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Following a two-month fight with Walmart, cartoonist Jeph Jacques has shut down his parody site walmart.horse and turned over the domain name to the retail giant.
Launched in February, the website consisted solely of the above image, created from two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. The idea came to the cartoonist after he saw a list of new Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect specific interest. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine,” he explained in March. “We were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it.”
Jeph Jacques, creator of the long-running webcomic Questionable Content, may have come up with the website walmart.horse on a whim, but global retail leviathan isn’t amused. In fact, Walmart has demanded the cartoonist, well, stop horsing around.
Jacques explained to Ars Technica that the webpage was inspired by the latest batch of Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect different interests. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine — we were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it,” he said.
One of these was walmart.horse; the page consists entirely of the image above, which itself is composed of two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. Jacques calls it “postmodern Dadaism — nonsense-art using found objects.”
One of the things I’ve learned over the years of writing the strip is if something I’m writing makes ME uncomfortable, even only a little bit, it will probably offend other people as well, and I should rethink it. The times I’ve ignored that impulse, or told myself “no, it’s only problematic if you take an extremely narrow interpretation of the strip,” guess what: people got offended.
You as an author have control over the intent of your work, but you do not have control over how other people will interpret it. And if someone’s interpretation of your work differs from your intent, while you can defend your intent, it does not necessarily render their interpretation invalid.
Yesterday was Hourly Comics Day, but it would have been more appropriate to have it today, on Groundhog Day, so everyone could relive yesterday in comics form. Hourly Comics Day brings journal comics to their logical extreme: Every hours, creators stop what they are doing and draw a comic about it. There’s an inherent flaw in the concept, in that the best artists are the people who draw comics all the time, which makes for a dull diary. Let’s just say there’s lots of messing around with social media and eating of ramen in these comics. It’s not like anyone was rescuing people from the Tokyo underground or breaking up a crime syndicate yesterday. Still, some are quite well done, and peering at someone else’s life in such detail has a certain voyeuristic appeal. What’s more, the comics submitted to this year’s archive page show an impressive array of talent, although most are from creators I have never heard of before.
Some creators posted their hourly comics at their own sites. Dean Trippe has a charmingly simple comic about a day that was apparently dominated by the letter D. Sarah Becan has a day of minor annoyances at work, and Jeph Jacques covers all the comics-creator bases: He plays video games, eats junk food, checks to see what people are saying about him online, and worries a lot. Check the Twitter hashtag #hourlycomics for more.
Of course, the really great thing about this weekend’s MoCCA Festival is the huge flock of individual creators who go there to show off their work. Here’s the full list, and here are a few of the highlights that jumped out at me. Feel free to point out the good stuff I missed in the comments section.
Neil Kleid will happily sign copies of his comics, mini-comics, and graphic novels (The Big Kahn, Brownsville), and anything else he has work in (including the Fraggle Rock anthology), but if you really want to make his day, bring him an obscure soda.
Stephanie Yue, who illustrates the Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye graphic novels (not just adorable, but funny for both adults and kids) will be there, as will her editor Carol Burrell, who draws SPQR Blues under the nickname Klio.
Rica Takashima will have a special doujinshi just for MoCCA. Rica is a yuri (lesbian) manga creator and the author of the much-acclaimed Rica ‘tte Kanji?, which Shaenon Garrity described, approvingly, as “as cute as a blender full of kittens.”
If your tastes tend more toward the retro-bizzare, check out Coin Op Studio, which will be debuting the charmingly titled Coin Op No. 3: Municipal Parking and Waterfall at the show.