You may have noticed that the left-hand column on this blog is getting full of webcomics. Duuuude I am so obsessed with webcomics (although I'm very picky about which ones I follow), but my newest find and latest contender for current favourite is Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks. It follows Maggie McKay, who is moving from home-school into public school, and all the challenges that brings... while simultaneously being haunted by the ghost of a sea captain's wife. Just to throw in a curve ball :) The characters are well rounded and the artwork is great (I'm particularly enjoying the variants of facial hair on Maggie's three brothers). It's actually already a completed comic book that gets released in February, but in the meantime because all the pages already exist she's been uploading one every day. EVERY DAY!!! This NEVER HAPPENS with webcomics because most of them are drawn in realtime -that is, every week/fortnight/whatever the artist will draw the next page of the comic and upload it, and then the next page the following week, and so on. So to have an update every single weekday is just MAGIC.
Updating when you say you will is pretty vital for a webcomic's success because nothing makes us comic fans angrier than denying us our expected dose of awesome. One of my other favourites, The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (Rated 18+) has never missed a week without giving notice, even when the artist was in a motorbike accident and on serious medication with a leg full of pins for a fortnight. That's how dedicated these people are. Most days I check for the new pages even before I check my emails.
But just as interesting to me at the moment is the blog that leads up to Friends With Boys. Faith Hicks started blogging during her animation course at university in 2001, and the pages cover the last 10 years up to the online launch of Friends With Boys as a webcomic. Right now I'm at a point where I don't really know what I want to do with my "career" (whatever that is), or even if what I do want is achievable. I'd love to have a job where I get to draw for a living but professionally speaking I know I'm up to scratch yet in a lot of areas. I reckon that to get that point of not being perfect (will never happen) but good enough to make a go of it will take several years, so to have a public diary of someone who is a practicing artist which starts at art university and continues throught that process is hugely encouraging. You're watching someone grow as an artist, seeing them learn things that you have learned, or need to learn, and think thoughts that you've thought yourself. Very surreal, but strangely comforting. I'm also loving the little anecdotes because I'm such a nerd so I get all the jokes! I'm near enough in age that I remember all the things she got excited about in her posts (most of which are new movies coming out or the discovery of great TV shows and comic books/graphic novels - Lord of the Rings! Dune! Firefly!) because I got just as excited! How cool, to know that while I was a girl in England doodling away and obsessing over animated movies, there was a marginally older girl in Canada doing the exact same thing. Woooow...
I went as far back as I could and started reading in 2001. I'm currently mid-2004. I don't know what I'm going to do when I catch up with the present. That's gonna be a sad day.