Category Archives: Webcomics

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Webcomics Weekly: Hyper Epics

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s spotlight on webcomics, where we take a look at one of the many comics available on the web: Webcomics Weekly (you shouldn’t be fooled by the “weekly” part of the title, however, the feature may happen more or less frequently than that). We’re defining webcomics as any comics published online for free consumption by the general public that doesn’t require a  subscription service.

This week we’re taking a look at Hyper Epics, a website that hosts multiple different three page stories. The folks behind the site were kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the webcomic below.

Graphic Policy: In a nutshell, can you tell us what the strip’s about?

Tom Hoover: Hyper Epics is home of the 3 page sagas, where each story is brief yet memorable and has some level of scope (and original music!).  In an age where it often takes several months to tell a complete storyline, we took on the challenge of creating epic tales that are complete and stand on their own in just 3 pages.  Thus, it serves as a destination where readers can come to and be inspired without having to invest their time and money for a prolonged period of time.   

We tackle a number of genres, timeless themes, and sometimes take detours simply for a bit of madcap fun.  

Readers can also expect an experience that is acceptable for nearly all age groups, as we do not promote excessive violence, nudity, or vulgar themes in our stories.  There is enough of this elsewhere and in ample numbers.   

Thomas Tuna: One of the goals of our website that was outlined by Tom Hoover right from the start–and one I heartily embrace–is to simplify the comic-book experience for a whole new generation of comic book enthusiasts. I, perhaps, have a better empathy for the “Golden and Silver Ages” of Comics, simply by being older and having a first-hand appreciation for what it once meant to plunk down a shiny dime (yes, all that four-color magic for just 10 cents!) back in the early ’60s.

Comic book stories were magical then, with the creators striving for a real emotional connection to their readers. We’re doing this again here and now with our three-page Hyper Epics. It’s a real challenge for our writers and artists to tell a compelling story within this framework. But it’s also so rewarding when the job is done right and someone out there enjoys it.  hyper epics sc.PNG

GP: How often do you update?

TH: We typically add new stories 1 to 2 times a week, and we also have other areas of content that we maintain, such as interviews with industry veterans, our Hyperspace column, and more.  This frequency will increase as we add more staff and hopefully some level of funding.

GP: How long have you been producing the strip?

TH: We launched in January of 2018 and have already posted an impressive lineup of diverse and engaging stories since our debut.  The passion in which we have taken this on is evident by the outpouring of creativity we have produced in such a short time.  Our talented artists and composers have really stepped up and are delivering on time and with originality.

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GP: Where did the idea for the strip come from?

TH: Perhaps I had grown weary with the lack of morality tales in our pop culture.  Or maybe it was that I found many of our entertainment choices were too aggressive and laden with their own agendas.  However it came to be, the spark formed for a destination of adventure and inspiration, where heroes continue their eternal struggle against the evil forces of the universe. I think it is important, especially for younger readers, to see that not everything in our realm is wrapped in shades of gray.   It’s a vision that not everyone may embrace due to what they have grown conditioned to, but for those that do appreciate it, the hard work will be well worth it.  

Below you’ll find another example of one of the comics posted to the site, The Last BelieverClick on any of the images in this feature to be taken to the rest of the comic.

hyper epics tb.PNG

 

 


If you’d like to have your webcomic featured here, then drop us an email.

Hyper Epics: An Digital Return To The Spirit Of The Golden Age

hyper epics main.PNGBrevity is the soul of wit, said William Shakespeare, and that’s the motto at the heart of Hyper Epics, an online comic refuge that is home to three page stories where the stories are “a throwback to what comic book stories used to be–and can be again.” Offering a variety of genres, Hyper Epics has something available for almost everybody – as long as you’re looking for a quick five minute hit of comic awesomeness. When asked to expand upon the desire to create comics as a throwback to what they were, and could be again, Managing Edior/Lead Writer Thomas Tuna  said the following:

One of the goals of our website that was outlined by Tom Hoover right from the start–and one I heartily embrace–is to simplify the comic-book experience for a whole new generation of comic book enthusiasts. I, perhaps, have a better empathy for the “Golden and Silver Ages” of Comics, simply by being older and having a first-hand appreciation for what it once meant to plunk down a shiny dime (yes, all that four-color magic for just 10 cents!) back in the early ’60s. 

