It's all been eaten; you can't have any more
June 28, 2017 3:06 AM   Subscribe

Meredith Gran's webcomic Octopus Pie ended its 10 year run on June 5, 2017. The comic focused on the life of Everest 'Eve' Ning and her other twenty-something friends living in Brooklyn, NY. The comic is known for its emotional reality and experimentation with structure.

Kate Beaton wrote a touching tribute to the comic. It has also been archived into the first wave of webcomics in the Library of Congress.
posted by Quonab (29 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was quite impressed by the first selections the Library of Congress made; the most usual suspects (the first three are Hark a Vagrant, SMBC and xkcd), but also several completed stories (including Oyster War and Nimona) that do not deserve to fall into the Internet Memory Hole and even a couple things this webcomic addict had not seen before but have impressed me solidly. Now we just need to expand the collection from 40 to, say, 400...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:22 AM on June 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


It made me feel old and out of touch from the very beginning, but it was so good I hate to see it end.
posted by whuppy at 5:44 AM on June 28, 2017


Oneswellfoop: send suggestions. I know that team has already received a few, but they do need to get permission from the site owner first.
posted by adamsc at 6:31 AM on June 28, 2017


Now we just need to expand the collection from 40 to, say, 400...

400? Ugh, for the love of Lynda Barry, no. I'm not sure that the list should even go to 80. The thing about webcomics is that they've extended the careers (if you want to even call the majority of cases that) of high-school doodle artists who otherwise would have done a strip for their college newspaper for four years and then stopped after a few desultory submissions to the newspaper syndicates. I've long since lost track of the number of webcartoonists who couldn't even come up with enough ideas to finish out their current storyline, much less make a career of it, and there are a few notorious cases of people who go years and years creating ever-more-elaborate storylines that don't really mean anything, but it's like this habit that they can't break, ditto for their readership. I'd set the ceiling at, say, 50.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:41 AM on June 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Oh, BTW, Meredith Gran is MeFi's Own.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:44 AM on June 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


The thing about webcomics is that they've extended the careers (if you want to even call the majority of cases that) of high-school doodle artists who otherwise would have done a strip for their college newspaper for four years and then stopped after a few desultory submissions to the newspaper syndicates.
I've always been partial to Jason Scott's take — that deciding which works are significant is a job for those who live in the future, and that assuming we know which ones will "matter" before they've had a chance to make their mark is a supreme act of arrogance.

Sure, there is a lot of chaff — just like blogs, music, or printed books (or, hell, actual syndicated comics) at this point. If a webcomic artist has been publishing for years, that generally means that their work is a labor of love, one with a significant following, or both. Give that, the comments seems unnecessarily dismissive.

I, too, would love to see the collection expanded; I'm trying to put my finger on it, but it seems to skew towards a particular "flavor" at the moment, and a number of successful and historically noteworthy webcomics are conspicuously missing. PHD, Cat and Girl, Bob The Angry Flower, Sinfest, and the cluster of early geek/gamer comics like Sluggy Fleelance, PVP, and Penny Arcade all have their place in the evolution of the medium as well.
posted by verb at 7:15 AM on June 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hmmm. Perry Bible Fellowship, Something Positive, Scary-Go-Round, Rice Boy… The more I think about it, the more I think should be added to the collection, based either on their significance in the history of webcomics' evolution, or just plain quality.
posted by verb at 7:19 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


deciding which works are significant is a job for those who live in the future, and that assuming we know which ones will "matter" before they've had a chance to make their mark is a supreme act of arrogance.

That's a good argument for archiving the entire web. As for the specific suggestions that you make, well, several of those used to be on my regular feed, but they either stopped updating with any regularity or they lost their appeal for me, especially the ones with blatant author-insert characters who convinced me that I would not like to spend five minutes in the physical presence of the creators. If you were trying to come up with some sort of comprehensive history of webcomics, then sure, you'd want to mention Penny Arcade; since this is more of a carefully-curated list that's meant to have broad appeal, I see of no reason to have several instances of two white guys arguing about paladins getting nerfed in World of Warcraft, or, really, any.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:44 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Octopus Pie is a damn good comic, and I'm sad to see it go. It especially stuck with me as a city boy of approximately the same age as Eve and her friends, albeit living in a different city for the majority of the comic's run.

As for the history of webcomics, there's only a handful of webcomics I still read that emerged during the Great Webcomics Boom of the Late 90s to Early 00s: Diesel Sweeties, Something Positive, and Quetionable Content all come to mind, and I still follow the works of John Allison (Bobbins/Scary Go Round/Bad Machinery/Giant Days), and Jeffrey Rowland. (Cat and Girl began life as a Zine, and Bob the Angry Flower as a comic in various weekly newspapers so they don't count as being part of that boom, but I love them anyway.)

Yeah, there's a lot of chaff. Nothing illustrates that more than this recent Twitter thread of terrible early 2000s "gamer" webcomics. I'm rather grateful that my shitty webcomic from the same time period disappeared from the web, though its Something Awful Link of the Day survives. But that there's so much garbage makes it all the more important to single out the stuff that's brilliant.

