webcomics I think you should be reading

Earlier this week I shared with you recommendations of webcomics that the panel at RavenCon recommended, which were, for the most part, new to me. Here is my current list of must-reads:

  • Alien Loves Predator – using action figures from the Alien and Predator movies, this comic tells the story of two guys who are friends and roommates in modern-day NYC
  • DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary – autobiographical, irreverant, and geeky
  • The Devil’s Panties – autobiographical, irreverant, and geeky — and frequently located at science fiction & fantasy conventions
  • Girls With Slingshots – “two girls, a bar, and a talking cactus”
  • My Life In A Cube – office humor, often drawn on used office materials or other found objects
  • Questionable Content – indie rock, coffee, hipsters, and complicated relationships — also, wicked funny
  • Sheldon – about a young, geeky genious living with his grandfather, a talking duck with an adopted lizard, and a pug — I don’t know what it is about the writing, but it cracks me up every time
  • Shelf Check – social commentary and public library worklife
  • Unshelved – written by a librarian, drawn by a cartoonist
  • User Friendly – poorly drawn, but often rather amusing glimpses of the trials and tribulations of working at a small ISP
  • Wondermark – historical line drawings remixed with a healthy dose of humor and pacing
  • xkcd – “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”

comics you should be reading

One of the panels I attended last weekend at RavenCon was about webcomics. It was moderated by Bryan Prindiville and included Ahlen Moin, Rob Balder, and Eric Kimball. I took some notes:


I was doing so well on my 50 Book Challenge goal this year, and then the busyness of this past fall hit and I haven’t taken the time to read books. This one is in fact a book that I listened to rather than read, but I think that counts.

Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty takes place in the near future. Set in an east coast city, the story revolves around the protagonist, Keepsie, and her relationship with the city’s protectors: genetically enhanced human superheroes. Unwillingly thrown in the middle of a conflict between the superheroes and the supervillains, Keepsie and her friends are forced to choose sides or make their own way with their collection of “useless” super powers. As it turns out, their powers are not as useless as they’ve been led to believe, and even the ability to control elevators comes in handy at one point. In the end, this is a story about using your gifts and abilities to the best you can, even when everyone around you believes they (and you) are worthless.

The book was originally released as a (free) serialized audio book, then as a (free) PDF download, and then finally in print (not free) through Lulu.com, before it was picked up and published by Swarm Press in August. Thanks to the efforts of many fans and supporters, the book hit #1 on the Science Fiction best seller list at Amazon the day it was released, even though it had been available in other formats for free. Aside from being a fun read, I think the story of it’s success is a nifty one and for me, added to my motivation to finally read the damn thing.

As a fan of Lafferty’s other works, I highly recommend that you also check out her other serialized fiction. Namely, the Heaven series.

upgraded WordPress & CiL! squee!

I upgraded to WordPress 2.5 this afternoon because I wanted to make sure everything here was in tip-top shape before I headed off to Computers in Libraries on Sunday. For anyone who hasn’t done it yet, yes, you really do need to delete those directories and files rather than overwriting them with new versions. I had a moment of panic when I “finished” the upgrade and did not have a dashboard or a public view, but a quick visit to the support forums cleared that up.

I am very excited about the Computers in Libraries conference. There has been a constant buzz on Twitter over the past couple of months, increasing steadily as the dates drew nearer. This will be my first time attending, and I’m trying to keep my schedule and options open to whatever may come my way, but also planning for what I want to get out of the conference. In particular, I’m thinking about which vendors I need to talk to and preparing detailed questions.

When I was planning which sessions I wanted to attend, I found myself jumping from track to track, which makes me wonder if I’m weird or if the whole conference track system is too rigid. I don’t think I’m committed to anything, so I can stick with my usual “if this session loses my interest, I have a backup somewhere else” thing.

The program is exciting — there are so many speakers and topics that fit my interests that I had trouble prioritizing in certain time slots. That being said, if I’m going to be completely honest here, I’m just as thrilled about getting to meet a few “heroes” as I am about whatever it is they may be presenting on. The best part of a conference is the networking, and that, more than anything, is what keeps me energized through the final hours.

Well, that and a double espresso.

Never trust a man with a blanket!

My review of It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Edition) has been published on Blogcritics. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, surprisingly enough. Easter was always a crazy time in my family, what with Dad being a pastor and all, so TV watching was not a high priority. It was fun to sit down with Charlie and the gang and watch this DVD now, 34 years after it first aired on TV.

Part of what makes the Peanuts specials so timeless is their pacing and humor. There are many interludes that do not exist to further the plot, but frequently create a sense of joy through their simplicity.