Feminism in Webcomics


Through some clever finagling, I managed to find a way to write a paper about webcomics for my sociology class. My central thesis is that webcomics have provided fertile ground for comics which explore strong female characters and other feminist themes by offering a space completely free of the restrictions the comics world had in the past. I just finished the first draft. It references the following:

  • The Penny-Arcade rape joke controversy
  • User Friendly: the original webcomic, complete with one female character
  • xkcd: The comic which tries so hard not to be sexist, or maybe it doesn’t, who can say
  • Least I Could Do: The despicable piece of misogynistic drivel so disgusting that I won’t link to it directly because that would only encourage them
  • DAR!: Erika Moen’s diary of life, love, and crude humor
  • Octopus Pie: The comic I don’t actually like very much but which supports my thesis nicely
  • Girls With Slingshots: Good female characters, funny jokes, and basically everything that LICD isn’t.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Proof that men can write good female characters too. You should be reading it, what are you waiting for?
  • Kate Beaton’s honest request for less-sexist compliments. Really, was it too much to ask?

The full essay, complete with one of the longest lists of works cited I’ve ever seen, may be available at a later time.

His Face All Red


I was just linked to this from Scott McCloud’s blog, and I feel obliged to link it again. This is a beautifully-drawn short comics story with a creepy twist. I won’t say more about it; it’s only a few pages long so you should just read it for yourself. It’s good. Link.

Watch Jacques Tardi draw

Sorry for the lack of activity around these parts lately (particularly on Sunrise). Here is a neat video clip of dessinateur extraordinaire Jacques Tardi drawing. Yet another reason to attempt to brush up on my French.

Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life, 2010

Nine Planets Without Intelligent  Life

Well, it looks like Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life, my favorite member of the set of Comics Which Almost Never Update, has once again done the unexpected by, well, updating. With four new episodes, no less! I won’t go into detail about this comic now, suffice to say you should be reading it and leave it at that. (Well, I also can’t resist summarizing: It’s an entertaining and thought-provoking story about two robots on an interplanetary road trip.)

Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. You should be reading it.

The Indiana Jones of

In the tradition of Randall Munroe’s “Died in a blogging accident” I’ve embarked on a brief Googling experiment to document the snowclone “The Indiana Jones of ______.” You’ve seen it before, no doubt. Journalists adore labeling people the Indiana Joneses of their disciplines, I suppose because it makes things sound more exciting than they actually are. The experiment turned up more than I expected, though: 1,300,000 search results (0.12 seconds). Admittedly there is some repetition (and even a few references to Indy himself) but still, there are a lot of Joneses to keep up with. First result: Chris McKay, the “Indiana Jones of NASA.” Second: Mark Moffett, the “Indiana Jones of Ants.” (Moffett also comes well-recommended by Margaret Atwood, which certainly perks up my interest. Maybe I will check out his book. ) Third: Ron Wyatt, the Indiana Jones of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. (And one of the few people on the list who’s actually an archaeologist of sorts.) Exactly how Google ordered this particular hierarchy would be interesting to know in and of itself.

What else is there? You name it. There are, apparently, Indiana Joneses of knitting, photography, alternative energy, finance, rabbis, botany, the internet, fishing, and paper. Exactly what makes one the Indiana Jones of knitting I’m not sure, but there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. (Unfortunately I found no Indiana Joneses of quilting or cartooning. It’s time someone picked up the slack there.)

And if you ever wondered, the Indiana Jones of Shakespeare is Pericles.

xkcd's Color Survey

Randall Munroe has finally taken advantage of his vast army of readers to do a scientific study, with some pretty interesting results. He’s just released an article about the findings of his extensive color-name survey.

There are a lot of interesting findings here related to gender differences in color naming. Apparently the name salmon is used mainly by men, which really surprised me, but contrary to the stereotype (also discussed in Munroe’s article) both men and women generalize color overall.

Also interesting, if predictable, is the fact that nobody can spell fuchsia. It’s easy, guys, it’s named after a flower which was in turn named after a botanist: Leonhart Fuchs. I guess this misunderstanding must largely stem from the English language’s decision to pronounce the word few-sha instead of the derivationally correct fooks-ea.

I also note that evidently few graphic designers participated in the survey, since the standard values for magenta and cyan are not named such in the survey results. (That is, and , respectively.)


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