The Firestarter / Disaster Girl

Do you remember the photo of the young girl standing in front of a house fire with a suspicious smile I posted in a news entry last October? Well, I found out that the girl’s name is Zoe and that she had nothing to do with the fire which was started by the fire department itself for training. You can read the whole story behind the picture on the blog Traveling Roths of Zoe’s father Dave who took the photo. The original title of the picture is The Firestarter but it’s more commonly known as Disaster Girl. I think it’s a fantastic photo and I managed to get a 20” x 16” (50 cm x 40 cm) large print version of it. The signature in the lower left corner says: “For Oliver from Zoe & Dave”.

Firestarter / Disaster Girl poster
Thank you very much, Dave and Zoe!

Do I even have to mention that trying to put it in a frame nearly led to disaster? I made a bent in the print and the glass of the frame broke in two. Thankfully I had another glass of the same size. There’s now also some dust on the inside but I don’t dare to open that frame ever again…I guess all of this makes the print only more authentic. 😉

Design Update

Completely unrelated to that I made some minor updates to the design of the website. Most notably there’s now an explanation which HTML tags you can use when writing a comment.

Gunnerkrigg Court and The Webcomic List Awards 2009

Gunnerkrigg Court

Gunnerkrigg Court

Gunnerkrigg Court does not look much like a school at all.

It closer resembles a large industrial complex than a place of learning.

Within the first week of my attendance, I began noticing a number of strange occurrences.

The most prevalent of these oddities being the fact that I seemed to have obtained a second shadow.

That’s the awesome beginning of an awesome comic, Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell. It is the big winner of The Webcomic List Awards 2009 whose winners have been announced today. It did not only win the main category “Best Comic”, but also the awards for “Best Writing” and “Best Longform”. I was a judge for several of its categories and Gunnerkrigg Court has been my favorite comic in the contest by far. My copy of its first print edition has already arrived. 🙂 Gunnerkrigg Court is a fantasy comic with sci-fi elements subdivided into more or less self-contained chapters. They tell the mysterious story of the young girl Antimony “Annie” Carver and her best friend Katerina “Kat” Donlan who attend the eponymous school as they get involved in the political intrigues between Gunnerkrigg Court and the mythical creatures of Gillitie Wood, a forest near the school.

Go check it out!

After the discontinuation of the Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards I and several other members of the webcomic community site The Webcomic List felt the need for a replacement and came up with the idea for a new award called The Webcomic List Awards in July 2009. Webcomic creators and other people involved in comics were asked for their favorites; the winner of each category was then established by a panel of judges, including for example Brad Guigar of Evil Inc. for “Best Gag-a-Day”, among the five webcomics with the most nominations.

On the website of The Webcomic List Awards 2009 you can have a look at the comic pages drawn by our community members to present the categories, announce the nominees and celebrate the winners.

However, if you are just interested in the winners of each category, here they are:



Best Comic:

Best New Comic:

Best Gag-a-Day:

Best Longform:

Best Colour Art:

Best Black and White Art:

Best Non-Traditional Art:

Best Writing:

Best Character:

  • Digger of Digger by Ursula Vernon

If you have a webcomic site of your own, it would be great if you could write a news entry about our award and the winners of it. It is currently the only general webcomic award with additional categories other than “Best Webcomic” (which exists for example as part of the Ignatz Awards or the Harvey Awards). However, it was also our goal to keep the number of different categories low so that each one is worth more. Since it is also not a popularity contest the most popular webcomics (Penny Arcade, XKCD, etc.) don’t win by default.

We believe that all winning comics are of very high quality and therefore worth checking out. So have a look at them and spread the word!

Danger(s) to the existence of Sandra and Woo

I estimate that around 90% of our readers have come here for the first time by clicking on one of our ads on other webcomic websites delivered by Project Wonderful. Today, Project Wonderful introduced geo targeting which makes it possible to let your ads appear only in certain regions: USA, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world. This does not sound like much at first. But the way it is implemented, especially the lack of an option to advertise “worldwide”, is a COMPLETE DISASTER really bad for Sandra and Woo. The two core principles of my clever advertising strategy may very well no longer work properly in the future. I guess that I will have to pay twice as much as significantly more than before to get the same amount of new readers. And all of them will be in the United States, which is also very unsatisfying. So far I have spent


(net) for Sandra and Woo. During the last months my own advertising revenues from the ads on our website were large enough so that I could not only pay the Project Wonderful bill, but also parts of Powree’s salary. But I seriously doubt this will still be possible in the future after this change. As a college student the whole thing really, really hurts me. It is also very frustrating for me that other webcomic creators are able to earn several hundred or even thousand dollars per month while I’m constantly losing money.

