It is March, the month that comes in like a Lion and goes out like the NCAA Basketball Championships. SuperbOwl250 And because the NCAA doesn’t have the same trademark steel-trap grip on its event nicknames the NFL has (although I kinda like celebrating “Superb Owl Sunday” every February), there are a lot of things calling themselves “March Madness” wandering the cultural landscape right now.

Many of them are bracketed tournaments that have nothing to do with basketball and are essentially popularity contests broken up into one-on-one polling choices, like BizJournals.com’s SocialMediaMadness (which actually runs through August; more March-self-contained is Consumerist.com’s Worst Company in America contest, although the Consumer Reports-affiliated website preferred not to use the term “Madness” – they call some of the biggest companies enough bad names) or the Environmental March Madness tournament for colleges to compete in “excellence in environmental academics and sustainability practices” (who decided to call this one ‘Madness’? a Climate Change denier?).

comicmixmadnesslogo250But the quintessential (a word I like to use because it’s an intellectual sounding way of saying ‘coolest’) March Madness-themed web-poll for me (and for the purposes of Tooned.In) is ComicMix.com’s MIX MARCH MADNESS WEBCOMICS TOURNAMENT! After last year’s Madness got so… well, MAD that the Final Four comic creators (Tom Siddell of “Gunnerkrigg Court”, Tarol Hunt from “Goblins”, Andrew Hussie from “Homestuck” and Rich Burlew from “Order Of The Stick”) all contributed their prize money to the Child’s Play Charity to take ‘financial gain’ issues off the table. This year, they’re adding an opportunity to stuff the ballot box by contributing to The Hero Initiative, which may or may not end well (what DC Comics would call either a “Damian Wayne” or an “Orson Scott Card”).

While trying to get this site up and running, I missed the initial nominations round, which is why, without my support,
2D Goggles or the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage,
American Barbarian,
Bearmageddon,
Catbeard the Pirate,
Cheesebo,
Chuckle-a-Duck,
Circuit,
Connie to the Wonnie,
Coolness Graphed,
Cosmic Dash,
Crimes Against Hugh’s Manatees, (so… many… C’s…)
Decrypting Rita,
Department of Breakfast,
Depression Comix,
Dewey Defeats Tarzan,
Edmund Finney’s Quest for the Meaning of Life, Ellie on Planet X,
Ellie Starling’s Very Long Walk,
Guinea Something Good,
Incidental Comics
Indexed,
Jefbot,
Kick Girl/Mystery Babylon (under either name),
Kick in the Head,
Kila Ilo,
Laugh Out Loud Cats,
Left Handed Toons (by right-handed people),
Leftover Soup,
Life Ain’t No Pony Farm (in English or German),
Love Me Nice,
Lovecraft is Missing,
Magellan,
Makeshift Miracle,
Monster of the Week (the cartoon X-Files),
My Cardboard Life,
Nathan Sorry,
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong,
Nukees,
Our Intrepid Crew,
Pengcognito,
Pop Culture’s Kids,
Princess Princess,
Quayle Station (featuring Call of Cthulhu, The Musical),
Saint for Rent,
Sci-ence!,
Shadoweyes,
Skullkickers (recycled from a print comic at a page a day, but still double-awesome),
So Your Life Is Meaningless,
Square Root of Minus Garfield (disclaimer: hell yeah, I’m a contributor),
Subnormality/Virus Comix,
Surviving the World,
Tara Normal,
The Book of Biff,
The Dreadful,
The Honor Brigade,
The Petri Dish,
Time Wounds All Heels,
Tragedy Series,
Tweep,
Urban Jungle,
Willow’s Grove
and Zombie Roomie
remain un-nominated (some are A-List, some B-list, but none $#!+-List). But then, ComicMix’s link list has ‘only’ about 300 comics on it – my RSS reader has over 500 (including the $#!+-List), and not all notable webcomics have RSS feeds (I’m looking at you, Sinfest). Which was one big reason I felt compelled to start this site (gave me an excuse for all the time I spend with these things).

Only a few hours are left to vote for as many of the nominees as you want to make the first round of 128. Over 11,000 votes have been cast (and only 2, including mine for The Glass Urchin, sigh). This is a major, resource-hogging project they’re doing, and I’m glad they’re doing it. Some very good (and NEW!) stuff is among those getting the most votes (and some very good stuff is among those NOT). So if you can get in there, make some votes, and I’ll provide ongoing – hopefully more timely – updates in the days to come.

UPDATE #1 March 10th

We’re well into Round One of ComicMix’s Webcomic Tournament, with ONLY 128 comics matched up to fight one-on-one. The surprise #1 seed, beating even “Homestuck” for nomination votes, is the brand new “Ava’s Demon”, a stunningly beautifully drawn combo of fantasy, horror, sci-fi and other stuff, whose one-panel per page format is occasionally embellished with elaborate animations.
ava2 ava3

Meanwhile, with three days of the four for voting the first round finished, there are a few other interesting developments.

Superhero spoof “Grrl Power” is getting double the votes of Jon Rosenberg’s post-‘Goats’ “Scenes from a Multiverse”…

Two hard-to-decribe but impressive comics “Power Nap” and “Fox Sister” are neck and neck…

In a luck-of-the-draw match-up between two webcomic institutions, “Sinfest” is leading “PVP” by a 3-to-2 margin…

“Zen Pencils” and its elaborate illustrations of great quotes by notable people is being doubled up by the international whimsy of “Scandanavia and the World”…

The whimsical sci-fi of “Trying Human” is solidly beating the always-controversial “Ctrl-Alt-Del”…

The ‘slice-of-life-in-a-fish-market’ “Sakana” is slightly ahead of “Something Positive”, giving Randy Millholland something more to feel negative about…

In another battle of long-running creator-characters, Ryan Sohmer’s “Least I Could Do” is narrowly trailing T. Campbell’s “Guilded Age”…

Kris Straub’s new “Bloodhollow” is falling to the long-time favorite “Gunshow”…

“Lackadaisy” is winning by a 5-to-1 margin over “Wondermark” (I guess people just prefer their nostalgia furry to cynical)…

But WHY OH WHY is the fascinating universe of “Vattu” losing to “Garfield Minus Garfield”? WHY OH WHY is the sly sci-fi of “Schlock Mercenary” losing BADLY to the almost generic fantasy of “Not a Villain”? WHY OH WHY is the cute-but-awesome “Kiwi Blitz” being trounced by the merely cute “Doctor Cat”? Well, three serious disappointments out of 64 matchups isn’t too bad.

UPDATE #2 March 12th

Voting is now on for Round Two, a more reasonable Field of 64, and time to list the casualties of the firt round that I think deserved better… or to put it another way “Bird Boy” beat “Spinnerette”?!? I’m sorry Boy, but Spinnerette is, IMO, the single best Superhero Satire Comic in any medium since The Tick (and when it moved ahead of Brad Guigar’s Evil, Inc., that, to me, was a Big Fracking Deal). I’ll have a full post of the genius that is the Big Spin later. There are a lot of matchups this time between two comics I like both of (because I like a LOT of comics), but based on partial results (and remember, Spinnerette was ahead until the ‘upstate’ vote came in), I feel like I’ll let the Wisdom of Crowds prevail and stay in my internet-connected Ivory Tower until someone asks me to “let down my hair”… wait, I’m mixing metaphors. Anyway, YOU. VOTE. You have until Wednesday at 9PM EDT before you’ll be left with fewer to vote for…