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Latest Chris & Trilby comic: no. 0065 - An Interactive Comic!

12/1/05: Comic capers

Hey, how're we all doing? Good? Smashing. Donations for the 5 Days A Stranger SE have been coming in nicely, especially after Richard Cobbett The Journalist plugged it on his blog. You remember him? He was the same bloke who plugged 7 Days A Skeptic in PC Gamer. I think he must have a soft spot for me.

Rotate your eyeballs northwards to the top of the page and you'll see a new banner. Yes, Great Works Preserved are going to be advertising with us for a couple of weeks. They're a bunch of people with the noble goal of bringing hard-to-find works of classic literature to the plebs, so why not check them out and help rationalise my extravagant fees.

What else. Oh yeah. If you speak German, you can read an interview with me at Adventure Treff. If you can't, then... you could go and read some piece of classic literature instead.

Getting back into doing Chris & Trilby now. The problem was a storyline I was bored with, so I'm getting as quickly as possible onto something a little more fun. Like Robert Kuhne's guest comic implied, I need to get back to the roots. Trilby is a devilishly suave and cunning cat burglar, and Chris is a lunatic some irresponsible person gave a gun to. We need to roll with that.

I've found myself reading a lot of webcomics lately, because goddammit I get so bored when it's too hot to work, and I have to find something to do on the internet while I'm waiting for some illegal rips of Hellblazer comics to download. Being a threetime webcomic creator (four if you count Cowboy Comics, five if you count that Rorschach thing, six if you're a twat who can't add up properly), I figured I'm in a good position to give advice to anyone else planning to make another addition to the bloated planet-devouring slime creature that is the internet comic collective.

A good way to get your webcomic noticed is to not do what all the other webcomic artists do. With that in mind, don't do any of the following.

1. Make Yourself The Main Character

You might give your main character a different name to your own or a slightly different look, but we can always tell. People who write fan fiction have a word for this - they call it the 'Mary Sue' phenomenon, wherein a main character in a story is obviously a wish-fulfillment representation of the author, and who generally tends to be wise, powerful, incredibly beautiful and loved by everyone and their dog. It's generally sneered at by fan fiction writers. And when a fan fiction writer thinks you're pathetic, that's a whole new low. That's only one step up from using water balloons for erotic purposes.

Webcomic artists are a little more subtle. Since webcomic artists apparently have much less self-esteem than fan fiction writers, you can spot the author surrogate character a mile off. They'll be made out as utterly pathetic and have problems with the opposite sex. They'll be described as ugly, even if they are obviously not. Misfortune will befall them constantly, whether in the form of physical pain or tragic heart-rending loss of jobs, homes and loved ones. However, storylines always centre around them, they always manfully strive through their tragedy, will always get the funny lines, and act with absolute nobility and righteousness. After a while one (or several) of the female characters will start finding him attractive, and after that, sex is inevitable, probably because the artist is going through a bad patch and wants to feel he can at least get laid by proxy.

2. Female Characters

Almost invariably, when a webcomic is drawn by a man (as in most instances), they will include female characters. Female characters almost always fill the same role - a 'straight' character to play mother and complain when the male characters get into their wacky antics, and who exerts physical violence upon them with alarming regularity. This is because male webcomic artists wish to appear politically correct, and know of feminine empowerment, but don't quite get it.

Female characters in webcomics are always hot. Without exception. Even in ones drawn by women. This is because, as I have observed, women favour wish-fulfillment self-insertion, while men in general seem to prefer to self-deprecate, or self-harm. Since the female character is hot, they will also frequently get naked or semi-naked. Again, this doesn't seem to change when the author is female. Women admire naked women as the kind of body they would like to have, while men admire naked women as the kind of body they would like to have tied down and squealing on the end of their dicks. Then again, it could just all be a ploy to bring in more readers. If that's the case, it's a depressingly successful tactic.

3. Mascots

In the early 90's, the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion was credited with sparking a renaissance in Japanese animation. It was action-packed, well-characterised, and often very thought-provoking. Why, then, amongst all the extremely serious drama and astonishingly violent battle sequences, the show decided to incorporate, for no conceivable reason, a little adorable penguin mascot character, is a mystery to all but those crazy bastards of Nippon.

So then, the mascot character. These have become a virtual staple of webcomics, mainly because everyone needs something to put on the Cafepress shirts. Mascots are usually small cute animals with some kind of unusual element, usually the power of speech. Most of the time, the small cute animals have a hostile attitude, because HA HA JUXTAPOSITION IS FUNNY.

If you had any love for me at all, you would make a webcomic expressly so you could introduce a small cute adorable mascot, then kill it violently in the next panel. With sticks.

4. The Crazy Inventor

The Crazy Inventor character is there to facilitate all the crazy wacky storylines you will need to do to maintain your interest in the project. When you're running out of ideas, have your Crazy Inventor come up with some crazy wacky invention that they have apparently invented before all the other scientists in the world despite having an infinitely smaller amount of money and education.

If you can't think of a storyline, just make your way through the following list.

