Unshelved comic strip for 2/28/2005

Sick and Tired

I'm on Day Five of a particularly debilitating flu. This morning I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm still tired and groggy and having coughed up both lungs I'm working on my spleen or possibly my pancreas. I'm beginning to suspect this strain is a creation of a coalition of media concerns, because I've had enough energy only to watch TV. So I've made my way through Smallville season one. And of course the Oscars last night.

Speaking of which, am I the only person to think that it's interesting that Hillary Swank won her second oscar? I guess she's talented enough, but are there any actual Hillary Swank *fans* out there? Does anyone go see a movie because Hillary Swank is in it? Is it possible that she is the least popular two-time oscar-winner ever?

Goodbye Jef

A fond farewell to Jef Raskin, advocate of "humane" human-computer interaction. These days when I'm not drawing comic strips I'm designing user interfaces for Microsoft, and in that capacity I recently had my mind blown by his book The Human Interface. A great loss.


No longer has any relevance to libraries

This was the reason given by a reader today as to why he/she is no longer going to be a reader. I found this very interesting. As I've said many times, we never set out to be a comic strip for librarians. Unshelved is set in a library in much the same way that Cheers is set in a bar. The library is the set piece. It provides a background, some ambiance, a group of recurring characters, and a good excuse to have strangers walk in and ask dumb questions. Of course, we love libraries and don't mind exploring issues of interest when they come up. But the strip is first and foremost about the characters, and sometimes that means the action and/or topics will drift away from the library itself.

We think that's okay. In fact, we think it strengthens the strip. But, inevitably, it means that those readers who came to the strip because it was about libraries will sometimes be disappointed. And we're okay with that too, because in the end we want our readers to read the strip because it's fundamentally funny. I'm not a big fan of "in joke" strips. It's why I can't read 99% of all webcomics. They tend to involve a working knowledge of anime, manga, gaming, sci-fi, goth, paganism (pick one or more). And hey, if you are an anime-watching manga-reading game-playing sci-fi-reading goth pagan, more power to you. I bet that comic is really funny to you. But I bet your mom doesn't get it (in fact that might be part of the attraction). Anecdotal evidence shows that Unshelved, by comparison, passes along to civilians quite well.

All of which is by way of saying, we're planning on staying the course. Unshelved is a comic strip about a library, the Mallville Public Library, home of Dewey, Colleen, Mel, Tamara, Buddy, Merv, Ned, Cathy, Grandma and everyone else. If you need every strip to be a funny cataloguing joke you came to the wrong place. Which means if you are looking for a webcomic niche then there is a slot open. Send us your URL!

This Unshelved strip

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