The Apple of Discord is taking a break while I come up with new and
interesting stuff. In the meantime, I STRONGLY recommend you check out my
Fantasy Parody Epic, Apple Valley and my brand new 5-day a week humorous
expose of the dark underbelly of the Webcomic world, Webcomic Hell.

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A New High (Read: Low) In Webcomics

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Published: July 9, 2009 | By admin

Friend of the comic Kaitou has succeeded in creating what may be one of the best... worst... comic characters ever [1].  He's taken multiple aspects of Rule 3 of the How NOT To list and condensed them into a single white-hot burning ember of bad ideas. [1] http://www.kaitou.org/comic/archives/150

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0

AoD is Hiring! (sorta)

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Published: June 20, 2009 | By admin

If you're here, you're probably a reader already, so I'll spare you the normal speech I've been giving at the other places.  The Apple of Discord is looking to bring one or two people into "the team" to help out for the next few months - either aspiring new webcomickers who need a leg up or bitter, depressed old webcomickers who need a fresh start.  If you might be one of those, and are interested in possibly joining "the team", please, for the love of Cthulhu, read on...

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4

Podcasted: The Webcomc Beacon (post-cast)

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Published: May 27, 2009 | By admin

As promised, here's the link [1]to Round 1 of the "How NOT To" panel/lecture/rant.  Fes, Tanya, Mark, and I all successfully tackled Commandments 1 thru 5, and only sort of ran horribly over time and frustrated Fes.  For those of you who are just going to TL:DL (that's "Too Long, Didn't Listen, since it is a podcast) it anyway, here's a brief rundown of items one thru five: 1. Breaking the Fourth Wall While excessive amounts of this can seriously hurt a comic, it's not that bad... still, there's a good reason I've placed this at the top of the list - comics that start out with the main character introducing him/herself and the rest of the cast to the reader.  This is NEVER a good sign.  There are many clever ways to get around blatant fourth-wall-breaking - having characters "write in a journal" to express their internal thoughts and feelings or having someone drop a self-important "Captain's Log" style narration over what they're doing - both are perfectly serviceable. 2. Lame or Overused Story Ideas There are very few original ideas left out there.  As South Park aptly pointed out, no matter how original you are, the Simpsons have probably already been there and done that.  But, just because there's very little virgin ground left, it doesn't mean you have an excuse to wear a rut in the floor following the path of every webcomic that's come before you.  A few examples of the overused plot device are: New (interesting) roommates moving into the dorm/apartment "I'm bored, let's start our own webcomic!" "I'm bored, let's get a cute pet that is actually much more than it's fuzzy form would indicate" Orc Porn 3. Forbidden Formats I'm not saying that these formats themselves are bad - I actually enjoy a couple of them - but they do carry a certain stigma upon them.  If you're a novice in the world of webcomics and are working on your first comic ever, or are looking for a comic that would be acceptable and marketable to all fields, there are a few types of comics that you might want to avoid: Sprite Comics - due to various legal issues (like you probably don't own the rights to use Mega Man for anything other than Fair Use parody) and the overwhelming derth of other spritecomics that a) exist and b) suck, this is probably best to be avoided unless you know what you're getting into. Gamer Comics - don't be a clone of Penny Arcade.  The world doesn't need PA, and it certainly doesn't need any more poorly conceived Penny Arcade ripoffs. Mature Comics - don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a bit of the ol' sex and ultraviolence, but since a good share of the webcomic readers out there are under the age of 18, doing one of these automatically limits your pool of potential readers drastically. Furry Comics - Doing a comic with anthro characters opens you up to an entirely different dimension of webcomic fandom - furry fans.  They tend to be a bit more devout and helpful, I'll give them serious credit for that, but the downside is that there's a lot of people who are anti-furry who will not read your comic just because the main character is a fox instead of a human. Photo Comics - this one's on the bubble - there aren't many of them, and mostly they're not all that well done.  Those that are done well may still face issues in being "part of the community" since a great deal of the things discussed within the webcomic world (sketching, inking, coloring, etc) do not apply to them. 4. Inspiration vs Imitation They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - but plagarism is still a crime.  There's nothing wrong with using the comics/webcomics you've read (or still do) to help give you ideas for your own comic, but how closely your work resembles the original is a narrow line to walk, and one that your readership will notice... especially if they read your comic and the comic you're borrowing ideas from.  I can't count the number of times over the years when I've been reading a comic and suddenly went "wait a minute, didn't ____________ do this exact same storyarc a few months back?" Also, while I'm on the subject, a word about advertising and branding.  If you're blatantly ripping off Penny Arcade or XKCD, maybe you shouldn't start things off by saying "If you like Penny Arcade..." or "Just like XKCD, but..."  Just a thought. 5. Overall Readability I'm not talking about "How good is it?" readability, I'm talking about "Can my eyes make out the letters and form words out of them?" readability.  It's very important to select a font that is both scalable and discernable, something that doesn't make the reader's eyes bleed or cause them to have to hover 1/2 inch away from the screen to make out your 2 pt font.  Script, cursive, and overly curvy fonts are all more-0r-less no-no's for everyday text, unless you've got an overly girly girl character and you want to make it really obvious that they're pouring as much sugar they can into every syllable. I think that people, especially those who draw their comics out traditionally on pencil-and-paper and then move them to digital formatting, do not give adequate consideration to how much room words take up, or to how important they are.  Text and text bubbles are going to be bonded to your art - BECOME part of your art - and need to be treated with as much skill and care as everything else that goes into the final work.  That's why comic books have guys - letterists - who's entire job it is is to make the words look good - that's how important it is. And while we're on the subject - Comic Sans.  Don't use it.  Now, I'm not going to go into the whole pro-con Comic Sans debate here, and I'm certainly not taking sides - but I would point out, like I did for number 3, that if you've got anything that as many people violently hate as comic sans (and believe me, they do) than maybe you shouldn't be using it as the font in your comics.  The internet's full of free fonts.  Pick a different one. This concludes Part 1 - stay tuned for Part 2, next week, same bat time, same bat channel. [1] http://webcomicbeacon.com/2009/05/26/episode-76/

