Gateway Drugs: Alt-Tab! or, What I Really Do All Day
Posted October 24, 2009on:
Like I’m sure most of you, I have a pretty boring job. It’s not that I don’t like it or anything – I work with cool people, and sometimes I even get to do fun stuff like write and get paid for it. Most days, I would characterize myself as someone who is reasonably satisfied with his current position in the workforce.
And then there are days like today, which I will mostly spend stuffing envelopes. This is, needless to say, not exactly my recipe for spiritual fulfillment in a career. But that is why God gave us webcomics. The odds are good that I’ll spend most of my Friday reading a lot of webcomics, covertly opening new tabs that can transform, as if by magic, into my e-mail or an online calendar at the drop of a hat, should the need arise.
For the most part, I’ll probably get through on comics like Overcompensating and A Softer World – frequently updated, strip style comics that demonstrate what the real estate above the crossword puzzle in your newspaper would look like if the Lifestyles editor had a better sense of humor and a steady supply of peyote. Other things in this vein that will be occupying time that could probably be better spent include the unchanging but ever fresh awesomeness of Dinosaur Comics, the subversive clip art of strips like Wondermark and Married to the Sea, the often hilarious but sometimes just confusing Pictures for Sad Children, and xkcd, which is written by a real life rocket scientist, which means you will occasionally have to look something up to get the joke, but you will generally be glad you did. And remember – not everything worth reading is still updating regularly, but lots of it remains available online. Just the archives of Perry Bible Fellowship, A Lesson Is Learned, But The Damage Is Irreversible and the once again updating (HOORAY!) Copper can provide entertainment for plenty of coffee breaks.
For those of you looking for more than just a brief respite from the doldrums of the day job, there are plenty of ongoing books that you can really sink your teeth into. 8 Bit Theater was among the first webcomics I ever read, and almost 1200 installments later it is still going strong. I’m a later but no less enthusiastic adopter of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, about a doctor who is also a ninja…or a ninja who is also a doctor. Admittedly, that is something of a fine distinction, but an important one.
And then there are the couple of books that really rise above and distinguish themselves and the medium. Do yourself a favor and start from the beginning of Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield’s post apocalyptic sci-fi epic Freak Angels. And then read the beautiful, charming and whimsical story of The Abominable Charles Christopher, a gorgeous black and white series featuring talking animals and a Buster Keaton-esque yeti, which is equal parts Watership Down and Judd Apatow movie. It’s probably the best ongoing story going on the web right now. Why no one has picked this up for a collection is absolutely beyond me.
But enough about me. What are you folks really reading while you pretend to fill out spreadsheets and analyze sales data all day?