Friday, March 26, 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Webcomics


This one has to make the list because it was the first webcomic I really got into. To be honest, I haven't followed it in years. The cast got pretty large and a lot of various subplots developed that I just lost interest in. This is an example of what I call "narrative" style webcomics. There is an overarching story that is relatively grounded in reality. These types (which make about half my list) are successful if they create likable characters with interesting stories. That doesn't mean things don't get random or unrealistic, but for the most part things stay focused on the characters. Something Positive has a very cynical and sarcastic tone which just started to wear on me after a while. I do like to check in once in a while and I also really like Randy's side project Super Stupor, but it rarely updates. Here is the first Something Positive comic, which really sums up the attitude of the series. (The art has improved a lot, though).
9. Shortpacked! by David Willis
This is another "narrative" type comic, but it has enough Batman and Transformers jokes to keep me tuning in. The central cast is a group of weirdos that work in a toy store. You can really tell that the writer is an avid toy collector, namely transformers. Frankly, I don't get all the transformers in-jokes but the writer has the seemingly accurate assumption that batman can be funny in almost any situation. Also, Ronald Reagan is a regular character (he's apparently not dead, just working in a toy store) and there's a guy named Ninja Rick.


8. Diesel Sweeties by R. Stevens
Another one that I don't follow regularly but I like to check up on this one from time to time. It features a number of reoccurring characters, but there isn't too much actual story. It's mostly about robots, sex, clever pick-up lines, puns, and hipsters' ironic lack of irony. You don't have to follow this one to enjoy it, but you will probably miss out on a couple of the jokes. The art is simple but enjoyable.
7. Least I Could Do by Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza
LICD is all about a rich, good looking womanizer who's addicted to red bull and crazy stuff. Sound like someone you know? No? Not even a little? Well at least I'm addicted to red bull...
I noticed this comic when they did a run where Rayne (the main character) was in a concrete induced dream sequence where he was batman. It was really funny and got me interested. The main appeal for me is the art by Lar Desouza. I really like how he draws the characters. I tried to read the comics before Lar took over and didn't really like them. LICD is pretty wacky, and split into chapters, which is nice. I am getting a bit bored with it, though. A year ago it would have been higher on the list, and a year from now it will probably be lower. He's started doing a blatant Calvin & Hobbes rip-off every Sunday which I find a little annoying...

6. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner (Tee hee!)
This is the first comic on my list that doesn't have any kind of story. Each comic is a separate entity of funny. I really like this guy's sense of humor, whether it be a witty observation or a dumb pun. He does a lot of nerdy humor, which I find more funny than most people probably will. This comic is good for a quick chuckle or occasional groan (the usual response to bad puns). It also has a hidden punch line to every comic which is a fun little bonus.

5. Amazing Super Powers by Wes and Tony
This comic is very similar to SMBC. Each comic is a separate joke, though there are some reoccurring characters. The art in this one is better in my opinion and while the humor in SMBC leans towards nerdy, the humor in this one is considerably darker. In fact, some punch lines border on wrong, but I still always chuckle. It also has a secret punch line.


4. Questionable Content by J. Jacques
This is my favorite of the "narrative" style comics, though I'm not entirely sure why. It follows half a dozen hipsters through their quirky conversations and love triangles. Also there are sentient computers and ipods. The art has improved greatly since the beginning but I the stories advance slowly and I don't think I get half the indy music jokes. I still follow it though. I just want to know what happens. There's a character, Hannelore, that really reminds me of my wife in a lot of ways, so maybe that's part of it. It really is pretty funny and I do want to see what happens next. (This example reminds me of my wife...)


3. Penny Arcade by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
If you read web comics at all than you probably have read this one. In fact a lot of people would be surprised that Penny Arcade is not in the number one position. This is arguably the most successful web comic out there. They have published several books and even have their own video game. There are two main characters, Gabe and Tycho, and several supporting characters, but there aint no plot! There is video game humor and violence and plenty of it. The writing is very snappy and the art is great. There is a reason why this is considered one of the best, but it's just not my favorite...

2. Subnormality by Winston Roundtree
This comic is smart, funny, and and awesome to look at. I'll admit that some of the comics are a bit too wordy for me, but if you do read it all, it's almost always worth it. Not all of the punch lines are supposed to be funny, sometimes he writes sad and poignant stories, but they're still really good. I would buy his book if he wrote one. He has a couple reoccurring characters, including a Sphinx, but each comic is stand alone. He also hates Nickleback with a passion.

1. XKCD by Randall Munroe
This is it! My favorite web comic. The art? Stick figures! The humor? Nerdy! But I love it! Maybe it's because it seems like something I could do myself. I am nowhere near that smart or clever though. This is my favorite because it makes me laugh out loud (or LOL) more than any other comic out there. I probably don't get every single joke, because there is a lot of programmer humor, but that's not all there is. If you hold the cursor over the comic, yo get an extra punchline. I love that shit. This comic is just funny, plain and simple. Read it.



Honorable Mention: - The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

Bacon Mug!!!