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Zorphbert and Fred

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Published: May 20, 2009 | By admin

I suck. I was supposed to review Zorphbert and Fred [1] as part of the ongoing "Plug Circle" that we of the Webcomics Planet [2] Collective have been doing.  Problem is... I never actually got around to it.  Now, here's the (sort of) good news - the reason I never got around to it is that I got so distracted actually *READING* Z&F that I never quite got around to my plug. So, yes, in a twist of logic that only Bizarro could pull off, I'm blaming comic creator Dawn Griffin for the fact that I never actually posted the review of her comic.  It's all your fault for making such a good comic that I couldn't simply dismiss it offhand.  Shame on you. Seriously, the comic is really good... not feint praise that I offer to anyone, either.  The story follows the adventures of the titular Zorphbert and Fred, two intelligent talking aliens, as they infiltrate Earth under the guise of pets so they can get up-close-and-personal with the inner workings of humanity, specifically how we relate to said "pets" in our day-to-day lives. It's a traditional-style (newspaper-ish layout) comic done primarily in black-and-white, but with much use/abuse of the gray pallate.  The art style is old-school cartoony, but still highly detailed, and very true to the medium it's being presented in.  Big bold lines and crosshatching draw you into the narrative, setting the tone firmly in the land of "comical" while still appearing professional and polished.  Layout is consistent, and instead of using a fixed framing box it uses a hand-drawn one (a big plus for me).  It's the little touches like that that make the overall presentation very solid. This also brought up something that I find really fascinating with comics-vs-webcomics.  Most daily prinstrips don't bother with a great deal of ongoing continuity - taking the Gilligan's Island approach instead (enough of the premise stated upfront that anyone could easily jump into the action without any primer whatsoever) and occasionally revisiting their central themes to touch base for new readers who've picked them up in progress.  If you want to see this in action, read (painful as it may be) a newspaper strip like Mary Worth - ever so often, there will be an entire strip dedicated to recapping current events, vary rarely even slightly hidden as a real comic - that's thrown in there just to catch up anyone who joined our the story arc, which is "already in progress". Due to the internet being what it is, with the ability to have a new reader easily access almost all of the archives at their whim, a lot of webcomics don't go back and touch their bases nearly as often... and when they do, sometimes it feels a little weird and forced [3].  Then again, if a new reader finds themselves leaping randomly into a point mid-story, like this one here [4] for instance, it can be disconcerting too.  Now, is that comic in and of itself funny?  Yes, I think anybody who's been in a relationship (especially the men) will recognize this moment right off the bat.  But since the primary focus of the comic as a whole is on the two dogs aliens, it might throw some people off. Here's the plus from Zorphbert and Fred - the two examples I cited are 2 comics apart from one another.  That's good pacing in the writing and planning, something a whole lot of comics - often including my own - lack.  The story itself isn't that strong, but it's well told. And maybe that's why I'm nearly 2 weeks delinquent on my review.  While I didn't sit and devour the entire comic in one sitting, it did kep me coming back over and over again, picking up a few strips here and there, forming natural story arcs and stopping points in my own head, and I put off and put off reviewing it until I finished. [1] http://www.zfcomics.com/ [2] http://www.webcomicplanet.com/ [3] http://www.zfcomics.com/2008/05/20/off-the-deep-end/ [4] http://www.zfcomics.com/2008/05/22/depths-of-the-male-psyche/

