Monsters of Webcomics Exhibition
The Internet has revolutionized all forms of communication, and comics are no exception. The Cartoon Art Museum explores the digital revolution in its latest exhibition, Monsters of Webcomics, a showcase of some of the best and boldest work published on the World Wide Web. Cartoonists choose to work on the Web for many reasons. For some, it's an opportunity to reach readers directly without going through editors, publishers, or syndicates. For others, it's a chance to explore the artistic possibilities of the Web, whether that means working in a format that would be impossible in print, tackling subject matter most comic-book publishers won't handle, or taking advantage of the rich palette available with digital coloring. Others simply want to share their comics with as many people as possible. The comics by the ten artists featured in this exhibition run the gamut from four-panel comic strips to full-length graphic novels and include comedy, drama, history, science fiction, and sociopolitical commentary. As varied as this work is, however, it represents only a very small sample of the comics available on the Web. The Monsters of Webcomics exhibition also includes a virtual gallery that will highlight dozens of additional online comics. About the featured artists: SLOW WAVE By Jesse Reklaw slowwave.com One of the longest-running webcomics, SLOW WAVE has been running online and in weekly newspapers since 1995. While pursuing a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence at Yale, Jesse Reklaw began drawing comics about dreams. These comics developed into SLOW WAVE, a weekly strip in which Reklaw draws dreams submitted by readers. Recently, Reklaw began incorporating a running plot into the strip, although the dream content still comes from reader emails. Some of the best strips from SLOW WAVE's venerable run were recently published in the print collection THE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE. Hark! A Vagrant! By Kate Beaton harkavagrant.com Kate Beaton's comics reflect her interest in history, especially that of her native Canada. Born in Nova Scotia, she worked at a museum in British Columbia before moving to Ontario. Although the comics she posts on her website range from autobiographical strips to stories about mermaids and mystery-solving teens, she's perhaps best known for her comics poking erudite fun at historical figures. Beaton won this year's Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent, and WIRED magazine called her "the Web's best military historian, hands down." Her book NEVER LEARN ANYTHING FROM HISTORY collects some of her best history comics. GIRL GENIUS By Phil and Kaja Foglio girlgeniusonline.com Phil and Kaja Foglio began publishing Girl Genius, a "gaslamp fantasy" about the adventures of mad scientist Agatha Heterodyne and her friends, rivals, and minions, as a traditional print comic book. Soon, however, they discovered they could reach far more readers on the Web. GIRL GENIUS now runs online, with new pages posted three days a week, before being published in graphic novel form. The most recent GIRL GENIUS collection, AGATHA HETERODYNE AND THE CHAPEL OF BONES, was nominated this year for a Hugo Award in the Graphic Fiction category. CAT AND GIRL By Dorothy Gambrel catandgirl.com For the past ten years, Dorothy Gambrell's CAT AND GIRL, described as "a cat, a girl, and an experimental meta-narrative," has run online and in weekly newspapers. Many of the strips consist of philosophical and political conversations between the cynical, intellectual Girl and the whimsical Cat, who likes polka, frosting, and eating paint. Other characters include Girl's hipster counterpart Grrrl, a vampire beatnik called Undead Hipster, the hapless Bad Decision Dinosaur, and the lovelorn Boy. CAT AND GIRL was included in ATTITUDE 3: THE NEW SUBVERSIVE UNDERGROUND CARTOONISTS, along with a selection of other cutting-edge webcomics. THE PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP By Nicholas Gurewitch pbfcomics.com THE PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP first ran in the Syracuse University newspaper THE DAILY ORANGE. It exploded in popularity when Nicholas Gurewich began posting strips online in 2006.