First mental block: Time travel storyline.
Second mental block: Alternative universe storyline.
Third mental block: Armageddon storyline, kill all characters, start a new comic.

5. Put No Thought Into The Setting Whatsoever

Every other comic on the Internet goes by, or some variation of, the general 'bunch of people in a flat' theme. Sometimes 'bunch of students in university dorm', and often with the suffix '- who play a lot of video games all the time', but rarely any variation beyond there. These are generally consequences of the author wanting to write about their own life. There is a simple, logical reason for why you shouldn't do this.

- If you want to make a webcomic, you must be very bored.
- If you are bored, then your life is boring.
- If you base your comic on your own life, then it, too, will be boring.
- If your comic is boring, you will be eaten by dark elves.

It's not like there are so few ideas in the world. Nobody's made a comic about lighthouse keepers yet. Make a comic about lighthouse keepers. From space. Who are gay.

- Yahtzee

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8/1/05: Make me happy

Y'know, I've been doing some thinking lately, and I feel kind of guilty about making people feel kind of guilty until they give me money. Somehow I feel I could be doing more in return for their hard-earned cash. I know I update the site and release games for free, but somehow I don't think I've been doing that often enough to justify the generosity of some people. So I've decided to concoct a bonus incentive for paying my electricity bill.

So, allow me to introduce... the 5 Days A Stranger Special Edition!

That's right, kids! Donate at least $5 to my Paypal account and I'll set you up with a download link for the 5DAS SE. It's the full original version of the multiple award winning, critically acclaimed game-that-is-my-most-popular-by-far, and also comes with a few bonus features, such as Author Commentary!

Running through the entire game from start to finish, I offer trivia on the game's development process and a whole bunch of self-deprecating humour. Learn the origins of the characters! Find out exactly what I'm whispering in that scary ambient sound!

But that's not all! There's also a new Interview Scene!

A brief comedic interview between Simone Taylor and an adolescent border collie channeling the spirit of me! Surely that's worth the price!

ALSO, this version of 5DAS comes with three concept sketches, and the game's four music tracks in MIDI format, still as freshly pinched from RPG Maker 2000 as they always were.

Beat the rush! Pop over to the donate page today and earn your reward! I used a lot of exclamation marks in this update!

- Yahtzee

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5/1/05: This and that

Well, slap me in the nuts if I haven't written a Horror Movie Sequel review. Wishmaster 3, to be precise. You can enjoy it by clicking on the funny blue words. Bon appetit. I'll be here when you're finished.

Finished? Good, wasn't it? Well, here's another helping: an article by me at Adventure Gamers. You can read that by clicking these funny blue words, not to be confused with the other ones. Do return here when you've read it, we have one more item of business.

Hello again. Hey, David Thomas donated me twenty bucks. What a cool guy. Don't you wish you were as cool as David Thomas?

Oh yeah, happy new year.

- Yahtzee

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31/12/04: Something Rules OK

Thanks to Garry Runke and Daniel Evans for a combined total of 70 dollars American in donations. Ah, the game becomes a lot more pleasant once the guilt trip card is played. What else? Oh yeah. Datazoid is posting about our Erwin Wurm-related day out from his point of view, so Yahtzee completists will have to go over there to get the low down on what I had for lunch that day.

Now then now then now then.

I've been reading Wikipedia a lot lately. It's amazing how much trivia I can absorb just by searching for things that interest me and following link after link after link. I'm sure it'll come in handy next time I'm at a boring party. I can just sit down somewhere, begin by saying "Apparently," in a really smug tone of voice, then go into autopilot until I am forcibly removed at three in the morning.

Of course, Wikipedia is authored entirely by members of the public. And when I say members of the public, I mean those members of the public who have access to the internet. And when I say members of the public who have access to the internet, I mean members of the public who have access to the internet and who GIVE ENOUGH OF A SHIT ABOUT SOMETHING TO WRITE TWENTY PAGES ABOUT IT, and when I say that, I mean NERDS. That's why you'll find about four thousand essays about the Star Wars universe and about two pages on Rugby Football. These, ladies and gentlemen, are not the sorts of people who will ever need to install ticket machines and suggestion boxes in their boudoir. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

One thing that struck me recently while idly clicking through the collective miscellanea the nerd collective has secreted thus far was that the term 'Chewbacca Defense', a joke from a South Park episode, is actually becoming a recognised turn of phrase to mean any case in which a lawyer attempts to flood the jury's empty little minds with irrelevant garbage in the hopes of confusing them into finding for the defendant.

Suddenly, I realised my new goal in life. I pledge that, some day, some how, I will invent a new turn of phrase that will enter the collective consciousness as a recognised linguistic term. I'll be like those people who made up all the urban legends and sent them anonymously lurching off into the world like Frankenstein's monster, unsung but satisfied at having made a contribution.

So, to this end, I've come up with a few common scenarios and rules of thumb that don't have a proper name and given them a title of my own devising. Now, if this plan is to work, I need all of you to start using these in common situations. Try steering the conversation at the office lunch table to an appropriate subject and throw one in casually. Or you could stand on a chair in a busy city centre and blare them through a megaphone.