Comic book stories were magical then, with the creators striving for a real emotional connection to their readers. We’re doing this again here and now with our three-page Hyper Epics. It’s a real challenge for our writers and artists to tell a compelling story within this framework. But it’s also so rewarding when the job is done right and someone out there enjoys it.

newstand comics.jpgTuna isn’t wrong when he says that comics were simpler back during the Golden and Silver Ages when comics were often found on newsstands and specialty stores were few and far between. It was a time when missing an issue was far too easy, something that is nearly unthinkable today – after all if your local shop doesn’t have it the day you walk in they can probably reorder it, or you can find it online (whether a physical copy or a digital version if the story matters more than the physical comic). Back in the Golden and Silver Ages if a comic was missed it was very tough to find again, so most of the comics of the time were limited to one or two part stories that had a some carry over in future issues but not so much that it would leave you lost if you skipped an issue.

By offering short, three page stories, Hyper Epics brings you back to a time when you didn’t have to wait months to finish a story – something that is ideal in a world where many of us find ourselves busier than we’d like. Sitting down with a full trade may not be a possibility for all of us, but a ten minute break with a complete comic should be much more doable.

hyper epics tb

I’ve spent the last week or so doing just that while at work as I did a bit more research into the website, and I can honestly say I didn’t read a bad comic. Sure there were some that weren’t to my taste, but quality was never a concern. It may be a challenge for those creating the comics to tell a compelling story within three pages, but it is a challenge that has been met with each new hyper epic that I have read.  Oh, and in case you wondered, the epics are completely free, so if you have a few minutes to kill, why not fill it with comics?

VIZ Media Releases Homestuck in April

VIZ Media has announced the release of Homestuck Book 1: Act 1 & Act 2 on April 13th.

The popular web comic will be released in a series of deluxe hardcover, full-color editions that each feature new cover art and commentary by series creator Andrew Hussie. Homestuck Book 1: Act 1 & Act 2 is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry a print MSRP of $24.99 U.S. / $33.99 CAN. The book also debuts digitally via viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes of the series will be published on a quarterly basis.

Written, illustrated and animated by creator Andrew Hussie, Homestuck is one of the most spectacular pop-culture phenomena of the past decade, a unique and massive internet-based hybrid work consisting of web comics, chat logs, gifs, video games, animation and music. Launched in 2009, Homestuck comprises over 8,000 pages encompassing such diverse genres such as action/adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, comedy, romance, and drama.

Years in the past, but not many, a webcomic launched that would captivate legions of devoted fans around the world and take them on a mind-bending, genre-defying epic journey that would forever change the way they look at stairs. And buckets. And possibly horses. Now this sprawling saga has been immortalized on dead trees with notes from author Andrew Hussie explaining what the hell he was thinking as he brought this monster to life. A must-have for Homestuck fans who want to re-experience the saga or for new readers looking for a gateway to enter this rich universe.

In Homestuck, a young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that he’s about to embark on an adventure involving birthday cakes, magic chests, hammers, arms (detachable and otherwise), harlequins, imps, eccentric architecture, movable home furnishings, bunnies, and a video game that will destroy the world.

For additional information on HOMESTUCK and other anime, manga and graphic novel titles published by VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy Lands at Dark Horse

Dark Horse is partnering with writer and artist Stephen McCranie to bring his unique space opera webcomic Space Boy to the page as a four-volume graphic novel series. Currently serialized on Webtoons.com with over 50,000 unique readers, McCranie’s Space Boy is a coming of age story of a high-school-aged girl who belongs in a different time, a boy possessed by emptiness as deep as space, an alien artifact, mysterious murder, and a love that crosses light years.

Amy lives on a mining colony in out in deep space, but when her dad loses his job the entire family is forced to move back to Earth. Amy says goodbye to her best friend Jemmah and climbs into a cryotube where she will spend the next 30 years frozen in a state of suspended animation, hurtling in a rocket toward her new home. Her life will never be the same, but all she can think about is how when she gets to Earth, Jemmah will have grown up without her.

 

Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy Volume 1 goes on sale June 20, 2018.

