Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Webcomic "The Rack" comes to an end

I don't know how or why I came to the webcomic "The Rack", but I know I've been reading it for what has to have been three years.  What's most remarkable about "The Rack" is that it maintained a rigorous production schedule of several installments per week over that entire period (and I came in late, it started 02/02/2007).

Yesterday, Agreeable Comics posted the surprise final installment.  Or what I assume is the last installment since that's exactly what they said it was.

The series followed the life behind the counter, and then outside walls, of a suburban comic shop.  The humor often came from how well you came to know the characters, recognized comic shop stereotypes, issues with comics and the fan community, lived in the web's geek-o-sphere, etc...  But, again, ultimately it came down to the characters.  I used to cackle that my "reviews" of comics sounded like junior versions of the pedantic Danny Levitz, and all of the characters had specific viewpoints on comics, matching their POV as a character.

Just as fellow fans can grate on you online, every so often a strip would rub me the wrong way, but it always came from a place of honesty, and even if I didn't laugh, I might at least pause to consider, and that's what some of the best humor manages to pull off.

I didn't hype the strip here because, tragically, I believed the jokes a little comics-insidery for, say, my dad.

In the end, I think you can say that writer Kevin Church and artist Benjamin Birdie put out not just a considerable product and body of work, but were pioneers in showing other folks how this webcomics thing should be done.

Its a hard place out there, and as I've often pointed out, the internet does not pay.  Cyberspace isn't even hard, its just empty and void except for the occasional flyby of someone giving you the thumbs up or the occasional jerk sitting on your stoop when you wake up in the morning telling you they think your birth was a mistake.   We can't all be Gary Trudeau, still cranking out "Doonesbury" two decades after the audience quit reading the paper, and still get paid.

I don't know why Church and Birdie ended it, but that's their business.  I respect it, and I wish them both the best.  But here's to 4 years of steady, good work.  May we all be so lucky to say we did anything half as well for a quarter as long.

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