Breakfast of Champions: 11/12

Daily Dish: What's New On the Site

The power of the word and the web combine at Culture to Go to bring you coverage of "I Couldn't Live at Home," where spoken word artists, MCs and musicians brought lyrical light to the topic of homelessness. Besides my quick review of Sunday's event, we have a photo gallery and MP3s of eight different stirring performances. In a few hours, we'll also have an audio slideshow up that will be well worth your time. (Speaking of which, don't miss the audio slideshow from RetroRama last week, either.)

Update: the audio slideshow is up now.

We like to test our new sports bloggers, really putting them through their paces. Eric Refsland's debut in writing about the Vikings featured pretty much everything that makes fans miserable -- a ruthless ass-beating by a rival, the team's first regular-season shutout in 16 years, and an injury to the only Vikes player that's spectacular to watch -- so we figure if Eric can make it through this and deliver the goods, he's a keeper.

Also on Balls!, Paul Demko previewed That Guy Who Married Posh Spice's foray into local soccer. His post features photos from the Minnesota Thunder's practice last week.

A few updates coming later this afternoon, with more coverage of weekend events. Until then, I give you ...

Brain Candy

As part of my ceaseless, life-affirming mission to help you waste time on the Internet, I offer you a list -- in no particular order -- of 10 webcomics that I peruse on a regular basis.

1. Gotta start out reppin' for the locals. Paul Taylor's Wapsi Square is set in a fictional Minneapolis neighborhood that gives the strip its name. The main character is spunky, busty museum anthropologist who encounters an Aztec deity and otherworldly figures including, but not limited to, her Twin Cities circle of friends.

2. Tyler Page is also from the Twin Cities, and his Nothing Better is set at a fictional Lutheran College St. Olaf. The story follows a cast of students as they grapple with life's big questions, make youthful blunders and attempt to relate to another. This beautifully drawn, wide-eyed narrative is sadly only updating once a week these days, but there's plenty to check out (and love) in the back issues.

3.Girl Genius, a MWF strip with terrific art, follows Agatha Heterodyne, heir to a legacy of mad science. This steampunk tale features Victorian style costumes, wild inventions, adventure, romance and humor. Worth reading for the art alone; worth reading for the writing alone.

4. Up for fierce weirdness cut by sneakily laugh-out-loud funny lines? You've never seen anything like Jeffrey Rowland's Overcompensating, and that's -- like Martha Stewart would say -- a good thing. The artwork is full of pleasant surprises and subversive sight gags. The "story," such as it is, related 100 percent real events from the life of Mr. Rowland, a cowboy poet and raconteur.

5. Anyone who moves in music nerd circles will especially appreciate Questionable Content, a Monday-Friday comic about indie rock, the vicissitudes of love amidst urban hipsters, and the wacky habits of silicone-based life. Plus, it's fun to see how the art has progressed from day one to its current status.

6. Something Positive. Remember that kid in high school who hated just about everyone and everything, and couldn't care less what you thought of the inappropriate comments he made or the offensive doodles he was making in class? Well, that kid grew up and started a webcomic, a venerable one by genre standards. You might not want to hang around that guy at a party, but you do want to read his comic.

7. Shortpacked is a mostly MWF comic on the unlikely topic of action figure collecting. That this comic is at all funny, let alone a regular read for me, is testament to how someone's passion for a particular subject can make that topic interesting for people who don't know what Galvatron is, or how many variant Optimus Prime designs were made.

8. PVP and Penny Arcade are both ostensibly about video gaming, but that's really about all they have in common. One's a daily, one runs thrice a week; one has intricate art, one features clean-but-unspectacular line drawings; one is character-driven, the other gag driven. They both do like good ca-ca poo-poo humor, but who doesn't? Oh, and another commonality: they're both regularly enjoyable.

9. The Order of the Stick, by Rich Burlew, features a funky stick-figure art style that works for the characters and subject matter. There are roughly 11,983,630,364 comics on the Internet, and of those, approximately 10,539,078,128 are about role-playing games and/or sword and sorcery fantasy. Burlew's is one of the few that combines those topics in a consistently funny fashion.

10. Dominic Deegan, a daily fantasy strip that features a seer, his litany of allies and a host of bad puns, is a long-running affair that has managed to stay relatively fresh. It has its detractors, and the art isn't as involved as many of the above strips, but it's still entertaining.

I could offer more, but 10's a round number, and if you enjoy these, Google can lead you to the 11,983,630,354 other webcomics. Besides, if I didn't stop at 10, I'd have to recommend something like Least I Could Do, whose excellent art only partially redeems the hit-or-miss, sophomoric writing, and there's no way a terribly manly man like me is admitting I read shoujo style manga like Red String. (Hey, I used to live in Japan -- I have a soft spot. Sue me.)

Plus, I've already done enough damage to workplace productivity with this list. The economy's bad enough already, and I don't need Ben Bernanke (or Walter Mead) on my case. Taking angry calls from economists cuts into my webcomic time.

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