Last weekend I took a 3 day weekend so that Yummy and I could take a trip. An old college roommate has been going to Cornell in Ithica, NY. He and some friends have crashed at my place in DC a couple of times so it was time for a little payback. But more about Ithica when I get around to uploading my pictures.
While there we went into a comic book store. When traveling you want to hit the local comic book and video game stores. It's amazing the difference in selection you can get in different areas. This comic book store was remarkably well stocked in bound collections of online comics. The sort of stuff that's usually available through someone's website or from a comic convention, but not at your local Borders. I debated a bit whether to get some. Typically the cartoonist gets more money when you buy direct than when you buy through a store. However, I also wanted to support the shop owner who took a chance in selling what's available for free online. And since he probably had to buy from the cartoonist there was likely healthy profits all around.
Last night I finished reading the first of my purchases, "The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness".
"The Order of the Stick" is a stick figure based comic that typically updates a few times per week. Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons type paper and dice games, this comic takes place inside the game. The characters even concern themselves with multiclassing and HP from time to time.
More importantly, the comic is engaging. It pulls off the long term saga while still remaining funny on a per-strip basis.
Don't let the stick figures throw you. It's another example of how the art isn't important to the story. Pixar films would still be good if animated like South Park and this would be good as sticks or with a team of classically trained artists.
You can read the strip online by visiting http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/GiantITP/ootscript. You'll want to start at the beginning.
What I picked up was the second prequel - The Order of the Stick collection negative one. It's not available for free online. You have to enjoy the comic enough to want to pay for the extra material. And I do! It tells the back story of the villains of our story going back 130ish years ago and up to the present.
It's got comedy, drama, evil schemes, piles of goblin corpses, and semi-noble creatures turning to the dark side against their own best intentions.
I recommend this book, but only after you've spent some time in the online archives. Or, you can go to the website store at http://www.giantitp.com/Shop.html for a version you can stuff in a bag.