The "You Had To Be There Rule"
The rule which states that a joke told by a stand-up comedian becomes 50% less funny for every hour that elapses between you hearing it and you trying to tell it to someone else.

The "Doug Naylor Gambit"
A device used in sitcoms wherein a character loudly proclaims that they will not do something, before instantly cutting to a new scene in which they do it. I can think of at least one prime example in all of the three most recent series of Red Dwarf. Also favoured by American sitcom writers, because it offers an escape from doing anything genuinely creative so they can quickly get back to eating cheeseburgers while children in Africa lick moisture from each other's eyeballs to survive.

The "Oompa Loompa Evasion"
The act of making up nonsense words to get out of coming up with a proper rhyme for a poem, as in:

'There was a young man from Ghent,
Blam bloo blee blorble bwent.'

It'd be a good thing to accuse Lewis Carroll of. We've needed some fresh dirt since everyone learned to disregard the fact that he was a grimy little nonce.

The "Two Button Rule"
The rule which states that, for every two buttons on a DVD player remote you know the function of, there will be one whose purpose remains totally unfathomable. I'm sure we've all found ourselves staring at the controller while bored and wondering what the button labelled "R(triangle)X" could possibly be for. Pressing it doesn't seem to do anything. For all you know it could be the secret mythological greatest button ever, and if you press it three times while singing the words of 'Hi Ho Silver Lining', then your DVD player will begin to disgorge fellatio whores.

The "Law of Video Label Frustration"
The rule which states that the amount of time spent picking at the corners of a video label is directly proportional to the chances of the label tearing when you attempt to peel it off.

The "David Cronenberg Noodle Period"
The amount of time that must elapse after watching a David Cronenberg film before you can eat instant noodles again without feeling sick. As in, "Want to come down the Chinese, Yahtzee?" "No thank you, I saw The Fly last week and I'm still in the David Cronenberg Noodle Period."

In a few months' time I will search for all of these on Google, and if I find nothing but this page, then all my readers are grounded for a week. I'm sorry but there it is.

- Yahtzee

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29/12/04: The Wurm That Turned

In the week leading up to Christmas, the webmasters of two irreverent websites and three associates of theirs from the Underdogs forum went on a voyage to the Brisbane museum and art gallery, and found... THEMSELVES.

Yes, there's a new entry in the Essays section, for the first time in donkeys. It's a little exploration of modern art I like to call Erwin Wurm: Greatest Human Being Who Ever Lived. Guest starring Russ from Colonpipe.com, which I have also added to the Links page.

- Yahtzee

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25/12/04: Ho Hum

Christmas Day in the Yahtzee household was marked by me sitting alone in my flat all day surfing the Internet, in following with the tradition set by the Three Wise Men as they roamed, lost, in the desert. I also played Zelda for a few hours, which was symbolic of Jesus' struggle to bring peace to the world. Christmas dinner was a bowl of soggy pasta and ketchup, which was the meal given to the infant Christ by the lowly shepherds.

Okay, so my Christmas day was no different at all to any other day. The fact that I don't seem to mind I know would have horrified my younger self, who ten years ago would no doubt have cut his own throat with a straight razor if he heard that, for two years in a row, his Christmas would involve neither presents nor overconsumption of jelly.

Well, I did get some presents in the form of money from various friends and relatives, but this will no doubt be spent on food and essentials, like it usually does. I just wish my loving readers could in some small way lift my soul on this lonely, depressing, frugal Christmas day. (COUGH. COUGH.)

To be honest, over the years in England I became increasingly apathetic to Christmas. Towards the end, I found it extremely difficult to think of anything I really wanted from my parents come the giftwrapping season. Oh sure, I wouldn't have minded a Playstation 2 or a new computer or Broadband connectivity, but I felt sure it would have been impossible to squeeze such things out of my parents, who would every year without fail explain that they were too poverty stricken to buy many Christmas presents. That's poverty stricken in the 'owning a four-bedroom house and going on long foreign holidays every fucking year' sense of the word.

Oh well.

Sorry the site's not been updating as regularly as I like, I've been busy with a couple of other things. Most notably, I've been contracted (FOR REAŁ ˘A$H MONIE$) by the newly-founded German-based Bad Brain Entertainment to co-script an adventure game. Dr. Wolfgang, CEO, is a beautiful, beautiful person for giving me this back door in to the professional games industry, so be sure to buy at least two copies of every game his company ever produces, just as a favour to me.

Also, and closer to home, I'm conducting a little open beta test of my new 'life simulator' game, Poseidon 12, before polish and official release. You can join in if you want by heading to the appropriate forum thread. That's if you don't mind playing a soundless and potentially buggy version.

I think that's it. I'd wish you a merry Christmas, but I don't see what'd be in it for me.

- Yahtzee

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Hey, kids! Sick of me not updating often enough for your refined tastes? Read news posts by me, Chefelf and Heccubus pretty much every day on the Lockergnome.com Game Invasion Channel!


All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002-2004 All Rights Reserved so HANDS OFF, PIKEY