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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!

Footnotes Link

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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

    Genius: funny & a bit of social commentary, loving your work Smashing Man.

  2. 2

    Lol, awesome

  3. 3

    Brilliant, never expected one of these!

  4. 4

    hahah! it’s a good idea! i’m lookin’ foward to more of d comic!

  5. 5

    GeeKz ,, You smashing magazine are rocks the webs , What a fun!!!
    Really great post , luv it!!!
    Keep it UP

  6. 6

    Very good. Unfortunately you do have a spelling mistake in there though.

    “You’re phishing days are over…” should be “Your phishing days are over…”

    Sorry but always notice these things ;-)

    Best wishes,


  7. 7

    cool design

  8. 8

    I’m not sure about the general look. The blurry background doesn’t fit. It has to be 100% cartoon or 100% realistic. Not in between.

  9. 9
  10. 10

    The pacing needs to be much faster. Look how much Garfield conveys in three frames.

  11. 11

    Thanks guys! It’s nice to see something different. Added a bit of a surprise to my daily RSS feeds.

  12. 12

    horizontal > vertical

  13. 13

    Really good, but it could be a little more funnier (of course, it’s already funny, but you could give more ;-)).
    Well done!

  14. 14

    I found this pretty good infact. Not what I had expected. Whilst reading the bubbles, I spoke out loud and made different voices for each character, then the idea came to mind, you should make something like this in video!

  15. 15

    I’m not sure about the general look. The blurry background doesn’t fit. It has to be 100% cartoon or 100% realistic. Not in between.

    Many comics today use the gaussian effect on the background, I personally think it works very well.

  16. 16

    Thanks everyone! It was good fun to make. :)

    What kind of storylines would you like to see covered in the comic in the future?

  17. 17

    COOL! :D

  18. 18

    @jason @robby Ignore those comments Smashing, keep pushing the envelope of comics on the web.
    Personally with the medium of a web-page I think vertical strips work very well to keep you from looking ahead.

  19. 19

    Am I the only one who didn’t really liked it?

  20. 20

    lol this is cool=)cant wait for the next episode

  21. 21

    Cool episodes :) xD

  22. 22

    I usually love SM for the informative content, yet this comic stip is disappointing on so many levels. Keep it brief and make it clever, maybe even a different style of illustration. Take a look at NC Winters or bearskinrug

  23. 23

    OOHH a new super hero has born.

    great idea guys Smashing Man will save us from all the Internet troubles.

  24. 24

    No, you are not alone.

  25. 25

    bad script, bad artwork, bad storyline… ¿what happen SM? A lot of talented designers and illustrators read this website, this is almost insulting.

  26. 26

    @essenmitsosse, @Jdub7 yep, not alone.

  27. 27

    I don’t like it. Non sense and not funny jokes.

  28. 28

    Doesn’t fit at all with the purpose of this site (IMO). Is there supposed to be a point?

  29. 29

    I don’t like it. This strip stays in the middle of the funny and the serious…it’s a dangerous place to be. Choose a side.

  30. 30

    heyyy that guy looks like the Gordon’s fisherman.. now i wont eat fishsticks again.. lol

  31. 31

    Funnier, of course.
    Go Smashing Man!

  32. 32

    Hey, when did this site start featuring MFD?

  33. 33

    Pretty cool

  34. 34

    OMG ! OMG! You people gonna rock us !

  35. 35

    Michael SteelWolf

    January 16, 2009 12:07 pm

    At the risk of being too critical for a first attempt, I wasn’t really that impressed. Granted, many of the webcomics out right now have had years to perfect themselves, but from a site like Smashing Magazine that presents so much spectacular work, I was quite underwhelmed.

    The script did a poor job of pulling me in at the beginning – especially in episode two, the first frame seems completely superfluous. The dialogue and overall movement of the strip feels slow – try seeing if you can combine more things in one frame. For example, you can use the speech bubble to set up the action in a single frame, rather than having separate frames for speech and action.

