Thursday, January 3, 2013


Everyone needs to relax. It’s necessary to one’s sanity. There are quite a few things I like to do to relax: watch a favorite show while I work on some project involving yarn; read books; play the occasional video game; or read some webcomics.

Usually when the word “comic” is used, most people’s minds leap directly to Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. There are quite a few fans of those type of comics, but I am actually not one of them. Surprisingly to some, there are types of comics other than stories about super heroes, and a good example can be found in the newspaper.

The Funny Papers aren’t always funny. If you only read them on a Sunday, they usually are, because most artist take into account the fact that lots of people only read their comic on a Sunday. But if you read Luann on a Tuesday, chances are that it may only be mildly amusing and there is a very high chance that you will not understand whatever it is that the characters are talking about. That's because syndicated comics have story lines that are ongoing, and those that buy themselves a paper every day get to follow these stories.

There are comics like this all over the internet, created by talented, hardworking, and often unpaid writers and artists. Quite a few of these comics are better, in my opinion, than what you find in the newspaper.

I can’t remember who first introduced me to webcomics, but before long I was collecting urls. It’s not the same as going to a comic book store and looking for old or rare editions. I did have a notebook, though, where I wrote down the url, a reminder for myself what kind of comic it was (romance, fantasy, sci-fi, etc), and when the last time was that I read it. It was a small notebook, and my love for new stories had me gathering as many new comics as I could find, and soon the notebook was full. On top of that, the pages were getting frayed in the spots where I recorded the most recent views, erased, and then recorded again. I quickly realized that paper medium was not the correct way to store something I was enjoying online, so my recording system had to be digitized as well.

This was a bad idea. A notebook has a beginning and an end. An Excel spreadsheet has a beginning, but... it was almost immediately gigantic. There were over 100 comics on it, some of them I read all the time, some only occasionally, and some were ones I just planned on reading and wanted to save the urls for later.

Then, tragedy struck. My computer crashed, taking everything I had stored on it to the place where lost information goes. I should have taken this as a sign. I was not meant for all of those webcomics, and it was best that I should just regularly keep up with the ones I could remember without having to keep the urls written down somewhere. It would have been best. But I rebuilt my empire. It grew and grew until my replacement computer crashed. But this time, I had backup! I had saved my spreadsheet on a flash drive, and reloaded the file onto my new computer.

However, by then, another, quieter tragedy was happening. “Life” isn’t technically a tragedy, but it is if you’re looking at it from the continued need for the existence of my webcomics spreadsheet of doom. I was working two and sometimes three jobs while still going to school and managing to maintain a halfway decent social life. There wasn’t much time for myself, and when there was, I was using it to sleep or to talk to my fiance on the phone. I'd read webcomics most often when I was trying to avoid doing homework, and usually only to catch up on those that were already my favorites. After a while, I only had time to get to them during the Christmas holidays, or sometimes I'd have time in the summer to relax with them.

Today, there are over 200 comics hanging out in my webcomics spreadsheet. I’m slowly whittling them down when I have the time, reading ones that are new to me, deleting old addresses that don’t host the comic I’d originally hoped to read anymore. But mostly, if I’m going to catch up on my webcomics, I get to about the first ten or twenty, then get distracted with my wonderful life.

Even though I only read one webcomic on a weekly basis now, I’m still on the lookout for good ones. I’ll find one, read through it, recommend it to my husband or other friends, and make sure it goes down in my spreadsheet. That way, someday down the road, when I’m relaxing, I’ll be able to come across it and enjoy it again.

I recommend reading webcomics to relax. And if you ever feel the need to read one, let me know. I think I’ve got a few I can point you toward.

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