I have a confession: I haven’t actually read a lot of classic science fiction, and most of what I have read, I hated. Clarke’s too horny, Bradbury’s too racist, Dick’s too pessimistic, Orwell’s too reactionary. But one book in the “canon” actually stuck with me to this day because of its exploration of non-human intelligence: Asimov’s I, Robot.
There are interesting layers of meaning to the word “soft”. In one sense, it can mean comfortable, inviting, pleasant to touch. In another, it conveys instead looseness, a lack of structure, or a yielding quality. These connotations have an unspoken gendered quality to them – “soft” is code, in so many ways, for “feminine”, and whether something being soft is a good or bad thing betrays much about the speaker’s attitude towards femininity.
Webcomics have been happening since basically the beginning of the web itself, but it wasn’t until the dot-com boom of the late 90s that the medium began to attract attention and grow in a significant way. The “build it and they will come” optimism of this period made the majority of web content completely unbearable, and webcomics were no exception; much like how every asshole with a half-baked business model thought the internet would make them a millionaire, suddenly there were dozens of mediocre dudes who thought that the world wanted to hear their video game opinions.
Autobiographies are a dangerous creature. If you think of a story as a product, something a writer produces for consumption by readers, then when you craft an autobiographical work, the product isn’t merely your story – it’s you. In many ways, what you’re selling is yourself. (This is an update to an old review I had removed. I feel that it now meets my new standards.)
If you’re surprised that I’m including Chick Tracts in my reviews of webcomics, I’ve got news for you: Jack T. Chick is one of the original webcomickers.