Web comics, online comics, electronicomics, there are probably another half dozen terms for it that I've missed. Whatever you want to call it, graphic narrative on the web is still in it's infancy - even the best artists working in this medium have only begun to scratch the surface of it's possibilities.
I don't think comics on the web are really going to hit their stride until high bandwidth access becomes common enough that dowlnload time is no longer a problem for the average reader/viewer, and the various browser programmers get their shit together and decide to accept some across the board standards (don't even get me started on that one).
My short list of comics links here is mainly oriented to those who I think will have a head start when those things happens. This list is by no means complete, I'm sure there are other good ones out there, but, hey, I can't spend all my time surfing for good online comics - I gotta get some work done now and then, too.
Advance warning - the download times are fairly high on almost all of these sites, so if you're connection is slow, grab yourself a cuppa joe and settle in for a spell.
Charley Parker's whacked out cyberspace comedy is one of the first, and still one of the best entries into the field. Took me a while to realize that it wasn't just the whacky humour that reminded me of the Marx Brothers, Firesign Theatre, or the late lamented Max Headroom TV show - it was also the way he uses the medium to comment on itself.
A dark fantasy/occult adventure series. There's nothing here that you wouldn't see in print comics, the pages are even in print format, but it's a fun read, with a nice graphic style.
The High Priestess and the Cat Dancer
Ray Barnes' story is an amazing roller coaster ride through another world, suspiciously like what Earth will probably become sometime in the next 20 minutes. More of an illustrated novel than a graphic narrative, the 3D graphics are often stunning, and his parody of jargon-heavy SF writing is unerring.
Kevin & Kell
Holbrook's strip is unique only in that it's created and syndicated only on the web. Otherwise, it's an amusing daily strip, competent and professional, on a par with the best of the "dead-tree" medium's daily strips.
Having to a great extent defined what "comics" is for a whole generation of readers with his landmark book Understanding Comics, Scott proceeds to push the envelope that he himself helped establish, with his own unique brand of web comics. In my estimation, Scott's experiments aren't always successful, but what the hell, that's what experiments are for - to find out what works and what doesn't. Successful or not, they're always interesting. Prepare yourself for some long downloads, but definitely check this site out.
This site has three stories, two of them entries in the Dendrite series, which was featured for a while on Hot Wired's RGB gallery. All are VRML-based, best viewed with the Cosmo Player plug-in, and the DL can be a real bitch if you don't have a fast connection. Worth the wait, in my estimation, especially the third story, "Crutch", which, Rashomon-like, approaches the same narrative from three different viewpoints.
Collection of comics by various creators, some pretty interesting, some less so. Worth a look, but fair warning, last time I checked, none of them had been updated for ages.
Computer Generated Art
A couple of sites on comics in general:
The Comics Sites Alliance
Dave Law's Creating Comics
Some resources about creating it, that is...
Mostly oriented to Corel apps Draw and Photopaint, Debbie Cook's site has a number of useful tutorials, and some downloadable filters and script effects.
Lots of information, tutorials, tricks & tips, mostly oriented to Corel apps Draw and Photopaint.
Covers all sorts of types and flavors of computer graphics, and the programs that create them. Quite a list of some very good (and some not so good) tutorials in their "How-to" section.
A veritable font of information on graphics software, technique, and resources. Lots of articles, tutorials, and a series of discussion group forums on just about any computer-graphics related subject you could think of.
Web Graphics & Design
Artist's Resource on Web Design
Just what the title says - a resource on web design for visual artists. Some good articles, and introductory material, lots of great links.
C-Net's guide to web building. Articles, links to resources, downloads. Like Wired's Web Monkey (see below), this one is useful for finding basic info if you're a newbie, with more in-depth material available for the old hands as well.