Be careful with that Twitter thread. I began to weep blood about halfway through.
posted by SansPoint at 8:00 AM on June 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure why I kept reading after the cartoon that was not only not funny and indifferently drawn, but had a huge watermark stretched across the strip diagonally, in case someone, you know, tried to steal it. Maybe it's just an http://11foot8.com/ sort of thing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:39 AM on June 28, 2017


Coincidentally, I recently changed RSS Readers and decided to go to the trouble of culling the dead sites, at which I realized the HUNDREDS of webcomics I had subscribed to since 2005, some of which haven't updated since 2009-2013, remembering some fondly and feeling sad when the domain led to a Japanese language furniture seller (and shocked at how often the abandoned domains went to just such a thing). Still, there were some I asked myself "why did I ever follow THAT?"
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:58 AM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


While we're mentioning LOC-worthy webcomics: the late, great A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible. The funny, insightful, and ultimately tragic Pictures for Sad Children. A little-known gem called Bonne Fête, Job Dog.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:23 AM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


PHD, Cat and Girl, Bob The Angry Flower, Sinfest, and the cluster of early geek/gamer comics like Sluggy Fleelance, PVP, and Penny Arcade

Very much agreed that leaving these off is a detriment to understanding the history of the medium. I would also add Pokey the Penguin to the list. And I was never into it, but doesn't Homestuck HAVE to be there?!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:27 AM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


If you were trying to come up with some sort of comprehensive history of webcomics, then sure, you'd want to mention Penny Arcade; since this is more of a carefully-curated list that's meant to have broad appeal, I see of no reason to have several instances of two white guys arguing about paladins getting nerfed in World of Warcraft, or, really, any.
Fair — PA, in addition to its relatively niche appeal, is probably 50% response/commentary to current events, which makes a lot of it less enjoyable when pulled out of context. Ignore, if it makes you feel better, the couple of gamer/geek comics I mentioned — I still think your post was unnecessarily dismissive. I might not know of 400 library-worthy webcomics, but I know of quite a few that didn't make this cut but IMO deserve inclusion, even if you personally lost interest in them.
posted by verb at 9:41 AM on June 28, 2017


verb: To say nothing about the general shittiness of Gabe and Tycho as people that has only come further and further to light as their stars rose.
posted by SansPoint at 10:04 AM on June 28, 2017


As for me, I aggrssively curate my webcomics, and I still read over 100 webcomics per week. None of them are gamer comics, none of them are renditions of D&D or video games. While many of them might not be quite LoC worthy, they they are worth being appreciated on their own terms. We really are going through a rennaisance of comics online.

But people who think webcomics began and ended with Penny Arcade aren't even going to know or care about comics like Digger, Always Human, The Meek, or O Human Star. So I'm not surprised about the attitude seen here, flailing around with "Wharglegarble! Webcomics? In The Library of Congress!?"
posted by happyroach at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


I personally have very much appreciated the webcomics that have been eventually published in print (and easier to consume purchasable pdfs/cbzs). Octopus Pie has been collected and put out in print volumes by image, and Bad Machinery (John Allison's post-Scary Go Round, shared universe YA mysteries webcomic) has been published in gorgeous editions by Oni Press.
posted by sleeping bear at 10:36 AM on June 28, 2017


People who are upset that their favorite webcomic(s) didn't make the cut (some of mine didn't, incidentally) might want to check that WaPo article: "The first phase of the webcomics online collection" [emphasis mine], and The webcomics archive includes a focus on diversity in terms of both cartoonists and characters. “I tried to collect female creators because we don’t have a lot of them historically in the mainstream collection,” Halsband tells The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. So, no, not some exercise in "understanding the history of the medium", but a nice introduction to the medium that might interest people who aren't already reading dozens of webcomics. And there may be more.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:04 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Okay, you asked for it: more of my choices for the Library of Congress list (in alphabetical order, YMMV): A Girl and her Fed, A Redtail's Dream, A Softer World, Achewood, Atomic Robo, Ava's Demon, Axe Cop, Basic Instructions, Battlepug, Berkeley Mews, Between Failures, Book of Biff, Broodhollow, Bug Martini, Connie to the Wonnie, Count Your Sheep, Decrypting Rita, Demon, Derelict, The Devil's Panties, Dicebox, Dork Tower, Dr. McNinja, Dumbing of Age, Erfworld, Existential Comics, False Positive, Go Get A Roomie, Goats, Goblins, Gunnerkrigg Court, Gunshow, Hubris, Humon/Scandinavia & the World, Hunter Black, Indexed, Irregular Webcomic, JerkCity, Jesus & Mo, Joy of Tech, Kay and P, Kevin and Kell, Kill Six Billion Demons, Kiwi Blitz, Lackadaisy Cats, Laugh Out Loud Cats, Left-Handed Toons, Looking for Group, Lovelace & Babbage, Lunarbaboon, Medium Large, Melonpool, Modest Medusa, Monster Pulse, Narbonic, Oglaf, The Oatmeal, Order of the Stick, The Petri Dish, Pictures of You, Rock Paper Cynic, Romantically Apocalyptic, Sam and Fuzzy, Savage Chickens, Scapula, Schlock Mercenary, Sheldon, Shi Long Pang, Skadi, Skin Deep, Skin Horse, Skullkickers, Sorcery 101, Spacetrawler, Spinnerette, Stand Still Stay Silent, Starslip, Strong Female Protagonist, Subnormality!, Super Doomed Planet, Surviving the World, The System, TJ and Amal, Templar Arizona, Trekker, Two Lumps, Up and Out, Unearthed, Unsounded, Untold Tales of Bigfoot, Validation, Vattu, Vexxar, Wasted Talent, Watson, Weapon Brown/Deep Fried, Welcome to Limbo, Weregeek, Widdershins, Wilde Life, Willow's Grove, Wondermark, Yellow Peril, Young Protectors, Zombie Roomie

