Ouch, looks like today’s comic strip will be delayed a little while as I pretty much spent all day yesterday in bed groaning with headaches and/or sleeping instead of drawing. Hopefully it will only be a few hours late, however that’s now dependable on whether or not I manage to stay awake for more than 15 minutes. Stay tuned!
Well, I just had to blog about this: Apparently today, the first Monday in February, is in fact “National Sick Day” – the one day per year when the most employees call in sick for no good reason. Now, I had no knowledge of this day when I made today’s comic, so this definitely chalks up as a really weird coincidence! You can read more about the phenomenon here.
And to make matters even more uncanny, I seriously contemplated calling in sick to work today – as I felt pretty awful – but decided against it when I realized that I always do. Well, I guess that’s not really uncanny, just… sad.
Anyway, I hope you found this amusing as well, whether you’re at work or at home wrapped under a blanket watching Oprah reruns.
So instead of a new comic this past Monday, I figured I should post a finished version of the “25 Expressions Challenge”. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might have seen a work-in-progress version a few months back, but today I decided to ink and color it for your viewing pleasure. But what is it, I hear you ask? Well, basically it’s an exercise for comic creators in conveying facial expressions of their characters. I basically only have one character anyway, the nerdy glasses-wearing guy, so I quickly gave it a shot. Behold:
Hopefully most of these get the intended emotion across, and if they don’t – my excuse is that I pretty much had to look up a few of these words in a dictionary. Either way, a fun wholesome game for the entire family can be played if you cover the words below each image and try to guess the correct description based on the drawing. So gather your parents and grandparents for some festive fun cramped together on the couch! Once completed, you can go right back into your regular Christmas schedule of fighting and screaming. Oh, and if you’re a comic creator yourself, or even if you’re not, an empty template to doodle on is located here.
Also, with some luck there should be a new comic strip later this week, but unfortunately I seem to have caught some sort of nasty cold. Basically I feel most like the expression in the lower right corner at the moment (lower left corner is how I’d like to feel), so I guess we’ll have to see if I feel up to some drawing later.
Indeed! The other day I posted the 100th Optipess comic, so I figured a retrospective look back on these first one hundred comic strips would be in order, complete with obscure trivia and insightful statistics. But actually, first off, Friday’s comic is not really the 100th comic I made – that honor goes to the page-sized sad tale of Duck Hunt, posted as the 83rd comic. This means I still have quite a few older “unpublished” Optipess comics lying around, but chances are these won’t be seeing the light of day, at least not posted as regular strips. Anyway, here are some tidbits of random information and useless trivia about Optipess’ humble beginnings, presented in a handy bullet-point list:
- The first 15 Optipess comics were made within a few weeks of spring 2007 to meet the deadline to a comic strip contest run by Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Of these, only five have been posted on this site; Amazing Superpowers, Bomb Threats, An Epiphany, Stopwatch and The End.
- Optipess did not win the aforementioned contest or anything, but I was quite pleased to rank in the top 25. As a result of this a select few of my early strips were even featured in an art gallery exhibition during the summer of 2007.
- 44% of these first 100 strips featured someone dying. This proves that death is quite hilarious in most cases.
- 48% were pantomime, i.e. without speech bubbles. This is interesting to me since my very first strips were very focused on having text-boxes accompanying each panel. Eventually it dawned on me that a “show, don’t tell” approach would be a better way to go.
- 14% are without the glasses guy, whose character design more or less is based on me. Actually, Optipess was first intended to be a personal journal comic of some sort, but I decided against it when I realized that truly interesting events in my life are very few and far between.
- There are actually 102 strips posted on this site. The odd ones out are the very first Optipess comic and the excellent guest strip by reader Mico.
- 15% are in an “alternate style”, where I basically tried to experiment in other styles than the usual cartoony look. I can’t tell if these attempts were successful, but at least they were fun to do.
- Only 6 strips were sketched and inked with traditional media, the rest are completely digital. All strips were colored digitally, except one.
- According to Google Analytics, Optipess.com has been visited 266 253 times since December 1st 2008, ranking up 774 680 page views — which probably are the same numbers Penny Arcade get in one day.
- The top 3 most viewed strips are Jason, Friend of the Butterflies, Support Groups and The Microwaveman.
- Top 3 referrers to Optipess.com have been StumbleUpon, Reddit and IsItFunnyToday.
- Weirdest search terms leading traffic to my site are probably “Ape Escape porn comics”, “one leg pelvic thrust” or “zlorx”.
- Most site visitors are not surprisingly from the United States, with Canada and United Kingdom trailing behind. Norway is in 5th. At the bottom of the list we have less awesome countries such as Vanuatu, Burkina Faso, Libya, Gabon and Kazakhstan.
Ok, that’s it. Thanks for reading these first 100 comics, and hopefully you’ll stick around for a hundred more!
Looks like I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while, so I’ve decided to step it up a bit from now on. I will indeed “get my blog on” or “blog it up”, if you will. First out is a roundup of all the new (well, new to me) webcomics I’ve added to my RSS reader lately. They’re all pretty awesome and well worth checking out.
The Bad Chemicals by a guy named Brent and his bulldog Junior is a dark and hilarious depiction of life in America, complete with pretty colors and huge triangular noses. Much like the equally excellent Pictures for Sad Children, The Bad Chemicals also features somewhat simplistic drawings that in the end adds to the humor, making it all the more funnier. Especially the consistently sad eyes all the characters are sporting make every twisted scenario even more tangible, heartwrenching and hilarious.
Haiku Comics by brothers Nathan and Robert Olsen does not only exactly what the title promises, fusing haikus and comics together, but also features aliens, a lot of vampires, and literally a ton of zombies of every variety — even zombie babies. I’m loving the half-tone look of the art by Nathan which works wonderfully coupled together with the words by Robert, succeeding in elevating Haiku Comics to something truly unique and refreshing in the webcomics scene.
Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart is the only long-form comic of this roundup, coming across like a combination of the intriguing storytelling technique of LOST, and the surreal and twisted reality of a David Lynch movie. Stewart teases the readers excellently with every new page, always keeping them guessing where the story may turn. Actually, the week-long (and lately even longer) wait between each installment may become too much for most, though. Here’s hoping the entire story, once completed, will be compiled in a book available for purchase – so that Sin Titulo can be called a “page-turner” both figuratively and literally.
Space Avalanche hails from Ireland, where creator Eoin Ryan presents his hilarious random mashup jokes, ranging from this classic setup with a brilliant twist to numerous Star Trek strips that will have both fans and non-fans alike in stitches. The pop-culture references are frequent, but rarely too obscure, giving the comic a vibe similar to both The Perry Bible Fellowship and Truck Bearing Kibble. Highly recommended!