Mages of Mystralia Goes from Webcomic to Print this January

Dark Horse Comics and Borealys Games conjure up the release the popular Mages of Mystralia webcomic in a new graphic novel coming to bookstores and comics shops in January 2018

Acclaimed fantasy author Ed Greenwood lent his magic to the Mages of Mystralia storyline for the game while writer Brian Clevinger and artist Carey Pietsch brought the lore from the game to the acclaimed webcomic.

The graphic novel will include concept art from the game and exciting bonus material. The game is currently available now, with the graphic novel hitting retailers in early 2018.

Ménage À 3 To Be Collected in Print by Udon Entertainment

The popular web-comic Ménage À 3 has been entertaining and titillating online readers for nearly ten years. Now, the Joe Shuster Award-nominated series will be collected in print form by UDON Entertainment starting with Ménage À 3 Volume 1 in February.

Produced by artist Gisèle Lagacé and co-writer David Lumsdon, Ménage À 3 follows the lives of a 29-year-old-virgin comic book geek and his two way-hotter-than-he-is roommates. Gary, Didi, and Zii’s tight-as-a-sandwich Montreal apartment is the cramped stage for sexy hi-jinks, awkward moments, and pretty much everybody trying to bonk, shag, or nuzzle with everyone else!

Series creator Gisèle Lagacé has lent her sequential art talents to the likes of Archie ComicsBetty Boop, and Jem and the Holograms. She’s also a sought-after cover artist whose work has graced titles including GwenpoolVampirellaStreet Fighter, and more. Gisèle has been in the web-comics game since 2000, and has grown Ménage À 3 into Pixie Trix Comix – a web-comic network that includes multiple ongoing series set in the MA3 universe and beyond.

Ménage À 3 Volume 1 collects the first two years of the web-comic – that’s over 300 installments. Also included are print-exclusive bonus stories, plus special guest artist strips. The book arrives in stores everywhere February 2018.

Johnny Bullet Begins a Silent Comic Adventure

The adventures of Johnny Bullet, comics’ favorite street and drag racer continue in a new story set in 1969, and rendered as a silent chapter, in his weekly webcomic.

Following the explosive revelation about Johnny Bullet in strip #132, this week’s strip (#133), explores the hero’s life five years in the past at the height of his glory and in the middle of muscle car madness in America.

In the release, creator Hervé St-Louis said:

Regular readers of Johnny Bullet already know that I have always been cheap with words, sometimes with just one per strip. Much of the action in the comic has always been visual. I am simply pushing things to their logical ends with this 22-page flashback. It is a challenge to tell such a story but I bet that readers will enjoy the ride.

Cartoonist Larry Hama wrote the first silent comic in G.I. Joes #21. Since, silent comics have become a favorite of readers and for cartoonists, a way to express the essence of comic art.

Strip #133 of Johnny Bullet starts a new chapter in the life of the 1970s professional racing driver originally inspired by Steve McQueen and Frank Frazetta’s Johnny Comet. The silent story continues weekly at Johnny Bullet’s home where Johnny Bullet chases beautiful women and outruns shady characters.

ComicBookBin publishes Johnny Bullet every Sunday as a free black and white retro web comic strip.

Check, Please!: Where Hockey Meets Great Storytelling

bittyWhat do maple-sugar-crusted apple pie, Beyoncé, and ECAC ice hockey have in common? Well, you’d be surprised.

In 2013, a recent Yale graduate by the name of Ngozi Ukazu put her knowledge of New England collegiate life to good use with a simple web comic on Tumblr. Four years later, what began as a grad student’s side-project has become a phenomenon in some cultish circles of the internet, with two wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns and two printed volumes on the way.

What exactly is the comic about, and why is it so popular? Check, Please! follows Eric “Bitty” Bittle, an anime-eyed figure skater turned smaller-than-average hockey player from Georgia whose scholarship depends on his ability to keep his head despite his phobia of physical violence. In a sport where physical violence is key, Bits needs all the help he can get.

But hockey is only a part of the equation. Bitty is also an avid baker and vlogger; his series of videos about food and college life give the comic its title—ha, puns!—and often serve to frame the story, with Bitty serving monologues directly to the reader as though they are a part of his in-universe audience.

