Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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53 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    XKCD is by now the king, but a discussion of comics on the web without mentioning http://www.qwantz.com, Dinosaur Comics, is incomplete. Consistently the funniest Webcomix out there. My Webcomix reading list also includes Jesus & Mo, Questionable Content, and Wondermark. Of these, only QC requires a more than cursory accumulation of background mythology. It’s always going to be hit or miss, but these five offer many more hits than misses, IMO.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    I am a gamer so I still enjoy Penny-arcade. For more esoteric writing and amazing but slow posting speeds I am engrossed in Killsixbilliondemons. For absolutely stunning are and equally stunningly slow posting rates there’s the cat themed prohibition era comic Lackadaisycats.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Girl Genius, if for no other reason than how impossible it seems that people have turned out something that lavish three days each week, for more than 14 years now.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      One of my favorites, although I haven’t looked at in almost a year.

      Also worth talking about Schlock Mercenary.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        Schlock Mercenary was among the first webcomics I read, and I still read it for nostalgia’s sake, but I don’t really recommend it to others anymore. It’s notable for being a 7-day-a-week comic that’s been running since 2000, but the story has basically stopped moving forward.Report

  4. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    I used to read Something Positive (among others), but I’m generally horrible at remembering to keep up with webcomics, so it fell by the wayside. About the only thing I read on a somewhat regular basis is SMBC, and that’s because I see the author on social media.

    Based on this post, I’ve been inspired to give Comic Rocket a shot, to try and keep up tabs on various comics.Report

  5. Avatar morat20 says:

    Order of the Stick is the only one I’ve really followed, although I’m currently somewhat behind. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Dammit, morat, I had things I was supposed to do today… besides reading 400+ pages of OotS.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Not my fault. 🙂 Pretty fun, although I liked it even better once it veered out of straight D&D jokes.

        Although “I prepared explosive runes this morning” never gets old.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        …I liked it even better once it veered out of straight D&D jokes.

        Since I’m in the process of rewriting a draft of a “small fantasy” novel, and trying to plot out a not-too-distant-future political thriller, I particularly enjoyed the implicit “breaking the fourth wall” arguments about whether certain sub-plots should be allowed, or admiring dialog that wrapped up loose ends. Perhaps the best of the lot was Haley moving the plot along by announcing — and you could just hear the tone of voice — “Ahem. ‘Later that evening…'”Report

  6. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    I’ve been reading Shlock Mercenary for a long time now, and I also got into Freefall recently. I’ve been following Romantically Apocalyptic on occasion. I read through all of Achewood a while back; it seems to have stopped updating, though. And I got into Three Panel Soul when someone linked to the comic where the guy gets fired for talking about guns at work.

    One of the things I’ve found is that “storyline” webcomics seem to work better for me when I can just sit down and read a whole bunch of them at once, which is what I think Will is asking for when he says that he wants his comics as e-books.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Romantically Apocalyptic is so… so… itself.
      The art is eyeball melting, the story can be amazing but it’s very… very… odd. Now perhaps it’s genius, portraying an interesting post apocalyptic situation through the view and skewed minds of the protagonists thus producing nonsensical, sometimes funny sometimes macabre sometimes merely bizarre twists.
      Their biggest problem is they post irregularily and the text portion of their posts comes much later than the comic. It throws one off their stride.Report

    • Avatar dhex says:

      achewood was truly great. i have some small hopes for a cartoon one day.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Freefall is usually good, and often just belly-achingly funny, if you like your humor dry.Report

  7. Avatar Glyph says:

    I’d spend a couple extra dollars on MP3s just to save myself the trouble of ripping the CDs.

    This makes absolutely no sense to me. I’m not so snobby that I don’t ever download MP3s, but I only do so if they are substantially cheaper (at least a couple dollars) than a physical copy would be. If I get a physical copy, I can make a lossless copy for home listening, a lossy copy for portable listening, and then either shelve/throw in the car/sell/gift the physical copy.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      My hearing isn’t great. When I rip, I rip to 128 or at most 196. Beyond that, the auditory nuance is lost on me.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        No, I get that, I’m not all THAT picky myself, believe it or not (I’m a GbV fan, and many of those records sound like they were recorded on a boombox in a toilet).

