet access, but he did publicly mock Alexander the (Not-so-)Great (ha!) and criticize and embarrass Plato while crashing his lectures. He was going after his contemporaries in case people took them too seriously, which is more or less what I shoot for.
Anyway, I do totally get where you’re coming from. The early comics didn’t rely on pop culture reference for their appeal. The big reason this started changing is that when I was working on my BA and MA, I didn’t have time to keep up with news books and shows, so the content I was thinking and writing about was more classical: Shakespeare, Plato, arguments about the generalities of human nature.
When I graduated, I had time to catch up on my cultural awareness, to read the things that people read nowadays and figure out what values they thought were important. This was also about the time I started going to conventions and getting to say what comics fans connected to. The old classics like A Defense of Teddy Bears definitely caught people’s attention, but so did comics that dealt with issues and texts they were actually in the middle of reading or watching.
Comics like Edward Cullen vs. The Anglerfish may not sound like the brainiest of social commentary, but they actually do attack the gender assumptions underlying the Twilight books. That one in particular suggests that a control-obsessed predatory man taking advantage of a boring, passive shell of female character is actually very creepy, and so you can literally scrape the ocean floor for a better romantic partner.
And sure, some comics are there for a quick laugh and aren’t intended to do much more than make people take the books and shows they love a little less seriously.
I’ll definitely keep what you said in mind. There are quite a few people who prefer the older comics, although the new comics have also been great about attracting new readers too. Ultimately, I hope I can strike a bit more of a balance between the the early and recent styles.
Anyway, thanks again for your question! This is something I’ve been thinking about and wanting to explain for a while!
All Comics To Be Available as Signed, Framed Prints!
So my project to make every comic available as a print is underway! So far, comics from April 1st, 2011 until present can be ordered as signed, framed custom prints!
To get your favorite comic as a print, look below the comic on its page to see if there’s a link saying “You can support the artist by getting this comic as a signed framed print!” If the link is there, you can totally get the comic as a sweet high-resolution print!
So yesterday, Ian Leino, a talented, honest graphic artist released a t-shirt through TeeFury that featured the words, “One Shell, Two Shell, Red Shell, Blue Shell.”
Ian has been designing awesome original graphics and t-shirts for years and coincidentally came up with an idea that I’d already put out in 2009. When I brought it to his attention, he responded conscientiously, responsibly, and professionally.
I can’t state this clearly enough: he’s an awesome, creative guy whom I respect for his integrity and talent. He and I have worked out an arrangement, and he’s going to continue to sell his awesome shirt design, which I encourage you to buy with my blessing. He’s a fantatsic designer, and his Seuss-like line work on this print is particularly cool.
In fact, I believe he’s having a sale in his online store tomorrow (20% if you enter the code “Birthday” at checkout) and I encourage you to check it his other awesome tees.
My comic will still be available as a poster set through my online store, and will probably be available as a picture book before too long, but it won’t be available as a shirt except through Ian’s store.
To everyone who recognized my work and posted links to my comic on the TeeFury page, I want to say thanks for sticking by me. However, if your comments suggested anything negative about Ian’s character as an artist, I’d like to personally ask you to delete them. Ian’s a talented colleague who arrived at the idea independently, has made reparations, and whose long-standing reputation for original work I will personally defend.
A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know. Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice - actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because…