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Friday Five: 5 Wonderful Webcomics Now in Print (And They Say That Print Is Dead!)

Ellerbisms-13Say hi to Jamie, who is leading us through the wicked world of webcomics...

Webcomics, they’re a tricky beast.

The spiritual successors to daily newspaper strips, given the entire scope and resources of the World Wide Web in which to spread their wings. Just keeping up with a tiny fraction of what’s available can amount to a full time job and, for luddites like me, they represent a unique problem: I want to read them, but books are just so darn nice!

Luckily, some very nice people (publishers, mostly) have collected some of top webcomics into print editions. Here are five of my favourites:

Ellerbisms by Marc Ellerby (published by Great Beast) 

Ellerbisms came out in 2012, but the comic itself began way back in 2007 and charts Marc Ellerby’s own life, specifically his relationship with Anna: the girl he never thought he could have, then had and ultimately lost. Autobiography is a common genre for webcomics, the daily, or near-daily, nature of them being a great way to chart day-to-day experience. What sets Ellerbisms apart is the charming honesty of its warts-and-all storytelling. Ellerby himself is not always the hero here, but that doesn’t mean he’s the villain. There are no villains in this story, there’s just life. This honest account is tied together by Ellerby’s disarmingly simplistic artwork: simple lines construct amazingly expressive faces, with quirked eyebrows and slight frowns saying so much more than words could, the art belying the raw emotional punch this comic carries.

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A One Comic Clip Show!

One Comic Clip Show!

A year in, we've succumbed to the lure of nostalgia and done a review show of all the One Comics to date. Which of the series we said we’d stick with did we follow? Where did we (very quickly) change our minds?

What is the secret to the perfect One Comic? (A combination of smut, Bex and Jared sniping at each other and a healthy disregard for received wisdom.)

As if a clip show weren't exciting enough, the technical challenges that plagued us at the end of the year affected the sound quality of the new parts of this. A fuzzy clip show! What else could you ask for?!


Three and One Times Three In One Comic

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If you can't partake in unashamed self-indulgence at Christmas, when can you? (Well, if you're Jared in a Comixology sale, pretty much any time.)

For our first ever One Comic Christmas Special we've taken our back-up 3&1 feature and blown it out to be a whole episode that doesn't feature our usual content at all. Like one of the 'stealth pilots' that those sneaky TV people do. Bex, Jared and Jon spend an hour with a cocktail in hand and a list of those comics we'd take on if every actual comic creator in the world mysteriously vanished and Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso and Co. turned to their next most logical options.

On one hand, this is probably exactly what you think it is. On the other, it's possible that we might have come up with some takes that would surprise you. On yet another, I appear to have developed three hands. Cheers!


The Nine-Tiered Table of Reality Crossovers

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In each episode of the One Comic podcast, one of us will take a turn at doing a '3 and 1' - a list of the 3 best and 1 worst comics on a particular (generally thematically relevant) topic. In the latest episode, we poked and prodded at the controversial "Shoot" issue of Hellblazer. I was on tap for the 3 and 1, and wound up going slightly off-piste with the format.

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Friday Five: 5 superheroes I want on my football team

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Right, my actual football team and my fantasy football team both suck this year, so I need some sort of distraction. Which means - naturally - trying to think of which superheroes would make the best football players. 

The rules, because what's the point of thinking about this unless you overthink it?

  • No weapons or external 'bits'. So surfboards, repulser beams, grenade launchers - out. Armor is ok, because that's on you, but you can't use it to shoot stuff from your hands or whatever. Natural defenses - claws and teeth - are fine.
  • No pulling in stuff from off the field. (Also known as the 'Magneto Rule'.) You can't use your powers to bring on bleachers or chairs or passing 747s or anything like that.
  • You have to fit on the field. So Galactus is out, and the all-Celestials defensive line is a no-go.
  • Flight is ok, but the rules of football apply. You have to land with feet inbounds, etc.
  • I think that's it. Further rules may apply when I think of them.

With no further ado, presenting five members of my imaginary team...

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Chicken Soup For The Soulless

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You know those self-help books that people get, well let's just say 'enthusiastic' about? The ones that feel about one step removed from the foundational element of a cult? Like that one founded by a former pulp novelist, for example? Maybe that's what they really are. And maybe there's something even more disturbing going on that it might be better for us all not to know about.

Clearly Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt think this stuff should all be out in the open, and have created Clean Room to document it. So it's only polite that we give it the One Comic treatment and share their findings with the world. Which leads nicely into discussing some old Vertigo series in this show's 3&1.


New Releases - Sam Wilson: Captain America

Sam_wilson_captain_americaDo you ever read something and immediately think “Well this is going to cause trouble”?

Sam Wilson: Captain America #1

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Daniel Acuna
Published by Marvel Comics

The new Captain America lands in the ‘Eight months later’, post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe with something of a bang, and not only in the pages of the comic. We join our hero in an uncertain time: on the outs with SHIELD, working on a shoestring as a private operative in partnership with Misty Knight, and suffering public and media fallout from his decision to stand up. The cause? He's dared to stand up and say that, in essence, things are far from perfect in the US, inequality is rife, and that Captain America’s job is to stand for, and unite, all Americans, not just those with money or power. So you can imagine how well that goes over.

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Week of Ones

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This week was widely noted by the comic news sites and many comic stores as an especially big one as far as volume of new publications is concerned, and also, given that this was the week Marvel began rolling out its new post-Secret Wars series, a week when a particularly large number of the titles published were first issues.

In the grand tradition of "I read them so you don't have to", following are my pick of the best of the bunch.

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Friday Five: 5 Comics About the Magic of Everyday Life

This week's Friday Five features five comics books that talk about magic. And life. And where the two intersect. Or don't.

Wicked + Divine

The Wicked + The Divine (Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, Image, 2014/15)

This is absolutely a capital-G-Great comic, with stunning art and an exceptional high concept premise: perpetually reincarnated divine avatars, reappearing (briefly and wonderfully) every generation to inspire the mundane. The whole thing, see, is a metaphor for art, y'know - with the gods as creators, living their (literal) fifteen minutes of fame and bringing magic to the masses. And, in WicDiv (as the tumbleyoot say), that's hammered home in pretty much every conceivable way: the gods are artists, and use their holy platform to make everything from dance videos to long-form Medium-esque rants. 

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