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Cross-Connectivity Test – LiveJournal

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Published: May 4, 2009 | By admin

I'm working on making The Apple of Discord more accessible... not that I don't have a whole website and a RSS feed and update on Twitter and all that already, but I've decided to try and use some plugins to conect to some of the other social networking sites.  So... I now have a livejournal account set up at http://kallisti-x.livejournal.com/ [1] For those of you to young to remember, LiveJournal (or LJ) was what MySpace and Facebook were before they weren't anymore.  While I personally have sworn off LJ ages ago, I understand that there's still a good number of you that still use it... let's face it, mostly for fanfic and/or porn... but now (at least hypothetically) you'll be able to tell when a new Apple of Discord comic goes up. Yay technology. [1] http://kallisti-x.livejournal.com/

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Penguicon – Day One and Beyond

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Published: May 1, 2009 | By admin

So I'm at Penguicon [1] - and I'm already huddled in the dark over a flickering computer terminal using Linux.  That's right, in a building full of geeks and nerds drinking, dancing, and singing... I'm here in the dark on the internet.  Man, I suck. Had my first ever Panel this evening - a "Webcomics that aren't Penny Arcade" sort of revue, with me, Onyx/Mike (of Prepare to Die), Jason (the writer of Ardra) and Tanya (BetaPwned) giving commentary on some webcomics we like.  I sort of forgot to submit my list, but we had technical difficulties and more-or-less ran on time anyway, so it was a fortunate accident. On to Adam's declining mental health... There's awesomeness going on all around me, I just don't quite know what to do with myself since I'm sort of by myself.  I don't normally go to conventions "solo" so in these meloncholy times there's always at least one other person to sail my ship by.  There are many people I know from the Internets here, and that's good - but they've all got their own plans and agendas too, and that's once again forced me to make the call between glomping on to a group of people who're already much stronger friends (like The Webcomic Beacon crew) and trying to integrate myself with them (with the hope that they'd be receptive, weighed against the fear that they'd not be) or striking out on my own and hoping that I just don't wind up spending the weekend alone. Anyway, the internet is my sword and my shield... and my armor... and the weight tied around my ankle.  Time to cut the cord - ethernet cable, whatever - and see if I can't have me some real world fun.  If any of my readers are actually here and would like to say hi at any point, you can text me at 5132360393 or follow me on Twitter and specifically say you're at Penguicon. Tomorrow I've got a couple of Panels mid-afternoon, otherwise I'm going to be in the Artist's Alley the entire time.  If you're here, you should look me up.  AoD t-shirts, print comics, apples, buttons, and sketches will abound.  Until then, Adam... out. [1] http://www.penguicon.org

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5

1977 – The Comic

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Published: April 24, 2009 | By admin