        I’m just amazed that you find the physical copy not only not to be a bonus (shoot, use the CD as a coaster or to level out the sofa leg), but actively find it an impediment to what you want.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        The existing supply of physical CDs already exceeds demand greatly.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I can’t argue with that; but still, wishing to pay *extra* for *less* just blows my little mind.

        Also and unrelatedly…you are getting called out (in the nicest possible way) in next Wed’s music post. Fair warning!Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Remember my post on the TV? Some things are actually worth less than nothing!

        In this case, it’s the forgone labor of ripping the CD.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        the forgone labor of ripping the CD

        But you are sitting at the computer a huge chunk of the day anyway! That’s like paying a couple bucks per paragraph, just to save three keystrokes on each one!

        You are a mysterious man, Will Truman.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I wish I did! Lain makes being at the computer console inconvenient.

        Or laptops,for that matter.

        Man, I’m glad I had kids in the era of smartphones!Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        I can’t argue with that; but still, wishing to pay *extra* for *less* just blows my little mind.

        By that logic, wouldn’t it be better to get an album on five 45 RPM vinyl records rather than one CD? They’re so much bigger, have so much more matter, than a CD.

        A CD is a non-reusable, scratch-prone, storage medium for bits. The good is not the storage medium, it’s the data the bits represent. For any physical good I’m carrying home from the store, I want the smallest package that will hold it, so I have a less unwieldy parcel or shopping bag to carry home (potato chip bags full of air, I’m looking at you!). The smallest package that will hold some bits for transportation to my home is no package at all – I already have a bit-delivery service connected to my house – so any physical package for bit delivery is infinitely bigger and considerably less efficient than necessary.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @dragonfrog – but again, MP3’s are *less* – not only are they lossy (which Will may not care about) but the physical object cannot be thrown in the car / handed to a friend / used to level the sofa / have its pictures looked at. And I can make my own MP3s.

        If MP3s and the CDs are *equally* expensive, and you don’t care about those additional things, I totally understand going MP3. Where you lose me is when you say you would pay MORE for the MP3s than the CD, just to not get those additional utilities. At that point I would just get the CD, in the hopes that one or more of these additional utilities may be of use to me (not to mention my TWO DOLLARS!).Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        IOW, I think the CD is *slightly* more useful than a longbox – and if you tried to sell me a longboxed CD for $10 and one without a longbox for $12, I’ll take the one with.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        I might prefer a lossless format to an MP3. But frankly, as long as the MP3 is of a high enough quality that it’s not the limiting factor in audio quality, it’s good enough. Any improvement above that would be as wasted as serving me fancy wine.

        I typically listen to music in less-than-favourable conditions – at home on our decent but not excellent stereo from the next room while I work in the kitchen or dancing in the living room, background noise at least that of a four-year-old playing, out for a walk listening on my phone and so-so headpones.

        As for the other utility you mention – those are all dis-utilities to me. I’d rather click a mouse a few times and have the files on my computer and phone in minutes, than go to a store, obtain a CD, bring it home, rip it to my computer, debate whether to give or throw away the CD, and end up sticking it on a shelf somewhere to take up space and gather dust. Only when I finally dispose of the CD do I have back the utility of the shelf space, and I’m never getting back the travel time.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        Personally, I like having the physical CD as the master copy that I store away in a cabinet after ripping. Really, they take up so little space that it seems silly not to have that backup. If your space is really that precious you can get one of those storage albums and toss the jewel cases.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Personally, I like having the physical CD as the master copy that I store away in a cabinet after ripping.

