Having done a round-up of the blogs I read, I thought I’d work through some of the webcomics. These are much nerdier! — Or at least, nerdier in a different direction.
Describing much of my life for the past seven years, is Piled High and Deeper, also known as PhD Comics. The author, Jorge Cham, has just finished making a movie out of his comic, which unfortunately is not screening anywhere near me, but the comic is wonderful. I read through all the archives to date during one blitz week during my MA when I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be studying Latin or Old English or writing a paper on Beowulf (how I hated that paper on Beowulf . . .), and have read it regularly ever since.
Even nerdier, with mathematics jokes I rarely get and science fiction tv ones I get more than I should given the amount of Joss Whedon shows I actually watch (which is very little), is xkcd. Make sure to mouse hover to read the bonus text. The same goes for Dinosaur Comics, which has exactly the same five panels each time and an apparent infinity of jest across them. The occasional conversations between Tyrannosaurus Rex, God, and the Devil are just brilliant, especially God’s view on hypothetical questions and the Devil’s on video games.
Irregular Webcomic is made out of Lego bricks, with annotations explaining the more recondite mathematical and computer jokes (and thus helping me occasionally with xkcd). The entire universe has been destroyed in it at least once. After years of daily strips, the author has finally decided to move on to writing essays about the marvels of science on Sundays, but much to my great delight — as I was going to start reading the comic over again at the beginning anyway — a few weeks ago he started again at the beginning, with fuller annotations. There are spoofs of James Bond, Indiana Jones, Death, Steve the Crocodile Wrestler (the artist is Australian), Lovecraft, Shakespeare, modern office culture, oh, just about everything.
Nerdy in a more literary fashion is the story of the librarians of Mallville, USA, whose exploits and misadventures are recounted in Unshelved. Then there are the talking duck, non-talking but nevertheless fantastically accomplished lizard, ten-year-old billionaire and ordinary grandfather of Sheldon Comics, and Dave Kellett’s other project, the science fiction comedy of politics and conquest, Drive, which I wish would update more frequently.
I recently discovered Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic. I find my fascination with stories based on role-playing games strange given that I don’t actually play any (the one time I started I became increasingly frustrated with the application of brute chance to important character traits and events), but I do have lots of friends who do, and I enjoy the creative spoofs on them.