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My new project

  Posted by johnhattan, 24 January 2011 · 266 views

Okay, I hinted on it on <Insert Social Network Here> a couple of times. And I've been rolling the technical specifics around in my head for a couple of months. So I took about ten days full-time to implement the back-end. And now it's done.

It's my own webcomic, The Angriest Programmer In The World

First off, the thinking behind it.

I found recently, while working, that I was building some juicy one-liners in my head. Mostly geeky. Usually angry. And while Twitter is usually the venue for such brain-droppings, I found that they often didn't fit. I needed something more like the Laugh-In blackout gags, with a couple of characters interacting.

And I liked the minimalist style of Dinosaur Comics and the even more minimal Angriest Rice Cooker In The World (RIP), both of which are influenced by David Lynch's Angriest Dog In The World. I thought that Rice Cooker was a bit limited in that it was one character only, thus making it work better as a Twitter avatar than a standalone comic strip (ala Twitter feeds like Atheist Hulk*). Angriest Dog appears to have more than one character, but they're never shown so you can't really identify with them. So I decided to make a comic with 1.5 characters (one isn't entirely sentient) as well as a computer and a narrator with which the main character could interact. And I went with four frames because three frames is occasionally too short if you have two characters.

Basically the whole thing is based on single static frames like Angriest * In the World, only with a couple of persistent interacting characters like Dinosaur Comics and some deeply geeky jokes like in XKCD.

So yes, this ain't art. This is a derivative cynical ploy to grab some geek eyeballs.

And that's nothing new. I remember reading once that the guy who makes Garfield used to be in advertising and he chose a cartoon about a cat because there was already a top-tier and a second-tier newspaper comic dog (Snoopy and Marmaduke) and a second-tier newspaper comic cat (Heathcliff) so he went with a cat hoping to fill the top-tier comic cat void. I'm not trying to become a top-tier anything. I'm just making a character who will vent his id to the world while making pop culture references at a more deeply geeky level than stuff intended to appeal to normals like "Big Bang Theory".

In other words, if you don't get the jokes, then it ain't for you. Belvin probably won't throw in a joke about how much he hates Mondays every week so you won't be scared away by the joke about brace-indenting that you didn't get.

And someday I'll likely put something together that will let people send in their own corporate and/or programmer stupidity (ala Dilbert) so Belvin Klapoknik can have new things to yell about.


As for the future, this is a soft launch. I want a dozen or two comics on the site so people will have a reason to stay for more than ten seconds. I'll see if this keeps going and gets enough eyeballs to justify its existence. If so, then yay. If I run out of ideas (like the Lazy Programmer videos) or nobody cares (like Cryptotwit and Hangtwit), then it'll wither.

What I'd like from you right now isn't publicity. While I'd like for a zillion people to press the "share this comic on &LT;Insert Social Network Here&GT; buttons under the comic, and I'd like a zillion people to subscribe to the daily comic feed in Google Reader, I also know that there's not currently enough stuff there to compel people to stay. And I don't want you to share a comic unless you actually think it's funny. If you share a joke out of obligation, then your &LT;Insert Social Network Here&GT; friends probably will find it as unamusing as you did, and that won't help.

So instead I'd just like a little feedback. I've been playing with it in BrowserLab, and it looks reasonable in most browsers. There's still a little tinkering (HTML, like Java, is "write once, port everywhere"), but I'd like to hear what you like and hate.

And, yes, I know Comic Sans is evil. Problem is, damn near every comic font I've found either doesn't look good at a small size or has a very limited character set. I have a comic this week with umlauts, and I didn't want to draw them manually**.


*why my own Twitter feed is the second hit for "Atheist Hulk" is entirely beyond me. I just noticed it, and I suspect someone's stuffing the Google box there.

**and by that, I mean "I don't have a way to draw them manually that isn't horrendously complicated, as these comics, if you haven't figured out yet, are auto-generated from a custom XML-based comic rendering language and never see a paint program.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5927544581291786949-7590652973484458809?l=thecodezone.blogspot.com

Source




It's excellent. What on earth are you on about with the custom XML-based comic rendering language? I was going to compliment the excellent artwork as well as the content but now I'm confused. :)

I'm liking it on all the social networks I'm on, if that's any help. Not out of obligation, more because I know all my non-geek friends won't get it, thus adding to my geek-mystique.
The art is a chunk of clipart I bought for $11. The rest is built out in PHP. I provide an XML description of the word-balloons and it draws the rest. It's actually quite clever.
Just noticed it's the same picture with different dialogs.

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