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  1.  (6103.1)
    The grandaddy of web-comics, Penny Arcade, is running with a pretty cool idea over the next few days.

    Beginning today, projecting through Friday and culminating on Monday, we will offer you one page "treatments" of three comics which differ radically from our usual output. Next week, we'll get a poll up to determine which one you'd like to see us investigate further. Then, later this summer - during the San Diego Comic Con would be my guess - we'll upload a storyline based on what the metamind has chosen.

    What's really interesting is the huge response they've gotten already. A one page "treatment" for a sort of fantasy world boy scouts already has their fans clamoring for swag with the logo. In less than a day, they built a fanbase for a new project.
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    It always astounds me how fucking completely these guys knock it out of the park when they go beyond the three-panel strip with game commentary and dick jokes. I'm very much a fan of their regular stuff, but projects like this and Cardboard Tube Samurai (It's a samurai. With a cardboard tube. And yet it's fucking poetry!) really hammer it home that these guys are genuinely monstrously talented storytellers, and I'd follow pretty much anything they did.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    I sometimes feel a little sorry for Mike, he's clearly quite a talented artist but he vary rarely gets to stetch himself on the comic. He did try mixing up the art style once, but they got too many complaints, so he just has to content himself with side projects like these.

    Worth checking his Deviant Art page by the way, I can't remember what it is right now though.
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    i'll be honest and say i've not looked at penny arcade much. maybe i don't play enough video games, or maybe i'm just not keen on the newspaper-strip format, but i've seen it once or twice a couple years back and not been back since. not saying what they do isn't good, it's clearly a well-polished example of it's genre, just it's not my thing. but if i saw that lookouts comic in a shop and it looked like it did in the promo stuff i'd more'n likely pick it up.

    thanks for the heads-up on this, i'll be interested to see what the other concepts they come up with are.
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    Actually reading through their archives is one of the best proofs of the effectiveness of all that "draw every day" advice you always hear. You simply can watch Mike's skill build steadily to its current high level.

    Jerry's writing has always been super, but he really shines in newsposts.

    They are really one of those once-in-a-lifetime partnerships.
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    I'm REALLY hoping that they come up with some Daughters Of The Eyrewood badges...My purse could really use that.
    • CommentAuthorPablo
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    I like the latest one.

    The second concept is Automata, nineteen-twenties crime fiction which unfolds in a time where "machine intellect" has been outlawed. It wasn't always, certainly, and the problem of what to do with the existing "stock" of fully sentient, mechanical citizens endures. Detective Regal and his stenophone Carl Swangee traverse the margin where these worlds overlap.
      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009

    holy crap. that is cool. I love the only use of color is in its dialog. very awesome.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    Seriously, I hope that Automata becomes the comic they decide to keep working on. I was hooked from the first panel. One of the most brilliant things I've read in ages...
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009 edited
    I am so confused by myself right now.

    Automata is everything I love in stories - anachronism, noir visuals, social commentary, detective work, and robots. And yet...

    And yet...

    I REALLY want to see how Lookouts turns out. Even more so than Automata. There's something incredibly endearing about the concept that makes me want to what happens to those kids. I guess in a way I feel like I've already read Automata, whereas Lookouts is something fascinating and new.

    Ideally, of course, I hope they do something with all of these concepts some time or another, but as Tycho says, they're busier than a paraplegic in an ass-kicking contest, so I don't know when that would be.
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    These guys have always impressed me. I'm extremely glad they're doing these experiments at branching out. Though, now I find myself torn between these two and most likely the third. Assuming, of course, they were holding what they felt was their strongest outing for last.
  2.  (6103.12)
    Penny Arcade is the only videogame comic I enjoy, because I don't tend to get the jokes as I'm not part of that scene, but when I do get them, they're usually great. The whole Child's Play thing is wonderful too.
    • CommentAuthorsteevo
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    My friggin christ, these guys need to do a full length comic.
    • CommentAuthorkperkins
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    I like PA, but that automata is really cool. I hope they develop it further.
  3.  (6103.15)

    I'm a casual gamer at best, I buy like one game every few months, and yet Penny Arcade is always funny. The key being that while their material comes from video-games they don't let it overwhelm good comedic timing. When they play outside the 3 panel structure it's breathtaking.

    I say this with all due respect to the man, but these guys are the rightful heirs to Bill Waterson. With a bit more cussin'.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    They do so many non-PA projects that by their own admission they only have time for one of these. (practically every western games publisher tries to sign them up to do tie-in comics for their game, they're always in demand).

    They put their collections out through Dark Horse, yet bizarrely they've never done something for the Dark Horse MySpace presents thing. They really should. In a way they're victims of their own success, they don't feel they can spare the time for their own shit because PA and the games industry is their day job.
  4.  (6103.17)
    Those Paint the Line comics that they did were so perfect. They brutally resist continuity most of the time (in contrast with most other webcomics which start off gag-a-day and then experience the Cerebus Syndrome) yet whenever they dip their toes in it they seem to get overwhelmingly positive responses. I'd love to see them go all out with a long-form story.
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
    they don't feel they can spare the time for their own shit because PA and the games industry is their day job

    Don't think that's how they'd look at it, as PA and the games industry is their own shit. They don't do that strip for an employer.
  5.  (6103.19)
    I've always been a fan of Jerry and Mike from back in the day, mainly since I am somewhere between the casual gamer and the hardcore type. Their reviews, if you were to call them that, are more spot on than anything I've read elsewhere. And their take on the JRPG style with Episodes One and Two of On The Rainslick Precipice of Darkness is a wonder. I would recommend it to anyone, and I am not a fan of JRPGs in general.

    Saint Dharma
  6.  (6103.20)
    Wired did a great piece on Jerry and Mike a while back.
    They come across as two guys doing something they love and, almost accidentally, becoming pioneers and massively successful

    I've donated to their "Child's Play" charity for years and been amazed at the good they've done. Simple concept of getting kids in hospitals games and game systems. Having spent my childhood in hospital for asthma I know that crushing boredom and these guys are menschs of the first order.