Above all, however, the appeal of Check, Please! lies in its representation of friendship and camaraderie that anyone who has ever been a part of a team can relate to. Fraternity, self-acceptance, and diversity of experience are major themes throughout, which explains why so many fans tune in for the adventures of a fictional college hockey team despite having never watched a game.

Check, Please! also owes its storytelling success and cult popularity, in part, to its showcasing of mental illness and very personal LGBT issues which often go unexplored in more lighthearted media. Jack Zimmermann may be the very talented son of a hockey legend, but it is that very pressure which helped lead him to overdose at 18; Eric Bittle may have accepted his identity as a gay man, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to come out to anyone back home just yet. Each and every character is lovably flawed and facing their own dilemma, which makes the relationships between them all the more special in the eyes of the reader.

Ukazu’s work is real and relatable in its tragedy, its humor, and its examination of what it means to be a young adult making a place for oneself in the world. Documentation of Bitty’s first two and a half years at Samwell University currently exists on its own brand new website (though it can still be found on Tumblr, as well), but if one prefers to consume comics on real, tangible paper, the first of two volumes is set to be published by First Second Books and released in the fall of 2018.

Meanwhile, Bitty’s junior year adventures continue to be published online by Ukazu herself, with updates every other month. And once you’re all caught up, you can always have more while you’re waiting for the next episode—there are countless extras, notes about each update, endlessly entertaining fanworks, and a plethora of tweets from an active (but currently protected, for spoiler-type reasons) Twitter run by everyone’s favorite skating pâtissier. Fans are never at a loss for Check, Please! content, so the best thing to do is dive right in with Episode 1: Eric Bittle. You’ll be ‘swawesome friends with Johnson the Metaphysical Goalie in no time.

Listen to Graphic Policy Radio Talk As the Crow Flies and Steven Universe with Melanie Gillman on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

As the Crow Flies is a story about Charlie — a queer 13 year old girl who finds herself stranded in a dangerous place: an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp.  It has been nominated for the Slate Cartoonist Studio Prize (2013), an Eisner Award (2014), and an Ignatz (2016), and won a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators (2016).

Creator Melanie Gillman joins graphic Policy Radio to discuss their webcomic as well as Steve Universe!

Melanie Gillman is an Eisner- and Ignatz-nominated cartoonist.  They are the creator of As the Crow Flies, a webcomic about queer teens and Christian youth camp, which will be published by Iron Circus Comics in late 2017.  They have also written the Steven Universe comic for BOOM! Studios including the fan-favorite Stevonie storyline. They currently live in Tulsa, OK, where they are a 2017-2018 fellow in the Tulsa Artist Fellowship program.  Their work can be read at: http://melaniegillman.com

Library of Congress Announces Webcomics Archive

The Library of Congress has announced two new born-digital collections are now available – the Webcomics Web Archive and the Web Cultures Web Archive.

The Webcomics Web Archive focuses on comics created specifically for the web and supplements the Library’s extensive holdings in comic books, graphic novels and original comic art.

Webcomics selected for this collection include award-winning comics as well as webcomics that are significant for their longevity, reputation or subject matter. The collection includes sites such as Dinosaur Comics, Hyperbole and a Half, and XKCD. Also included are works by artists and subjects not traditionally represented in mainstream comics, including women artists and characters, artists and characters of color, LGBTQ+ artists and characters, as well as subjects such as politics, health and autobiography.

The Web Cultures Web Archive  is a representative sampling of websites documenting the creation and sharing of emergent cultural traditions on the web such as GIFs, memes and emoji. The project is part of the American Folklife Center, established by Congress to document traditional cultural forms and practices.

The effort will help scholars 25 and 100 years from now to have a fuller picture of the culture and life of people today. Sites included in the archive are Urban Dictionary, Internet Meme Database, Emojipedia and Boing Boing.

The Library collected and is displaying these sites with permission. Any further use by the public may also require permission.

The Library has been archiving select websites since 2000 and has now preserved more than a petabyte of web content, including collections of federal executive, legislative and judicial websites; sites of international governments; and national institutions such as the U.S. Olympic Committee and the American Red Cross.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States ­­— and extensive materials from around the world — both on site and online.

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