and happyroach just beat me to Digger, The Meek and O Human Star

Just over 100 right there, not all masterpieces, but even the ones you may cringe over have merit on some level or cultural significance; and I'm not going to make all the 'D&D-based Fantasy' comics duke it out for a single spot (which would go to Order of the Stick, duh). And I can make cases for dozens more that either are too new or too short-lived to really 'prove themselves'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:27 AM on June 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'm really happy to see a post about Octopus Pie here. I was even thinking about making one, which would have been a first for me.

Anyway, it's a beautiful comic. The artwork changes in style from chapter to chapter, and towards the end Meredith Gran started working with a colorist, whose work is amazing. Eve is the main character, but everyone is fully fleshed out. There are brothers and job interviews, inner demons and demonic violence, flashbacks and callbacks, Ferris wheels and bungee jumps, and a lot of nostalgia.

This story is kind of a standalone, if you want to give it a try.
posted by trig at 11:34 AM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


And I can't believe there's been only one mention of Narbonic. It starts off a little uneven but quickly gets extremely good. (The artwork also gets slicker, if that bothers you, and there are lots of stylistic references to Little Nemo and the illustrations from the Wizard of Oz books.) It kind of has a really strong feel of the '90s to me: more gentle than snarky, though still hilarious.
posted by trig at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I AM NOT CRYING. It's my goddamned allergies.

Well, guess it's a been a ride, huh?
Thanks Meredith. I loved your comic.
posted by evilDoug at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2017


Is this where we pitch favorite web comics that haven't gotten the love they deserve?

My vote:
Help Desk
posted by zenon at 1:26 PM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well if we are doing webcomic recommendations, I am currently reading Blindsprings and Sleepless Domain (both sort of magical-girl stories, both good). Family Man is amazing in its historical accuracy (well except for the magical bits) and also beautifully drawn.

Oh and Namesake, also a good one.

I loved Octopus Pie, although yes, I was slightly too old for its 20/30-something angst. Meredith is a great artist though. I look forward to her future projects.
posted by emjaybee at 3:09 PM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes emjaybee, one of my favorites of Family Man, the Library
http://www.lutherlevy.com/?p=74
posted by aleph at 6:23 PM on June 28, 2017


While we're at it, Bobwhite. It's the adventures of three (later four?) art students in cosmopolitan Rhode Island. Again the art starts out not slick at all, but that's partly (or completely?) intentional and at some point I started getting just blown away by the color palettes and composition on a regular basis. The writing is very sharp and funny and the characters are really warm and clearly defined. Not too much angst either! It was published I think for three years and ended with closure and everything.
posted by trig at 9:46 PM on June 28, 2017


And the creator of Bobwhite, Magnolia Porter, went on to create the high quality YM Adventure Fantasy "Monster Pulse" which has plenty of drama (and is right now in mid-major-cliffhanger).

Considering the ages of the creators, some of the best 'slice of life' comics are focused on college-age or young-20s characters, and Meredith Gran is one of the bestest.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:21 PM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Rapt, is Monster Pulse still going? I lost track of it.
posted by happyroach at 2:31 PM on June 29, 2017


Argh-I hit the "post" key above by accident.

Anyway, here's a list of webcomics I feel are worth looking at. Bearing in mind that these days I tend to go more for fantasy-I get enough slice-of-life in daily life.

The ones marked with an asterisk I feel are definitely LoC worthy for story or art.

Agents of the Realm, Alice Grove, *Always Human, *As the Crow Flies, Ava's Demon, Balderdash!, * Band vs Band, Battle Dog, Dead Winter, Dicebox, ****!!!!!! Digger !!!!!, Desert Rocks, Eth's Skin, Everblue, Family Man, Fey Winds, Friends with Boys, Girl Genius, Gunnerkrigg Court, * Hyperbole and a Half, *Kill Six Billion Demons, * Lady of the Shard, Leylines, *Megan Kearney's Beauty and The Beast, * Miamaska, Missing Monday, Nimona, * O Human Star, Prague Race, Princess Princess, *Rock and Riot, Shattered Starlight, *Spill Zone, Stand Still Stay Quiet, Stonebreaker, * Strong Female Protagonist, Suihara, The Last Cowboy, *The Meek, Tragedy Series, Trial of the Sun, Unconvent, What Birds Know, What it Takes, Witchy Comic, Wilde Life, XKCD

I think I missed some.
posted by happyroach at 2:50 PM on June 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


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