Smashing Magazine Comic Strip: Episode 1


A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Cartoons and Comic Strip Art1 and, to be honest, there was a good reason why we took some time to research on this topic. The truth is that we are pretty tired of the same kind of content appearing in the Web over and over and over again. During our winter break in December we came up with some new ideas, concepts, formats and projects that we will try to achieve with Smashing Magazine in 2009.

Discussing new formats for SM, we came up with the idea of creating a weekly cartoon that would cover recent developments in web design and in the Web in general. In December we stumbled across Paddy Donnelly2‘s blog, the home of a talented web designer and illustrator in Belfast, Northern Ireland and we’ve seen that Paddy is actually creating a comic strip on his blog. After a couple of e-mails we were pretty sure: we are going to have a regular comic strip, exclusively on Smashing Magazine and exclusively for Smashing Magazine readers.

In this post we present the first episodes of the new Smashing Magazine cartoon / comic strip. We are very excited about this new section in our magazine and we would love to hear your opinion about it! Please feel free to post your ideas, suggestions, remarks and critique in the comments to this post. Please also suggest story lines – e.g. what are the things that frustrate you most about the Web or web design? And, most importantly, have fun!


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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    okay here goes….

    the idea is great.

    the design is subjective, some people will like it, some will not. That’s just the guys style. leave it alone.

    The script sucks though. Surely smashing man should be in peril first?


  2. 152
  3. 303

    hm, I love smashing mag, but I really don’t need this …

  4. 454

    Good idea. Bad execution.

    I don’t like posting critiscm without elaborating, so here goes:

    Script: A bit too one-dimensional in it’s execution for my liking, the funniest cartoons make you think. This is a good concept but holding the readers hand like this is just patronizing and kills the joke.

    Art: Again a bit too simplistic, like many people said the backgrounds don’t fit and add to the amateurish feel. A complete lack of perspective (see frame 3) doesn’t help either.

    Layout: I think this is probably the strongest element here. Although I do prefer horizontal sequential art (!), there are some interesting ideas and the close ups would work if the art/backgrounds were better.

    However, posting comments is one thing, writing and drawing your own comic another. So kudos for that.

  5. 605

    “Help me” I plea, “I don’t understand your ways and your means, you smashing young man…”

    Collective Soul’s Smashing Young Man.

    (which is btw something that should be added to Rockband)

  6. 756

    This is surprisingly bad given the quality of a lot of the sites on display here on a regular basis. The artwork is crude and childish, the background Photoshop effects are tacky and the humour is non-existent.

    Keep the web comic idea, but get someone who can appeal to the adults that read your site with sharp jokes highlighting the countless bizarre anomalies of web development. Easier said than done.

  7. 907

    What, no Mixx?

  8. 1058

    Well forgetting everything everyone else has said above it would have been nice to at least get a thanks for pointing out the typo ;-)

  9. 1209

    I like it, the phisherman part made me chuckle

  10. 1360

    Take a look at the awesome FreelanceSwitch comics series, they really hit the spot !

  11. 1511


  12. 1662

    Holy gawd, that’s horrible! Not funny. Not well-drawn. Abysmal. There’s nothing that could save it.

    Stop. Now. Please.

  13. 1813

    Ok this is the thing, it’s not funny or interesing.

    If you continue with the superhero idea, think a little bit, does villains run into batman arms? i don’t think so… SM should have made some detective work before finding phishing guy. plus where did he find it in the first place? the comic started in someone’s room, then magically jumps to the park where they causally meet?.

    Read a little bit “the order of the stick” to see what it means to do an action comic(and in their case actually funny).

  14. 1964

    Christopher Murphy

    January 20, 2009 5:11 pm

    It depresses me to read the all too easy groundswell of negativity in the frequent and (largely) anonymous comments to this post.

    I’m all for a little healthy criticism, but I do feel that those who are all too eager to throw in their opinion might want to flag up their own work for criticism. As you read the comments I’d suggest you follow some of the links to those that are posting them (that is where they’ve had the courage to leave the links). There seems to be a high correlation between those who are quick to criticize and those who are themselves posting some pretty sub-par work themselves.

