When I Am King
January 28, 2001 12:20 AM   Subscribe

When I Am King seems to be the latest supercool discovery in online comics. This guy updates weekly, and he's got 18 episodes so far.
posted by David Gaddis (37 comments total)
Sorry, I should say 18 weeks... it's 40 episodes so far. Where does he find the time?
posted by David Gaddis at 12:22 AM on January 28, 2001

That's pretty interesting. I felt like I was almost playing Super Mario Bros. again. Mario never got this kind of lovin' from the princess.
posted by Hankins at 8:11 AM on January 28, 2001

This is absolutely beautiful! Reminds me a bit of Chris Ware's work.

Unfortunate that this is on tripod.
posted by aladfar at 8:57 AM on January 28, 2001

"When I am King" captures the feel of a Lego instruction booklet, with the wordless action, smiling yellow heads, directional arrows and modular trees. The strip uses color and motion sparingly but effectively.

I was put off somewhat by the navigation, with the "next" button appearing and disappearing. Still, Demian.5 has made a comic that takes advantage of the graphic possibilities of the computer.

Bee is another excellent, but slightly more traditional, online comic.
posted by JDC8 at 8:58 AM on January 28, 2001

This one panel is enough to make all the "next" clicking and Tripod-popup closing worth it.
posted by nicwolff at 10:44 AM on January 28, 2001

Bee is excellent. When I am King, though, is amazing. Thanks for the great link, David.
posted by rodii at 12:07 PM on January 28, 2001

I concur. This is by far the best net comic I've read. (And speaking of Ware, I bought Jimmy Corrigan and read it last night, thanx to those in the old Ware thread for pointing me towards it, it was wonderful :)
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2001

nicwolff, if you're using IE on a pc, go into your IE settings, select the Security tab, then add "*.tripod.com" to your restricted sites list (it won't allow tripod sites to run javascript, i.e. no popups).

This comic certainly rocks, thanks for posting it David (finding stuff like this nearly impossible for me).
posted by mathowie at 12:46 PM on January 28, 2001

I agree it is a good comic, however it isn't the best comic i've ever read. My favorite online comics are most definitley megatokyo and sinfest they are funny, witty and have great artwork, all the things that I look for in a comic.

I also run a rather BADLY drawn comic in my own weblog, which I update three times a week like megatokyo. If you think thats time consuming you should check sinfest, they update daily!!
posted by Frieza at 12:59 PM on January 28, 2001

How much would you pay for a polished, timely comic like "When I am King?" Should we expect professional-caliber content to be free? Would your expectations be different if you had to pay 5 cents per installment? Do the ads distract from the content?

Read Scott McCloud's take on this.
posted by JDC8 at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2001

Yep. Just looked at the first bit.
What would I pay? Lots for a printed version (I adore comics that acknowledge the importance of design) but I'm not sure how much I'd pay for an online version. My main concern is that onine comics seem kind of imperminent. I like the idea of a nice bound volume on my shelf. In this case a nice long bound volume on my shelf.
posted by davidgentle at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2001

I would pay Scott McCloud up to a buck per page for his stuff. The problem I see is how lesser known artists would grow. Would they offer free samples to tease you in to the rest of the story?
posted by mathowie at 2:04 PM on January 28, 2001

A buck a page? That's 20-odd bucks per issue of Zot! Calm down, Matt, you'll price the rest of us out of the market.
posted by rodii at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2001

"Up to a buck" is what I said. Doesn't mean everything on his site should cost that much. Anything in the $0.10-1.00 range would work.

I never thought comics could work online, until I read Scott's Chess story. That's easily worth 2 bucks.
posted by mathowie at 3:00 PM on January 28, 2001

I love Sinfest.

nicwolff, if you're using IE on a pc, go into your IE settings, select the Security tab, then add "*.tripod.com" to your restricted sites list (it won't allow tripod sites to run javascript, i.e. no popups).

Is there any other way to do this, via a personal firewall, or some program, or anything? (On a Mac, of course.) I'd set the IE Security tab, but that would also turn off any legit Javascript users' pages might contain. I could have sworn I read somewhere that there are ways just to stop certain popups.
posted by aaron at 3:04 PM on January 28, 2001

Would this help, aaron? (i've never used it myself, but it's fer mac...)
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:28 PM on January 28, 2001

Ooooh, that looks very nice! Thanks, Sam!
posted by aaron at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2001

Oh, scratch that. Looks like they never got around to making a Mac installer. :(
posted by aaron at 3:36 PM on January 28, 2001

Oh, damn. Sorry. Well, here's another one, called Webfree, but if this doesn't work, I'm out of ideas ;)
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2001

You can do this in the Mac version of IE as well. Open the Preferences, go to Security Zones, change the pop-up menu to "Restricted Sites Zone," click Add Sites, enter "members.tripod.com" in the dialog. Close the Add Sites dialog, then click the Custom radio button and then click the Settings button. Scroll down to the bottom of that dialog and make sure "Execute Scripts" and "Execute Scriptlets" are set to "Disable." Close that dialog, close the preferences. Et voila.
posted by kindall at 3:53 PM on January 28, 2001

Re: Sinfest... if the guy pitched a comic strip based on just the dog and cat characters to a major syndicate, he could probably get picked up. It's that good.
posted by kindall at 3:56 PM on January 28, 2001

WebFree, by the way, doesn't work so well with recent versions of the Mac OS, and the guy who wrote it doesn't seem very interested in updating it. A lot of people have unexpected problems with their Mac's TCP/IP networking after installing it.

