Remember how I said I was going to add some new banners at some point? No? Well, I did. And I have. The banner space will now display one of six banners at random, all but one of which links to sites far more widely-known than this one (the sixth banner links to the comic section of the site).

If I decide the banners are too distracting or annoying (or if people start complaining), I’ll take them down posthaste; I’m just using them as a means of sharing some of my interests with y’all.

Since I don’t have any April Fool’s incidents of my own to share, I thought I’d do a recap of some of the stuff that’s gone on at some of the other sites on the web.

Fark.com was “h4x0r3d by p1g5,” turning the front page into an orgy of l33t sp34k (if you hurry, you might just be able to catch it).

Continuing with the h4x0r theme, a hoaxer posted a false report of a killer virus running rampant through Hong Kong, which in turn caused stock markets to tumble and folks to start hoarding food.

Squirrels assumed control of the University of Montana, after a bloody seven-day battle.

Theonering.net announced that the next installment of the Lord of the Rings series would be delayed for a year.

ThinkGeek announced that they were now taking orders on the George Foreman USB Grill.

And, finally, Chris Pirillo had technical problems.

Keep in mind, these are all April Fool’s stories, with the exception of the Hong Kong hoax…and possibly the one about the squirrels.

Comic for 04-02-03

Is that a new comic I see? Why yes, I think it is.

There’s an interesting discussion going on over at the iComic forums right now. In case you’ve never heard of it, iComic is a program for the Mac (I’m sure there are similar programs available for the other platforms) that allows folks to download a web comic without having to actually visit the site it’s hosted on. There’s a convenience factor to this that makes the program fairly appealing…unless you’re a web cartoonist.

See, for the web cartoonist, it’s pretty important that you come to the site. If a cartoonist has a collection of their comics up for sale, it gets announced on the site. If we want to see feedback from our viewers, they have to stop by the site first. And if the comic’s supported by advertising…you get the idea. A lot of cartoonists depend on their readers to visit the site more than said readers might know, and when they use something like iComic…well, sometimes it’s like taking a hobo’s last can of beans; it’s all he’s got.

Anyhow, like I said, check out the discussion; some cartoonists I really admire (such as John Allison from Scary Go Round and Jeff Rowland from Wigu) are chiming in, and for the most part, everything’s staying pretty civilized and even-handed (the author of the program is open to suggestions on how to resolve the situation fairly). And if you know any web cartoonists, maybe you should suggest they take a look, too.

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about war stuff, but I just saw a picture on t.v. of a portrait of Saddam Hussein (one of the bazillions they’ve got over there) with the phrase “Mean People Suck” scrawled on it. It made me chortle. That is all.

I came to the realization today that the file sizes for the daily comics are large, compared to those of other web comics. Very large. Grande, even. So, after fiddling with some settings and flipping a few switches, I’ve managed to make the comics a little more svelte. I’ve gone through and converted all the old comics to the newer format, to make things easier on folks who want to peruse the archives.

There’s a very small difference in quality…you might not even notice unless you’re looking for it. I think it’s a small price to pay, now that the comics are now from half to a third the size they originally were.

My apologies for not posting sooner, but I’ve been a bit busy with a few things (tomorrow’s comic being one).

Every so often, I get an email in my hotmail account (you know, the throwaway email account you make when you don’t want to advertise your primary email to the unwashed masses…well, unless you’ve got your primary address plastered up on a web page) that isn’t offering to enlarge certain portions of my anatomy or to show me pictures of Holly’s 18th birthday party at the sorority house. Once in a blue moon, I get an email that offers something downright spiffy.

In this case, the something was a free digital version of a magazine, courtesy of Zinio.com (they said I requested it, but I don’t remember doing any such thing). Anyhow, it was a magazine I’d actually heard of (“Electronic Gaming Monthly,” if you’re wondering), so I decided to try it out. First I had to install and download their free reader (like most people, I’m usually wary about installing any software I had to learn about through a hotmail advertisement, but I was feeling brave) and then the magazine itself; the whole process was pretty smooth.

As for the magazine-reading experience, it was better than I’d expected. The magazine file is in pdf format, I believe, so I was expecting the reader to be a bit on the sluggish side; to the contrary, it was actually pretty zippy. They did their best to emulate the experience of reading a magazine the conventional way (the spiffy page-turning animation has to be seen to be appreciated), and it works fairly well.