    As far as reflecting the rest of this incredible website, I have to say I nearly died when I saw the difference clouds lightning in Episode 1. That is the kind of technique I definitely did not expect to find here.

    It seems like you’re having fun working on these so I would definitely encourage you to keep at it. Look around at a few of the successful webcomics out there and see what kinds of techniques they use. Just like when we come here to get inspired by others’ successful choices, I think you could learn a lot from them.

    Thanks for sharing your work – I’m sure this is a tough crowd to please.

  36. 36

    Nice idea but poor execution. The comic needs to be funnier and wittier. And as someone else mentioned, horizontal strips are better than vertical strips. Artwork is fine.

  37. 37

    Sorry, but I don’t like the style at all… It’s poor and seems to be drawn by a 13 year old teen who just discovered photoshop.

  38. 38

    It should fight for w3c standards for all. And correct working on all standard compliant browsers.

  39. 39

    Totally love it, amazing stuff even though I’m sure it will be better and better from time to time.

  40. 40

    hh ! luved the Phisher idea!! :)
    cool strip !

  41. 41

    The “S” shield is trademarked and copyrighted.
    The design is virtually a direct knockoff.
    Smashing Man is no Superman.

  42. 42

    Well, don’t mean to be rude but seriously…
    the “drawing” sucks, the story is dumb…
    personally i do consider this post spam…
    maybe smashing man should fight it.
    On the other hand i do think it was a nice idea…
    but seriously either come up with a “slightly smarter” story, or improve the drawing to make up for it.

    Sorry to always be a little too honest… but considering all this sweet-talk, i think someone should ensure the standards of the comment section…

  43. 43

    I’m usually quick to read anything new from Smashing Magazine because it’s just so darn helpful. So I really hate to write this comment – sorry …

    I just don’t get the point or how this helps anyone. The storyline is lame at best and the design is sub-par. My thoughts would be to stick to what you do best rather than venturing into an attempt at humor (without great commentary in the process) through a comic strip. It seems like a distraction.

  44. 44

    I hope to see the episode where Smashing Man defeats Internet Explorer and banishes it to the other side of the galaxy.

    Great comic and great idea! Please continue!

  45. 45

    That was one shitty comic, I didnt expect this from sm.

  46. 46
  47. 47

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is appropriate for Smashing Magazine. The artwork and script need work. I was expecting a better sense of design and more relevant commentary. This appears to be targeted at tweens, not professional designers.

    Brad Colbow’s “The Brads” is a far better execution of what I think you were hoping to achieve.

    And that article on comics appeared to be poorly researched. At the very least, the section titles were misleading.

  48. 48

    This comic is an utter failure on Smashing Magazine’s part. It shows they don’t know what direction to go in providing new “content” to its viewers.

    Cut it out with the cutesy crap and spend your time writing the A+ articles your known for. This “content” shown above is complete crap. I never expected this of Smashing Magazine.

  49. 49

    I have to agree with whats been said before…
    …the story is not paced well, either make it faster (ie: someone mentioned Garfield, or Penny Arcade, etc) or make it more detailed and draw it out (ie: PvP, any superhero comic, etc.)
    ..the story is also fairly ridiculous. Really, the push of a web button is the best you could come up with for gaining super powers? and an amalgamation of the fish stick guy, the guy from ‘I know what you did last summer’ and a Lone Ranger mask is your villain? Really?
    …the art, while subjective, is not on par with the rest of the site. There is a plethora of talented (and established) web comic artists online – many of which deal with ‘geek’ and/or design culture. Perhaps try gleaning some insight from them.

    As for those who seem to want to simply kill this idea out right, perhaps if you gave the comic its own section/menu link and a separate RSS feed – one just for the comic, then those that dont want an attempt at humor in their day dont have to bother with it.

  50. 50

    wonderful, waiting for the next one


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