AboutDante Shepherd writes the daily webcomic Surviving the World.
This Monday Night Campfire is for stories and other general means of amusement. So gather 'round and remember that singing comes from the patella region.
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(All content © Dante Shepherd unless otherwise noted.)
2008: If you ever want to ask me, “Gee, Dante, I want to start a daily webcomic, but I’m getting married in 50 days, and then am going to be off traveling on a honeymoon and on conferences and so basically need to make over 70 comics in no time at all, should I start my comic now or wait?”, my answer would be simply telling you that you’re an idiot.
I’ve think I’ve added to this top ten list since. There’s no ranking, mind you, just a list. If you’ve got something slotted in at the top and unbeatable, then you’re basically heading on a downward slope the rest of your life, and isn’t that a positive approach.
2009: We spent the entire day moving from one apartment to another. It was VERY romantic.
2010: She was in Maryland; I was in New York, finishing the packing as we moved south to a new apartment. This was EVEN MORE romantic.
2011: I couldn’t tell you what we did this year. We weren’t moving, and didn’t have a kid yet. I’m not sure any time like that ever existed anymore.
2012: Cannonball was alive and kicking and so joined us on our date night. She slept through the entire meal so I’m also not entirely sure this account is true or not.
2013: We were coming back from a family member’s funeral. The occasion was a little less important.
2014: And today. We went and got a cherry tree for the backyard. Cannonball refused to nap and screamed for a few hours. And all was right. And we continued onwards.
I’ve been doing a number of additional pieces on Medium the last few months called ‘Bad Decision Bingo’ - they’re a major deviation from the usual chalkboard photocomic style I utilize, but they’ve been fun to do.
The idea is simple - instead of usual bingo, where you’re trying to get five squares in a row, here you’re trying to avoid making a full row. So one square alone might satisfy your needs or meet the limit you’re willing to endure, but the full five in a row will likely be the result of a poor decision on someone’s part.
Anyway, there are a whole series of them now, so if you haven’t seen them, I would certainly appreciate you taking a wander through - and maybe play a round if you’re masochistically inclined.
On a side note: I get supported by Medium based on the views these (and the more standard bonus photocomics posted there) get, so if you like any of these, you can really help by sharing them with friends. And if you really hate them, you can still help by subjecting them on your enemies!
Thanks, all! And feel free to share suggestions for future bingo boards.
Here are all the other great student presentations that were sent in!
From Gina Watts:
From Corey, who does a photocomic about parenting:
From Will (a double engineer!):
And from Tim:
These were all pretty great - thank you to everyone who took the time to make one and send one in! It really means a lot.
So I’ve started a Patreon page as a way to be able to make more comics! If you’re unfamiliar with Patreon, it’s essentially a modern-day means to allow anyone to become a patron of the arts. Your support will be directly channeled into helping me make more comics like PhD Unknown, and science comics to help get more kids interested in science and engineering. I’m pretty excited about what this would allow us to do, like collaborate with a bunch of artists and be able to get different projects out there - including potentially pushing PhD Unknown to twice a week! Give it a look if you can - at the very least, enjoy the video I made for it - and thanks!
My semester obligations ended less than two weeks ago. I’ve already read five novels since then. Did you know they made books you can read for fun? It’s true!
Every book has been topnotch so far, so just in quick recommendation:
"Gun Machine" by Warren Ellis - I’ve been trying to find the time to read this for over a year, and finally tore through it today. Terrific story, a little disturbingly described at times (although that’s Ellis being Ellis), police procedural about a detective discovering a room filled with over 200 guns from unsolved murders. Fun read.
"The Last Policeman" and "Countdown City", both by Ben Winters - detective novels set in the six months until a meteor will hit the Earth and basically bring about the end of the world. Fascinating set up that shows society disintegrating as the detective continues onward. Eagerly looking forward to the last in the series.
"Maus" and "Maus II" by Art Spiegleman - the two graphic novels about the Holocaust, depicting Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats. Sobering, but work I probably should have read a long time ago. If you want justification of the greatness of comics as a medium, this is a prime example.
Oh, and I’ve also read kids’ books to my daughter a hundred times. ”The Pigeon Needs A Bath” by Mo Willems is terrific, partly because my reading produces a very energetic pigeon who sounds half strung out on caffeine and sugar.
It’s been a while since we’ve done a week of guest-comics or student lectures on STW - in fact, we haven’t done it since Cannonball was born, and she’s two years old now! That’s a lot of comics.
With STW being designed and set up like a class, it feels right that we have a week where students can take over - and if possible, it’d be great to have a week where actual graduating seniors can be the ones up at the board.
So if you are about to graduate from any level - college senior, high school senior, 8th grade, kindergarten, PhD, whatever - this is an official announcement for you to take over STW for a day!
Is there any wisdom you have to provide others? Or facts about anything that you find fascinating? Is there some topic that you think you can expound upon? What would you like people to know? Present it to the entire STW class!
Labcoat, hat and chalkboard aren’t necessary - feel free to wear whatever is your appropriate professorial garb, and write on whatever is your learning-wall of choice. Even drawn images are fine if that’s what you prefer.
The only rule - no cursing allowed.
If you want to make a guest comic, all you need to do is submit it by May 14th. Just email it in to danteshepherd (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject line ‘guest lecture’. The best submissions will be chosen from and run the following week. While comics from those graduating will be preferred, the submissions are open to all who are interested.
Have fun with it! Looking forward to what you come up with.
I made a comic on Friday, planning to run it on Monday, thinking mainly about Patriots Day and the marathon. By Saturday, I hated what I’d made - felt like it was based around me thinking of last year strictly in terms of instinct and emotion without any real deeper thought to it. So I made a different one instead - very different in terms of structure and tone, and something that I came out really happy with. For the record, though, here’s the original raw image for the comic that I’d made:
You can decide which you would have preferred, but I’ll take the one that actually presents the level-headedness I try to recommend with each STW.
This switching up happens every so often, but usually if I come to hate a comic, it’s after I already posted it. The last time I made a comic and then didn’t use it was during the Winter Olympics, after watching some crazy snowboarding event. I don’t know what ran instead, but I hated this one within an hour of making it.
Eh. Feels mean. Meaner than I’d prefer.
Oh well. Back to my creepy basement to make another.