So, perhaps you should check it out; they’ve got a whole section of “free sample” magazines you can pick from. Even “Seventeen,” if that’s your thing.

Only one month left until Free Comic Day.

Comic for 04-04-03

Did somebody say, “New comic“?

Not a whole lot has happened since the last post, some fourteen or fifteen odd hours ago. There was some sleep, but not as much as you might expect. Hopefully, I’ll have more to report later in the day.

If you’re an astute reader of the comic, you might notice that Mr. Wiggles has undergone a name change.

See, I was thinking earlier today that Mr. Wiggles is a keen name. Mighty keen, even. So keen, I couldn’t believe nobody else had thought of it before me. And then, I thought, “Well, wait a second. Perhaps someone has…” So, I decided to check it out, and sure enough, there are a number of Mr. Wiggles out there; notable namesakes include: a breakdancer, a porno peddler, and a teddy bear comic character.

Now, the first two didn’t bother me much, but the fact that there was already another comic strip out there with a character named Mr. Wiggles (the comic revolved around said Mr. Wiggles, in fact) gave me pause. So, after a bit of thought and internal debate, I decided to go ahead and rename Kate’s rabbit now, while the comic’s still young and the readership still small (and, hopefully, forgiving). I’ve made the necessary changes to all three of the strips that mention the rabbit by name (you might need to refresh to see the changed strips), and everything’s hunky dory now.

Look at it this way, years from now, when the strip’s a little more popular and the forums a bit more active, you can tell all the young whippersnappers that you’ve been a fan of the comic since the early days, when the rabbit was still named Mr. Wiggles.

The rabbit’s new name is “Bunlop.”

I just wanted to take a minute to drop a quick plug for Electric Universe. EU is an online comics directory that’s a little more stylish than some of the others out there; it’s also a bit on the new-ish side…which is sort of nice, since there’s still time to submit a comic without having it get lost in the sea of other comics. Also, they include a little bite-size sample of the each comic’s artwork, which is uber cool (I like the one they chose for “Tweep”).

This is a swell little web comic. It’s the journal of a guy named Todd, done in comic form. It might not appeal to everyone, I think, but I rather liked it; it’s a good comic to read when you’re feeling lazy on a Sunday.

Another good thing to do when you’re feeling lazy on a Sunday is roam the internet under the flimsy guise of doing research for your web comic. I did learn some neat stuff, though; for example, did you know that for a mere $1800, you can get a super automatic espresso machine and coffee center with exclusive touch screen digital controls? There are so many features on that thing, it’s insane. Seriously, go to the link and check it out…you’ll be amazed.

“Four level water hardness selector,” indeed.

Comic for 04-07-03

Today’s comic is brought to you by the letter “X.”

Cripes, Daylight Savings Time is going to be the end of me. My sleeping pattern was already out of whack before…now I’m feeling nigh delirious.

Should make for an interesting day.

I’m feeling much better now.

Seeing as how the “Tweep” comic is a slice-of-life comic (at least, that’s what I told the folks over at onlinecomics.net), I figured I’d share a slice-of-life sort of amusement I recently discovered (thanks to jumpingmonkeys.com) called The Story of the Baby. Actually, I’m just posting about it because I think it’s neat, but I needed some sort of introduction, so there ya go.

The Story of the Baby is an online book/journal by Jeff Vogel that chronicles his first year’s experience raising his newborn baby daughter. But this is no sappy, Oprah’s-book-club story; I wouldn’t recommend a baby-raising book for casual reading if it didn’t have some sort of edge, and with chapter titles like “Our Baby Could Kick Your Baby’s Ass” and “The Proper Way To Drop the Baby”, it has edge aplenty.

And hey, it’s free.

Comic for 04-09-03

Have I run out of ways to announce a new comic? Not even close.

Well, I’m halfway through the sixth week of comics, and I’m starting to feel like I’m getting into the swing of things. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the comic-making is getting easier, but I’m feeling a bit more confident now.

As far as readership goes, it’s still fairly small (but at least I’m not alone in the forums any more!). It seems to be growing slowly but surely…in part because I’ve been pimping the strip to almost every web comic directory I can find. From time to time, I peruse the visitor logs to try to get an idea of how much newcomers are enjoying the strip. There are a fair number who wander off after reading the first few strips, having decided the comic wasn’t for them. But, there are also a few who read through the archives from start to finish (in some cases, stopping midway through and returning later to pick up where they left off), which gives me the warm fuzzys.