    I know the designer in question, he is one of my soon-to-be-former students. His heart is 110% in the right place and I’ve seen a great deal of his past (and current) work which is well executed and knocks the socks off this. Give it a little time and I’ve no doubt Paddy will deliver the goods.

    I can see where Paddy’s coming from. He’s passionate and he’s working hard to build a network of connections around the web. He’s interviewed a host of internet stars and, along the way, had some heads up from a host of people you’d envy: Tim O’Reilly, Guy Kawasaki, Paul Boag…

    As someone who’s taught Paddy I can safely say the following: He’s passionate about web design, he’s passionate about standards and he’s actually out there doing something (which is more than can be said of most whining on the sidelines).

    Yes, Paddy’s young. Yes, Paddy’s headstrong. Yes, Paddy’s prepared to throw himself at a challenge. Yes – and this is the important part – Paddy’s prepared to take all of this on board and get cracking on improving the Smashing Magazine Comic Strip. But, and I know it’s awful to start a sentence with the word ‘but’, Paddy is actually doing something.

    As someone who is knee deep in student assessments I know all too well that everyone is entitled to their opinion. One thing I have learned, however, from years of practice (and teaching) is the following: It’s fine to be critical, but be prepared to back it up with a little show and tell.

    I’m only too happy to put my own work on the line should you wish to see it. Drop me a line at chris [at] mcmxc [dot] org and I’ll happily give you some URLs, exchange some thoughts and pick up the conversation. Robust criticism is extremely important (did I say I’m assessing our students?), but you have to be prepared to stand over your criticism and – here’s the important part – be prepared to put your own work up for criticism.

  15. 2115

    Stupid and freaky (person) style…

  16. 2266

    sorry, but respectfully… this thing really sucks.. awfull design and drawing

  17. 2417

    Most of the trash talkers can’t design a blank box.

  18. 2568

    Love it! but not the blurry background.

  19. 2719

    cool comic…
    go on please….
    i want more… ;)

  20. 2870
  21. 3021

    I love the fact that Smashing Magazine is some what of a free service, and provide quality articles, although when they decide to go out and do something difference for a laugh, we give out! The internet is over run with too many critics and not enough creators. Smashing Magazine decided to do something, the lengthy comments are somewhat worth reading. You want DC (or whatever floats your boat) comics go read DC comics, you want some light hearted fun then stick around.

    Shame on those who just give a few short words.

  22. 3172

    Fun and with a nice concept. Awesome!

  23. 3323

    It’s almost as if the people who were involved in this Comic Strip project haven’t actually ever been involved in any design project. Graphics are totally underpar, and the story is just lame. There are so many jokes and stories waiting to happen in the graphic design world that it is just a shame to see you waste the opportunity in something like this. Everything is all wrong. Smashing man? Really?

    If you forget everything else just remember this. Show your next comic to a 12 year old before posting it online and I assure you, you will get all the feedback you need before you get bashed online. How did you dare publish this to a specialized audience when it is awful even for the most regular internet user?

    Everybody makes mistakes. Let’s just click on “select all”+”delete” and go back to the sketchboard. And next time, be sure to run your work through a few people before exposing it to the experts.

  24. 3474

    Haha, this reminded me of

  25. 3625

    cool, please clean up the internet….

  26. 3776

    Like the illustrations … but could’ve been funnier….i found this comic blog which is kinda cool…link to the blog

  27. 3927

    Not bad, not bad at all. Awaiting further episodes of this as well, The first two aren’t bad for first timers. Keep rocking! :D

  28. 4078

    didn’t find it very entertaining :

  29. 4229

    Correction… ‘Not to be continued’

  30. 4380

    Every person here is dumber for having read this.
    Disappointed :/
    Expected sooooooo much more from SM

  31. 4531

    Spongbob Squarepants

    January 13, 2010 4:15 am

    I really think its not that funny. But i think Squidward will love that comic strip. I love Sandy don’t tell anyone and i think Patrick (my bestfriend) is gay no offense


    Love, Spongebob Squarepants

  32. 4682

    wow…that was bad. It’s just too literial…

  33. 4833

    WOW! this is bad…
    can see why it was the “Biggest failure for 2009″ –

  34. 4984

    I’m glad this went away. So stupid.


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