        Or as a starting point for ripping with modifications. I often run content through sox in order to compress the dynamic range for playing in the car.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’m a big fan of A Softer World. It’s like Ashleigh Brilliant’s “Pot Shots” for the 21st Century.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      When A Softer World is on, it’s a beautiful thing.
      O’ course, I’ve heard a grown man howl after reading a couple of those damn comics — not gales of laughter either.
      Sometimes, it can hit just a little close to home.Report

  9. Avatar greginak says:

    Garfield without Garfield is great…..bent but great. The Oatmeal and Basic Instructions are both worth reading.Report

  10. Avatar Guy says:

    Comics mentioned above that I follow:
    -Girl Genius: they’ve fallen off the update wagon in the last year or so and are no longer reliably on time. I think there’s also been a bit of a quality drop. Certainly still good, though.
    -xkcd: a good joke-a-day comic.
    -Oots: great fantasy comic, but probably not worth the first ~100 strips if you’re not into D&D.
    -Oglaf: hilarious, but once a week is just not enough content for me. Also very NSFW. (If you’re binging, though, I find the safe strips to be the funniest in general)
    -Questionable Content: honestly, not that great, but it updates every day.

    Still unmentioned comics:
    Homestuck: I mentioned this once before; it is quite absorbing and expected to finish some time this year, but requires significant investment in time. It is best read on the internet; you need a flash enabled device to do so; be prepared for sound and long interactive segments. This is a comic with an extensive soundtrack.
    Gunnerkrigg Court: Pretty great comic. The early art is weird, but the story and later art is just awesome.
    Rice Boy (and related comics): Beautiful, imaginative, awesome. Lovely story, and well sized for reading on a tablet.

    I follow some other stuff, but I don’t think they’re really worth talking about. Oh! and Digger was pretty awesome and is done.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      Girl Genius updates on a pretty regular schedule, actually. It’s Order Of The Stick that seems to have trouble keeping the new stuff coming.Report

  11. Avatar Guy says:

    I’d also (longer comment in mod) like to note that some web “comics” out there require something like a full computer to view – there’s a bunch out there that are making use of animated .gifs (often poorly, but sometimes quite well), and I know of one that is partially animated. There’s also the potential for nonlinearity. I don’t know how popular it is (most webcomics are still page-per-interval or panel-per-interval traditional comics as yet), but the internet is a medium with a lot more potential than print and print substitutes.

    Ah crap the parentheses are coming back.Report

  12. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    I read several comics on this list–a few that I haven’t seen mentioned yet that are pretty good:

    Dumbing of Age–Follows the lives of a bunch of college freshmen as they learn about themselves and the world.
    Girls With Slingshots–Ditto for post-college twenty-somethings
    Skin Horse–Secret Government Black Ops Social Services, featuring a talking dog, a zombie, and a transvestite.
    El Goonish Shive–Anime action/comedy gender-swapping hijinx.

    Thank god I had less discriminating tastes when I was younger, since so many webcomics start out bad and end up getting good as the artist improves. El Goonish Shive is a great example of this–not only was the art and writing bad in the beginning, but the whole premise of the comic was a bit pervy. But because the author recognizes and addresses the problematic aspects of the story he’s created, he gets to really interesting places that he never would have reached if he hadn’t started where he had. Plus, the newer strips are annotated with references to past events, so you can jump in later and still appreciate the story.Report

  13. Avatar Jason Tank says:

    Cyanide and Happiness (www.explosm.net) – stick figures and toilet humor

    Bug Martini (www.bugmartini.com) – narration-driven comic with “bug” stand-ins for humans

    Buni (www.bunicomic.com) – mostly language-free comic about a not-very-smart bunny, constantly pining for a she-bunny (who is in a happy relationship with someone else), with a constantly-smoking alcoholic dad and a dog in a wheelchair who can kick your ass. Maybe half the time, the comic doesn’t even include any of the main characters (http://www.bunicomic.com/comic/buni-623/), or just has some bizarre situation happen out of nowhere (http://www.bunicomic.com/comic/buni-609/). It’s kinda brilliant.Report