So, it looks like I’ll keep on keepin’ on.

To illustrate my comment about pimping out the strip to webcomic directories, I’d like to point out that “Tweep” was added to the listings at webcomics.com today. Thanks, Dave!

When I first read about this, I thought the writer was being satirical. But, after doing some research, I came to the disappointing conclusion that it was, in fact, true.

Pepsi is sponsoring some game show on WB where contestants have a chance to win up to a billion (with a “b”) dollars if they can correctly guess the order in which a monkey rearranges some numbers. As if that weren’t surreal enough, they’ve actually had lengthy discussions about what type of monkey would be best:

“[The producer’s] hoping to get a capuchin monkey to do the job. There was some controversy surrounding the idea, Leshem said, refusing to elaborate. There are also those promoting an orangutan as a better, more intelligent choice, he said.”

I can’t help but think that maybe that money might be better used in some other way; by which I mean anything short of hiring a bunch of people to run around town, kicking babies.

Comic for 04-11-03

The new comic is up. Can you dig it?

Precious little to report today, folks. Maybe I should start running around town in a spandex suit, looking for wrongs to right. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure I’d have some interesting stories to tell.

Incidentally, I actually once witnessed a man wearing a pink spandex bodysuit scampering around on a crowded sidewalk in the daytime. I don’t know what his super power was supposed to be, though. Frankly, I might be better off not knowing.

These are very cool: tiny remote control tanks that can “shoot” each other. Not that I can see myself ever being willing to spend $130 bucks for a pair of ’em, but that doesn’t diminish their coolness. I remember the days when we had to make-believe to have fun with our toys. Pfft.

Speaking of not having a great deal of disposable income…if you’re interested in hearing some music that’s both tasty and free, this band named Cat Power (a band that, admittedly, I hadn’t heard of before today) has put their entire latest album up on the internet for folks to sample. It’s a music stream, so you won’t be able to download it and listen to it at your leisure (well, I’m sure there are ways around it, if one’s determined, but that strikes me as…impolite), but it’s worth the extra bit of trouble. I’ve got it playing in the background right now and, well, it makes good background music. I mean that in a good way.

The site’s getting a fair number of visitors coming from splurd.com (another web comic directory) lately. I dunno what prompted the sudden surge in traffic, but it’s certainly appreciated. If any of you Splurd folk (Splurdlings? Splurdites?) happen to read this…well…hi!

Tch. I really need to get back into the habit of doing these news posts during the daylight hours.

As if it weren’t enough that we’re going to be using monkeys to make someone a billionaire, now we’re teaching them how to work for money and spend it in vending machines. I wonder how much longer we have before the Great Monkey Uprising.

Coming soon: Mexican monkey wrestling.

Comic for 04-14-03

Git yer new comic here, folks!

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret. I generally post these comics about five minutes after I finish them, meaning that I find myself spending some early mornings working on them. And, usually, mornings are when I go on my webcomic rounds and visit the dozen or so comics that I read regularly. So, my post-posted-comic mornings go something like this: “Well then. The comic’s done. I’ll post it up and then go see what everyone else has come up with for today.”

It’s an oddly neat feeling. Sort of like being part of a community. Of course, none of the cartoonists whose sites I visit actually know who I am (as far as I’m aware, at least), the realization of which helps to keep me grounded.

This is pretty neat. A bunch of bright folks have figured out how to put a tiny, specialized processor into a Game Boy Advance cartridge, allowing folks to run Java games and play MP3s on their GBA. What’s so neat about this? Well, it means that anyone with a bit of Java programming know-how can make a Gameboy game and put it out to the general public without having to jump through a lot of hoops (at least, that’s the hope).

It’ll be interesting to see how the coming years play out. I think we’ll see more folks going the indie route when they decide they have a story or a song or even a game that they want to share with the world. I just hope we don’t screw it up somehow.

Comic for 04-16-03

The secret password is: “new comic.”

For some reason, the webcomics.com script that looks for the latest comic on my site is bugging out, which kept some people from seeing the comic. I’ve come up with a workaround that I can do over on my end, so the webcomics.com folks should be able to see the comic just fine now. Hopefully, the problem with the script’ll resolve itself soon, so I don’t have to go through the extra steps next comic day.

Of course, most of the people who read the comic through webcomics.com don’t come here to read what I have to say, so this news post might be a bit of an exercise in futility.

