Sean Maher's Quality Control

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey: Tomorrow's renaissance man?

I'm confused and enthused.

I'm wandering about CBR and come across a six-part webcomic of sorts by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey - the fellow that did The Last Sane Cowboy and won the Isotope's mini-comics award - and this new one is called Sixgun.

What could it hurt, right? I know the guy's minicomics are clever and trippy and original, so let's try this one out.

An hour later, I've run my mouse through the padding on the mousepad and am carving a groove in the desk, navigating the comics left and right and underneath and around...

This isn't just a webcomic, see - it's a hypercomic. Which means in this case that Goodbrey is busting ass to push the boundaries of how we tell stories; a drunken evening, for example, is recounted in short scenes and moments that connect to "index" images, which in turn connect to other index images that lead to more short scenes, the context of everything creating an impression, a mark in the reader's imagination, that pulls it all together. That is, the form of the story becomes part of the story itself; it's the kind of thing William Burroughs was working on in his cutup-style prose.

It's also really cool because it involves the reader; the comics are laid out in such a way that you have control over how you physically move through the comic. You wanna go front-to-back, linear style? You can do that, though you might be missing the point a bit. You wanna start in the middle and work outwards? Do it. Start at the end and move back? Jump around all nimbly pimbly? Go for it. It's a trip. And it's kind of a game, too - every time I think I'm at the end of one of these, I realize there's a whole path I didn't even notice the first time through and I've got twice as much to read as I thought I did.

Plus, Abraham Lincoln in a chainsaw fight.

So, thoroughly stimulated and entertained and puzzled, I mosey on over to Goodbrey's official site,, and I get this--

--which leads me to look for this--

--which kinda makes the decision about what to write about today easier. 'Cause Jesus, that's intense. And there's a lot more.

Also, per some advice from Tom Waits, I was listening to this:

It's been a strange morning, I'll tell you that much.

I've got some exploring to do.


  • At 8:18 AM, Blogger Jim said…

    I still have yet to read The Last Sane Cowboy, but I remember reading Sixgun while I was in a big "hypertext is great!" phase in school and loving it. Scott McCloud's online stuff that screws with linear storytelling is cool too, but I prefer Goodbrey's sense of humor.

    I've been reading and enjoying those funny-as-hell iPod strips-thanks for showing me that cat one, which I missed for some ungodly reason.

  • At 1:40 PM, Blogger Sean Maher said…

    The Last Sane Cowboy is great; I've also read and enjoyed I Bleed Scorpions, Mr. Nile, and The Girl Who Talked. Picked 'em all up from the Isotope after Goodbrey won the award.

    Glad I could hook you up with the cat one. It's current - it's on the main page right now.


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