Sunday, October 28, 2007

Review: So I Like Comics, Okay?

Several years ago, I started reading daily comics online. I became frustrated with the services offered by comics.com and ucomics.com and others pretty quickly; I don't want to sort through emails to find my comics, and I don't want to be online flicking through page after page after page.

The first solution I built was an excel sheet that generated an HTML document - a web page generator. Each line on the spreadsheet created a link to a different comic. As long as I opened the page while online, I could read the comics at my leisure.

After a few months, I discovered that my desire for offline reading had grown, and that there were some comics I was saving frequently. As a result, the Excel sheet was not a satisfying solution.

The next version - which I still use - is an Access database. I could have written something from scratch  using Visual Basic or .NET, but the database solution seemed simplest. Since February 24, 2005, I have used it to download around 150000 comics. I have a big stack of editorials (a great way to zero in on the important news without being overwhelmed with hopelessness and jaded by sensationalistic reporting), and a few that I save to read again (as the mood strikes me). The long and the short of it? I like comics, okay?

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My list of favourites:

From Ucomics.com

Ballard Street Strangeness. One of my all time favourites.
Big Top A Boy, His Clown, and the Talking Animals Of The Circus. (rerun)
Calvin and Hobbes Brilliant. They are running the series from start to finish, one a day. (rerun)
Doonsbury Political satire, with a Liberal Democratic perspective.
For Better For Worse On par with Peanuts in it's heyday.
Foxtrot Now a Sunday strip only.
Natural Selection Really Strangeness.
Non Sequitur Quasi-political observational strangeness.
Red Meat Awful strangeness. I mean it. Not for everyone. Sick. Really.

From Comics.com

9 Chickweed Lane Weird wordplay, romance, odd characters. Very imaginative.
Big Nate The stories of a boy with many flaws.
Cow and Boy Sort of Calvin and Hobbes-ish, but the Cow is real, and she talks.
Dilbert Best. Workplace. Comic. Ever.
F Minus Strange observational oddities.
Frazz Brilliant story of a janitor at an elementary school. Sort of 'Calvin when he grows up'.
Get Fuzzy Dogs, cats, weasels and humans can talk. But they're still dogs, cats, weasels and humans.
Pearls Before Swine Animals that talk. Predators live beside Prey. Few humans. Horrible puns.
Tiny Sepuku Weekly dose of twisted advice.

From Slagoon.com

Sherman's Lagoon Sherman is a shark - a big, dumb eating machine. Thankfully, he's allergic to crabs and turtles, so a few other characters survive.
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