The very helpful David deVitry over at webcomics.com is aware of my plight (because, well, I told him about it), and we’re working to resolve the issue.

Did you know that there’s a computer monitor in Google’s offices that does nothing but display incoming queries? It sort of unnerved me when I first read about it (after all, think of all the stuff you’ve run searches on), but I got over that pretty quickly; your searches are still reasonably anonymous, after all. And frankly, no matter what odd string of keywords you’ve used, it probably doesn’t compare to some of the depraved things they see on a daily basis (normally, I’d put a few quotes from the article here to give you an idea what I mean, but if I did, this site might come up as a result in one of those searches. I’m not that desperate for visitors. Yet.).

Anyhow, the whole point of all this is that if somebody at Google’s watching the search queries, why not send little messages to spice things up a bit?

Comic for 04-18-03

Don’t forget to read today’s comic…everybody’s doing it.

I went on a little walking excursion today and, after meandering through a farmers’ market, ended up at a local comic shop. I decided to scope it out since they’re participating in free comic day, and while I was there I noticed they had copies of PvP #1 for sale. So, I decided to do my part to support a fellow webcartoonist and bought a copy. Well worth the three bucks or so I spent on it.

I noticed a different comic shop on the way back (I don’t know why we’ve got so many around here), and I think I might pay them a visit next time I go on one of these walking trips. Their “business hours” sign is what piqued my curiosity: “12pm to 6pm. We might be late, but we’ll get here eventually. We’re running a comic shop, not a post office.” Sounds like my kind of people. And they’re right next to an internet cafe. Coffee, comics, and connectivity…what more could a person ask for?

Today was pretty much a recharge day, so there’s not much to report. I did discover the joys of Cat and Girl, though. I’d actually read a few strips before today, but didn’t really get into it at the time. Fortunately, I decided to give it another shot…Ms. Gambrell is a clever lady.

So, give it a look-see. And if you don’t like it, wait a few weeks and try again.

Happy Easter! Or Merry Sunday, if Easter’s not your thing.

Comic for 04-21-03

I love the smell of a new comic in the morning.

Slashdot linked to a transcript of a panel discussion on getting indie comics out to the masses today; there are some comments about the transcript too (natch) that might be of interest.

Of course, as far as I’m concerned, it’s too early in the day right now to be interested in anything.

Sorry for the late post, but today was a little busier than usual. Among other things, I was making a mix CD (something I haven’t done in quite awhile) and, well, those things take time. Now I’m feeling a bit frazzled, so forgive me if this post is a bit disjointed.

I’ve noticed that there are folks who visit the site just to read this blog portion and there are folks who come here just for the comics. Not that I mind (I’m happy you’re here at all)…it just strikes me as curious that there’s not a little more, uh, cross-pollination going on. I expected more folks would be at least a little curious where all the links on the nav bar lead.

I feel like I’ve been making an awful lot of comic-related posts lately and, well, I’m afraid today’s not going to be very different. See, it’s time for the Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards, and I think I might be able to take part in the voting/nomination process this time around. I’ll have to wait and see if the peeps in charge agree, though. I hope they do, since I can think of a few folks deserving of a little recognition.

Tomorrow, I’ll see what I can do about writing something that doesn’t involve comics…err, except for the requisite “here’s my comic!” post.

Comic for 04-23-03

Here’s my comic!

Today I started trying to learn a little Perl (I’m not doing it for fun, incidentally..it’s one of those “it tastes bad, but it’s good for you” deals). It’s been pretty slow going. I can tell it’s going to be one of those situations where I’m pounding my head against a wall for awhile until a sudden epiphany makes everything clear. That’s how most of these things work out, I’ve noticed.

Not long after I wrote last night’s post, I had that epiphany I was talking about. I’m still very, very far from being “proficient” in perl, but I picked up enough to allow me to accomplish what I set out to do: build an iComic plugin.

I’ve mentioned iComic before; it’s a program devoted to displaying your favorite webcomics without any of the pesky webpage stuff that tends to go with them. There’s been some debate as to whether or not this is a good thing and, frankly, I’m not sure if it is or isn’t yet. But hey, if there’s one lesson to learn from the whole “I want my MP3” thing going on with the music industry, it’s that maybe it’s best to adapt to new technology rather than struggle against it.

So, I decided to make the plugin (I’ll put a dedicated link to it on the site at some point…probably in the sidebar) and I’ve posted it up on the iComic forums for all to see. Now we’ll just have to wait and see how this little experiment turns out…

Comic for 04-25-03

Just so you know, there’s word of a new comic sighting.