Nielsen's Alert Box
Current Issues in Web Usability: Bi-weekly column by Dr. Jakob Nielsen. Dr. Nielsen list of credentials is longer than my list of links, and he's clearly one of the world's leading experts on useability issues. The guy is uncompromising when it comes to making your web pages easy for your audience to understand and use. If you're already creating web pages, be prepared to flinch, often.
This is the official site of the World Wide Web consortium, and here you'll find posted all the information you could possibly ever need on creating web pages. The upside is that this is the Official Word from the body that sets the standards for how the web works. The downside is it's language is pretty technical, and assumes a fairly sophisticated knowledge of programming and computers. Not for newbies.
Web Page Design for Designers
Though aimed at print designers who've made the leap to the web, this is not a site devoted to explaining the difference between, say, using Quark and Dreamweaver. The material here assumes you already know the basics of both print and web designing. If you're in the process of making the transition, this site could be of help, but it'll be more useful when it comes to fine tuning your abilities at web design once you get there.
Web Pages That Suck
If the name alone didn't earn it inclusion in any list of sites about web design, Vincent Flanders' lucid writing style and unerring ability to pinpoint just what it is that makes certain web pages suck would certainly merit a reference. As you might expect, the focus is on what not to do with your web page, and he doesn't just hit the blatantly obvious stuff like those obnoxious "blink" tags either - you'll also find good solid reasons not to use approaches that might otherwise seem like a good idea.
The Yale Style Guide
This is one of the most useful sites I've ever come across for either print or web design. It covers both the basics of graphic design in general, and their application to web pages in particular. I can't recommend this one highly enough - if you're new to either print or web design, go read the whole thing. If you know HTML, but haven't studied basic graphic design, go read the whole thing. If you're experienced at both print and web work, read it anyway - it couldn't hurt to take a refresher course.
There are a huge number of sites devoted to "magick", and from what I've seen, most of them repeat the same information in different formats. I've tried to list here the ones I think are unique and/or useful. The sites in this category are not just on Ceremonial & Ritual Magick, but cover a variety of related subjects.
The Ape of Thoth
Looking for works by Crowley? You'll find them here.
Disclaimer: I'm prejudiced on this one, not only because I've been associated for some time with the EarthSpirit Community, but also because the designer and webmistress of this site is the woman of my dreams, and love of my life, Moira Ashleigh. That said, IMO, you could hardly find a better source on modern neo-paganism and earth-based spirituality.
Along with R.A. Wilson, Hakim Bey is one of the most brilliant non-fiction writers living. And like Wilson, he defies categorization. I suppose it's only appropriate that the Temporary Autonomous Zones created by HB's writings are a moveable feast on the web. He doesn't seem to have a website of his own, but pages with his writings appear on and vanish from various sites with alarming frequency. The site I've listed here seems to be one of the more enduring ones, but don't be surprised if the link is dead. You could also try going here or here. If those sites are gone, try a search on "Hakim Bey", it'll definitely be worth your while.
An extensive collection of text archives on all sorts of related subjects, also archives of postings from usenet, web and mailing lists.
Didn't know quite where to file this one, so I dropped it here.
This is a text-based work of faction, the author listed simply as "The Magician". The story reads very much like something by Robert Anton Wilson (see below), so much so that I suspect it's either Wilson writing under a pseudonym (and having increasing difficulty disguising his style) or a Wilson admirer (who's getting progressively better at imitating RAW as he/she goes along). Entertaining and informative, and well worth the read.
An extensive compilation of texts on all sorts of Magick and Alchemical subjects maintained by the Lysator Academic Computer Society. An ftp site, not a web page, so don't expect graphics or fancy design, just the texts, lots of texts.
Timothy Leary's website. Oh, you thought he was dead? Nah, he's just on the Outside looking In....
Never mind shuddering at the "New Age" title, it's a search engine for finding resources on everything from Asaatru to Zen. Useful.
If you aren't already familiar with the writings of Robert Anton Wilson, by all means go at once to this site and start reading. If you've read Wilson before, you'll definitely want to check this out - there are some materials here that aren't available elsewhere. Oh, and ignore the Guardian - remember, if you can't see the fnord, it can't eat you.