I was looking at this article about 10 ridiculous fatty meals here and I was just blown away by this one:

That is one of the most horrifying and awesome things I have ever seen!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lo!


A little while ago I was skimming through the list of instantly watchable movies on netflix.com and feeling pretty disappointed about my options when I came across this move called Lo. It was given 4 stars by users (which is pretty high for netflix) which intrigued me. It was labeled simultaneously horror, comedy, and romance. I like comedy, romance makes me a little nauseous, and horror makes me hide under the blankets. I was intrigued, but the wife was not, so Lo was ignored.

Recently, the wife got very sick and was stuck on the couch. We had to watch something to pass the time but nothing looked good. Time to summon Lo. The wife was falling asleep anyway...

So the movie starts out with a man in a dark room lit by only five candles that he uses in a ritual to summon a demon named Lo. Apparently the man's girlfriend was recently abducted by demons and he tries to command Lo to find and rescue her. Lo, however, seems more interested in eating him.

"I will now baptize you as Dinner."
"My name is Justin!"
"Dinner, you have to stop living in the past."

It was the witty dialog that really carried this film, which is a good thing because that's pretty much all there is. Watching this movie is like watching a play (I wouldn't be surprised if it was a play first). Of the three genres mentioned above, I would say the most prevalent one is comedy. A lot of the humor is pretty dark, but it is also pretty funny. Lo is creepy looking, and the atmosphere is grim, but I wouldn't call this a horror. There is a romantic element but this aint no Notebook. It turns out to be a rather poignant and philosophical look at love and the nature of creatures that are incapable of it.

I really enjoyed this movie, and despite an obviously low budget, this movie had strong performances, a compelling mystery, and a clever little twist that you'll probably figure out now that I informed you of its existence (who am I kidding? You would have got it anyway, you are so smart!).

It is very possible that you won't like this one, but I did. I was going to give it a B+, but because I really want to watch it again, I'm bumping it up to an A-.

Scott Pilgrim!

OK so I am officially stoked for the Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World movie that comes out in August. I just watched the trailer and it makes me very excited. But I am a big fan of Scott Pilgrim. Who's Scott Pilgrim? The titular star of a series of comics by Bryan Lee O'Malley. I love these books. They are smart and funny and I would probably lend them to you if my dang brother-in-law would stop hogging them.

The main plot of the books is pretty simple. Scott finds the girl of his dreams (literally) but has to defeat her 7 evil exes. Scott himself is a lovable loser who seems to have a pretty charmed life. (One of my favorite lines from the books is "Scott if your life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch your life in the face." The five books that have been printed have established an extensive cast, 6 exes down, and a pretty compelling mystery about Ramona's true relationship with Gideon (#7). The sixth book is due out in July (a month before the movie? How conveeeeeniant.) and I can't wait to snatch it up.

But what about the movie? Well it looks like it covers the material from the five published books. My first fear is that this is a lot of material to cover in one movie. That's true for all book to movie projects, I guess, and these books are pretty quick reads. Also, the movie was made before the sixth (and final?) book was published so it pretty much guarantees a sequel.

OK so they cast Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. When Superbad came out I was psyched that George Michael Bluth was branching out into movies, until I realized that it was literally the same character in every single movie. I had my reservations about Cera in this role. Scott is often in over his head, whether it be battles with robots or normal conversation, but he is not mousy and under spoken like Cera seems to always be. Scott Pilgrim is actually very confident and somewhat sarcastic. The clips of him in the preview give me hope though. I didn't see a single stutter and or whimper, so I am hopeful.

How about Mary Elizabeth Winstead? There's not much I can say about her because my wife reads this, but let's just say I'm excited that she is Ramona. Also, Anna Kendrick. So hot. Maybe they'll kiss...

Speaking of lesbians, I am very pleased to see Ann Veal (her?) make an appearance as Roxy Richter. Chris Evans will be perfect as Lucas Lee! (But will he be perfect for Captain America? That's a question for another time. probably maybe). And Jason Schwartzman as Gideon? Gold.

None of that matters though because the movie is being directed by Edgar Wright. This man has yet to let me down. He directed Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the television series Spaced. All of these programs were fantastic. Now, this will be his first real project without Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and two do bring a lot to the table. But I think Wright has a great timing and really knows how to put together an action sequence, which is what this movie promises to deliver.

So I have moved from being cautiously optimistic about this movie to being really excited about it. This is dangerous territory for me, but fuck it! There aren't really any other movies coming out this year that I'm that excited for. Iron Man 2 could be fun, as could Clash of the Titans, but who knows.

If you want to watch the trailer, you can watch it here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Birthday Photo Shoot

This video was taken on Katie's birthday, 2010. Apparently we got group photos taken right outside Holocene, the bar we were at. I do not really remember this happening, but there is video evidence.


video

I really suck. Do over!

it's 2010 and I didn't finish that movies of 2009 thing, and I'm not gonna. I'm not a reviewer. When a set a task like that for myself I over think it then avoid it. It was a dumb idea any way. I'll write what I want to write. I know I have lost your trust dear reader, but I will try to earn it back. Maybe.