Now this is pretty neat. It’s a Flash program that watches the list of recently updated blogs over at weblogs.com and uses the info to put little dots on a map of the world, marking where each blog is located. It’s a cool way of visualizing the whole “blogosphere” (as some folks call it). It also makes it a little easier to find new blogs to check out, since you’re not confronted with a bunch of information all at once; the marker dots pop up every few seconds (or minutes), giving you enough time to mouse-over and read a blurb about the blog.

I think I’m gonna leave it running in the background and see what it looks like after a few hours/days.

I was going to post something about this new music company (I’m not sure what the proper term is) that promises to support indie artists by giving them 100% of whatever they get (after expenses) from their fans (through CD sales, merchandise, whatever), but I decided against it. After all, the company’s only three days old or so, so there’s not a whole lot to say about it.

Instead, I thought I’d make a not-entirely-unrelated request: I want to hear some new music. If anybody’s reading this (and I’d like to think it’s not just the web-crawling robots that visit the site), I want to know what sort of music you’re into. Know a band that nobody’s heard of? I wanna know, too. I promise not to laugh at your taste in music (after all, I’ve got some questionable tastes of my own), so send me an email or post in the forums or release a carrier pigeon. Whatever.

It’d be nice to get some email that didn’t come from widows in Africa needing help in getting their secret fortunes out of the country.

If/when I ever have kids, I’m going to give them a copy of Aesop’s Fables as soon as they learn how to read. And then another copy when they turn 21.

The Kingdom of the Lion

THE BEASTS of the field and forest had a Lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be. During his reign he made a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for a universal league, in which the Wolf and the Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog and the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. The Hare said, “Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the strong.”

And after the Hare said this, he ran for his life.

Comic for 04-28-03

Today’s comic was plucked fresh from the vine. Sorry it’s an hour-and-a-half later than usual, but it took longer than I’d expected.

Don’t forget, I’m still looking for new music to listen to. Send me your picks!

I think the site’s just had its first completely-voluntary linking-to, courtesy of The Whiteboard. Tweep’s the “Webcomic Link O’ The Week” over there. They’ve also got a synopsis/review of the comic that’s a little off in some places, so I thought I should clear a few things up.

First, the comic updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, not daily. Second, Milton and Co. are actually in their post-college years, so there won’t be any collegiate humor, I’m afraid. And third, I don’t know if I’d say that Milton “suffers lots of angst,” but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. The review was dead on about the mediocre art part, though (but hey, I’m working on it).

Honestly, I appreciate the linkage, the review (they did say the comic was still “worth a read”), and the criticism (without which, I might be tempted to just “settle” for the artwork I’m putting out). And if you’re a visitor from The Whiteboard, I hope you decide to stick around and watch me grow.

Well, gee. No sooner do I ask for some new music to listen to than Apple launches their new iTunes Music Store. They make the whole finding/buying music thing dangerously easy…steer clear if you’re prone to impulse buying (at least you get to hear 30 second samples before you make any purchases). I like the whole “buy the entire CD for $6-$10 bucks” option, too. The selection’s not bad, but there’s room for improvement.

What I’m waiting for now is for someone to take this Shiny New Thing and do something entirely unforeseen with it; somebody’s gonna have one of those “Wow, this is great! But wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments, I’m sure of it.

I also wonder if/how they’re going to make this service indie-friendly (maybe somebody’s working on it as I speak). Apple shows off programs written by third-party developers…maybe they’ll do something similar with independant musicians.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

There’s an article in today’s Yahoo! News that suggests that the reason men have shorter life spans than women is because, simply put, men are dumb. And much as I’d like to stand up for my gender and argue against this theory, stories like this make me think twice about it.

Comic for 04-30-03

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a new comic!

A few weeks ago, I told you folks about a guy named Todd who writes/draws a webcomic based on his life. Well, now Todd’s in a bit of a jam and needs to raise $500 bucks by 8 p.m. (well, I’m guessing on the exact time, since he just says “24 hours”) to keep from getting kicked out of his house. So, if you feel like polishing the ol’ karma or just want to feel good for helping out someone in need, maybe you could help him out with a little donation. In return, Todd’ll send you a lil’ something-something wrapped in gratitude.

Looks like Todd’s been able to raise the money he needed (and then some), so the desperate call for donations has ended. Yay for nice people.