Tribal Ways is a Boston piercing and soon to be (now that Massachusetts has lifted it's stupid ban) tattoo parlor, with a very specific dual focus on health issues and the sacred, magickal and shamanic side of body art & decoration. Spirit Ways is it's sister store/site, which sells candles, herbs, books, and other supplies and paraphernalia. Disclaimer: the owners are personal friends of mine, the store carries my masks, and I created an animation for their website.
A compendium of the essays and writings of one of the most astute and insightful writers on magick and related subjects.
A large elaborate site with lots of information. The Voice is very public service oriented, this site is largely for and about the community - more on the ethics and politics of Paganism than on the practice. Lots of good resources for activists.Skeptics: The Other Side
Folks who become involved in magick, paganism, "alternative" religions or new age philosophies have more in common with more traditional religionists than just a concern with the spiritual side of life - they often also share a tendency to become dogmatically attached to a certain set of ideas and concepts. Unfortunately, fundamentalist pagans are just as common as fundamentalist christians, and there are as many new age bigots as old age bigots - they're just irrationally attached to a different set of preconceptions.
Since I've provided links to a number of resources on magick and the occult, let me here provide some balance to the picture with a few links to some sites which provide, shall we say, a more skeptical point of view. Nor is this just a fair-minded formality - who chooses to pursue any sort of spiritual path needs also to take note of the very good points made by some of these authors, and consider seriously the questions they raise. It's no good writing these skeptical attitudes off as "unenlightened" or "old paradigm chauvinism". Reason and emotion, logic and intuition, need to balance each other. As Albert Einstein once remarked, "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
Home page of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. These folks tend, IMO, to lean a bit too far in the other direction - they seem to be almost irrationally attached to the "rational" proposition that all examples of so-called "paranormal" phenomena can and will be debunked, given enough determination and ingenuity on the part of the debunker. Still, they were one of the first groups to approach such phenomena with the techniques of stage magic and deception firmly in mind, and many of their case studies are quite interesting. Spoon benders beware.
An exploration and elucidation of the principles of classical skepticism by Dr. Peter Suber, head of the Philosophy Department at Earlham College. Pretty heavily academic, as you might expect, but very enlightening.
The Non-Believer's Page
Sean O'Dwyer has put together a wide ranging compendium of essays and information here. The bulk of this material seems devoted to exposing the foibles of mainstream organized religions (witness the site's previous title "Ammunition for Atheists"). Some very thought-provoking stuff.
"This site is dedicated to demonstrating the fact that the first (and most important) right granted to the people of the United States by their Bill of Rights was
Freedom From Religion " pretty much sums it up. Non-theist quotations from the founding fathers (in God they didn't trust), and news updates following the peregrinations of the rabid religious right.
Takes on the subject of propaganda in all forms, with emphasis on the secular, rather than the sacred. Definitely worth a read for it's clear delineation of the various techniques of propaganda (as opposed to taking on specific content), and treatises on critical thinking.
The Secular Web
Published by the Internet Infidels, who state: "Our mission is to defend and promote metaphysical naturalism, the view that our natural world is all that there is, a closed system in no need of an explanation and sufficient unto itself." That pretty much says it - given the way they've phrased this (and depending, of course, on how you define the term "natural") that's a pretty difficult statement to argue with. Worth reading.
DISCLAIMER:The opinions expressed on this page are purely and entirely those of the author, do not necessarily reflect the opinions or attitudes of Jeff McBride, McBride Magic, Inc., Tobias Beckwith & Associates, or Magic by Design. Viewer discretion advised, read at your own risk. No warranty is expressed or implied. Apply only to affected area, if condition persists, consult your metaphysician. WARNING: Excessive use of intelligent thought may result in doubt, questioning authority, or crises of faith.
©1999 Duncan Eagleson all rights reserved.