Baopu

A+

You probably know Yao Xiao’s work already, even if you don’t remember her name. The artist’s recent comic “If you want to say thank you, don’t say sorry“, published on Autostraddle, recently went viral on social media – and for good reason: it presents a simple mental tool for redirecting the impulse to apologize into something more positive. For those of us conditioned to apologize for our very existence, that small reminder of our worth is incredibly powerful.

Octopus Pie

C

I admit it: I don’t really “get” New York City. I’ve been there of course, visiting friends, etc. I’ve seen the Met, the village, the park, the restaurants, the bridges, the endless highway gridlock, the claustrophobic streets, the inescapable smells… you know, the whole experience. And I didn’t really like it! Maybe I’m a country critter at heart, but even other cities I’ve seen and lived in have never felt so fundamentally alienating as New York.

Venus Envy

C

Yes, I’m going to talk more about early-2000s webcomics. No, I’m not sorry. Okay I’m a little sorry. But the differences between modern webcomics and, for lack of a better word, “historical” webcomics are fascinating, especially when identifying the strengths and failures of the medium throughout the years. For instance, the most obvious stylistic influence on modern webcomics is clearly other webcomics; there’s a self-sustaining culture that has grown up around putting pictures with words on the internet. But back in the day? The biggest influence on most early webcomickers was newspaper comics. 

Nicola and Belmondo

B+

It generally doesn’t help to dwell on things past, especially creative endeavors. When a comic dies – even a great comic – it’s usually for real and good reasons, and in my experience it’s better to move on from failed projects than to try to revive them later. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some that I miss.

Undertale

B

There’s a lot of talk in video game analysis about game designers’ overwhelming reliance on violence as a mechanic, and the culture that it encourages. There are, of course, reasons why violent video games are so popular; they allow players a relatively harmless outlet for negative emotions, for one. Certain kinds of violent games also encourage ideas about masculine power and the perceived link between “manliness” and violence, letting men fantasize about shooting people without having to deal with the real-life consequences of doing so. And of course, making characters you only interact with through murderation is a lot easier, development-wise, than letting you have, like, a meaningful conversation with them.