The Kracken

Ahoy there. Today we have Shaenon Garrity on Zen Pencils and other self-improvement webcomics.

There’s no question that webcomics can change your life for the better. For example, you can read my webcomic and have your life filled with brilliance and joy. Or you could turn to the small but increasing number of webcomics dedicated to self-improvement. Because who knows how to live better than a webcartoonist?

Given that the current trend in online comics—or, hell, online anything—is toward bite-size viral material designed for sharing on social media, I’m surprised there aren’t more webcomics built around daily (or weekly) affirmations and inspiring messages. Nobody has page-a-day desktop calenders anymore, and something has to fill the void. But the inspirational webcomic market seems currently sewn up by Gavin Aung Than’s enormously popular Zen Pencils, which illustrates inspirational quotations in comics form. It’s a clever idea that gives Than a surprising amount of creative flexibility; as long as people keep writing and saying stuff, he could conceivably draw Zen Pencils forever.

And Simon Hanselmann closes out our week together in a deep haze...


This is a wonderful short piece on Jerry Moriarty by Kevin Huizenga.

I had no idea that the great and gnarly underground comic book Inner City Romance was being reprinted by parent company Fantagraphics. That's good news.

Finally, drop what you're doing and plan to be at Tomato House in Brooklyn for a rare screening of films by the great Leif Goldberg! Not to be missed, friends.