Comic Update: Twitter Tales! The Ballad of Andy’s Bag

May 04, 2008

It only took me about four and a half months from the moment the idea was conceived, but finally the first CSSquirrel comic has been produced.

Initially my inaugural venture into the world of a web design webcomic was going to provide a gentle mockery of Opera’s failure thus far to produce a developer add-on in the vein of Firebug. Then, of course, they dropped the Dragonfly bomb. Robbed of my thunder, I’ve moved to something both more ridiculous and risque.

Which is to say, Andy Clarke‘s underpants.

Well, it’s not precisely about underpants. I’ve recently fallen to the web developer trap that is Twitter, and like some voyeur into the world of the notable I’ve started following the twits (tweets?) of luminaries such as Clarke, Zeldman, and David Shea, among others. Buying into the premise of Twitter as a micro-blogging tool, I’d hoped to see the insights their bright minds would produce about this whole web design thingy.

I’ve definitely seen some insights, but at 140 characters or less, it seems Twitter is more adept at detailing what someone’s had for lunch, absurd overheard remarks, or links to Flickr photos. (Incidentally,  the whole blending of Twitter and Flickr and other such apps ties nicely into Zeldman’s topic of the vanishing personal site that I’ve been meaning to weigh into. File that under ‘Topic for Later’.)

So I’ve felt less like an enthusiastic pupil and more like a peeping Tom. Has this stopped me?

… No. No it hasn’t.

What I didn’t expect to see, and am fascinated by, is the sort of weaving tales that a group of Twitter feeds create when a bunch of users are discussing the same topic or are at the same convention. In particular, An Event Apart New Orleans 2008 was an event that I didn’t have the pleasure to go to, but did have the pleasure to experience indirectly through the various tweets of the designers present. It was even more enhanced by the various Flickr photostreams linked to by the participants, showing smiling pictures of famous designers, hazy pictures of jazz bars, or neon-lit photos of rainy Bourbon Street.

For a guy who was struggling with misbehaving forms on a chilly spring workday, it was a delightful diversion to refresh my follows every now and then via Twitteroo and see what was going on.

What was forming were stories. One that caught me the most was what I’ve dubbed the “Ballad of Andy’s Bag”, a gripping tale that starts here with his touchdown in New Orleans, and then shows the breakdown of a man’s mind as he’s robbed of his luggage for almost two days before being finally reunited here.

I decided this little tale could use some immortalization, and perhaps a disturbing implication of stalking, thus I’ve formed the monster that is this comic. I’m not sure if it was entirely wise for me to launch things off with a sketch of web design’s British folk hero in his knickers, but sometimes these things just write themselves.

Although it’s my intent to continue to provide comic forays into the web design world (probably on a weekly basis), it’s not my plan to show mostly nude designers regularly (I don’t think the world is ready for Jeffrey Zeldman displayed as such).

Please feel free to enjoy

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