(Yes, I should have posted all that in one message. Sue me.)
posted by kindall at 3:57 PM on January 28, 2001

Ah, a *web* page. OK, I could go for that. I thought you meant an on-paper comic book page.

I agree, the chess comic is great. I'm partial to Choose Your Own Carl myself.

Watch out for WebFree, guys. I was getting very fluky, intermittent HTML problems (random tags having their first three characters commented out) for a long time before Brother Mars Saxman pointed out WebFree as a possible culprit.
posted by rodii at 4:20 PM on January 28, 2001

kindal, just the cat and dog ones? please, they're sanitised dullness. and anyway, how many dog and cat cartoons does the world need?

the rest of sinfest is original, witty, topical, etc.. but the cat and dog stuff? ugh..

more on topic, when i am king could transfer to flash episodes quite well me thinks..

and on the issue of paying for online comics, i'd think even just 5-10c per daily strip would make it worthwhile for the comic artists, and i for one would be more than willing to pay..
posted by titboy at 8:43 PM on January 28, 2001

kindal, just the cat and dog ones? please, they're sanitised dullness.

Which is exactly why he could get them syndicated, eh?
posted by kindall at 11:04 PM on January 28, 2001

(By "it's that good" I guess I meant that even the dullest part is good enough to get syndicated, and the rest, while probably too out there for syndication, is even better.)
posted by kindall at 11:05 PM on January 28, 2001

I'm still partial to Triangle and Robert, myself.
posted by CrayDrygu at 6:43 AM on January 29, 2001

Interesting to note that the strips cited here (save McCloud's and Demian.5's) follow the fairly traditional panel layout favored by print comic artists. Not to veer too close to a photo.net argument here, but if an online comic has a flash animated panel, is it still a comic? Or something else?

I say no. I like "When I Am King," and I am pleased that Demian.5 uses web tools to tell a story in a newish way. But I feel that it's not really a comic in the traditional sense. FlashComic? Graphic sequence? Sequential story? I don't know what to call it. What do you folks think?
posted by JDC8 at 5:10 PM on January 29, 2001

JDC8: I wouldn't pay anything for it. If I had to pay to get in, I simply wouldn't bother. It has nothing to do with the quality of the strip; the act of reading (?) a comic strip simply isn't that important.

posted by Mars Saxman at 6:35 PM on January 29, 2001

A comic book is a combination of design and image making in the service of continuity. So I would categorise When I am king as a comic. Thanks.
posted by davidgentle at 8:16 PM on January 29, 2001

I'm usually completely against the use of animation in comics, but in this case I think the guy is using it in such a way that the motion becomes part of the specific point of the image. A figure running, or the camel's mouth quivering, is on a loop & is not a finite action with a beginning and end. There's no before and after, which is the role that the panel-to-panel transitions play. To see the story advance, you still have to read the thing.
posted by David Gaddis at 10:01 PM on January 29, 2001

"When I am king, you will be first against the wall." (Radiohead)

Sorry, couldn't get that out of my mind, now you can't either.
posted by kindall at 11:41 PM on January 29, 2001

Kindall "...with your opinions which are of no consequence at all."

Mars Do you consider reading comic strips unimportant to you or generally unimportant? Please elaborate.

Gaddis Good point about the strip's contained, limited animation. I hope that other online comic artists consider your point. By the way, what's up with Autopilot?
posted by JDC8 at 11:56 PM on January 29, 2001

Do you consider reading comic strips unimportant to you or generally unimportant? Please elaborate.

To me, but if I thought I was the only one who felt that way I wouldn't have bothered commenting. :-) I mean this not to imply that comic strips are a "lesser" form of art in some way, but that art as entertainment is in a sense disposable.

I was making an oblique comment about the dicey future of "micropayment" based webart. The web is a huge place, and someone looking for generalized entertainment has quite an array of choices. If one such choice begins to charge for entry, it is far more likely that it will lose most of its audience than that it will start making money. Furthermore, this is likely to be true even if an entire category of web-entertainment starts demanding payment; my impression is that people don't fire up a web browser specifically to look for Comics On The Web (or some such grouping), they stumble across them while wandering around looking for interesting things. Charging money impedes the stumbling process.

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2001

Mars: So are you saying that comics in general are inevitably just entertainment or just that people who find them on the web are just looking for entertainment?
posted by davidgentle at 5:19 PM on January 30, 2001

Old but just discovered by me: Peter Blegvad's Leviathan. Peter's been one of my musical heroes for twenty years, and I never knew he did this strip, which ran in the Independent from 1992 to 1999. And in fact it's just come out in book form. Huh.
posted by rodii at 6:37 PM on January 30, 2001

strip's contained, limited animation

Wait a second. This thing has animation?

Huh. I guess it does. I long ago turned off looping in IE, and this animation relies heavily on loops.
posted by kindall at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2001

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