I don't remember a lot about the 70's... but that's ok, because if you were "doing it right" you probably don't remember a lot about them either.  Now, I have an excuse - I was a baby - but the entire decade was an important era of our history... as American Pie aptly stated in 1971, the decade belonged to a "generation lost in space, with no time left to start again". It was hard to follow up on the hippie era and the infamous Summer of Love of the late 60's, and many still mock the cultural movements of the 1970s (Disco music, big hair, 8-tracks).  On the other hand, there are those who would wish to remember only the good things about the 70's, conveniently hand-picking those better elements and ignoring anything that's culturally unpleasant in today's age. This brings me back to 1977 (The Comic) [1].  This comic pulls no punches about the true nature of the 70's... it is chocked full of sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, big hair, and cultural commentary.  While it falls short of a scathing expose, it finds it stride in exploring the every day foibles of life encountered by the cast as they go about their lives trying to find fame and fortune... and that's also what makes the comic still relevant. Take a moment to consider this comic [2], which would probably work in any day or age, but works especially well under the framing of this comical era.  Or here [3], or here [4], both of which border on my inglorious level of sense absentia. Oh, I'm not saying that the comic would work nearly as well in today's settings... or reality, either.  There's more than one break with reality that's apparently not drug-enduced, and that everyone involved can see... the main character turns into a girl (briefly), the bearded dragon starts spewing fire, and the laws of physics are often skewed for comedic and cartoon effect. In addition to the comic itself, which is good, there's also a decent amount of running commentary with every comic - notes on artistic musings, cultural references, and life in general offer a great deal of insight into the creator and the creative process. All in all, the comic's a good read.  It's been around in it's published form since Jan 2008, so there's a decent amount to go through, and the story's still fresh and going strong.  Whether you were around in the 1970s yourself or just wish you were, 1977 [5] is certainly worth a look. [1] http://www.1977thecomic.com/ [2] http://www.1977thecomic.com/2008/02/04/02042008/ [3] http://www.1977thecomic.com/2008/03/10/03102008/ [4] http://www.1977thecomic.com/2008/11/12/heroes/ [5] http://www.1977thecomic.com/

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1

Seeking Asylum

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Published: April 17, 2009 | By admin

Tagged as: ,

I love bad movies. I mean, really bad movies. Movies that melt the brain and corrupt the soul. You may recall my post a little while ago about "The Apple", which is my ideal idea of a "musical" (and yes, I feel I must use quotes here, so as not to defame the good name of real musicals everywhere). That said, I guess it's not a huge secret that I'm secretly (ok, not that secretly) in love with the films made by The Asylum [1].  For those of you who've never accidentally run into and/or against one of the films by Asylum, let me give you a basic rundown of how they work...  1 - Major motion picture studio announces that they are going to release __________, a soon-to-be blockbuster feature. 2 - Asylum takes the title, trailer, and any rudimentary information they can gleam from the feature's premise, and crafts a movie of their own at a fraction of the cost and at twice the speed. 3 - They release said movie under a suspiciously similar title, either in time with the original feature's theatrical or DVD release in the hope that people will somehow accidentally confuse their feature with the real deal. 4 - ... 5 - Profit! Ok, that's a cheap shot.  No, it's not.  The interwebs have actually created a word to describe Asylum's films - a Mockbuster.  Asylum is one of the primary providers of SciFi (soon to be SyFy) Channel's infamous Saturday Night film lineup.  They've made such features as Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls [2], Transmorphers [3] (not a typo, I assure you), and Snakes on a Train [4]. They're also not above blatantly ripping off other genres, too... even if their movie selections do sometimes delve into the oddly disturbing and esoteric (Sunday School Musical [5], anyone?) to the severely impractical (a feature film... based on the 9/11 Commission Report [6]) and just plain wrong. [7] So now that you've seen the raw material fueling this idea... here's what I'd like to do.  I want to riff on these movies, MST3K style, full on, robot puppets and all.  And of course, in the robot puppet coating, everything would be "slightly off", itself a pastiche of the bad job they do of reproducing the films they glomp on to and try and suck the creative juices from. I already have one of the bots [8] built... I just don't quite know how to make this dream a reality.  It's a pitty, really, because I totally think it would be excellent.  Any thoughts or ideas? [1] http://www.theasylum.cc/ [2] http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=143 [3] http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=128 [4] http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=120 [5] http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=148 [6] http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=123 [7] http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=142 [8] http://www.theappleofdiscord.com/gallery/bot-building/

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Art For Hire (sorta)

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Published: April 11, 2009 | By admin

Since Art decided to walk out of the comic on Friday, we're releasing his contract.  As a final parting gesture of good will, I'll "throw him a bone" and let everyone know that he's posted his resume [1] over on Frumph's Webcomic Planet and is actively looking for work in webcomics. [1] http://webcomicplanet.com/classifieds/?_action=va&lid=13&asid=4&search_words=#4

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