Since there has been no particular interest in our merchandising or book, I’m now directly asking you for donations so that I can continue to pay the bills for Sandra and Woo. It is not yet a question of life and death if I shouldn’t be able to get some money that way, but if just one of our main ad agencies would drop Sandra and Woo it WILL BE.

So please consider to:

(Raised $646.93 so far, thank you very much!)

UPDATE: I have received a rather promising e-mail by the staff of Project Wonderful. The whole thing might not turn out as bad as it seemed after the first look at all the changes. However, while I probalby won’t have to spend twice as much for advertising in future like I guessed at first, it will certainly be more than in the past. The fact also remains that I have spent a large amount of money for Sandra and Woo and there are only so many financial setbacks like this one I’ll be able to cope with.

Webcomic tips

I NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Blog it on your blog… mention CK in a forum, anything!?

Scotty Arsenault posted this message to his readers on the website of his great webcomic Commander Kitty last week. And I can only repeat it: The easiest way to support webcartoonists is to post about their comic on your website or in forums you visit. Because all the work we put into our comics is only justified in the end when the audience is large enough.

So I want to set a good example and offer some new webcomic tips (a news topic which has proven to be very popular in the past):

  • Life Ain’t no Pony FarmLife Ain’t no Pony Farm is a journal-style comedy comic by the German artist Sarah Burrini, featuring herself and a bunch of talking animals as her roommates. While she was still searching for the right type of humor at the beginning, the comic strip has taken a very promising route lately.
  • Some of you have probably already heard of Daisy Owl and I’m not entirely convinced that the huge hype about it is justified. But it is certainly among the best new comedy webcomics. It features the girl Daisy, her little brother Cooper, their adoptive father Benjamin Owl (an owl) and Mr. Owl’s friend Steve Brown (a bear). Some strips are very weird/dadaistic, making them a case of hit-or-miss. But there are some real gems hidden in the archive, so you should check it out.
  • DuxterI have already talked about Duxter before, but that was a long time ago and I believe another mention is justified since it’s certainly among the most hilarious comic strips ever written by a teenager. Sadly, it has been on hiatus for over a year now, but at least the archive consisting of around 200 strips is back online. The titular character Duxter is a duck with a slightly severely skewed moral compass who lives together with two equally strange roommates.
  • Another archive resurrected from the dead is that of Alice!, a newspaper-style comic strip originally published from 1999 to 2006. While it’s heavily inspired by Calvin and Hobbes, it never really manages to reach its quality. Alice! follows the wacky adventures of the teenage girl Alice, who shares Calvin’s vivid imagination, and her friend Dot, who plays the role of the “straight girl” in the comic. Its massive archive is a decent read for long winter nights.
  • But my favorite recently discovered “webcomic” are the very clever cartoons drawn by Bob-Rz for his DeviantArt gallery. A lot of the strips deal with the bitter aspects of love, seen from a male perspective. But there’s also a good load of cartoons that are just plain silly, often with rather suggestive gags. Unfortunately, updates have been few and far between for the last two years.

Bob-Rz: True Love?

Second Sandra and Woo chat

Although there were not that many chatters, I (and apparently the other chatters as well) enjoyed our first Sandra and Woo chat in October 2008. So why not do another one every three months or so? This time I picked a chat time so that it’s afternoon in the U.S. Because of this Powree will not be able to attend since it’s 5 o’clock in the morning in Indonesia.

Chat time on Saturday, 23 January 2010:

  • US Pacific Standard Time: 14:00 (2:00 p.m.)
  • US Eastern Standard Time: 17:00 (5:00 p.m.)
  • Great Britain: 22:00 (10:00 p.m.)
  • Central European Time: 23:00 (11:00 p.m.)
  • Indonesia: 5:00 (5:00 a.m.) – Sunday!

Our Flash based chat can be found at:

Apart from making some general remarks about future story arcs I also plan to talk about how the characters got their names.